Category Archives: Friday Food Review

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…#Edible Roots…Part 5…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Edible Roots…Part 5.

Like I did with the aromatic leaves I will not be featuring common ones but maybe ones we throw away without realising that they are a source of flavour for our food, to eat and cook with or to make tea…my aim is to feature three roots per post one of which may be new to you…as with all foods when you come across or try something new it may be edible but is it palatable to you... in these days of food, uncertainty I think it is important that we should properly try foraged foods and foods that are not at risk of shortages and see if they are palatable to us and be honest not fussy as we may have to change our eating habits to survive OR IN TRUTH FOOD THAT WE CAN AFFORD…Best be prepared…

Because some of these roots are foraged by indigenous peoples I cannot always find images I can use but sometimes it is useful to know what the plant looks like above the ground when foraging…and as always if foraging make sure that you have correctly identified the plant before eating if in doubt ..don’t…

Today I am featuring …

Bulrush Roots…as there are so many varieties of Bulrush this video should make it slightly clearer if you are foraging for bulrushes…

The Bulrush is native to Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, China and the Russian Far East although you will find varieties of the species grown elsewhere wherever there is a moist environment…it can be used as a wild and nutritional addition to the human diet. This reed-like plant is also known as tule, wool grass, rat grass, or reed mace…the dried rhizome of the bulrush can be used to make flour…it can be used as a substitute for wheat flour some Native Americans boiled the roots to make syrup, and the rhizome can also be eaten raw in a salad or cooked as a vegetable…

Sea Holly…

Sea holly roots are slightly sweet and smell similar to the carrot – they can be used as a vegetable and can be cooked or candied. Roasted roots are said to resemble parsnips or chestnuts in flavour…and if you have the right weather conditions you can grow them in your garden…

Large Indian Breadroot…common name Prairie Turnip…

As a food, the prairie turnip has been described variously as a “delicacy,” “tolerably good eating,” or “tasteless and insipid.” Barry Kaye and D. W. Moodie describe the Native Americans’ use of it as food as follows: “they eat it uncooked, or they boil it, or roast it in the embers, or dry it, and crush it to powder and make soup of it. Large quantities are stored in buffalo skin bags for winter use. A sort of pudding made of the flour of the dried roots and with the serviceberries after boiling together is said to be very palatable and makes a sweet pudding.

Serviceberries are so-called so the story goes that the first settlers in the New England area often planned funeral services at the same time that the tree bloomed. Its blooming was a sign that the ground had thawed sufficiently to be able to dig graves. So the tree became known as the ‘serviceberry tree.

The root can also be peeled and eaten raw or cooked…

Prairie turnip flour is often used as a “secret ingredient” in modern Indian frybread recipes…Frybread is a flat dough bread, fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening, or lard…eaten alone or with various toppings such as honey, jam, powdered sugar, venison, or beef. Frybread can also be made into taco-like meals.

Thank you for joining me today for “Edible Roots” …How is your foraging going or your quest for edible roots at your local farmer’s markets?? as always I look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…#Edible Roots…Part 4…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Edible Roots…Part 4.

Like I did with the aromatic leaves I will not be featuring common ones but maybe ones we throw away without realising that they are a source of flavour for our food, to eat and cook with or to make tea…my aim is to feature three roots per post one of which may be new to you…as with all foods when you come across or try something new it may be edible but is it palatable to you... in these days of food, uncertainty I think it is important that we should properly try foraged foods and foods that are not at risk of shortages and see if they are palatable to us and be honest not fussy as we may have to change our eating habits to survive OR IN TRUTH FOOD THAT WE CAN AFFORD…Best be prepared…

Today I am featuring …2 roots that I use and 1 that I haven’t used yet…

Finger Root…

Milder than common ginger the finger root is a popular ingredient here and it does look like a bunch of fingers although its other known names are lesser galangal and Chinese ginger or Chinese keys here translated it is called “Krachai” and is used in some curries and certain fish dishes…

Finger Root is both a medicinal and culinary herb native to China and Southeast Asia…these finger-like rhizomes have an earthy, peppery, subtly sweet, herbaceous taste some say a medicinal taste…

Finger Root is antiviral by nature and as such very effective for tackling coughs and chest infections … Aston’s grandmother recommends chewing slices of fingerroot together with areca catechu nuts…remedies like these are still practised in the villages it does bring memories for me of the disgusting liquid my mother used to make me take for my cough as a child that was the liquid from onions and brown sugar I think it scared my cough away it was so disgusting …smile…

