Category Archives: Cooking from scratch

Jammin’ with chillies…

 

This is a definite must-do! Chilli Jam no less…and as chillies are plentiful at the moment it’s a must make and so delicious… Who else dares? Do you??? Of course, charring the vegetables first adds extra smoky flavour to this sweet and spicy spread.

Try it in sandwiches, as a burger relish, with grilled meats or on a cheese board.

Ingredients:

  • 120gm of red chillies
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 500g tomatoes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ tsp salt

First char your beautiful chillies, peppers, garlic and tomatoes this makes them easier to peel and adds a beautiful sweet flavour to the jam which only charred vegetables do.

Once peeled add all of the roasted vegetables to your food processor and blitz until smooth.

Tip into a pan and add all the other ingredients then bring to a rolling boil stirring then reduce to a simmer and cook for 35-50 minutes or until the jam is a nice deep red colour and most of the liquid has evaporated stir occasionally as we don’t want it to burn.

While the jam is cooking add a small plate or saucer to the freezer …The jam is ready when a spoonful placed on the cold saucer sets immediately and you can clear a line through it with a spoon. This ensures the jam will be thick, spreadable and not watery.

If it doesn’t set, keep boiling and retest every 5 mins, on a cold saucer each time.

Spoon the mix into hot sterilised jars…I heat my clean jars in the oven while the jam is cooking about 15 minutes from the end and then turn off the oven and allow them to cool just a little before I spoon in the jam.

Enjoy!

See you tomorrow for my A-Z where the middle letter is F…for example Wafer…

 

 

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…May 9th-15th May 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…we are now into May…Time is marching on…It is now officially rainy season here so there will definitely be some dancing in the rain…lol

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

Let’s get the party started then…

Meatless Monday’s…Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi and Brocolli…

The first time I have made a cashew nut curry sauce and trying Halloumi…I obviously haven’t lived…sigh…I much preferred it to tofu and the sauce was tasty..a little bit thick but next time I will thin it down a little and maybe add some cauliflower as well…

Meatless Mondays…Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi and Brocolli…

Tuesday Twittering…The journey to be a doctor...

I must say since starting this series...it has made me realise even more how much prejudice exists in the world…I am a firm believer that given the opportunity everyone has a worth and a place in this world regardless of any disabilities…we must educate our children from an early age and integrate them with children who are ” different”…teach them how they can play and communicate with each other …give them the tools to do so albeit learning sign language, braille… another language..learning about traditions and food by teaching the children make it fun and kids like different if its fun to learn…we must not only learn to be kind but learn inclusion which is so very important…

Tuesday Twitterings…A journey to be a Doctor…

The environmental A-Z…a week of firsts for me…tell me I am naive..tell me I live in my own little bubble and not a covid induced one…the last few months have continued to shock me…maybe I should have opened my eyes and ears before..years before now…it has made me sad…sadder and wiser…and made me ask myself more questions…nothing new there but so much I wasn’t aware of and I should have been…

The Environmental A-Z…the letter F…

Today I am over at Smorgasbord Magazine kindly hosted by Sally for my Green Kitchen…Please pop over …I do hope you enjoy…x

Smorgasbord Food Column – Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – May 2021 – Dinner Rolls, Chillies, Recycled Face Masks, Grow Spring onions, make Apple Cider Vinegar – Waste Not, Want Not…

 

A nice condiment or sauce which complements a dish elevates it into a great dish…my mother’s recipes handed down from her mother are all I need and have been well tried and tested over the years…I hope you enjoy x

CarolCooks2…Week 13…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Sauces and condiments…

I had tasted passionfruit before I came here but since living here I have discovered how they compliment so many dishes and what a wonderfully versatile and healthy food it is…one of my favourites…

Tropical Fridays…The Passionfruit.

