Category Archives: The Culinary Alphabet

The Culinary Alphabet …..Series 3… the letter B…

Welcome to series 3 of the Culinary Alphabet…letter B…

Nothing is as it seems here…this new series is the brainchild of Chel Owens who writes at A wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing…my followers are so good to me they think up all sorts of permutations of the Alphabet…not sure if they want me to call it quits or what they will come up with next…Chel like Pete, however, will be called on to make her contribution every two weeks…they don’t get off scot-free…haha

So what’s in store? In this series the A, B, C, etc will be the middle letter, for example, Brawn, Cabbage, and Yucca… how easy that will be who knows I am sure  some of the letters of the alphabet could cause the grey matter to rebel or implode…haha


Barmbrack is an Irish bread traditionally made from the froth or “barm” leftover after fermenting beer or ale, which is mixed with sultanas and spice to make a heavy, fruity bread. And while brack is eaten all year round, it is only at Halloween that symbolic additions are made to the mix, each with a supposed fortune-telling significance for the year ahead.

The Irish term for this, Bairín Breac, means ‘speckled bread’ indicating that the fruit was scarce in the loaf. The Druidic tradition is represented by the inclusion of charms in the bread, meant to indicate the fortune of the recipient.

There were a few traditional charms: a ring, a coin, a pea, and a piece of fabric.

  • A pea, a dried pea, the person would not marry
  • A piece of cloth, the person would have bad luck or would be poor
  • A coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich
  • A ring, the person would be married within the year

The person who got the ring was meant to place it under his or her pillow when they would dream of the person they would marry! The ring is still included in a barmbrack today, though I think it is now regarded as just a little bit of fun.


With over 400 different species, the berries come in a range of colours red, black, purple, white, and yellow. The tart taste will be more or prominent in some varieties than others…other examples are raspberry and cranberry whose middle letter is  B…

All 3 of these berries have numerous proven health benefits and can be eaten raw or cooked, juiced or in smoothies, made into jams or jellies they pair well with both meat and fish.


Also commonly known as Bogbean, or Marsh Trefoil. It grows on marshy grown or on the edges of ponds in the shallow water.

It is edible but in moderation and with some care it is also used in traditional medicines.

The Root can be eaten cooked not raw but having a very bitter taste it must be treated to get rid of the acrid taste This can be done by drying the root, grinding it into a powder and then washing it in running water, unfortunately, this treatment will also get rid of many of the vitamins and minerals contained in the root.

The powder can be used for making ‘missen bread’ (famine bread)…bread which was made many, many years ago when farmers had nothing to eat and food was scarce the powder was mixed with flour to make this bread.

The intensely bitter leaves are used as a substitute for hops in making beer.


Cabbage is a leafy green, red, or white biennial plant grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads…It can be eaten raw or cooked…

Here is eaten both raw and salted as an accompaniment to many dishes… we eat it raw with sticky rice and chicken or fish where it can be wrapped around the rice and meat to make a tasty bite…

One of my favourite vegetables especially spiced red cabbage is packed with nutrients and low in calories or it can be shredded and used in slaws…it doesn’t end there it can be sauteed, added to stir-fries used as a wrap…Kimchi and sauerkraut…Yes, please are both plentiful here and used as sides with rice dishes…or just salted and fermented it is one of Lily’s favourites she eats it like sweets…

Thai Pickled Cabbage ( Pak Dong)


  • 1 white cabbage. cut or torn into pieces.
  • 8 large spring onions chopped
  • Coarse Salt.

Pickled cabbage is very easy to do and there are many variations I have seen with fresh chillies. It can also be made with Chinese cabbage or Pak Choy…Our preference is just plain old white cabbage and spring onions it is quick, easy and very moreish it can be eaten on its own, stirred into soup or with a curry as an accompaniment. It doesn’t last long here at all as our little granddaughter loves it and just eats it on its own.

To Pickle:

Layer Cabbage, Onions and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands.

We then leave the dish covered on the kitchen top or in the sun for 1 day.

Then drain and lightly rinse and add more salt if required. Cover and leave for 2/3 days or until it reaches your ideal taste. With pickled cabbage, it is purely down to personal taste some like it saltier than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

Then refrigerate and enjoy!


Chablis wines are dry white wines that are characterized by their purity, crispness, sophistication and minerality… a beautiful wine.


