Category Archives: Down on the farm

Thailand…Down on the Farm…Mango scraps and BBQ sauce…

Welcome to down on the farm…My lemongrass is now dry enough to blitz I can’t wait to try for soups and stir-fries…The mangoes took me a while to peel and then it was mango smoothies all round…to the peels and pits I added the sugar and the lime zest stirring every 45 minutes until the sugar had dissolved I then left it covered overnight and then pushing what I could through a sieve the next morning…Make sure to use a plastic or glass bowl which is non-reactive.

I used the peel and pit of 8 mangoes(16 0z) to 1 cup of sugar and the rind of lime but the lemon rind is fine. Plain white sugar, or a raw to semi-refined sugar such as jaggery, or palm sugar…I used raw sugar which gave the syrup a darker colour.

The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks in a glass bottle or jar.

It can be used in place of lemon syrup in recipes such as lemon chantilly cream or replace the lemon in a salad dressing with the mango syrup.

I use fruit scraps wherever I can…

I love pickling watermelon rinds, in fact, the only way I like watermelon is pickled, the work involved in finely shredding the lemongrass was worth it…Making mango syrup was a little messy for just over half a cup of syrup …

I will say when mixed with carbonated water and with a squeeze of lime it made a refreshing drink…Hubby did suggest a shot of vodka would be a nice addition…The mango syrup with vodka came later….mmmm

It may be something I would make if I had visitors and was making cocktails….cancel the maybe I would make it again as it got a thumbs up from the menfolk who loved it with vodka…

This little pork dish can be also made with chicken the meat can be either minced or sliced. All you need is some curry paste a little bit of coconut milk and a squeeze or two of lime/lemon….it is a dish I make when I can’t be bothered and want something quick.

Just heat a gluck of oil and add some red curry paste, a little fish sauce and a cheek of lime I just squeeze the lime and chuck it in the pan and remove when the meat is cooked. Add your meat and stir fry until cooked add just a little splash of coconut milk and cook until it has evaporated a couple mins sometimes I add another splash if I know it is just going to be that hot and spicy…This is a dry spicy little dish with a wedge of lime, some rice and some raw white cabbage…

spicy pork with cabbage

A lovely quick little snack…Just take your cabbage and add some of the pork and rice a squeeze of lime a nice very spicy, crunchy little mouthful. Really quick to make and tasty…

At the moment I know that going shopping is a no, no for some of you and when you do maybe it is hit and miss as to what is available…Fancy some hummus and have no Tahini It is the easiest of things to make, takes a couple of minutes …

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, 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 ready to use.

tahini paste

I have been making my own Tahini paste for years now made even simpler as we have our own little sesame seed bushes…

sesame-seed-plant

It is such a pretty plant…which apart from producing seeds which are used mainly in desserts in Thailand. Here down 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 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.

Making your own Tahini is so quick and easy just the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties…

Run out of your store brought BBQ sauce...again so easy to make from store cupboard ingredients…

  • 1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1 tbsp lime/ lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp hot sauce ….I use 1/4 cup siracha which gives a nice background heat.
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Whisk all your ingredients together in a small pan and heat and simmer for about 5 minutes then use as required…Today I halved the recipe and added a couple pinches of mixed herbs…I just wanted enough to baste some Pork belly which I did a couple times during cooking.

If not using immediately allow to cool and store in the fridge in a screwtop jar. It is good for about a week.

Lovely brushed on meat or fish or as we did last week we cooked our ribs in the sauce.

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… a nightly curfew has also been put in force, hotels are now closed to new customers here the buying of alcohol is banned the world is gradually being taken towards complete lockdown…I wonder how all this will pan out…A brave new world?

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…Tom Kha Gai and the Takhop Fruit…

Welcome to down on the farm…My lemongrass is drying in the sun once dry I will blitz it and have a powder I can use for soups and stir-fries… Now to galangal of which I have a lot …Galangal has a pretty pinkish tone when sliced it can be mistaken for ginger and although it is part of the family it is not ginger they have two completely different tastes.

Also known as Siamese ginger it is one of the ingredients in Tom Kha Gai which is what I made for our dinner yesterday evening…If made from scratch it is a beautiful Thai soup…

Tom Kha Gai…

I have eaten versions of Tom Kha Gai where if far to much coconut milk is the main ingredient it becomes the overriding taste I use half coconut milk and half vegetable or chicken stock. But again it is all down to personal taste.