Allergies and food intolerances can be dangerous at worst and inconvenient at best especially when it restricts what you can eat…Sally explains the differences and how you can improve your health by following some guidelines…#rcommended read

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Allergies and Intolerances – Part Two – – #Dairy #Leaky Gut

The day where I indulge my whimsy and where this week my inner rock chick came out…There is a 500-year-old Maple Tree under threat and Bees still need protection and so much more …Enjoy!

Saturday Snippets…15th May 2021

Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…see you tomorrow for Meatless Mondays  …Love Carol xx

 

Tropical Fridays…The Passionfruit.

 

This sort of wrinkled egg-shaped fruit is not exciting to look at but what a little powerhouse of nutrients and all things good it is.

When the skin goes wrinkly it is when the Passionfruit is at its sweetest.

Its name came from South American Catholic missionaries who believed that the blossom of the passion fruit was a reminder of Christ. That the corona symbolised a crown of thorns, the stigma, the nails on the cross, the sepals and the petals which numbered ten were the apostles with the exception of Judas and Peter. The stamens were Christ’s wounds. I think that is a lovely explanation of how the passion fruit got its name.

Passion fruit grows in any frost-free warm climate around the world.

Cultivated since ancient times and always enjoyed for its sweet slightly tart flesh.

It has Vitamin C in abundance; in fact, a single serving of passion fruit has more than 100% of the required intake of vitamin C for a healthy diet.

One serving of passion fruit satisfies one-quarter of our potassium needs immediately thus it is proven to relax tension in our blood vessels and promote an increase in blood flow so it is indeed a little powerhouse.

But as with anything moderation is also a factor and as with all fruits they contain natural sugars so people with diabetes should be aware of their sugar levels.

But with passion fruit, it is very obvious that this little fairly unassuming looking fruit is packed with many benefits for our health and wellbeing.

This is not the first time I have written about Passionfruit well it was a recipe for passion fruit butter but when I make it this time it will be from homegrown fruit.  Prior to growing our own I always buy my fruit from the Royal Project Shop which I support whenever I can as it supports local grown organic crops.

The Royal Project (1969) is a non-profit organisation founded by his late Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej to solve the problem of deforestation, poverty and opium production by promoting alternative crops in Thailand. 

The produce there is top quality so fresh and organically grown although nothing tops growing your own the fruit and vegetables which come from this project are beautiful and only sold in the season… I love this shop as I never know what I will find there are no guarantees the project sends what it picks as the fruits and vegetable are ready and the costs are kept very low. Affordable organic foods at low cost…

Passionfruit can be used as a topping for cheesecakes, smoothies, icecreams, glazes or just eaten straight from its shell…

Mixed with Ginger and apple cider it makes a beautiful glaze for chicken breasts.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot  finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups passion fruit pulp (divided)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (divided)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sauce
  • 2 tbsp  Arrowroot or cornstarch
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Coriander to garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and the ginger, and cook on medium heat for a few minutes, stirring, until shallot and ginger are softened.

Add the chicken stock, 1/2 cup of the passionfruit pulp, and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Add the chicken breasts in a single layer. Add more chicken stock if required to ensure that the chicken breasts are just covered with liquid. I leave the skin above the liquid as I like to brown/ crisp my chicken skin.

Bring the cooking liquid to a slow simmer. Cover and cook the chicken breasts for 15-20 minutes,  until just cooked through meanwhile prepare the sauce.

Pour off all but 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the sauté pan. Add the remaining 1 cup of passion fruit juice, apple cider, vinegar, soy sauce, and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Whisk in the arrowroot powder

Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook until it the sauce has thickened about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over chicken breasts and serve. Serve with rice or new potatoes and lightly steamed vegetables.

Enjoy!

This next recipe came about quite by chance my daughter was telling me what she had for her birthday breakfast… I hadn’t heard of passion fruit butter/curd at that point…But as she was raving about it and how good it was …I thought must be good and it was … Served with a slice of homemade banana bread it is a lovely thing…The slightly tart taste of the passion fruit pairs nicely with the sweetness of the banana bread.

