Category Archives: Cooking from scratch

October is National Apple Month…Apple Recipes freshly cooked in my kitchen.

October is National Apple Month in the US…it is also National Pumpkin Month which I have promoted more than enough as wonderful as the pumpkin is l think it is time I gave the “Apple” the spotlight…

Did you know that worldwide 7,500 different varieties of apples are grown? My favourite apples are Bramley’s, Cox’s and Braeburn apples which ones are your favourite apples ???

As the saying goes an ” Apple a day keeps the doctor away” and rightly so as that little round ball of goodness is 2/3 fibre it has lots of anti-oxidants especially in the peel so do not peel it…please. They are also fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free and come in all shades of red, green and yellow so many to choose from…Which apple or apples are your favourite????

Apples have been around since at least 6500 BC and used to be called winter bananas or melt in your mouth… Mmmmm, don’t really get that connection…

Who loved doing apple bobbing at Halloween?? Or that party game where you were blindfolded and had your hands behind your back and had to take a bite of the apple sometimes it was a doughnut…But good fun…

Still mainly picked by hand apple growing is called pomology and the apple is a member of the rose family.

The cook in me can tell you that two pounds of apples will make a 9” pie…that apples ripen 6-10 times faster kept at room temperature than if you refrigerate them.

Apples go well with many dishes and recipes I mean you cannot have roast pork without applesauce or coleslaw without apple my mum used to make wonderful pancakes with slices of apple in the batter and her apple pie was also the best ever… I am still trying to bake a pie as good as my mum’s.

Here are some of my favourite recipes using apples…Starting with coleslaw…

 

There are so many permutations of this dish and all wonderful in their own way…My version, 5 ingredients plus mayo and you have a beautiful slaw to eat with anything…

I add no sugar as carrots and apples have their own natural sweetness.

So….Lets Cook!

 Shred half a white cabbage or red or half and half.

Peel and quarter at least one apple and then slice thinly.

Grate or dice a carrot.

Put in a bowl, add some mayo,  pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper and a good squeeze of fresh lemon /lime juice.

Keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve. It will keep in the fridge may be covered until the next day but I just make it as I want it so easy to make enough for 1 or 10.

Enjoy!

Applesauce is one of the easiest sauces to make and can be used in so many different ways.

 

To make applesauce just peel your apples add a tiny bit of water and depending on which apples you are using you can add a little sugar…I don’t…Sometimes I add some cloves, a cinnamon stick it depends…Cook until softened and then you can puree if you like a smooth sauce or just roughly mash it or leave it as it is…

Applesauce pureed is a lovely food for babies when they first start eating solids maybe mix a little with rice or porridge for them.

*You can use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg in most baking recipes. Some say to mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. If all you have is sweetened applesauce, then simply reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. Applesauce is also a popular healthy replacement for oil in many baked goods.

N.B I haven’t used applesauce as an egg substitute myself…Have you????

I love baked apples which is something my mum used to make filled with sultanas and baked in the oven she also used to cover the apple in suet pasty and make a suet apple pudding… All served with a bowl full of custard…I have happy childhood memories of these and although I don’t make the suet pudding we do love a baked apple like the one below and equally as lovely without the custard…

Ingredients:

• 4 large apples cored – any type except Granny smith which do not bake well
• 4 teaspoons unsalted butter cut in tiny cubes
• 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger or you could use fresh ginger very finely chopped or grated.
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• brown sugar to taste
• ½ cup apple cider ( I used ACV as I couldn’t get apple cider)

Let’s Cook!

Place your cored apples in an ovenproof dish. Mix the butter, walnuts and spices together and add to the centre of the apples.

Pour your apple cider into the dish to stop the apples from catching the bottom of the dish.

Bake on 350F/177C or gas mark 4 for 45 to 60 minutes depending on your apples…Baste the apples every 15 minutes.

To Serve: These can be served with custard, ice cream or a dairy-free coconut cream whip.

This was a lovely dessert and I think using Apple cider vinegar instead of cider took away the sweetness of the apple it was really nice.

What is your favourite childhood memories of eating apples????

