This week in my Kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 8… Spices!

 

Welcome to my store cupboard basics which means it is Friday once again and Spices are something I use every day in one form or another…I am also always on the lookout for new spices…I just adore what a touch of spice does to food…

If you have been following your store cupboards BASICS by now yours should be nearly fully stocked…

The smell of spices always draws me wherever I am and sometimes it is so strong that it makes me cough and my eyes water…but I love it…It is also one way for me to get my kitchen cleared quickly …haha…

Spices are many and varied, they need to be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. As flavours diminish with age then buy in small quantities the only spices I buy in large quantities are those I know I will use quickly…

To make your own mixes is quick and easy and ensures your spices are always fresh…As I go through the spices, I use I will link to recipes where I make my own mixes which are far superior as they contain no preservatives and work out far cheaper than costly spice mixes …

Allspice…This berry has a warm, slightly cinnamon-clove flavour readily available ground and can be used in both sweet and savoury cooking.

Cayenne Pepper…Fiery and piquant this spice is made from dried red hot chillies used sparingly it is excellent added to cheeses dishes, fish, creamy sauces, meat sauces and soups. Added sparingly to these salmon burgers it just lifts the flavour…

Chilli Flakes… 

 

Crushed dried red chillies can be added or sprinkled over many dishes…so easy to make your own just dry fresh red chillies in the sun if you have any or even on a hot radiator and then just crush in a pestle and mortar and store in an airtight jar. Used in many Thai dishes like larb or homemade sausages I have linked to these as it shows how I use many of the spices I have on this post.

Chinese five-spice powder…This is a mixture of star anise, cassia, fennel seeds, cloves and anise pepper again if you have the spices easy to make in minutes. It has quite a strong powerful flavour so use sparingly.

Cinnamon…one of my most used spices it has many uses…I buy the sticks and use whole or ground although you can buy powdered cinnamon ready ground I prefer to do my own. The powder can be used in baking and making spice mixes. The sticks can be added to stews or drinks. This Thai braised Pork is a good example of where I used star anise, cinnamon and Chinese five-spice powder.

Cloves…Available whole or ground these dried flowers buds are used in sweet and savoury dishes…Baked apples, bread sauce they are one of my most used spices. If sing ground use sparingly as it is strong and too much is unpleasant to the palate.

Coriander…Available whole or ground I buy large packs as I use it often…It is the basis in my Indian spices and curries…

Cumin…Warm and pungent cumin works well with most meats particularly lamb again one of my favourite spices and one I use a lot.

Fennel Seeds…These little green seeds have quite a sweet aniseed like flavour that goes well with chicken and fish and again I use when making Indian spice mixes.

Garam Masala…Ground and roasted spices make this mixture which is used in many Asian dishes. Available ready mixed but if you have the spices so easy to make your own and the flavour is much better. My recipe where you can see my use of spices…

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamon pods green
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 piece of mace.

Let’s Cook!

Dry roast all your spices individually until warm and fragrant. Leave to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder …I have a little coffee grinder which I use to grind my spices and it works really well prior to that I used a pestle and mortar which is hard work but brilliant as an arm toner.

Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months as the spice will start to lose its potency …If you use a lot of gamma masala then just double or treble the quantities.

Ginger…This ground dried spice is useful for baking although for savoury dishes I use fresh root ginger.

Green Cardamon…

The green papery pods contain little black seeds which can be easily crushed and the seeds scraped out.

The green pods, Elettaria cardamomum, also known as “true cardamom,” have the characteristics most recognized as cardamom flavour: a herbal warmth like a fragrant cross between eucalyptus, mint, and pepper—more citrusy than fennel and sweeter than cumin.

It wasn’t until I was looking for green cardamom that I realised why it was harder to find and more expensive than its black cardamom sister…

Mustard Seeds…are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are coloured from yellowish white to black. They are an important spice in many regional foods. Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar or other liquids creates mustard. Simples said the meercat…

Nutmeg…Is available ground but to me not the same as storing a few whole nutmegs and grating it as required.

Paprika Pepper…Used in many Spanish dishes it is available both mild and hot…It has a slightly sweet flavour and is lovely used as a garnish for a seafood sauce or an egg dish.

Pepper…Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices and should always be used freshly ground as it loses its flavour quickly.

Green peppercorns have a milder flavour and can be found dried or in brine. Fresh green peppercorns are widely used in Thai cooking and one of our favourites.

White peppercorns are hotter than green but less aromatic than black peppercorns but ideal for a sauce if you don’t want the black specks but want a pure white sauce.

Pink Peppercorns seem to be more popular of late…Pink peppercorns are not only pretty, but they also offer a fruitiness along with their peppery bite for a deep, well-rounded pepper flavour. They’re delicate and should be crushed with a knife, rather than a pepper mill, to be used on seafood, poultry, salad, even popcorn, in curries, sauces, chutney, or in place of black pepper for an interesting twist. They are also more expensive.