Passionfruit Butter/ Curd:

Ingredients:

  • The pulp of 5 large passion fruits. ( I used my frozen pulp) thawed of course and half cup.
  • 150g butter.
  • 100g  sugar.
  • Juice of half a lemon.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 5 eggs beaten.

Let’s Cook!

Melt butter and sugar in a heavy-bottomed (or enamel) saucepan over low heat. Add lemon juice, salt and passion fruit pulp. Mix well. In a bowl, whisk all 5 eggs lightly. Increase heat to medium-low and add the eggs to the passionfruit mixture, whisking with a whisk. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes, whisking continuously. Once smooth, stir with a wooden spoon while cooking. The butter is ready when the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of the spoon (pouring cream consistency/store-bought pouring custard consistency). Remove from heat. Fill in lidded jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

Of course, the passionfruit mixed with rum makes a lovely Mojito… Cheers!

Passionfruit Mojito

Ingredients (serves one)

  • 50 ml White Rum
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 1 1/2 passion fruits
  • 3 sprigs of mint
  • Dash of soda water
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • Crushed ice

Let’s mix and muddle

Muddle together the limes, sugar and the pulp of one passion fruit.

Add the leaves from 2 sprigs of mint and muddle some more.

Fill the chilled glass with crushed ice. ( I always keep some glasses in the fridge) Just in case…lol

Pour over the White Rum and a dash of soda water.

Stir together.

Garnish with half a passion fruit and a sprig of mint.

Cheers!

Passionfruit is one of my favourite breakfasts served with some Greek yoghurt…

Lily loves hers with a sprinkling of fish sauce she is a very experimental child but it works..my fault for encouraging them to try different combos of food…sigh…

BUT my all-time favourite and now I have a blow torch was when we were in my favourite hotel in Bangkok …I had a passionfruit mocktail(no )surprises there and it was topped with half a passionfruit which the bartender had brûlée the top of it…it was a wonderful thing…

What is your favourite passionfruit recipe ??? Please let me know in comments x

 

CarolCooks2…Week 13…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Sauces and condiments…

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

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

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

Sauces and condiments…I always thought it was a peculiarity of the Brits but now I am more knowledgeable about world cuisine I don’t think so but today I am concentrating on the sauces and condiments my mother made and served with her dinners…

It is also as you know because I don’t like chemicals in my food and also I don’t like being fleeced an example of this are the Colemans sauces…I am just using one as an example…Horseradish Sauce…

Spirit vinegar, horseradish (33%), turnip, rapeseed oil, water, sugar, glucose-fructose syrup, flavourings, salt, free-range British EGG yolk powder (0,6%), thickener (xanthan gum), MUSTARD flour, dextrose, antioxidant (sodium METABISULPHITE).

Plus the jar size and contents have decreased…plus import costs makes for an expensive(if) I can find it… jar of sauce…

Standard old price: £1.19 for 250ml. Standard new price £1.14 for 150ml. Total con!…this is the UK cost for me that is more than doubled…

No brainer really I am saving on cost-plus eliminating what looks like to me 3 lots of sugar under different names…salt, flavourings plus sodium METABISULPHITE…Well, I googled that… and it is safe to eat…not to breathe in and could affect one’s organs…According to the relevant agencies I trust about as much as I would trust a snake just about to strike at me…Just saying!

I hear you say moderation and I agree but I will also say build up as it is in mass-produced bread, crackers, biscuits etc…and also classed as a disinfectant…I’d really rather not…

Recipes…

Beef…it was horseradish sauce or mustard...

My mother made her prepared horseradish with grated horseradish root, vinegar, and salt…this is not the same as horseradish sauce…but is added to the sour cream if making a horseradish sauce…which is a milder version of prepared horseradish.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar

Mix everything together, taste and adjust seasoning if required. leave in the fridge for at least 2 hrs before serving if possible to allow flavours to develop.

