Category Archives: Down on the farm

Thailand…Down on the Farm…Exotic Fruits…Snake Fruit, Star Fruit and Thai Cherry…

Welcome to this edition of Down on the farm…

Today I am bringing to you some more of the fruits I am lucky to get here…I was given some beautiful fresh pomegranates yesterday from my neighbour’s tree…

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I love pomegranates it’s just those pips…I do love seeing pomegranates on a plate of food so pretty…Pomegranate with duck is also a lovely dish and one I haven’t cooked for a number of years…

Star Fruit or Carambola as it is also known as is a lovely vibrant yellow and due to its distinctive ridges when it’s cut it resembles a star hence its name.

It is a very pretty tree and has lovely flowers which Lily always picks for me when she finds them on the ground… I usually put them in my bathroom sink which makes it look very pretty and smells lovely…

The fruit when it comes is also such a lovely lemon colour..a very pretty fruit…

The entire fruit is edible it has firm, crunchy flesh and is quite juicy. The taste is likened to that of a grape.

It can be made into relishes, preserves and juice drinks.

Star Fruit Relish:

Ingredients

• 8 cups of star fruit, thinly sliced and any seeds removed.
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp whole cloves tied in a muslin bag and slightly crushed.
• 4 cups of sugar
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg( optional)

Let’s Cook!

Wash and thinly slice the star fruit removing any seeds. Cover with the cider vinegar and stand overnight.

Drain the vinegar add sugar, salt and clove bag. Cook gently until the relish starts to thicken then allow to stand overnight.

In the morning remove the spice bag and reheat the mix after adding the nutmeg if used and bring back to the boil.

If you plan to store the star fruit chutney then omit the nutmeg as it will turn the relish a brown colour although it does add another dimension to the taste.

Put into hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Enjoy with some cold meats or on bread and butter.

Thai Cherry…Although, it looks like a tomato to me that is where the resemblance ends. In Thai called cheree thai” (เชอรี่ไทย)…when there isn’t a translation then a word is often elongated…cheree…It also looks very much like the Barbados Cherry…

Not a commonly available fruit here and I have only seen it on local markets in smallish quantities…The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked although it is quite a tart fruit not sweet at all…The recipe I got from a Thai friend…I like it… not a sweet recipe but it tasted rather like the Apricots I brought which were pickled.

Recipe for pickled Thai cherries.

Ingredients:

• 6 cups of pitted and washed cherries.
• 1 lime
• 2 stalks of lemongrass crushed
• 4 pieces of dried ginger( galangal)
• 10 dried birds eye chillies
• 2 cups of vinegar
• 1/2 cup of sugar
• 1/4 cup of rice vinegar.

Either one large mason jar which holds 4 cups or 2 smaller jars sterilised.

Let’s Cook!

Zest your lime and add to a mason jar with lemongrass, ginger and chillies.

Put both vinegars, sugar and juice of the lime into a pan and on medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved when the vinegar is warm add the cherries and cook for 4 minutes.

With a slotted spoon put the cherries into the jar, then strain the vinegar and pour over the cherries any remaining vinegar put in a clean bottle and use for salad dressings or marinades.

Seal the jar and leave for 4-6 weeks for the flavours to develop.

Enjoy!

Some interesting facts on the uses of the bark and leaves of the Thai Cherry.

Gum is obtained from the bark and chewed also the juice from the bark if applied externally to the back is said to give some relief from the pain of a backache.

Both the fruit and leaves also produce a green dye.

The seeds are used in the production of necklaces by the ethnic tribes in Northern Thailand.

This tree has hard, strong aromatic wood which is glossy and the branches are used for walking sticks.

A little warning:

This fruit belongs to a genus where most if not all its members produce hydrogen cyanide which is a poison which gives almond their characteristic flavour.

The toxin which is found mainly in the leaves and the seeds is easily detected by its bitter taste. The quantity is too small to do any harm but a very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten.

Salak fruit or snake fruit is a fruit which is very common in and around South East Asia. The skin is very like the markings on a snake I tend to call it snake fruit rather than sala…

A species of the palm tree it belongs to the Arecaceae family. The fruits grow in clusters at the base of the palm. It is also known as snake fruit because of its reddish-brown scaly skin. The fruit inside is sweeter than honey and sour like pineapple and very juicy.