Star Anise…Earthy, a subtly sweet spice which has a number of uses in savoury cooking, especially in traditional Asian dishes.

Turmeric...Used in many Indian dishes the ground turmeric is made from the dried turmeric root it has a peppery, slightly earthy taste and stains if you are not careful…

Vanilla…Dried vanilla pods are long and black encasing hundreds of tiny black seeds expensive but so worth it…Just make sure what you are buying as there are many inferior products on the market.

vanilla-pods-sugar

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 my store cupboard basics it will be Dried herbs and stock cubes…

CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 18…Denmark

 

Welcome to my new A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…I have Chel to thank for giving me some ideas from which this one took shape…Thank you Chel x

Today I am looking at the cuisine of Denmark…

I visited Denmark many years ago now and loved the clean freshness of the food…famous for the smørrebrød which is an open-faced sandwich that is simply a slice of rye bread with various combinations of toppings such as pickled herring, roast beef and eggs topped with mayo and shrimps. This heaped rye bread treat date back to the 19th century.

Here is one of my favourite food bloggers Mark Weins sampling the smørrebrød and the National Dish of ‘stegt flæsk med persillesovs’ with red cabbage…

There is also some family-inspired dining…Danish style…where turkey is on the menu…

Stjerneskud or ‘shooting stars’ is the lesser-known but more extravagant smørrebrød, and one of the Danes’ absolute favourites. Stjerneskud is a slice of rye bread with fried plaice fillet, topped with shrimp, lettuce and caviar from the Limfjord. The best way to enjoy it is in an authentically Danish way, with a cold beer and finished with a shot of snaps…Don’t mind if I do…

The Danish National Dish...a number ago the Danes were asked to vote for their National Dish…The winner was a classic pork recipe ‘stegt flæsk med persillesovs’, The crispy pork with parsley sauce and potatoes is a traditional dish that has been passed down through the years a lovely flavoursome dish with soft pork and that crispy crackling that is to die for with lovely buttery mashed potatoes and parsley sauce…

Meatballs!

The Danes love their meatballs (frikadeller) a popular dish that is served both for lunch and dinner. Traditionally, the meatballs consist of equal parts of veal and pork, flour, milk, eggs, onions and spices, but today there are countless versions of the Danish classic all delicious, meatballs are also a popular smørrebrød topping.

Here is the link to my version of meatballs…

Can you keep a secret? Danish pastries are not really Danish! In Denmark, these world-famous sticky delights are called Vienna Bread (wienerbrød), as they were first made in Denmark in the 1840s by Austrian bakers. But, Danish pastries rose in popularity over the centuries and are now a firm favourite of ordinary Danes.

There are many different types at bakeries throughout the country. Ask for the fantastically named Cinnamon Snail (kanelsnegl) or Seed Snappers (frøsnapper) pastries when out and about and prepare yourself for sticky fingers!…a small price to pay for these delicious pastries…

Denmark and beer often go in the same sentence... not so strange when you consider that no other country in the world produces as much beer in relation to its size and number of inhabitants. In addition to world-renowned Carlsberg, there are also some stunning locally-brewed craft beers brewed at the many microbreweries scattered all over the country.

You should also try to pair your smørrebrød with a shot of snaps which is a traditional Scandinavian spirit. It is a rather strong alcoholic spirit based on aquavit, but it can be infused with many different flavours they are the ideal accompaniment to drink with pickled herrings…

And of course, the most important word to learn for your next trip to Denmark – is Skål!

Thank you for joining me today on this virtual tour of Denmark I hope you enjoyed the tour…x

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Chicken with Mango…

Welcome to my kitchen…It’s time for another Chicken Recipe …Last week …BBQ Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Skewers…was a very popular chicken recipe but chicken does go so very well with fruit and spices…

Chicken is also such a very versatile protein it has little fat(unless we add it)…a healthy alternative to red meat…  low in saturated fat, contains higher amounts of omega-6 fatty acids than other animal meats, and is high in protein and essential vitamins and minerals such as B6, B12, iron, zinc, and copper…

Today I am sharing  Chicken with Mango…

I love mangoes and chicken and this is a match made in heaven…Mangoes are plentiful here and I am always looking for ways to use them apart from smoothies and crispy chicken goes really well with the sauce and it has chilli…Enjoy!

For the Mango Sauce:

  • 2 fresh ripe mangos, fruit scooped out (or substitute 2 cups frozen or canned mango)
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and diced, or 1 tsp chilli sauce or 1/2 tsp dried crushed chilli
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, Take out the vein and roll and finely shred.

For the Chicken:

  • 2 to 3 chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch-long pieces or you can cook the chicken breasts whole and slice..1/4 cup oil for pan-frying
  • 1/2 to 1 mango, cut into chunks (to finish the dish) optional.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped to garnish

Let’s Cook! 

