Category Archives: Store Cupboard Basics

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…Climate Change, Health, Recipes …Week ending 19th Oct 2019…

Welcome to this weeks roundup…What a week …Lily is here for the school holidays so we have been baking… she loves making cakes and helping to prepare dinner she loves chopping veggies as much as she loves eating them her favourite vegetables being broccoli and cabbage she is always asking for seconds…bless her.

Aston is staying in the village with his other nan and has been busy collecting wild honey I didn’t realise he knew quite so much about bees…

I am still having laptop woes and limited to what I can do on mine but hopefully the end is in sight… in the meantime I am PC sharing where I can…good fun…not!

What has been going on this week and no I am not discussing Brexit although I was watching the House of Parliament live yesterday to the bitter end…

great reads a weekly roundup lady with electronic reader

Anyway enough of my chatter…Grab a drink it is time to settle down, relax and have a read something for everyone…Enjoy!

Monday…

I always try to bring you a mixture of the good that is happening around the world and also some of the not so good…I was concerned this week about some of the antics I saw about Extinction Rebellion…It didn’t make good reading and although I agree with some of their views I do not think the actions of some has helped their cause and in fact has probably had the opposite effect…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/14/latest-recycling-and-environmental-news-14th-october-2019/

Tuesday… Healthy Eating…

Healthy - Vegetables- Fruit- Lady

Healthy Eating

I was absolutely shocked to hear that figures were out and England saw a rise for the fourth consecutive year that severe obesity in school year 6 has broken records, and it is up more than a third since 2006.
Levels of severe obesity among children in the last year of primary school have hit an all-time high, according to official figures that have dismayed public health experts…I don’t know about dismaying public health experts it is dismaying me…

Much needs to be done by parents, schools and governments to halt this epidemic once and for all….

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/15/healthy-eating-childhood-obesity/

Wednesday…Whimsical Wednesday to be exact…

Let the fun and nostalgia begin…I covered World Food Day, the opening of Disney and lots more…Enjoy!

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/16/whimsical-wednesday-with-carol-14/

It was also the day when I was over @Sally’s for  Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – #Minerals – Magnesium…

tin ghee

Lots of expert advice from Sally and recipes from me…Enjoy!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/smorgasbord-health-column-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiencies-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-minerals-magnesium/

Thursday…

As you know it is National Pumpkin month with lots of recipes and Halloween tales but don’t forget the Apple as that is also being celebrated as there are so many lovely varieties …so from this week coming I will also be adding some apple recipes…Who doesn’t love Apple Pie???

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/17/national-pumpkin-month-facts-trivia-and-a-delicious-thai-pumpkin-soup/

Thursdays is also where once a month I can be found over at Esme’s Salon…I am nearing the end of my journey through the Culinary Alphabet and this month it is the letter U…From the Ugli Fruit to Umami…

Although I will add that the Pineapple Upside down cake was the most talked about…I am not surprised as it is delicious…

Friday…

Its store cupboard basics and this week I covered cooking oils…my most used cooking oils are olive oil, ghee and coconut oil…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/18/this-week-in-my-kitchenstore-cupboard-basicspart-6cooking-oils/

Saturday…

Is a subject dear to both mine and Sally’s hearts…

Obesity…The figures out last week about childhood obesity in the UK shocked me…It should also shock you if you have a child who is obese…Of course we don’t want to give children a complex but handled correctly and by us as parents making changes to our families diets and lifestyles as a family would make a difference…It is not about shaming the individual child it is about sharing the problem and tackling it by making changes.

Sally’s posts on this subject make for good helpful reading to help tackle this epidemic…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/smorgasbord-health-column-the-obesity-epidemic-part-four-finding-a-point-to-intervene-in-the-life-cycle-7-14-healthy-diet-for-brain-function-and-hormon/

That’s it for this week ...Please let me have your favourite pumpkin/Halloween recipes and if you have any ideas for Christmas table decorations instead of buying crackers which invariably add to the plastic mountain…

I for one am not buying crackers this year so looking for some great ideas from you guys…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!

