Category Archives: CarolCooks2

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

It that time again and have I got some wonderful foods beginning with the letter L for you…I do hope you enjoy …x

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.

Welcome to the next letter of the alphabet and I am starting with Lamb which is one of my favorite meats although not so easily available here.

Egyptian Lamb Flatbreads

Cold lamb is not very nice so we decided to make some flatbreads..a first for me and I was really pleased with how they came out..very quick and easy to make and a great use for the leftover lamb they made a change to shepherds pie. I now make my own bread and flatbreads all the time.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup water.
• 1/4 cup of milk
• 2 cups flour.
• 1 tbsp. Baking Powder.
• 2 tbsp. oil
• 1/2 tsp…

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National Vinegar Month…Coq Au Vin(V) and with a chook…

We are nearing the end of National vinegar month and what better way to end it with a Coq Au Vin made using Balsamic Vinegar…Coq Au Vin is a classic French dish and there are many versions and many cooks who think theirs is the most authentic and the best…

However, it is all down to taste…individual taste…some add carrots some don’t…

Take wine, shallots, mushrooms some aromatics and a chook…

Ingredients:

  • 25g butter
  • 150g shallots, peeled but left whole
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150g bacon lardons
  • A sprig of fresh thyme or a good pinch of dried thyme.
  • 350g button mushrooms…Chestnut or Crimini are my favourites.
  • 500ml good red wine…I love a nice burgundy.
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 free-range chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces, on the bone but skin removed (or 6 chicken thighs)
  • A small bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly crushed black pepper.

Let’s Cook!

Using a thick bottomed pan heat it on the stove, add almost all the butter (reserving a knob of the butter) and the shallots. Cook until just browned; add the lardons and thyme and cook for 3-5 minutes then add the garlic cook for a further 1-2 mins.

Add the mushrooms, turn up the heat and add the red wine, chicken stock and vinegar. Add the chicken pieces, bring the sauce to the boil and then simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

For a thicker sauce, remove the chicken once it is cooked and keep warm. Cook the sauce over high heat for a few minutes until the volume of liquid has reduced. Return the chicken back to the pan.

Add the parsley, together with the reserved knob of butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with a dressed green salad and olive oil, new potatoes (my favourite) mash or crusty bread.

For my vegetarian and vegan readers...I found this lovely recipe on my vegan plate...Enjoy!

About Carol Taylor: 

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘J’ for Jelly Beans, Jalapenos, Jack Fruit and Jerky all with a little Jus

Time for the letter J…I am enjoying reading it again myself for the second time. Many thanks to the lovely Sally for rerunning this series…I hope you all enjoy the Letter J….From Jelly Beans to Jalapenos and Jackfruit….xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.

This week in the A-Z of food it is the letter J

I hope you are enjoying this series of the A-z of food as much as I have the research and writing.

Starting with one of my favourite little sweeties the Jelly Bean…

Jelly Beans are primarily made of sugar with a jelly inside a candy shell…There are some awesome flavours…Tabasco Flavour, Chilli Mango, Marguerita and some beautiful fruity flavours…Cringe-worthy flavours like Earthworm, Earwax and vomit are for me a No No! But I suppose for Halloween revellers they will be on someone’s list…

Jelly:

Depending on where in the world you live Jelly can be a wibbly wobbly fruit jelly made with…

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National Vinegar Month…Chinese Black Vinegar…

Originating in the city of Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province, it is quite literally black in colour and has a full-bodied, malty, complex taste. It is just mildly acidic, less so than a regular distilled white vinegar, with a faintly sweet flavour I hesitantly tasted a little as some vinegar can be quite acidic this was not… It had a slight smoky after taste I liked it.

Chinese black vinegar is widely used in Chinese cooking for all types of cold appetizers, braised meats and fish, noodles and as a dipping condiment for dumplings.

