Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 21st – 27th February 2021 – 1960s Pop Music, Short Stories, Poetry, Blog Stars, Books, Reviews and Funnies — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the weekly round up with posts that you might have missed during the week. I don’t have a great deal to report this week which in many respects is a good thing. We are waiting to hear the government decision regarding lock down today or tomorrow but it looks like it has been […]

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 21st – 27th February 2021 – 1960s Pop Music, Short Stories, Poetry, Blog Stars, Books, Reviews and Funnies — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Saturday Snippets…27th February 2021…

Welcome to Saturday Snippets where I indulge my whimsy and my passions… maybe a tune or two…something which has caught my eye this last week…just anything…I am still waiting for my Easter Egg moulds…shipped yesterday so they said…

There are many people with many different thoughts on homelessness...Homelessness is a huge problem in the world…I say ” There but for the grace of God go I “…These sleep pods are one such good idea…

Many years ago however my Fridays nights were a trip to London on the Chocolate Run...No such pods then…just boxes and it is unbelievable what can be made from a box it still is, however, it isn’t as comfy as my bed or yours I am guessing…

Did you know?

People who live in Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill, Australia, need a little patience when it comes to learning to spell their hometown’s name. But you know what? So do the folks from Lake Chargoggagoggman-chauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Massachusetts and Tweebuffelsmeteen-skootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, South Africa.

None of them has quite as much work to do when jotting down their address as those who live in Taumatawhakatangihanga-koauauotamateaturipukakapikimaung-ahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand, though. At 85 letters long, this is the longest place name in the world.

I bet they don’t have trouble creating pwds which no hacker can hack!

This so funny and for me a pleasure to watch and  read such lovely comments instead of
spiteful ones …Thank you my American readers for taking Prince Harry into your hearts…

The poor old cows take a lot of stick for the methane gas they release into the environment and often it is forgotten how many others also contribute to gases and the greenhouse effect…This plan is not only to cut down on the methane but feed the cows healthier diets then they can graze in peace…

Good News for the cows…

Let’s have some music...it was back in February 1981 that Paul McCartney and Stephie Wonder produced Ebony & Ivory…

There are lots of weird fruit and vegetables around the world …That is what I love about the internet it opens up a world where we can find almost anything…This one was on my doorstep…

Not only are the flowers edible you can cook this edible squash-like gourd and have a Loofah to scrub your back. The plant produces both male and female flowers.loofah-vine-loofah-flower-vine-flowering-vine It is also both a fruit and a vegetable. The male flowers come first followed by the female ones. It flowers all summer long and produces blooms up to 5 inches across…it makes a wonderful screen in your garden and grows very quickly once established. In fact, the fruits grow 1 1/2 inches per day. If you wish to eat them then they must be picked when they are gherkin size or no more than 4 inches in length as once the fibres inside the fruit start to toughen then they can longer be eaten.

They can be sliced finely and added to salad dishes or hot can be used as a substitute for squash or eggplant.

Not only that if you crumble small pieces and add them to soap when you make it then has a pumice stone effect. It can also be  used to scrub pans…

If you are like me and always thought the loofah brush came from the sea…They don’t!

Did you Know?

That Kangeroo words are words that contain their own synonyms?

It’s actually a word that happens to contain its own synonym, with the letters to spell it in the correct order. According  to Dictionary.com, examples include the words “chocolate” (which includes the synonym “cocoa”), “masculine” (“male”), “blossom” (“bloom”), “chicken” (“hen”), “rambunctious” (“raucous”), and “deceased” (“dead”).

That’s all for today thank you for dropping in I hope you enjoyed my whimsy…It would be lovely if you left a comment as I do love to chat…Love Carol xx

 

 

Fruity Friday…# Sapote…Chocolate Pudding Fruit…

Fruity Friday…# Chocolate Pudding Fruit.

Fruity Friday is where I bring you a fruit I have discovered …some I find here and others I have discovered while doing my research and would try myself…Like last weeks fruit the Buddha Hand Fruit a fascinatingly weird but beautiful fruit which I hope to grow myself and one which I will most certainly be looking out for and longing for the day I  have my own fruit…I just love discovering new fruits and vegetables as it opens a whole new world, doesn’t it?

Sapote is a term for a soft, edible fruit…A word that is incorporated into the common names of several unrelated fruit-bearing plants native to Mexico, Central America and northern parts of South America.