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog:
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

 

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 6…Cooking Oils…

Essential for both cooking and adding flavour to dishes, there many different types of oil. When it comes to cooking oils some are more controversial than others for both health reasons and environmental concerns…

I tend to use a variety of oils depending on what I am cooking or flavouring…I  also believe that oil is an essential cooking basic but as with everything moderation should be applied…

If all you eat are deep fried foods then of course it will affect your health…

Corn Oil… Corn oil is oil extracted from the germ of corn. Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes refined corn oil a valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarines. Corn oil is generally less expensive than most other types of vegetable oils

Palm Oil… One of the most controversial of the options…for both health and environmental reasons. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit grown on the African oil palm tree.

The trees, which were previously found only in Africa, are now grown in Asia, North America and South America – coinciding with the increasing demand for the versatile oil.

Groundnut (peanut) oil…A virtually flavourless oil which is used for frying, baking and making dressing such as mayonnaise.

olive oil

Olive Oil… One of my preferred choices of oil …Olives are a fruit that I never liked as a child but acquired the taste for as I grew older…Olive oil is a beautiful thing and when I am not using coconut oil for cooking I use olive oil it is also most suited to Mediterranean type recipes as well…

But be careful when you buy it as is the case with everything now some oils are a blend of many oils or so highly processed and are not classed as proper Olive oil….There are so many different dishes which are all better for the addition of olive oil. Health wise it is classed as a super food as it is so beneficial to our health.

Two of my favourite ways of using olive oil is with balsamic vinegar and beautiful home baked bread or cooked with chorizo…a lovely tapas..

crispy chorizo tapas

Chorizo cooked in olive oil makes a lovely little snack or tapas with some lovely bread to mop up the juices. Just take some sliced chorizo and cook it in Olive oil until it is browned and the lovely orange color from the chorizo leaks into the olive oil….Just beautiful and so easy to make at home.

Vegetable oil… a blend of oils which usually included corn and other vegetables it is cheap, flavourless and useful for most types of cooking.

Coconut oil…There are varying views and there have been some controversial headlines over the last few years…Coconut oil is “pure poison,” says Harvard professor… Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid…..

The plot thickens my coconut oil is liquid? I know coconuts are high in saturated fats but…MODERATION… My health has improved since I have incorporated coconut oil etc in my diet although depending on what I am making I may use olive oil or another healthy oil again it is about balance and moderation…

Some research states that the saturated fat from the coconut may react differently to other saturated fats in our bodies…..Why? Because most of the saturated fats in coconut are medium chain fatty acids whose properties and metabolism are different from those of animal origin. Medium chain fatty acids do not undergo degradation and re-esterification processes and are directly used in the body to produce energy. They are not as ‘bad for health’ as other saturated fats.

Also if you would like to make a lovely gift for that special someone then this makes a beautiful gift …How to make your own coconut oil…The traditional Thai way…

Ghee… Is also one of my kitchen staples…

Ghee is a type of clarified butter that contains fewer dairy proteins than regular butter. This ingredient can be used in place of regular butter.

Ghee can be used as a substitute for butter, and many people think that ghee might be a more healthful alternative for using in cooking.

Ghee

It has been used in Indian and Pakistani cultures for thousands of years. The term comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “sprinkled.” Ghee was created to prevent butter from spoiling during warm weather.

 

Flavoured oils…

Herb infused oils…There are many different herb infused oils they are also so easy to make at home. Just half fill a clean sterilised jar with washed and dried herbs such as rosemary or basil. Pour over olive oil to cover and seal the jar. Place it in a cool, dark place for 3 days. Strain the oil into a clean sterilised bottle or jar and discard the herbs.

If you like you can add a piece of fresh washed and dried herb which looks pretty and makes a lovely gift.