Not something I eat often but when I do I generally enjoy a cheeseburger…


Cobblers are a fruit dessert baked with biscuit-style topping. It’s called a cobbler because its top crust is not smooth like a pie crust but rather “cobbled” and coarse. It’s usually dropped or spooned over the fruit, then baked.



Easy to make and quick to cook I make flatbreads quite a lot either as an accompaniment to a curry or stuffed and rolled as in my Egyptian Flatbreads which are delicious.


Kebabs are varying types of cooked meats with their origins in Middle Eastern Cuisine…the meat can be cubed and cooked on a stick, it can be minced and shaped into an oval and grilled or rolled around a wooden skewer or a stem of lemongrass it can also be cooked as a whole on a vertical rotisserie and then sliced off and mixed with a variety of fillings inside a pitta bread or tortilla type bread…All delicious but calorific…


As the name suggests balls of meat or fish but then they are fishballs…Made of ground meat and spices meatballs are cooked by frying, baking, steaming or braising in sauce either tomato or a brown bbq sauce…One of our favourites are these Swedish Meatballs


To parboil is to boil food, usually vegetables, briefly and lightly…For example, I parboil potatoes prior to roasting or making chips(fries)…vegetables like parsnips and turnips may be parboiled before roasting…it speeds up the cooking and makes for a crispier outer and who doesn’t love crispy roasties…


Is a champagne bottle size…36 glasses to be precise… 4.5-litres  named after the son of King Solomon and grandson of King David, who ruled the Kingdom of Judah in the 10th century BC.


Beautiful fleshy, edible stalks which make a lovely pie or crumble and also pair well in savoury dishes…the leaves however SHOULD not be eaten as they are highly toxic …very high in oxalic acid, which quickly causes kidney failure in humans. …

About 25 grams of pure oxalic acid is the average amount needed to kill a human. That said, rhubarb leaves aren’t pure oxalic acid, and it would take around 11 pounds of the leaves to secure that much. But still! I’d stay away.


Ribes is a genus of about 200 known species of flowering plants native throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The various species are known as currants or gooseberries, and some are cultivated for their edible fruit or as ornamental plants.


It is only in recent years that I knew that the vegetable I have always called swede is also known as rutabagas…it is a root vegetable which belongs to the cabbage family…with yellow or purple skin they can have white to yellow flesh and are much denser than the turnip. High in fibre, potassium and Vitamin C…

How to eat?…

  • Add rutabagas to soups, stews and casseroles, or puree with mashed potatoes.
  • Eat rutabagas raw as a snack or grate into salads and slaws. Slice and bake like French fries.
  • Rutabagas can be combined with carrots, potatoes, turnips and other root vegetables for a healthy stew.
  • They are also one of my very favourite vegetables mashed with lots of butter and black pepper however I rely on someone bringing them over for me as they are not grown here(too) warm so a rare treat…


Sambal is a chilli sauce or pastes, typically made from a mixture of a variety of chilli peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice.


Is an anise-flavoured liqueur…it can be served neat as a shot…on the rocks or with water…Like other anise liqueurs, it may be consumed after coffee as an ammazzacaffè or added directly to coffee in place of sugar to produce a caffè corretto.


Known as the German National dish…Sauerbraten is a traditional German roast of heavily marinated meat. It can be prepared from a variety of meats, most often from beef, but also from venison, lamb and mutton, pork and horse.


Is a frozen dessert made from fruit puree, fruit juice, wine or honey and no dairy…one of my favourites is a raspberry sorbet…


A species of legume native to East Asia…widely grown for its edible bean. Traditional unfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, from which tofu and tofu skin are made.

Other uses are cooking oils, meal for animal feeds and fermented uses include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, nattō, and tempeh.


Is the thymus gland and is only available from young animals. As animals mature, the gland degenerates into a mass of connective tissue and fat…It is one part of an animal which I don’t eat…


Is an Australian freshwater crustacean …a species of crayfish…a name given in Australia to two different kinds of crustacean: Cherax (freshwater yabby), a crayfish. Trypaea (marine yabby),

Usually, yabbies are boiled and eaten plain, or with condiments. … Prior to cooking, it is advisable to ‘purge’ the yabby in clean saltwater, this helps to clear the gut of any muddy flavour, resulting in sweeter tasting meat.

That’s all for today I hope you have enjoyed the letter B…

Thank you so much for your visit today I hope you have enjoyed the read…Please feel free to leave a comment as you know I love to chat…Love Carol xxx

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…7th March-13th March 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…we are now in March… the time just flies…I am seeing the first signs of spring in some hemispheres…lambs, snowdrops, daffodils please keep those images coming and the snow I have seen some pictures so those who are experiencing minus temps snuggle up and stay safe and warm…and for those who are experiencing high winds and lashing rain batten down the hatches and stay safe and warm…

Let’s go and see what goodies I had for you last week… snuggle up in your favourite corner with your favourite drink tea/coffee or hot chocolate although depending on where in the world you live it could be a glass of wine…Cheers!

Meatless Monday’s…although it can be any time of the week this week it was Mango Curry..not for everyone certainly not for my testers…lol…also as a dessert with coconut milk and sticky rice…delicious…

But I like it and hope you do it makes a change and I do love mangoes which are very, very plentiful here at the moment…Mango smoothies all round as some are very ripe although I love green mango with a spicy dip…it hits the spot…

My new series of the Culinary Alphabet was launched this week and thank you for your positive comments…

The letter A was quite easy… lots to choose from where the middle letter is A..i.e Brawn, Cabbage, and Yucca …that is the twist the brainchild of Chel Owens who is probably by now wishing she hadn’t…haha…25 weeks to go Chel…just saying…smile…

CarolCooks2…Week 4…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Tahini Paste…

One of the easiest things to make it takes no time at all…and can be used in many ways…A chicken marinade. You know the slightly nutty, yet sweet flavour you love about sesame, a dressing, eggplant dip, add some to your banana bread mix, on toast, use it as a burger topper…

Fruity Friday…

A new addition to my garden to me it looks like a catkin…I can also see the resemblance to the peppercorn…a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning…but can also be used fresh I have a recipe and can’t wait until I have enough to give it a try…

Turning Back the Clock…by Sally Cronin.

I am learning so much from this series …small changes I can make which will knock a few years off…Pop over and say hello to Sally and have read it will be worth your time as we can all turn back that clock a little by just making a few easy changes…See you there 🙂

Saturday Snippets…

I am so lucky to be living where I come across so many different fruits and vegetables and foods…I don’t think there is a week that goes by where I find something new…last week it was stuffed frogs this week it was the Thai Long Pepper…I wonder what next week will bring lots of pumpkin dishes(which) isn’t new but I have 2 very large pumpkins to use…and lots of pumpkin seeds to roast…another A …Chel x

Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…I hope you have enjoyed the read…if you have please head over and leave a comment it makes my day to hear from you …Love Carol xx

The Culinary Alphabet …..Series 3… the letter A…

Welcome to series 3 of the Culinary Alphabet…

Nothing is as it seems here…this new series is the brainchild of Chel Owens who writes at A wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing…my followers are so good to me they think up all sorts of permutations of the Alphabet…not sure if they want me to call it quits or what they will come up with next…Chel like Pete however will be called on to make her contribution every two weeks…they don’t get off scot-free…haha

So what’s in store? In this series the A, B, C, etc will be the middle letter, for example, Brawn, Cabbage, and Yucca… how easy that will be who knows I am sure  some of the letters of the alphabet could cause the grey matter to rebel or implode…haha


Are fragrant citrus fruit the size of an Orange…depending on ripeness they are a yellow or green colour similar to a lime. Often confused with the kaffir lime but it is not wrinkled like the kaffir lime. It is common throughout the Mediterranean and anyone who is familiar with Earl Grey tea knows the fragrant, citrusy scent and distinct flavour of bergamot.

It is also used in essential oils.


Is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “roast” …Similar to a BBQ a Braai seems to be more of a social event as well…

The main difference between a braai and a BBQ has to be the fire. A braai just isn’t considered a braai if cooked on a gas grill. The fire also remains lit for the duration of the braai, even after the food’s been cooked. Guests will gather around the fire after eating and spend the rest of the day or evening there.


Brawn, I remember my mother making brawn for my father a recipe passed down from her mother made from the meat from a pig’s head or calf’s head the meat is cooked and then pressed in a pot with the cooking liquid…the result is meat in jelly.


Champ is made by combining mashed potatoes and chopped scallions with butter, milk, and optionally, salt and pepper. Sometimes by the uninitiated, it is confused with colcannon which has the addition of cabbage and sometimes some herbs.


A large stalked green leafy vegetable…the leaves and stalk are often prepared separately. Sometimes called Swiss chard or rainbow chard it is a relative of the beet and often overlooked in its own right. Unlike the traditional beets which put their energy into growing roots, the chard produces big tender leaves and crunchy stalks.


Is a finger food and should be eaten in one bite…a type of hors d’œuvre often served before a main event or party.


Who doesn’t love an eclair..made with choux pastry with a custard filling and a chocolate top…Similar to a profiterole but piped into an oblong shape… The eclair originated during the nineteenth century in France where it was called “pain à la Duchesse” until 1850. Eclair means “lightning” in French. Many people believe that eclairs got their name from the glistening sparkles from the frosting that resembles a lightning bolt


Falafel is delicious balls of chickpea and herb goodness that you find in Middle Eastern cooking. Traditional falafel is made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, herbs and spices. The mixture is then formed into balls or patties and deep-fried for a texture that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, sort of like a fritter. It’s a classic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipe that’s enjoyed as street food and often served up as part of a mezze (a group of small meals).


Chocolate and cream …a deliciously smooth, shiny, silky filling, dip, spread, frosting, topping, or layer in a cake…with freshly chopped mint leaves it is absolutely delicious…


A clear, colourless, flavourless food ingredient derived from collagen from animal parts…for many years there has always been controversy around the use of gelatin although there are alternative like Agar-Agar made from cooked pressed algae.


I think of two things when I see the word glace the glace cherries my mother puts in her Christmas cake and a nice demi-glace which is a rich brown sauce…served over meat…


A large sandwich filled with a variety of ingredients such as cold cuts and cheese or sausage and peppers with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a variety of condiments in Britain is called a submarine…A very popular take out…


Ingredients for meat sauce.

  • I kilo minced beef or pork
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 250 gm mushrooms sliced(optional)
  • 3/4 cloves garlic
  • 5/6 Fresh Basil leaves.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • I large tin tomatoes or 6/8 fresh tomatoes blitzed ( I always make a batch of tomatoes for spag bol/chillies and freeze in portions.
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree.
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs 
  • 1 tsp sage or fresh leaves if you have.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

Heat a glug olive oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic.
Add the mince and cook until browned
Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes then add tomato puree and mixed herbs, bay leaf, oregano, balsamic and Worcester sauce.
Cook on a slow simmer for 20 minutes and then add mushrooms if using, cook for another 10 minutes and stir in fresh basil…
Meanwhile, make a white sauce.
When spaghetti is ready starting with a layer of mince then pasta sheets, Then mince, white sauce, pasta until you have completed 4 layers finishing with the white sauce.
Grate over your favourite cheese… I use cheddar or a mix of mozzarella and cheddar.
Cheese can be difficult to get here so if I have plenty then I also use some between my layers for a cheesier lasagne.

I think lasagne is the type of dish where anything goes really sometimes I add bell pepper to my sauce it depends on what I have in my larder/fridge.

Cook lasagne at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until pasta is cooked and cheese is golden and bubbling.




Oxtail stew was one of my fathers favourite dinners…cooked low and slow with onions and carrots with pearl barley and dumplings he loved it on a cold winters day…It is in fact the tail of a cow.

Shank and Flank:

Both are cuts of meat from the cow…The beef shank is the leg of the animal’s thigh. Each side of beef has two shanks, one in the forequarter and one in the hindquarter. It is extremely tough and full of connective tissue.

Beef shank is used in making the luxurious Italian dish osso buco.

Beef Flank has tough muscle fibres and is lovely cooked low and slow…it is quite lean and has little fat and can be cooked on the grill if it is marinated and cooked quickly then sliced against the grain if cooked correctly it is delicious if not it can be as tough as old boots.


To scald is to heat the liquid to just below boiling point and blanch fruit or vegetable when the aim is to remove the skin as in tomatoes.

It also applies to milk and makes better food for yeast…which means faster proofing, larger volume, and a fluffier product. It also makes for a smoother dough with better moisture retention…it is milk brought nearly to the boil and then cooled.


Something I have not eaten they are a traditional Mexican dish made with a corn-based dough mixture that is filled with various meats or beans and cheese. Tamales are wrapped and cooked in corn husks or banana leaves, but they are removed from the husks before eating…I must admit they sound delicious.


Is one of the 5 basic food tastes…very in vogue now and popular…

That’s all for today I hope you have enjoyed the letter A…

Thank you so much for your visit today I hope you have enjoyed the read…Please feel free to leave a comment as you know I love to chat…Love Carol xxx

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…20th December-26th December…Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Christmas…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week… Well, it’s over bar the shouting as they say…and now we have the leftovers… if you want some respite from the repeats on TV and you want some reality whatever your time zone grab a coffee or a glass of wine, a sausage roll, mince pie, chocolate or a turkey sandwich…take a pew, get comfy… have a read…X…

The first post out of the blocks was my last Mistletoe and Wine for this year…Mistletoe and Wine…No sugar quick-pickled Onions, ham with crackling and a Kamikaze Cocktail…

Ham- crackling-home cooked-sliced-platter

Home-cooked ham and crackling

This post contains recipes for Christmas or New Year ham which I love and pickled onions…Plus Ronan Keating who does have a lovely smile doesn’t he …x

Then came my Culinary Alphabet with a little twist …this time one of them was (cinnamoN)…

I  left some of the easy ones, like Salmon and Lemon for Pete who sometimes is a little minx… he sort of mentioned that he was thinking about palindromes…words which say the same frontwards and backwards example Naan Bread or Minim which is a measurement used to describe a single drop of liquid…I think I will pass on that one …DOES anyone want to take up that mantle?

I started with

Bambangan: A fruit found only in Borneo….

It was then Christmas Eve…where does the time go …like many after this year I think we are all running towards 2021…



With the Grinch in hot pursuit…

Christmas Day…came and went like any other day…I ate too much and indulged in Turkish delight and chocolate…as I type it is 10.28 am…a sunny day and my bread is proving …I have drunk my green tea and I am still full up…I keep eying the mince pies and sausage rolls every time I pop into the kitchen to give my bread another knead…but I am still full from yesterday…maybe I should go for a walk?

I haven’t yet checked the state of lay here or elsewhere the world but I am fearful again about this Covid…sorry to be gloomy but it scares me once again all the positive tests even here we have testing stations set up already and our provinces have been colour-coded…

Boxing Day...Football and Bubble and Squeak…I purposely didn’t mention the sales…I d hope any sale shopping will be done online…


London is famous for its Boxing Day sales…The queues stretch for miles and people start queuing on Christmas Day…Yes, they do…Many people buy their Christmas presents for next year…It is mayhem and you certainly do need nerves of steel to get what you want…

This is NOT this year … An older video just to give you a perspective of how it WAS on Boxing Day in the UK…

That’s all for this weeks roundup…I hope you have enjoyed a safe Chrismas Season wherever you are…Thank you for dropping in today, I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, as always I look forward to your comments… you know I love to chat!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 6th – 12th December 2020 – New Book, International Carols, Foods XYZ and a Christmas Party with pets.

Wow!… What week…Jam-packed with new releases including Sally’s ( Just) in time for Christmas, Christmas Carol’s and culinary delights…even some funnies to make you smile …Something for everyone …Please head over to Sally’s have read and maybe do some armchair shopping…Bliss…Enjoy the read xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

What’s coming up in the next two weeks.

I cannot believe that it is the Winter Solstice and the shortest day in 9 days time. On the one hand there is a sense of relief that this year is nearly over… and a wary expectation that 2021 is going to be better.

Whilst I could sit and philosophise all day long… there are things to be done to make sure this year ends with a few projects completed so I can move on fresh in the New Year.

In the last week I scheduled all the Christmas Book Fairs so they would be finished in time for Christmas and they will go out daily until the 23rd of December. I have also scheduled an updated version of The Twelve Days of Christmas from the…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food -X,Y,Z for Xawaash Spice, Yams and Zabaglione.

My thanks go to Sally for rerunning this updated and revised Culinary Alphabet an A-Z of food and culinary terms…I do hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have done conducting the research and writing…The follow on from this is a reverse alphabet where the lead letter is at the end of the word for example pizzA…great fun to research and write most of the time…lol…Thank you again, Sally you are a star…Hugs xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

In the last of this amazing series Carol takes us through the foods and culinary terms beginning with the letters X,Y and Z.  Look out for news of a brand new column from Carol in the New Year.

Xawaash Spice Mix.

Xawaash (pronounced Hawash) comes from the Arabic word Hawa’ij (حوائج). Hawa’ij can be translated as ‘requirements’ or ‘essentials.

For example, there are the essential accompaniments for Arabic coffee, Hawa’ij al-Qawra (حوائج القهوة). The Hawa’ij spice mix is believed to have originated in Yemen.
In the southern regions of Somalia, Xawaash refers to the spice mix that is added to savoury dishes: meats, stews, soups, etc. However, in the northern parts of Somalia, Xawaash is used in a broader sense and it refers to any spice mix, even the spices that are added to tea and coffee.

Keep in mind that the types of spices used and their proportions are…

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