Category Archives: CarolCooks2…In my kitchen

Tropical Fridays…Butterfly Pea Flower Tea…

Welcome to the slightly different fruity Friday…It’s Tropical Friday and today it’s the incredible Butterfly Pea Flower…

A caffeine-free alternative to green or black tea…

In Thailand, you’ll find it in vivid blue cocktails or as a deep purple beverage. It’s also what gives an enticing lavender shade to creative sticky rice that partners with mangoes on a dessert menu.

Since the old days, the flower has been used widely for strengthening hair and eyebrows, as a natural colourant in food and desserts or as an edible accompaniment with Nam Prik (a chilli paste).

To make Butterfly Pea tea…

Butterfly Pea Flowers Dried

First, rinse the tea with hot water and warm the pot and cups.

You will require about 2 tsp of Butterfly Pea flowers for every 300 ml of hot water (80c-95c) the water should be just under the boiling point.

Infuse the Butterfly pea flowers for 2-4 minutes for the 1st and 2nd brew gradually increase the brewing time for subsequent brews…I use my tea generally 3 times sometimes 4 depending on the tea and your taste.

Butterfly pea tea in a pot

I just love the beautiful blue colour of this tea as it is so pretty especially cold in a glass on a sunny day.

If you add a drop of lemon juice then it changes the colour to a lovely purple…

Will the blue butterfly pea flower tea stain my teeth? Bluechai teas will not stain your teeth in any way. The anthocyanins contained in the butterfly pea flowers are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear blue or pink depending on the pH.

One of the most prominent benefits of drinking blue tea is that it has a lot of antioxidants. These powerful bio-compounds help the body fight free radicals which are toxic and cause premature ageing. It is a good idea to detox the body once in a while with an antioxidant-rich drink like butterfly pea tea.

It also makes a refreshing cold drink,  I sometimes keep a jug in the fridge to sip during the day…it can be sweetened with honey if required or add some dried/fresh lemongrass with the infusion…it is a caffeine-free alternative to green or black tea.

I have been drinking this tea for the last five years since living here and sometimes I am lucky to be able to buy the fresh flowers on the market…This video shows you how to make a lovely cold drink from the fresh flowers…Lily loves this…

 

Thank you for joining me today I hope you have enjoyed learning about the beautiful butterfly pea flower or maybe you are familiar with it already.

Until tomorrow when I will be back with Saturday Snippets …x

CarolCooks2…Week 12…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Chicken Stock…

 

Welcome to my kitchen where I cook almost everything from scratch…Just in case you missed it one of the reasons why I cook from scratch…

So easy to say “make everything from scratch” HOWEVER…let’s be realistic here…and break it down a little.

Look at what you eat often...if it’s something which is a rare treat and time consuming to make there often is no point unless of course, you want to make it…Your time is far better spent making food from scratch which you and your family actually eat on a regular basis.

If it’s a food-like salad dressing and sauces which when reading the labels gives you warning signals or there are ingredients which you can’t read/pronounce let alone spell then for the health and safety of your family and mostly increased nutritional value it’s definitely worth that time spent in the kitchen.

Savings on your budget...we all love the sound of that…of course, it does depend on where you buy your ingredients and whether you shop in for foods which are in season but it can make a big difference to your budget some of those BOGOF’S are great value IF you use them.

Chicken stock is easy and cheap to make…All you need is chicken carcasses or saved bones, garlic, onion, a carrot, in fact, anything I save my peelings for stock, onions skins give it a nice colour and if you are using peels it costs nothing to make…

If you are on your own or cooking for two then freeze the carcasses and bones until you have enough to make stock…

Making your own chicken stock is cheaper and healthier than buying stock cubes which are generally loaded with salt, contain msg, seasonings which could mean anything…making your own means you control what goes in it …

Once you have made your stock then it can be stored in zip lock bags that way they take up less room in the freezer than pots, you can freeze in an ice cube tray or clean empty yoghurt pots which generally are not recyclable so I use them in my freezer although now I make my yoghurt my source of yoghurt pots has dried up but they last a long time just wash thoroughly and reuse…

To make your stock… take your chicken carcasses either cooked or raw …if I use raw carcasses then I remove all the skin and put them in a large pot cover with water and add some aromatics…which can be anything either saved peels or a chopped carrot, celery, onion including the skin and any other root vegetables or herbs you have to spare.

I have made stock for years as my mother and grandmother used to make it… they wasted nothing..of course, if you have an Instant pot or pressure cooker it is much quicker but even on the stovetop like I make mine it’s done in under an hour…

Once the stock is cooked then strain it and allow it to cool then portion up and freeze unless you are using it within a few days.