Chilli oil…Add several dried chillies to a bottle of olive oil and leave to infuse for about two weeks before using. If the flavour is not to your taste then leave for another week…it all depends on taste and the chillies. The chillies can also be left in the bottle and again look very nice and make a lovely gift with a hand written label.

Garlic oil…Add several whole garlic cloves to a bottle of olive oil and leave to infuse for about two weeks if preferred you can strain into a clean bottle and store in a cool, dark place.

I have only given you a brief over view of these oils and advise that you do your own research and don’t listen to scare mongering but also remember it is moderation and any foods or drinks which are consumed excessively will have an effect on your health and well being…

I hope you are finding these posts on store cupboard basics helpful…It does take time (and) money to build up a store cupboard which is why I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Until next week when in store cupboard basics it will be vinegars, sauces and condiments…xxx

About Carol:

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 well being.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a relaxing weekend xx

 

 

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 5…Bottled/canned goods…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am looking at Canned and bottled store cupboard staples.

I do think aesthetically food stored in jars looks so much more appealing…Don’t you?

pickles-700131_640

Many foods taste better when they are fresh however some canned/bottled goods are as good or better than the fresh variety. These include canned/bottled beans, peas and lentils which simply require rinsing before using. Some canned fish and shellfish such as tuna or crab which are significantly cheaper than the fresh varieties and make excellent additions to baked pasta dishes and salads.

I would just advise moderation or finding a glass jar option…I will say I am seeing more and more goods in glass rather than cans.

Canned tomatoes are sometimes cheaper and more convenient to use than fresh tomatoes…However…

Tomatoes for me are imported to here thus canned tomatoes are much more expensive…there is also the issue of the coating inside the cans…

Bisphenol A (BPA)  on the inside of food cans.

The chemical, used since the 1960s to make certain types of plastic, mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen and has been linked to low sperm counts and infertility in men, as well as breast and prostate cancer.

That is why my advice is if you can get a similar product in a glass bottle or jar then it is safer.

I used to have a large store of canned goods but now I have very few…they are Tomato puree, sardines, tuna, kidney beans and sweet corn kernels… thats it…

cherry tomatoes

 

Tomatoes are cheap here and available all year round…Once blitzed they freeze well and they are quick to prepare… when I first started doing them I used to remove the skins and now I just blitz the whole tomato and be done with it. Unless it is a dish where the skins are really obvious but in a chilli or spag bowl you don’t notice the skins they break down and it is a little more fibre in your diet…

Sardines and tuna I buy tinned because there is a lot of publicity about the farming of fish here so I am going to take my chances …I certainly don’t even use a tin a week or even a month it is just handy to have…Also canned fish is generally higher in vitamins and nutrients, the bones are soft so we can eat them…Which especially with small fish like sardines much better than picking out fiddly bones…

The downside there is more sodium but then if I am using them in a recipe I adjust the salt accordingly…

Sweetcorn, I keep 2 cans… A small can and a larger can…Ideal in a rice salad or on a jacket potato or in a pasta salad…

Many of the other vegetables that I keep just as a standby…I can get in glass jars…Or if you are into home canning then thats the way to go you can eat foods out of season which is what my mother always used to do…

Pickles come in glass jars purely as the acid would react to the metal but from the safety point, glass jars are better than cans…

The bonus is glass jars can be sterilised and reused…Less to go into the waste…

Time for a store cupboard recipe…

We love pickled eggs…Do you love pickled eggs??

Jalapeno Pickled Eggs:

jalapeno pickled eggs

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 a cup of Cider Vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 tbsp sugar.
  • 6 cloves.
  • 2 Jalapenos cut in half lengthwise and deseeded.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 onion sliced.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 9 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled.

Let’s Cook!

Boil eggs for 10-15 mins until hard. Remove from heat and put into cold water.

In a medium pan, put vinegar, water( or beet juice) if using, onion, jalapenos, sugar, and spices. Bring to the boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Pour vinegar over eggs making sure they are completely covered.

If using beet juice also put some beet in the jar with the eggs. You will then have pickled beets as well.

