Category Archives: Recipes

Carol Cooks in my Kitchen…Christmas Recipes… Gravy…

 

Wow, the days are just flying by now…. and before we know it there it was GONE! and Christmas Eve will be upon us…34 sleeps however it’s still too early to put up the tree…

Today I am going to share some recipes for gravy which can be made 2-3 days in advance or frozen…and if you are not used to making gravy then it gives you time to practise and by Christmas day it will be perfect…

Gravy… no dinner is complete without gravy…Gravy is also a contentious issue some like it thin some like it thicker and some like it so you can stand a spoon up in it…me… I like it so it lightly coats the back of the spoon not too thin and definitely not too thick…

All the Christmas magazines have some lovely gravies and most have to be made in advance although they can be frozen and that saves time on Christmas day or whenever you eat your festive meal…

But a quick gravy made from the drippings of the roasting pan can often not be beaten… it’s just as delicious as all these fancy twice-sieved gravies…Here I’ve given you the choice plus a vegetarian/vegan option…

Let’s Cook!

What you need to make the gravy from your meat drippings…

Pan drippings from roasted meat and the browned bits: If the drippings are in a pan you can heat up on the stovetop, then pour off everything but two tablespoons of fat and keep all the browned, stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan in there…which are the best part…

If the drippings are on a baking sheet or something that can’t go on the stovetop, measure out the correct amount of drippings, pour off the rest, and then use a spatula to scrape the solid bits out of the pan and add them in with the drippings.

Flour: To make your roux and thicken your gravy…

Water, Wine, stock, or milk: Any of the 4 will work here… I actually prefer gravy made with water, stock or wine best, but experiment and see what works for you. Stock will give you a really flavour-packed gravy and gravy made with milk will be richer but not for me but I know some people do( my mum) did when making gravy for the liver and bacon for me though not on my Christmas dinner…

But this is for Christmas Dinner so a glug of wine or three will most certainly liven up the gravy although often as everything is sooooo rich I just opt for water plus a little homemade stock or an organic stock cube…

A fine-mesh strainer: Finally, straining your gravy through a fine-mesh strainer will make sure your gravy is perfectly smooth and creamy with no lumps or solid pieces…personally we like the drippings and the scrappings…but it’s a personal choice and as I said earlier gravy is very personal even within families…

Let’s Cook!

Start by pouring off all but two tbsp of fat from your pan (I like to reserve the rest of the drippings for later use the fat makes for lovely roasties), leaving any solid, stuck-on bits in the pan.

Heat over medium-high heat until any remaining solids are golden brown. Watch out, the fat will splatter during this step. Just turn the heat down if it’s splattering too much.

Now whisk in flour (2 tbsp)and cook until lightly golden, about 30 seconds to a minute.

Then..very slowly at first, pour in your water, wine, stock or milk( 2 cups), whisking out any lumps as they form. Once the flour seems incorporated, you can speed up your pouring.

Cook, whisking continuously for 5 to 8 minutes (possibly longer if making a larger batch), until gravy is thickened and bubbly.

Turn the stove off and whisk in some butter which gives the gravy a lovely shine and salt and pepper to taste if required.

This will make 5-6 servings.

Serve and enjoy!

Next is my easy-to-make tasty turkey gravy and we need a lovely tasty gravy to go with our Christmas dinner…Don’t we?

sunday roast

Turkey Gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg chicken wings halved with kitchen scissors
  • the turkey neck, if you have it, cut into pieces
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 2 onions, unpeeled and chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • a small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp  Coconut oil/olive Oil
  • 2 tsp golden castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5-litre fresh vegetable stock

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oven to 220C/390F/gas 7.

Tip the chicken wings into a roomy roasting tin with the turkey neck (if using), carrots, onions, celery and thyme. Scatter over the sugar, toss in the oil and roast for 50 mins until brown and lightly charred.

Put the roasting tin on low heat, stir in the tomato purée and flour, and cook until sticky. Splash in the balsamic vinegar, and pour over 1.5 litres of stock to just cover all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer. then using a potato masher to mash all the ingredients together so as to release the flavour.

Simmer everything for 20 mins until you have a tasty thickened gravy, then strain it through a sieve, pushing down hard on all the mushy veg. Cool and chill for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Heat the gravy to serve, adding roasting juices from your turkey, if you like.