Lamb…freshly made mint sauce…

  • 2-3 bunches of fresh-picked mint leaves only unless the stalks are very tender.
  • 1-2 tbsp white vinegar…my mother always used malt vinegar again I can’t always get it here.
  • 4-6 tsp raw brown sugar

Wash the mint thoroughly and pick off the leaves. Chop finely with 1-2 tsp of the sugar and then add the vinegar…taste and add more sugar if required some prefer their mint sauce sweeter than others.

Enjoy with your lamb and new potatoes…Delicious.

Pork…it had something missing if there was no apple sauce…

  • 4 large Apples(Bramley’s) if you can get them…peeled, cored and sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon/lime and toss apples to stop them from going brown.
  • Sugar…if using a cooking apple you may need 3-4 tbsp sugar depending…the apples here are not very tart so I often don’t use sugar or a scant tbsp.

Cook the apples for 20-25 mins until they break down and turn into a thick sauce if you are adding sugar add at the beginning of the cook.

 

N.B I like to add a clove to my apples when cooking but that is personal taste and sometimes I add a small piece of cinnamon.

Chicken…cranberry sauce and bread sauce…

Cranberry Sauce:

  • 3  cups or 12 oz of cranberries.
  • The juice of 2 large Oranges.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.

 

Put all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

Store in a sealed container.

My mum’s original Bread Sauce recipe…

Tip:

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use( I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer.  I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas Dinner we couldn’t have turkey/Capon without bread sauce…

I have been making it here quite often lately not sure why apart from its quick to make and goes well with roast chicken as before it was just made at Christmas…I am blaming the quarantine…

Ingredients:

About half a loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.

  • I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • Salt & Pepper.
  • About half-pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and add your bread crumbs or cubes and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove the onion and bay leaves.

This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

Fish…served with tartare sauce…delicious…

  • 200ml/7fl oz mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
  • 3 tbsp gherkins, drained and chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • A squeeze of lemon/lime juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Mix together all of the ingredients in a small bowl and serve straight away or store in the fridge until needed.

How easy is that…

With all of these, you control the sugar and salt plus they are easy to make…the chopping of ingredients takes longer.

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

Meatless Mondays…Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi and Brocolli…

Good morning and welcome to Meatless Monday’s…

Meatless Mondays here is just for scheduling purposes it can be any day and not just one day a week…I am gearing up for 2 days…

Food choices are very personal and learned behaviour can be very difficult to change… there is so much evidence now around our food choices that I believe it is vital for me and my family to make some changes…

Why you may well ask…  we have a healthy diet anyway…but for a sustainable future not for me but for my kids and their kid’s action should be taken now…

The fact and it is fact that it will make us healthier makes it a no-brainer really…

I am not advocating giving up meat I am saying we need to learn how to eat less meat by making better choices…What do I mean by that?

Mass-produced meat sold in supermarkets is often inhumanely reared and killed for our plate…it may be laden with antibiotics it is fact that animals reared in closed overcrowded abodes get diseases…which in turn affects our health…it may not be palatable to read this but it is a FACT…

There are livestock farmers raising animals sustainably plus managing The land to reduce the effect of greenhouse gases, treating animals humanely and creating better, safer working environments…

Plus it’s likely covid and other viruses started and were transmitted through unclean working conditions and inhuman animal husbandry…

Yes, higher standards mean higher costs to us the consumer but what price do you put on health?…

Surely eating a piece of mass-produced flavourless meat is not preferable to a lovely albeit smaller piece of grass-fed meat…

I will be doing a post on how to flavour your food with meat rather than meat being the larger part…it is not difficult to cook with flavour yes if you are starting from scratch it takes time…

A good example of this is I love beetroot and orange smoothies…

The place I used to get it from ..made freshly in front of me has gone…I am trying to replicate it at home…so far it’s not cutting it…I need to adjust my ratios of beetroot to orange yet again but I will get there…

To make sure our families are eating the best food we can buy/make for them withing our budgets may not be easy..BUT… we need to teach our children and it will become easier for future generations and at the same time, it builds family relationships and neighbourly ones if we share our successes and recipes…

Our health and the future health of this beautiful planet we inhabit will be far healthier and don’t you want to leave a better place for the future generations and hopefully, they will have learnt from their mistakes.

