Tag Archives: Cinnamon

Christmas Recipes…Home Cured Ham & Bacon…

Christmas Ham and Bacon (2)

I have home cured my own ham/ bacon for a long time now…

Those of you who know me are well aware of my aversion to anything processed and ham/ bacon is no exception to that rule. The ham you purchase from the shops is just slimy, and not nice at all….The bacon of doubtful origins at best especially where I live now…In the Uk you could get some lovely home cured kinds of bacon and hams not so here or if there is I have not found them….I have also been experimenting with various different ways of curing bacon and ham which may be more healthy…

Bacon contains nitrates which some people have an aversion to using or it causes headaches and other adverse symptoms.

Today I am using celery juice..just put the celery into the juicer and out the other side and viola this lovely vibrant green juice.

Now celery also contains nitrates but they are naturally occurring nitrates although for some people it may still cause headaches but if your aversion is to chemicals only then celery may be a better way to cure your bacon.

I used 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.

For every Kilo of Pork use I used:

  • 2 parts rock salt to 1 part sugar.
  • 4 cloves garlic.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A bunch of Lemon Thyme.
  • 20/30 Mustard Seeds,
  • 12 Pepper Corns,
  • Celery Juice as required to make the mix damp.

Lets Cook!

Finely slice bay Leaves and lightly crush with other spices in Pestle & Mortar.

Combine with Sugar and Salt and mix with liberal amounts of celery juice until damp.

Rub into the Pork.

Belly pork bacon Naturallly cured

Place Pork in a sealed container or bag ( I used a brining bag). Turn halfway through the week. That is why I like using the brining bags as it is much easier to turn the pork belly over.

Store in the fridge for 5 Days.

After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.

Cook in the oven @ 100 C for 2 hours. Cool and slice.

Home cured belly Streaky bacon

It also looks lovely and pink ( no grey) which means the natural nitrates in the celery juice had worked their magic.

All I need now is a home-made smoker and some lovely flavoured woods. Maybe use some maple syrup, honey, someone suggested coffee..some nice tea springs to my mind so many options…A different blend of herbs or cut of meat…

Have you made your own bacon and if you did what did you use?

Now the tester…How will it taste?

Home cured Bacon frying

Naturally cured with celery juice

It smells like bacon, looks like bacon and made a lovely sandwich….  Most households have some who love thick bacon and some who like thinner bacon the beauty of making your own bacon is everyone can have their bacon sliced to their own requirements …How cool is that?

If you start experimenting now you can have some lovely home-cured bacon for Christmas or as a lovely present for someone you love …

My next two ham recipes are using Salt Petre I made the conscious decision that for the amount used and the dilution per litre of liquid that as the body can cope and disperse with the nitrate I would use that rather than getting botulism which the body generally doesn’t cope with. Also for the number of times, I make ham we are not eating it day in day out week after week the risk is minimal and considering the number of chemicals which are in foods by cooking my own food from scratch I have control. That is my decision. It is also extremely likely if you buy your ham ready to cook that nitrates have been used in the curing process I believe I use far less than any ham I buy ready to cook.

Christmas Ham Recipe.

A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.

Suitable plastic( not metal) container to brine meat in.

Ingredients for the Rub:

  • 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre) See note at the end of the post 
  • Ingredients for Brine:
  • 5 litres water
  • 900 gm salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch.

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave the liquid to cool and save in a cold place. I put it in the fridge.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham somewhere cold. If you have  a larder or cold store that is great I keep mine in the fridge

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.

IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.

Warning: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing. Clever clogs here didn’t the first time and I had a skin reaction all my own fault.

When the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, a star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

Ham- cloves- home cooked

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves

I have also once it has finished cooking scored the fat and studded with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

My third way of making ham which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg. It is also much quicker to brine than a whole leg and only takes between 4-6 days depending on the size of your meat and how salty you like your ham.

I used 2 kilos of Pork Loin.

Ingredients for Rub:

  • 2 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre)

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 2 1/2  litres water
  • 450 gm salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter.

Mix the ingredients for the rub together and rub over the pork loin.

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham cold.

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 4-6 days.

Tip: The first time I used loin I left it for 4 days the second time I left it for 5 days which suited our taste… It is always wise to do a test run I think as personal tastes vary.

If I am making crackling ham I buy pork with the skin on and score the fat….when I get to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked I covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat put it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…Awesome!

Ham- crackling-home cooked-sliced-platter

Home cooked ham and crackling

Most of the time I but my pork loin without the fat…When curing ham or bacon the meat must be fresh and not frozen.

I hope you are enjoying my Christmas recipes please let me know in comments and also what are your favourite maybe you cook something I haven’t tried or heard of…Please let me know…

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week xx

 

 

Christmas Recipes…Spiced Red Cabbage.

christmas-1695531_1920

Red cabbage..our Christmas dinner would not be the same without it…I have been making this …Well, it seems like forever but it must be at least for the last 35 years so it is a well, tried and tested recipe and one which we absolutely love. The recipe was originally given to me by a very dear friend whom sadly is no longer with us..but every time we have this dish we remember you with much love Pauline…

The recipe has German origins which is where Pauline’s husband came from.