Serves 8.

Prosecco and Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil/olive oil
  • 500 gm chicken wings, chopped into pieces (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • Turkey’s backbone and neck, hacked into pieces
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into small chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • small bunch of Fresh Thyme
  • 30 gm dried porcini
  • pinch of golden castor sugar
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 250 ml Prosecco, plus a splash (optional)
  • 2-litre chicken stock (preferably fresh)
  • A squeeze of lemon

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large shallow saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. When it’s shimmering, add the wings and the turkey pieces, and spend a good 20 mins browning them well in the oil – sticky bits of meat in the pan will add flavour.

Tip in the vegetables, herbs and porcini, scatter over the sugar and stir everything in. Turn down the heat and brown the vegetables for another 10 mins. Stir in the flour, then pour in the Prosecco and simmer down to a paste.

Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. Skim any scum off with a ladle and simmer steadily for 30 mins until thickened and reduced by about a third. Season to taste with salt and stir in a squeeze of lemon. Leave to cool slightly, then strain through a sieve into a container and chill. Can be made three days ahead, or frozen for up to three months.

On the day, simply reheat or pour into the turkey roasting tin and reheat with the roasting juices.

If not serving to children, finish with a splash more Prosecco just before serving, if you like.

Lastly, I have a nice red wine vegetarian gravy. if the onions are nicely caramelised then you get a great flavoured gravy…it is also very important that before and during the process of making this gravy you must remember to taste and taste again…x

Red wine vegetarian gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Brown Onions
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 200 ml Red Wine
  • 200 ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 tbsp  Flour
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sprig Thyme

Let’s Cook!

Peel the onions and cut them in half. Lay each half with the flat side down and slice so you have semi-circle-shaped pieces.

Head 1 tbsp Olive Oil over medium heat in a frying pan and add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften and become translucent.

Then reduce the heat to low and add the balsamic vinegar. Spread the onions into a flat layer and let cook for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Once done, the onions should be a deep golden brown.

Turn the heat back up to medium and add the red wine, let it reduce for 2-3 minutes before adding the vegetable stock and thyme. Let everything simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix the flour with the water to make a paste, then add to the gravy. Stir the gravy constantly until it’s nice and thick and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove the thyme sprig and season with salt and pepper.

Sometimes I use this gravy as it is which still has visible pieces of onion or I push it through a sieve if I want a smoother gravy.

All of these recipes can be made in advance or frozen…Which again eases that Christmas day stress… And I am all for that a nice leisurely lunch enjoyed by all including the cook…

Thank you for joining me today for the first of my Christmas Recipes as always I look forward to your comments x

Eat Smart! Eat Healthy…Breakfast is a good start to the Day!

Hello and welcome to another healthy eating post…I am gradually getting through rescheduling older posts to combat these pesky scammers who invade my space…  I hope you are all well and although I think it is still too early for the Christmas tree it’s time to get organised for the weeks ahead no one likes a last-minute dash do they? it is such a busy time of year coming up and sometimes we don’t have time to eat or eat on the run…which is never good for our digestion…

Today I am going to post some breakfasts which I hope will help sustain you until lunch and that you can prepare really quickly…

Firstly…Porridge…

If you don’t know already I have six children and a dog and a snake and a parrot and a horse…Get the picture….lol…no longer all at home but I do appreciate how busy it can get when you are juggling all those balls and forget about yourself…

Breakfast time was ALWAYS busy when all my tribe was at home…My slow cooker was a lifesaver during the cold winter months …I put the porridge on at night before I went to bed and come the morning it was ready and waiting…So easy…Hubby was first out of the door having had his bowl of porridge and as the kids appeared they could get theirs as it was always fresh and hot…

You can serve porridge with honey, fruit compote, fresh fruit or even a sprinkling of brown sugar which was an occasional treat for me…

Other toppings:

  • Mango and toasted coconut
  • Bacon and maple syrup
  • Peanut Butter and grapes
  • Fruit Compote

I cannot pick a favourite out of these as I love them all…

 

How about some nice wholemeal Toast with peanut butter and sliced banana maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon and /or honey.

Or slice some strawberries..anything goes really or some mashed avocado and a hardboiled egg roughly chopped… Quick, easy and nutritious…

Love Peanut Butter ?

Rather than buying store-bought peanut butter which is full of nasties, it is easier and it is very quick to make your own.

It is the quickest easiest recipe to make ever, the kids can help blitz it and as well as being tasty it has no nasties.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Take 500 gm of raw peanuts. Put in oven on a tray and cook on high for 10 mins.
  2. Take out of the oven and reserve a few (if you like crunchy peanut butter) like me.
  3. Put the remainder of the nuts in a food processor and blitz at 1 min intervals scraping down the sides. Do this for 4 mins or until smooth.
  4. Add 1tsp of salt,1 tbsp oil and the remainder of reserved nuts if using. If you want to add honey, Nutella or another flavouring, of your choice then add now.
  5. Blitz again for 1 min and put it in a suitable container. Stores in fridge for 3/4 weeks.

IT’S DELISH!

Eggs are always a good way to start your day…

Softly scrambled or poached…they are one of my favourite things. Hubby has bread with his eggs I just eat scrambled eggs on their own sometimes I grill some tomatoes as I really love eggs and tomatoes.

Here is a lovely video on how to poach an egg something that many including me have problems with…I struggle to get the perfect poached egg… And if everyone wants a poached egg this man shows you how to do six eggs at once…

Yoghurt is a great option if you don’t have time to eat it at home put it in a mason jar with a lid and eat it when you get to work…

 

What I love about these jars is you can take them you and any fruit of your choice you can layer it or just top the yoghurt with it.

Easy to make oats to top your yoghurt or porridge.

Quick crunchy Oats…

  • 1 cup of uncooked oats…
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar…
  • 3 tbsp butter.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder ( optional)

Let’s Bake!

Mix all 3 ingredients together and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes stirring  I love to add a bit of cinnamon…

Allow to cool and top your porridge or yoghurt.

What is your favourite breakfast?

Thank you for reading I hope some of these breakfast ideas have made your tastebuds zing xxx

And just because I can…The 1st Christmas Advert 2022…I always love the John Lewis Christmas Ads and this year it is about “loneliness” which can affect anyone, any time of the year but is always more poignant at Christmas time…x

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

Healthy Eating….Fresh herbs from the garden or your window sill…

 

Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs are something that I always have in my fridge and my garden..Don’t you?

Also, I want to show you that it is not time-consuming to give your food that little extra pizzazz…Food should be tempting, it should be fun and enjoyable as well as good for you…and the occasional treat…Have it! Enjoy it! Safe in the knowledge that most of the time what you and your family are eating is good, healthy food… but never boring!

Some herbs you can grow at home and pick fresh knowing that they are pesticide free. How satisfying is that???

They are also something that I sometimes forget that I have or keep meaning to use and end up throwing them away. Does the same thing happen in your house?

It is always those tender herbs like coriander, basil, mint, parsley or chives…The hardy herbs are the ones I always keep in the freezer.

Well, no more will I be throwing away my herbs I decided that I would use my herbs more or less immediately or do something with them.

I think herbs always lift an ordinary dish and make it a little bit more special  for example, if you are having a salad just snip a few herbs and toss them in with your normal salad vegetables or if you fancy a salad and have no salad in the fridge then a salad made of freshly picked herbs from the garden or the hedgerow makes a refreshing change.

wild-herbs-salad-2267949_1920

Freeze some chopped herbs in ice-cube trays and then all have to do is drop one or two into your cooking when herbs are needed.

Or make some lovely herb butter ideal for melting over your fish or dropping in a sauce.

 

Add mint leaves to that bowl of ice cream and see how much more refreshing it is.

 

Or sprinkle some herbs into that omelette you are making and see what a difference it makes. It suddenly looks so much more appetising.

Herb Omellette

Mix chopped parsley with some chopped garlic and a little lemon juice and sprinkle it over your steak, chicken or your fish.

Now, who doesn’t like a dish of pasta with some lovely fresh pesto drizzled over it so it coats the pasta?

pasta-2358545_1920

Doesn’t that look enticing?

A quick herb pesto made by whizzing coriander, mint or parsley with olive oil, a handful of chopped walnuts and nice hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino takes 3/4 minutes to make.

Much more basil than you can use then make a lovely pesto it will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

Green Pesto:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts…sometimes I toast mine for a slightly nuttier taste.
  • 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Wizz all the ingredients in your blender or food processor some people think that a blender makes smoother pesto. Except for a 1/3 cup of olive oil and cheese.

Then slowly add the remainder of the olive oil and then pour into a bowl and stir in the cheese and season.

If you are using a pestle then blanch the basil or coriander leaves in boiling water for 5-10 seconds until they are wilted and then put in ice-cold water.

If using coriander add a little lime juice to the pestle and use walnuts.

For Red Pesto add skinned tomatoes with the basil.

If you haven’t tried a beetroot pesto then it’s a must if you love beets. It is awesome on toast as a crostini it is to die for…

  • Roast two medium beetroots and then skin and chop them.
  • 1/2 cup of roasted almonds
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Blitz all the ingredients together.

If you don’t use all your pesto within the week then freeze it in ice-cube trays. They can then be popped in a pasta sauce as required.

You should now never have to throw any of those tender herbs away ever again.

I hope this post has given you a few ideas of what to do with your tender herbs so have fun, experiment, use different nuts when you are making pesto, a squeeze of lime juice whatever takes your fancy.

Note: one of the herbs I really struggle with growing is coriander/cilantro…it goes to seed or just dies I see everyone around me with beautiful pots of coriander and mine just doesn’t I have tried seeds, planting coriander with the roots and nought works…I saw this tip on utube and thought well I use a lot of coriander root included and can use a few of the roots and try this method will it work I haven’t a clue if you have tried it successfully please let me know…

Therefore I have made use of a plastic bottle that would normally be recycled(we can’t_drink water here from the tap…I cut the bottle in more or less half…cut the roots and a little of the stem of my coriander threaded the roots through the bottle top so they were hanging down..then filled the other half with water and put the two half together so the roots just go into the water..the water should be changed every 2 days and hopefully, I will get coriander…Fingers crossed…

I hope you are enjoying these healthy eating posts from this whimsical English lady who is living her dream in sunny Thailand…Note: I still have to cook and clean… I love life and laughter and am slightly crazy or bonkers whatever you wish to call me …oh, and my new handle from a cooking friend who shall be nameless is Wikipedia Carol… Like I know all…I wish…haha

If you have any thoughts on anything I would love to hear your comments and will answer you as soon as I can…I just love to talk and make new friends.

Have fun with your food and experiment…If you love it it will become a family favourite and if you don’t ..Well, we all have made those dishes..lol so we won’t make that again will we????

Saturday Morning Market…Mandarin Oranges and Rosella…Jam and Relish…

I love Saturdays as the small traders come with their produce from their little bit of land this is where I find the unusual the fruits or vegetables which are not raised commercially but just local grown like they have been for centuries…I am also pleased to see how many of the stalls now are ditching the plastic and using banana leaves to wrap foods…

Lively and bustling the markets here sell everything from meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, curry pastes, rice, clothing, garden pots and knives you name it it is sold here…On a Saturday I will share with you what I have found…

This week there were lots of mandarins in all shapes and sizes but the kids love the small juicy ones, dragon fruit is plentiful as were the mushrooms today some of which have already found their way into a carbonara for the kiddies…I have noticed that certain veggies were a lot smaller I think the lack of rain is hindering their normally prolific growth. Tomatoes are all lovely red just right for a base for chilli, curry or spag bol…There are also still lots of Dragon fruit a very pretty fruit which is not a favourite of mine but lovely in a smoothie…I think I have so many choices that I am getting picky…

Often though the fresh fruit and vegetable sections are bargains especially when there is a glut of produce or it’s the end of the season…The best time to buy as many veggies and fruits can be pickled, frozen, or made into pesto…You could double quantities and freeze a portion or two…vegetable stir-fries are lovely and a good way to use ods of veggies or just as a lovely side dish…

Fruit is plentiful here I would say all year round…Fruit and vegetables can be used in smoothies it will all help to boost your vitamin intake …, especially with all the bugs around due to a drop in temperatures.

Here are some ideas about what you can add to a smoothie…

tropical sunshine in a glass header

https://carolcooks2.com/2017/03/20/tropical-sunshine-in-a-glass-take-5/

Rosella Fruit.

When I first saw this beautiful fruit I had only ever seen them dried before not fresh…it was something new to try… I just love it when I come across something I have not used or seen before…I get so excited.

Rosella grows easily here as it loves a tropical climate it is also a very pretty plant the species grown here in Thailand have broader leaves and pink rather than cream flowers and the leaves are used more than the fruits.

In Australia, it is still thought by many to be an exotic plant but has been mentioned in early Australian history and known by many as “Bush Tucker”

Also known by the more recognisable name of Hibiscus it is rich in Vitamin C and when made into a tea plus it is promoted as a cure for colds if taken regularly.

Very nice sugar syrup can also be made for use in cocktails…Just saying!

The first time I made this jam …I only made a small amount as I was not familiar with the fresh fruit or the taste…but what a revelation it was beautiful…
Ingredients:

rosella flowers

  • 500 gm Rosella fruit, seedpod separated from the Calyx and Bracts ( cut into small pieces)
  • Approx 2 cups Sugar depending on the exact weight of the fruit.
  • Approx 2-3 cups Water

Firstly I soaked the fruits in cold water for about 20 minutes so as to not only clean them but remove any insects as these flowers can be susceptible to little bugs.

It was then a case of removing the seed pod from the inside of the fruit…Covering the seed pods with water and cooking them for about 20 minutes.
The seed pods contain naturally produced pectin…I simmered these for about 20 minutes and then removed the pods and disposed of them aka compost binned them. Remember to keep the cooking water.

I weighed the flowers before cooking them and then I measured exactly half their weight of sugar.

rosella fruit in pan
The Rosella flowers were then added to the cooking water in which the seed pods were cooked and the fruits cooked until they were softened and the liquid starts to turn syrupy which took about 10 minutes I then added the sugar and cooked the fruit until it softened and turned jam-like…

Remove from the heat and put in sterilised jars…

The key to this recipe is to weigh the fruit and do the exact amount of sugar and water.
This makes a very nice fruit preserve and one which I make again and again every year.

N.B. I  now cut the fruit into smaller pieces rather than leave them whole.

Now you all know me well and know I can’t resist thinking would it be like if I added some ginger and chilli…very nice as it happens…

Rosella Relish

rosella-fruit-relish

Ingredients.

  • 250 gm Rosella fruit
  • 60 ml of sugar
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger grated finely
  • 2 red shallots chopped finely
  • 5 ml red chilli powder/flakes
  • 10 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 375 ml of water
  • A pinch of salt

Let’s Cook!

Remove the red portions/calyces & discard the seed pods
Wash & place in a pan along with water, shallots, ginger, sugar, salt and chilli flakes
Bring to a soft rolling boil and cook until the liquid is greatly reduced. This takes approx 25-30 mins.
When the chutney is almost done, add the vinegar and stir well.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly and put in a sterilised glass container.

Lovely as a relish with cold/ hot meats or in a burger… with brie and freshly made bread, it is very nice.

That’s all for this week’s Saturday Market…

Thank you for reading this post I hope you have enjoyed it and the recipes enjoy your weekend  xxx

Halloween Recipes….Will you dare to try a black bean burger and black bun??

Halloween...not something I have ever really celebrated but I know my American family celebrate Halloween big time…..So I have put on my researcher’s cap and found an interesting recipe for black burger buns and black burgers which are made from black beans so this one is for all my veggie friends…

Not forgetting that in the US it’s National Pumpkin Month I have a lovely pumpkin soup with which no Halloween table should be without and not forgetting the kiddie winks some lovely little ghost cakes…all in all, something for everyone from the wacky ( I will try ) anything to my little fairy friends who love a cake or two…

sweet-316373_1280

Ingredients:

Makes 12 cakes.

8 oz butter plus extra for greasing
8 oz castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs
8 oz self-raising flour
Icing sugar for dusting
12 cake cases for baking and a muffin tin

1 x 24 oz box white rolled fondant icing
1 tube of black Writing Icing

Orange and green gel colouring if doing the pumpkin cakes.

Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time adding a tbsp of flour with each egg. Beat well and fold in the remaining flour gently. If your mix is a little thick add some milk.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spoon the batter into the cake cases and fill each cake case until just over half full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Dust your work surface with the icing sugar and roll out the fondant icing. Cut out circles to drape over the cakes. You can use a saucer as a guide. Drape these over the sponge cakes to form ghosts. From the trimmings either use a mini cutter to cut out some tiny white oval shapes or roll out some tiny balls of white icing into oval shapes. Dampen them with a little water and stick them onto the front of the ghost. Use a blob of black writing icing for the pupils of the eyes.

To make the little pumpkin ones just add a little gel food colouring to the white fondant icing and mark and decorate as per the picture.

Even the kids would love to help decorate these as they are so easy to make and it would be such fun for them.

My recipe for Squash/pumpkin soup.

Ingredients:
1 small squash/pumpkin, peeled and deseeded. Cut into pieces.
1 brown onion, peeled and cut up
1 carrot washed and cut
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Piece fresh ginger finely chopped
2/3 Broccoli stalks, peeled and cubed (I always save the broccoli stalks) for when I make soup. Waste not, want not and I think it is ideal for soups for flavour.
1-1½ litres fresh chicken stock or stock cubes.

Let’s Cook!
Heat a glug of olive oil and gently cook garlic ginger and onion to just soften and not colour.
Add other vegetables gradually and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes, then add stock and seasoning.
Simmer gently for about an hour or until vegetables are lovely and soft and remove from heat. I let it cool down a little before I blend.
This makes a lovely vegetable soup but I also use it as a base and freeze it in portions.
When I reheat the soup I add little-dried chilli flakes and 1 or 2 tbsp of coconut milk.
It just gives it a creamy flavour.
Sometimes I add crushed lemongrass stalk and a little fish sauce, it depends on how I feel, it is a versatile soup base so play with it, have fun.
Add some curry powder, a squeeze or 2 of lime juice or coriander, whatever you fancy.

For Halloween, this soup would also look very nice served in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

To serve you can add some lovely crouton and some basil..maybe a few roasted pumpkin seeds whatever you fancy even some crispy bacon bits or crispy fried shallots…

Enjoy!

Halloween Black Squid ink sauce.

A  dark, spooky-looking little sauce to whip up to add to your burgers on Halloween if you dare!

Ingredients:

Squid Ink…some places sell just the ink or if you want to get down and messy you can extract your own ink from the squid. I haven’t given quantities as it will vary from person to person as to the taste… Have fun and experiment!

Tomato Ketchup, Balsamic Vinegar and Salt n Pepper to season.

Really easy add all the ingredients together and whisk to combine adjust to taste as necessary…Simples…

Now for the piece de resistance.

Charcoal burger with a black bean burger patty.

black bean burger

Full instructions are given here..yes I chickened out making it myself..The recipe comes complete with warnings about charcoal and the best one to use …It is actually a very good post with some awesome comments and tips as well…I will hand you over to the very capable Purgatory Burger maker

If you do make one please let me know how it turned out… But wouldn’t they look awesome at your Halloween party and they have no nasty colourings or anything…

Although I haven’t made this myself Lily and me when shopping the other day…Popped into…shock horror…Burger King…we sampled their Halloween Burger…A black charcoal bun, onion rings, bacon, cheese and a burger plus some ketchup…it was ok…I didn’t like rings (not)very flavoursome but I have tried a charcoal burger..maybe I will make my own but only if I get a request and the kiddos keep on…

So that’s my processed food for the foreseeable a treat or not(it)wasn’t the best is ok now and again…

I hope you enjoy these slightly unusual recipes.  stay safe and laugh a lot as it’s Free and not much in this life is now…xx

 

 

National Fried Chicken Day (US) ..Delicious and Crispy…

 

There just had to be a National Fried Chicken Day I mean who doesn’t love a portion of good fried chicken…Fried Chicken…has been around since Roman Times…and you can still buy the cookbook…

Marcus Gavius Apicius, was a wealthy Roman merchant and epicure during the reign of Tiberius (14–37 CE), after whom was named one of the earliest cookbooks in recorded history. The work is conventionally known by his name, Apicius—officially titled De re coquinaria (“The Art of Cooking”)—was likely not compiled until the 4th century. The book comprises more than 400 recipes, and it is so esteemed that it has been preserved in numerous editions ever since.

I have found it for sale and added it to my list…it should be interesting…in the cookbook, the dish was called Pullum Frontonianum(Apicius chicken)

Fast forward to the US  where the term ‘fried chicken’ is first recorded in the 1830s, and often appears in American cookbooks of the 1860s and 1870s. This dish in the southern states of the United States can be traced back to precedents in West African and Scottish cuisine.

Quite a history… Fried chicken personally, I prefer a dry seasoning…What do you prefer?