Make sure the lid is tight and refrigerate. The eggs will be ready to eat in a few days and will keep for up to a month if you haven’t already eaten them.

Curried Pickled Eggs:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/4 of an onion.
  • 3/4 cup white sugar.
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds( yellow or brown)
  • I tbsp yellow curry paste.

Let’s Cook!

As above bring all the ingredients to the boil until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little and then pour the vinegar mix over the eggs making sure they are completely covered.

Allow to pickle for a few days in the fridge they are then ready to eat… Left with lots of pickle juice ????

Don’t want to waste that pickle juice???    Then have a …

Pickleback

What is a pickleback? You are about to find out!

It’s a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and some even follow that with a beer chaser…

A popular drink in bars around the world and apparently very good….Have you tried a pickleback????

The real beauty about using jars is that they look pretty, can be reused so pluses all round…As I said I keep the odd canned goods but not many I use mainly jars which store equally as well…

About Carol:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

 

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

 

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 4…Dried, beans, lentils and peas…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard… things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…I am not surprised by the comments to hear that many of you already have a well-stocked store cupboard…There are however many who still do not especially youngsters or people starting out on their own…

store cupboard basics banner

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am looking at dried goods beans, peas and lentils…even popcorn…

Good value for money… beans and lentils store well they can be used for vegetarian/vegan dishes to make meat dishes go much further. They are a great source of low-fat protein and they are low-cost store cupboard items.

Beans…There is such a wide variety of dried beans which include red and white kidney beans, Butter(lima) beans, haricot beans, flageolet beans, cannellini beans, cranberry beans, adzuki, pinto beans, navy beans, garbanzo(chickpeas)…far too many to mention…

runner-beans-1835646_1920

To Use:

Place the dried beans in a large bowl cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight, then rinse and drain use as required.

Note: Kidney beans are poisonous so require cooking properly…Boil the kidney beans vigorously for 15 minutes, change the water and simmer for about 1 and 3/4 hrs until the beans are tender.

What also is very popular know is eating or sprouting your own beans…Not something I have done yet..But it was  a great tip from Dolly with a soup recipe as well…  https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/growing-super-soup/

Thank you, Dolly xx

Lentils…like beans lentils come in all colours red, green, brown, orange they are very versatile and are a little nutrient powerhouse…

Green and brown lentils or puy lentils cook quickly and evenly without becoming mushy and are one of the most versatile …I find the red, yellow and orange lentils are great but since they tend to get mushy when cooked they are best added to soups and sauces than cooked on their own.

How to how to use them… in a healthy soup, in Indian dal, or to add extra texture to a pumpkin stew or rice dish.they are lovely in a cheesy bean and lentil bake and very popular in Indian cuisine,… love a lentil curry…lentils are cheap, healthy and tasty…

Chickpeas…

One of my favourites they have a lovely creamy texture which is why they are ideal for making hummus…They are brilliant as a snack…just roasted…or just used to bulk out soups, stews and salads…

High in protein, they are one of the earliest cultivated legumes…They are also high in fibre and contain several key vitamins and minerals. Sometimes called garbanzo beans they are used extensively in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Note: it is not recommended to eat raw chickpeas or any other pulses due to the content of toxins and anti-nutrients. These components are reduced with sprouting and cooking.

When preparing dried chickpeas:

Sort them: It is important to pick out any small rocks or other debris that may have wound up in the package.

Wash and soak them: Soak chickpeas in water for 8 to 10 hours before cooking in order to achieve optimum flavour and texture. It’s possible to tell they are finished soaking when they can be split easily between the fingers. Soaking dried legumes reduces the amount of time needed to cook them, and also helps remove some of the oligosaccharides that cause gastrointestinal distress as well as harmful substances found in raw legumes.

Cook: Once they are finished soaking, chickpeas are best cooked by simmering for a few hours until tender.