Lotus Root…

A plant that has so many uses most of which I discovered when we took a trip to the Red Lotus Lake/Sea that is close to our home…

If you go early in the morning it is a beautiful sight this beautiful sea/lake is approximately 8km long and 3km wide, the freshwater lake at Nong Han Kumphawapi is an important water source that sustains a variety of fish, birds, water buffaloes and plants. The lake feeds into the Lam Pao River, another waterway which plays a significant role for the inhabitants of Udon Thani province…although it is said that the flowers are a type of tropical water lily every part of it is used/eaten…the root is a popular food ingredient and it looks so attractive… Lotus root is rich in nutrients and has a lot of beneficial effects.

Mildy sweet in taste and with a texture that is similar to the water chestnut…crisp and crunchy…Lotus roots are usually sliced crosswise to reveal their attractive pattern of holes. They are traditionally added to soups and stews or simply stir-fried, as well as braised in soy sauce. They can also be thinly sliced and added raw to salads. Another favourite way of enjoying them is deep-fried into chips…

You may be able to find dried lotus root in Asian stores or online…to reconstitute simply soak, cut as desired, and add to vegetable dishes, soups, and stews. Use soaking water for tea or soup stock…it really is a good and nutritious root.

Burdock Root…

Native to Europe and Asia, several species have been widely introduced worldwide…Burdock root, also known as gobo, is popular in Asian dishes. It works very well in stir fries, braises, and soups. Burdock root can also be peeled, sliced and eaten raw as it comes or on a salad. It resembles a radish with a slight artichoke flavour when eaten this way.

Not a root I have eaten but it on my radar now as this stir looks delicious…Do use burdock root…

Thank you for joining me today for “Edible Roots” …How is your foraging going or your quest for edible roots at your local farmer’s markets?? as always I look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…#Edible Roots…Part 3…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Edible Roots…Part 3.

Like I did with the aromatic leaves I will not be featuring common ones but maybe ones we throw away without realising that they are a source of flavour for our food, to eat and cook with or to make tea…my aim is to feature three roots per post one of which may be new to you…as the video last week on Water Lily Roots The guy made an interesting observation that when foraging it may be edible but is it palatable...I think that is a good point and in these days of food, uncertainty I think it is important that we should properly try foraged foods and foods that are not at risk of shortages and see if they are palatable to us and be honest not fussy as we may have to change our eating habits to survive OR IN TRUTH FOOD THAT WE CAN AFFORD…Best be prepared…

Today I am featuring …

Chicory Root…is a rather woody root, the plant itself is part of the Dandelion family and can be recognised by its bright blue flowers…used for centuries in cooking and traditional medicine, it’s commonly used to make a coffee alternative, as it has a similar taste and colour…Native to the Old World(Africa, Asia and Europe), it has since been introduced to North America and Australia. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or roots, which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and food additive.

What immediately springs to my mind is Camp Coffee which is a concentrated syrup which is flavoured with coffee and chicory, first produced in 1876 by Paterson & Sons Ltd, in Glasgow…although not as popular as a coffee drink now it is still used as a flavouring in the culinary world.

Although chicory has numerous health benefits it can be used in home cooking as well. Some speciality shops and grocery stores carry the whole root, which is often boiled and eaten as a vegetable.

If you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake, you can use roasted and ground chicory root as a coffee replacement. To make this rich beverage, add 2 tablespoons (11 grams) of ground chicory root for every 1 cup (240 ml) of water in your coffeemaker…not something I have tried as I don’t drink coffee often…

Dandelion Root…A plant related to the daisy family, its roots, leaves, and flowers are consumed in foods and beverages, like teas…One of the downsides of dandelion is it also absorbs other harmful substances from the environment. It is usually not a good idea to eat wild dandelion if the purity of the soil, water, and air are unknown.

After you have washed the roots thoroughly the tough outer layer needs to be removed it can be done with a knife but if the roots are smaller then steam/boil for two minutes which then makes the tough outer layer easier to remove…after you’ve peeled the dandelion roots, steam them or boil them for a further 5 minutes (or 8 to 10 if you have large roots). Serve dandelion roots like you would carrots or parsnips. with a little salt and butter, the root is tasty, and a splash of apple cider vinegar will help you enjoy the slight bitterness of the dandelion root.