Because the flesh is slightly acidic it makes your tongue tingle. The fruit grows around the base of the tree so often when you buy it fresh they can be covered with dirt a little like potatoes when you dig them up…

They are also quite prickly to the touch and there is a knack to opening them but like everything once you have mastered that it is quite easy. Just be careful as this fruit has a fairly hard albeit thin skin it is just getting your nail in the right place and pressing quite hard. Like everything, once you get the nack it is easy…

This evergreen tree produces fruit all the year-round.

Facts about the Sala fruit:

It is quite beneficial as eye medication and is also known as the memory fruit.

It can be eaten fresh or cooked. It is also sold in cans, like candied fruit or unripe, it can be pickled.

To pickle Salak.

Let’s Cook!

It must be peeled and deseeded. Soaked in a water and salt solution for 1 hour,then rinsed and drained.

Resoak again for 1 hour, then wash and drain.

Put in a vinegar, salt and water solution which has been boiled and cooled and let to stand for 1- 2 days before eating.

N.B. Make sure your fruit is very fresh or the jam will have a dusty taste..not nice at all.

Rambutan is one of the first fruits we ate when we very first came to Thailand and it is also one I was able to purchase in the UK.

Native to south-east Asia this lovely fruit has almost a soft silky feel when you touch it and looks very pretty. Similar to the Lychee, Longan and mamoncillo fruits it has a sweet-tasting grape-like flavour.

It has a leathery red skin covered with soft, fleshy spires hence the name which means ” hairy.” In Vietnam, it is called chom chom which means messy hair.

The peeled fruits can be eaten raw or cooked and are often used in fruit salads or made into a syrup to flavour whipped cream or cocktails.

Although grown all over Southeast Asia, Thailand is the largest producer.

The rambutans are made into jams, jellies or canned in syrup.

Like many other fruits and vegetables, the skin has been used to treat dysentery or chronic fever. The leaves are also made into a paste by mashing the leaves, adding water and squeezing out the extract then applied to the forehead this paste is also a great hair conditioner.

Boiling the tree roots to make a tea is also used to treat fevers.

How to open it?  Put your thumbnail into the skin and squeeze and turn the fruit the fleshy fruit will just pop out much easier than the sala fruit to open.

Rambutan Jam.

Ingredients

• 3 cups of peeled and seeded Rambutan
• Juice of a large lemon
• 2 1/2 cups of sugar.

Blitz Rambutan in the food processor …I leave mine a little chunky then put all ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer on medium until the sugar has dissolved. Turn down and simmer 15-20 minutes until the mix has thickened. Make sure you don’t let the sugar caramelise.

Put in a sterilised jar.

This is lovely instead of apple sauce on meats.

That’s all from me for today…I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the Thai fruits we grow or buy here …Can you get any of these where you live?

And don’t forget any unusual fruits or veg send me a picture and I will see what I can find out…

Thank you for reading I do hope you are all staying well and safe…It seems like the whole world is on lockdown…scary times…xx… I haven’t been going out unless it is a necessity… only shops selling food are open now and we are just waiting for the next phase…I have my stock of rice from the farm to last me a few months…It might also prompt me to have a go at making pasta…I am not worried about fruit and veg and have some larder to fall back on…we also have a bum gun so tissue isn’t a problem…My family brought us some rice and meat plus lots of limes and eggplants from the farm which I have shared around the neighbours as there were just too many for us so it will be eggplant dip and green curry this week for us …

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 for reading and please stay safe and well…xxxx

 

Thailand…Down on the Farm…Jambulan Plum and Mulberry’s…

Down on the farm this Jambulan plum- tree is another tree which is bearing fruits for us and another one which was new to me…It is so exciting all these wonderful tasting fruits that are coming into season.

Jambulan is a nutritious seasonal fruit found in abundance in Asia. Its season is April to July. It can be found growing in forests, backyards and along the roadsides. Natural wild-growing trees have a single seed. The hybrid varieties are seedless.

A purplish-black oval-shaped fruit when it is mature has a sweet and sour flavour which can be acidic and astringent. It is rich in the plant pigment anthocyanin and if you eat too much it is likely to leave you with a purple tongue and you may get the same feeling as I did when as a kid I ate too much of that sour lemon sherbet which made your fingers where you dipped and licked wrinkly and your tongue tingle. Who remembers that??

It can be used to make Jams and jellies but due to the very low pectin levels must be mixed with fruit with high pectin or a commercial pectin substitute.

