Category Archives: Fruity Fridays

Fruity Fridays…The Jack Fruit…

 

Welcome to Fruity Friday’s...This week it is the versatile Jackfruit…

You probably all know by now that I love the unusual and unusual food recipes, given that I am ever so slightly quirky, whimsical and often laugh( when) I really shouldn’t…Oops.

Given to coming up with some unusual foods recipes, which even make me baulk at times, however, more often than not and I know the saying ” We eat with our eyes”  is a valid one…But you miss some damn good food and recipes bypassing that bit… just close your eyes and go for it…

One unusual food recipe came about from a request from one of my readers she was looking at alternative food sources and asked me if I had a recipe…

Do I have a recipe???? Haha

I have for you what is called the Wonder Tree… The Jack Fruit which I have growing in my garden here and it is now being touted as a very viable alternative to meat…

Classed as the poor man’s fruit and left to rot in many places it is now being given high priority and getting much publicity…

I spent time in my kitchen recently cooking it… and I don’t mind admitting I was pleasantly surprised how cooking changed the texture drastically…

It is used as an alternative to pulled pork by many and it does indeed look and have the texture …Awesome… cooked before the fruit ripens gives it an entirely different taste and texture to the ripe fruit… It is indeed a wonder Fruit…

Thailand is a major producer of the jackfruit, they are often cut, prepared, and canned in a sugary syrup (or frozen in bags/boxes without syrup) and exported overseas, frequently to North America and Europe. Made into chips which are very moreish …They are also used in various dishes and curries around Asia…

Just be aware that when you find a jackfruit recipe for a savoury dish it means green or raw Jackfruit many recipes do not say this as they wrongly assume that you know this.

Why wonder tree?

This is because every part of the tree has its own use. The fruits are eaten, the leaves are fed to livestock, and the wood is greatly valued for the manufacture of wood products because of its termite and fungus proof properties and the roots are used in natural medicine to treat fevers, asthma and diarrhoea.

How to prepare the Jackfruit… If I am using green Jackfruit like the recipe below then I just take one from my tree, if I want the ripe arils I generally buy them ready prepared.

Those of you who have prepared your own Jackfruit do know that it has a latex sap…

I have heard and quite recently…my lips are sealed…lol, some horror stories when one doesn’t know how to prepare this amazing fruit.

What you need:

An old knife and cooking oil…lots of it…

Firstly, coat your gloved hands and a long, sharp knife with cooking oil. A spray cooking oil works well — to protect against that stubborn latex sap.

Cover the work surface with something disposable….lots of newspaper.

Cut the fruit in half lengthwise and then lengthwise again into quarters; the cut skin and core will release the sap. Re-grease the knife after each cut.

Cut out the solid white core and discard any fibrous filaments around the fruit pods.

If you do get ooze on your hands, don’t worry – just put some oil on your hands, and wash them in warm water, it will be gone in no time!

Easy when you know how…

I also just prefer to oil my hands as when I use gloves they are guaranteed to stick to the latex…I probably don’t oil them enough…But I prefer oiled hands…

I have seen a few recipes lately where raw/green jackfruit is not stated and also the fact that you need to use my steps to cut the jackfruit or you will have latex everywhere.

On the markets here you can buy it ready cooked so the first step is done and all you need to do is then add your aromatics and finish cooking much easier but as I have a tree I needed to learn how to do it with minimal mess.

In Asia, jackfruits ripen principally from March to June, April to September, or June to August, depending on the climatic region, with some off-season crops from September to December, you may also find a few fruits at other times of the year.

My tree in my garden has started to produce fruit and to stop the squirrels helping themselves I will be covering the fruits in plastic bags… But as you can see they are growing nicely and there are a lot of little babies as well.

The jackfruit’s flesh is very sweet and aromatic and tastes like a combination of banana, mango and papaya.

Because of certain similarities in appearance the oval shape and spiky exterior, some people mistake the jackfruit for Durian which is another exotic fruit; however, they are very different fruits.

The 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.

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.

Today I will be making a 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…

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 or ate this dish… I was 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.

They also make lovely ice cream which if you swop the whipping cream for my dairy-free cream it is suitable for vegans.

Jackfruit Ice Cream.

Ingredients:

  • 300 gm of the ripe arils (as above)
  • 10gm sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 120 gm coconut milk
  • 200 gm whipped cream.

Let’s Cook!