Ginseng Root…Asian countries such as South Korea and China have a long history of ginseng consumption that goes back as far as 1,000 years…due to its growing popularity, it is now available in at least 35 countries around the world..in various forms such as fresh ginseng, dried ginseng, boiled and dried ginseng (Taekuksam) which means it is likely available wherever you live…it uses are many …Ginseng slices or fresh ginseng roots are often added to stir fry dishes. Ginseng powder can also be added to baked items or simmered in the hot water when making rice…Korean red ginseng is very popular not only in Korean cuisine but around the world…

Citrus and ginger are two flavours that complement and balance the flavour of Korean red ginseng. The sweetness of citrus or ginger balances the bitterness of ginseng. The tartness of citrus and the bite of ginger adds complexity to the delicate earthy taste of ginseng and provides a lively burst of energizing flavour….if you ever made or sampled the Korean version of Ginseng soup you will know what I mean…Ginseng has long been used medicinally but here I am just looking at edibility in cooking…

Thank you for joining me today I’m sure many of you are familiar with chicory and camp coffee but how many of you are familiar with ginseng and have cooked with it or the dandelion of which the leaves are often used in salads but have you used the roots?…that pretty looking plant with the bright yellow flowers is often thought of just a weed but it isn’t…as always I look forward to your comments and hope you all have a fabulous weekend x

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…#Edible Roots…Part 2…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Edible Roots…Part 2.

Foraging still applies to roots although I will ask that if you find an edible root that you enjoy please remember that the roots are the most crucial plant parts as they are structures responsible for providing water and minerals to plants from the soil.,,without roots, there will be no plant… of course you want to come back time and time again as will others please be considerate…

Also, be careful, and do your research before attempting to forage any of these wild roots.  Always consult multiple sources, and always be 100% sure of your ID before eating any wild plant…

Like I did with the aromatic leaves I will not be featuring common ones but maybe ones we throw away without realising that they are a source of flavour for our food, to eat and cook with or to make tea…my aim is to feature three roots per post one of which may be new to you…

Today I am featuring …

Parsley Root…

Often referred to as Hamburg root, parsley root is used in many European cuisines. Although closely related, it should not be confused with the more popular varieties of leafy green parsley that you might grow in your garden or use as a herb.

I have learnt something new I have not to my knowledge used or eaten parsley root..it looks very much like the parsnip to me but clearly not the same…although they’re both members of the Umbelliferae family, which also includes carrots, celery, parsley, chervil, fennel and celeriac, they taste quite different…This is a variety grown for its large taproot though, rather than its leaves (although its leaves are edible too). Confused? I am!

Parsnip is sweet…Parsley root is not its flavour is stronger and more aromatic…

Wasabi Roots…

Wasabi or Japanese horseradish as it’s otherwise known…pungent while being delicate it is a lovely accompaniment to raw fish…bright green its pungent heat quickly fades…most of the wasabi we eat is fake…Since the plant’s spice starts to decrease as soon as it hits the air, wasabi that has been grated and prepared in advance will be less spicy than a freshly grated wasabi root. This is also why most wasabi found in stores is fake—it’s easier to preserve the spice level when the plant is not involved…

Have you always noticed that you actually feel the spice through your nose almost more than you’ll feel it on your tongue? This is because much of the flavour and spiciness are released through fumes…

It seems like the tube of wasabi I have in my fridge is fake…It’s easy to tell the difference if you pay attention to your wasabi’s appearance and preparation. Fake wasabi paste looks like, well, a paste. Fresh wasabi tends to be grated on the spot, giving it a slightly looser appearance…which means those little packs of wasabi the come with your sushi are almost certain to be fake if you are eating sushi in a good restaurant and your wasabi is grated you have the real deal.

Water Lily Roots…

Many books and research will tell you that you can eat Water Lily Roots…I like this man as he is honest and conducts good experiments…He also makes a good point it may be edible but is it palatable?

The motto try it yourself after extensive research or make sure that the sources you use are honest and have conducted proper research…this is funny in parts it has a kid in it and a wife…

Thank you for joining me today I hope you have found this post interesting as always I look forward to your comments…my aim with these posts is to find roots that are truly edible as there may come a time when we may need to rely on foraged foods…for real!… Never say never!..x

 

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Edible Roots…Part 1…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Edible Roots…Part 1.

