Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen…January 2023…Green Manila Tamarind, A Traditional Shepherds Hut, ways to use stale bread, My visit to an Organic Farm…

 

Welcome to my Green Kitchen, we are now in 2023 and my aim is still the same to cook chemical-free food, in season grown either by myself or purchased locally in season…it is also to minimise waste…the figures on waste particularly food waste really bother me and with rising food costs we can’t afford to waste anything…we need to be frugal…

What does frugal MEAN?

No, it doesn’t mean that you are mean, tight, skinflint being frugal means you are conscious of where your money goes and you do your best to buy quality products at the lowest prices (when you need them), so you have more money available to spend on what truly matters to you:

Plus the best cheap foods are also quite healthy. Try to centre some meals around brown rice, potatoes, and beans in order to stretch your food budget further…

Produce which has just come into its season has far more taste than produce which is forced and grown out of its natural season …it is also cheaper than something grown out of season you get bargains at the beginning of a season as well as at the end of a season. I also think it is the anticipation and the taste of the first of the season’s crops…those first root vegetables…are sublime! or those first strawberries there is nothing quite like the first strawberry of the season!

Eat whole healthy food…but that’s expensive I hear that all the time…However …Junk food is expensive and void of nutrients; healthy food (while also sometimes expensive), will save you on medical bills in the long run…True?

My visit to an organic Farm…I got the opportunity to visit a local organic farm last week and I am so pleased that I did…The farmer is a British guy called Nick and he gave me a lovely tour I learnt so much…I learnt that you should only allow so many ducks dependent on the size of your pond or stretch of water and his ducks certainly had plenty of room to swim about they were not cramped up at all…next stop was the pig’s home both the sows had a lovely spacious clean pen one was due to farrow the next day and the other sow had a beautiful farrow of piglets who were 6 weeks old…

Nick explained that he chose the duroc breed as they had brown skin and he felt given the heat and the sun they were able to cope better and wouldn’t get sunburnt like the thin light skinned breed of pigs..he explained how they were reared, what they were fed on and the difference in the taste of the meat that I can’t wait to try.

His cows were Braham’s but he plans to buy a local breed of cow next time where he will get two for the cost of one Brahman cow not only to cut the cost but to increase the hoof prints as more hoof prints mean better grass…I learnt much and didn’t take one picture I will next time I promise…Thais eat every part of an animal “nose to tail” and he told me that Thais love buying their meat from him as they say it smells “clean”…I suppose if they are only eating vegetation then they will…I was just fascinated with the whole set-up…it has taken him a few years to get where he is but he obviously researched and did his due diligence.

He then asked if I had seen or knew what a shepherd’s hut was…I of course didn’t…originally they were a basic wheeled little hut that the farmer could move around his land and tend to the needs of his stock now, of course, they have gone up a  notch and are purpose-built for glamping..of course, they are…

This one is dilapidated but it shows what they were made of and were fit purpose back in the day…I’m sure Nick’s one will be basic I only saw the base but it will add some authenticity to his farm and I am sure will be a talking point and maybe either his man cave or the dog house…if you are like me and interested in the history then please click the highlighted link  history of the shepherd’s hut   

On a recent visit to the market, I came across one of my favourite seasonal fruits…

fresh young tamarind fruit

Green Manila Tamarind…

Know as Makham thet in Thai it is a beautiful little fruit slightly sour and nut-like in texture and taste…it has a white or reddish-pink spongy rather dry edible pulp that surrounds a flat, very shiny black seed. Although the name suggests it, it’s not a kind of Tamarind although both species belong to the Fabaceae family of plants.

It  is classed as more of a backyard fruit as it is not grown commercially here where I live its found on the small local market stalls most of the stalls at the markets where I live are small local traders who have few rai of land or even less and bring what they have in season to the market I find this lovely as I never know what I am going to come across and some of it I don’t want to know-smile- this lovely green manila tamarind I look forward to seeing.

I really hate food waste…in the home the top 5 are…

  • #Bread
  • #Milk
  • #Potatoes
  • #Cheese
  • #Apples

The only one that really surprised me was apples…today I’m not looking at apples although all of them might come into play I am looking at bread waste…to me not a crust of bread should ever be wasted however over 240 million slices of bread are chucked away every year.

Bread freezes really well, particularly for toast, so make sure you pop it in the freezer if you’re not going to use it. Stale bread can be turned into croutons, breadcrumbs, eggy bread or even bread & butter pudding…

While doing research I came across recipes for “strata” I had never heard of it although apparently as it originated in the US I’m guessing my American blogging friends have…Google told me that Stratas are egg casseroles made with bread—lots of it. You could call them savoury bread puddings.,,who knew!…so that means that my old-fashioned bread and butter pudding is really a strata or could be leaving it to soak does make the bread puff up and it is lovely and crispy…

So I ask myself what’s the difference between strata and casserole?