Also known as brown rice vinegar, black vinegar is used as a tonic in Chinese and Japanese cultures. It is made by fermenting unpolished rice, wheat, sorghum or millet. The vinegar ferments for 1 to 3 years and it is during the fermentation process that the colour of black vinegar darkens, its aroma and flavour get more intense and the content of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients increases.

Because black vinegar is believed to have many health benefits, many people in China and Japan make a drink out of it that they consume as a part of their daily diet.

Because black vinegar produces good-tasting substances while maturing, it is “easy to drink even for people who have difficulty drinking ordinary vinegar.” Black vinegar is also said to contain more amino acid than ordinary vinegar.

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Black vinegar is rich in a number of essential nutrients. Some of these nutrients help in the detoxification of the body. This rich vinegar also keeps the pH levels in your body well-balanced.

According to health experts, black vinegar helps in keeping the digestive system healthy. It aids in the improvement of digestion. When digestion is improved, you keep constipation and other abdominal problems away.

Substitutions for Black Vinegar:

If you can’t find black vinegar, you can substitute white rice vinegar/rice wine vinegar, which is usually more readily available, even in regular supermarkets.

It is also said, you can substitute a bit of balsamic vinegar, though be careful because some balsamic vinegar can be very syrupy and sweet.

Personally, I would opt for the black vinegar having tasted it and I am pleased that I waited until it was delivered. We all loved the Braised pork shoulder in black vinegar which as you know was the first time I had cooked with it…

Having tasted it though I also recognise the taste and have connected the dots that it is the dipping sauce we have had with dumplings…which I always thought was some sort of soy sauce.

Dumplings

My next two dishes I am going to try with be vegetable/vegan one will be a side dish of Cucumber…This delicious, cooling salad with a sweet edge helps to counter the chilli in very spicy dishes.

cucumbers-1588945_640

Ingredients:

  • 2/4 cucumbers depending on their size…Thai cucumbers are small but for this, I am going to use Japanese cucumbers as they are crispier and do not have as many seeds.
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 100ml Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Chinese light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1cm piece ginger, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh black fungi, torn into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Let’s Cook!

Cut the cucumber in half lengthways then, using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds. Cut them into large, angled chunks. In a bowl, dissolve castor sugar in the black vinegar and soy sauce then whisk in oil, garlic and ginger. Check to season.

Dress the cucumber and black fungi, coating well. Serve on a shared plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

cucumber black vinegar and black mushrooms

 

This dish comes together very quickly, so remember to prepare the sauce first in a mixing bowl before you start cooking. This is a very nice sauce…my testers were not keen on the mushrooms I liked them…

This second side dish a stir fry is using the stalks of the Chinese/napa cabbage only…as you know I use every part of an ingredient that I can, for example, I use the broccoli stalk sliced or in a stir fry it is a lovely vegetable…I will let you know later on in the week how this one turned out.

brocolli stems sliced

likewise, the stalk of Chinese cabbage is often wasted…cut away…I use this stir-fried as it has a little crunch and to use the leaves they wilt and add water which we don’t like… this stir fry is better with just the stalks and the napa cabbage leaves make another meal… They’re great in soups or just stir-fried with a little garlic and salt…Waste not want not…

For the sauce: 

  • 4 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

For the rest of the dish: 

  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 3-6 dried red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 pound napa cabbage (stems only, sliced at an angle?
  • Salt, to taste

Start by making the sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. In another small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tbsp of water to make a slurry. Set aside. (Remember, cornstarch settles quickly, so remember to stir the slurry again before adding it to the dish later).

Is it just me or does anyone else dislike the feel when the cornstarch settles?

Heat the oil in a wok over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, chillies, and green onion, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cabbage and turn up the heat to high. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Now add the prepared sauce and cook for another minute. Taste before you season with salt I generally don’t add salt as for us the soy sauce is salty enough. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and stir-fry for one more minute, until the sauce is thickened.

Serve this hot and sour napa cabbage stir-fry with steamed rice as a light snack or as a side with the main dish.

Isn’t stir-frying great? A dish can come together in 5 minutes! Enjoy!

I will giv youour opinion on this srir fry I am making this tomorrow.