Black, Yellow and White…

These three subtropical fruits are delicious, sweet and rare…three fruits that belong to 3 different botanical families but which are similar in that they have to be eaten ripe or to us overripe…in time I am sure they will be marketed worldwide as one of the limitations for transport is the lack of consistency of ripe fruit…

The yellow sapote or egg fruit is one such fruit…Called lamut khamen in the Thai language…which I mentioned in this post way back in January 2020… 

Black Sapote is one of those fruits which needs to be eaten when it looks as if it is past its sell-by date…Quite often I have come across fruits that look shrivelled like the passionfruit and yet inside they are a wonderful spoonful of heaven…Unripe like many fruits BLACK Sapote is unpalatable ripe…but ripe you need to try it…think chocolate mousse…

A quick glance at the fruits and the shape and size reminds me of the Asian persimmon fruits.

 

But there is no relation just a similarity in looks…

Once the Black Sapote starts to ripen it ripens very quickly…which is one of the reasons why it is not a commercial fruit. Native to Mexico it now cultivated in Australia, the Philippines, Florida, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and Cuba…

A much healthier alternative to the real deal( chocolate), lower in fat and containing about four times as much vitamin C as your average orange…

When ripe, the Black Sapote is delicious eaten fresh or used as a chocolate substitute in recipes and milkshakes or simply mixed with yoghurt and lemon juice. In Mexico, the pulp is mashed with orange juice or brandy and served with cream.

If you are lucky enough to come across Black Sapote…then this recipe for:

Chocolate Sapote Cake with Kumquat Orange Marmalade...Looks and sounds delicious…x

I have since discovered that these trees grow well and fruit here as there are some to be found in Pattaya and Chiang Mai…It seems that my mission to find some trees has been a successful one and time to plant some of these rare trees in my garden…

White Sapote will just get a small mention of the three… it is the most cultivated it seems outside of Mexico and is a heavy cropper…if there is no frost then white sapote behaves like an evergreen and keeps its leaves in winter.

The skin of the white sapote does not change when ripened however the skin splits when ripe… the pulp is bright white, very juicy and sweet …some say overly sweet.

I do hope you have enjoyed learning about the sapote fruit as much as I have and if you are lucky enough to have tried this fruit please let us know in comments…I love to chat…Love Carol xx

 

CarolCooks2…Week 2…in my Kitchen……Made from scratch…Fajita Mix…

 

Every Thursday I will show you how easy it is to replicate a processed food in your own kitchen…not only are most recipes easy to replicate but they make far more … are much more cost-effective …Who doesn’t like 3 for the price of one?

I am also really trying to get over the message that we should first and foremost be counting chemicals in our foods, not calories…I was going say count the sugar, salt and fat but we all know how important they are to our health and well being and that we should be aware of government guidelines but it seems the chemicals in our foods ..don’t quite carry the same importance for many…

Many illnesses/diseases are proven to be a direct result of the food and drinks we consume…I would much prefer to change my diet than pop a pill or three… Highly processed foods consumed in excess are known to have consequences for our health and our families health…

I am noticing when doing research the word “likely” crops up very frequently as in “likely safe”…and most times more than once in the same sentence…I don’t like it! It makes me uneasy…

It is also a fallacy that processed foods are too hard or too complicated to make…Many are just a process much like you follow a knitting or crochet pattern you just measure the ingredient and away you go …Yes, my mother and my grandmother taught me much but also much I have learnt myself…Yes, I have and still do have kitchen disasters (ask), my family…they would love to tell you…haha…I’ll do a post on them one day it will astound you…haha…

I love nothing better than seeing my spices all measured out and ready to mix into a beautiful fajita mix or a curry the smell is awesome.

My homemade Fajita mix … was always very popular when we had our restaurant in Phuket.

Since living here in Thailand there are a lot of foodstuffs that I used to buy and can no longer buy as no one stocks them here. Some I get bought over by visitors others I have learnt to substitute with another vegetable or product or make it myself.

I have also been very surprised at…..

1. How easy some things are to make.

2. How little they cost for a larger portion and no nasties.

Hence this Fajita Mix was born...You just measure out your ingredients and mix them together, put them in an airtight container and voila…Done!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Rice Flour/Arrowroot Powder.
  • 2 tbsp Chilli Powder. ( I use dried chillies ground to a powder)
  • 1 tbsp Salt. ( I use Himalayan pink salt or mineral salt which is produced locally)
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika…all the way from Spain
  • 1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder.
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder.
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper.
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder.
  • 1/2tsp Oregano

Let’s Cook!

Mix together and seal in a container. This makes equivalent to 3 packets of Fajita Mix.

It is also very easy to double the quantity it is also very easy to reduce the quantity if you like it spicier increase the Cayenne Pepper.

