Tag Archives: Cooked from Scratch

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column – Carol Taylor Cooks with Mince

I think mince is the most versatile food ever so much you can make with it…Check out my Thai Burgers something different…

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to this week’s cookery column where I will be cooking with mince…sometimes I buy my mince ready to go and sometimes I mince my own using a very sharp knife it is a coarser mince then but some recipes call for a coarser type of mince meat.

If I am mincing already cooked meats i.e. that elusive lamb for a cottage pie I would use my Nan’s mincer which I still have, which is many years old and has been around the world with me, it must by now be 70 plus years old or more and still works .

Mince is a very versatile ingredient and today I thought instead of dishes with all the sauces and preparation I would show some quick meals which can be made with mince…
Any meat can be used chicken, pork, beef and where to start??

I prefer chilli to spaghetti Bolognese…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Thai Curry Pastes and #recipes

Authentic recipes for Thai Curry Pastes made from scratch 🙂 I hope you enjoy these recipes to make your own curry pastes …

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I hope you enjoy making these curry pastes All these recipes are authentic Thai recipes and very easy to make, most ingredients are available at most major stores or Asian shops around the world.

Thai Curry Pastes made from scratch.

Before we start Thai food is all about the TASTE those important flavours of sweet, sour, hot and salty so my advice always taste and taste again, start with less and taste you can always add you cannot take away.

I am lucky in that I can buy these pastes ready made from the local markets but I know only too well from when I lived in the UK that the ones I could buy were not quite the same and obviously have preservatives in them also Coconut milk always check that it is 100% as they are not always and will split when you cook your curry.

Once you…

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Fruity Friday… The Cranberry.

Fruity Friday, The Cranberry

Welcome to Fruity Fridays and today I am showcasing the Cranberry… Cranberries always remind me of Christmas I think it is the smell when I am making Cranberry sauce, the cinnamon, spices and the orange all together invoke those Christmas memories but of course, cranberry sauce can be eaten with any roast meats, cold meats, with cream cheese so many ways.

My mum always used to swear by Cranberry juice if anyone has a urinary tract infection, however, the latest research show that capsules are more effective as the cranberry juice you buy does not have the same concentration of antioxidant proanthocyanidins.

They are low in calories and high in Vitamin C, A and K so a little gem of a berry which packs a healthy punch.

In a homemade trail mix dried cranberries with unsalted nuts and seeds a nice quick to make little snack.

If you are making muffins or scones then a handful or two of cranberries adds that little extra zing and helps cut through the sweetness of cakes.

There are also two ways that cranberries are harvested.

Wet Harvesting:

Many people and that included me for a while think that cranberries grow underwater but they are not they grow on boggy ground which is flooded with up to 18 inches of water the night before the berries are to be harvested.  Then water reels, nicknamed “eggbeaters,” churn the water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Each berry has a tiny pocket of air that allows it to float to the surface of the water. These are then collected and it is these cranberries which are used in the cranberry products we buy in the shops.

Dry Harvesting:

Fresh cranberries are harvested using the dry method and it is the method to pick those beautiful red berries we see fresh and beautiful in the stores or in the markets.

I have noticed the difference when I use fresh cranberries when making sauce or stuffing that the fresh berries do not have the deep red colour of the frozen ones when cooked… I do however prefer the taste of the fresh berries although I do keep a bag of frozen cranberries in my freezer as a backup or to use when fresh cranberries are out of season.

Cranberry Sauce:

  • 3  cups or 12 oz of cranberries.
  • The juice of 2 large Oranges.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.

cranberry-sauce

Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

 

Store in a sealed container.

These little puffs don’t take long to make so if I need a quick snack if visitors pop in around sundowner time then these don’t take long. I always keep a little box of already cut puff pastry squares which I can just pop in the oven and I always have a container of cranberry as we like it in a sandwich if we have cold chicken or pork and it is lovely with hot meat or pork schnitzels which I just top with some cream cheese and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.

Camembert Puffs:

camembert_puffs-1

Ingredients:   

I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.

125 gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.

100gm Cranberry Sauce.

1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.

1 large egg, beaten.

To Make:  

Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.

Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite-sized squares ( 3cm)

Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins.

Put into pre-heated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.