You may have noticed I didn’t mention adding salt to the stock …I don’t salt mine as I leave the salting to when I use the stock…Why?…I have got carried away and ended up with a dish which too salty so now I wait until I am cooking with the stock and salt my dish as normal.

The colour will vary depending on what aromatics you use but nothing tastes like homemade chicken stock and at little or no cost and less. kitchen waste it’s a win-win situation…

Thank you once again for joining me in my kitchen it is lovely to see you here…See you tomorrow for Tropical Fridays will it be fruit or vegetable…well known or little known? xx

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…25th April-1st May 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…we are now into May…Time is marching on…thus far we had some humdingers of storms and the rains are still continuing mainly overnight the temperature is still warm the rain keeps it down a little no sunshine yet this morning so time to do a little weeding…the weeds love the mixture of sunshine and rain…sigh

Just in case you missed any or love to catch up like I do… snuggle deep be kind to yourselves …I think we all need to do that… get comfy in your favourite corner with your favourite drink tea/coffee or hot chocolate although depending on where in the world you live it could be a glass of wine or two…Cheers!

Let’s get the party started then…

The Face Of Ugly…

Although not the best start to the week but so important and sometimes we have to face those truths as unpalatable as they are it’s often a sad fact of life…

If you missed it please head over to Jills Blog… take your tissues and your swear box…I won’t say enjoy but listen to the messages that Jill delivers and then weep because it is a sad fact of life…

https://jilldennison.com/2021/04/24/71725/

A day late it was … my lasts weeks weekly roundup…just in case you missed it…

 

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…18th April-24th April 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Tuesday Twitterings…

Tuesday is the day where I am looking at people who have guts and fortitude to reach their chosen goal against sometimes many odds..more than me and you may face…but my mission is to highlight how WE can change the world its prejudices and bias…sometimes that change is closer to home than we like to admit…we must fight and strive for inclusion and understanding it will only be then that we can truly lift our heads and be proud …

Total inclusion and understanding are required NOW…

Tuesday Twitterings…A journey to be a Doctor…

Time for my A-Z on environmental terms, their meaning and impact on the world we live in…

The letter E…ecosystem we can all have a stab at the meaning and have a vague idea but did we know it’s broken down into 4? The ecosystem means many things and to gain a better understanding for when we are reading news reports and listening to speeches…I have sat there sometimes and got lost halfway through I also think sometimes that is the intervention…

The proverb ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing‘ expresses the idea that a small amount of knowledge can mislead people into thinking that they are more expert than they really are, which can lead to mistakes being made.

Social media is a prime example of that…

The Environmental A-Z…the letter E…

There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread …it invokes memories and brings a feeling of comfort…

Toast tastes just so much better when made from homemade bread as does a sandwich or just a slice of bread with some lovely grass-fed butter…

CarolCooks2…Week 11…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Wholemeal Sourdough Bread

Today I am introducing you to the Achiote seed or Annatto as it is also known …Lipstick Tree is also a familiar name to some for this tree…

Here it is often planted in backyards for its beauty as an ornamental tree but those seeds when made into a paste bring something special to a dish…The popular Mexican Cochinita Pibil…

The popular Mexican dish called cochinita pibil is a dish that is far from mild or dry.

The heat comes in the form of intensely hot condiments on the side, the dish itself has a uniquely sweet, earthy aroma imparted by bitter Seville oranges, achiote, charred garlic, and a host of other spices. That earthiness is backed with the herbaceous aroma of the banana leaves it’s cooked in, along with smokiness from hours of slow cooking in a smoky, steamy píib (or, in modern Mexican Spanish, pib), the Mayan oven consisting of a hole in the ground lined with hot stones.

Although I don’t have a stone oven although I could get hubby to dig a hole in the garden and I’m sure Saangchai would love to help he is always digging holes…now that’s a plan

Tropical Friday…Achiote Seed(Annatto)…Lipstick Tree…

Acidity in the digestive system – Acid Reflux – Stomach Acid, Hiatus Hernia Triggers and Diet

If you suffer from Acid Reflux it is usually not easy to pinpoint the source as it can be the result of issues along the upper digestive tract and also the way we eat our food… For example, if you normally bolt your food without chewing sufficiently and coating the food in saliva, the digestive process is not begun until it gets to the stomach.. which is too far along the tract to be effective.

