Tag Archives: blogging

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…

 

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Mayonnaise…The Reality!

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, 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…

This week it’s…Mayonnaise…

Mayonnaise...has a thousand uses…as a sandwich spread or dipping sauce for raw veggies.it can be added to Sriracha? Chopped pickles?  Curry powder? The world is your oyster, prawn cocktail… Old Bay, smoked paprika, any kind of citrus, Dijon mustard, or chopped anchovies…a mayonnaise cake, on your burger…potato salad…the list is endless…

Do you make your own? or do you buy a jar with your weekly shopping?

Commercially made mayo won’t spoil quickly since some ingredients help this product stay edible for weeks…not so a homemade mayo but at least you control the sugar and salt content…

The shelf life of unopened ready-made mayo is quite long, often more than a year, since it contains long-lasting ingredients and preservatives. Always check a best-by date before buying this product, and use it in the period when it retains the best quality.

However, it will even last two to three months past that date in most cases. No one can tell you how long precisely because it depends on its quality and ingredients and seasoning it contains. Often, you can use it at least a month or two past the date…that scares me as to the content of the mayo…does it scare you?

Did you know? Last year, Americans bought approximately 177 million gallons of mayonnaise — enough mayo to fill 268 Olympic size swimming pools or two-thirds of the Empire State Building…Wow, that’s big business…

Although ready-made mayo uses pasteurised eggs those eggs have been through a process…The process to make most mayonnaise begins with the chicken (not the egg) in labs where teams of highly trained geneticists design hens best suited for laying eggs…my alarm bells are now continuously ringing…

That meant that on went my sherlock hat and the research began…it is shocking…our chooks roam free and they help keep the pests down in the vegetable patch it is a continuous circle each plant and animal has their place in providing the food we eat…which for most us is too much…hence the obesity, bad teeth, lifestyle diseases and the increase in cancers…

Back to the mayo...have I encouraged(scared) you into making your own mayo yet?

The chooks…in brief…most egg-laying hens are hatched in hatcheries, not on farms…the eggs will remain in incubator machines for about twenty-one days before hatching the chicks that will eventually lay the eggs that become mayonnaise.

Any pictures you have in your mind’s eye of a hen sitting on her eggs are a far cry from the truth…we have to forage for our farm eggs under bushes although you do get to know the favoured places for egg-laying it is the way my father and his father my grandad collected our eggs…a far cry from this…

Do you still want to pick up that jar of mayo from the shelf?…unless it’s eggless of course…

Because male chicks cannot lay eggs and do not become the chickens we eat, they serve no purpose in modern agriculture. They are therefore killed by a process called maceration…in layman’s terms, they are fed through a high-speed grinder!

Beak trimming,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture, “is a routine husbandry procedure practised in the poultry industry to prevent feather pecking and cannibalism.”…my thoughts if I was confined in such a small place would I not resort to this…?

This well-oiled machine keeps turning and churning out your mayo..in the U.S alone Americans purchased an estimated 1.4 billion pounds of mayo, according to market research company Euromonitor International, coming out to about 4.25 pounds, or just over half a gallon, per person…people spent $2 billion on mayo, more than on any other condiment including ketchup…no wonder its big business and a profitable one for the manufacturers…

I love eggs…but unless I see those hens running free…I don’t trust labels and statements on boxes…it has been proven time and time again that they are just words to appease the buying public… it’s not me being cynical its the stark reality!

I am not and never will be vegan…I believe in a balanced diet it is what and how our bodies are designed however if I cannot source eggs that I know to be from hens who are running free then any mayo I make will be eggless…Does eggless mayo taste the same…I am asking you?… Yes, you …have you tried eggless mayo either from a jar or made it yourself? I would like to know which milk you use and what seasoning you use for the perfect eggless mayo…I mean who doesn’t love mayo with chips?

But either way, you can still make it at home in just a few minutes with lemon juice, an egg yolk, salt, dry mustard, and oil, and it will taste SO GOOD. If you want to know more about the eggs you’re making it from, buy them at a local farmers market where you can ask the person selling them about the chickens they came from…it is always a good move to make friends with your local farmer(if) you have one…

Thank you for joining me today…Do you make your own mayo with egg or egg free?

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

This week in store cupboard basics I will be covering items which are perfect for serving with dishes at the table but also great for adding flavour and bite to our cooking…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so 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 also it seems at the moment from the different news articles I have read and from your comments that there are and there may be more food shortages so it makes sense to be prepared either by batch cooking or cooking just and extra portion and freezing it or buying and extra jar or packet when you do your weekly shop…

I will be posting some recipes soon that you can make from virtually nothing but which are nutritious and filling…

Vinegar…

vinegars bottle-589_640

As a child, I only recall ever having malt vinegar with our fish and chips on our winkles and cockles and used for my mum’s homemade pickles... it was only as we started to travel and taste other cuisines that it opened up the world of vinegar and now I don’t just have malt vinegar but white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, white or red wine vinegar even fruit vinegar…

On the subject of vinegar, it is worth buying a good quality vinegar as it has a longer shelf life. Here in Thailand, there are many kinds of vinegar and most of the labels are in Thai, however, the one word which stood out in my search for the kinds of vinegar I use was artificial…That sent me scuttling home for a chat with Mr Google…I mean those of you who know me expect no less…

What did I discover?…

Artificial vinegar” is acetic acid that is made by a chemical process.