Garnish with Thyme.

Enjoy!

This next recipe is one I use if I am rolling and stuffing a piece of Pork and I have stuffed chicken breasts as well using the same stuffing.

Apple and Cranberry Pork.

Stuffed pork loin

Rub for the Pork Loin.

  • 4 lbs Pork Loin,
  • Bacon ( enough to cover Pork Loin)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste,
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil,
  • 2 finely chopped Garlic Cloves,
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Thyme,
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Rosemary…

Stuffing for Pork Loin:

  • Half cup Vinegar,
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt,
  • 2 small diced red onions,
  • Olive oil as required,
  • 1/2 bottle Lager Beer,
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar,
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon,
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger,
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries,
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seed,
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper,
  • 4 peeled and chopped Granny Smith Apples.

Let’s Cook!

Cut a pocket through one end of the tenderloin. Don’t slice through the other end. Season in and out properly with salt and pepper.

Mix together the ingredients for the rub and when mixed rub into the pork loin , cover and put in the fridge for an hour.

Uncooked pork loin

While the Pork is absorbing all those lovely flavours prepare the stuffing mix.

Finely chop the Red Onions and cook in Olive oil until soft. Add Apples and ginger, stir and cook for 5 mins.Add remainder of ingredients stir to combine and simmer gently until mixture thickens and reduces. Cool slightly before stuffing the loin.

Stuffing the Loin was quite messy the first time I made this. I tried a plastic sauce bottle which was ok..but now I use an icing bag which is much easier and quicker.

Stuff loin and then cover with bacon slices.Put tin foil on top as bacon cooks very quickly and remove foil about ten mins from end cooking to brown bacon. Rest loin for 10 mins before carving.

Stuffed pork cooking

Once rested, carve and serve we made the gravy from the meat juices and pork stock and it was lovely. Served with vegetables and crispy roast potatoes..mmmm.

This versatile little berry can be used to make lovely little potato pancakes.

Ingredients:

  • Peel and grate 2 russet potatoes; squeeze dry.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 grated onion
  • 1/2 cup each chopped cranberries and breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt and a freshly ground pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

Form into 2-inch pancakes and fry in 1/4 inch vegetable oil ( or oil ) of your choice (adding more as needed) in a large skillet over medium-high heat until golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

N.B. The original recipe added sugar I didn’t we don’t like added sugar in our savoury food …I know cranberries are quite sour but mixed with everything else and eaten with meat or fish with vegetables we find them very nice and don’t think sugar is necessary.

For a nice change, this little salsa using cranberries is very moreish and of course, it has the requisite chillies…lol

 Cranberry and Jalapeno Salsa.

Finely chop 2 cups cranberries with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor. Toss with 1/3 cup each chopped cucumber and cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped white onion, 1 minced jalapeno, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Did you know you can also get Cranberry Beans they are really pretty although they go brown when cooked?

cranberry beans-1353042_1280

Cranberry is an odd name for a lovely, versatile bean. Thought to originally come from Colombia, the bean is now grown around the world and has been known by many names such as  Madeira, Borlotti, Tongues of Fire and  Wren’s Eggs.

Cranberry beans are soft and dense with a velvety, rich texture. They are a thin-skinned bean which produces a rich bean broth and is the natural friend of Pasta e Fagioli which is a lovely bowl of pasta and beans with Italian sausage.

I hope you have enjoyed these cranberry recipes as it is a lovely fruit which can be eaten dried or used frozen or fresh when in season.

If you enjoyed this post then please reblog  or share on your social media x

If you still want to see even more from me???? Although I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…Then I have added some links below xx

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

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Until  next time x

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Lucious Lamb

Lamb a treat here and a welcome one…I hope you enjoy the recipes 🙂 xx

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

This week I am showcasing my favourite Lamb dishes… Lamb is not something we eat often hear as it is always imported, expensive and hard to get so a treat for us…

I dream of a nice roast Welsh spring lamb with jersey royals, fresh garden peas, mint sauce and then I wake up…

Lamb is best cooked until it is slightly pink in the middle a lovely recipe which I have not cooked for a very long time but was favourite when we were in the UK was lovely loin lamb chops grilled or pan fried until just cooked then I spread the chops with mint jelly and wrapped the chops in puff pastry. Cooked in the oven until the pastry is golden brown and cooked the lamb inside should then be perfect served with mash and steamed vegetables it makes a nice filling meal…To reduce the calories you…

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Fruity Fridays…The Passionfruit.