Place the 2 ripe mangoes cut into chunks, red chilli, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves in a food processor or blender. Blitz well, until more or less smooth.

Taste the sauce.

You should have a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Add more sugar if you find the sauce too sour (this will depend on the sweetness of your mangoes). If not spicy enough, add more chilli. If not salty/flavourful enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty or too sweet, add more lime juice. Play with your flavours add a little at a time and keep tasting as you can always add more it is harder to adjust the balance if you have put too much of one thing in…Just keep tasting…

Set to one side.

Now for the chicken...grandkids love it when I do breaded chicken strips and serve with mango sauce…today though I am keeping the breasts whole and coating them in this lovely sauce then baking them in the oven for 20 mins at 180 degrees my oven runs hot(Thai) ovens don’t have a thermostat just low, high and hot the reality is it’s just hot…sigh…I do have a thermostat attached to the one shelf..sort of accurate…ish…sigh.

But chicken breasts cook quickly and shouldn’t take more than 20-25 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your breasts..if mine is thick then I cut them into two halves down the length.

Brush with the mango sauce and halfway through cooking turn and brush with the sauce and then baste once or twice the remainder of the sauce you can use as a dip with your chicken.

Once cooked then transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with fresh coriander or some lightly pickled vegetables, roast some julienned vegetables or just wash some fresh vegetables and herbs which is the favoured option here then serve with  Thai jasmine-scented rice or rice of your choice.

Enjoy!

Enjoy the rest of your week I hope the  weather is kind to you xxx

Monday Musings…27th June 2022…

I think most of us know by now that ready-made sodas are not good for us…you also know that I dislike waste…here are some delicious ways to make bubbly fruit kvass(a fermented drink) from the fruit scraps that you would normally throw away or if you are really good would compost but the way I look at it is if you can make something to eat or drink from scraps then that has to be good…plus at the same time, you can participate and be part of Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics?

https://zerowastechef.com/2022/06/20/save-your-fruit-scraps-to-make-bubbly-fruit-kvass/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=save-your-fruit-scraps-to-make-bubbly-fruit-kvass

Something I have never attempted to make but we do love to eat them...John’s Asian Dumplings look and sound absolutely delicious and kudos to him for making them…

Johns step by step guide is easy to follow so please click the highlighted link below.

https://biteeatrepeat.com/2022/06/23/homemade-asian-dumplings-my-52-in-22-cooking-challenge-has-siu-mai-and-potstickers/

Thank you for joining me today for Monday Musings…I hope you enjoy these recipes and that you will sign up for” Plastic Free July “

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 19th -25th June 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “Real food v Processed Food” and Saturday Snippets where “Grace” is my one word prompt.

Welcome to my weekly roundup …Wow, I can’t believe we are in June already halfway through the year…June is the first month of astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere and astronomical winter in the Southern Hemisphere…the roses are showing their pretty heads here plus it is the flower of the month June alongside its fragrant sister the lovely honeysuckle…

The first day of a new week …we have a tortoise I think it is the most appreciated gift I have ever bought anyone…I never knew a tortoise would be so popular although she is lovely and surprisingly very fast as she explores her new home…

Monday Musings…20th June 2022…

These beautiful Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Skewers are ideal if you have BBQ weather and if you don’t then you can do them under the grill just wrap some foil around the sticks…

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…BBQ Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Skewers…

I love writing an A-Z and this one is no exception…Sally from Smorgasbors Magazine is very kindly repeating/rewinding this A-Z ….today is the first in this series the letter A featuring almonds, aubergines, arrowroot and avocado…Please head over to read the original post by clicking the highlighted link below…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – Almond Milk, Arrowroot, Aubergines dip #Thai and Avocado Guacamole.

A well-stocked store cupboard can save you money and time as there is nothing worse than being halfway through a recipe and finding out that you have not got one of the ingredients..local shops are generally more expensive and for smaller amounts…When stocking your storecupboard you can shop around at your leisure for good deals…

This week in my Kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 7…Vinegars, Sauces and Condiments…

I use mayo to make prawn cocktails or potato salad maybe on burgers when I make them for the grandchildren plus homemade mayo is so much nicer…I then don’t have guilty feelings about the poor baby chicks who are sacrificed for a jar of mayo…

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Mayonnaise…The Reality!