If you suffer from acid reflux regularly and are downing antacids to reduce the effects you are throwing gas on the fire…to find out how you can douse that fire…head on over to Smorgasbord Magazine where Sally will guide you and tell you how….#recommended read.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Acidity in the digestive system – Acid Reflux – Triggers and Diet by Sally Cronin

Saturday Snippets…It’s the 1st Of May…May Day…Mayday celebrations go back centuries and herald a new dawning …a new year as the plants raise their heads above the once frosty ground and start to flourish and bloom…

There is also music and little titbits of information some may be relevant to you or interesting some you may just bypass but sometimes those little snippets linger in the recess of our minds… it all helps when you are on a quiz team and the answer pops into your head and your team applaud you for your knowledge…Just saying

Saturday Snippets…1st May 2021…

Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…see you next week …Love Carol xx

Tropical Friday…Achiote Seed(Annatto)…Lipstick Tree…

Welcome to the slightly different fruity Friday…It’s Tropical Friday and today it’s the incredible Achiote Seed…also known as annatto…

Native to the Carib­bean islands, conti­nental Central America and the western part of South America.

The tree has been introduced to the tropics all over the world; nevertheless, the main producing area is still in South America (Perú, Brazil).

Among the Asian countries, India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines have small-scale annatto production; in other tropical countries like here in Thailand, it is mostly planted as an ornamental backyard tree…

Dried annatto seeds have a weak, perfumed odour. In the fresh state, however, their scent is intense and mild–fruity.

When ripe, the fruits split open to reveal several seeds the size of the head of a matchstick and covered with thin, orange-red pulp. Indigenous people in South American countries where the tree originated, such as Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia, used the dye obtained from the pulp to colour their lips, which gave annatto another name, the lipstick tree.

The dye was also used to cover their bodies, to ward off insects and prevent sunburn.

The seeds can be made into a paste or used as a dye which is obtained by immersing the seeds in warm water for a few minutes then stirred until the water becomes orange-red.

Used in a popular Mexican dish called cochinita pibil a dish that is far from mild or dry. The heat comes in the form of intensely hot condiments on the side, but it has a uniquely sweet, earthy aroma imparted by bitter Seville oranges, achiote, charred garlic, and a host of other spices. That earthiness is backed with the herbaceous aroma of the banana leaves it’s cooked in, along with smokiness from hours of slow cooking in a smoky, steamy píib (or, in modern Mexican Spanish, pib), the Mayan oven consisting of a hole in the ground lined with hot stones.

Although I don’t have a stone oven although I could get hubby to dig a hole in the garden and I’m would love to help he is always digging holes…now that’s a plan…

For now it’s a simple recipe of rice …with achiote.

  • 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1medium white onion-chopped
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes-skinned and quartered
  • 1 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp of Achiote Powder/paste
  • 3/4 tsp of salt

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the rice and stir over medium-high heat until rice is golden brown.

Add the garlic and chopped onion, and sauté until the onion just begins to brown.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth,  Achiote paste/powder and salt, lower heat and cover.

Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

My paste came from Amazon however if you can obtain the seeds then you can make your own  paste

 

It is a simple recipe with a mix of popular spices which you will have in your cupboard achiote(annatto), oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt.  just bound together with bitter Seville orange juice…

The tree also has medicinal uses. Leaves oiled and placed on the forehead relieve headaches, and a paste made from mixing dye from seeds and oil heals blisters and burns. Drinking a decoction of the leaves alone alleviate throat inflammation, pleurisy and asthma. Gargling with a decoction of leaves can also help a sore throat.

Thank you for joining me today I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Achiote Seed or maybe you are familiar with it and cook with it already.

Until tomorrow when I will be back with Saturday Snippets …x

CarolCooks2…Week 11…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Wholemeal Sourdough Bread

Welcome to my kitchen where I cook almost everything from scratch…Just in case you missed it one of the reasons why I cook from scratch…

Sourdough bread is a lovely thing and seeing that starter bubbling and rising is a sight to behold…

You have your starter all ready to make your first loaf…?

Equipment…2 x large mixing bowls, banneton(sourdough basket), large oven tray.

Banneton

Temperature…220˚C, Fan 200˚C, 425˚F, Gas 7

Cooking time…35-40 minutes.

Ingredients…

Wholemeal Ferment…

  • 50g starter 
  • 100g Organic Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 150ml tepid water

Dough…

  • 175ml tepid water
  • 300ml ferment (from above)
  • 400g Organic Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • flour, for dusting
  • oil, for tray

First steps…

Once your starter is bubbly, stir it and measure 50g of the starter into a large mixing bowl.

Add 100g flour and 150ml water, stir until lump-free.

Invert a large bowl over the dough bowl and leave it in a warm place for 4-12 hours until bubbles appear. When bubbly, your ferment is ready to use.

1st rise…Pour the tepid water into the ferment and mix well.

Add the flour and stir to mix.

When roughly mixed, sprinkle the salt over the top and stir until incorporated.