Thats all for today I hope you are enoying the recipes with blackn vinegar…

smart

black vinegar

About Carol Taylor: 

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

CarolCooks2…A Vegan Chocolate Cake, Braised Pork Shoulder in Black Vinegar and Yanang Juice.

Well, well…I think I have sorted out some of the temperature issues with my oven…so far so good…also as promised I baked this cake with vinegar instead of eggs…For once I followed the recipe step by step well nearly instead of mixing with a for I use a spatula I didn’t want to scratch my cake tin…

Yes not only did this cake have vinegar instead of eggs you made it in the tin it was to be baked in…crazy or what…Less washing up which is always a plus…

I am not a baker I am more of a savoury person but the other half and kiddos like a piece of cake…I am also not vegetarian or vegan but I do like experimenting with food and as it is National Vinegar Month I came across recipes using vinegar rather than eggs…It intrigued me…

I also have friends who are vegetarian or vegan and I thought why not give it a go…I told you I was inquisitive…Why? Years ago in my youth I attempted to go vegetarian there wasn’t a lot of choices and what there was pretty awful…and living on vegetables alone was pretty uninspiring I didn’t cook much either then and all those veggie burgers were quite foul…

Everything now has taken an upturn and there are some pretty tasty vegetarian/vegan meals…and I am happy to eat them as I like well presented tasty food and although I eat meat I eat very little now…

Cake…it came out far better than I hoped…

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My taste testers gave it the thumbs up..they did look a little shocked when I announced the cake had vinegar rather than eggs but they liked it as did I …It had a nice texture a proper cake…and vegan to boot…or to put it mildly for anyone who has run out of eggs vinegar is a great substitute and no one need know…

The recipe for the cake is on the link below…

https://carolcooks2.com/2020/05/12/national-vinegar-month/

In case you were wondering those little fruit were the Thai cherries I mentioned in the vinegar post I came across some while out shopping the other day so will be pickling some as well…

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I have also gifted more mangoes they are not quite ripe yet the cherries though are lovely and ripe much riper than my last ones it must be the sun…

Yanang Juice…I don’t have a sweet tooth especially when it comes to drinks …I also have this aversion to green juices…and this was the darkest of green…No sugar…Well, I stand corrected it was pleasant to taste…Nowhere near as awful as it looked…

On doing some research as I am want to do…I just like to know these things…I found out just how healthy a drink it is…

What is Yanang Leaf?

The Yanang leaf is a powerful herb from Southeast Asia, used as both a medicine and as food for thousands of years, particularly in Northeast Thailand ( where I live) and Laos.

In Thailand, the Yanang leaf is known to restore youthful looks. They call the Yanang ‘Never get old for a thousand years.’ Thais are known to stretch their stories a little but many swear it keeps the wrinkles at bay… This leaf grows on a climbing plant. The leaves are dark green, and it has yellow flowers. It thrives in the tropics…

The scientific name of the Yanang leaf is Tiliacora Triandra, and it belongs to the family Menispermaceae.

It is also used to make soup here…The first time I brought this I was given a cookery lesson at the same time …Such a friendly lovely man…Once I find a recipe I think we will like I will share it…

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Quite simply it is made from the leaves by muddling the leaves in a pestle and mortar and then adding water and squeezing and squeezing the way it has always been made before juicers were around…Then straining the liquid to get this dark green juice…

The juice is neither sweet or sour just quite a pleasant drink with numerous health benefits.

My next project or one my son has offered to undertake is the making of Sato…The reason being I cannot obtain Shaoxing wine here and Sato is a good substitute apparently…Sato สาโท pronounced [sǎː.tʰōː] is a traditional northeastern Thailand (Isan) beer style that has been made for centuries from starchy glutinous or sticky rice by growers in that region. Just as other regional varieties made not from grapes but cereal is commonly called wine rather than beer, sato is commonly called Thai rice wine. When brewed in little brown jugs called hai (ไห), it is called Lao hai (เหล้าไห) or Lao u (เหล้าอุ).