As you know Saturday Snippets is one of my favourite posts to write…” Grace” was a joy to write …I love the song “Amazing Grace” especially when it is played on the bagpipes…Grace Bay Beach looks absolutely divine and Grace Darling really was a heroine…

Saturday Snippets…25th June 2022…Today’s one-word prompt is “Grace”

Thank you, Clive, for the heads up it was not your iPad it was me having so much fun catching up with my family and friends and I forgot to update the weekly roundup…I hope you are all enjoying the sun I brought with me it is a tad windier here in Derbyshire…my stay has also been extended due to my original flight being cancelled but it means I am here for another month…I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend xx

Saturday Snippets…25th June 2022…Today’s one-word prompt “Grace”

Welcome to Saturday Snippets where my muse directs me to my one-word prompts that are great fun and sometimes there are many different things which have a connection to that prompt…This week my prompt is “Grace”…it is my dearest and best friend’s name it also means smoothness and elegance of movement, courteous goodwill plus bringing honour or credit to (someone or something) by one’s attendance or participation…not forgetting there are also biblical definitions of the word “Grace”

Cotinus “Grace”…Smokebush …

Smoke bushes are shapely rounded shrubs or small trees. There are green and purple-leafed forms, both of which are covered in summer with a smoky haze of soft open flower plumes. Cotinus ‘Grace’ is a purple-leafed smoke bush, bearing a showy display of pink-purple flowers in summer, followed in September and October by an incendiary change of leaf colour to an increasingly brilliant purple-orange-red.

Gracelands…and Elvis Presley belong in the same sentence it was the home of Elvis and is located in Memphis, Tennesee now it is a shrine, a place where Elvis lovers can go to remember their idol…At Graceland, you will find the largest collection of Elvis merchandise in the world – everything from collectables to apparel, accessories, jewellery, music…Elvis’s daughter Lisa Marie Presley retains 100% sole personal ownership of Graceland Mansion itself and its over 13-acre original grounds and her father’s personal effects – meaning costumes, wardrobe, awards, furniture, cars, etc.. She has made the mansion property and her father’s personal effects permanently available for tours…

Amazing Grace…such a beautiful song…I was going to continue with either the Elvis theme or Il Divo...but the beautiful sound of the bagpipes won hands down…

It was no contest really such a beautiful tune played on bagpipes by ” The Royal Scots Dragoons”

Grace Jones..model/actress who starred in James Bond …A view to Kill… a Jamaican model, singer and actress. In 1999, she ranked 82nd on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honoured with a Q Idol Award.

What animal symbolises grace …The Otter…a member of the weasel family, The Otter is found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Though most live in freshwater rivers, lakes, and wetlands, the sea otter and the smaller marine otter are found in the Pacific Ocean.

A group of otters on land is called a romp. A group of otters in the water is called a raft. Otters have webbed feet that make them excellent swimmers…however, they don’t build dams like beavers but do live near water and often take over empty beaver homes.

Grace Kelly…the actress turned princess…Grace Kelly went from Hollywood Royalty to actual Royalty…she married Prince Ranier III of Monaco.

Today, she is remembered as a fashion icon and one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Many of her films, including “Rear Window” and “To Catch a Thief”, are still regarded as classics in the present day.

The Marigold…brilliant and richly coloured marigolds represent warmth and grace…their meaning: Joy, modesty and grace…many gardeners swear that planting marigolds among their vegetables keeps away the pests…Although it hasn’t been proven, many long-time gardeners claim that marigolds control pests like tomato hornworms, cabbage worms, thrips, squash bugs, whiteflies, and others. Do marigolds keep bugs away? The best way to find out is to experiment in your own garden, and you really can’t go wrong. Marigolds are beautiful, and there’s no doubt that they attract a variety of beneficial insects that prey on bad bugs, which is very positive indeed!

The Grace” is also a lovely apricot-orange rose…such a pretty rose and deserving of the name “Grace”

Grace Darling English lighthouse Keeper…Grace Horsley Darling was an English lighthouse keeper’s daughter. Her participation in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1838 brought her national fame…what made this rescue so famous was the fact that the boat wasn’t the type of boat used in a sea rescue…This boat, called a coble, was used by Grace and William Darling to rescue nine survivors from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire. A coble is a type of boat specially designed for working in the shallow waters of northeast England. Originally it would have had a mast as well as oars…it was amazing that this rescue was successful given the weather and the type of boat…

Her extraordinary act of bravery became internationally known, making front-page news and even reaching Queen Victoria. Both Grace and her father were awarded medals for their bravery…

Grace Bay Beach…situated in the Turks & Caicos…is said to have the most stunningly white beach with equally stunning turquoise water…The coastline is absolutely pristine & beautiful.

The three-mile stretch of white sand beaches known as Grace Bay beach was untouched until 1984 when Club Med opened Turquoise, the island’s first all-inclusive resort.

Thank you for joining me today for Saturday Snippets…today I am going to see my mum and my sister I will probably stay for a few days although the weather forecast up that end of the Uk is not promising..but maybe the sunshine will follow me…due to my original flight here being can and having to find another airline with a flight that day to enable me to travel tom the Uk has meant booking a one-way return flight has been a nightmare finally I managed to get one yesterday but the only date available means I have to stay until the end of July…