I have a confession to make…I haven’t even kept count of the number of times I have thrown bean juice straight down the sink….Not anymore…

chana-166988_1920

The juice also has a name aquafaba a term coined by a vegan baker Goose Wohlt.

It can  be produced from the liquid  from both tinned chickpeas  and the bean cooking water now I  sort of already knew that this liquid could be used as a base for soups, stews and sauces but I wasn’t aware that if it was reduced down by cooking until it thickens then  it can be used in  the same way as the juice from the tinned chickpeas and is used by vegans or anyone who has an egg allergy as a substitute for egg whites in many recipes.

For example, it can be used in cookies, cakes, icing, creams, even meringues and also mayonnaise the recipe made with aquafaba by Esme salon is below. ( you can use bean liquid or tinned bean liquid.

https://esmesalon.com/ess-vegan-aquafaba-chickpea-liquid-mayosauce/

The liquid can also be frozen for future use I either freeze in zip lock bags or ice-cube trays.

Just a little word of warning:

If you are using the juice from canned beans please make sure you are using brands which DON’T contain preservatives are organic and grown without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides also look for low salt or no salt varieties and BPA free cans as the white lining inside the cans  is a known endocrine disruptor and can leach from the can lining into the food causing many health problems , including brain development abnormalities, cancers and heart disease.

Me I err on the side of caution when using beans and use dried beans unless I am absolutely sure of what they contain and I use google to double-check as more often than not the writing on cans is too small for me to read and if you are in a hurry or your lunch hour are you going to check a can?

Glass bottles are good and more manufacturers are using them instead of tins.

Thank you for joining me in my kitchen I hope you have some fun and came away learning something or maybe you have some store cupboard tips? If so please share I love it when we have interaction and it benefits us all xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

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

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend  xx

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 3…Rice…

Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard…Of things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…I am not surprised by the comments to hear that many of you already have a well-stocked store cupboard…There are however many who still do not especially youngsters or people starting out on their own…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Don’t they always though…haha

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am looking at Rice…Rice I can hear your thoughts…A column just for rice…?

Store Cupboard Basics

Did you know? There are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice (the grass species Oryza sativa) said to exist. But the exact figure is uncertain. Over 90,000 samples of cultivated rice and wild species are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank and these are used by researchers all over the world.

The rice varieties can be divided into three basic groups, long grain, short grain and medium grain. Within the groups, there are also many speciality and aromatic rice…

When I go shopping I pass many rice shops…They all have at least 20 tubs all different kinds of rice, colours and grades…

Of course, I will not be listing all of those but just the most commonly used kinds of rice…

Rice is served as an accompaniment to dishes or can form the base of both sweet and savoury meals.

Basmati Rice…

Long-grain rice is widely used in Indian Cuisine. It is aromatic and when cooked presents as separate, fuffy grains. Brown Basmati is also available.

All-purpose Long Grain Rice…

All-purpose long-grain rices are imported mainly from the USA, Italy, Spain, Surinam, Guyana and Thailand and can be used for all styles of cooking. At one time long-grain rice was exported from India and was called Patna after the district in which it grew.

Long grain rice is a slim grain which is 4-5 times as long as it is wide. When it is harvested it is known as ‘rough’ or ‘paddy’ rice. It undergoes different milling techniques to give different types of rice suited to different uses.

Easy to cook Rice…

This rice has a slightly fuller flavour than regular white rice. It differs in that, unlike regular white rice, which is milled direct from the field, easy cook rice is steamed under pressure before milling. This process hardens the grain, reducing the possibility of over-cooking. It also helps to retain much of the natural vitamin and mineral content present in the milled layers.

When raw the rice has a golden colour but turns white upon cooking. Can be used in the same dishes as regular long-grain, and is especially good in rice salads.

Brown or (wholegrain) long-grain-rice…

This rice has a distinctly nutty flavour. Brown Rice undergoes only minimal milling, which removes the husk but retains the bran layer. Due to this, the rice retains more vitamin, mineral and fibre content than regular or easy cook white rice. The grains remain separate when cooked, like long-grain white, but take longer to soften. The cooked grains have a chewy texture, which many people enjoy. It is also available in the easy-cook form.

Risotto Rice…

chestnuts sprouts risotto

This rice has medium -length polished grains which can absorb a great deal of liquid while still retaining its shape. There are several types of risotto rice including the popular arborio and carnaroli. When cooking risotto rice it is necessary to stir regularly and stock should be added periodically throughout the cooking to prevent the rice sticking and burning.

Jasmine or Thai fragrant rice…

Aromatic rice its flavour is slightly less pronounced than basmati. It originates from Thailand. The length and slenderness of the grains suggest that they should remain separate on cooking but it differs from other long-grain rices in that it has a soft and slightly sticky texture when cooked. Good with Chinese and South-East Asian food.

Thai Glutinous Rice( Sticky Rice)…

A staple in the Thai diet but it is growing in popularity in the Western World. It is not as the name suggests high in gluten… this rice is soaked in water prior to cooking for at least 30 minutes or overnight and it is then steamed. Although the grains stay seperate they are rolled between the fingers into a ball and eaten with a spicy dip or fish/chicken and papaya salad…It can also be cooked in coconut milk and served with mango as a dessert.

Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango( Khao Neow Mamuang)

This dessert is almost an iconic Thai dessert…sticky rice soaked in coconut milk with luscious ripe mango. A match made in foodie heaven.

The rice is soaked in water for at least an hour and then just put in the rice and steamed this takes about 15 minutes.

To prepare the milk:

 Heat 1 cup of coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and let the coconut milk simmer. DO NOT let it boil hard as coconut milk will curdle.

 Add  2 tbsp of sugar and 2 pinches of salt. Remove from heat. Pour 3/4 of the hot coconut milk over  1 cup of the hot sticky rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. The hot sticky rice will absorb all the coconut milk. The rice should be a little mushy.

 Spoon the rest of the coconut milk on top of the rice when it is time to serve.

Enjoy!

Short grain rice…

There are several types of short stubby polished rice such as pudding rice and sushi rice. These usually have a high starch content and cook into tender grains that cling together and can be shaped easily.

Thank you for joining me in my kitchen I hope you have some fun and came away learning something or maybe you have some store cupboard tips? If so please share I love it when we have interaction and it benefits us all xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

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

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend  xx

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 2…Pasta and Noodles…

Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard…Of things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking it down into easy stages…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Don’t they always though…haha

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am looking at Pasta and Noodles…

Mixed pasta and noodles

Pasta and noodles keep well and are invaluable store cupboard staples as they can be used in many dishes either hot or cold…

Pasta…

Dried pasta keeps for months in an airtight container and can also look very pretty stored on your kitchen counter…Do however always check the pack for information on storage.

Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes. Egg pasta is enriched with egg yolks and has a richer flavour than plain pasta it is also often more expensive than plain dried varieties however it is all in the sauce and bog-standard plain pasta can be elevated with a good sauce…It is all about personal taste or the occasion…

Pasta should be cooked in plenty of water heated to a rolling boil…Just be aware that fresh pasta cooks very quickly and is bought chilled or if you are clever and make your own …Well done…Something I have never attempted…If you buy fresh pasta it can be stored in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for several months.

I am lucky enough to have found a source here which sells lovely coloured fresh pasta which is coloured with natural colours i.e beetroot…

Pasta also comes in tiny shapes which are ideal for soups and kids like them…Thes lovely little alphabet shapes served with a homemade tomato sauce…Kids love it!