My recipe for this week is a Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi and Brocolli…

Halloumi…Halloumi or haloumi is a semi-hard, unripened cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. This property makes it a popular meat substitute.

I thought I would try halloumi as I haven’t eaten it before…

Ingredients:

  • 120 gms raw Cashew Nuts
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Piece fresh ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200 gm tomatoes skinned
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 300 gm coconut milk
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Broccoli florets or cauliflower

Let’s cook!

Cover cashew nuts switch salted water and leave to soak for at least 2 hrs I left mine for 5 hrs…the reason for this is if not soaked they are quite bland.

Once cashew nuts are soaked then blitz the cashew nuts with the skinned tomatoes, garlic and ginger, green chillies and onion then add coconut milk…

Cut the halloumi into cubes and fry on all side in olive oil until golden and crispy then remove from pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Lightly steam broccoli florets.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the blitzed curry to the ghee and stir bring to a slow simmer and add garam masala and salt to taste cook on low for about 15 mins…

Then add halloumi and broccoli cook for another 5 mins until heated through. Taste to season and add lime juice…Taste and adjust as required.

Serve with rice and garnish with coriander(optional)

This is the first time I have made a cashew nut curry and used halloumi…

The curry was flavourful and I preferred the halloumi to tofu…I would make the sauce slightly thinner next time but would make it again with a little more spice and some more vegetables.

How is introducing more plant-based meals going in your kitchen… Going well or meeting with some opposition?...

That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx

Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment and any tips or recipes you want to share… I love to chat and share recipes…Love Carol xx

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…May 2nd-8th May 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

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

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

Let’s get the party started then…

All this talk and action about racism is getting to me…I care about injustices deeply they all sadden me but it’s throughout all society and applies in many areas of our lives… prejudice comes in many forms and for many reasons and for us to live in a society that is just and fair it has to apply to all…

Tuesday Twitterings…A journey to be a Doctor…

I love A-Z’s and this one is more challenging than some…I do hope you are enjoying it x This week I explored the alphabet for words where the middle letter was E it always means there has to be an odd number of letters and I try not to add an S unless I really can not think of anything…Enjoy!

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

In my kitchen this week I looked at making chicken stock and it really is a waste to throw away carcasses and bones as homemade stock is absolutely delicious as long as we buy good quality, organic or sustainably reared meat you will be rewarded by a beautiful stock and of course you can use up your peelings and onions skins and odds and ends of veg or aromatics which means less waste…you also control your salt, sugar and chemical intake so a win-win all round.

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

Allergies or food intolerances can be a mild inconvenience or life-threatening with stages in between we need to know the difference and we must know what steps to take in an emergency…Sally explains all of this in-depth and in easy to understand layman’s terms…#recommended read

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Allergies and Intolerances – Part One – The difference between them by Sally Cronin

This beautiful vibrant flower makes a very healthy caffeine-free drink…hot or cold it provides numerous health benefits and makes vibrant coloured ice cubes for your cocktail or play with it and colour your glass noodles…they look so pretty on the plate…

Tropical Fridays…Butterfly Pea Flower Tea…

Saturday Snippets…

Saturday Snippets featured two of my favourite artists…Paolo Nutini and Ricky Nelson not a bit alike but both very listenable…we also have National Burger Month, l Doughnut week and who can eat a whole jam doughnut WITHOUT licking your lips and National Vegetarian week…Plus other little snippets…I do hope you enjoy xx

Saturday Snippets…8th May 2021…

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