Tag Archives: Food

Amazing foods of Thailand.

 

 

 

Thai food is known and eaten all over the world and for good reason who doesn’t love Thailands unique cuisine with its sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty tastes which combined make a Thai meal so memorable.

Here are a few of my favourite Thai foods and ones which if you do come to Thailand and try that you will love as much as I do.

Some are almost iconic Thai dishes and well known around the world.

I have also added the links to some of them with recipes so if you want to try them at home …I hope I have made it easy for you.

Enjoy!

 

Source: Amazing foods of Thailand.

Red Duck Curry ( Kaeng Ped Pett Yang)

One of my favorite curries and one which I don’t have very often…why? Not sure really..I probably save it for special occasions.

Well, this is it..I am now on the letter D for my self-imposed walk through the alphabet. Not much beginning with D…A few fruits and duck…a lot of recipes which say dried this and dried that but only really pre fixing the recipe with dried to say it starts with D.

So I have certainly set myself a task….mmmmmm…i am beginning to ask myself why but not one to give up..

I had Duck curry for the first time on a little island just off Phuket, Thailand it is a fiery curry offset by pineapple and tomatoes. Some add lychee as well as pineapple but we found it a little sweet for us but experiment, everyone’s taste is different….I also add some vegetables, mange tout or sugar snap peas maybe a few florets of brocolli..really whatever I have in the fridge.

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Let’s Cook!

Firstly cook your duck breasts, we like ours medium rare.

Put the duck skin side down in a cold pan, turn the heat to medium and cook the duck breasts for 6-8 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy, turn the breasts over and just sear the other side for 1 minute. Turn over so they are breast side up and put in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing the breasts thinly.

Sauce:

400ml coconut milk

1 tbsp fish sauce

3/4 cup fresh pineapple cut into bite sized pieces.

10 cherry tomatoes.

6-10 mange tout..or other vegetables of your choice.

100gm Thai egg plant cut into quarters.( Pictured below)

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100gm pea egg plants( Pictured below)

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If you can’t get these any small egg plant will be ok I sometimes use small purple ones if I can’t get the green.

1-2 tbsp red curry paste.

6 kaffir lime leaves torn

Bunch Thai basil washed and leaves picked..

2 tsp lime juice.

To make sauce put a very tiny drop of oil in the pan over a medium heat add your curry paste and stir to cook for 1 min, add fish sauce. Gradually add coconut milk whilst still stirring.

Bring to a slow boil and add torn lime leaves and egg plants cook for 5/6 mins and add tomatoes and pineapple, cook for a further 10 minutes then add mange tout and stir in some Thai basil leaves and lime juice.

Now taste and adjust curry paste if you want more heat. If other seasonings want adjusting you can also do that now. Thai flavours are very pronounced and if you get it balanced ..very nice if not..I have had some disasters and I don’t mind admitting that…which is why I always say TASTE and Taste again.

My very first duck curry I made was ok…so we left out the lychee next time and it was much better…also I know which curry paste to now use as they are all so different….Please don’t let this put you off making it as when you get it right it is a lovely thing.

When you are ready to serve then add sliced duck to the sauce and just warm through and serve with some Thai basil over the top and a sliced red chilli if you like.

Serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

Dock leaves and Dolmas.

dock leaves

Where do you get your  inspiration for posts from?  I read and always look for the unknown or little known when I am out and about on my travels …I love nothing more than a recipe which gives me more.

Information about one of the ingredients, its benefits and other uses. But that’s me I ramble…Yes I know I have to be prompted at times to cook or just get on with it…Ha ha

This post was born when I was reading about Stinging nettles and it very quickly bought back the vivid memory of how when we were kids we scrambled around to find a Dock leaf to soothe the itchy rash the nettles left us with. Giving instant relief they were great..

Now young Dock leaves are tender and delicious they do however get very bitter the older they get. But the root boiled and drank as a tea was said to be a cure for boils.

I have been doing a lot more research lately into the benefits of plants and fruits and am constantly amazed at what properties most of them have both medicinally and uses as dyes, glue and so much more.

The Broad-leaved Dock leaf was also known as Butter Dock as the leaves were used to preserve and wrap butter.

I know….

Now Let’s Cook!

dolmas

The leaves also make a great wrap for dolmas just a 30-second blanch in boiling water and drain on paper, pat lightly so as not to tear the leaves.

Secondly, sweat 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and half an onion in some olive oil add 2 cups of cooked rice, stir gently to combine and remove from the heat.

Squeeze a large lemon or lime  you need about 1/4 cup into the mixture with a large handful of chopped mint and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate as these are generally eaten cold with a dash of lemon and olive oil. I prefer mine heated up and just very lightly sautéed in a little oil and serve with a mayo dip.

Enjoy!