Chop the jackfruit and put in a pan with the sugar cook until the fruit turns to a pulp about 30/40 mins depending on how ripe your fruit is. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Place the cooled mixture in the blender with the salt, vanilla extract and the coconut milk and blend until smooth… Chill overnight in the fridge.

Next day whip your cream and fold the jackfruit mix into the whipped cream and place in your ice cream maker following their instructions.

If you are not using an ice cream maker then put in the blender and pulse 3 times.

Put into an airtight container and freeze for 6 hours.

Enjoy!

Stop Press! Stop Press! Where and how Jackfruit is sold:

  • Canned in brine – available from larger grocery stores and Asian or Thai supermarkets. Works best in savoury dishes.
  • Canned in water– available from larger grocery stores and Asian or Thai supermarkets. Works for sweet or savoury dishes.
  • Canned in syrup – available from larger grocery stores and Asian or Thai supermarkets. Works best for sweet dishes.
  • Frozen – available from larger grocery stores and Asian or Thai supermarkets. Works for sweet or savoury dishes and is especially great for ice cream or breakfast smoothies.
  • Prepacked (plain or in a sauce) – ready to use packs, perfectly convenient.

And don’t forget any questions or recipes you want me to find for you please ask…
Carol x

Have you enjoyed your read? If so let me know in comments I do love to hear from you it makes my day…

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 once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times and I know many of you are back on lockdown again I just wish everyone would observe the guidelines and then maybe this will all be over far quicker than if we don’t xx

 

Fruity Friday’s… The chilli and yes it is a fruit!

Red-chilli-dried-green-hot

Oh Yes! It is a fruit!

I expect you were wondering when I was going to get around to one of my favourite fruits, The Chilli Pepper… Chillies are in season all year round here…although a pepper’s hotness is generally determined by genetics, the environment can play a role. Long hot days cause peppers to produce more capsaicin, the specific alkaloid that delivers the spicy kick…The chillies I am picking at the moment have certainly racked the heat up a bit..they are spicy hot babies…

This wonderful versatile fruit which some love to hate… Are the fruits from the flowers of the Nightshade plant family. Mainly eaten as a vegetable but most definitely it is a fruit.

Chilli peppers are a rich source of spicy-hot capsaicin. They are also very high in antioxidant carotenoids, which are linked with many health benefits. … Capsaicin: Is one of the most studied plant compounds in chilli peppers.

Did you know? Chilli has seven times the Vitamin C of an Orange. Also, a big bowl of chilli can help you lose weight? It is because the capsaicin in the chillies and peppers used to make a chilli raise your metabolic rate…

chilli-con carne-chilli peppers

Chilli Con Carne

  • 500 gm lean minced Beef ( I use pork) as I can’t get minced beef here.
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper chopped
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1-3 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 pint of fresh-made beef or vegetable stock
  • 400 gm fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp sugar…I sneak this in when no one is looking as it brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410 gm can red kidney beans, drained or pre-soaked dried kidney beans.

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

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

Enjoy!

Now what can be better than a Smokin hot chilli sauce this recipe was gifted to me by my friend Susan and it is awesome…Thank you, Susan, it is now my go-to chilli sauce…

Chilli- hot-red-fiery sauce

Let’s Cook!

This recipe is a sort of add how many chillies you like or it depends on how big your hands are…lol

Take a half kilo of Cayenne peppers or peppers of your choice.

A large handful of garlic cloves, peeled and blanched…it is not a requirement but the sauce will be less acrid if you blanch the garlic.

Smoke the chillies and garlic over charcoal mixed with smoked applewood for 2 hours.

Then put in a blender with a cup of organic live cider vinegar, a cup of sugar and half a tsp of salt.

Just look at that lovely rich, red colour, it looks amazing.

After you have made your first batch you might want to play around with the quantities to suit your taste …but that is the fun and what cooking is all about. The high sugar content makes it great for BBQ’s and helps with the preservation.

Put the sauce into sterilized jars.

It is then ready to use as a spread on your bacon sandwich, to coat your meats and is a great base for chilli or my friend Susan makes her version of Mole by adding cocoa powder, nuts, and some Mexican spices.

Play around with flavours you might find something new and exciting. Maybe blanch some red bell peppers and char them with the chillies and garlic.