More to come…we are trying to obtain the traditional Thai recipe…

Specially made for National vinegar month is this lovely Pork dish made with Chinese black Vinegar…Pork Shoulder Braised in Black Vinegar…

  • 1½ kg pork shoulder, cut into 4cm/1½ in pieces
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 200ml Shaohsing rice wine (or dry Sherry)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5cm/2in piece ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 50g light brown soft sugar
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 125ml Chinese black vinegar
  • 500ml vegetable stock

To serve

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • julienned spring onions
  • steamed rice

Let’s Cook!

Put the pork in a bowl and add 1 tbsp each of the soy sauce and rice wine. Toss to combine, then cover and chill for 1 hr, or overnight if time permits.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2-3 mins or until golden. Add the pork and all the remaining ingredients, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 60 mins. Remove the lid from the pan to allow the liquid to reduce, and cook for a further 45 mins or until the meat falls apart.

Serve scattered with the sesame seeds and spring onions, with steamed rice and steamed vegetables of your choice.

Optional to serve Pak Dong...A Thai pickled cabbage which needs to be made in advance…

Thai Pickled Cabbage ( Pak Dong)

SAM_6824

  • 1 white cabbage. cut or torn into pieces.
  • 8 large spring onions chopped
  • Coarse Salt.

Let’s Cook!

Pickled cabbage is very easy to do and there are many variations I have seen it with fresh chillies. It can also be made with Chinese cabbage or Pak Choy..Our preference is just plain old white cabbage and spring onions it is quick, easy and very moreish it can be eaten on its own, stirred into soup or with a curry as an accompaniment. It doesn’t last long here at all as our little granddaughter loves it and just eats it on its own.

To Pickle:

Layer Cabbage, Onions and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands.

We then leave the dish covered on the kitchen top or in the sun for 1 day.

Then drain and lightly rinse and add more salt if required. Cover and leave for 2/3 days or until it reaches your ideal taste. With pickled cabbage, it is purely down to personal taste some like it saltier than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

Then refrigerate and enjoy!

That’s all for today.. .life is pretty much the same here not very much has been relaxed I think the Thai government is being cautious and looking at what is happening when the rest of the world relaxes their quarantines too quickly…I am happy with that as although in some ways this staying in is getting to me…I also realise I am lucky …

Thank you for reading this… If you make the cake let me know how it turns out…

That’s all for today…Please be well and stay safe…xxx

About Carol Taylor: Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

National Vinegar Month…

Vinegar as old as civilization itself …traces of it have been found in Egyptian urns from around 3000 B.C., and Babylonian scrolls recording the use of vinegar date even earlier, to around 5000 B.C. Known as “poor man’s wine” (posca) in ancient times, vinegar was often carried by Roman legionnaires; the Bible notes that Roman soldiers offered vinegar to Christ at the Crucifixion.

Used in many cultures as a condiment and preservative, vinegar can be made from a variety of liquids, including malted barley, rice, and cider; however, as its name suggests, it was probably first made from wine. The word vinegar derives from the Old French vinaigre, meaning “sour wine.”

We are now spoilt for choice as a wide variety of vinegar are available to us with their own colours and flavours. Vinegar is commonly used in food preparation, particularly in pickling processes, vinaigrettes, and other salad dressings. It is an ingredient in condiments, such as mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise, and an essential component of chutneys, marinades, and other sauces…it is even used in cake recipes…

As a child, I only recall ever having malt vinegar with our fish and chips on our winkles and cockles and used for my mum’s homemade pickles... it was only as we started to travel and taste other cuisines that it opened up the world of vinegar and now I don’t just have malt vinegar but white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, white or red wine vinegar even fruit vinegar…

On the subject of vinegar, it is worth buying a good quality vinegar as it has a longer shelf life. Here in Thailand, there are many kinds of vinegar and most of the labels are in Thai, however, the one word which stood in my search for the kinds of vinegar I use was artificial…That sent me scuttling home for a chat with Mr Google…I mean those of you who know me expect no less…

What did I discover?…

Artificial vinegar” is acetic acid that is made by a chemical process.

