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CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 6…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Aromatic LeavesPart 6.

Why am I looking at aromatic leaves?… as a foodie I am always searching for new recipes…many recipes especially Asian ones make use of aromatic leaves which are different from the regular much-used soft-leafed herbs like coriander and mint etc…

Many leaves that are native to other countries are now finding their way around the world either dried or frozen… I think that is great as we can widen our cooking repertoire and experience other flavours…some of which we may not like and others which may become a staple in our spice collection…

Foraging is an age-old tradition that is very prevalent here and moreso now around the world in recent years as people realise just how beneficial to our health and well-being foraged greens can be…and why waste a natural resource as food shortages hit us harder we may need to rely on foraging more often…

Foraging is also a wonderful way to explore nature, conserve ecosystems, and enrich your diet, but it is vital to know which plants are edible and which plants will send you to the emergency room and always remember to wash them thoroughly… If you are a beginner at foraging like me, it’s best to start foraging under the guidance of an experienced outdoorsman/woman with extensive knowledge of local plant life…I have my DIL and a Thai friend who are both very knowledgeable and if in doubt, let the plant be and raid your garden instead until you have the knowledge to be safe…

This first leaf I again discovered quite by chance…Chayote, (Sechium edule), also called vegetable pear, mirliton, or chocho, is a perennial vine of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), cultivated for its edible fruits…however, the bonus is the leaves are also edible they can be eaten raw but are best suited for cooked dishes by boiling, stir-frying, baking, steaming, and sautéing. They are commonly added to salads, soups, and chop suey. They can also be sautéed or stir-fried as a vegetable side dish or combined with other ingredients and made into dumplings…

The chayote fruit was given to me by the lady I buy my vegetables from she always gives me a little extra something to try and the other day it was one of these Chayote vegetables that I always see but have never tried…belonging to the gourd family the chayote vegetable is also known as mirliton or choko…

On researching the Chanote which is native to Mexico but also grown around Asia O recognised the leaves as ones I have seen on the fresh markets and discovered that they are also edible and popular for adding to stir-fries, sautéed and used in many other ways…

I absolutely love it when I come across something quite by chance…I discovered however the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. The plant’s tubers are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables, while the shoots and leaves are often added to salads and stir-fries, especially in Asia…Wow, who knew… certainly not me and this little gem of info was all down to my vegetable lady giving me a chayote vegetable to try… the rest is history(and) my curious mind.

Scent Leaf…African Basil…when I started this mini-series on aromatic leaves I thought I might get 2 or 3 posts at a push out of the subject before I moved on to roots…and then it got more interesting the more I researched and learnt …I like many of you use basil… it’s used all over Europe to top pizzas and other dishes, to make pesto and spag bol…fresh basil is the one to use…then I discovered Thai basil totally different flavour profile and is equally as delicious as all the basil varieties I have used and cooked with …Thai Basil is the most highly scented of the basil family…

All vary and have their own unique flavour profile and you can see why it is called “scent leaf”…my latest discovery is African Blue Basil…used as a garnish, for making pesto or chimichurri, salad dressings or dips…not only is it known as scent leaf but clove basil and in Hawaii wild basil…

Mitsuba Japanese Parsley…Parsley also comes in a few different varieties and flavour profiles…It looks like flat-leaf parsley, has a clean “green” flavour like parsley, belongs to the same family as parsley and is sometimes called wild Japanese parsley, but mitsuba has its own distinct flavour profile and is often used in Japanese and Chinese cooking.