NOTE:

If the sauce starts to ferment, bubble up then loosen the lid and let it do its work…I wouldn’t eat the sauce while this going on and fermenting but it will settle down on its own and you will be left with a lovely mature sauce with a deeper flavour, albeit less sweet.

Have fun and enjoy!

Do you like something a tad sweeter??? Then this Thai Sweet chilli sauce may be for you??

Sweet- chilli-sauce

This recipe makes about half cup of sauce which is ideal for me because if I buy a bottle I end up throwing it away either because I have had it in the fridge or cupboard so long or I have read the label.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus 2 tbsp.
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sherry if you don’t have sherry then this article gives you replacements for sherry in cooking
  • 2 cloves of garlic grated/ minced or very finely chopped
  • 1/2 -1 tbsp dried chilli crushed ( 1 tbsp is hot) or chilli pepper flakes.
  • 1 plus 1/2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot dissolved in 3-4 tbsp water.
  • Optional… Sometimes I julienne a small piece of carrot or red pepper and add to the mixture during the reduction period of cooking.

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan except for the cornflour mix. Stir to combine and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a slow rolling boil and cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture had reduced by half. Lower the heat and add the cornflour mix, stirring until the sauce has thickened.

Taste and adjust the seasoning more sugar if not sweet enough for you and if not hot enough then more chilli.

This is so quick and easy to make and far superior to shop-bought sauces and without the preservatives.

Enjoy!

Chilli plant- hot- spicy- Thai chillies

One of my favourite fruits…The chilli…

The chilli and lots of other fruits are in season in September and of course, eating fruits in season brings many benefits to your health and the taste…of course, depending on which zone you are in the world fruit seasons and types vary to what they do here…what doesn’t change is why we should eat the fruit in season …I have listed the benefits below but it really is a no brainer as fruit in season is glorious…

  1. Richer flavour – Produce that is picked when it’s fully ripened tastes amazing. If your product is coming from across the US or another country, it is picked before it’s ripe. As it travels to your local grocery store, it ripens in a cardboard box, often after being sprayed by chemicals to prevent it from ripening too quickly…who hasn’t been tempted by those strawberries out of season and at a far higher cost both in pennies and their carbon footprint to find the taste was a great disappointment…Hands up I have in the past but no more…I have learnt that lesson the hard way…
  2. Better nutrition – When produce is picked before it’s ripe, the nutrients do not fully develop in the flesh of the fruit. Plants need the sun to grow and picking them before they are ripe cuts off the nutrient availability. Genetic modification is also sometimes used, which can alter how the crop was naturally supposed to be consumed. Also, if you eat seasonally, you are guaranteed to consume a variety of produce, which will assist you in eating a healthier, balanced diet.
  3. Environmentally friendly – As produce is transported from other areas, it requires gas to get the product to the store. This fuel charge is something often added to the cost of the food upon delivery, not to mention what this does to the carbon footprint.
  4. Community benefit – Buying your produce from local farmer’s markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to build community, but also allows you to feel more connected to where your food is coming from and who is growing it…I think we owe our families that and ourselves…

Don’t forget it is National Organic Month…if you missed my post yesterday explained what constitutes an organic product…

Thank you for reading, I do hope you have enjoyed it…  I am looking forward to your comments. Thanks, Carol xxxx

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!

Have a great weekend, stay safe and be well xx

 

 

Fruity Friday’s…The Tamarind

 

 

I just don’t know where the time goes it’s Friday again and this week I am showcasing the lovely Tamarind…The Tamarind is very plentiful here and used in many Thai dishes …I love just eating the fruit it has quite a sour taste but I like it…It is sold in little packs here on the markets the seeds already removed or as a paste to add to food. It is also sold dried and sugared as a snack food and although sugared is still has quite a sour taste…

This rather plain brown podded fruit does, however, have the capacity to elevate your food to something else.

Tamarind like many fruits and vegetables has a long history of healing and aiding stomach disorders and is used as a laxative.

Tamarind preparations are used for fevers, sore throats, inflammation of joints and sunstroke. The leaves dried or boiled are made into poultices to help reduce swollen joints, sprains, boils, haemorrhoids and conjunctivitis.

Tamarind is also great as a marinade for meat as it breaks down and tenderises tougher cuts of meat. It is used to make jams and syrups it is also one of the secret ingredients of Lea & Perrins  Worcestershire sauce which is a fermented sauce which has many uses.

Great for smoothies a mango and tamarind smoothie is very nice it also has many other culinary uses.