Natural vinegar” is acetic acid that is made in a biological process using the Acetobacter aceti bacteria. If the “natural vinegar” is distilled, it is very difficult to tell the difference between it and the “artificial vinegar.”

No great shakes then it seems but suspicious Annie here believes…Not much…lol… So I will not be buying it…You get what you pay for…

When I was a child, and much has changed in the culinary world since then, all my mother used and probably still does was Sarsons Malt Vinegar, but I will say that anything else on a portion of good English Fish and chips is sacrilege of the highest order.

Home Cooked Fish and Chips.

I do miss Fish & Chips and it’s not something we ate often when in the UK but as we haven’t had it for at least 6 years;……..well I lie… we have had it but you can’t get a lovely piece of Cod or Skate here so it’s not the same.

So I give you Fish & Chips….UK style with peas.

Ingredients for 4 servings.

800gm potatoes scrubbed and cut into chips or peeled and cut into chips.

Olive oil to cook and to coat. I more often than not also add some fresh rosemary sprigs.

For the Fish:

• 650 gm approx of your favourite fish. Cut into 4.
• 50gm flour plus 1 tsp
• 50gm cornflour
• 1 egg white
• 125ml ice-cold sparkling water
• 600ml oil for frying
• Lemon wedges for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Cut your chips and parboil. Drain, shake lightly and I put a tea towel over the pan to absorb the steam.

Heat your oven to 220 fan/ 200, gas mark7

Put baking tin with Olive oil in the oven and heat for 8-10 mins.

Meanwhile, put the chips into a bowl and coat with some more olive oil using your hands to turn and coat the potatoes. At this point add Rosemary or Sage if using.

When the oil is hot add the chips in a single layer. Bake 10 mins and turn, bake 5 mins and turn, repeat this process until the chips are nice and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

Fish…Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel. Put 1 tsp flour on a plate and coat the fish with the flour.

Heat your oil to 200c.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, cornflour, salt and pepper. whisk the egg white. Pour the sparkling water into the flours whisking all the time. Lastly, add the egg white still whisking but being careful not to whisk out all the bubbles…Bubbles make a nice light, crispy batter. A balloon whisk is good to use to keep the bubbles. You want a bubbly batter, not a smooth batter.

Dip your floured fillets into the batter. Dip and drain and with a slotted spoon and carefully put into the hot oil. Fry 2 fillets at a time making sure you get your oil back up to the required heat or you will have a soggy batter.

The heat must stay a constant 200c.

Fry for 5-6 minutes, turn fish and cook until the batter is crisp and golden, drain and repeat with your other 2 fillets.

  • Serve on plates with the chips and peas.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges.
  • Serve with mayo or my favourite tartar (caper) sauce and of course malt vinegar for your chips.

Enjoy!

Now you can cook with many different kinds of vinegar and I think everyone has their favourites…What is yours???

White vinegar I use for pickling generally mixed with apple cider vinegar but for actual cooking white vinegar doesn’t impart flavour a nice wine vinegar or apple vinegar gives you the acid that lifts a dish plus depending on what was used in the making of the vinegar some extra flavours as well.

Choose cooking vinegar with lots of colours, lots of flavours and also ideally with no sulphates or added colours…keep it natural. The best way is to know your producer, know how they make the vinegar and where they source the alcohol from…

What food tastes nicer with vinegar???

• Salad dressings
• Tangy vinegar coleslaw
• Sea Salt and kale chips
• Apple cider vinegar Beef Jerky
• Strawberries and asparagus with balsamic vinegar
• Green beans with walnuts and balsamic

Green beans with walnuts are a family favourite here and balsamic vinegar just lifts it to a new level.

I just cook some walnuts with a little oil in the oven for about 5 mins while my green beans are cooking.

I then lightly brown a few cloves of chopped garlic and once the beans are drained I just add the garlic and walnuts, season with a little sea salt and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar.