Ingredients:

  • 750 ml of chicken/vegetable stock
  • 750 ml of coconut milk
  • 2 inches of galangal sliced
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves torn
  • 4-10 Thai chillies depending on the amount of heat you like.
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced or finely cut
  • 4-7 tbsp of fish sauce again this depends on personal taste.
  • 5-8 limes juiced.
  • 250 gm oyster mushrooms I used a Thai mushroom and quartered them as I did not have any oyster mushrooms
  • 2 small to med tomatoes quartered
  • 2 white onions cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 8 chicken portions I used 4 thighs and 4 legs
  • A handful of coriander chopped.

This looks a lot of ingredients but if you juice your limes and collect the ingredients they are added mainly all at once and it is an easy dish to make and the flavours are far superior to any tom yum mixes or stock cubes.  If you eat Tom Yum Goong or Tom Kha Gai soup in a restaurant if the colour is orange or has an orange tinge then you know stock cubes or mixes have been used and it is not made from scratch. 

The difference between these two soups is that one is not made with coconut milk and has prawns and the chicken version uses coconut milk both are very nice.

The first thing to do is put the stock and coconut milk in a large pot on low heat.

Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.

Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1-inch strips or so.

Take about 1 thumb-sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.

Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.

Peel about 5 cloves of garlic and mince or chop finely.

I normally use about 10 Thai bird chillies for this recipe, but as Lily was eating it I used 4 this time…you can use however many you’d like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you’d still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.

Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the pot which by now should be heating nicely add the lid as it helps release the flavours …Just a tip the coconut milk I use is 100%  apparently not always the case when it is exported or made abroad if it is not 100% do not allow to boil as it may curdle just bring to a slow simmer. You may also wish to change your ratio of coconut milk to stock and increase the coconut milk.

tomato onion on chopping board for tom yum

Add your chicken and cook gently for about 20 mins until chicken is nearly cooked then add your tomatoes and onions and cook for a further 10 minutes and add your mushrooms then cook for another 10mins.

Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and coriander. Taste and adjust if required your soup should have that hot, sweet, sour taste of Thailand.

tom-kha-gai-188081_640

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do and remember to add the smallest amount of fish sauce and lime juice and taste and build, taste and build until you get the right level of salty, sweet and sour for you 🙂

Yesterday as I have been in for a long time I ventured down to our small local market which is just down the road. Quieter than normal and much of it cordoned off so there was only one way in front and back with red stripes to denote keep your distance which was good to see…A few of the regulars were not there and there was a couple of small traders with produce from their farms you can normally tell as they have small amounts which are hand-tied in little bundles. Lucky for me as they had two fruits which are difficult to find and either grow wild or come from a tree in the garden…

smart

This is one little fruit that I always remember finding as it was also the day where we pulled into a small roadside eating place and clever clogs somehow managed to leave her fingers in the car door…a painful experience I do not wish to repeat…It was definitely an ouch moment…

It is a tiny quite sour fruit but one which as I like sour rather than sweet I like…I also think Lily takes after me as she loves sour and eats limes without batting an eyelid…

Known as Tak̄hbf̄rạ̀ng (ตะขบฝรั่ง), krop farang, ta kob farang, takhop farang here in Thailand it is also known as the Panama Berry…In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a tree with so many names around the world. A huge tree with wide sweeping branches both the birds and the bats love this little fruit. Used in traditional medicine it has a high vitamin C content…

Although it perpetually flowers and fruits all year round I am guessing the fruit is slightly sweeter this time of year as it seems the only time I see it on the market or street stalls…Used to make jam it is also used in traditional medicine to block pain…I am now thinking it must have been the leaves of this tree which I was given pounded into a pulp to ease my jellyfish sting which it certainly did and that was painful it is said to block your nerves from sensing pain.

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… a nightly curfew has also been put in force and hotels are now closed to new customers the world is gradually being taken towards complete lockdown…I wonder how all this will pan out…A brave new world?

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…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…

smart

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?

25075402_10155396952754865_661740917_o

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.

SAM_8713

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.

SAM_8461

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