Marinated in Buttermilk first to ensure the chicken is luscious, flavoursome and juicy…then rolled in some seasoning and fried with a side of corn just how I love to eat it…

Buttermilk Marinade:

  • 3 cups of Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of freshly milled white pepper
  • 1 tsp each of Cayenne pepper, Paprika, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder
  • 1.5 kilos chicken I normally just cut up a whole chicken into even-sized portions.

For the flour dredge:

  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp each of Oregano and baking powder.
  • 1 tsp each of Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, salt and cayenne.
  • 1 tbsp Paprika Powder
  • Vegetable Oil for frying.

Mix the spices and salt into the buttermilk and then add the chicken pieces mix well to coat then cover and leave to stand for between 4 hrs-24 hrs. I do mine overnight in the fridge which works well.

When you are ready to dredge the chicken then drain the buttermilk of each piece then flour well patting on…Lily gets this job…she loves doing it then put each piece on a rack to dry for 30 mins. Time to fry…

Heat a few inches of oil in a pan and fry the chicken in batches…I have fried food quite a lot over the years so I know when it is cooked about 15-18 mins however if you are using a meat thermometer it should reach 160 degrees in the thickest part…

Allow to rest for 5 mins when it will continue to cook and if required sprinkle lightly with a little salt…

Did you know?

  • The chicken is the world’s most popular type of poultry
  • There are more chickens on earth than humans…I can vouch for that we have lost count of how many chooks we have as for one they roam free and don’t stand still long enough to be counted…

Thai style chicken, the one if you come to Thailand that you will see on a lot of roadside stalls. Is very popular here and eaten with sticky rice and Som Tam makes a lovely meal of luscious Thai flavours. So how do you replicate it and bring the flavours of Thailand to your kitchen, well follow me and let’s cook!

 

First things first…forget about the western way of cooking chicken and when you get to the point of taking it out leave it another 5 minutes.

Don’t worry it will still be moist and not overcooked!

INGREDIENTS:

4 lb of chicken drums or if you want a mix of chicken that’s fine ( just) try and cut the same size pieces.

Marinade for the chicken:

  • 6 large cloves of garlic.
  • 2 tsp of coriander seeds.
  • 1 tbsp white peppercorns.
  • 2 tbsp coriander roots, stems finely chopped.
  • 2 tbsp Fish Sauce + 2tsp of chicken stock granules.
  • OR 3 tbsp Oyster Sauce.
  • 2 tsp salt.
  • 1 tsp sugar.

To make the marinade for the chicken:

Grind the first 4 ingredients in Pestle and mortar( or) I have a small electric herb grinder which I use. Grind till it forms a paste.

Mix all other marinade ingredients in and coat the chicken. I use my hands much easier and you coat the chicken better. Then leave in the fridge for at least 3 hrs or overnight.

Next, make rice flour batter:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 1 tsp chicken stock granules.
  • 1 cup of water + 2 tsp Baking Soda.

For the dry coating, you will need 2 cups of rice flour.

Coat the chicken in the flour…I find it easier to put in a bag and roll it around until all the chicken is coated…another job Lily she does all the coating of meat and fish in this kitchen…she doesn’t mind getting messy…

Dip in the batter.

You are ready to fry. Heat oil but don’t overload the wok as it will cause the temperature of the oil to drop and you won’t get crispy chicken.

Sometimes on the street stalls, you will see them remove the chicken and then put it in another pan( double dipping) to make sure it is crispy.

At home, I take out when nearly done and then put back like you twice fry chips.

When you have finished cooking fry some chopped shallots as Thai fried chicken would not be the same without crispy shallots.

Did you know?

  • In Babylonian carvings, the chicken was depicted as meat from about 600 BC
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken served the largest serving of fried chicken in celebration of the restaurant’s 70th anniversary
  • Tom Super, the spokesman for the National Chicken Council, said Americans will devour a record 1.42 billion wings while watching the Super Bowl, up 2% from last year.
  • To put that number in context it would take Kansas City Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid more than 900 years to eat 1.42 billion wings at a rate of three wings per minute, according to the council…Wow, fried chicken is certainly popular…

That’s all for today..tomorrow I will be over at Smorgasbord with my Green Kitchen and here it will be my environmental A-Z…see you there have a great evening xx