Category Archives: Cook from scratch

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…

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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

 

National Vinegar Month…How to make your own vinegar…

The white vinegar that we have in our kitchens the clear liquid which is generally a staple in our store cupboard generally contains 4–7% acetic acid and 93–96% water.

Historically, white vinegar has been produced from the fermentation of foods such as sugar beets, potatoes, molasses or milk whey.

vinegars bottle-589_640

Today, most white vinegar is made from the fermentation of grain alcohol (ethanol). This kind of alcohol doesn’t naturally contain many nutrients, so other ingredients such as yeast or phosphates may be added to kickstart the bacterial fermentation process.

While you can make vinegar in your own kitchen…it takes a while to ferment so it’s not something you can make overnight.

I am going to have a go at making my own red/white wine or ACV…Balsamic takes years to age so unless you have a nice store and some oak casks its not for most of us…White vinegar is cheap to buy and from the research, I have done it is possible to make it at home but you have to follow so many processes it is said to not be worth the effort.

Ok…Let’s brew… White/Red wine vinegar.

Firstly sterilise your jar or bottle if you are using although I would make the vinegar in a jar and when it is ready to decant into a bottle…

You will also require distilled water…I don’t use or buy distilled water so this handy little video shows you how to make your own at home…

 

Jars(s) sterilised and distilled water ready…Let’s make some wine vinegar.

Add 12 fl.oz(350 ml of wine and distilled water into your sterilised jar.

N.B.The wine you use should be free from sulphates…Again I have read advice which says that it hasn’t made any noticeable difference to the ferment time…

Vinegar is a fussy thing, isn’t she…?

Now to add the “mother”…I am going to use my kombucha scoby which apparently you can …The “mother” contains the bacteria needed to begin the process of turning ethanol into acetic acid. It sometimes forms in opened bottles of wine and looks like a slimy blob floating on the surface. You can buy “mother” (sometimes marketed as “vinegar starter”) in this gelatinous form, or as a liquid—look for it in homebrew or natural foods stores, or online.

  • If you’re adding gelatinous “mother” from a store, follow the package instructions regarding the amount to add—you’ll just spoon it on top of the alcohol in your jar.
  • For liquid vinegar starter, pour in 12  fl oz (350 ml), unless otherwise noted on the package.

Once you have made your first batch of vinegar you will have a “mother” for your next batch…the mother reforms every time you make a new batch. It is also fine to use the mother from your batch of red wine vinegar to make your white wine vinegar.

Now seal the top of your jar either with a cheesecloth or paper as the liquid needs to be able to breathe secure with a rubber band or you may have unwanted guests in the form of fruit flies.

Now to store your jar for 2 months in a dark, airy temperate spot with good air circulation if not wrap the jar in a towel but do not cover the cheesecloth or paper towel lid.

Do not shake, stir or move your jar for 2 months this gives the “mother” time to do her work…Ignore and vinegar or other smells for the first 2 months as it will go through the fermentation processes just let it do its thing.

After 2 months now comes the exciting bit…Take a disposable straw and without waking “mother” draw of a little of the liquid cover the top with your thumb and dispense into a small glass…Time to taste…

If it is too weak as it hasn’t fermented for long enough or too sharp it will mellow…Leave for another 2 weeks and test again. Repeat this stage every 1-2 weeks until it suits your palate.

Now your is ready you can scoop the mother into a new jar to start the process again or carefully pour all but a little of the vinegar and start again using the same jar…

vinegar-1924191_1920

Just think if you start now you can have some wonderfully flavoured kinds of vinegar to give as gifts for Christmas and the New Year there is nothing like receiving a homemade gift is there?

I am still waiting for my black vinegar to be delivered I will then share a recipe using black vinegar…

Stop Press: Update:

I have had a couple of enquiries about the” Mother” to start your vinegar. I f you can’t buy one then you can make it yourself…

To make a “mother”  from scratch.