This little dip is a recipe from Bali given to me by my grandson’s girlfriend it is very easy to make but made more special by the addition of tamarind. 

Called Rujak sauce it is lovely with mangoes.

  • Take 200 gm of palm sugar shaved.
  • 15 gm of tamarind flesh and 5 tbsp of water leave to infuse for 5 mins and then drain and keep the tamarind flavoured water.
  • 6 or more Thai chillies.
  • 1/4 tsp shrimp paste and 1/4tsp salt.

Blitz all these ingredients together and you have fiery little sauce.

It is hard for me to pick a favourite dish made with Tamarind this recipe for Beef Rendang is a recipe given to me by my friend Mamik and it is very nice the beef is amazing. It is also my go-to recipe if I want that special dish to impress although there are many ingredients and it has quite a long prep time it is so worth it and as I said earlier if I am having guests a really lovely dish. You can see how rich and flavoursome that meat looks and it tastes amazing…

beef rendang

Ingredients:

  • 2” Galangal
  • 2” Ginger
  • 1 kg beef (Bottom Round)
  • 1-litre  Coconut Milk (3 sm tins and made to one litre with water)
  • Grind together and put on one side, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds, 1 tsp Cumin seeds and 1 tsp white peppercorns.
  • 2 Star Anise.
  • Half cup toasted coconut (pound in the pestle until oil is released and it looks like a paste.)
  • 1 Turmeric Leaf (Leave the leaf whole but tear side to stem along the leaf) this releases the flavour.
  • 2 stems lemongrass crushed along the stem.
  • 2 Lime leaves.
  • Soak 1-2 tsp Tamarind pulp in a little water and set aside for later.

Curry Paste:

Blitz the next 4 ingredients together to make the curry paste.

  • 2cm Fresh Turmeric.
  • 10 Shallots
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 10 large red chillies (de-seed if you want a milder curry)

Let’s Cook!

Cut the beef into large cubes.

Put a tbsp oil of your choice in a cooking pot (I use a wok). Add Curry paste, ground coriander seeds, cumin and white peppercorns plus add chopped ginger, turmeric and galangal stir for 5 mins, add beef and stir to combine. Add coconut milk/water mixture and stir to combine.

Slowly bring to a gentle simmer, add torn turmeric leaf, lemongrass and lime leaves and star anise.

Cover the pan and cook until meat is tender at least 3 hrs on a low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground coconut paste about a half-hour before the end of the cooking time and also the tamarind liquid and this is when the magic happens and the taste goes from just another curry to something wonderful.

When the meat is cooked and tender remove the turmeric leaf and lemongrass stalks although if we are not eating the curry until the next day I leave them and remove them before we eat the curry.

This curry should traditionally have a very thick paste and is also best eaten the next day to allow the flavours to develop.

However, as Europeans prefer a thinner sauce you can choose not to reduce down as much.

Enjoy!

Another of my favourites is Miang Kham although I have made this at home some markets sell all the little bits ready cut in bags with the sauce much easier and they taste just the same as much of the food sold on the markets here is made in home kitchens and sold from a market stall…

miang-kham-1188212_1920

 

Ingredients: Filling:

  • 3/4 cup grated coconut (this is often available in the baking section of most supermarkets) if you are not as lucky as me and can buy from our local fresh markets.
  • 2 small limes, unpeeled (try to get limes with thin skin), cut into small cubes
  • 6 tablespoons shallots, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 6 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 6 tablespoons small dried shrimps
  • 4-5 fresh Thai chillies, cut into small slivers
  • 4 oz fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small cubes.

Ingredients: Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste, roasted until fragrant
  • 2 oz fresh galangal, cut into slivers and roasted until fragrant (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut, roasted in a low-heat oven until lightly brown
  • 4 oz small dried shrimps.
  • 2 oz shallots, peeled and coarsely cut
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh ginger, sliced
  • 8 oz palm sugar (broken into small chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons table sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind soaked in 3 tbsp water for about 10 mins.
  • salt for seasoning

Let’s Cook!

The Sauce.

In a pestle and mortar, pound together the shallots and galangal until fine (note about galangal: it’s ok to use dried galangal as long as it’s placed in a dish of lukewarm water for a few minutes to reconstitute). Add roasted shrimp paste, ginger, coconut and dried shrimp, and continue pounding until smooth. Remove the mixture and place in a pot with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, add palm sugar and table sugar, then reduce heat and simmer, wait until reduced to 1 cup or a bit less. Add tamarind liquid. Taste, and adjust by adding a bit of salt. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.