Natural vinegar” is acetic acid that is made in a biological process using the Acetobacter aceti bacteria. If the “natural vinegar” is distilled, it is very difficult to tell the difference between it and the “artificial vinegar.”

No great shakes then it seems but suspicious Annie here believes…Not much…lol… So I will not be buying it…You get what you pay for…

Sauces…

Since living here the world of sauces has opened up for me…I always buy the best I can and read the labels…

Soy Sauce... Often used as a dipping sauce for sushi…

sushi soy-933550_640

It is made from fermented soybeans, soy sauce is salty and adds a rich rounded flavour to Asian style stir-fries, glazes and sauces. One of the best-known soy products it originated in China and has been used in cooking for over 1,000 years.

Traditional soy sauce is made by soaking soybeans in water and roasting and crushing the wheat. Then the soybeans and wheat are mixed with a culturing mould, most commonly Aspergillus, and left for two to three days to develop.

Next, water and salt are added, and the entire mixture is left in a fermenting tank for five to eight months, though some types may age longer.

High-quality soy sauce uses only natural fermentation. These varieties are often labelled “naturally brewed.” The ingredients list will usually only contain water, wheat, soy and salt.

Like the vinegar, we now get to the chemically produced soy sauces …Chemical production is a much faster and cheaper method of making soy sauce. This method is known as acid hydrolysis, and it can produce soy sauce in a few days instead of many months. The taste is also inferior and in Japan soy produced this way cannot be labelled as soy.

In my cooking here I use either soy, light soy, black soy or mushroom soy…I always spend more and buy naturally fermented soy sauces a little goes a long way particularly with the black soy as you use just a tiny dash not even half a tsp per dish.

Tomato Ketchup…

If you see and add for burger or fries it will invariably have ketchup in the picture and I know many people who have tomato ketchup with everything…

jacket potato and ketchup

I keep a small bottle in the fridge ...as it is not something even the grandkids eat now we live here…maligned for the amount of added sugars it contains all I will say is moderate your intake or make your own…Not something I do often as I only use it if I make a seafood sauce or sweet and sour sauce which isn’t often…

Ready-Made Pata Sauces…

Whether you’re serving Bolognese, lasagne, or macaroni cheese, our convenient readymade sauces mean it’s never been easier to create your favourite dish…as a quick fix, they come in handy, especially if you love food that’s full of flavour, you may find yourself adding condiments or sauces to give meals an extra kick. But ready-made sauces can contain a surprising amount of fat, sugar and salt. Over time, consuming too much of these can damage your health.

It’s always worth making your own as you control the sugar, salt and fat..it freezes well and can be cheaper especially if you grow your own tomatoes or you can get a bargain when they are at the end of their season…one batch cook can see you set up for a few months…

Worcestershire Sauce…

A thin brown some say very spicy sauce which brings a piquant flavour to casseroles, stews and soups…

Oyster Sauce…

Oyster sauce describes a number of sauces made by cooking oysters. The most common in modern use is a viscous dark brown condiment made from oyster extracts, sugar, salt and water thickened with corn starch. Some versions may be darkened with caramel, though the high-quality oyster sauce is naturally dark. It is commonly used in Cantonese, Thai, Malay, Vietnamese and Khmer cuisines.

On my daughter-in-law’s advice, I buy a premium Oyster sauce made here in Thailand…It has no added colours, or artificial flavours and is gluten-free.

Fish Sauce…

Is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that has been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years…It is also a sauce I have come to love…Due to its ability to impart a savoury umami flavour to dishes, it has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks. The umami flavour in fish sauce is due to its glutamate content. Soy sauce is regarded by some in the West as a vegetarian alternative to fish sauce though they are very different in flavour.

Fish sauce is not only added to dishes as a seasoning but also used as a base in dipping sauces. for both fish, meat, vegetables and fruit…Our little Lily puts it on her passionfruit…

Curry pastes …

As all the curry pastes I have come across where I live are made locally…For example, Massaman Curry paste is more of a Southern Thai dish so not so many available pastes here…Because I can buy fresh pastes I buy as I need them and also ship them around the world as my friends and family love them so much and are always requesting more…for anyone in the western world if you don’t make your own buy from the Asian stores or online as they are less inclined to use additives…I used to buy Mae Ploy which can be found in most major stores now…

Mustard…

I grew up eating Coleman’s English mustard  …in a ham sandwich, with cold meats, added to a cheese sauce or cheese scones now, of course, there are so many different varieties of mustard…

I generally except for Dijon mustard make my own as mustard if available here is very expensive and for the smallest of pots…

wholegrain mustard 1

I did not realise how easy it was to make and the difference in the taste…How does that look not bad for a beginner…It took a few goes until I got it just right for our tastes but it pretty good and so easy to do just 5 ingredients one of which is water…Homemade Mustard…

Tomato Puree…

Tomato purée is a thick liquid made by cooking and straining tomatoes. The difference between tomato paste, tomato purée, and tomato sauce is consistency; tomato puree has a thicker consistency and a deeper flavour than sauce.