Lovely and quick to do and you can make one portion or 6 portions it just lifts those beans to a new level.

More Vinegar.. and Strawberries

I tend to use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white distilled vinegar, and balsamic I know you can get red and white wine vinegar and also champagne vinegar which I would love to try maybe one day…

In the meantime … Shrubs…Have you heard of them… They are fruit or vegetable vinegar… I hadn’t until about 2 years ago and one of my friends makes quite a lot of these and they are very nice…

This is her recipe which she gifted to me and I must say I was very pleased to receive with a sample…Hic

Strawberries are at the height of their season here and are very nice…I love the small ones as they have a much nicer taste than the larger strawberries.

Ingredients:

• The zest from 2 organic lemons
• 1 cup of sugar
• 2 cups of strawberries hulled and quarter if big I use very small ones.
• 30 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
• 1 cup of naturally brewed apple cider vinegar…I use Cornwall’s brewed in Australia

Let’s Cook! ( Brew)

Remove the peel from the lemons, making sure you get none of the white pith…I have a lovely little zester which just takes the peel in lovely strips. Place the peel in a medium bowl and cover with the sugar.

Press the peel firmly into the sugar for about five minutes, using a pestle, muddling stick or large wooden spoon.

Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and set aside for at least one hour until the sugar looks damp and slightly yellow from the lemon oil.

Then remove the peel from the sugar into a smaller bowl removing as much of the sugar as you can keep to one side.

Add the strawberries and the black pepper to the sugar and stir to combine.

Cover and put in the fridge, leave for about 2 hours the mixture should then be quite juicy so remove from the fridge and muddle the strawberries to extract more of their juice.

Pour the vinegar into the bowl containing the reserved lemon peel gently stir to remove the remainder of the sugar and then remove the zest and discard. Pour the vinegar over the strawberries and stir to combine.

Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for 2 days.

After 2 days strain the mixture through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth or muslin, squeeze the fruit gently through the cloth to extract all the juice and then discard the fruit mix.

Transfer your liquid into a sterilised bottle with a close-fitting lid and store in the fridge for 1 week.

Before serving shake the bottle and pour 2 tbsp or more to taste into a glass and top up with ice and sparkling mineral water and just because you can… a little dash or two of vodka or gin.

I will also mention that the shrub will keep in the fridge for about 6 months… Mine don’t!

Now apparently vinegar is also used in baking cakes and bikkies…who would have thunk…Not me but I am learning…sigh. The two most frequently used in baking are white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. White vinegar has a sharp, even harsh, flavour if tasted alone, but it is a very simple flavour and does not really stand out when used in a complex batter. Cider vinegar, made from apples, has a faintly fruity flavour and is quite sweet compared to other types of vinegar. It’s very mild and works even better in batters because there is virtually no chance of any vinegar flavour tainting the finished product.

Let’s Bake…my first cake using no eggs and vinegar…

  • 1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, nonalkalized cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp white or cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water

N.B...I am following this recipe to the T because I have had a few disasters lately where I haven’t and they haven’t turned out as hoped…my fault and probably because I have been cooking for a while and get used to certain ways ..This recipe to me sounds wacky and crazy but apparently it works…It is also made in the tin which it is cooked…I will let you know in my next post on Friday…

Position the rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt directly into the baking pan, then add the sugar. With your finger, poke 2 small holes and 1 large one in the dry ingredients. Into one of the small holes pour the vanilla, into the other one the vinegar, and into the larger one the oil.

Pour the water over all the ingredients and stir the ingredients together with a table fork…reaching into the corners, until you can’t see any more flour and the batter looks fairly well mixed.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is springy and a tester inserted in the centre comes out dry. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack, then cut and serve it from the pan.

Delicious or a disaster we will see…wish me luck…

More about vinegar in the coming month and if you use vinegar instead of eggs please share your recipes and thoughts xxx

About Carol Taylor: 

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all are having a good week so far… stay safe and wash those hands xx