It makes a lovely accompaniment for pulao or rice pilaf. Just mix chopped deseeded Jambulan with fresh yoghurt and combine. Add chopped coriander and powdered cumin and stir. Taste and season with salt.

The pulp is used to makes sauces and fermented beverages like shrub, cider and wine. Now if you are wondering what shrub is ( and I was) it is flavoured vinegar. Which makes wonderful drinks with soda and ice or with cocktails…But that is another post for another day.

Jambulan Jelly.

  • 1 3/4 cups of chopped and seeded Jambulan.
  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of liquid pectin
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice.
  • 7 cups of sugar.

Combine the Pectin, juice and water with the Jumbulan and bring to a fast, rolling boil. Add the sugar and stirring bring to a fast-rolling boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and skim of any foam. Pour quickly into hot pre-sterilised jars and seal.

N.B: If the fruit is too astringent then it can be soaked in saltwater before cooking.

The Jambulan plum can also be known as Java plum, black plum and Jambul it is also often eaten just as a healthy snack sometimes with a little salt to taste. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids.

The fruit, seeds, bark and leaves all have medicinal properties and it is believed to have its origins in Neolithic times. In  India, it is known as  ” Fruit of the Gods

They can vary in size due to the soil and the weather conditions but can survive and thrive in dry, humid conditions.

The seeds when dried and powdered are a known effective treatment for diabetes. Bark powder mixed with the juice of the fruit is an effective treatment for coughs and colds. Leaves, when they are ground, are effective against dysentery and also for healing wounds.

Bark powder is also used as a cure for tapeworm. I am always amazed when I come across fruits like this as to how much they are still relied on in the villages here as cures for so much.

Mulberry’s…these berries which I again discovered by chance are very similar to our Blackberries maybe not quite as juicy but they taste very similar called Mon Ton here. So I thought I would treat the men to an Apple and Mulberry crumble.

Yes, everyone from she who doesn’t cook desserts hardly ever…A dessert!

I  have always cooked dishes like crumble the way my mum always did but for once I thought I would try something new and deconstruct it!

The original crumble is lovely but you always get that bit between the fruit and the crumble which goes soggy…Don’t you??

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/03/28/apple-and-mulberry-crumble/

Mulberries are also one of the favourites of the silkworm who produce the silk for the famous Thai Silk…Read about it here

Discovering all these fruits and plants which have medicinal uses made me think when a few years ago when I got stung by a jellyfish one of the ladies in a close-by restaurant went and picked some leaves crushed them and mixed them with something and put it on my sting and gave me the rest to take home and apply when needed…It worked…

At the time I was in so much pain and I didn’t ask the name of what she mixed it with or the name of the leaves she picked but my point being she knew what to use and it was obviously a remedy which had been passed down.

I am not saying that conventional medicine is not an option at all as sometimes it is a necessity and has saved many lives but there are times when if we know what to use we can find very effective drug free ways to heal and cure ourselves and our families.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this little fruit I hope to bring you a few more I have at least one more which is ripe and ready to eat so until next time.

Stay safe and have a great week :)xxx

Thailand…Down on the farm…Man Saeng, Sticky rice parcels and wild almonds…

Good morning we had much-awaited rain last night which was very welcome…it has laid the dust and cooled it down somewhat…

Last weeks post Charcoal making was a very popular post and raised the question that we should all be looking at alternative means to electric and coal burning fuels just in case…

What is happening this week down on the farm? ….

Man Saeng are a Thai potato it is only found in the jungle and not sold commercially…..If someone has been foraging in the jungle you may find a few being sold very locally on a market.

thai potato man saeng

 

Man Saeng is not only native to Thailand but neighbouring Burma, Cambodia and Laos.

Here in the North they are often found growing by the river and the vines often attach themselves to a tree and then what I call runners are the tubers which are light brownish and slightly hairy.

It can be added to soup or fried like the fried bananas in a batter or breadcrumbed and my son who had them boiled for his supper last night said that they tasted a little like our new potatoes and he really liked them. They can also be steamed or ground into a flour to make desserts.

They are quite fibrous and if overcooked have a sticky texture… somewhat glutinous.

This video shows them being harvested from the jungle and also where a few are being grown for the farmer’s own consumption.