1-litre red wine vinegar
1 bottle red wine

1. Pour the red wine vinegar into a saucepan and warm over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before pouring into your pot or barrel.

2. Add the bottle of wine, cover pot or barrel with their lids and keep in a warm place for 2-4 weeks.

3. Now check to see if a mother has formed and taste to see if the wine has turned into vinegar. If it has, siphon some it off and use for a salad dressing or in your cooking and then replace with some more wine. To check if the mother has formed, first make sure that you remove any jewellery from your fingers (and never use any metal spoons inside the pot or barrel). Carefully strain the contents of the pot or barrel through a plastic colander or sieve into a large non-metallic bowl. If a mother has formed and is left in the colander, carefully place back in the pot or barrel and add the contents from the non-metallic bowl.

Thank you for reading this post and stay safe and wash your hand’s xx

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

 

 

 

 

 

National Roast Leg of Lamb Day…

Roast Lamb…

There is nothing like roast lamb, Jersey Royal Potatoes, roast potatoes and spring vegetables served with freshly made mint Sauce…Lamb is not something which is available here or very rarely and when and if it is the cost is extortionate…But I can dream and drool…

Any leftover lamb I make into this beautiful dish…

Cold lamb is not very nice so we decided to make some flatbread.. very quick and easy to make and use the leftover lamb. Hence my Egyptian Lamb flatbreads.

Egyptian lamb flat breads (2)

Ingredients:

Flat Bread:

 Flatbreads

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

Filling Mix:

  • 300 gm leftover cooked lamb…can use beef, pork or chicken.
  • 1 lemon finely zested.
  • juice half lemon.
  • 2 tsp black pepper.
  • 1 tsp oregano or marjoram.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • I tsp Paprika.
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted.
  • 2 eggs beaten.
  • 1 tsp sea salt….I always use Himalayan salt.
  • 4 Spring onions finely sliced.

Let’s Cook!

To make flatbreads.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add liquids and mix thoroughly…I used my food processor and it took literally 2 mins…. if that and formed a ball. If it is too sticky add little more flour. Divide into 8 pieces. Flatten with the heel of the hand and roll out very thin.

My first attempt at this and I didn’t roll mine out thin enough to start with.

flat-bread-uncooked-esy-recipe

Heat pan and cook 2/3 minutes each side turn over with tongs or fish slice and done… finito..ready to fill…easy peasy.

cooked flatbreads…

flat-bread-easy-recipe

 

Lamb Filling:

Chop lamb into rough little chunks and pieces. Put in a large bowl with lemon zest and squeeze half of the lemon juice into the mix. Add all your spices, the eggs, salt and pepper and most of the spring onions..retain some for garnish. Mix together thoroughly.Lay out the flatbreads and cover half with filling, then fold over and press together. You get half-moon shape. Get 2 large baking trays rub one with Olive oil Lay flatbreads on an oiled tray, lightly rub other tray and pop this on top of flatbreads. Put trays into the preheated hot oven and cook 6-8 minutes. This way the flatbread will get lovely and crispy on top. If you have small trays you may need to do in batches. Depending on the size of flatbreads cut in two …I left mine whole as I served individually( see picture) and not on a large serving plate but for a party or just because you want to….. serve on one dish with Houmous… Just as a little note it was my young grandson(11) who arranged these on the plate for me…didn’t he do well? Egyptian lamb flatbreads with hummus.

Enjoy!

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 week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

 

 

 

Whimsical Wednesday with CarolCooks2…

Hello and welcome… I would like to say that here on Whimsical Wednesdays it is a Corona free zone but this sneaky virus has crept into every single aspect of our lives…Awake or asleep it is there…It dominates the headlines and our thoughts…It invokes great sadness but also great joy…and a smidgen of hope…Nope, I refuse to mention the other 10%…My focus is coming out the other side with hope in my heart…

We are in unprecedented times…

Captain Tom...What a hero…Well, he is now and Honorary Colonel an honour bestowed on him by the Queen…God Bless the Queen and Colonel Tom…

A lovely video which really made me shed a tear and smile…Watching that flypast those planes are just beautiful…

Did you know it was on the 7th MAY 1972 when a musician called Reginald Dwight changed his name to Elton Hercules John…He chose the name because of his admiration for the blues music legends Elton Dean and Long John Baldry. With his new name, Elton went on to conquer the music business.

