Tag Archives: Recipes

The health benefits of Mustard seeds.

You are what you eat…The benefits of Mustard Seeds.

lady holding veggies

 

Those tiny little seeds belong to the Brassica family and do they contain a bounty of benefits to your health and beauty.

I am loving what I am discovering about all these seeds and herbs we have so much at our fingers tips or growing naturally in our environment which benefit us for little or no money…Some effort? Yes, but some of that is minimal.

How long does it take to mix some mustard seeds with lavender or rose oil and you have a completely natural scrub and skin exfoliator?

Mix mustard powder with Aloe Vera and it is a natural skin hydrator…I am lucky that I have some growing in my garden…Do you or could you grow some?

I do think that more and more of us are becoming aware of just what we can make or grow and that is good…

Better for our health and easier on our pockets…

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 yellow and grown in the foothills of the Himalayas and are what Dijon mustard is made from.

There have and are currently many studies in the health benefits of mustard seeds and they are known to contain plentiful amounts of phytonutrients called Glucosinolates. They are also an excellent source of Selenium and Magnesium which is proven to help reduce inflammation in this case particularly beneficial in the gastrointestinal tract and colectoral cancers.

They have also been found to be an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, copper and Vit B1.

The powder can be used as an effective muscle soak.

Also due to containing sulphur mustard has excellent antifungal properties.

It can be used in your diet in many ways, it can be used to baste meat or fish, a dip for vegetables or add the seeds to cabbage at the end of cooking.

Once my new blog is up and running I will be giving you recipes to help you integrate some of these seeds and herbs into your daily diet.

In the meantime, you can always message me and ask …I am happy to help.

Have fun and enjoy!

Here is my recipe for homemade mustard

Until next time enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Foods to treat pain and inflamation.

lady holding veggies

I have this phobia I suppose one might call it…Even my family doctor used to smile and pat my hand and say “Carol, just take them” I am sure sometimes he even wondered why I paid him a visit …..Maybe I just wanted him to advise me on what he thought was wrong with me although I was one of these people who probably only saw my doctor every few years at most.

Now I don’t even go although if I felt really, really very unwell I would go. So I am not advocating never visit a doctor again I am just saying if you have a mild pain or some inflammation there are Natural Foods which can help and indeed many people and even some doctors are advising the use of Natural Foods and Herbs.

I have listed a few everyday foods and seeds with some recipes if you wish to incorporate some of these in your daily diet.

Ginger…..

I love Ginger and grow and use it in a lot of my food and pickled it is beautiful.

Ginger you can grate or dice finely, it is used in fish dishes here or with Scallops it is a lovely thing.

A member of the rhizome family as is Turmeric…Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits.

Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.

It also is an ideal home remedy for muscle and joint problems.

In addition to drinking ginger tea, you can also use it to soak inflamed joints. Ginger is one of the best pain killers in the world having analgesic properties like the popular ibuprofen, only better.

It contains a quartet of active flavour constituents, gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone which are active ingredients to reduce pain. Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body.

All studies by researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced some improvement.

Turmeric……

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Millions of people take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Many of these same people are now looking to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions naturally.

Awareness and knowledge is increasing and people are now aware of available natural remedies that are possibly safer, or at the very least as effective, easily accessible, and inexpensive.

Despite decades of research and thousands of preclinical studies indicating the therapeutic value of turmeric, many people are still not aware that the common kitchen spice can serve as a valuable alternative for a number of health conditions.

A human study published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine clinically confirms the medicinal value of turmeric. Results show that the turmeric’s curcuminoid extract can reduce inflammation in patients who suffer from knee osteoarthritis.

Turmeric is a plant specifically from ginger family, used for flavouring and colouring in cooking.

The value of taking turmeric seems to be a valid one and yet many people are still not really aware of what a powerful substance it is.

It can be taken in Golden Milk, added to carrot soup, taken as a supplement or extract but as it is not readily absorbed and retained in the body it is advised to take it with black peppercorns which aid its absorption in the body.

Golden Milk Recipe using Turmeric and Virgin Coconut Oil.

Cayenne Pepper……

Cayenne pepper has many health benefits and anti-irritant properties. It can ease stomach upsets, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhoea.

Just a simple blend of:

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of hot red chilli powder and
8oz pulpy orange juice,

Taken with a straw, can provide almost instant relief from a sore throat.