My mum’s apple pie recipe…

apple pie-2760064_1280

To serve: Add a squirt of cream or some lovely clotted cream if you can get it, custard, my dairy-free cream as above or a scoop of lovely Cornish ice cream.

Watching the calories then top the apple with some meringue ..very nice or add a crumble mix my recipe for crumble made separately is very nice and you could add as little as you like just a spoonful layered into a glass gives that little bit of added crunch.

 Apple and Mulberry Crumble

What else are apples used for ?? Apple juice, Apple cider vinegar Cider, Apple vinegar all of which have many health benefits and uses… Just be careful if you buy apple juice that it is not loaded with loads of sugar and other nasties which those sneaky drinks companies put in everything…Don’t get me started…lol and if it’s cider( scrumpy) moderation is the name…

I hope you have enjoyed this post on the humble little apple…x

Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know what I am going to say it is Free and proven to be good for your health…..

Thank you once again for reading this post  …Happy Baking! xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Cookie Time!…Today we are baking Peanut Brownie Cookies…

Today Lily and I are baking cookies …the recipe was given to me by the lovely Ally from Ally’s Notebook Blog head over and check out Ally’s Pizza’s they look and sound so delicious…I’m sure these cookies will be the same…Thank you for the recipe Ally it is one of her mum’s recipes which means it must be good…The verdict...at the end of the post…

Ingredients:

  • 125 gm softened Butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup of peanuts roasted

Let’s Bake!

The original recipe used nuts in their shells roasted I just had raw nuts already shelled which I roasted in a pre-heated oven to 350º F. Then place peanuts in a single layer in a baking pan. Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until nuts just begin to turn brown. …remember that peanuts get very hot and continue cooking after being removed from the oven…Set to one side.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely…If you are cooking in their shells they will take slightly longer about 25-30 minutes.

Now to make the cookies…

Cream the softened butter well then add the beaten egg and stir well. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and add salt stir well to combine.

Gently fold in the cold peanuts.

Roll a tbsp of the mixture into balls and flatten with a floured fork…

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150C/302F for 25-30 mins.

Makes about 25-30 cookies.

The Verdict:

Very nice Cookies...my oven runs hot so the cookies took between 20-25 minutes as size-wise Lily was a little erratic..lol..she is learning bless her but she has done well…I roasted the peanuts and Lily did the rest…The mixture was easy to roll into a ball not too sticky…we didn’t quite make 30 as some were a little big…lol ..but they were lovely biscuits…Thanks to Ally’s mum xx

See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets…

 

 

 

Making A Lancashire Hotpot! Here’s The Recipe For this Traditional English Meal! By John Rieber…

John made this recipe and loved it!

Please head over to John’s Blog and read his comments on this Lancashire Hotpot and while you are there have a wander around as John always surprises and delights me with his weird and wacky finds and he loves bacon which is a plus…#ewcommended read.

Please click the link below to read how John got on...and his verdict…

https://johnrieber.com/2021/10/20/making-a-lancashire-hotpot-heres-the-recipe-for-this-traditional-english-meal/

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…October 10th-October 16th 2021…Environmental A-Z, Vegan BBQ Jackfruit, Pulled Pork, The Earthshot Prize,Smog and World Food Day…

My Environmental A-Z, Music …in the US it’s National Pumpkin and Apple month…Pulled Pork, Vegan BBQ Jackfruit, Chilli Con Carne, The Earthshot Prize and World Food Day…

Time is marching on and I am hearing little murmurings about Christmas…sigh…we are only just in October and we haven’t had Halloween yet…I mean Santa says it’s 69 sleeps…It is though nearly time to make those cakes and puddings if they are to be matured, marzipanned and iced by Christmas…

Did you know that in October…? 

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then you should have or should be planting those Spring Bulbs…I absolutely adore seeing the spring flowers… the first snowdrops, the beautiful narcissi and my favourite the bluebells which come a tad later than the daffodils…but first we have to enjoy the beautiful colour changes of the Fall in the Northern Hemisphere…Those colours are glorious…the beautiful Marigold which is Octobers flowers compliments the autumn colours…

October music...Adele has released her long-awaited album, Kelly Clarson has released her Christmas album, Coldplay have released “Music of the Spheres, The former Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson has released her long-awaited debut album, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga for me an unlikely pairing but it has been widely applauded by the critics one of whom said, “Bennett’s got these songs under his skin, and pop’s Mother Monster does a brilliant job of helping him deliver them as a final gift to the world.”