 

alphabet pasta shapes

You can freeze small portions of sauce and keep a supply of pasta in your store cupboard …20 mins and the kids are fed and happy…

Noodles…

Noodles are very very popular here and sold fresh, dried and ready-cooked everywhere…They are a staple in the Thai diet… and served at most meals…

Rice Noodles…

These translucent white noodles are a great alternative to wheat noodles especially for those on a gluten-free diet.  They are available as broad flat or thin noodles that can be added to stir-fries and soups as well as used cold as a base for salads. Easy to prepare as they need no cooking just soak in boiling water for about 5 mins depending on the size of the noodles then use as required.

prawns with glass noodles

This is a typical Thai glass noodle salad…normally quite spicy….Lovely…Quick and easy to use they are a good standby in your store cupboard.

Egg Noodles…

Made from wheat flour and eggs may be thick, medium or thin again very popular in both Chinese and Asian stir-fries or deep-fried as a garnish…who doesn’t love crispy noodles? Here they are used as a garnish for my favourite Khao Soi…A Thai Yellow noodle chicken curry…

Egg noodles can be brought dry or fresh, store accordingly to the type …dry for the store cupboard and fresh for the fridge or frozen…

Egg noodles have a lovely nutty taste and are a good value for money as well as being a versatile store cupboard ingredient…Like rice noodles they can be served in hot or cold dishes they lend themselves to both…

Couscous and Polenta…

Like pasta and noodles are cheap to buy and can be used as a base for many dishes…Mild in flavour they go very well with strongly flavoured food such as aromatics, herbs and spices.

Couscous is made from durum wheat and is often thought of as a type of pasta it is also a handy store cupboard staple. Traditionally couscous needed a long steaming before serving whereas there are now many supermarket instant brands or ones which only need a quick pre-soaking in water. Classically known as an accompaniment for Moroccan tagines it is now more popular and goes well with meat, fish or vegetable stews. Also, an excellent base for salads it is very economical.

My tried and tested recipe for tagine…This was one of my first attempts and using prunes which neither hubby or the grandkids would have tried if they had known…Sometimes we have to be sneaky then food is tried with an open mind…I have learnt that much over the years…haha

Chicken and Prune Tagine/Stew

Ingredients:

• 4 large chicken breasts, skinned and cut into cubes
• 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil I used coconut oil
• 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
• 1/2 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
• 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
• 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
• 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
• 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
• 200g/7oz pitted Prunes
• 2 large Onions, sliced
• 1 tbsp freshly grated Ginger
• 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
• Salt to taste
• 14fl.oz fresh Chicken Stock

 

Let’s Cook!

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan then add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
  • Add the spices, garlic, ginger, and onions and cook stirring over medium heat until the onions have softened.
  • Add the stock and season with salt then bring to a slow rolling boil and reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook for about one hour stirring occasionally.
  • At the end of the cooking remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce.
  • Serve with rice or couscous.

 

 

The verdict…It is lovely with couscous…

Everyone including little Lily loved it. After they had expressed their delight and hubby said he thought the black things were mushrooms(shitake) and grandson asked for more I confessed the dish contained prunes, a dish which is now a family favourite… I was pleasantly surprised at that given the lack of chilli and some of the spices used. The biggest plus is now the grandkids will try dishes with prunes…Result…

Polenta…

Is made from finely ground cornmeal…Cooked with water and either served soft rather like mashed potato or left to set then cut into pieces and grilled( broiled) or fried. Again a mild flavour and best served with flavourful ingredients…

It can also be used in baking…my preference is a polenta cake rather than as a savoury side…

Again another good store cupboard essential which is now sold both ready-made or a quick cook product…All I would say is check what has been added…Many quick quick and ready-made products contain additives.

That’s all for Pasta and noodles so now our store cupboard can be stocked up a little more…Next week it is rice…

TIP OF THE WEEK.

You are reading a recipe and come across something you have never heard of or know it is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t store well…It is well worth the time learning what you can substitute for an ingredient and often it doesn’t alter the taste at all …I will do a post on substitutes at a later date…But always do your research don’t let one ingredient put you off making a recipe…

Thank you for joining me in my kitchen I hope you have some fun and came away learning something or maybe you have some store cupboard tips? If so please share I love it when we have interaction and it benefits us all xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

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

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend  xx