Stratas are essentially breakfast casseroles made of eggs and bread. Stratas are often prepared the night before they are baked and served in oven-safe casserole dishes, similar to casseroles… I’m beginning to like the sound of this dish…anything that can be assembled and left overnight, especially if you have hungry kids in the morning is great in my world…When the strata is baked in the morning the soaked bread makes it puff up nicely, almost souffle-like…and you can have fruit strata plus they are ideal to use up any bits and bobs that are lonely in your fridge…

Have you got a favourite sweet or savoury strata recipe you would like to share with us? If so please do x

43 thoughts on “Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen…January 2023…Green Manila Tamarind, A Traditional Shepherds Hut, ways to use stale bread, My visit to an Organic Farm…

  1. acflory

    Eggy bread? Is that like French toast? I make bundás kenyér to go with homemade spinach sauce. Basically it’s bread, dipped in beaten egg and fried in oil. Some people allow the bread to soak in the egg, but my Mum just did a very quick dip so the fried bread was never soggy. That’s the way I make it too.
    I try not to waste bread, but I admit that when it comes to the last small ‘ends’ I throw them out for the birds. They like it, demand it, and I get the pleasure of watching them feed. Win-win. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Yes it is Andrea I dip mine quickly as well as I don’t like it soggy ..lucky birds to get the crumbs…ideal way to finish up the bread it saves waste and that’s the name of the game :)x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…8th-14th January 2023-Monday Musings , #Carol’s Green Kitchen, Thursday Thoughts and from Sally #The Brain… | Retired? No one told me!

  3. robertawrites235681907

    Hi Carol, there is not much food waste in my house. There is my family and my parents and then the gardener who has breakfast and lunch three times a week and the domestic helper who has breakfast and lunch twice a week. Any thing that we do have extra off, I pack up for the beggars on the streets. They are always grateful to receive good food.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    The farm sounds amazing Carol and it is a great pity that practice is not universal. I always buy Irish organic meat and try to find the source online to check it out. My father used to make bread and butter pudding for us with the stale bread and summer puddings with raspberries which were delicious too.. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      They are both delicious I love b and b pudding and summer pudding… It was so lovely to visit this farm I loved listening and talking to Nick he wasn’t bragging just telling me how much of was it was trial and error and waiting to see results he was just enthusiastic and passionate to get it right I wish there were more like him I can’t wait to try his meat when its ready Hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Colleen if you ever come​ back to Thailand this time of year you may get to try it… I love it to me it like a soft nut with a very slight sweet sour taste… I am having a few strands of them with my fruit bowl every morning while the season lasts its quite a short one xx❤️🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen

    Lovely post Carol!
    I often made a strata at the inn for breakfast. A savory bread pudding made from stale bread that can be dolled up in many ways using what’s good that day. And the biggest benefit is it can be assembled the night before and baked off in the morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I’m learning a lot about strata and haven’t eaten one yet, Dorothy it seems being English I probably wouldn’t have-smile- but anything that can be assembled and cooked the next day and is better for it sounds good in my book 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. BERNADETTE

    Sorry Carol, I don’t have a post on strata to share but I used to make it every Christmas Eve for breakfast in the morning. With all the pandemonium that Christmas morning brought, it was a welcome breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      No worries Bernadette I am learning a lot about strata without having eaten or made one and that sounds like a plan to ease the stress of breakfast at Christmas 🙂 x

      Like

  8. marianbeaman

    The first thing that comes to mind about using stale bread: My Grandma and Mother taught me to use stale bread to make stuffing (filling) for turkey or other birds. Great post, Carol!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        Its so easy to freeze bread I never understand why bread is wasted and the stats are so high so many must just chuck it out…crazy and such a waste 🙂 x

        Like

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        My hubby loves stuffing so I do it a few times a year he loves stuffed hearts and if he has roast he always asks if I am doing stuffing but I always have bread in the freezer or breadcrumbs it doesn’t take long to mix some stuffing for him 🙂 x I leave a special stuffing for Xmas he doesn’t get that every time I just do my version of sage and onion stuffing 🙂 x

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Darlene

    We don’t waste bread either. I freeze any we won’t be eating for croutons and French toast. Hubby eats sliced bread, I don’t, so we freeze most of the loaf before it gets stale. Strata is very popular in North America and often made for Christmas or Boxing Day breakfast.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Snap, Darlene mine would eat sliced bread if I didn’t make it,,,It was the first time I had heard of Strata and came across some festive recipes that sounded ok but I’m with you on croutons and french toast I make finger french toast for the kids and cut it in little squares and then thread them on a skewer with some fruit they love them :)x

      Liked by 1 person

  10. beetleypete

    We never waste bread. I buy an uncut farmhouse loaf, and eat all of it. Julie has sliced granary bread, and eats all of it. On the rare occasions we might have bread left over, she makes bread pudding, or bread and butter pudding with it. Anything else goes out for the birds to eat. (And they eat it all.)
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

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