Wrapping Leaves

Your choice of what leaves to use is up to you. Some use lettuce or spinach leaves due to ready availability, but to get an authentic flavour you should use the fresh Betel Leaves.

To serve:

Roast the coconut in a low-heat oven until lightly brown. Spoon the roasted coconut into a serving plate. In separate small bowls, arrange each filling ingredient listed above. With a fresh wrapping leaf in hand, fold it once across the bottom then sideways to form a pocket. Place about 1 teaspoon toasted coconut in the leaf together with a small amount of each filling to create a bite-sized quantity. Spoon the sauce on top, pop in your mouth and enjoy!

Although this can be a little time-consuming to prepare it is well worth it.

Lastly a beautiful salad with a Tamarind Sauce.

Yum Takrai (Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

Thai Lemongrass Salad with tamarind dip

 

Ingredients:

  • 15 stalks fresh lemongrass.
  • 14 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp. toasted cashews
  • 2 tbsp. whole dried shrimp
  • 12 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 12 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-1 12 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. whole dried shrimp, finely ground
  • 4-6 red Thai chillies stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 raw stemmed long beans, cut into 4″ pieces for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Trim and slice lemongrass very finely. Transfer lemongrass slices to a medium bowl, separate rings with your fingers. Add ginger, cashews, shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, ground shrimp, Thai chiles, and shallots, and toss well. Garnish with long beans. Serve on Banana Leaf or Betel Leaf as in my picture.
We also serve with a tamarind sauce made by combining 3 tbsp tamarind pulp with cup water in a small pan, bring to boil and simmer 5 mins.
Remove from heat and stand 15 mins you can help break tamarind down with a spoon, strain through sieve extracting as much liquid as possible.
Add 2cm peeled finely chopped ginger and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 11/2 tbsp palm sugar,2 tsp fish sauce,1 tbsp chilli/garlic sauce and 1 tsp soy sauce to tamarind liquid. Bring to boil, simmer 5 mins.
Whisk 1 tbsp cornflour with little water whisk into sauce cook 1 min or until thickens.
Taste and adjust seasoning add more sugar if required.
Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Enjoy!
Now if you ever get the opportunity to try young tamarind fruit are you in for a treat it is both
beautiful to look at and tastes amazing…
fresh young tamarind fruit

The fruit inside starts off white and tastes nutty and as it ripens it goes pink and you can slightly taste a sourness, the last stage when it is dried and you get the dark sticky tamarind is maybe the tamarind you see for sale in bright red boxes in your supermarket.

Thank you for reading this I hope you enjoyed learning about this beautiful fruit……Thank you 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.

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!

Have a great weekend, stay safe and be well xx

 

 

 

Fruity Friday…The humble Fig

The Fig…You can get it dried almost anywhere in the world and fresh and luscious from September through to autumn.

dried-2825_1920

There is nought like the taste of fresh figs and dried they are different but sweet, with a chewy flesh and crunchy edible seeds.

Figs start off as an enclosed inverted flower. The shape of their flower inhibits them from relying on bees or wind to spread their pollen in the same way other flowers can. Instead, figs must rely on the help of pollinator wasps to reproduce.

Nearing the end of her life, a female wasp will crawl through the tiny opening of the inverted fig flower to lay her eggs. She will break off her antennas and wings in the process, dying shortly afterwards.

The wasp’s body is then digested by an enzyme within the fig, while her eggs prepare to hatch. Once they do, male larvae mate with female larvae, which then crawl out of the fig, with pollen attached to their bodies, to continue both species lifecycle.

This is where some controversy creeps in...Some followers of veganism profess that as figs are a product of a wasps death then this fruit should not be considered vegan…however common sense prevails in most case and it is seen as a symbiotic relationship which allows both species to survive.

Figs are sweet with a chewy flesh, smooth skin and crunchy edible seeds. They are also one of the only fruits to ripen on the tree.

Did you know? Fig puree can replace fat/sugar in baked goods? Well neither did I until fairly recently a fig puree can be used as a sugar and fat substitution.

Just combine 8 ounces of fresh figs and 1/4 -1/3 cup of water in a blender; puree until smooth. If using dried figs, soak figs in water until softened before pureeing. Use as you would applesauce in baked recipes, as a substitution for both fat and sugar. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig puree, and reduce or eliminate the sugar required.

Or use the puree as a spread over toast and fruits; or thin it out with more water and use as a liquid sweetener for coffee, drinks and in place of honey or maple syrup in your recipes.

The fig is also a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. It has Vitamin A, B1, and B2…. 3 figs have  5 gm of fibre..so if you are not careful you could if you eat too many figs end up with the “back door trots”. This is an old English saying just in case you were wondering.

In the Indian sub-continent, it is made into a soothing, calming salve which if applied by a topical application it can provide relief to Venereal Disease.  Although more research needs to be done to prove its effectiveness.

The Spaniards introduced figs to California in the early 16th century. The priests who lived in San Diego at the “Mission” originally planted the figs and the dark purple figs became known as Mission figs.

Native to the Middle East and western Asia the fig tree Ficus Carica is also a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness cultivated since ancient times it is mentioned many times in the bible and probably why many also believe that it was not apples in the garden of Eden but figs which tempted Adam and Eve. Now that is a thought.

figs-2662883_1920

Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1982 introduction of Fig Newtons cookies…I just love fig bars.

Did you know that eating one-half a cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking a half a cup of milk?

Figs also go wonderfully with blue cheese and wrapped in parma ham they are to die for. Just saying…

The Fig like lots of herbs, fruits and vegetables we eat have amazing healing properties and I think we should look at what we have growing naturally in our beautiful world instead of buying all these ready-made processed foods which are not even convenient most of the time and full of nasties…

Here endeth the sermon…

This fig sauce is lovely over duck breasts or chicken.

duck-breast-2729838_1920

Fig Sauce

  • 12  dried black figs with the stems trimmed off.
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh chicken stock
  • 2 sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 sprig rosemary although I will admit to adding a bit more…
  • Salt and pepper to Taste
  • Fresh Figs (optional)

In a small saucepan cook the black figs in the chicken stock for about 10 minutes until soft, remove from the stock and chop finely and return to the stock. Set to one side.

In a small pan melt the butter and add the finely chopped garlic and mushrooms cook for 30 secs don’t allow to burn as garlic it catches quite quickly. Add the brandy and simmer for 1 minute. Add rosemary sprig and fig stock and fresh figs (if using) simmer for 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Just serve over your sliced duck breasts it is a lovely rich sauce and nice for that special occasion.

If fresh figs are in season then they are lovely served with the duck breast…

Enjoy!

Figs are not native to Thailand which is why very rarely I only see ones that are imported and very expensive however it is also said that they can adapt to the Thai climate which means maybe I can plant my own fig tree if I can find one…The search is on xxx

I hope you are enjoying Fruity Fridays don’t forget if you have a fruit you would like me to feature please send me a picture…

Until next time be well and stay safe…

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 once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

Fruity Fridays! The Pineapple…

 

 

Good morning and welcome to Fruity Fridays and the delicious Pineapple…

I hope you enjoy the recipes and chit-chat that I will be bringing to you on a Friday. Pineapple is a fruit which is available in one form or another all over the world.

It grows here quite freely and is available everywhere and as crisps, smoothies, in curries, ice cream the pineapple is a very versatile fruit and it always looks very pretty when the outside is kept and used to put your Pina colada in or your pineapple fried rice.

The pineapple is packed with vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants it is also used in smoothies and cocktails and there is nothing better than sitting on the beach with a lovely Pina colada watching the sunset…

pina-colada-837059_1920

I know you are all now probably thinking that it is alright for some while you are dealing with the cold and rain but we have rain to it is just interspersed with hot sunny spells…Soz…but it also makes a beautiful curry it pairs with duck really well and is one of my favourites.

Tip:   It is also a great meat tenderizer.

Red Duck Curry ( Kaeng Ped Pett Yang)

I had the pleasure of eating a  Duck curry for the first time on a little island just off Phuket, Thailand it is a fiery curry offset by pineapple and tomatoes. Some add lychee as well as pineapple but we found it a little sweet for us but experiment, everyone’s taste is different….I also add some vegetables, mange tout or sugar snap peas may be a few florets of brocolli..really whatever I have in the fridge.