Cooked with Apples, red onion or shallots, some spices, balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm..try a glassful…lol..

It is a lovely accompaniment to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two before eating…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner without it…we love it.

Spicy Red Cabbage.

Spicy Red Cabbage

Ingredients:

  • One medium-size Red Cabbage.
  • One medium to large Red Onion Or about 8 shallots…
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic
  • One large Bramley Apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
  • A half to whole glass red wine.
  • Salt and Pepper to season.
  • 1-2 tsp Cinnamon or mixed spice.
  • Cinnamon Stick ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

Chop cabbage, Onions, garlic and Apple.

Cook Onions and garlic in butter or olive oil until onions are soft.

Add chopped cabbage and apple, half of the balsamic and half of wine.

Season and add spices.

Cook for at least 2 hours( I cook mine for 3 generally) and add more wine and balsamic to taste.If you think it is a bit dry then add a little water.

Tip: If like me Bramley apples are unavailable where you live then it’s trial and error.  I tried green apples and it was ok but this week I used 4 dessert apples and it was the best, the same with seasoning and spices its personal taste so play with it and adjust to your taste which is what I do with all my cooking ….and especially now I live here it has taught me a totally new way of cooking, I was very recipe and measurement driven. Now I just look inside the fridge or freezer and cook with what I have because it is about taste, taste and taste again… or it could be just certain ingredients are unavailable here…….the only time I now measure is when I make pastry or cakes and that does have to be more precise but any other dishes then I play with ingredients and I have much more fun when I am cooking.

This dish can be made at least a week in advance if you are keeping it in the fridge or longer if you are freezing it.

To serve just gently reheat and check the seasoning…

I hope you are enjoying these daily Christmas Recipes please share them with your friends as they may also love them…

Last minute shopping to do then pop over to my other blog Orienthailiving for some different ideas for a present for that special someone…A taste of the Orient… and as an added little bonus if you sign up for the newsletter then I have a Free PDF on how to make your own Thai curry pastes…Especially for you!

 

Hannah’s Challah French Toast

I just fancy some eggy bread and found this recipe…I have some blueberries so into the kitchen I go …

EsmeSalon

Hannah's Challah French Toast

Start or end your day with French toast made with rich homemade challah.

View original post 183 more words

Alcoholic Hot Chocolate.

On a cold Winters Day or just because…..This recipe will warm you right down to your toes. I am also continuing with my theme for the week….The letter A.

 

To serve 2 people:

2 cups of milk.

30z of best quality chocolate..either bittersweet or semi-sweet.

1 cinnamon stick.

2-star anise.

2tsp of honey or Tate and Lyle’s Golden syrup.

1 tsp brown sugar.

1 tsp vanilla extract.

2tbsp or as you like it of spiced rum or dark rum.

Let’s Cook!

Put the milk in a saucepan with the chocolate broken into pieces, cinnamon stick, honey and sugar and heat very gently until the chocolate has melted.

Add the vanilla extract and using a small hand whisk start whisking, add 1 tbsp of the rum( still whisking) stop long enough to TASTE and add more rum as required for your taste.

Still whisking, add some more sugar if required.

Take out the cinnamon stick and star anise, pour hot chocolate into 2 cappuccino cups or caffe latte cups and Enjoy!

Image: Pixabay

If you are making this for someone who is tee-total or a kiddie then omit the rum and add some marshmallows or add marshmallows anyway….Why not? Spoil yourself.

Enjoy!

Chicken Handi/Murgh

Curries are one of our favorite dishes either a lovely fragrant Thai curry or an Indian/Indonesian Curry…we love all cuisines. I always grind my own spices and make enough for a couple of curries and I always use fresh ginger and garlic although you can use ready made pastes.So again tweak your recipes to suit you and your taste as I believe that is what cooking is about..no hard and fast rules …just put love and taste into your dishes and all will be well.

For my Garam Masala mix, I grind the following ingredients together: Any mix I don’t use I store in a small pot for next time.

3tsp cumin seeds.

3 tsp coriander seeds.

1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns.

4 cloves.

1 piece of cinnamon stick.

3 brown cardamom.

2 tsp fennel seeds.

1-star anise.2 dry red chillies.

Ingredients for Curry:

4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes.

3 large tomatoes skinned and diced.

2 medium onions chopped roughly.

4tbsp Natural Yoghurt.

1 tsp turmeric powder.

1 tsp red chilli powder.

Salt to taste.

3-4 tbsp oil/ghee

2-3 tsp of prepared garam masala spices.

Fresh, chopped coriander for garnish…I also add some into my curry whilst cooking it.

Let’s Cook!

Put cubed chicken in large bowl and add yoghurt and masala spices. Leave to one side.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add chopped onions cook until soft about 4-5 mins..take care not to burn, add garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2 mins, Then add turmeric chilli powder and salt cook for a further 1-2 mins.

Add chicken and stir to combine.

Add tomatoes and stir bring to a soft boil and turn to simmer. Add some coriander (my choice)

Cook for a further 45 minutes until sauce has slightly reduced and thickened a little.

This is a lovely family curry…not too hot but flavoursome.