To keep this mix as natural as possible I dry my own onions and garlic to make them into a powder and buy organic powders where I can if I cannot make them myself.

How easy is that???

For a thickener when making Fajitas I use alternatives to cornflour or wheatflour:

Rice flour:

Rice flour, made from ground rice, contains a high level of nutrients and has many uses in Asian dishes. These include noodles, soups, and desserts. Rice flour has more protein and dietary fibre than cornstarch. It also contains fewer carbohydrates.

It is best to mix rice flour in cold or warm water until it is even before adding it to food. This prevents it from creating lumps.

Or…

 Arrowroot flour

Arrowroot flour from the rootstock of several types of plants in the arrowroot family.

Arrowroot flour is a nutritious substitute for cornstarch because it acts similarly to cornstarch but contains more dietary fibre. Arrowroot flour also contains more calcium than cornstarch. It is naturally gluten-free, making it a good alternative to wheat flour for people with celiac disease or those on gluten-free diets.

Spices: …The bad

Many cheap supermarket spices contain fillers …why? to bulk up the content it’s as simple as that…Profit over health and taste…

Fillers used could be corn starch, sawdust and flour are used as ‘fillers’ in spices and these can be food adulterants depending on the quality or more precisely, the lack of quality. Keep in mind that low-quality spices are used in powdered form but sold at high prices and with smart packaging.

A serious concern raised by FSSAI in its 2018 Guidance Note published on 30-07-2018 pertains to the use of toxic and carcinogenic substances that are used to add ‘colour’ to older stocks of spices. FSSAI’s guidance note cites that methanil yellow colour and lead chromate are used in ‘turmeric’.

Spices…The Good

Whole spices: Whole spices stay fresher longer, and you can grind them yourself in small quantities. These tend to be less expensive, and if you buy in bulk, it’s usually even cheaper. But I check the country of origin and make sure it’s one I know is the best. Check with a very reliable spice shop owner to find the best producers or do your own research for your favourite and most used spices. Then try them yourself to find your “keepers.”

Ground spices: Buy a known brand or one that you have tried before and liked. Do your research as to the shelf life as ground spices have a short shelf life… mark the date opened and pay close attention to the use-by dates.

I have done my research into the best country for spices to come from and what shelf life those spices have…It is time well spent when you taste the difference in your food.

Those larger supermarket spice brands will most likely deliver you a product that may be years away from the field. Large batch production and huge warehouse facilities equal old and stale spices, without much aroma or flavour /strength.

The ground black pepper that is sold by many companies is just the ground dust of the shell of the peppercorn. True quality ground pepper that is ground from the actual berry is noticeably different in appearance as well as the rich, full-bodied and fruity notes associated with true peppercorns.

Garlic powder from China is inconsistent and loaded with fillers to bring up the weight. Stick with local garlic powder made somewhere you trust.

Some spice companies will use old or unusable spices for their spice blends. Only purchase spice seasonings from a trusted supplier, or make your own.

About me and my cooking:

I use natural ingredients wherever possible. I do not use a packet or bottled ready-made mixes. I also do not use a microwave ( for personal) reasons.

I cook as far as it is humanly possible with fresh, homegrown or homemade condiments. I support local farmers as much as I can.

Saying that I am not fanatical and on occasions, I buy a bottle of salad cream…I just don’t buy ready meals or meals in a packet or tin I like to make my own.

To be honest, a lot of foodstuffs which I used to buy are so easy to make, more flavoursome and cheaper and importantly better for your health.

This is why I make many of my own sauces, mixes and condiments …sometimes because I cannot buy it here and to import it costs far more than the ingredients it is also the preservatives I mean why else would something last for years…

I have also discovered TASTE…sometimes it is the taste… I can taste the ingredients and not just an overriding sweetness…I can see how much I can make in volume against the size of a pack I purchase in a store the cost speaks volumes both in my purse and in our health.