I use it when I am making meat sauces, spag bol, chilli or pizza bases…although I always blitz my own tomatoes for sauces and never buy tinned I always keep a spare tin of puree to get that intensity of flavour to me it is not worth making due to the amount and frequency that I use…Once the can is opened it freezes well.

By now you should have a pretty well-stocked cupboard of store cupboard basics…

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 spices…

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

Thank you, Sally, for repeating my culinary A-Z it is much appreciated and through this series I now thoroughly enjoy a drink of Almond milk as many of the foods I introduced during this series were not always ones I regularly used…Almond milk is now one of my favourite nut milk and nuts…Arrowroot has been a staple in my larder for a few years and guacamole is one of my favourite ways to eat avocado…

Aubergines I have had a love-hate relationship with over the years but gradually I have learnt how to prepare them correctly and how best to use them…and I am building up a collection of recipes which we love using the aubergine …

For a reminder or if you are new to this site and missed this series head over to Smorgasbord to read the full original post by clicking the highlighted link below…xx

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/06/22/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-carol-taylors-culinary-a-z-rewind-almond-milk-arrowroot-aubergines-dip-thai-and-avocado-guacamole/

 

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

Welcome to my kitchen…It’s time for another Chicken Recipe …Last week …Chicken Kabsa a lovely one-pot dish with dried limes…

Chicken is a very versatile protein it has little fat(unless we add it)…a healthy alternative to red meat…  it is indeed 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 BBQ Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Skewers…it’s summertime here and the sun has been shining since I arrived with flip-flops and summer dresses although I have been in need of a cardi at times…it is officially BBQ season here albeit a brief one…I thought I would share my recipe for some lovely Jerk Chicken with Pineapple skewers…not a bad guess when I was scheduling my posts…Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 -4 tsp jerk seasoning…see recipe below.
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp lime juice
  • 4 small chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 1 medium pineapple (peeled and cubed)

Let’s Cook!

In a shallow dish mix together the jerk seasoning, olive oil and lime juice.

Place the cubed chicken breasts in a dish and mix to coat with the marinade. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Thread the chicken and cubed pineapple onto skewers and grill or barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently until thoroughly cooked.

Note: if you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water before using them so they don’t burn during cooking.

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning… I was given this recipe many years ago when we visited Jamaica for our daughter’s wedding… Think Steel Drums on a beach…Beautiful and our guide who was a huge man going by the name of Wolf… Gave us the best tours of the island and some recipes from the lovely food his wife cooked for us one night… a holiday to remember …

Jerk Seasoning:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme (or use 1 teaspoon ground thyme)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1-2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2- 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix together and store in an airtight container.

Of course, if you want to up the heat then just add a hotter chilli powder like habanero or other hot chilli powder.

Thank you for joining me today for another chicken recipe as always I look forward to your comments…xx

Monday Musings…20th June 2022…

Welcome to Monday Musings 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…June has arrived…I have also arrived in the Uk and it was sunny up until Saturday and it’s turned colder now!

I have been in and out this last week so have not spent so much time online…but a few posts have caught my eye one of, Pete’s was on some of the oldest continually inhabited buildings…I love the first one although they were all interesting…Please head over and have a look by clicking the highlighted link below…

https://beetleypete.com/2022/06/14/the-worlds-oldest-continually-inhabited-buldings/

As you know I have grave concern about the damage that is being inflicted on planet earth…this post depicts my feelings and that of many others perfectly… it’s by Robbie Cheadle who like me loves to cook she also bakes some awesome cakes…

I think  Robbie has done a wonderful job depicting “The Scream” by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893…the Lions face mirrors it wonderfully plus her son has written a poem that for one so young shows how climate change and all that is happening in the world day prompted him to write this poem to read the full post please click the highlighted link below.

https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2022/06/11/roberta-writes-thursday-doors-a-day-in-my-kitchen-baking-cakeart-michaelspoem/

Thank you Sally for including links to my posts it is very much appreciated…Please head over to Sally’s as her weekly roundup has something for everyone…Please click the highlighted link below…x

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/06/19/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-weekly-round-up-13th-19th-june-2022-lilies-top-hits-1997-roberta-flack-podcast-poetry-reviews-new-releases-health-and-humour/

Thank you for joining me today for Monday Musings…as always I look forward to your comments…

I am away for a month but have scheduled my posts ahead and apart from adding a few bits to Monday Musings, I am having a break…I will be popping in now and again and if I leave a like and no comment please forgive me but I am enjoying catching up with family and friends…today we did the obligatory Sunday morning visit to a garden centre and I found the perfect thank you present for my son and his partner…a tortoise she is lovely and named Gary…

Steph is over the moon as she has wanted one for a long time just like her childhood tortoise and we were in the right place at the right time so snapped her up…I never knew how much interest there would be in a tortoise everyone is oohing and aahing over her like they do with a newborn babe…