Enough of my meanderings lets have a look at last weeks posts…

Welcome to the round-up of posts you might have missed this week on CarolCooks2… 

The slow cooker is a wonderful piece of equipment and one I have used for more years than I care to remember…I always used to put Porridge Oats on before I went to bed which meant the Hubby who left at 6 am could have a steaming bowl of porridge to keep him warm then as the kids got up they could have a bowl of hot porridge… the slow cooker is wonderful for porridge as it doesn’t burn the bottom… I have burnt many a saucepan bottom when I left the porridge to do something else in the morning rush…not with the slow cooker it’s perfect for porridge…it is also perfect for this Pulled Pork which is so wonderfully soft and delicious when cooked…

The Pitta bread took me a few attempts until I got it perfect but really is easy if you follow the instructions…The vegan BBQ jackfruit is as near as dammit as you can get to pulled pork both in taste and texture and this observation comes from someone who doesn’t like tofu and is a meat eater…

CarolCooks2…in my kitchen…Pulled Pork and a vegan pulled BBQ Jackfruit.

Penning this A-Z has been something of an eye-opener to me while doing my research as some terms I did not know the full meaning of or more to the point the consequences for our health.

The Environmental A-Z…the letter S…#Smog, Sustainable Agriculture, Solid Waste…The Earthshot Prize

Shopping when you are looking for something in particular but not sure what it is can be a nightmare…Sally’s shopping by nutrient is a brilliant idea particularly if you have a certain medical condition that requires you to ensure that you eat certain vitamins…#recommended read.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Weekly Grocery Shopping List by Nutrient – Part Two – Vitamin C to K2 by Sally Cronin

Although we don’t celebrate Halloween I know many of you particularly my American cousins and friends celebrate Halloween…these recipes are especially for you…Enjoy!

Halloween-Pumpkins- witches-

Two chillies for you one with meat and a Vegetarian chilli…Both delicious and warming…

Fang-Tastic Friday … Chilli Con Carne and Halloween Trivia…

Saturday Snippets…

As it was World Food Day yesterday I didn’t want to detract from the importance of the UN’s call for action to make healthy and sustainable diets available and affordable to everyone.

The theme this year is “Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow”.

I would love to know for certain that my children and grandchildren were assured: “Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow”.

Our actions are our future HOWEVER  when I read statements that come from the mouths of major food and agriculture companies who argue that the way forward is through proprietary tech and more chemicals…I TOTALLY REJECT THIS TRAIN OF THOUGHT…Has nothing been learnt? I won’t ask do they care as all they do care about is profit…Their’s…

I am appalled at the UN for sanctioning these speakers and for not giving the platform to groups who were building and advocating for sustainable food systems worldwide…Have they no teeth or are they in the same pockets?????… Rant over but I make no apologies…

Our Actions are Our Future…#World Food Day… 16th October 2021.

That’s all for this week if you are reading…Thank you xx

 

 

Fang-Tastic Friday … Chilli Con Carne and Halloween Trivia…

Halloween-Pumpkins- witches-

I am sure by now that those of you who really go all out for Halloween have got all your porches and homesteads superbly decorated…..please send your pictures I love to see them I have never lived anywhere where Halloween is celebrated…we have always celebrated Harvest festival with beautiful loaves shaped like sheaves of corn …lots of beautiful root vegetables, Apple Pies and hymns like “We Plough the Fields and Scatter” I can still hear the words in my head…Anyway enough of my maudlin…its all about Halloween…

A great chilli recipe for when it’s cold and blowy outside…I think a lovely big pan of chilli goes down well with most,  A lovely jacket potato especially if it is cooked in the coals of your BBQ or fire or my favourite was when my mum used to roast chestnuts in the ash pan underneath the fire…

Chilli Con Carne … Carol’s Way…

chilli-con carne-chilli peppers

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm lean minced Beef
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper chopped or mix all the colours I do if I have leftovers to use.
  • 3/4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1-3 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 pint of fresh-made beef or vegetable stock
  • 400 gm fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp sugar…I sneak this in when no one is looking as it brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410 gm can red kidney beans, drained or pre-soaked dried kidney beans.

Let’s Cook!
Put the olive oil in a large pan and heat add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and cumin seeds cook until onions are translucent about 5 minutes.
I like to add my cumin seeds with the onions as it brings out their full flavour and we love cumin.
Add the minced meat and cook, stirring until nicely browned.
Add the tomatoes, stock, peppers and tomato puree stirring in well and bring to a soft simmer.
Add the paprika, marjoram and sugar.
Cook for 20 minutes now this is where I taste and add more chilli and usually more cumin seeds and then add the drained kidney beans and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve with steamed rice and sour cream sprinkled with smoked paprika ( optional)

Enjoy!

Halloween Trivia! Did you know?

The 1978 blockbuster, Halloween, was only made in 21 days on a very limited budget.

My second Chilli recipe from a friend of mine …Richard and it is his vegetarian chilli…Thank Richard it is very nice. It is Richards recipe with a Thai twist and tasty…

Vegetarian Chilli with lentils.

vegetarian chilli with lentils

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 chillies
  • 125 gm mushrooms chopped
  • A handful of chopped green beans
  • 100 gm black lentils
  • 1 tbsp each of fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar
  • Basil Leaves

Then cook as normal ensuring lentils are cooked through.

The instructions are as I received them as Richard obviously knows I can cook…lol

For anyone needing more details then cook as my chilli recipe above but adding lentils instead of the meat. I did add a couple more tomatoes and some kidney beans to Richards original recipe…I also soaked my lentils… he doesn’t as he likes his lentils al dente…

Cooking is all about personal taste and I sometimes just chuck it in the pot and take it from there… That’s how I cook most of the time and TASTE…

Enjoy!

Did you know?

Pumpkins are not only orange, but also white, blue, and green?

Some mocktails for the kiddywinks.

Did you know?

Hundreds of vampire clubs and societies exist and claim to have real vampires as their members.

fangs

They may have had dental work on their teeth but really vampires?? What do you think ??

Have you got any favourite Halloween recipes you would like to share next Friday if so message me and I will showcase them and link back to you 🙂 x

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week 🙂 xx

 

CarolCooks2…in my kitchen…Pulled Pork and a vegan pulled BBQ Jackfruit.

Welcome to my kitchen...today I will be showing you how to cook pulled pork and if you are vegetarian or vegan I will also give you an alternative that tastes just like pulled pork and with the same texture…

We ate ours with Pitta bread which took some practise my first ones were not so good but not one to give up I have practised again and again…

They were lovely topped with some shredded white cabbage and shallots and some sour cream…

Ingredients:

  • 2k piece of Pork Shoulder
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce…my homemade BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup ACV
  • 1/2 cup Chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 extra-large onion or two med onions
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil or oil of your choice
  • 1 Bay Leaf

Let’s Cook!

Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 5 hrs or until the meat is soft end tender. Baste the meat with the juices occasionally. Rest the meat for 30 mins before shredding and putting the meat back into the juice..  or add the juice to a jug and add as you serve…

Serve in the bread of your choice rolls or flatbreads or this homemade Pitta Bread.

Pitta Bread:

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided (or 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour and 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 to 2 tsp  salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (I used plus a little more for the bowl.

Let’s Bake:

In a large mixing bowl add 1 cup lukewarm water and stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved. Add ½ cup flour and whisk together. Place the mixing bowl in a warm place, uncovered to form a loose sponge. Give it 10-15 minutes, the mixture should bubble.

Now add salt, olive oil and almost all the remaining flour (keep about ½ cup of the flour for dusting later). Stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass. Dust with a little flour, then knead the mixture inside the bowl for about a minute to incorporate all the flour.

Dust a clean working surface with just a little bit of flour. Knead lightly for a couple minutes or so until smooth. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead again for a couple more minutes. The dough should be a little bit moist, you can help it with a little dusting of flour, but be careful not to add too much flour.

Clean the mixing bowl and coat it lightly with olive oil and put the dough back in the bowl. Turn the dough a couple times in the bowl to coat with the olive oil. Cover the mixing bowl tightly I use a plastic shower cap then lay a kitchen towel over. Put the bowl in a warm place. Leave it alone for 1 hour or until the dough rises to double its size.

 Deflate the dough and place it on a clean work surface. Divide the dough into 7 equal pieces and shape them into balls. Cover with a towel and leave them for 10 minutes or so to rest.

Shape the pittas. Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle that’s 7-8 inches wide and about a quarter-inch thick. It helps to lift and turn the dough frequently as you roll so that dough doesn’t stick to your counter too much. (If the dough starts to stick, sprinkle a tiny bit of flour). If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

Once you get going, you can be cooking one pitta while rolling another… You have two options for baking the pitta bread.

To bake pitta bread in the oven… Heat the oven to 475 degrees F and place a heavy-duty baking pan or large cast-iron skillet on the middle rack to heat. Working in batches, place the rolled-out pittas directly on the hot baking sheet (I was only able to fit 2 at a time). Bake for 2 minutes on one side, and then, using a pair of tongs, carefully turn pitta over to bake for 1 minute on the other side.  The pitta will puff nicely and should be ready. Remove from the oven and cover the baked pitas with a clean tea towel while you make the rest of the pittas. Doing it this way didn’t work for me I prefer using a griddle pan…

To cook pitta bread on the stovetop… This was my preferred way of cooking the pitta bread…Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat.

A couple drops of water drizzled onto the pan, when the beads of water sizzle immediately your pan is ready… Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil and wipe off any excess.

Working with one pitta at a time, lay a rolled-out pitta on the pan and bake for 30 seconds, until bubbles start to form. Using a spatula, flip the pitta bread over and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side.

The pitta is ready when it puffs up forming a pocket (sometimes, with this method, the pitta may not puff or may only form a small pocket. Try pressing the surface of the pitta gently with a clean towel). Keep baked pitta covered with a clean towel while you work on the remainder of the pitta bread.

My griddle pan is quite large so I could cook two pittas at a time…I just covered it with my wooden carving board and found this helped the pittas to rise…

I tried both methods of cooking and preferred using the griddle pan  I also rolled them too thin the first time I made them and they didn’t rise at all but I also think I used too much wholemeal flour…I now use half and a half …it took me about 3 test runs before my testers approved them with no comments apart from yum…

Jackfruit…when I first cooked jackfruit I was amazed at the difference when cooked and it really does takes on the look and texture of pulled pork to say I was surprised is an understatement…I have only eaten and cooked with fresh jackfruit but am aware that many of you can only buy the tinned jackfruit but I have been reliably informed that it does indeed do what it says on the tin…I have also included a link on how to prepare fresh Jackfruit.

Vegan Pulled Jack Fruit…

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chipotle Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp BBQ sauce…
  • 200g can chopped tomato
  • 2 x 400g cans young jackfruit in salted water or fresh jackfruit…see link on how to prepare fresh jackfruit.

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until very soft, for around 10-12 mins. Add the cinnamon, cumin and paprika to the onions and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Next add the Tabasco, vinegar and bbq sauce and mix well before adding in the tomato, the drained jackfruit and 200ml water. Leave to simmer gently, covered, for 30 mins stirring every 5-10 mins to help break down the jackfruit, then take the lid off and cook a further 10 minutes.

Once cooked, use a fork to make sure all of the jackfruit is well shredded.  Check to season and add another tbsp of bbq sauce if necessary for extra stickiness.

Then serve in a toasted bun with some shredded cabbage/slaw, sliced red onions, sliced jalapenos maybe some fried onion rings, potato wedges…Enjoy!

Thank you for joining me today in my kitchen I hope that whether you are a meat-eater, a vegan or something in between you have found something to like…x

See you tomorrow for my Environmental A-Z…x