Category Archives: Cooking from scratch

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘H’ is for Honey, Hamburgers, Hummus, Herbs, Haggis and Hoisin Sauce

 

Sally from Smorgasbord Magazine is rewinding my first A-Z and today it is the letter H…my thoughts turn immediately to honey one of my favourite sweeteners and fresh from the comb it is a wi=onderful thing…Thank you, Sally it is a treat for me to recap on this A-Z as I hope it is to everyone else…

The choices on what to showcase were many and I had quite a hard time deciding which ones to feature. Otherwise, you could be looking at something akin to War and Peace and we all want peace in our kitchens don’t we?

Honey: also known as the… Nectar of the Gods.

Where do I get my honey? Well, my first bottle, I was sitting on the beach with my sundowner, fending off the ever-present sellers of touristy bits and bobs, when a man appeared carrying a very heavy-looking bucket. What did he have? Well, I had to look and what a surprise, it was fresh, very fresh honeycomb, and he strained the most glorious bottle of fresh honey. I just had to purchase it, the taste was so fresh and very slightly scented, amazing and such a beautiful golden colour. Enjoy!

Now I have moved to the North of Thailand I get my honey straight from the comb, I am so lucky and I know that and it is beautiful.

I always take a little apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey in hot water first thing in the morning, on an empty tummy. I have been taking it for a couple of years. It is said to fight off joint inflammation and I don’t suffer from joint pain or anything.

Honey mixed with Dijon mustard makes a lovely glaze for BBQ meats…Honey’s uses are many to read more on honey and the other foods beginning with H…Please click the highlighted link below to read the original post…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/09/28/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-carol-taylors-culinary-a-z-rewind-h-is-for-honey-hamburgers-hummus-herbs-haggis-and-hoisin-sauce/

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Mushroom Lasagne…

 

Good morning and welcome to my kitchen where all my recipes are cooked by me and tried and tested on my family…Trust me they are the harshest of critics…Not only have I reduced the amount of meat I eat I am trying to introduce more meat-free dishes into my family’s diet…plus many of my readers and friends are either vegetarian or vegan and I respect other people’s views and observances of their chosen diet…

Also, I promised the lovely Trish who writes under the pen name of Alex Craigie that I would come up with some vegetable-based dishes for her…Hence I have decided that every other week there will be a vegetable-based dish all tried and tested in my kitchen…

Today’s vegetarian recipe is Mushroom Lasagne…

This lasagne recipe is one my son made when I was over in the UK…he asked me if I looked garlic as it is a 40-clove garlic lasagne…it has 4 roasted cloves of garlic, layered with mushrooms and a creamy cheese sauce…it is decadent and definitely, a treat not recommended to eat or serve if you are going on a hot date …

Ingredients:

  • 4 Bulbs of Garlic
  • 4 Shallots
  • 1.5kg Mushrooms
  • 150g Parmesan
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 4 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 800ml Milk
  • 250g Mozzarella
  • 4 Sprigs of Sage
  • Small Handful of Parsley
  • 200g Fresh Lasagne Sheets
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Let’s Cook!

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Chop the ends off your bulbs of garlic and your shallots. Chop the shallots in half and drizzle them liberally with oil. Wrap your bulbs of garlic tightly in foil and roast for 1 hour.

Garlic and banana shallots

Grate the parmesan.

Melt 4 tbsp of butter in a pot and then whisk in the flour. Slowly drizzle in the milk to form a thick sauce. Add in the mozzarella and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Finely chop the sage and parsley.

Roughly chop up the mushrooms and add them to a large pot with the remaining butter and 1 tsp of salt. Sauté for 15 mins until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the shallots and garlic are roasted, pop them in a blender with 200ml of water and ¼ of the mushroom mix and 2 tbsp of the bechamel sauce. Blend until very smooth, there should be no fibrous bits, add more water if necessary.

Add the garlic liquid to the mushrooms and cook on a low heat to make a thick sauce.

Mix in the sage and parsley.

Layer a lasagne dish first with a thin layer of mushrooms, then a thin layer of béchamel and then the lasagne sheets. Repeat with thin layers of the filling, ending on a layer of béchamel. Finish with the parmesan.

Pop into the oven for 30 mins, allow to rest for 15 mins and then serve.

Thank you for joining me today this is a lovely meat-free lasagne very rich and creamy…and so very delicious…a lovely dish for a dinner party or a buffet or just because…

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 18th -24th September 2022-Monday Musings, Chicken Curry with Bamboo , Health, Morbid Obesity, Aromatic Leaves…Deep Fried Maple Leaves…and Saturday Snippets where “Curve” is my one word prompt.