Fruity Fridays Passionfruit

This sort of wrinkled egg-shaped fruit is not exciting to look at but what a little powerhouse of nutrients and all things good it is.

When the skin goes wrinkly it is when the Passionfruit is its sweetest.

Its name came from South American Catholic missionaries who believed that the blossom of the passion fruit was a reminder of Christ. That the corona symbolised a crown of thorns, the stigma, the nails on the cross, the sepals and the petals which numbered ten were the apostles with the exception of Judas and Peter. The stamens were Christ’s wounds. I think that is a lovely explanation of how the passion fruit got its name.

Passion fruit grows in any frost-free warm climate around the world.

Cultivated since ancient times and always enjoyed for its sweet slightly tart flesh.

It has Vitamin C in abundance; in fact, a single serving of passion fruit has more than 100% of the required intake of vitamin C for a healthy diet.

One serving of passion fruit satisfies one-quarter of our potassium needs immediately thus it is proven to relax tension in our blood vessels and promote an increase in blood flow so it is indeed a little powerhouse.

But as with anything moderation is also a factor and as with all fruits they contain natural sugars so people with diabetes should be aware of their sugar levels.

But with passion fruit, it is very obvious that this little fairly unassuming looking fruit it is packed with many benefits for our health and wellbeing.

This is not the first time I have written about Passionfruit well it was a recipe for passion fruit butter but when I make it this time it will be from homegrown fruit.  Prior to growing our own I always buy my fruit from the Royal Project Shop which I support whenever I can as it supports local grown organic crops.

The Royal Project (1969) is a non-profit organisation founded by his late Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej to solve the problem of deforestation, poverty and opium production by promoting alternative crops in Thailand. 

The produce there is top quality so fresh and organically grown but nothing tops growing your own does it?

Passionfruit can be used as a topping for cheesecakes, smoothies, icecreams, glazes or just eaten straight from its shell…

Mixed with Ginger and apple cider it makes a beautiful glaze for chicken breasts.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot  finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups passion fruit pulp (divided)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (divided)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sauce
  • 2 tbsp  Arrowroot or cornstarch
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Coriander to garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and the ginger, and cook on medium heat for a few minutes, stirring, until shallot and ginger are softened.

Add the chicken stock, 1/2 cup of the passionfruit pulp, and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Add the chicken breasts in a single layer. Add more chicken stock if required to ensure that the chicken breasts are just covered with liquid. I leave the skin above the liquid as I like to brown/ crisp my chicken skin.

Bring the cooking liquid to a slow simmer. Cover and cook the chicken breasts for 15-20 minutes,  until just cooked through meanwhile prepare the sauce.

chicken breast

Pour off all but 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the sauté pan. Add the remaining 1 cup of passion fruit juice, the apple cider, the vinegar, the soy sauce, and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Whisk in the arrowroot powder

Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook until it the sauce has thickened about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over chicken breasts and serve. Serve with rice or new potatoes and lightly steamed vegetables.

Enjoy!

This next recipe came about quite by chance as my daughter was telling me what she had for her birthday breakfast I hadn’t heard of passion fruit butter/curd at that point…But as she was raving about it and how good it was …I thought must be good and it was … Served with a slice of homemade banana bread it is a lovely thing…The slightly tart taste of the passion fruit pairs nicely with the sweetness of the banana bread.

Banana bread

Passionfruit Butter/ Curd:

Ingredients:

  • The pulp of 5 large passion fruits. ( I used my frozen pulp) thawed of course and half cup.
  • 150g butter.
  • 100g  sugar.
  • Juice of half a lemon.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 5 eggs beaten.

Let’s Cook!

