Category Archives: CarolCooks2…In my kitchen

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…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 have frozen bananas ready to make a smoothie. foodiesfeed-com_oatmeal-chia-banana-walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen Banana plus a few slices to garnish
  • 1 cup of coconut milk.
  • 2 tbsp oats.
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter or you can use halved walnuts as in the picture saving a few for decoration.
  • 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!

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Chicken and Mushroom Pate…

 

Good morning and welcome to my kitchen where all my recipes are cooked by me and tried and tested on my family…Trust me they are the harshest of critics…also it’s not long until Christmas Day so I will be trotting out some Christmassy Recipes all tried tested over the years and firm family favourites…today it a Chicken and mushroom pate…

Chicken and Mushroom Pate ( one of my grandson’s favourites) and so quick to make.

Ingredients:

  • 450gm/11b Chicken Livers.
  • 4 Chestnut Mushrooms finely chopped.
  • 220gm/8oz Butter.
  • 2/4 cloves garlic finely chopped.
  • 2/3 banana shallots finely chopped or small brown onion.
  • 1 tbsp ish of Brandy.
  • 1tsp Mustard Powder.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • 1 bay leaf and 3 cranberries for decoration.

Let’s Cook!

Melt 4oz of butter in a pan add chopped onions and cook until soft but not coloured. Add mushrooms about halfway through cooking.

Add garlic and chicken Livers and fry until cooked through.

Add Brandy..my hands wobbled at this stage and I deviated slightly from said recipe…I put 2 spoons in..haha.

Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the Liver mix and 2oz of remaining butter in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Taste and season again with salt and freshly ground pepper.

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Put in Ramekin or small dish, decorate with bay leaf and 3 cranberries ( I used small lime leaves as had no fresh bay leaves.

Chill and serve and enjoy!

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments x

Monday Musings…28th November 2022…How to save money on UK supermarket food deliveries, delicious bacon wrapped maple glazed turkey and homemade Turkish Delight!

Good Morning…and welcome to Monday Musings… a place where my inner child comes out sometimes and also where anything which has wowed or dismayed me has happened over the last week…

With food prices rising around the world…most of us are looking to cut costs wherever we can…I also think that in the aftermath of covid many people have realised that online shopping is the way to go…personally, as I walk everywhere I only carry what goes in my tote bag and isn’t too heavy…bulk buys and heavier items I purchase on-line and it does have its benefits as it’s not so easy to impulse buy I find…this link has all the info you would like to compare costs on UK supermarket FOOD deliveries…

https://afternoontea4two.com/2021/12/27/how-to-save-money-on-supermarket-food-deliveries/

I am still finding it difficult to get my head around the fact that this year is coming to end and Christmas will soon be upon us…and yes without a doubt it’s still early for a Christmas tree especially if its a real one as if you aren’t super fastidious with watering it won’t last and I think its a super idea to rent a tree that will delivered and picked up and replanted I think it’s a great idea and the way go and it seems more and more tree suppliers are offering this service…Just pop an enquiry into google or whoever your favourite search provider is and find a local supplier…

Thanksgiving is over for those who celebrate and some in style… I have come across some delicious recipes not forgetting that we have Christmas to come…This post is from John who blogs at Bite! Eat! !Repeat! and John has some wonderful recipes that we could make for our Christmas  Dinner…what’s not to love about a bacon-wrapped Maple syrup glazed turkey or a delicious potato pie…please head over and have a peruse and take your appetite with you…

https://biteeatrepeat.com/2022/11/22/my-bacon-wrapped-maple-glazed-thanksgiving-turkey-recipe-my-52-in-22-cooking-challenge-has-potato-pie-white-castle-stuffing-too/

Finally, something I love and is always my Christmas treat...but something I have never attempted to make myself is Turkish Delight…

Achetez les délices turcs à la rose - Grand Bazaar Istanbul Achat en ligne

If you think that looks delicious then please click the highlighted link below for the recipe…

https://viewfromtheback.com/2022/11/26/the-musette-rose-turkish-delight/

Thank you for joining today for Monday Musings as always I look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…20th- 26th November 2022-Monday Musings, #Thai Red Curry with Mushrooms and purple Eggplants, Culinary A-Z the letter L, #Christmas Gravy, #Edible Flowers #Saturday Morning Market……

Hello and welcome to my weekly roundup of posts you may have missed during the week…weather wise it has been heating up so much for being “winter”…its nice weather to walk in though especially in the early mornings before the sun gets high… I am increasing my daily steps gradually and feel much better it certainly clears the cobwebs …It is enjoyable walking in the early morning nice and quiet plus you get the best of the market ….