Hello and welcome to my weekly roundup of posts you may have missed during the week…September is in its final week...the start of high season and sunshine for some although we are still getting some ferocious tropical downpours and the start of shorter nights and colder days for others…

Lots of food months in September like potatoes, rice, mushrooms, Italian Cheese, honey, chicken, and whole grains all foods I like…This is the time to gather up the rest of the harvest and prepare for the winter month for those of you who are in the Southern Hemisphere…

Last Monday saw the funeral service for Queen Elizabeth II… Queen Elizabeth II sadly left this world after 70 years of service and dedication to the Crown and the British people…a sad week for so many worldwide…a Queen who was a mother and grandmother who dedicated her life to serving the Crown and throughout her life, she did so with grace, humility, dignity and a sense of fun…

What can we look forward to in October?…for some there is Halloween but it’s also a month loaded with national and global celebrations. In addition to spooky revelry, October’s schedule includes multiple days on the topic of bullying awareness …it makes me sad that after all the days, weeks and months we are still banging this drum…Bullying is unacceptable in my book and yet it still exists…

It’s National Apple, Chilli and Caramel, pears and Rhubarb month plus cookbook month… those are just a few of my favourites already the recipes are swirling around in my brain…

Let’s have look at last week’s posts…starting with…Monday Musings...

Monday was a historical day and a sad day but a day where we could reflect on a life well lived, a much-loved mother, grandmother and Queen was laid to rest…Long Live the King!

Monday Musings …19th September 2022…

Chicken is such a versatile and healthy meat, quick to cook and a whole chicken can make more than one meal today I shared a much-loved recipe here chicken with bamboo…bamboo is a very versatile vegetable…Bamboo shoots are also very nice to eat…Bamboo shoots (noo maai) are used as the main ingredient in a variety of traditional Thai dishes, they can be cooked, pickled, and eaten raw. Bamboo shoots have a high amount of vitamins A, B1, B2 and C.

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Chicken Curry with Bamboo Shoots( noo maai)…

I love writing A-Z’s and this one is no exception it is interesting and informative to look at a country’s cuisine…Today I am taking you on a virtual tour of the cuisine of Estonia…a cuisine that is similar in many ways to the food I grew up with and also a cuisine that is building on its traditional roots and is so good now that some restaurants have started to earn a Michelin star…

CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 23…Estonia…

World wide Obesity is on the rise…the official figures are scary because not does obesity only limit our lifespan and impact our enjoyment of life it also impacts on health services around the world…We cannot halt the train that produces so many processed foods which are in general laden with chemicals, the same with our meat and vegetables we can however take charge of ourselves and choose to get off that train…Sally who writes Smorgasbord Magazine uses herself as an example of what can be achieved… she tells how it impacted her life and would have affected her longevity …she also is very honest as she chronicles her journey…she is a living example of what can be done by us…TO READ THE ORIGINAL POST PLEASE CLICK THE HIGHLIGHTED LINK BELOW…

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – Delicious foods you can eat on a healthy #weightloss programme by Sally Cronin

Aromatic leaves can make a great difference to the taste of our food and often we have them in our gardens or can find them if we forage we may pick the fruit and not realise that the leaf also has a place in our culinary world to enrich our dishes…

In this post, I look at maple Leaves, The Duan Salam leaf and the star fruit leaf…all these leaves that until I researched this post I was unaware either of their existence or the fact that they could be used…I have Duan Salam leaves in the post and on their way to me, the star fruit leaves stare me in the face every day and I knew not of their use… the Maple leaf I don’t have a tree near me and even those of you who have didn’t know they could be eaten…it seems it has been a learning curve all around this week…that makes me happy as I love to learn new things…

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 5…

One of my favourite posts to write and research…this week my muse gave me an easy one…”Curve”…I hope you enjoy the music and the chatter x

Saturday Snippets…24th September 2022…Today’s one-word prompt is “Curve”

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments I hope you are having a fabulous weekend xx

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – Delicious foods you can eat on a healthy #weightloss programme by Sally Cronin

Especially for you...this week Sally outlines what you can eat to lose weight and stay healthy…

Delicious foods you can eat on a healthy #weightloss programme

Most eating programmes to lose weight will emphasise all the foods that you cannot eat.

This to me is crazy as in fact they are far outweighed by the number of foods that you can eat. This is why we head into a weight loss programme already feeling deprived.