This week we also harvested a few nuts which are now ready to eat..my nutcrackers do not work as in cracking them..my son’s partners uses a knife..mmmm…I think I will leave that to her or I  will end up minus some digits…That’s for sure…

thai nuts

They taste a little like a cross between a brazil nut and macadamia nuts which I would use in my cooking if someone shells them for me that shell is impervious to my nutcracker…lol

It is generally the old grandmother who gets this job as she is very skilled with her machete type knife no-one will argue with her…lol

Notice there are no mod cons here…

The turkeys are still laying eggs I am getting quite used to turkey eggs now. Scrambled eggs made with turkey eggs are lovely, creamier than scrambled eggs made with chickens eggs and not strong flavoured like ducks eggs.

Sadly our handsome big boy met an untimely end…He had strayed into the road as they do sometimes in the search for food …it is a quiet back road which gets the occasional car or bike…it did toot him and he turned and  ran the wrong way…he was popular with the ladies and I am sure he is missed by them although it gives the other boys a chance now…

Sticky rice and banana parcels made by Tik’s mum…Jamie took the photos but he couldn’t get a smile out of her still…But he carried on and took some photos for my blog..isn’t he a good boy?

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Everything is ready to make these lovely sticky rice and banana parcels

Bananas cut into halves, uncooked sticky rice ( Khao niaow), sugar pot, banana leaves cut into rectangles and bamboo strips to tie the parcels. These are then cooked in hot water for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

The halved bananas are rolled in the sticky rice..which is uncooked with a little sugar added.

They are then wrapped in the banana leaves and made into a neat little parcel tied together with the bamboo.

The parcels are then stood upright in a pot of hot water and covered with some bamboo and cooked for 2 to 2/12 hours until the rice is cooked.

sticky rice and banana

When ready you have these lovely parcels of sticky rice with a banana they are very tasty and can also be found on all the markets although it is wise to ask what is in the bamboo as it is not always bananas and rice…

Quite a lot this week with Turkey eggs, nuts, potatoes and banana parcels I wonder what next week will bring…Something new is always coming up and surprises me…

Thank you for reading about my life in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

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 creative week  xx

 

Thailand…Down on the farm…. making charcoal…

Every day is BBQ day here…In fact, an open fire is how many people here still cook… When you pick up a bag or two of charcoal when you do your weekly or monthly shop? Do you know how charcoal is made? or maybe you don’t even use charcoal you have an electric or gas BBQ.

Come with me and I will show you how charcoal is made in the villages here…

A mud charcoal making house.

This is the mud charcoal house where the charcoal is made primarily for fuel to cook…no mod cons here at all. Well not yet pretty much everything is done how it has always been done through the generations. The skills passed down and that is what I like here so much tradition still and in the main so much happiness.

But the lifestyle is hard there are some concessions to this and progress is slowly coming but much is still done the old way and by getting your hands dirty.

Making charcoal is an art…me I just said do you just throw the wood in and light it?…. The look this crazy English lady got was a look of I suppose bemusement.

Of course, you don’t, for a start, the charcoal house cannot be built on or close to the water table or where the drainage is poor.

The wood must be properly stacked so that when it is burning the air can circulate correctly but the beauty of it being on your land is that you can stack over a period time as you come across the wood. The wood must, of course, be dry and the time needed to complete the burn does depend on the moisture content of the wood and also the evenness of the stacking of the wood so this is all very important.

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WOOD DRYING PRIOR TO BEING STACKED.

Once it is correctly stacked it must be stacked vertically into the charcoal house then a fire is started or burning coals are put through the air vent at the top of the charcoal house once this has taken then the door must be sealed effectively to ensure proper air circulation.

The initial smoke which comes out through the top air vent and the air holes around the base is dense white smoke which after a few days turns to a blueish colour finally it becomes practically clear smoke.

Once the burn is complete then the opening at the top of the charcoal house is sealed as are the bottom vents.

This then takes 2-3 days to cool down, when the earth kiln is cool it can be opened but there must be a supply of water available in case there are any red fires still burning as they need to be extinguished.

carbon-592598_1920 charcoal

Once the charcoal is completely cold then it is bagged or put in baskets for home use or sale.

A typical fire for cooking on.

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Cooking the steak

This is a time-consuming and backbreaking task no one has an easy life here as I am finding out but kudos to them I am often just amazed and it has made me realise what an easy life I have had. With my running water, gas, electric all the mod cons … it has changed me and I hope for the better. When the house is built here yes there will be some luxuries but you know what I am not so bothered anymore.