Be sure not to use more than 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for about every 8 ounces of orange juice, as Cayenne pepper is a highly concentrated spicy food powder, and when taken in higher amounts, can aggravate parts of your gastrointestinal tract.

 

A little word of warning although this is a very effective cure for sore throats be aware and careful that you do not use too much cayenne and to protect your stomach, a banana, some rice or potato before drinking will do that if you have a sensitive tummy.

 

Celery/ Celery Seeds……

 

As kids, we had celery with our tea on Sundays with crumpets and shellfish my mum always put it in her stews and now research backs all this up it has found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and its seeds and advises adding it to soups, stews or use as a salt substitute.

To me, it sounds like mum knows best….What do you think about age-old remedies which are making a comeback??

My mum probably didn’t give the benefits a thought, her only thought was that we should get good nourishing home cooked food..nothing was packets then..everything was made from scratch and that is what she taught me and I have taught my children and now my grandchildren…..

There is a lot to say about traditions and passing on knowledge and I think that all this is now making a comeback as people are questioning what is in their food and medicines.

That is good!

Oh! waffling again..sorreee we were on celery were we not?

 

I myself have used celery juice as a brine when making bacon as a substitute and natural brine if you don’t wish to use Salt-petre.

 

Celery juice is also a diuretic and can also help clear toxins that form those painful kidney stones.

 

Cherries…..

Cherries are one of nature’s best sources of health enhancing pigments called anthocyanins which provide powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect is the human body.

Anthocyanocides are particularly effective at keeping blood uric acid in check and a viable remedy for the painful condition of gout.

This lovely smoothie recipe incorporates cherries and leafy greens.

A cup of pitted cherries.

A young coconut..the meat and ½ cup of the coconut juice.

½ an apple or a pear

2 cups of fresh baby spinach (or other leafy greens)

Blitz together and enjoy!

 

Dark, green vegetables…….

Are good sources of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol thiocyanate which protects cells from inflammatory substances which can be produced in response to injury or infection in your body.

Bok Choy is one such green which is used widely in Asian countries. It can be eaten raw in salads, coleslaw or juiced. It can also be used when making fermented vegetables which are sold on every market here and very easy to do at home.

 

Walnuts…..

A valuable source of omega 3 oils walnuts are one little powerhouse.  Its anti-inflammatory properties help lower the risk of chronic inflammation. Just a handful a day or incorporate them in a lovely smoothie or shhh shh chocolate brownies..yum

Or if you want a bit of fit and healthy then look no further than this recipe for a luscious Banana Espresso Smoothie.

 

This is a recipe that my daughter gave me along with a packet of Chia seeds as I can’t always get them here. Bananas we have in spades as they grow in abundance here so my freezer always has frozen bananas ready to make a smoothie.

Ingredients:

1 frozen Banana

1 cup of coconut milk.

2 tbsp oats.

halved walnuts as in the picture or you can use 1 tbsp peanut butter

A shot of espresso.

1 cup of ice

1tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds and honey.

Put all ingredients in your blender and blitz away.

Pour into glass and enjoy!

 

I hope you are enjoying these posts and my dearest wish is that they prompt you…Yes, YOU!

To question and research what you are eating and how eating somethings can improve your health and that of your family.

Until next time….stay safe, laugh a lot and ASK a question x

 

 

Chicken Biryani

From  A  Steamin’ cup of Goodness comes this recipe for a lovely authentic Biryani  Bakergal can be found over on Blogspot – http://steamincupofgoodness.blogspot.ae/2017/05/most-anticipated-evenings.html   and as they don’t have a reblog button like WP she has kindly let me share with you.

Me…I can’t wait to try it is sounds delicious I have made many a Biryani in my time and I am sure there are hundreds of versions but this one sounds just perfect.

So without any more ado I will hand you over to my friend and she will talk you through this recipe,  my friend Bakergal 🙂

Drum Roll:- Yes I know…I am a bit loopy…lol

Hello folks,

We are officially one week away from🌛 Ramadan.  In this part of the world; irrespective of your personal religious choices, the excitement of Ramadan grips everyone.

Evenings during Ramadan are the most anticipated event of the day; the air is as thick with delicious food aromas, as it is with the humidity (hello, it summer time after all). My super-alert nose can always sense a delicious Biryani simmering somewhere; almost once a day😋 during the entire Ramadan.