As a rule of thumb when preparing your menu for the week and a shopping list; select anything that has been taken from the ground, picked from a tree, allowed to roam free and graze naturally and comes from a cold sea environment rather than a fish farm.

Anything that is wrapped in plastic or cardboard should be treated with suspicion as should the really cheap options. Also whilst it is convenient to buy your vegetables ready chopped they will have lost up to 50% of their nutritional value in the first week after being chopped and more as the days go by. Think about what an apple looks like after only a few minutes of being exposed to the air. Usually, good quality frozen food is chopped and prepared immediately so you can use that as an alternative.

To read the original post please click the highlighted link below…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/09/22/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-morbid-obesity-delicious-foods-you-can-eat-on-a-healthy-weightloss-programme-by-sally-cronin/

 

CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 23…Estonia…

Welcome to my new A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…

Today I am looking at the cuisine of Estonia.

The Eastern European country is bordered by Latvia and Russia and shares maritime borders with Finland and Sweden…Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had been part of the Russian Empire since the end of the 18th century,..The former Soviet republic became independent in 1991…Estonian local cuisine typically contains pork, potatoes, and garden vegetables although international foods are available the Estonians are rooted in tradition and traditional foods are favoured like jellied meat and marinated eel this to me brings back memories of my childhood as jellied meats(brawn) and vegetables in aspic jelly plus eels a favourite still in the East End of London…

Although many tourists unused to these traditional foods tend to find the textures strange…but pleasant once they overcome their initial reticence…

The black bread known as “lieb” is a staple and a meal wouldn’t be deemed complete if not served with lieb or “kartulid” (potatoes )…

And of course, no meal is complete without cakes and pastries which are also typical in Estonian gastronomy and one of the most sought-after delicacies would be the “kohupiim,” a cottage cheese-like cake. Estonians are also known for their sweet and mouth-watering dairy products…

Estonia’s National dish is Verivorst...Typically a winter meal or Christmas meal, verivorst which literally means “blood sausage” that comprises barley, onions, allspice, marjoram and blood…pigs blood…very similar to what we Brits call black pudding Verivorst is eaten with Mulgikapsad, a type of sauerkraut, and a red berry jam…Here is a link on how to make Verivorst I know my hubby would love this dish…and I could get all the ingredients here as pig’s blood is sold by the bag…its not something I could make or eat…I have a line…sorry Alan x

The Hairy Bikers have done a tour In Estonia going foraging, fishing for sea kale and dancing with grannies who are said to produce the best school dinners in Europe…I was hoping I could find a video of this tour but I couldn’t…as a former communist country, it seems Estonia is doing very well on the world stage…

But I am looking at the cuisine… a cuisine where Scandinavian, German, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and other influences have played their part. The most typical foods in Estonia have been rye bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products.

It is also good to note that Estonian eating habits have historically been closely linked to the seasons…I like that…from the fish of the freshwater lakes to the vast fields of rye, so many fresh, quality ingredients make their way onto Estonian dinner tables…

Sprats… this tiny fish was a staple when I was growing up and it appears to be a very popular dish here from a spicy sprat starter to many other dishes sprats feature highly in Estonia’s recipes…On a slice of rye bread, a generous amount of cream cheese, mixed with crushed garlic, is spread then a fillet of pickled sprat is placed. Finally, the sandwich is garnished with slices of boiled egg white, green onion, and dill… Called Vürtsikilu Suupiste it is often accompanied by strong liquors, preferably vodka of Estonian origin.

Hearty Pea Soup with ham hock..something my mother used to make a lovely thick with dried peas soup with smoky ham hock…or how about Potato Salad I think every European country has their own version of potato salad…the potato salad here has smoked sausage and apple and the egg is grated…and is very popular as potato salad is wont to be around Europe and the Nordic countries…

Blood Sausage is a dish that is as old as time…variations of which exist in the UK, Europe and Asia…In South Korea, they are called ‘sundae’, in the Philippines – ‘longganisang dugo, and in Finland – ‘mustamakkara’…Estonian blood dumplings can often be found in shops during Christmas fairs, often accompanied by sauerkraut (‘hapukapsas’ in Estonian).

It is often sold sliced, and it is enjoyed as a late afternoon or early evening snack with a drink.

Verikäkkare is prepared by adding rendered lard and fried onion to a bowl of spices, blood, and milk, which can be substituted with water…Next, flour is added until the mixture forms a dough. The dough can be moulded into shapes, and traditionally they are rolled into sausages.