 

Enjoy your Fajitas…For me, there is nothing like hearing the sizzle of a dish of Fajitas coming to the table…xx

Thank you for reading this post I hope you enjoy this new series…if you make your own spice mixes and have some tips to share please leave a comment I would love to hear from you…Love Carol x

Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Seven – Anti-Aging and Attitude of Mind by Sally Cronin — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Sixteen years ago I had a series on radio called Turning Back the Clock, which I presented in response to listeners in their 50’s and 60’s looking for rejuvenation and tips on staying young. Like me they were exasperated by the claims of the cosmetic industry that the various ingredients in their products could knock […]

Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Seven – Anti-Aging and Attitude of Mind by Sally Cronin — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The Culinary Alphabet with a little twist…The last in this series…Y and Z…

The end of the line, finished, all done…I bet Pete is heaving a sigh of relief…it’s been fun though, Pete…I am now penning my last post in this series…

Y & Z…a few food terms ending in Y not so many for Z…But I am looking forward to my next challenge it should be interesting and as I said in my weekly round up I will changing it about with some environmental terms…never boring here…it also keeps the old grey matter on its toes…

Anchovy:

Is a small common forage fish…very fishy and salty in taste and they have to be balanced as they could overwhelm all the other flavours in a dish…like Marmite you either love them or have an extreme dislike for them…Filleted, salt-cured and canned in oil to me they are the difference between a good dish and a great dish…

Bignay:

Native to Southeast Asia and northern Australia…its leaves are used to treat snakebites…some other names are bugnay or bignai, Chinese-laurel, Queensland-cherry, salamander-tree, wild cherry, and currant tree …for a tree which can grow as tall as 50 to 100ft it has tiny fruits which are edible, usually eaten raw, cooked and used in jam, jellies and preserves.

The Cherry:

There are around 1,200 varieties of cherries in the world, each with its own unique taste and appearance…with colours ranging from deep purple, bright red and a beautiful peachy hue the cherry is a popular fruit. From North America’s leading commercial sweet cherry and a favourite of many a cherry connoisseur. The Bing cherry is large with an intensely sweet, vibrant flavour. The fruit, when ripe, is firm, juicy and a deep mahogany red.

Of course as with many things we have the worlds most expensive cherry…from Japan

Bok Choy:

Bok choy or Chinese white cabbage is a staple ingredient in Asian dishes. The tender dark green leaves and crisp off-white-coloured stalks provide a nice fresh crunch. The greens have a spinach-like taste with a very mild bitterness…Great for stirfries, steamed as a side dish or pickled.

Borodinsky bread:

Is a Russian dark Rye Bread…rich in flavour as with many traditional breads there are varieties of ingredients depending on regions where recipes are handed down through generations sometimes wholewheat flour is used… there are many tales as to the origins of this bread but not being Russian I would not profess to know the truth from a fairy tale…I just know it is a delicious bread…

The Berry:

Where to start there are so many… Strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry, blackberry, loganberry, blueberry, lingonberry sloe berry’s …my dad used to make gin with them…There are the botanical berry’s which include banana, grapes, tomatoes, eggplants and more…

Carraway:

My nana used love carraway seeds she added them to cakes and bread and buttered cabbage… often as they look so like the cumin seeds it is asked are they the same…No!…Carraway has quite a distinctly earthy, liquorice taste whereas cumin is milder…Carraway is delicious added to buttered cabbage.

Celery:

A marshland plant with a long fibrous stalk tapering into leaves…both the stalks and leaves are eaten raw or cooked…I find green celery quite bitter and much prefer the taste of white stemmed celery…Celery stalks provide a crunchy low-calorie snack and eaten with some hummus or peanut butter is delicious.

Celery and peanut butter, or any other type of nut butter, is a simple snack that will provide you with plenty of fats and protein to keep you satiated. Nut butter is also a great source of fibre, vitamins B, A, and E, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

Chicory:

Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons, or roots, which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and food additive.

Chicons au gratin is a Belgian national dish consisting of braised Belgian endives (aka chicons) wrapped in slices of baked ham and covered with a Mornay sauce and some grated cheese. Steaming hot with a creamy cheesy sauce…Delicious…

It is often used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute due to its resemblance IN colour and aroma to the coffee. The perfect blend of chicory to coffee enhances coffee taste and aroma by imparting a slightly woody and nutty taste to the coffee. Chicory blend coffee is also economical when compared to 100 per cent coffee.

I remember my mother buying Camp Coffee which was a liquid coffee and chicory(chicons) mix…Does anyone else remember that? I also remember her coffee and walnut sponge cake…This recipe for coffee and walnut sponge is from the Camp Coffee Club...

Chutney:

Chutney there is nothing like it with a ploughman’s lunch…which for those who are not familiar with the term it is crusty bread, butter, cheeses and or meat and chutney..it got its name as it was what was lovingly wrapped in cloth and given to the farmworkers for their lunch while working in the fields…Chutney is basically a strong-tasting mixture of fruit, vinegar, sugar, and spices.