Using your hands gather everything together, gently pressing into a ball of dough.

Knead the dough in the bowl for 100 presses without adding flour…this is my favourite bit a good arm workout or if I am cross with someone it relieves my frustrations…lol

Invert the larger mixing bowl over the dough bowl and leave it in a warm place until double in size which may take 4–12 hours.

2nd rise…Dust the inside of the banneton liberally with flour.

Run a spatula around the edge of the risen dough.

Pour the oil onto the dough and dip your fingers in the oil.

Pick up the dough on the far side of the bowl, gently pulling and stretching it upwards then fold it forward onto the dough still left in the bowl.

Turn the dough a quarter to the left or right.

Repeat the action of lifting and stretching the dough then folding back onto itself five or six times, turning the bowl each time.

Tuck the edges of the dough under to make a ball of dough.

Transfer the dough into the floured banneton with the smoothest side down.

Cover with an upturned mixing bowl and leave to roughly double in size, 2-12 hours.

We are now ready to bake...Pre-heat the oven 20 minutes before you are going to bake.

Dust an oven tray with flour or insert a baking liner.

Remove the upturned bowl and very gently tip the dough onto the oven tray.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

Transfer the bread to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Just a few notes from me...my first loaf was both exciting and daunting…I know it wasn’t perfect but practice makes perfect as they say…I now use a shower cap rather than a bowl to cover while proving the dough… less chance of breaking a bowl..I can be clumsy by not looking at what I am doing…sigh…

But overall I was happy …probably because it took me a few goes to get my starter up and running and initially I used to throw the excess away I now don’t…it makes lovely sourdough muffins…

For me, it took a while to get my head around everything as it is a longer process making sourdough…but the taste and the satisfaction and now I am getting better my neighbours will be getting a loaf now and again…

Thank you once again for joining me in my kitchen it is lovely to see you here…See you tomorrow for Tropical Fridays will it be fruit or vegetable…well known or little known? xx

 

 

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…18th April-24th April 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…we are now into April…Time is marching on…thus far we had some humdingers of storms and the wind certainly hammered one of my curry trees luckily it didn’t break the branches just stretched but like a piece of elastic 2 days later the tree is nearly back to its original glory …isn’t nature wonderful?

Just in case you missed any or love to catch up like I do… snuggle deep be kind to yourselves …I think we all need to do that… get comfy in your favourite corner with your favourite drink tea/coffee or hot chocolate although depending on where in the world you live it could be a glass of wine or two…Cheers!

On the covid front, I am happy to see on the news that many of you are moving out of quarantine and back to something akin to normal life… Here the news is not so good having had a relatively easy ride here with covid… phase 3 has hit us hard and is too close to home for my liking …more restrictions in place and if the figures continue to rise I am guessing, even more, will be put into place…Stay safe and close to home everyone as it has not gone away yet even though many places are open for business I certainly wouldn’t be travelling if I could or encouraging anyone to come here…

Monday Musings and the week ahead…a preview…

Just a slight change to my weekly schedule of posts…

Tuesday Twitterings…from Chef to a doctor…

Tuesday Twitterings is about how a chef trained to become a doctor and combined her knowledge of food with medicine…Wouldn’t it great for everyone’s health if doctors were trained in the benefits of a healthy diet and the true effect on the human body when the diet is deficient…

The Culinary Alphabet …..Series 3… the letter D

With all my A-Z’s I have loved writing them… this one is a tad different as it is the middle letter of a word which means a word must have an odd number of digits so the middle letter can be A for example and it cannot be two words and unless I am really stumped adding an S is frowned on by me…I don’t make it easy on myself, do I? But it is fun and gives the grey matter a workout…

CarolCooks2…Week 10…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Sourdough Starter…

Who doesn’t love a sourdough loaf or sourdough muffins from the surplus sourdough…No manufactured yeast required just a naturally fermented bread mix…How good is that and all the time you are nurturing and feeding it …it can last forever..it can even be frozen for up to a year…

Arthritis(osteo and gout) are the subject of Sally’s Family Health A-Z …#recommended read

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Arthritis (osteo and gout) by Sally

Cronin

Just looking at that beautiful lotus flower who would have thought how versatile, healthy and tasty it could be? Just click the link and like me, you may be amazed…

Tropical Friday… The Lotus Root…

Like me, you might save Pigs in Blankets for Christmas Dinner and why not… we have to have something special that we only have at Christmas…but that is not the case around the world…and I am not going to argue that one as sausages and bacon are loved around the world…

Do you know That the Pink Moon is not pink at all and how it was named? All is revealed…

Saturday Snippets…24th April 2021…

Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…see you next week …Love Carol xx