Mitsuba means “three leaves” in Japanese and refers to the way the leaves grow on tall, skinny stems …Mitsuba is usually added to soups, salads, and stir-fries, and often raw since heat tends to bring out its bitterness (or degrade the flavour altogether). The leaves and stems can be chopped to use fresh, but the roots and seeds of mitsuba are also edible…

Thank you for joining me today my aim is to bring ingredients to you that you may not have used before or heard of but may be available where you live either dried or frozen or maybe some small speciality growers may produce them or they could have been foraged..that’s why it’s good to make friends with your local greengrocer or growers or if there are any local groups who go foraging that you can join it all helps as I find here that by me sharing my excesses or jars of jams or pickles I get gifted back and it all increases my knowledge of produce so it’s win-win all around..it all makes cooking more fun and enjoyable and we should know our veggies and their uses…

I look forward to your comments as always and hope to see you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets…xx

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – Putting your Healthy Eating Plan together Part One #Measurements #Motivation by Sally Cronin

Putting your Eating Plan together Part One #Measurements #Motivation

So far in this series, Sally has covered the basics of how you might have become overweight, and some strategies to put in place to make sure you are successful, however much weight you need to shed. This included making sure you deal with any underlying health issues such as Candida Albicans and getting your willpower in shape. Last week Sally shared the abundance of food that you can eat as get to a healthy weight and now it is time to put those foods together in an eating plan.

Because this is a longer than usual chapter…Sally is posting over two segments this week and next.

Creating Your Own Plan

So now it is your turn.

Weigh yourself.

To read the original post please click the highlighted link below and let’s do this together.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/09/29/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-morbid-obesity-putting-your-eating-plan-together-part-one-measurements-motivation-by-sally-cronin/

 

CarolCooks2…Today is the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste…

Around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU every year, with more than half coming from households. Changing the way we shop, cook and plan our meals can really make a difference to prevent the waste of food, money and resources.

Worldwide the figures are even scarier…Do you know what upsets and scares me more?

828 million people.

Around the world, more than enough food is produced to feed the global population—but as many as 828 million people still go hungry. After steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise, affecting nearly 10% per cent of people globally…

I am not a mathematician. but I don’t think I need to be…we must do more…we can do more…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘H’ is for Honey, Hamburgers, Hummus, Herbs, Haggis and Hoisin Sauce

 

Sally from Smorgasbord Magazine is rewinding my first A-Z and today it is the letter H…my thoughts turn immediately to honey one of my favourite sweeteners and fresh from the comb it is a wi=onderful thing…Thank you, Sally it is a treat for me to recap on this A-Z as I hope it is to everyone else…

The choices on what to showcase were many and I had quite a hard time deciding which ones to feature. Otherwise, you could be looking at something akin to War and Peace and we all want peace in our kitchens don’t we?

Honey: also known as the… Nectar of the Gods.

Where do I get my honey? Well, my first bottle, I was sitting on the beach with my sundowner, fending off the ever-present sellers of touristy bits and bobs, when a man appeared carrying a very heavy-looking bucket. What did he have? Well, I had to look and what a surprise, it was fresh, very fresh honeycomb, and he strained the most glorious bottle of fresh honey. I just had to purchase it, the taste was so fresh and very slightly scented, amazing and such a beautiful golden colour. Enjoy!

Now I have moved to the North of Thailand I get my honey straight from the comb, I am so lucky and I know that and it is beautiful.

I always take a little apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey in hot water first thing in the morning, on an empty tummy. I have been taking it for a couple of years. It is said to fight off joint inflammation and I don’t suffer from joint pain or anything.

Honey mixed with Dijon mustard makes a lovely glaze for BBQ meats…Honey’s uses are many to read more on honey and the other foods beginning with H…Please click the highlighted link below to read the original post…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/09/28/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-carol-taylors-culinary-a-z-rewind-h-is-for-honey-hamburgers-hummus-herbs-haggis-and-hoisin-sauce/

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Mushroom Lasagne…

 

Good morning and welcome to my kitchen where all my recipes are cooked by me and tried and tested on my family…Trust me they are the harshest of critics…Not only have I reduced the amount of meat I eat I am trying to introduce more meat-free dishes into my family’s diet…plus many of my readers and friends are either vegetarian or vegan and I respect other people’s views and observances of their chosen diet…

Also, I promised the lovely Trish who writes under the pen name of Alex Craigie that I would come up with some vegetable-based dishes for her…Hence I have decided that every other week there will be a vegetable-based dish all tried and tested in my kitchen…