The last time I was here I ate the softest tenderest piece of steak with the hottest chilli sauce(ever) I declined the Mek Hong it was too early for me ..although it is known as Thai Whisky it is actually a spiced rum…Still very potent and too many and you wouldn’t be standing you would be Mau(drunk)

Back to BBQ, I won’t be cooking over a small charcoal fire unless it is a proper BBQ but lots of things I used to have no longer hold the same allure for me it is definitely an eye-opener and maybe not the life for everyone. Just for this crazy, whimsical English lady, it is the life I have adopted and I love it!

Thank you for reading about my life in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

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 had a creative week and enjoy the weekend xx

Travel and Traditions…Down on the Farm…Sesame Plant(Ngaa) and Barking Deers Mango

Good morning and welcome…It was a lovely sunny one earlier and now it has clouded over…Are we in for some rain? It is rainy season but we have had a few days of sunny shine and no rain…My weather report tells me 50% chance of precipitation today with scattered thunderstorms…. the temp is hovering around 30C and set to rise a little today…No rain yet…

Today I am taking you on another trip down the farm…

The Sesame plant or Ngaa as it is known here is another plant which has popped up…I am loving it as I am constantly being surprised at what plants and fruits are appearing  Down on the  Farm...It makes it easier for the future I will know and can plan a little it will also help as I will know what and where so we can transplant and not build and destroy.

It is a beautiful and quite delicate looking plant with pretty white flowers.

Sesame seed plant

Of course, I now wanted to know what uses this plant had if any apart from producing seeds which are used mainly in desserts in Thailand. Here on the farm they are dried and used for just that really and to make the lovely sesame biscuits which we love…

The oil from the seeds is not really used in Thai cuisine like it is in Chinese cookery.

The sesame seed is one of the most ancient seeds on earth there have been remains of Sesame seeds found and dated as far back as 3500BC. It was also widely traded in parts of Mesopotamia and the Indian subcontinent around 2000BC.  Always highly valued in Eastern, African and Mediterranean culture it has been used for thousands of years in cooking to flavour foods. Sesame oil has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and a rich nutty flavour. Across the continent’s world-wide sesame oil, tahini and the seeds are widely used.

It is a good source of vitamins and minerals that boost nutrient absorption, it is beneficial to human metabolism and the bodies fat-burning ability.

Sesame oil is a strong antihypertensive and can also help normalize blood pressure levels.

Sesame butter or Tahini is a pretty calorific dense food with 89 calories plus 8 gm of fat per tablespoon BUT the majority of that fat comes from healthy unsaturated fat like Omega 3 oils which help lower inflammation thus lower the risk of heart attacks. However, as always I advise moderation.

How to make your very own Tahini paste/butter..it is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties…

Let’s Cook! 

Into the kitchen, for a quick toasting of the Sesame Seeds, then into the mini blender, 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz, scrape down the sides, another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape, a  bit more oil and a quick whizz and viola your  Tahini Paste is now made.

How easy is that?

Tahini Paste I have been making tahini for a couple of years…I think I need an updated image as my first batch was back in 2015…

Sesame seeds come in white or black, the white seeds having the highest iron content thus are used in food or as oil.

Black seeds are stronger, more flavorful and have 60% more calcium than white seeds and are used in medicines.

There has been some exciting news on a breakthrough in the research conducted at the Thailand Excellence Center for Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells at the Chiang Mai University  where  it was discovered that “Sesamin” extracted from black sesame seeds contains properties that hinder cancer cell growth as well as stimulate antibodies in the human body to fight cancer.

Dr Prachya stated that patents for the medical breakthrough have been filed and received for the research both in Thailand and internationally.

This is great news.

As I have said before I am always being amazed by the extraordinary benefits that so many plants and seeds are being proved to provide… so much better in many cases than prescribed medicines and supplements although if you are already on prescribed medicines PLEASE speak to your doctor and discuss what alternatives you are looking at taking and remember with plants and seeds …No one size fits all…. All of our bodies are different and react differently…..But ask! Talk to your doctor, do your own research from reputable research bodies.

Called Man Saeng this potato-like root is only found in the jungle surrounding the farm and not sold commercially…..If someone has been foraging in the jungle you may find a few being sold very locally on a market.

Thai potatoes- man saeng- down- on- the-farm

Thai Potatoes called Man Saeng

Man Saeng is not only native to Thailand but neighbouring Burma, Cambodia and Laos.