Dock leaf crisps are also very tasty and if you boil the dock leaves down they make a sort of paste which has a lemony flavour and mixed with feta it is a lovely thing…or olive oil, chillies, garlic and black pepper…. and yes you just knew I would sneak in a chilli or two…ha ha

But remember you want the leaves from the centre of the plant the young leaves just unfurling are the best….older equals bitter.

It is also grown as a pot herb in Europe.

Traditional medics also used the leaves and roots to cure viral infections.

Found in Europe, Australia and the US where in the South western states it is cultivated because of its Tannin content where it is used by the Leather industry to tan leather.

The leaves and stem are also used to produce a mustard coloured dye.

So that broad-leafed dock plant which soothed my nettle stings and also was used by my mum in her kitchen when she caught her arm or hand on the oven or cooker ..its alkaline secretions being very good and immediately neutralising any acidic sting or burn is a little more than just a dock leaf isn’t it?

And just a piece of trivia for you..Did you know? If you slice the dock root vertically then you can age it as it has growth rings just like a tree.

Well that’s all for today I hope you enjoyed learning about the humble dock leaf until next time stay safe and laugh a lot.

All images are my own ( as you can sometimes see) lol…but with the occasional brilliant shot..ha ha or from Pixabay and require no attribution.

 

 

 

Beat the Blues with food.

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Is depression on the increase? Is medication the answer? Sometimes.

Depression is not caused by just one factor but can WE help ourselves by eating well?

Can we help control our depression by diet?

A new trial from Deakin University http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/media-releases/articles/world-first-trial-shows-improving-diet-can-treat-major-depression  has shown for the first time that improving diet quality can treat major depression.

Just cutting out sugar, caffeine and drinking more water can have a huge effect on our moods.

Well, I don’t know about you but I love good food…

I love proper food, meals the whole family can eat and not pick at, meals I can knock up quickly for one or for 6 people. Food which is not expensive and I can easily obtain or grow myself even if I only have a window box.

1.Dark, leafy greens:

The healthiest greens on the planet are Kale, high in Vitamins,  folate and potassium with Collard greens,Spinach Brocolli and sprouts following close behind they all promote good brain function.

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But I don’t like greens.

Well, mix lightly steamed, thinly sliced collard greens into your mashed potatoes. Layer your lasagne with spinach which is low in calories and high in vitamins. Better cooked than raw although great in salads. Forthe best sprout recipes ever sprouts with garlic, chilli..ha ha snuck that one in…lol

  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/20/our-10-best-brussels-sprouts-recipes  You will never notice you are eating greens.

2.Fish:

Salmon, trout, mackerel, snapper all high in omega 3 oils, they can be grilled, baked or steamed. Packed with protein, vitamins and potassium all healthy for your well-being.

Thai Salmon Trout.

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Ingredients:

180gm Trout or Salmon fillet.( per person)

For Topping:

1 spring Onion finely chopped.

2/3 stems Coriander chopped finely…I use the stem as well.

1 red birds eye chilli finely chopped help promote the release of pleasure-boosting endorphins in the brain.

1 tbsp Fish Sauce.

A cheek of lime.

Mix ingredients together.

Put fish on foil and spoon topping on reserve some topping to add when serving. Seal foil and put in the oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.

Serve with steamed rice, boiled new potatoes or over noodles.

3.Walnuts: 7 a day may be all it takes to improve your health. The walnut is a little powerhouse packed with Vitamin E, folate, melatonin and omega 3 oils all of which support good brain health.

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4.Tomatoes: Packed with lycopene and antioxidants that reduce stress and repair damaged brain cells eating a tomato a day is said to reduce the blues by 52%.

My favorite recipe sun-dried and beautiful tomatoes and here is how https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/yesterday-i-was-clever-so-i-wanted-to-change-the-world-today-i-am-wise-so-i-am-changing-myself-rumi/

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

5.Beans: Packed with nutrients copper, folate, magnesium, zinc and calcium.You can use beans in a lovely chilli, salads, add tinned beans to soups and stews. Make a chick pea hummus to dip your veggies in.

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6.Berries: Some of the healthiest food on the planet, juicy, brightly coloured, sweet or sour, fresh or frozen add them to smoothies, yoghurt, a compote on porridge, pancake batters or in salads.

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These foods are easily available everywhere and will help decrease depression and work alongside prescribed medication.

Does Junk food shrink your brain??  http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/media-releases/articles/does-junk-food-shrink-your-brain

This study thinks it just might!


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Salmon image is from my own personal photo collections.

All other images are Pixabay and no attribution is required.

Down on The farm… Thai Potatoes…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food  and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

SAM_8849

It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be  however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the worlds largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

cassava-285033_1920 root

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed it is high  in proteins and contains tannins and is  valued as  a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next seasons crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

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Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

dessert-1549271_1920 steamed

Khanom  man sampalang is cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

2   cups of grated Cassava

6 tbsp of tapioca flour

1 tbsp of mung bean starch

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of coconut milk

1 cup of shredded coconut.

Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

 

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam..A thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.The rice has just been planted also and it is fingers crossed that this last down pour didn’t wash all the rice away…Time will tell.

I hope that you enjoyed this trip down on the farm. Some more posts on life in rural Thailand can be found on  my Niume posts.

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm. This weeks post was going to be about our new baby turkeys which we went to collect on Saturday . Unfortunately there was very high winds and very heavy torrentail rains during this last week and the chicks got too cold and died. I was so sad as we were looking forward to getting them and settling them in their new home. The plus side was we got to see the baby calves one which had only just been born which will be our next acquisition. He was so very cute and beautiful.

Down on the farm..Star Apple

Down on the farm Snake Gourd Raita

Down on the farm our 1st Passion Fruit

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down on the farm…… Snake gourd Raita.

snake gourd

Everything in the garden is coming up roses as the saying goes it looks like we will have fruit and vegetables galore.

Some of the fruit and vegetables I am familiar with as you can get them almost everywhere.

Others are very new to me and I am having to do a little research as sometimes there isn’t an English pronunciation for the Thai word.

This one looks quite creepy I think and I was quite expecting to see a snake so I go along quite gingerly watching where I tread.

snake gourd 1

Snake Gourd Riata.

2 cups of natural yoghurt.

2 small snake gourds diced.

The snake gourd has a naturally occurring waxy white surface so rub some salt on the surface before cooking or using to remove.

4-5 green chillies

2tbsp grated fresh coconut

10-15 shallots finely chopped.

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp urad dal powder/paste

A handful of coriander leaves chopped

Salt to taste

Oil as required.

Let’s Cook!

Heat some oil on a medium flame and fry the mustard seeds and urad dal for 20 seconds.

Add green chillies and chopped shallots saute for 2 minutes, add diced snake gourd cook 1-2 minutes and add grated coconut and mix well.

Remove from the heat allow to cool slightly, stir in yoghurt and add salt to taste.

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Garnish with coriander and serve.

Here are some more facts about the fascinating Snake gourd.

The snake gourd or Buap nguu, serpent gourd, chichinga or Padwal are some of the other names it is known under.

Native to south-east Asia it is a vine which grows around a tree or trellis and then unfurls its large white frayed flowers. Then fruits which grow straight down towards the ground.

Can grow up to 5 feet in length sometimes a stone is tied to the small gourd to help it grow straight down as it can grow into all sorts of shapes.

Also because of its length, it is used to make the traditional didgeridoo in Australia.

It turns orange when it is fully ripe but this is when it is very bitter so it is usually used in curries and raitas before it ripens fully. When ripened the flesh is sometimes used as a replacement for tomatoes.

The leaves, tendrils and other leafy parts are used as vegetable greens lightly steamed or raw.

It’s strange names and appearance have often caused it to be overlooked for its health benefits. It is proven to be very effective at improving the strength of the body’s immune system, reducing fevers and treating diabetes. Currently there much medical research into other health benefits of the Snake Gourd.

Until next time thank you for reading this.

Update on the farm: There was a slight delay with the building of the enclosure for the Turkey chicks due to the weather but work started today so it should finished by the time we pick the chicks up in 2 weeks.

Exciting times and I will be guaranteed a turkey for the xmas table this year.

Pasta wih sausage and tomato sauce.

sausage and pastaMy pasta recipes seem to go down very well so I am having a bit of a change from Thai Food maybe it is not to everyone’s taste. I love pasta and it always goes down well although my love is Thai or Indian food as yoou all know.

 

Pasta and sausage with tomato and cream sauce.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp Olive Oil.

1/2lb of sausages skinned and broken into pieces. I use a spicy sausage but you cann use any sausage of your choice.

1/4-1/2 tsp of red chilli flakes

2 garlic cloves finely  chopped.

Diced and skinned red onion.

I can of tomatoes diced or if like me you have a glut of fresh tomatoes then I also use them skinned and chopped.

3/4 cup of cream

1/4 tsp salt  I use  pink Himalayan salt.

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leafed parsley.

Parmesan to serve.

Let’s Cook!

For quickness you can put your pasta on now in boiling salted water or if you are making the sauce in advance then cook pasta when you are ready as per instructions on the packet.

To make the sauce.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the crumbled sausage. Cook until sausage is no longer pink about 7-8 mins then add the onions and garlic and cook for a further 5-6 minutes until sausage is nicely browned and onions are soft.

Add the tomatoes, cream and salt and simmer..do not boil for a further 4 minutes or until the sauce has slightly thickened.

If you are making the sauce in advance then cover and store in the fridge until later or the next  day.

If you are using the sauce immediately then put pan to one side and cook pasta in boiling water. When ready, drain and add the sauce and stir to combine. Bring the pasta and sauce back to simmer and make sure it is heated through.

Serve in serving bowl or individual bowls , sprinkle with chopped parsley and grate parmesan over the top.

Serve with green vegetables or salad and garlic bread.

Enjoy!