And that is why I never cook Biryani at home during Ramadan😆 It always seems puny, compared to the amazing ones being doled outside (in practically every joint)

I did make it last weekend, though. This is my home-made Chicken Biryani; our way!

By ‘our way’ I don’t claim exclusivity.

In fact, it’s the opposite, this recipe has no specific style statement; one can’t classify it as, Dum Biryani or Bombay Biryani or Hyderabad Biryani. It’s a melange or rather a homage, to all the things we loved in the many different Biryani’s we’ve eaten over the years.

Like a flavourful gravy base (no mild stuff in there), buttery fragrant rice with spices & saffron, oh the famous potatoes from the Mumbai Biryani that I’ve eaten from a lot of friend’s homes, the fried onions & cashews; and last but not the least the boiled eggs in garnish!

If all the above sounds like something you would relish, check out the recipe below😀

RECIPE:

Time taken: Your entire morning😁 Just kidding takes about 1.5 hrs in cooking/assembly time, plus overnight marination of the chicken. 

When making it for the first time you might take a bit longer than 90 mins as there are many elements of the Biryani that need to be either fried or boiled in advance, it takes time to get the rhythm of simultaneously making different elements at the same time.

Serves: A hearty 4-5 individual servings

Method:

1) A night prior, get the chicken marinated. Begin with 200gms of yoghurt, add the following spices – 1tsp chilli powder, 1.5 tsp garam masala powder, 1tsp dhania( coriander) powder, 1tsp jeera( cumin) powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt & 1.5 tsp ginger-garlic paste (you can’t see it in the pic below, as it’s hidden below one of the masalas 😁)

Whisk everything well, then add the (washed & cut to your choice of size) chicken pieces (approx 300-400gms). Rub the yogurt-spice mix, in the chicken pieces thoroughly. Cover & keep it aside overnight. (I put this entire thing, in the fridge to marinate, as room temperature tends to get warm around here in summer’s even at night; and I didn’t want the yoghurt to go sour or any salmonella in the chicken to multiply owing to the ambient temperature.)

2) In the morning or whenever you get started on the Biryani, first prep is the rice. Wash & soak in water for half hr, 1.5 cups of basmati rice.

Then in 2.5 cups of water, par-boil the rice with a few spices (a stick of cinnamon, 2 green elaichi or cardamom, few cloves)

Once almost 90% cooked, drain the starch water thoroughly. Add a tbsp of butter, and spread this rice on a large plate. This halts, further cooking & prevents clumping.

3) Now for the prep for the Biryani gravy or whatever you call it.

Take the following whole spices – 1 bay leaf, 2 green cardamoms/elaichi, 1 brown cardamom/badi elaichi, 2-3 cloves, 5-6 peppercorns (you can see quite a bit of them in the pic, as my hubby loves whole-peppercorns, reduce as required), 1 stick of cinnamon.

Chop 2 medium onions & one large tomato.

4) Heat 1tbsp of ghee/vanaspati + 1tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the whole spices first, roast for a while. Then add the onions, a tsp of ginger-garlic paste & cook till raw smell goes away.

Once you see the onions get a bit golden brown, add the tomatoes & 2-3 tsp of Kashmiri chilli paste (soak 4-5 Kashmiri chillies in hot water for 10 mins & then grind to a paste) Mix well, cook till tomatoes are soft.

Add the marinated chicken, along with all the yogurt-spice marinade. Stir well. The chicken will start to release moisture, if required add 1/4 cup of water to prevent the mixture from catching the bottom.

Add a small par-boiled potato to the gravy. I use par-boiled as we like the potato to be almost mushed in the gravy. Tip, to help you multi-task, par-boil this potato when you boil the rice (not with it, cook in a separate pan😉)

Cover & cook till the gravy thickens, chicken is cooked & oil/ghee starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Put off the flame. Optional, garnish gravy with fresh coriander.

5) The final layering of the biryani is the easiest part.

If you are layering it in the same pan as you cooked the Biryani gravy (like me) remove half of the gravy in a bowl. Spread the remaining 50% biryani gravy evenly at the bottom. I add a tsp of water to this gravy so that it does not blacken/burn during the ‘dum’ stage.

Then comes half the rice, spread as evenly as possible.