Today’s vegetarian recipe is Mushroom Lasagne…

This lasagne recipe is one my son made when I was over in the UK…he asked me if I looked garlic as it is a 40-clove garlic lasagne…it has 4 roasted cloves of garlic, layered with mushrooms and a creamy cheese sauce…it is decadent and definitely, a treat not recommended to eat or serve if you are going on a hot date …

Ingredients:

  • 4 Bulbs of Garlic
  • 4 Shallots
  • 1.5kg Mushrooms
  • 150g Parmesan
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 4 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 800ml Milk
  • 250g Mozzarella
  • 4 Sprigs of Sage
  • Small Handful of Parsley
  • 200g Fresh Lasagne Sheets
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Let’s Cook!

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Chop the ends off your bulbs of garlic and your shallots. Chop the shallots in half and drizzle them liberally with oil. Wrap your bulbs of garlic tightly in foil and roast for 1 hour.

Garlic and banana shallots

Grate the parmesan.

Melt 4 tbsp of butter in a pot and then whisk in the flour. Slowly drizzle in the milk to form a thick sauce. Add in the mozzarella and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Finely chop the sage and parsley.

Roughly chop up the mushrooms and add them to a large pot with the remaining butter and 1 tsp of salt. Sauté for 15 mins until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the shallots and garlic are roasted, pop them in a blender with 200ml of water and ¼ of the mushroom mix and 2 tbsp of the bechamel sauce. Blend until very smooth, there should be no fibrous bits, add more water if necessary.

Add the garlic liquid to the mushrooms and cook on a low heat to make a thick sauce.

Mix in the sage and parsley.

Layer a lasagne dish first with a thin layer of mushrooms, then a thin layer of béchamel and then the lasagne sheets. Repeat with thin layers of the filling, ending on a layer of béchamel. Finish with the parmesan.

Pop into the oven for 30 mins, allow to rest for 15 mins and then serve.

Thank you for joining me today this is a lovely meat-free lasagne very rich and creamy…and so very delicious…a lovely dish for a dinner party or a buffet or just because…

Monday Musings…26th September 2022…

Welcome to Monday Musings…Monday Musings is where normally I share some things that have thrilled me, made me think or smile or even have a mini-rant but generally it is my happy place and I hope yours…today there is a little about climate change as I think it seems to have taken a backward step over the last few years especially with Covid and waste due to more take out food…September is also the national mushroom month in both the US and the UK…we love mushrooms cooked in many ways and my vegetarian dish on Tuesday will be a delicious mushroom one and my dedicated meat eaters here didn’t even bat an eyelid about the lack of meat…

B Corps…not something I have heard of before I read about it here...I am hoping that it is far more stringent than previous attempts to clean up the industry…I am forever the sceptic…a prime example is “Fair Trade”

circular recycling the world and a green leaf

If you are looking to make your lifestyle more planet friendly there can be an enormous amount of information to trawl through…plus also certifications…while eco-labels offer positive steps none of them goes the whole hog and can hand on heart tell you that a company /business is both ethical and sustainable…this system has a rigid process and has 5 key objectives brands have to meet…governance, workers, community, customers, plus the environment…

Food and drink brands are proving enthusiastic adopters of the scheme, which balances profit with purpose…of course, I have googled it and the criteria does seem stringent and not easy to whizz through an application…I have found a link to UK Certification also…

Becky whose blog is Platform Number 4 is an avid supporter of green living and the environment…in this post, Becky is highlighting frontline communities in need of support. The climate crisis is on full display this week with hurricanes and typhoon-related storms causing mass destruction…Please help, if you can…

https://platformnumber4.com/2022/09/19/climate-movement-monday-in-support-of-puerto-rico-western-alaska-other-frontline-communities-tracy-abell/

After breaking havoc in Puerta Rico…Hurricane Fiona is still on the rampage…

This video shows the extent of the damage  Hurricane Fiona has left in her wake…

So many people with homes gone, no electricity or drinking water…

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments x