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Traditional Hot Cross Buns…

Yes, that time of the year is nearly upon us when we celebrate Easter with Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday followed by Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday and Simmel Cake on Easter Monday.

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

I have been seeing lots of alternative recipes for Hot Cross Buns...some sound delicious some sound as if they are made just because the baker can…

Most of the recipes from my childhood I don’t want to change… it’s tradition lest we forget…x…

So without further ado here is your recipe for…Traditional Hot Cross Buns...Warm from the oven there is nought better than a Hot Cross Bun buttered with lovely grass-fed butter…

Ingredients:

For the dough

  • 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
  • 50g caster sugar …I use natural golden sugar.
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g  butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • oil, for greasing
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Salt…ordinary salt is ok.

The spices and dried fruit

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100g currants
  • Optional: Orange or lemon zest.

For  the pastry crosses:

  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

Let’s Bake!

Put the flour, yeast, castor sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix well. If you want to add a little lemon or orange zest it can be added now. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.

Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.

Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few secs, then divide into 12 even portions – I roll my dough into a long sausage shape, then quarter and divide each quarter into 3 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet greased with butter, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise.

Use a small, sharp knife to score a cross on the top of each bun, then cover with the damp tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins until almost doubled in size again. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas

When the buns are ready to bake, mix the plain flour with just enough water to give you a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag (or into a plastic food bag and snip the corner off) and pipe a white cross into the crosses you cut earlier. Bake for 12-15 mins until the buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. While still warm, melt the granulated sugar with 1 tbsp water in a small pan, then brush over the buns.

Tip: I put my mix for the cross in one of those plastic refill sauce bottles as I find I get all sorts of shape and size of the cross if I use a piping bag/greaseproof. clumsy klutz that I am..ha ha.

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Hot from the Oven! Yum!

Legend tells us that if sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and a half for me, Between us two, shall goodwill be” is said at the time or if hung in the kitchen they are said to protect against fire and all bread will turn out ok this is replaced every year.

And I’m sure there are lots more traditions but I just want the butter to put on my bun.

buttered hot cross bun

Enjoy your buns xx

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week  and don’t forget I do love to chat if you want to leave a comment xx

British Pie Week…1st-7th March 2021.

Pies have been recorded as early as the Neolithic Period, around 9500 BC. The ancient Egyptians’ diet featured basic pies made from oat, wheat, rye, and barley, and filled with honey and baked over hot coals…

I would never get into a discussion as to who makes the best pies as all around the world if you start a discussion on the merits of pie…Someone’s mum always makes the best pies for me my mum does…Be it Steak and Kidney, Fish Pie, Mince pies or an Apple pie her pastry is the best and her pies lauded …

A pie can have a top and a bottom or just a top and it could be a pastry or potato topping…Plain or latticed…There is no end to the variations of the fillings or the case or indeed the type of pastry…

My Hubbies all-time favourite is the Steak and Kidney Pie…

Speaking of which however hot it gets and it is currently only 10am and 30C and rising…Hubby will still eat meat pie…I make individual ones and then he can have pie and I have my Thai food…

two meat pies

For fillings, I either make mince and onions, Steak and Mushroom, Steak and Ale or hubby’s favourite steak and kidney…Chicken and Mushroom or Chicken and Leek Pie…BUT of course not forgetting the British favourite Apple Pie…

For the pastry

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 140g cold unsalted butter, roughly cubed
  • 1 large egg  yolk
  • 1 small egg  whisked with 1 tbsp milk, for the egg wash

For the filling…Steak & Kidney

  • 1 ox kidney, about 400g/14oz, get it fresh from your butcher. Pig’s and lamb’s kidneys only need short cooking time so if used add 15 mins before the end of cooking.
  • 1 kg trimmed braising or stewing beef
  • 250g flat mushrooms, unpeeled but wiped with a damp cloth
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion,  peeled and thickly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 50-85g plain flour, depending on how thick you like your gravy
  • 600ml fresh stock or  water and 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Let’s Cook!

It’s important to cook the meat a day ahead so that you can discard any fat that has risen to the top, and so that the pastry doesn’t slump in the face of a too-warm filling, so up to 48 hours ahead -make the pastry. Whizz the flour and a pinch of fine sea salt together for a few seconds in a food processor, then add the butter and whizz until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk together the egg yolk and 3 tbsp water and whizz with the pastry until it collects in a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least one hour…

TO COOK THE MEAT.

Cut out the white central core of the kidney and  (discard). Cut the kidney into bite-sized pieces. Cut the beef into bite-sized cubes and cut the mushrooms into chunks.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the kidney and fry until lightly coloured. Tip into a colander to drain.

Wipe out the frying pan and return it to low-medium heat, adding 25g/1oz of the butter and 1 tbsp oil. Tip in the onion and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly golden add the garlic for the final 2/3 minutes.

Transfer to a large casserole, using a slotted spoon.

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 3/fan 140C. Tip the 85g/3oz flour into a large plastic bag, and season it generously. Throw in the beef and shake until lightly floured. Return the frying pan to medium-high heat, adding a little more oil and butter if needed. Shake off any excess flour (reserving it) then fry the beef in batches until golden-brown. As each batch is done, transfer it to the casserole.

Adding more oil and butter to the frying pan if necessary, fry the mushrooms for about 2 minutes until starting to wilt, then add them to the casserole with the drained kidneys, stock or hot water, bouillon powder and bay leaf, plus the excess flour in the bag if you like a thick gravy.

Stir well, cover and cook in the oven for 75-90 minutes until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick. Cool thoroughly, then put in the fridge (preferably overnight) so any fat will solidify – it can then be skimmed off and discarded the next morning.

In the morning – return the pastry to cool room temperature, then roll it out thinly on a well-floured surface. Invert a 28-30x23cm, 6.5cm deep pie dish on to the pastry. Mentally add an extra 1cm all round, then use the dish as a guide to cut out the pastry lid. From the remnants, cut out enough 6cm-wide strips of pastry to go round the dish – they should cover the flat rim and about halfway down the insides.

Lightly butter the rim of the dish and line it with the strip(s) of pastry, sealing any joins with a little dab of water. Butter the shoulders of a pie raiser or an upturned egg cup and stand it in the middle. Spoon in the meat mixture to come level with the top of the dish.

Don’t overfill: reserve any excess gravy to serve hot with the pie.

Brush the pastry rim with a little water, then drape the pastry lid over it, pinching the edges to seal. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge if not baking immediately.

Finally, an hour before serving – preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Make four slashes in the lid of the pie, then brush with the egg wash. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, turning the heat down 10-20º after about 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and leave it to rest for around 10 minutes before cutting into it.

These instructions are if you are making one large pie…If I am making individual pies I just cut a strip of pastry to go around the top of the dish fill the dish with the meat mixture and add a pastry top…This cuts the calories…But if you like a large pie and want to cut nice slices then a pie bottom can be added.

Of course, the cooking time will also need to be adjusted…For an individual pie depending on your oven, it takes approx 25 mins.

To celebrate British  Pie Week... Tweet  #britishpieweek

Enjoy!

We can’t forget to mention the Apple Pie…Can We?

https://carolcooks2.com/2017/01/02/apple-pie/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend I look forward to your comments and what your favourite pie is… Enjoy your pie  xx

#Pancake Day…16th February …Aka #Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.

Who doesn’t like a nice thin, lacy pancake with sugar and lemon? Pancakes are eaten almost all over the world in one form or another so although plain and simple is my favourite I don’t mind some of the other versions on occasions.

pancake-2367620_1920

I am also quite good at tossing them much to the surprise of the kids although not sure how I would fare in some of the pancake races which are held throughout the Uk and tossing them while running…lol….that would be a sight to behold…

The first recorded pancake race was way back in 1445 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England. Since 1950 Olney has competed against women of Liberal, Kansas, the USA in an international race.

Tradition declares that the race was first run in the year 1445, pancakes at the time being a popular dish, receiving royal favour. It was run on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, and the whole day was given over to a festival of celebration, pranks and pastimes. It is not known where the original start line was but the finish line was at the Church door. The winner has to bang on the door with her frying pan…

The year I was born…

Did you know????

The largest pancake was created in Rochdale, Manchester, the UK in 1994, by the Co-Operative Union, Ltd. Measuring 15.01 m (49 ft 3 in) in diameter and 2.5 cm (1 in) thick, the pancake weighed 3 tonnes (6,614 lb) and took more than just a frying pan to flip over!

In total, Brits use an unbelievable 52 million eggs on Pancake Day. That’s 22 million more than any other day.

The most flips anyone has ever done with a pancake is 349 flips in two minutes. That’s ‘flipping’ good’!

We all have our preferences for pancake toppings but the weirdest pancake toppings have to be ketchup and mustard, please…Nooooo! peanut butter and ice cream, coco pops and cream…I just love maple syrup on mine or lemon..simples is best!

The Guinness World Record for the most pancakes served in eight hours is 34,818.

William Shakespeare was also a pancake lover! It is reflected in many of his plays. When Shakespeare was alive Shrove Tuesday is much as it is today – that is people ate plenty of pancakes!.  Dinner was a midday meal instead of evening, and the pancakes would follow their main meal. The Tudors enjoyed heavily spiced foods and regularly included ale or beer as ingredients instead of water. They ate very rich foods, and their pancakes could have been enriched with rose-water, sherry, eggs, ale or butter – or a mixture of them all

In France and the United States, Pancake day is called Mardi Gras which means ‘Fat’ or ‘Grease Tuesday’.

My Simple Pancake batter recipe.

pancake-2367620_1920

  • 100 gm flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml of milk
  • Oil/ butter for frying
  • Lemon wedges to serve
  • Sugar to serve

Let’s Cook!

Put your flour, eggs, milk, pinch salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Using an omelette or crepe pan add a knob of butter and when melted add some of your mix to pan and roll about to cover the bottom…I like my pancake thin so don’t use too much mix others like theirs thicker but personal choice.

cooking-933208_1920

Cook until nicely golden and flip over and cook the other side …keep warm in the oven while you are cooking all your pancakes.

Serve with a good squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar.

That is my way, plain and simple but it is your opportunity to use your favourite toppings…

What do you top your pancakes with??? Please tell me in comments…

Pancakes are made all over the world and vary somewhat… if you missed my post on how they are made here in Thailand then I have added the link for you to enjoy these were made down in one of the local homes here and they kindly let us take the photos…It is a family affair both young and old play their part…I found it fascinating…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/traditional-handmade-thai-pancakes-khao-gle-at/

Pancakes drying

Or these lovely oat pancakes

Maple Walnut Banana Pancakes…

banana maple syrup pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3/4 of a cup of rolled oats
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup
  • Chopped banana, blueberries, walnuts and maple syrup to serve.

Put the banana, oats, eggs, baking soda and maple syrup in the blender and blitz until smooth and well combined.

Heat your pan and add some mix cook for about 2 mins each side I did find they cooked quite quickly so watch you don’t burn them…

Serve with sliced banana, blueberries or fruit of your choice, walnuts and maple syrup…They were actually very yummy…

I didn’t have gluten-free oats so mine were not gluten-free but still healthy and I had no maple syrup extract so substituted maple syrup, the walnuts I caramelised and I didn’t have blueberries…and I cooked mine in grass-fed butter… I will make them again and next time will add blueberries as they will add that touch of tartness…

However, if you eat Gluten-free use Gluten-free rolled oats and cook in a non-stick pan

If you love pancakes I hope you have found some here to tickle your tastebuds …Enjoy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week and please tell me in comments what your favourite pancakes are…I just love to chat and swap recipes xx

What is really in your Yoghurt and how healthy is it ?

 

Reading e-mails and news this morning …I don’t why I was shocked but I was and all the protestations from suppliers and manufacturers didn’t cut it with me…I have heard it so many times before…Parents hoping to aid their children through the pain of teething could be using products that contain “potentially harmful ingredients”, dentists and researchers warn.

A new study of 14 teething gels, including Anbesol, Dentinox, Calgel, Bonjela Junior and Boots own brand, found that two contained sucrose (table sugar), six contained alcohol and six contained an anaesthetic used to numb tissue called lidocaine.

All this just doesn’t stop and it seems that tiny babies are not immune from devious/greedy money-orientated manufacturers…

This made me decide to repost a previous post on yoghurts as many of them are aimed at children and packaged to entice them…

Yoghurt is a universal food and has been around since the Neolithic period or around 5000 BC found in all cultures around the world where animals which produce milk are kept.

Yoghurt at its best and most natural only contains milk, live cultures and bacteria and as part of a balanced diet is excellent for your health.

Yoghurt at its worst contains added sugars, cream, gums, thickeners, starches, artificial colours and flavours.

One of those artificial colours comes from insects and I know that insects are used for colouring or eaten in many cultures and the red colour comes from a cockroach variety called Carmine the colour is also known as cochineal or Natural red…That I can accept as we eat many animals and insects in our diets it is when the waters get muddied by the pesky manufacturers who add to the preparation fish glue and gelatin and who knows what else in their quest for the cheapest production possible and have proved so many times that they don’t have a care about the consumer’s health???

But as with anything be it plant-based, insect-based it may cause reactions in humans and such is the case in this instance used as a colouring not only in yoghurt but fruit juices, ice cream, confectionery (sweets) and also in cosmetics lipsticks and eyeshadow is Carmine/cochineal has been known to cause severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock in some people.

Isn’t that a cute picture of a child feeding himself and doesn’t he look pleased and why wouldn’t he?

BOY-EATING-YOGHURT

Kids yoghurt line those supermarket chillers and they act like a magnet with labels which promote the latest kids fad …I.E…Ben 10, Barbie, Frozen, Munch Bunch, YoKids, Frubes, Smarties, too many to mention all designed in bright colours to attract kids…many labelled as deserts rather than yoghurt and that in itself should set those alarm bells ringing… They come in pots, pouches, tubes, little Fromage Frais pots so cute…

Do you know what is in them???

Most are very high in added sugars which all have an effect on the taste buds and if kids eat so much of this sugar-laden food then real food just doesn’t have that same taste…It ruins the taste buds and of course is a major factor in childhood diseases, obesity and that is as well as probably ruining their teeth.

Manufacturers have proven time and time again that all they care about is profit…They don’t care about the EFFECT on the nations children’s health and would say if challenged that you don’t have to buy them…NO…YOU DON’T!

Packaged breakfasts with muesli or fruit which I used to eat years ago working on the assumption that they were healthy I since found out they are anything but healthy… An average container contains 2.25 servings but the label shows the ingredients and quotes for 100gm but working on the basis that most people would eat the pot and not 100gm again sneaky manufacturers hiding true figures. It doesn’t take much to work out that if 100gm is stated to contain 594 KJ then if you eat the whole pot you are now looking at 1339 kJ plus 42 gm od added sugars…NOT such a healthy breakfast…

It is a sad world when you have to not only read the label but check the weight to get an accurate figure of what you are actually consuming…

I will now look at some individual types of yoghurt…

Coconut yoghurt just screams healthy, doesn’t it? Many contain per 100gm 785 KJ and 11.5 saturated fat and no calcium.

Probiotic yoghurt is marketed as healthy for your gut  They can’t do any harm as part of a balanced diet BUT to really be of benefit to your gut you would have to consume many pots on a daily basis to benefit and then if you suffered from IBS it could aggravate your condition so it would be more beneficial to seek advice from a dietician who specialises in gut health.

Again WHEN manufacturers are advertising the benefits of the yoghurt how many you would have to consume is very conveniently not mentioned  …IS IT?

Greek Yoghurt… Pure proper traditionally made yoghurt.

goat being milked-1617132_1280

Greek yoghurt is a delicious thing it is made from sheep or goats milk which is strained to filter out excess liquid …whey…leaving a thicker yoghurt which is tart and higher in protein than other yoghurts.

BUT… Isn’t there always a but? Because there is no definite legal definition of true Greek Yoghurt some companies have found cheaper ways to produce a yoghurt with a similar taste and texture and get away with calling it Greek Style Yoghurt.

Greek Style Yogurt contains milk protein concentrates ( MPC), whey protein concentrates (WPC) as well as fillers like gelatin or modified corn starch. Now many MPC’S come from anywhere in the world the import of them is pretty much unregulated…That always sets off alarm bells for me as so many unregulated or very lax with regulated products and they have been since proven to be detrimental to our health.

It seems that the US is far more lax and does not and this is my opinion seem to put much store on the nation’s health and well-being in the words of the FDA “found no evidence of any significant hazard to the health of the human population”

The European Food Safety Organisation ( EFSA) on the other hand had concerns about the use of Carmine in foods and set up a committee to evaluate because of the number of recorded allergic reactions by the usage. The Carmine has now been replaced with a synthesized version made from plant extract using Calcium Oxide. A step in the right direction but I would like to know more about what the synthesized product is made up of…too many times things have been found to  NOT be as they were touted to be…Yes, I know I am suspicious but past performance of the committee’s and health organisations does not fill me with trust.

Pot set yoghurt the makers claim it is healthier and more nutritious because they don’t add thickeners or stabilizers but really there is rarely little difference…READ THE LABELS.

Natural or plain yoghurt is simply yoghurt with no sweeteners or flavourings or they should be… again READ THE LABEL.

Lactose-free yoghurt… Are made using soy, almond or rice milk and can contain whey (milk proteins) not sugars…

Pouring yoghurt or drinks… Made the same as other fruit yoghurts just less or no thickeners to make them portable. But they have aimed THESE again at kids much of the time and check the label because they may have fewer thickeners but what about the colouring and the sugars???

Your safest options are natural or plain yoghurt, Greek Yoghurt ( not Greek Style) and this is what irks me as tradition Greek yoghurt takes longer to make it is more expensive but although the Greek-style yoghurt is cheaper to produce you will notice that they will be higher in cost than normal yoghurt and there will also not be hardly any difference in cost to the traditional Greek yoghurt…

I think we really need to be sending manufacturers a big message by reading labels and I know it is time-consuming but once you find a yoghurt that is healthy and not loaded with added sugar and preservatives then you won’t need to read the label every time you can also check from your comfy chair if you have the make as to what they contain and the longer the list the less inclined I am to buy the product.

Or… You could make your own yoghurt get the kids to help choose their favourite fruits and if they help make it they are more inclined to eat it.

Making your own natural yoghurt is quite easy and you can either buy a yoghurt maker or if you have a thermometer, a saucepan and an oven or a thermos flask you are ready to go.

I would suggest making a small amount to start with and then take it from there as with anything some like their yoghurt to be quite tart whereas others prefer a milder taste it is a little bit of trial and error until you find what suits your palate.

Firstly you will need to buy some natural yoghurt to make your starter it must be a plain yoghurt not flavoured and must have live cultures…check the label. Once you have made your first batch of yoghurt you will then have the base for the future it is a little like your sourdough starter or ginger beer you need to have a starter.

The milk that you use to make your yoghurt should either be raw milk or locally produced milk which has been produced using a low pasteurisation process that is not homogenized or uses goats milk. Just double-check that the milk you use is NOT ultra-pasteurized or homogenized you must use whole milk.

The healthier the milk used the healthier your yoghurt will be.

I would recommend starting off with a small batch first. For each 1 pint of milk, you will need 1 tbsp of the natural yoghurt unless you already have a starter and then it is 1 tbsp of your starter.

spoonful natural yoghurt with raspberry-583076_640

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of milk
  • 2 tbsp of yoghurt or starter.

Let’s make some yoghurt!

Heat your milk in a stainless steel pan until it reaches 180 F.

Pour the milk into sterilised jars and cool down to 115 F you could also stand the jars in cold water to reduce the temperature quicker.

Then lightly stir in your natural yoghurt or your starter.

You can now either put your jars in your oven with just the light on which will produce a temperature of around 110 F and leave in the oven for 12-24 hours the longer it is left the tarter the yoghurt will be which is why I suggested making a couple of small batches until you get the flavour correct for you.

AT THIS POINT IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO USE THE OVEN THEN YOU CAN PUT THE MIX INTO A THERMOS FLASK AND LEAVE FOR THE SAME 12-24 HOURS.

Lastly, put the jars into the fridge until the yoghurt is cold and set. Then pour off the whey which has separated or pass the yoghurt through a muslin or cheesecloth to make a thicker yoghurt.

Once this is done then store in the fridge and eat as req and also keep some as a starter for your next batch of yoghurt.

This is where you can now sweeten the yoghurt with some honey or fresh fruit whatever your fancy is or just eat with fresh fruit or muesli. Once you have made your own yoghurt you will not want to buy any from a store it really is very easily made and much healthier and with no fillers or sweeteners.

Thank you for dropping by and reading this post… I hope you have enjoyed the post…do you make your own yoghurt? … if so please let us know in the comments as you know I love to chat and swap ideas and recipes xx

 

How to make your own Coconut Oil in easy to follow steps…

 

A reposting from a while ago but it shows my love of all things coconut…I adore Coconut water, milk and oil I use it in many ways…Making your own at home makes such a lovely thoughtful present …

Living in the North Of Thailand is so very different from living in the South of Thailand… I am learning so much about Thai cultures and traditions which have been passed down through families for centuries and I am loving it.

Coconut oil and its benefits are known throughout the world and it is quite easy to buy a bottle from your local shops now….. But how is it made? it is still made by hand in many local homes here..it takes time but you get a far superior product and you also get the lovely by-product which you can eat.

So come with me ……Over a fire…. a pot is put to heat up when the pot is hot then the coconut milk which is extracted from the white flesh is added, in the villages, they grate this and as you need the flesh from 10 coconuts to make a litre of oil …it is time-consuming and hard work by hand…

coconut milk

Putting on the Coconut Milk

If you are lucky enough to live close to a local market and they have the machine which extracts the milk then it is far easier although you still have a long way to go before you get the finished product.

Firstly the Coconut milk is poured into the ready heated pot and it is now a waiting game where all the exciting stuff happens and you can see the stages and transitions that milk goes through to get your oil.

coconut oil making your own

Coconut milk Reducing

So you sit and stir and watch and wait while still stirring as the milk changes.

making coconut oil

Reducing down

The first sign you see are little oil spots which start to appear on the surface of the milk….you still have to keep stirring.

coconut milk boiling

Coconut milk coming to the boil

The oil spots spread as the milk bubbles away and indeed will come right to the top of the pot and almost boil over.

 

Coconut ream reduced down

The milk is coming to the top is not a good sign you have to stir and stir so it is simmering and bubbling after a while it takes a few hours the milk disappears and you are left with oil…

At the bottom of the pan, you get a thick crust which looks like crumbled digestive biscuits…this is scooped out and kept as a topping for ice cream.

A very small amount is left in the bottom maybe a teaspoonful and this gives the oil a more vanilla/chocolate smell/taste it is then scooped out and the oil is left to cool down.

Finished coconut oil

You now have your very own hand-made  Coconut Oil.

I think it is lovely to see this tradition of making your own oil in the home as so often we buy a carton or bottle and we don’t where it has come from ..what processes it has gone through…Is it pure? We all know that labelling can be misleading.

I am sampling so much now of lovely home-produced oils, honey, vegetables, herbs some grown some foraged and it is not just the marvellous taste but just the knowledge that I have seen it made or helped make it and that I  know where it has come from..it is a marvellous feeling…

The photos are from my friend Sonya…Thank you so much, Sonya Russell, for allowing me to use them. It is very much appreciated…Thank you 🙂

Thank you for dropping in I do hope you enjoyed reading this post if so please leave a comment as I love to hear from you and have a chat…Love Carol xx

 

 

 

Eat Smart, Eat Healthy…Lunches!

Good morning from sunny Thailand… we are warming up here as we are coming into our High Season soon although the nights and early mornings can still have a nip to them.. while many of you I know are feeling the winter chills as you have snow and ice…

Today I have some ideas for healthy lunches…which will warm you up …

It is quite difficult to think of what to suggest as when I worked in my last job although we had the heating on the doors were continually opening and closing so if you were working on the ground floor it was a tad cold most of the time so a warm bowl of soup or a jacket potato was very welcome at lunchtime.

I always used to make extra if I made a stew or chilli and freeze in portions it was then easy to take to work and I know from experience that if I ventured out at lunchtime as I hadn’t bought anything in with me it was over to Marks & Spencer who do the most divine sandwiches and of course, all their yummy sweet things are by the till…Do I need to say more???

Not taking in lunch is a trap many of us fall into without realising, isn’t it? Plus it is more costly…

As I am at home and lunch is my main meal I generally have a stir fry they are quick to do and cook while the rice is cooking which Is why I like them…either way whether you are at home, at work or eating lunch on the go…I have something for you…

Fried Fish with peppercorns in black bean sauce.
Serves 1.

fish black bean sauce

  • 100 gm white fish cut into smallish pieces and rolled in rice flour.
  • Small onion roughly cut
  • 2 spring onion sliced
  • 1-2 chillies sliced diagonally
  • 1 stem of fresh peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp black bean sauce
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Sm piece fresh ginger minced or finely Julienne
  • Fish sauce to taste.

Lets Cook!

Heat up the oil in a wok and shallow fry fish quickly on each side until it becomes golden brown, it will take around 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
In the same wok where fish is fried sauté garlic, chilli, onion and ginger.
Add green onion and peppercorns then stir-fry for a minute. Then add fish.
Add splash water, black bean sauce bring to a rolling boil, add fish and turn over once to coat with the sauce and simmer for 2 mins. If the sauce is thin you can add a bit of cornstarch/arrowroot slurry to thicken it.
Flavour with fish sauce and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with steamed rice and a chilli dip( optional)

You could also make this at home and heat gently at work for lunch or microwave it.

Jacket Potatoes…Easy to do and will fill you up…If you have an oven at work then in your break pop one in the oven it will then be ready and waiting at lunchtime all you need to do is add your topping and… take a portion of chilli, baked beans, cheese, coleslaw, sweetcorn, caramelised onions and mushrooms to work and there you are lunch on the go…What is your favourite topping?

jacket-potato-2906023_640

My favourite topping is chilli be it meat or vegetarian one or cheese and coleslaw if it isn’t too cold that is more of a spring/summer topping for me…

Soup is also very good...You make a batch at home and freeze in portions it just needs reheating or take it in a thermos flask…

Yesterday I made a lovely mushroom soup …a new recipe and it needs tweaking my little taste tester told me what I needed to do….lol

It pleases me though because it means that he tastes the food and knows when it needs something else so that is good for a child.

Mushroom Soup…

  • 2 lbs of mushrooms…mixed I used straw, button, crimini and some small ones which I can’t remember the name.
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 6 sprigs of thyme tied together
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

Melt the butter and add the mushrooms and add a pinch of salt and cook until they give up their juices and reduce the heat. Cook stirring until the juice has evaporated and the mushrooms start to brown.

crimini straw button mushrooms

Pick out a few nice pieces and set to one side for the garnish.

Mix the onions into the mushrooms and cook until the onion softens about 5 minutes.

Add the thyme and garlic and pour in the stock and water simmer for 1 hour.

Remove the thyme before blending the soup, if the consistency is still too thick then add more stock/water…Return to a pan and add the cream…Taste and season with salt and black pepper…

Mushroom Soup

 

I hope this has given you a few ideas about what to have for lunch…What is your favourite lunch?

I have added the link to a Chicken Noodle soup as it also has the recipe for homemade chicken broth.

Noodle-soup-Thai-chicken

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/09/13/thai-chicken-noodle-soup/

All of these you could batch cook every two weeks and freeze in portions and you would never have to worry about what is for lunch… Just add your garnishes and herbs if required…

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoy the soup …Or maybe you have already tried it…Do you love it?? Please let me know in comments xxx