Here in the North they are often found growing by the river and the vines often attach themselves to a tree and then what I call the runners have the tubers which are light brownish and slightly hairy.

It can be added to soup or fried like the fried bananas in a batter or breadcrumbed and my son who had them boiled for his supper last night said that they tasted a little like our new potatoes and he really liked them. They can also be steamed or ground into a flour to make desserts.

They are quite fibrous and if overcooked have a sticky texture… somewhat glutinous.

This video shows them being harvested from the jungle and also where a few are being grown for the farmer’s own consumption. To me, that soil looks pretty hard and for a few tubers that is hard work…

This week we also harvested a few nuts which are now ready to eat..my nutcrackers do not work as in cracking them..my son’s partners uses a knife..mmmm…I think I will leave that to her or I  will end up minus some digits…That’s for sure…

They taste a little like a cross between a brazil nut and macadamia nuts again I will shell them all and use them in my cooking..well I won’t..lol..That shell is impervious to my nutcrackers…

These nuts are from the Irvingia Malayana, which has the marvellously fanciful English title of the Barking Deer’s Mango. According to The University of Melbourne, it also has the much more prosaic Khmer name of Cham Mo. There’s a similar tree (Irvingia gabonensis) distributed about Western tropical Africa, whose nuts are used fairly extensively as a soup thickener and bread ingredient.

The name Barking deer’s mango is a strange name I can only surmise that it originated from the Indian Muntjac also named barking deer as it was often hunted around the outskirts of agricultural areas as they are considered a nuisance for damaging crops and ripping bark from trees.

indian-almond-289181_1920

This wild evergreen tree can grow as tall as 50 metres high the wood which is of low quality is used for general construction or fuel but is also very sought after and popular here for making charcoal.

The seeds of the tree are a source of a non-drying oil called cay-cay fat which is used in the manufacture of candles and soap making.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s little trip around the farm…there are always lots of surprises to be found and also things for me to learn..my knowledge has increased tenfold since I have lived always something to learn…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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…These honeybees dining on forget me knots say it all to me…

forget-me-not-257176_640

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx

 

Thailand…Travel and Traditions…Village Life…Northern Thailand( Essan)

Whenever we visit our Thai family’s village on this occasion it was to collect our grandson, he often stays with his brown Nannie ( as he calls her) no racism intended during his school holidays. They live in a little village in the middle of nowhere in Northern Thailand where he has the freedom to climb trees, go fishing or lizard hunting he gets to ride his nan’s scooter as the roads are very quiet and safe all the things boys love without too many rules…They get dirty but so happy…

The shower was a bucket of water or a hose pipe in the early days but now they have a wet room of sorts but still, the tub of water is there …a mixture of the old and new…squat toilets are still the norm in many homes here…A habit I have had to embrace…

We are always made soooo welcome..chairs are bought out and we sit and gradually the whole village comes to see us…Lots of happy smiling faces.

The welcome is second to none..always the same…lots of smiling faces and the food comes out…Thai dishes galore…I always take treats for the kids and maybe some toys or clothes I pick up on my travels or that Aston or Lily have outgrown …Those are the ones the kids love as often they are trainers or something from England…then the fashion show begins they just love getting something of Astons…

Circular recycling is the norm here and there is no stigma about hand me downs it is a way of life…

Food…

Uncooked prawns with a blow your head off chilli dip. It consists of very finely chopped white cabbage, finely sliced and halved…Khiewchanta……arranged round the edge of plate……..Fresh prawns, cleaned, deveined and soaked in Soda Water…..Fresh mint leaves and finely sliced garlic.

bitter-gourd-raw prawnsEaten with steamed rice and very lightly cooked squid in a salad with tomatoes, spring onion, coriander, fish sauce and lime juice…… all fresh from the market about an hour before or freshly picked from the garden that’s the great thing about living here every day there is fresh produce available everywhere.

I watched and helped prepare a red ant soup made with local herbs and leaves some of which I had not seen before. One of the ingredients Pla a fermented fish which is very popular in dishes here in the North of Thailand is not one of my favourites, the look, the smell and the taste are not for me. Saying that my natural curiosity to taste everything is often an overriding factor so what I am saying is I am getting used to it…Still not my favourite but getting used to it… I never thought I would say that…so never say never.

Firstly we stripped the leaves from the Thai vegetable called Melientha sauvis or in Thai Phak waan paa which comes from a wild evergreen tree which grows up to 10 metres high and it is the young shoots which are picked to make soup or dried fish curry.