Melt butter and sugar in a heavy bottomed (or enamel) saucepan over low heat. Add lemon juice, salt and passion fruit pulp. Mix well. In a bowl, whisk all 5 eggs lightly. Increase heat to medium-low and add the eggs to the passionfruit mixture, whisking with a whisk. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes, whisking continuously. Once smooth, stir with a wooden spoon while cooking. The butter is ready when the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of the spoon (pouring cream consistency/store-bought pouring custard consistency). Remove from heat. Fill in lidded jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

Of course, the passionfruit mixed with rum makes a lovely Mojito… Cheers!

mojito and passionfruit cocktail

Passionfruit Mojito

Ingredients (serves one)

  • 50 ml White Rum
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 1 1/2 passion fruits
  • 3 sprigs of mint
  • Dash of soda water
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • Crushed ice

Let’s mix and muddle

Muddle together the limes, sugar and the pulp of one passion fruit.

Add the leaves from 2 sprigs of mint and muddle some more.

Fill the chilled glass with crushed ice. ( I always keep some glasses in the fridge) Just in case…lol

Pour over the White Rum and a dash of soda water.

Stir together.

Garnish with half a passion fruit and a sprig of mint.

 

Cheers!

What is your favourite passionfruit recipe ??? Please let me know in comments x

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this post please share… Thank you x

If you really want to see even more from me????

I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…Still, want to see more from me???

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

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Until  next time xxx

Fruity Friday’s…The Tomato!

Fruity Fridays bruscheta

The tomato botanically known as a berry type fruit is also considered to be a culinary vegetable it belongs to the nightshade family and was at one time called the poison apple. In the 1700’s many aristocrats got sick and died after eating tomatoes the actual truth of the matter was that because tomatoes are so high in acidity and the wealthy ate off pewter plates the fruit would leach lead from the plates and the many deaths were from lead poisoning not from eating the actual tomatoes.

This is pretty much why I don’t buy tinned tomatoes any more as the coating inside the tins reacts with the acidity of the tomatoes which then leaches nasties into the tomatoes so similar scenario to all those years ago except it is now manufacturers who are poisoning us by their actions.

I make my own and it is so very simple to do… I choose the ripest, sweetest tomatoes and blitz them in my food processor…freeze them in portions and no nasties. Cheaper by far and healthier it takes me 20 mins to make enough portions for the month ahead. Simples!

Tomatoes can be eaten raw, sun-dried, pickled, cooked so many ways to enjoy the tomato, they come in many colours particularly the Heirloom variety which is growing in popularity and usually grown organically or by small companies so as of yet are not widely available everywhere.

heirloom tomato-2375152_640

I have heard they come in black, brown, ivory, purple, blue, pink as well as the red, yellow and green varieties …Have you seen or tried black or blue tomatoes???

Living here and not being able to buy sun-dried tomatoes I have resorted to drying my own and they are very nice …Hubby made me a little wire cage and I just sit them in the sun and watch the magic happen. Some fresh rosemary and a good olive oil and I am in foodie heaven.

 

Of course, I have to mention that they also make a damn good Bloody Mary…Just saying…

Ingredients:

  • 3 ¼ cups of tomato juice
  • 1 ¼ cups of vodka ( or thereabouts) Hic
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce or peri peri sauce
  • 2 tsp Lea & Perrins sauce ( Worcestershire sauce)
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 stalks of celery with leaves.

Let’s Brew!

Combine everything together in a jug or cocktail shaker and TASTE… this is where I adjust and give it a tweak or two…I make my own tomato juice and as tomatoes vary so does the TASTE….It is a fine art and needs much testing to get this just right …
Chill in the fridge until required… this recipe makes about 6 glasses.

Bloody Mary

Bliss Beach club Phuket my favourite place to drink a Bloody Mary.

To serve.

Add some ice to a chilled glass and fill with the Bloody Mary mix…pop in your celery stick and a slice of lime and or some olives and if you are feeling really …well… If you have some bacon to use up then crisp it up and stick a slice in with the celery… Anything goes when I am making cocktails.

Enjoy!

A lovely vibrant salsa or a topping for a bruschetta or just sliced with mozzarella cheese, some good olive oil and some fresh basil and you have a wonderful little snack.

Chilli? well, I couldn’t do a post without using a chilli or three and they are red… Chilli and Tomato Chutney is a wonderful thing.