Serve with Rice, mango chutney,

and Nan bread. Or other condiments of your choice.

My recipe for Mango Chutney

Ingredients:

4 Green under ripe Mangoes.

3cm Fresh ginger finely diced.

3 cloves garlic finely diced.

500 gm sugar.

1tsp salt.

1/2 tsp dried chilli.

1tsp cumin seeds.

2 cardamom plus 4 cardamom seeds.

7cm cinnamon stick.

5 whole cloves.

250 ml vinegar I use Apple cider but have used white vinegar and malt.

5 black peppercorns crushed.

Method:

Peel mangoes and cut into small strips.

Place mangoes in large pot. Crush diced ginger and garlic in pestle and mortar and stir into mangoes.SAM_7105 SAM_7107 SAM_7108 SAM_7109

Stir in sugar,salt,chilli,cumin,cardamom,cinnamon and cloves.Stir to blend. Cover and leave overnight at room temp. N.B. We are prone to ants here so put water into a shallow tray and put bowl in centre the ants won’t swim the moat..ha ha

Next day place mangoes in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.Cook stirring occasionally until the mix starts to thicken about 30-45 mins.Stir in vinegar and crushed peppercorns and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Put into warm sterilised jars. Once cooled I keep in the fridge where if you live in cooler climes a cool larder will be fine. This makes 3 medium-sized jars.SAM_7128     Enjoy !  It goes well with my Indian curry recipes.

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoy!

If you did please share as sharing is caring 🙂

 

The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you are in the bathroom!

..and  is that just the truth?  Your mobile goes or someone has something so urgent that they talk  through the door at you…..

Goodbye?  Did you guess right? It was Cherokee!   How many of you got that one?

I have decided that as I am learning Thai I am going to try to speak it all the time where I can , especially at home and then my grandson or daughter in law can correct me. Well that is the plan…

This week it’s Red Cabbage.

Cooked with Apples,red onion or shallots,some spices,balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm..try a glassful…lol..

It is a lovely accompaniment  to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner without it…we love it.SAM_6215

Ingredients:

One medium size Red Cabbage.

One medium to large Red Onion Or about 8 shallots..

2/3 cloves of garlic

One large Bramley Apple.

2 tblspns Balsamic Vinegar.

A half to whole glass red wine.

Salt and Pepper to season.

1 tsp Cinnamon or mixed spice.

Chop cabbage, Onions,garlic and Apple.

Cook Onions and garlic in butter or olive oil until onions are soft.

Add chopped cabbage and Apple,Half balsamic and half of wine.

Season and add spices.

Cook for at least 2 hours( I cook mine for 3 generally) and add more wine and balsamic to taste.If you think it is a bit dry then add a little water.

Tip: If like me Bramleys are unavailable where you live then it’s trial and error.  I tried green apples and it was ok but this week I used 4 desert apples and it was the best. the same with seasoning and spices its personal taste so play with it and adjust to your taste which is what I do with all my cooking ….and especially now I live here it has taught me a totally new way of cooking, I was very recipe and measurement led. Now I just look inside the fridge  or freezer and cook with what I have because it is about taste, taste and taste again… or  it could be just certain ingredients are unavailable here…….the only time I now measure is when I make pastry or cake and that does have to be more precise but any other dishes then I play with ingredients and I have much more fun when I am cooking.

Phew ! Thai lesson over and my brain is mush….why?  I am asking myself…at my age…..cos I am stubborn, single-minded and believe  that as I live here that I should at least try to learn the lingo……really Caz…..mmmm yep…ok…….go on then…until next time …oh and I have homework…are you sure?….it will be a doddle…….oh yeh…just saying………. images1EU08Q0GIt’s that mad lady in the pink frock…..

 

Bottle Tops, and more bottle tops together with the cable reel I have recycled will transform into a lovely table for my Sala…….SAM_5501 …and a lovelier place so calm and peaceful to have my early morning cuppa while I wake up and join the living I couldn’t ask for ….. what more can I ask?…… after that it will be a television stand out of a smaller cable reel so lots to do and I will be posting pics …….First things  first, though and It’s time to put up the Christmas decorations……… although as hard as I try  they never look quite as good when it’s sunny…. and that’s when I miss home …….but hey ho…I do hate being cold…can’t have it all….

Coconuts grow in abundance here and I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that Coconut oil has been shown to have a multitude of health benefits, inside the body and out! I am pondering all this as I sip my ice-cold glass of Coconut juice. When we pick young and fresh the flesh is soft and my young granddaughter loves to scoop it out with a spoon and eats like she would an ice cream. A much better snack than all this processed sweet stuff.

Did you know that Coconut oil unlike unsaturated fat….. which reacts with oxygen during high heat cooking and forms toxic byproducts….goes rancid…. is a far better option when cooking at high heat. It is  more stable and doesn’t  react with oxygen as easily. So everything we have always been taught about Butter and Coconut oils and the like is incorrect and they are proving to actually be better for our health. As I learn more about the healthy benefits of Coconut oil I will happily  share it with you.

 

It’s  Fathers Day today here in Thailand.Long Live The King

Long Live The King.

See you next time  Sampai Jumpa.