It is classed as a delicacy here and a quite expensive indigenous vegetable. I was told that the soup is also good if you have tummy problems…..I love that the Thais in the villages still practise the old ways with herbs and roots to cure a number of ills… Rather than conventional medicines which some cannot afford or trust.

Before I start I will say that there are no weighing scales here but TASTE is king and that’s what cooking is about. A handful of this and a touch of that.

Let’s cook! 

Take a bunch of Melientha and strip the leaves also take a small bunch of lemon basil and do the same. Put in water.

Tear the yellow oyster mushrooms into smallish pieces and put in another pot.

Yellow Oyster MushroomsA few teaspoons of pla was put in the pot and some water added as well as a shake or two of fish sauce and a little msg….I do not use this in my cooking but I know that it still used in the majority of village homes. As I have become more proficient with my Thai cooking and the family have tried it without MSG and liked it…I am hoping I can get them to change…Slowly but surely I am getting my point over…

Melientha cooking in potThis was bought to the boil and the mushrooms were added, this was simmered for 5 mins and then the picked greens were added alongside a portion of red ants eggs.

It looked lovely and fresh and vibrant…I was however not looking forward to the tasting because of the amount of pla…Pla or Phla is a fermented fish which is popular here and added to most dishes…

A dish was duly given to me with smiles of expectation …Would I eat it? Would I like it?

Very tentatively I tasted it…Wow, it was good…The lemon basil and the ant’s eggs.which have a lemony taste overrode the strong taste of the pla but I will say the taste mellows when cooked…..A truly lovely taste of Thailand.

If you ever get the chance to cook with the locals then take the opportunity…I feel truly blessed that they are family and I have many opportunities to do this.

I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing real Thai cooking just as it is…

The Laos whiskey we bought went down a treat once we had managed to open it of course…haha…That was a job and a half …Once opened it has been packed with straw and then you insert supplied bamboo straws and suck…

It was unexpectedly soft, honeyed whiskey…Very nice, potent, guaranteed to put a smile on ones face…Astons nan taking a sip or three…

Time to come home and we always came away with lots of fresh fruit and vegetable like lemongrass, galangal, morning glory, kale and honey still in the comb..all wonderfully freshly picked, dug up and gave to us with so much love…I, of course, left the wine glasses I had taken for next time, with the promise I would bring more wai Khao( white wine) for the ladies…a treat for them.  The men by now were merry on the Laos whiskey we had bought and some other drink ( not sure ) of the origin but infused with honey and ginger…it tasted quite potent. It was certainly the land of smiles…

A lovely afternoon.

I of course slipped and stacked it…..I hurt my big toe and received an impromptu Thai foot massage…which was very nice.

I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of life in a Thai Village…

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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  mewe.com/i/caroltaylor3 

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead and all you Tennis fans …Enjoy! xx

 

 

 

 

Week 10…In my kitchen…Jackfruit and Jerk Fish…

Welcome to this week in my kitchen …Our high season is here which means it is very hot in the kitchen so methinks it is time to dust off the BBQ and cook in my second kitchen which has doors at either end and is more open so if there is a breeze when it blows through so much cooler.

My jackfruit tree has fruit and for the first year, I have flowers on my curry trees and apparently when it fruits they are edible something new to try…

Jackfruit is also becoming a popular alternative to meat for vegans, vegetarians and anyone wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle as when cooked the texture is similar to pulled pork.

When ripe jackfruit is eaten as a fruit but unripe jackfruit is prepared as a vegetable. Young jackfruit is used in stews or curries, boiled, roasted; or fried and eaten as a snack. The seeds can also be eaten as a snack after being boiled and then roasted.

Spicy jackfruit salad which in Thai is called Tam Khanun or Tam banun it is made by pounding boiled jackfruit with chilli paste and then stir-frying.

First step over and that was cutting the Jackfruit…I can guarantee if you use an oiled knife and grease your hands the latex doesn’t stick…You do have to keep re-greasing the knife though but any which attached itself came off easily with the cooking oil…

My jackfruit slices are now simmering gently on the stove…

Once they are tender and cooled down enough for me to remove the outer skin I will be doing so…

Ingredients for Tam Kanun:

  • 400 gm green, young Jackfruit
  • 100 gm minced pork (optional) if vegetarian or vegan.
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes cut in quarters.
  • 3- 6 tsp Chilli paste ( depending on your taste)

To serve:

  • 2 spring onions sliced
  • 5 dried birds eye chillies fried
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic.
  • 1 tbsp coriander

Let’s Cook!