This lovely vibrant chilli and tomato chutney gets hotter the longer you keep it if it lasts that long..but is lovely with cold meats, cheese, hot sausages, Pork Pies or just use as a glaze over your meat when you are cooking it or your prawns…it is lovely on your BBQ prawns.

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm of mixed tomatoes..some can be green.
  • 4 large red chilli..deseed if you don’t want your chutney too hot or maybe just reduce the chillies.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced.
  • An inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 300 gm of sugar golden or brown.
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar or balsamic.
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce.

Let’s Cook!

Skin the tomatoes by putting in hot water. Then add to the food processor with the chilli and ginger.

Blitz…I love that word…

Then put in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar and bring it to the boil slowly so as not to burn the mixture, keep stirring and then lower heat and let it simmer for 25-35 minutes or until the mixture has gone slightly darker and sticky.

Pour into warm sterilised jars with secure lids.

I turn my jars upside down to get rid of any airlocks until cooled.

tomato-chutney

This will get hotter the longer it is kept although it doesn’t last that long in this house and by the time my friends have begged a jar from me…They normally return the empty jars hoping I will give them a full one in return…lol

Enjoy!

Did you know ??? The tomatoes scientific name is Lycopersicum which translated is Wolf Peach…

Just some words of caution tomatoes are acidic and as with anything moderation is advised because it may cause heartburn in some individuals.

My recipe for tomato sauce for spaghetti Bolognese or lasagna.

pasta-329522_640

Ingredients:

  • I kilo minced beef or pork
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 250 gm mushrooms sliced
  • 3/4 cloves garlic
  • 5/6 Fresh Basil leaves.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 gm fresh tomato pulp
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree.
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp sage.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!
Heat a glug olive oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic.
Add the mince and cook until browned
Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes then add tomato puree and mixed herbs, bay leaf, oregano, balsamic and Worcester sauce.
Cook on a slow simmer for 20 minutes and then add mushrooms, cook for another 10 minutes and stir in fresh basil…

N.B. I always add extra herbs depending on what fresh herbs I have…I think herbs and spices are down to the individual as we all have our own preferences so I say taste and adjust as necessary.

This sauce can be served with pasta of your choice if making lasagna then you will need to make a white sauce.

To make lasagna start with a layer of mince then pasta sheets, Then meat sauce, white sauce, pasta until you have completed 4 layers finishing with the white sauce.
Grate over your favourite cheese… I use cheddar or a mix of mozzarella and cheddar.
Cheese can be difficult to get here so if I have plenty then I also use some cheese between my layers for a cheesier lasagna.
I think lasagna is the type of dish where anything goes really sometimes I add bell pepper to my sauce it depends what I have in my larder.
Cook lasagna on 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until pasta is cooked and cheese is golden and bubbling.

Lasagne with salad
Serve with mixed Salad and or Garlic bread.
Enjoy!

Lastly, did you know that on the last Wednesday of August in a little town called  Buñol just outside Valencia in Spain one of the highlights of Spain’s Summer Festival is La Tomatina Tomato fight and they use at least 245,500 lbs (110,000)kg of tomatoes and have a massive tomato fight… anything that moves gets pelted. I bet that is fun though have you ever been to a tomato fight???

That’s all, for now, I hope you enjoy the recipes and don’t forget ..tomatoes lose their flavour if you store them in the fridge.

Want to see more from me???? I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…Still, want to see more from me???

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest ( 1): https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Have a great weekend everyone I hope the weather is kind to you…Until next time xxx

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food and Cookery Column – Mustard

Marvellous mustard it elevates our food to something more doesn’t it? and has so many other uses and benefits ….I hope you enjoy!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I hope you all had a fantastic Easter and if you went away then had a lovely break and have come back nice and refreshed.

Mustard is one of my favourite condiments and it has many uses… Mustard seeds have been found to have been mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit writings which go back 5,000years. They have been mentioned at least 5 times in the Bible and in the New Testament, The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a grain of mustard seed.

There are about 40 varieties of Mustard seed but generally, they are divided into 3 principal categories of black, white and brown.

Black is the most pungent and is found growing in the Middle East.

White mustard seeds are actually yellow in colour and come from the Mediterranean region, the mildest in flavour and American yellow mustard is made from these.
Brown mustard seeds are actually dark…

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