Foraging still applies to roots although I will ask that if you find an edible root that you enjoy please remember that the roots are the most crucial plant parts as they are structures responsible for providing water and minerals to plants from the soil.,,without roots, there will be no plant… of course you want to come back time and time again as will others please be considerate…

Also, be careful, and do your research before attempting to forage any of these wild roots.  Always consult multiple sources, and always be 100% sure of your ID before eating any wild plant…

Like I did with the aromatic leaves I will not be featuring common ones but maybe ones we throw away without realising that they are a source of flavour for our food, to eat and cook with or to make tea…my aim is to feature three roots per post one of which may be new to you…

Today I am featuring …

Horse Radish Root…

Horseradish root is one of my favourite roots and a sauce to accompany beef or fish it is wonderful…beets and horseradish are a delight and one of my favourite starters use beets and horseradish…Beetroot Tartare…it can be dried and used as a spice or as a condiment added to a seafood sauce it adds that extra zing… Used for thousands of years worldwide according to Greek mythology, that’s what the Oracle at Delphi told Apollo…in ancient times horseradish root was worth its weight in gold.

Not only is it used in the culinary world but also in the medical field…it has natural antibacterial properties and is rich in many key nutrients.

Wild horseradish…both the leaves and the roots are edible if you pick young tender leaves they can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach…easy to distinguish from Dock leaves but the roots don’t have that distinctive horseradish smell plus the leaves are shiny unlike the matt leaves of the dock…but as always learn about your roots before you go foraging or go with an experienced forager…I find anyone who forages is always more than happy to share their knowledge.

Liquorice Root…

Liquorice root….liquorice was traditionally grown in the fields around Pontefract, Yorkshire does anyone remember the Pnterfract cakes little round patties of shiny black liquorice? or the packs of liquorice roots they used to sell in the sweet shops I used to love chewing on the root…During WW11 the demand grew to such an extent the liquorice had to be imported from Spain and became known as Spanish Liquorice.

Culinary wise liquorice can be used to flavour ice cream, pannacotta, and meringues it can be added to stews, and it pairs well with carrots…liquorice can also pair up well with other big flavours like mint, ginger, rhubarb and raspberries.

I love liquorice but have to admit it is not something I have cooked with but having across some lovely-sounding recipes it is on my to-do list…Do you cook with liquorice?

The root can be used to make teas…Wild liquorice however is not edible.

Warning: People who regularly take large amounts of liquorice, more than 20 g/day, may raise blood levels of the hormone aldosterone, which can cause serious side effects, including headache, high blood pressure, and heart problems…

Coriander Root…

Coriander roots have many culinary uses …Pungent coriander root adds depth of flavour to Thai curry pastes, dips and stir-fries. Coriander roots are the roots of the coriander/cilantro herb, an entirely edible plant, and have a white central tap root covered in small, dark-brown, hair-like rootlets. The roots of younger plants are thin, moist, and tender, while larger roots from older plants can become tough and somewhat bitter. The roots offer a pungent, peppery-spiced aroma and flavour, stronger than the leaves, with citrus notes and deep, earthy undertones similar to celery root. Both the texture and flavour will soften when cooked, often developing a mildly sweet flavour profile.

If you love coriander like we do then roots will add a stronger flavour…I never dispose of the roots now they also freeze well I always keep a small bag to add to stir-fries and Currys/dips.

Coriander root is a kitchen staple in Thai cuisine. With Its strong aromatic, flavour it is the reason why Thai food has a distinctive aroma and flavour that you just can’t find anywhere else.

So, if you want to make authentic Thai food at home, coriander root is a must…until I learnt more about Thai cuisine I always discarded the roots now I don’t they are an integral part of my cooking ingredients…also used in Chinese cookery when making stews, soups and braising meats…

I know many people do not like coriander and think it tastes soapy the roots have a completely different flavour to the leaves,,, and it brings a refreshing citrusy flavour profile, unlike the leaves the roots are better for seasoning food that requires a longer cooking process or to be cooked with high temperature? Unlike delicate leaves that wilt quickly and flavour diminishes under heat, the roots will not be cooked down but release a very distinct citrusy, peppery, and slightly earthy flavour…truly delicious.

Thank you for joining me today for this first post on “Edible Roots”…as always I look forward to your comments …

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 6…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Aromatic LeavesPart 6.