Again a layer of the Biryani gravy spread as evenly as possible.

Finally, the last layer of rice, make sure to cover all the gravy spots. Dilute few strands of saffron in  1/4 cup of ‘kewda’ or rose water (keep it aside for 5 mins so the saffrons soften & release it colour & flavour). Pour this saffron water over the final rice layer.

6) Now for the ‘dum’ or the steaming part. You can go the traditional way of caking/sealing the entire lid rim with a flour dough.

In my case, the pan in which I layer the biryani has a solid glass cover/lid with a heavy metal rim, this design does not release any steam from the sides. But, the cover has a steam-release opening, which I duly cover with some sticky flour dough to seal the steam within.

Put it back on the stove, make sure it is at the lowest flame option. It takes about 10-15 mins in my pan, for a good ‘dum’ & the rice to cook completely.

The glass lid is a great boon for me to track the progress of the ‘dum’. At the start when the steam starts to form, the lid is completely clouded; once the steam has been absorbed by the Biryani, the lid clears out (almost completely, apart from a few droplets of water here-n-there). Plus the flour covering the steam opening, hardens completely.

Biryani is ready. Garnish as you like it.

7) Oh, the garnish.
While the biryani is cooking on ‘dum’, I prepare the garnish. Fry one small chopped onion, till golden brown (I like it more caramelised, so it’s dark brown in my pics). Next, fry a few cashews (as much as you like) And yes how can I forget the boiled egg (this I actually boil in advance when I par-boil the potato)
8) For me, Chicken Biryani is incomplete without a serving of ‘raita’ – thinned yoghurt/curd mixed with diced onion, tomato & chillies, with just a dash of salt & jeera powder.

Whew! Just writing this post took me a few hours. Assuredly, it’s worth it; this Biryani is delicious right down to each morsel. It leaves you satiated in contentment😋

Now doesn’t this sound amazing? If you want to read more truly scrumptious recipes from this lady then she can be found here – http://steamincupofgoodness.blogspot.ae/2017/05/most-anticipated-evenings.html

Thank you so much for letting me share this recipe I will definitely be making this one 🙂

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot 🙂

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Wat Baan Waeng or Heaven and Hell.

50 km’s north of Udon Thani where we now live is Wat Baan Waeng or Pho Chai Sri as it is also known.

It is home to larger than life statues and sculptures which depict the heaven and hell side of Buddhism. So in other words if you stray from the path of the five precepts of Buddhism then “Hell” is what awaits you.

It shows the fate or karma of these individuals and the gory fates that await them for their sins.

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Initially when we pulled into the temple we were met with the scene of monks sitting, children playing and stalls selling trinkets, spiritual items and a well. The water level of which is always very high so if you do want to peer down into the blackness then first remove your shoes before you step onto the plinth. The well according to local folktales just appeared!

Such tranquility that we  thought we had chanced upon the wrong temple(wat).

But no, if you follow the path lined with Buddhas statues you will be led through beautiful gardens, music playing, good food and drink everything that heaven is meant to be.

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Happy smiles and music playing.

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All plaques and writing are in Thai so it will enhance your visit if you have someone with you who can read Thai.

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The tree of life depicting the man or king at the top surrounded by ladies. Showing as flowers hanging from the tree of life.

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Do not be fooled!

You are now entering hell.

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You will then come upon statues showing the horrific torture that you would suffer if you went to hell. Depending on your sin your punishment would fit the crime. A liar would have his tongue removed and a thief his hands.

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Forced to climb the thorny tree or be eaten by the waiting dogs. It looks like he wasn’t quite quick enough.

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A liar…Off with your tongue!

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Boiling liquid!

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Cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.

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Karma reigns!  What goes around comes around as the saying goes.

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A fruitless gesture, begging for mercy I don’t think any mercy was going to be granted here.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through heaven and hell, it will be on my to visit again list as there is a temple being built in the middle of the lake there which promises to be a lovely tranquil place to sit and read or write.

If you enjoy my travels around Thailand I can also be found on Niume and Mytrendingstories where I share my travels and recipes, fruits of Thailand and much more.

Toddy Palm    https://niume.com/post/313107

Takhop Tree https://niume.com/post/308167

  https://mytrendingstories.com/article/authentic-thai-herbal-soup/

I hope you enjoy!