Mango Chutney...no curry should be eaten without it…My mother used to make chutneys in the autumn with the last of the tomatoes, apples, onion chutney, garlic chutney, apple chutney, pear chutney is my latest addition to my chutney collection…

Ingredients for Pear Chutney…

  • 200 gm demerara sugar
  • 200 ml Apple cider vinegar
  • 100 ml pear cider
  • 1-star anise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 red onions chopped
  • 10 firm pears peeled and chopped
  • 2 red chillies halved and deseeded
  • 50 gm sultanas

Let’s Pickle!

In a large pan bring the sugar, APV, pear cider, star anise, ground cumin, ginger and red onions to a rolling boil.

Add the chopped pears and bring down to a rolling simmer for about 40 mins or until the pears are just cooked.

Stir in the sultanas and the chillies. Remove from the heat and leave to cool before spooning into sterilised jars.

Pear ChutneyThis is a lovely chutney that goes well with cheese and homemade focaccia…

Clarify:

Clarify is to make something clear or pure…Clarified butter (Ghee) for example or a clarified soup or stock..consomme for example…where the soup is clarified using a raft and then passed through cheesecloth.

Cray:

Cray Fish are aquatic arthropods and very tasty cooked on the BBQ with some garlic butter…

Day Lily:

Daylilies are a popular staple in Asian cuisine and they are used both fresh and dried. Every part of the daylily plant is edible: you can pluck the young shoots, boil the tubers like potatoes, or spruce up your salads with its bright orange petals. But my very favourite part is the flower bud which we steam and eat with a spicy chilli dip…where we lived before in Phuket the security guard used to pick the flowers at dawn and bring them to me they were a favourite of Aston’s grandad who loved to eat them…

Good King Henry:

Also known as poor man’s asparagus…native to much of central and southern Europe many liken the taste to spinach but it needs to be picked young as it becomes bitter as it matures. The leaves, stalks and flower buds are edible. The leaves can be boiled, steamed or eaten raw in salads. The young shoots and stalks can be picked before they go hollow and steamed or boiled, eaten like asparagus, while the flower buds are delicious just sautéed in butter.

Hominy:

Hominy is a food made from kernels of corn that have undergone a special chemical process to make the grain easier for use in cooking and eating. The kernels are soaked in an alkali solution that removes the hull and germ of the corn, causing the grain to puff up to about twice its normal size, giving it the appearance of giant corn. Hominy has become a staple of Mexican cooking, traditionally used in soups, stews, and casseroles.

Pandowdy:

What a lovely name for a rustic fruit pie…Apples, peaches or plums…delicious

Salsify:

Salsify is a root vegetable that has an oyster-like flavour when cooked…a root vegetable that belongs to the dandelion family. The root is similar in appearance to a long, thin parsnip, with creamy white flesh and thick skin. In the same way, like many root vegetables, salsify can be boiled, mashed or used in soups and stews.

Soy:

A species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean, which has numerous uses. Traditional unfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, from which tofu and tofu skin are made. Fermented soy foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, nattō, and tempeh.

The letter Zzzzzzzz…

Blintz:

A popular cigar-shaped pancake filled with cheese or fruit…

Blitz:

To purée or chop (food products) using a food processor or blender. To make a nut roast, you have to blitz the nuts in the food processor before adding the parsley and breadcrumbs.

Chametz:

Chametz includes grains like wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt, which are prohibited if they’ve had contact with water/moisture for longer than 18 minutes, leading to rising or “leavening.” Leavening agents, like yeast and sourdough, are also considered chametz.

N.B…A little add on from Dolly @ KoolKosherKitchen…Chametz is only prohibited during the eight days of Passover, lest your readers think that we don’t eat baked goods during the year….and a note from me I never ever thought Dear Dolly didn’t eat cake…haha…Thank you for the info xx

Fizz:

A “fizz” is a mixed drink variation on the older sours family of the cocktail. Its defining features are acidic juice (such as lemon or lime) and carbonated water.

Ritz:

I’m digging deep here as Ritz is a brand name of crackers lovely with cheese…

Schmalz:

Is rendered (clarified) chicken or goose fat. It is an integral part of traditional Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, where it has been used for centuries in a wide array of dishes, such as chicken soup, latkes, chopped liver, matzah balls, fried chicken or schmaltz herring used either as a  cooking fat, spread, or flavour enhancer.

Varenez:

Made from melted milk by adding cream. Melted milk is baked milk for many hours in the oven. Verenez is nice to add to coffee or tea.

That’s it…THE END…I do hope you have enjoyed this series and I hope you will enjoy what follows next week…Thank you, Pete, for the idea and thank you to everyone else who has stayed with me through this series and left comments and ideas you are all stars…xxx

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