Why am I looking at aromatic leaves?… as a foodie I am always searching for new recipes…many recipes especially Asian ones make use of aromatic leaves which are different from the regular much-used soft-leafed herbs like coriander and mint etc…

Many leaves that are native to other countries are now finding their way around the world either dried or frozen… I think that is great as we can widen our cooking repertoire and experience other flavours…some of which we may not like and others which may become a staple in our spice collection…

Foraging is an age-old tradition that is very prevalent here and moreso now around the world in recent years as people realise just how beneficial to our health and well-being foraged greens can be…and why waste a natural resource as food shortages hit us harder we may need to rely on foraging more often…

Foraging is also a wonderful way to explore nature, conserve ecosystems, and enrich your diet, but it is vital to know which plants are edible and which plants will send you to the emergency room and always remember to wash them thoroughly… If you are a beginner at foraging like me, it’s best to start foraging under the guidance of an experienced outdoorsman/woman with extensive knowledge of local plant life…I have my DIL and a Thai friend who are both very knowledgeable and if in doubt, let the plant be and raid your garden instead until you have the knowledge to be safe…

This first leaf I again discovered quite by chance…Chayote, (Sechium edule), also called vegetable pear, mirliton, or chocho, is a perennial vine of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), cultivated for its edible fruits…however, the bonus is the leaves are also edible they can be eaten raw but are best suited for cooked dishes by boiling, stir-frying, baking, steaming, and sautéing. They are commonly added to salads, soups, and chop suey. They can also be sautéed or stir-fried as a vegetable side dish or combined with other ingredients and made into dumplings…

The chayote fruit was given to me by the lady I buy my vegetables from she always gives me a little extra something to try and the other day it was one of these Chayote vegetables that I always see but have never tried…belonging to the gourd family the chayote vegetable is also known as mirliton or choko…

On researching the Chanote which is native to Mexico but also grown around Asia O recognised the leaves as ones I have seen on the fresh markets and discovered that they are also edible and popular for adding to stir-fries, sautéed and used in many other ways…

I absolutely love it when I come across something quite by chance…I discovered however the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. The plant’s tubers are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables, while the shoots and leaves are often added to salads and stir-fries, especially in Asia…Wow, who knew… certainly not me and this little gem of info was all down to my vegetable lady giving me a chayote vegetable to try… the rest is history(and) my curious mind.

Scent Leaf…African Basil…when I started this mini-series on aromatic leaves I thought I might get 2 or 3 posts at a push out of the subject before I moved on to roots…and then it got more interesting the more I researched and learnt …I like many of you use basil… it’s used all over Europe to top pizzas and other dishes, to make pesto and spag bol…fresh basil is the one to use…then I discovered Thai basil totally different flavour profile and is equally as delicious as all the basil varieties I have used and cooked with …Thai Basil is the most highly scented of the basil family…

All vary and have their own unique flavour profile and you can see why it is called “scent leaf”…my latest discovery is African Blue Basil…used as a garnish, for making pesto or chimichurri, salad dressings or dips…not only is it known as scent leaf but clove basil and in Hawaii wild basil…

Mitsuba Japanese Parsley…Parsley also comes in a few different varieties and flavour profiles…It looks like flat-leaf parsley, has a clean “green” flavour like parsley, belongs to the same family as parsley and is sometimes called wild Japanese parsley, but mitsuba has its own distinct flavour profile and is often used in Japanese and Chinese cooking.

Mitsuba means “three leaves” in Japanese and refers to the way the leaves grow on tall, skinny stems …Mitsuba is usually added to soups, salads, and stir-fries, and often raw since heat tends to bring out its bitterness (or degrade the flavour altogether). The leaves and stems can be chopped to use fresh, but the roots and seeds of mitsuba are also edible…

Thank you for joining me today my aim is to bring ingredients to you that you may not have used before or heard of but may be available where you live either dried or frozen or maybe some small speciality growers may produce them or they could have been foraged..that’s why it’s good to make friends with your local greengrocer or growers or if there are any local groups who go foraging that you can join it all helps as I find here that by me sharing my excesses or jars of jams or pickles I get gifted back and it all increases my knowledge of produce so it’s win-win all around..it all makes cooking more fun and enjoyable and we should know our veggies and their uses…

I look forward to your comments as always and hope to see you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets…xx