The sausages are then boiled in water until cooked, and then they’re left to cool. Before serving, they are cut into small discs and fried in a pan until they are browned.

The dumplings are served with pickles, sour cream, and cranberry jam. This dish is a true reminder of the resourcefulness of the Estonians and the importance of Estonian food…true nose-to-tail eating is practised still.

This is apparent in dishes like Sült which reminds me of the meat in aspic jelly my grandmother used to make…Beets are a popular vegetable and paired with herrings as they are in many Nordic countries…Roast Pork with Sauerkraut is another traditional dish as is cauliflower cheese and barley porridge…

Traditional food and preparation feature highly in Estonian cuisine and you could be forgiven for thinking that the cuisine hasn’t moved on, however …The Michelin Guide tells a different story;

Estonia is one of those countries that our inspectors have been scrutinising with curiosity for several years. After many months spent crisscrossing the country, from Tallinn to Tartu, from Mäeküla to Kloogaranna, they discovered a teeming culinary scene, full of quality establishments and diverse cuisine. Highlighting talented chefs and professionals who play on both classic Estonian and international repertoires, this first selection of restaurants is a wonderful invitation to discover a fascinating gastronomic destination,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides.

That discovery surprised and delighted me to think that as their dinner ladies provided the best school dinner in Europe then maybe their chefs were hiding their light under a bushel…Having MICHELIN in Estonia is a great recognition of their restaurant landscape. It shows that the Estonian culinary scene, which is not yet well known in the world, has been enriched by a strong food tradition that takes influence from the best of world cuisine.

That is definitely a cuisine that I would love to explore a little deeper…I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour of Estonia…as always I look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Chicken Curry with Bamboo Shoots( noo maai)…

Good morning and welcome to my kitchen where all my recipes are cooked by me and tried and tested on my family…Trust me they are the harshest of critics…For the last few months, I have been publishing a chicken recipe on Tuesdays…

We like chicken plus chicken is such a very versatile protein it has little fat(unless we add it)…a healthy alternative to red meat…  low in saturated fat, CHICKEN contains higher amounts of omega-6 fatty acids than other animal meats, is high in protein, essential vitamins and minerals such as B6, B12, iron, zinc, and copper…It is also quick and easy to cook…

However…not only have I reduced the amount of meat I eat I am trying to introduce more meat-free dishes into my family’s diet…plus many of my readers and friends are either vegetarian or vegan. I respect other people’s views and observances of their chosen diet…I will also say that I have been pleasantly surprised at my family’s response to my vegetarian recipes…so far they have liked them and not lamented (moaned) about the lack of meat…for me, that’s a big bonus…

Today I bring you, Chicken Curry, with Bamboo Shoots…

Bamboo shoots are very nice to eat…Bamboo shoots (noo maai) are used as the main ingredient in a variety of traditional Thai dishes, they can be cooked, pickled, and eaten raw. Bamboo shoots have a high amount of vitamins A, B1, B2 and C.

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

Chicken Curry with bamboo shoots…

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm boneless, skinless Chicken Thigh Meat cut into cubes
  • 1-3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots cut roughly or into thin strips…canned ones are fine
  • 2 – 3 Thai Chillies
  • 1 cup  Thai Sweet Basil…Horapa
  • 5 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • 2 tsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Let’s Cook!

Heat half the coconut milk in a wok or pan, then stir in the curry. Cook it on low heat until it is thick and well blended.

Add the chicken meat and fry it in the curry for about 5 minutes, then add the other half of the coconut milk.
Add the bamboo shoots, red chillies, and pieces of kaffir lime leaf. Cook for 10 minutes, then let it cool down slightly and stir in the basil and serve.

Enjoy!

This curry is quick to cook and delicious,

Bamboo …can be sliced and boiled, sautéed or braised and served as an accompaniment to meat and fish. They can be slow-cooked with other vegetables or stir-fried. The crunchy texture of young, tender bamboo shoots makes them a great choice served as hors d’oeuvres or stand-alone vegetable.

Healthwise bamboo is a powerhouse of proteins, carbohydrates, fibre and minerals. These shoots are very low on fat and sugar making it an ideal snack for diabetics. The presence of fibre in large quantities known as nutraceuticals helps in dealing with gut issues.

Thank you very much for reading this post…if you have already cooked with bamboo then you know how lovely it is and if you haven’t and get the chance to try it…Enjoy!.. it is a lovely vegetable and you should be able to find it tinned in your Asian Stores or online.