Duck Curry

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 duck Breasts.
  • 400 ml of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3/4 cup fresh pineapple cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 10 cherry tomatoes.
  • 6-10 mange tout..or other vegetables of your choice.
  • 100 gm Thai eggplant cut into quarters.
  • Pea egg plants

    Tiny pea eggplants used in Thai Curries

  • 100 gm pea eggplants.
  • If you can’t get these any small eggplant will be ok I sometimes use small purple ones if I can’t get the green.
  • 1-2 tbsp red curry paste.
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves torn
  • Bunch Thai basil washed and leaves picked…
  • 2 tsp lime juice.

Lets’s Cook!

Firstly cook your duck breasts, we like ours medium-rare.

Put the duck skin side down in a cold pan, turn the heat to medium and cook the duck breasts for 6-8 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy, turn the breasts over and just sear the other side for 1 minute. Turn over so they are breast side up and put in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing the breasts thinly.

To make sauce put a very tiny drop of oil in the pan over medium heat add your curry paste and stir to cook for 1 min, add fish sauce. Gradually add coconut milk whilst still stirring.

Bring to a slow boil and add torn lime leaves and eggplants cook for 5/6 mins and add tomatoes and pineapple, cook for a further 10 minutes then add the mange tout and stir in some Thai basil leaves and lime juice.

Now taste and adjust curry paste if you want more heat. If any other seasonings need to be adjusted you can also do that now. Thai flavours are very pronounced and if you get it balanced ..very nice if not…I have had some disasters and I don’t mind admitting that…which is why I always say TASTE and Taste again.

The very first duck curry I made was ok…so we left out the lychee next time and it was much better…also, I know which curry paste to now use as they are all so different….Please don’t let this put you off making it as when you get it right it is a lovely thing. Thai curry pastes are now available around the world not only in Asian stores but many high street stores now stock them… Brands like Mae Ploy are very good…

N.B, I am thinking of selling authentic Thai brands if food and cooking pots on this blog what do you think? Would you buy them? (Of course when the post is back to normal) Covid-19 has affected all areas of our lives…

When you are ready to serve then add sliced duck to the sauce and just warm through and serve with some Thai basil over the top and a sliced red chilli if you like.

Serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

I also love pineapple in an upside-down pudding my mum used to make it… She just used to make a normal cake mix and put pineapple in the bottom of a heatproof dish and put the cake mixture on top. Bake it and then serve it with custard…It is one of those childhood memories… Mine …well I had to tweak it somewhat but I am sure you didn’t expect any different from me…Did you??

Pineapple and ginger upside-down cake.

pineapple-636562_1920

Ingredients:

  • 25 g (1 oz) sultanas
  • 100 g (4 oz) castor sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon Powder
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 115 g (4 1/2 oz) butter
  • 227 g (8 oz) tin pineapple rings, drained or fresh pineapple cut into rings.
  • maraschino cherries( optional)

Let’s Cook!

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.

Grease and baseline a 20.5cm (8″) round /square cake tin. Heat the golden syrup and 1 tsp grated Ginger with 15 gm (½oz) butter until melted.

Meanwhile, arrange the pineapple in the base of the tin, sprinkle over the sultanas and pour over the syrup mixture.

If you are using cherries then just pop them in the middle of the pineapple…they look so pretty…

Whisk the remaining butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs. Mix the flour with the Cinnamon and remaining Ginger and fold into the cake mixture. Spread on top of the pineapple.

Bake for 45 minutes until firm to touch. Allow the cake to cool slightly before turning out.

Serve with custard and enjoy!

Well, I can’t go without just mentioning that I pickle almost everything and pineapple is no exception…It is actually very nice…pickled with jala[eno peppers they are perfect with cheese…

Pickled Pineapple.

Ingredients:

  • 300 gm of fresh pineapple cut into smallish chunks
  • A handful of shallots finely sliced
  • 1 pickled jalapeno sliced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
  • The juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • A handful of chopped coriander
  • 3 sterilised jars with lids.

Heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, limes and Jalapenos together and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat add the shallots and leave the mixture to cool down.

Spoon the pineapple and coriander into the prepared jars and cover with the vinegar mixture. Add the lids and leave to cool down before putting in the refrigerator.

pickled-pineapple

Leave for 1-2 days before eating.

N.B Some recipes say use pickled jalapenos and some say to use fresh Jalapenos… I use either …

If you use pineapple juice the cut down on the sugar you use.