I have started testing the last of my Christmas dishes…next week I have Christmas menus to finish writing and have decided to do a vegetarian Christmas dinner for one as many of my friends are the only vegan or vegetarian in their family and their Christmas dinner is sometimes put on the back burner as they are so busy sorting out the menus for everyone else…

Due to family commitments, I am not spending as much time online but I am enjoying just being… cooking,  walking and enjoying life away from the screen …it clears the cobwebs and I can get my thoughts in order…x

The good news though and I am so excited as I was the only one who appeared to be concerned about her health in this house and often was scoffed at…Well, one’s hubby and son have decided that they need to be aware of their bodies thus they are letting me take their BP every day and listening to my advice although I have put the ball firmly in their court and told them that I am happy to help but it’s down to them..hubby has increased his exercise as has ones son and they are making a good attempt to cut down on the smoking…

I now have an early morning companion on my walks and today we have so far completed just over 20,000 steps(a record) for me which is over 13km…I am now relaxing and editing this post…

Monday Musings… this is where normally I share some things that have thrilled me, made me think or smile or even have a mini-rant but generally it is my happy place and I hope it is yours too…

Last week it was info on the outcome of COP27, a warning form Clive(Take it Easy) to be aware of online scams he shares his experience plus Sally Cronin has published another book and as Sally is most generous with her promotion and sharing of other authors and bloggers it’s only right that I should return the favour…Sally’s new book is available on Amazon UK – and: Amazon US

Monday Musings…21st November 2022…COP27, Be a Lert and hot off the press…Variety is the Spice of Life: A Blend of Poetry and Prose –

These little purple eggplants are one of my favourites they stay whole in the curry and then release their beautiful insides with a little pop of flavour…Thai Red Curry with Mushrooms and Purple Eggplants…

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Thai red curry with Mushrooms and purple eggplants …

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘L’ is for Lamb, Lavender, Lemon/ Lime Meringue Pie, Liquorice and Liver…

Welcome to a repeat of the series the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world but delicious recipes to showcase them….Sally from Smorgasbord Magazine is repeating what is one of my favourite series and today it is the letter L…Lamb Flatbreads, Liquorice and lime/Lemon meringue pie are some of my favourite foods please click the link below and head over to Smorgabord to read the full original post…See you there…x

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘L’ is for Lamb, Lavender, Lemon/ Lime Meringue Pie, Liquorice and Liver…

I still can’t get my head around the fact that it will soon be Christmas…Last week I started with the gravy for newbies at cooking a Christmas lunch it may be daunting and its good to have a trial run and a practice… for us experts..haha…I have certainly had some disasters over the years if we are super organised and I am not yet this year…sigh..it can be frozen..one less thing to worry about…

Carol Cooks in my Kitchen…Christmas Recipes… Gravy…

Last week it was the first instalment of edible flowers…flowers are used a lot in recipes here or as a decoration on a dish…but like anything, they have to be palatable and safe to consume…

Friday Food Review…Edible Flowers…Part 1…#Bee Balm, Squash Flowers and #Lavender Flowers

I love the markets here but one side is now being taken up by the annual furniture and fun fair plus lots of other bits and pieces..some of my fresh market people have taken up temporary residence down the soi’s(side streets) on the other side of the road but it’s not the same it means it will be much busier now …so maybe I will walk a bit further to another market maybe some of my regulars will be there..what an adventure changes are albeit they are temporary…

There are lots of flowers at the moment some I’m not sure what dishes they are used for I will have to ask my DIL…others I know and use and some I will share with you next week..

Saturday Morning Market…Day Lily, Water Chestnuts, Bamboo and Lotus Seeds…

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments…I hope you are having a fabulous weekend wherever you are in the world…x

Saturday Morning Market…Day Lily, Water Chestnuts, Bamboo and Lotus Seeds…

I love Saturdays as the small traders come with their produce from their little bit of land this is where I find the unusual fruits or vegetables which are not raised commercially but just local grown like they have been for centuries…I am also pleased to see how many of the stalls now are ditching the plastic and using banana leaves to wrap foods like the lovely flower pods pictured..as the preparations are in swing for the annual fair and big market it means that the smaller market on the left-hand side is no longer there they have taken residence along one of side soi’s(streets),,,

Saturday Morning Market 7th March

Lively and bustling the markets here sell everything from meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, curry pastes, rice, clothing, garden pots and knives you name it it is sold here…

Do you ever have a hankering for certain food and then it is right in front of you sometimes in the most unexpected places? Strange world… When your thoughts take you unexpectedly to what you were looking for.

Usually available in speciality groceries or supermarkets, freshwater chestnuts should be washed thoroughly and peeled with a sharp knife, especially if to be eaten raw. At this point, adding a few drops of lime juice keeps them from turning brown when steamed or sautéed.

The water chestnut is however not a nut at all, but an aquatic vegetable that grows in marshes, underwater, and in the mud. I have always connected water chestnuts to Chinese cookery however here in Thailand they are more often used in desserts using coconut milk and often dyed a pretty pink…

Water chestnuts are an excellent source of nutrients and antioxidants, making them a good addition to a healthful diet.

Some evidence suggests that consuming water chestnuts could help reduce free radicals in the body and lower blood pressure, among other benefits.

Water chestnuts are quite versatile —  use them in many types of cooking or eat them raw.

Once peeled, they’ll only remain fresh in water that’s changed daily for two to three days.

Chinese Chicken with Water Chestnuts.

Water chestnuts

Ingredients

  • ½ lb of chicken breasts or pork finely sliced.
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of cornflour or arrowroot
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp of spring onions
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated or julienned
  • 2 cups of water chestnuts peeled and sliced ( tinned are fine) and can be found in most Asian sections of supermarkets.
  • 1 cup of bamboo sliced (optional) or bean sprouts.

N.B.…I have started using arrowroot instead of cornflour it is tasteless and gives a glossy sauce and where corn flour has a slight taste and cloudy appearance arrowroot is glossy and clear. It is a great thickener and can easily replace cornflour.

Arrowroot powder is fast gaining in popularity in the western world as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch either because they have corn allergies/sensitivities or they want to avoid anything GMO and laden with pesticides.

Let’s Cook!

Mix the sherry, soy sauce and arrowroot together, and set to one side.

Heat the oil in a pan and add chicken /pork and stir fry for 2 minutes add garlic, spring onions, ginger and bamboo and stir fry for a further 3 minutes or until meat is cooked.

Add water chestnuts and stir fry I minute then add the arrowroot mix and stir fry for another minute or two until the juice thickens slightly add beans sprouts if using.

I always add my bean sprouts if used at the very end as I like mine crisp and just cooked.

Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles…

 

Enjoy!

I love snake beans and eat them regularly I particularly love the red variety…Thais eat many types of flower buds and this red-coloured spinach is lovely in a stir fry,,,

The cream-coloured flower buds are called Daylily ดอกไม้จีน usually used in soups and very popular with Thais and often used in herbal medicine and healing but also used in stir-fries we stir-fried ours with the Ceylon Spinach and it was very nice. The Ceylon spinach had a sort of beetroot taste. It is also used in natural medicine here and is believed to have many healing properties…

Lotus Seeds are a popular snack here...our first introduction was when we visited local wetlands here and the man who was steering the boat picked some for us to try…They are a pretty regular sight on the street markets here…

 

The picture shows Aston holding one… to eat you just hook the seeds out with your fingers and munch away…Sometimes you will find the seeds sold in bags for convenience…The seeds are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Manganese.

This is what I love here there are so many lovely little snacks which are healthy natural nibbles.

Bamboo…(Mai Pai)…is grown everywhere here and is one of the most versatile plants I know…We have all seen those pictures of a cute Panda eating bamboo, haven’t we…?…

There are nearly forty different species of bamboo growing in Thailand and with its wide variety of use, this plant could be considered the most important Thai plant. With bamboo being so common that we can see it everywhere, we take it for granted and tend to forget how much we rely on it daily, not only in the villages but in the cities as well.

bamboo-1028699_640

Bamboo is one of the most iconic plants, with some species growing over thirty metres in height, while other species have culms(The stalk or stem of grain and grasses including the bamboo, jointed and usually hollow). that can hold more weight than steel! That is why you can see bamboo stems used in construction work all over the country. Thai workers rely on its strength to build houses, apartment buildings, hotels, shopping malls and more.

Bamboo shoots are also very nice to eat…Bamboo shoots (no mai) are used as the main ingredient in a variety of traditional Thai dishes, they can be cooked, pickled, and eaten raw. Bamboo shoots have a high amount of vitamins A, B1, B2 and C.

See the little shoot peeking its head above the ground this is what we look for and when peeled they look like the second image…Always available year-round on the markets, it is a very healthy vegetable which is a staple of the Thai diet…Lovely in a red curry…

Bamboo is also the fastest-growing plant in the world, the record holder is a bamboo that was measured to grow 121 cm in 24 hours! …It really is an all-around wonder plant…

Although many of the plants look like a tree it actually belongs to the group of woody perennial evergreen plants in the true grass family Poaceae. Who would have thunk…xxx

That’s all for this week’s Saturday Market…

Thank you for reading this post I hope you have enjoyed this post and  have a fabulous weekend xx

Carol Cooks in my Kitchen…Christmas Recipes… Gravy…

 

Wow, the days are just flying by now…. and before we know it there it was GONE! and Christmas Eve will be upon us…34 sleeps however it’s still too early to put up the tree…

Today I am going to share some recipes for gravy which can be made 2-3 days in advance or frozen…and if you are not used to making gravy then it gives you time to practise and by Christmas day it will be perfect…

Gravy… no dinner is complete without gravy…Gravy is also a contentious issue some like it thin some like it thicker and some like it so you can stand a spoon up in it…me… I like it so it lightly coats the back of the spoon not too thin and definitely not too thick…

All the Christmas magazines have some lovely gravies and most have to be made in advance although they can be frozen and that saves time on Christmas day or whenever you eat your festive meal…

But a quick gravy made from the drippings of the roasting pan can often not be beaten… it’s just as delicious as all these fancy twice-sieved gravies…Here I’ve given you the choice plus a vegetarian/vegan option…

Let’s Cook!

What you need to make the gravy from your meat drippings…

Pan drippings from roasted meat and the browned bits: If the drippings are in a pan you can heat up on the stovetop, then pour off everything but two tablespoons of fat and keep all the browned, stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan in there…which are the best part…

If the drippings are on a baking sheet or something that can’t go on the stovetop, measure out the correct amount of drippings, pour off the rest, and then use a spatula to scrape the solid bits out of the pan and add them in with the drippings.

Flour: To make your roux and thicken your gravy…

Water, Wine, stock, or milk: Any of the 4 will work here… I actually prefer gravy made with water, stock or wine best, but experiment and see what works for you. Stock will give you a really flavour-packed gravy and gravy made with milk will be richer but not for me but I know some people do( my mum) did when making gravy for the liver and bacon for me though not on my Christmas dinner…

But this is for Christmas Dinner so a glug of wine or three will most certainly liven up the gravy although often as everything is sooooo rich I just opt for water plus a little homemade stock or an organic stock cube…

A fine-mesh strainer: Finally, straining your gravy through a fine-mesh strainer will make sure your gravy is perfectly smooth and creamy with no lumps or solid pieces…personally we like the drippings and the scrappings…but it’s a personal choice and as I said earlier gravy is very personal even within families…

Let’s Cook!

Start by pouring off all but two tbsp of fat from your pan (I like to reserve the rest of the drippings for later use the fat makes for lovely roasties), leaving any solid, stuck-on bits in the pan.

Heat over medium-high heat until any remaining solids are golden brown. Watch out, the fat will splatter during this step. Just turn the heat down if it’s splattering too much.

Now whisk in flour (2 tbsp)and cook until lightly golden, about 30 seconds to a minute.

Then..very slowly at first, pour in your water, wine, stock or milk( 2 cups), whisking out any lumps as they form. Once the flour seems incorporated, you can speed up your pouring.

Cook, whisking continuously for 5 to 8 minutes (possibly longer if making a larger batch), until gravy is thickened and bubbly.

Turn the stove off and whisk in some butter which gives the gravy a lovely shine and salt and pepper to taste if required.

This will make 5-6 servings.

Serve and enjoy!

Next is my easy-to-make tasty turkey gravy and we need a lovely tasty gravy to go with our Christmas dinner…Don’t we?

sunday roast

Turkey Gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg chicken wings halved with kitchen scissors
  • the turkey neck, if you have it, cut into pieces
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 2 onions, unpeeled and chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • a small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp  Coconut oil/olive Oil
  • 2 tsp golden castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5-litre fresh vegetable stock

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oven to 220C/390F/gas 7.

Tip the chicken wings into a roomy roasting tin with the turkey neck (if using), carrots, onions, celery and thyme. Scatter over the sugar, toss in the oil and roast for 50 mins until brown and lightly charred.

Put the roasting tin on low heat, stir in the tomato purée and flour, and cook until sticky. Splash in the balsamic vinegar, and pour over 1.5 litres of stock to just cover all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer. then using a potato masher to mash all the ingredients together so as to release the flavour.

Simmer everything for 20 mins until you have a tasty thickened gravy, then strain it through a sieve, pushing down hard on all the mushy veg. Cool and chill for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Heat the gravy to serve, adding roasting juices from your turkey, if you like.

Serves 8.

Prosecco and Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil/olive oil
  • 500 gm chicken wings, chopped into pieces (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • Turkey’s backbone and neck, hacked into pieces
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into small chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • small bunch of Fresh Thyme
  • 30 gm dried porcini
  • pinch of golden castor sugar
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 250 ml Prosecco, plus a splash (optional)
  • 2-litre chicken stock (preferably fresh)
  • A squeeze of lemon

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large shallow saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. When it’s shimmering, add the wings and the turkey pieces, and spend a good 20 mins browning them well in the oil – sticky bits of meat in the pan will add flavour.

Tip in the vegetables, herbs and porcini, scatter over the sugar and stir everything in. Turn down the heat and brown the vegetables for another 10 mins. Stir in the flour, then pour in the Prosecco and simmer down to a paste.

Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. Skim any scum off with a ladle and simmer steadily for 30 mins until thickened and reduced by about a third. Season to taste with salt and stir in a squeeze of lemon. Leave to cool slightly, then strain through a sieve into a container and chill. Can be made three days ahead, or frozen for up to three months.

On the day, simply reheat or pour into the turkey roasting tin and reheat with the roasting juices.

If not serving to children, finish with a splash more Prosecco just before serving, if you like.

Lastly, I have a nice red wine vegetarian gravy. if the onions are nicely caramelised then you get a great flavoured gravy…it is also very important that before and during the process of making this gravy you must remember to taste and taste again…x

Red wine vegetarian gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Brown Onions
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 200 ml Red Wine
  • 200 ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 tbsp  Flour
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sprig Thyme

Let’s Cook!

Peel the onions and cut them in half. Lay each half with the flat side down and slice so you have semi-circle-shaped pieces.

Head 1 tbsp Olive Oil over medium heat in a frying pan and add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften and become translucent.

Then reduce the heat to low and add the balsamic vinegar. Spread the onions into a flat layer and let cook for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Once done, the onions should be a deep golden brown.

Turn the heat back up to medium and add the red wine, let it reduce for 2-3 minutes before adding the vegetable stock and thyme. Let everything simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix the flour with the water to make a paste, then add to the gravy. Stir the gravy constantly until it’s nice and thick and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove the thyme sprig and season with salt and pepper.

Sometimes I use this gravy as it is which still has visible pieces of onion or I push it through a sieve if I want a smoother gravy.

All of these recipes can be made in advance or frozen…Which again eases that Christmas day stress… And I am all for that a nice leisurely lunch enjoyed by all including the cook…

Thank you for joining me today for the first of my Christmas Recipes as always I look forward to your comments x