Once cooked drain the jackfruit well, pound in a pestle and mortar and set to one side. I had heard cooked this looks like pulled pork and it does…Or tinned tuna…

Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the garlic until it is nicely browned add the chilli paste and stir-fry for a minute.

Add the minced pork ( if using) and stir-fry until it is cooked 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and the jackfruit stir-fry to combine well add the kaffir lime leaves and remove from the heat.

Serve with sticky rice and the fried garlic, chillies, spring onions and coriander as garnish.

The first time I made this dish… We were very pleasantly surprised if I hadn’t cooked it and it was put in front of me I would never have known it was Jackfruit…Truly ☺ What do you think??

Tam Kanun Spicy Jackfruit Salad… we all loved it and I would definitely make it again.

The ripe Jackfruit arils (pictured) below are eaten here with sticky rice just pushed into the centre.

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Sourdough…Update I am feeding it twice daily and it is definitely a lot livelier so we may (fingers crossed) get our first loaf this weekend…What am I going to call it after giving me so much trouble either Matilda or Phoenix ( Sally’s ) suggestion…What do you think???

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As you know our in-laws bought a few bananas when they came so Banana bread it was…I love Banana bread but could eat it until it goes out of favour so I am limiting myself and

encouraging everyone else to eat it…haha…The passionfruit butter is always a hit when I make it we all love the sweet and tart taste of the passionfruit…

Recipe for Banana Bread and Passion fruit Butter

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Last week on my trip to the market I bought the lovely Majong fruit which is now in season, green mango, lots of herbs and some fish, Passionfruit is abundant at the moment but I gave that a miss the apples are very nice at the moment nice and crisp and a little bit tart…I also picked my cheese up and a lovely piece of blue cheese which was new in…I have had to be very strict with myself as it needs to last and it is a large 750 gm piece which means I can do some cooking with it.

mackerel green mango marian fruit and herbs

Down on the Farm…The fruit and vegetables on the farm are doing well we have 2 new baby turkeys and the radishes are ready to pick…Nice and hot apparently…Grandad will love these…

 

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This week’s Curry:-  Jerk Fish.

Does Jerk Fish count? Well, it has some heat and as fish is quite abundant at the moment here goes I hope you enjoy as much as we did…spicy, spicy skin but the fish, sweet and lovely.

Jerk Fish:

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium size Perch.
  • I tbsp Allspice berries or ground allspice.
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1 large pinch ground cloves.
  • 1/2 tbsp muscovite sugar.
  • Few sprigs Thyme picked and chopped.
  • Few sprigs fresh coriander chopped.
  • 3-6 birds eye chillies finely chopped.
  • 2 clove garlic finely chopped.
  • 3cm fresh ginger.
  • 2 spring onions.
  • zest of 1 lime.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 11/2 tbsp honey.
  • 2 tbsp golden rum ( optional)

Slash fish 3 times across diagonally and put in oven proof dish and put on one side.

Pound allspice, peppercorns and bay leaves together. Mix in cloves, sugar and honey. Add herbs, chillies, garlic, ginger and bash together.

Tip into a jug and add chopped tops of spring onions, lime zest, a drizzle of oil, a pinch of salt and the rum if using. Mix well.

Pour marinade over the fish and massage well in both sides( it’s a good idea to wear gloves for this )SAM_7116

Leave in fridge to Marinade for at least one hour.

Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees or gas 7. Cook for 20-30 minutes until slightly charred and cooked.

SAM_7119   Serve with Lime slices, Salsa and rice or new potatoes. This marinade can be used with Chicken or Pork.

Next week I will ( I hope) to be showing you how well my taco cases turned out made with Crispy Pork skin…We love crispy crackling and the thought of a taco shell made with it has all of us salivating here…Wish me luck…

We are waiting for little Lily to come it is her weekend and then next week she is coming to stay for two months or so she tells me as the schools here have their long holiday during the high season…Happy Days….

That is all from me this week in my kitchen…Tomorrow is my market shopping day I wonder what new fruits or vegetables I can find…I always look forward to Saturdays xx

Thank you for reading I hope you are enjoying my week in the kitchen…

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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all having a great weekend xx