If you enjoy pickles what unusual pickles do you make????? Please let me know in the comments…I would love to know 🙂 x

I hope you have enjoyed my recipes for the lovely pineapple until next Friday when I will bring another lovely fruit…Take care and stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot..laughter is free and the best medicine x

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 once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruity Friday… The Inca Berry (Cape Gooseberry)

 

Inca BerryInca Berries or as they are also known… Cape Gooseberries, Husk Berries, Bubble cherries( I quite) like that one, Physalis…

In the French language, they are called Amour- en cage meaning caged love…..Now that sounds lovely I think…Don’t you?

High in pectin, they are very suited to making jams. They are rich in Vit C and A, iron, niacin and phosphorous. For a berry, they are high in protein and fibre so that pretty little berry which is often seen decorating beautiful desserts or covered in chocolate has hidden attributes.

parfait-1522082_1280

Parfait is the French word for “perfect,”

Served straight from the freezer, their texture is similar to ice cream’s, but they take on a mousse-like consistency when thawed for a minute or two on the plate.

Yes, I know I don’t do puddings especially posh puds very often at all…I like parfait as it is easy to make and always looks quite nice on the plate especially decorated with the Inca berries or raspberries.

Ingredients:

  • 200g good quality dark or milk chocolate (46-70%)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 eggs
  • 80-100g caster sugar, to taste (the higher the cocoa content, the more sugar you may require)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier (or liqueur of your choice)
  • 300ml whipping cream

Let’s Cook!

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until just melted and smooth.

Whip cream until holding peaks. Set aside.

Whisk egg yolk, eggs and sugar together until very thick and pale. Gently mix in melted chocolate, vanilla and Grand Marnier. Pour chocolate mixture into prepared whipped cream and gently fold in with a large metal spoon until evenly combined.

Line a 1.5L loaf tin with plastic wrap. Pour mixture into the tin. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours until set.

To serve, remove from freezer a couple of minutes before serving. Turn Parfait onto a serving platter and slice. Serve with golden berries.

Enjoy!

With a texture very similar to the tomato it can be used just as you use a tomato eat it raw or in salads as a pie filling, dried it is like a beautiful golden raisin in fact in many places it is also called golden berry. They may look and taste like dried berries – but they are, in fact, more closely related to a tomato than a raspberry. When fresh, they resemble small, yellow cherry tomatoes, but once dried they taste more sweet and tart, like a berry.

It has a sweet flavour ending in a whisper of sour, cooked with a little white onion in Olive oil, seasoned with Salt and pepper until it breaks down it makes a heavenly topping on some lovely toasted granary bread with a scraping of goats cheese or cream cheese then topped with the Inca berries and some warmed honey it is really delicious.

Or split a warmed baguette, add a lovely browned pork sausage and spoon mix the mixture over the sausage…..amazing flavour you will never want ketchup again.

Known here as the Cape Gooseberry it is know cultivated here and very popular with Thai consumers…

As with most fruits and vegetables here…chilli and spicy dips are more often the order of the day…eaten with sticky rice, raw vegetables and herbs and sometimes bbq chicken or fish…

Inca berry(Cape gooseberry) chilli paste recipe:

Ingredients:

  •  Half tsp Kaffir lime zest or 1finely sliced lime leaf
  • 1-6 Red chilli
  •  1-2 Green chill;
  • 1 tbsp Smoked crispy fish
  • 1 tsp Dried shrimp
  • 4-5  garlic cloves
  •   2 Cape gooseberry
  • 1 tsp Shrimp paste

To season:

  •  A little palm sugar
  •  lime juice to taste
  • Fish sauce to taste

Let’s Cook!

Dry fry the red and green chillies,  garlic, and smoked crispy fish together for just a minute or two…

Roughly pestle Kaffir lime zest or leaf with salt. Then, add the garlic, chilli and crispy fish mix and pestle until it blends together.

Add the dried shrimp, and shrimp paste and mix together. When it is mixed well, put cape gooseberry in and pestle again until well mixed.

Season with palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce..start with a tsp of each and taste and add more if required

Once prepared the paste can be spread over shrimp/prawns before they are grilled or served alongside rice and fresh vegetable dishes.

Batu and vegetables

This is how typically dips like these are served…

That’s all for this post  I do hope you have enjoyed it I am looking forward to your comments. Carol 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 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!

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 great weekend xx Until next time, stay safe, laugh a lot as laughter is the best medicine and it is free xxx

 

 

 

 

 

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