It was also on the 8th May 1945 when World War 2 after 6 years of war finally ended. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill officially announced it was over…

May is the fifth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the third of seven months to have a length of 31 days. May is a month of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

May’s full Moon traditionally goes by the name “Flower Moon.”

May’s full Moon, the full Flower Moon, occurs on Thursday, May 7. It reaches peak illumination at 6:45 A.M. (EDT) that morning, so for the best view of this full Moon, step outside on the night of Wednesday the 6th and look for that big, bright, shining lunar disk!

May is also the month when lots of beautiful flowers burst forth into brilliant colour…My favourite from the end of April into the beginning of May are the beautiful apple blossoms…There is nothing so pretty…

There is also nothing so spectacular as Patsy Stones finest moments…I love this lady for so many reasons…

Let’s have some Music:

1966 The Rolling Stones release “Paint it Black” in the US…It was 2 years before that  Top of the Pops was first broadcast on Wednesday, 1 January 1964 at 6:35 pm. It was produced in Studio A on Dickenson Road in Rusholme, Manchester.

We were allowed to watch it as a treat with my father doing the running commentary…None of the acts according to the oracle who was my father was going to last the distance like his favourite artists…

The first act to play...The very first Top of the Pops, broadcast on a Wednesday evening at 6.36 pm, was introduced by DJ Jimmy Savile. The opening band was The Rolling Stones, who had just made number 13 in the chart with ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’. They were followed by Dusty Springfield with ‘I Only Want To Be With You’; ‘Glad All Over’ by The Dave Clark Five; The Hollies with ‘Stay’ and The Swinging Blue Jeans performing ‘The Hippy Hippy Shake’.The show was completed by filmed pieces with Cliff Richard & The Shadows and Freddie & The Dreamers, together with The Beatles, who played the week’s number one, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’.”

Years later…as I think all of the acts went on to have other successes and No 1’s…I even brought 40 licks a subsequent Rolling Stones Album for his 74th birthday he loved it and by then had changed his mind on the longevity of most of the groups and solo artists…

Who still has a collection of 45’s and Lp’s and the means to play them?

Whose thoughts don’t turn to food lately?… May is chock full of foodie days…It is as you know National Egg Month it is also National Asparagus, Hamburger, Vinegar, BBQ and salsa Month…

Today is also National crepe Suzette day...Who doesn’t love a pancake? my favourites are a nice thin and be proper, Carol… I will call it a crepe…

pancake with lemon and sugar

Quite simply eaten with sugar and lots of lemon juice or as the case is now Lime Juice…

Let’s not forget the weeks we have had Raisin week in the week of May followed by National Hamburger week. Week 3 is International Pickles week and National Frozen Yoghurt is held in the 4th week of May…

For those of you who don’t mind a glass of chilled Chardonnay that is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of May…

That is a lot of food days…Even by my standards…Jeez, there needs to be some serious workouts to keep our waistlines trim…

This ladies…version of keeping fit …I just watched it with my mouth open…Tea Bags now conjure such a different picture…

The mind boggles…

On that note, I will leave you with something definitely more whimsical…xxx Something which will make us realise we don’t have it that bad…

Not even soap for protection…

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 week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – 12,000 years of history that we know about and avoiding the wind factor by Sally Cronin

Beans, Beans are good for your heart, The more you eat the more you ****…Not if you listen to Sally’s advice…#recommended read lots of good health advice, how to cook beans and some recipes as Sally has very kindly linked back to one of my posts…Thank you, Sally 🙂 xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

As a follow on from the recent series on theWeekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needsthat contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also…

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