Tag Archives: Food

Thailand…Down on The farm… Snake Gourd,Cassava…

 

Good morning after a week of rain it is now steaming hot…the upside of a tropical climate is everything is lush and green…

Last week I introduced you to a very local Thia potato this week it is one which is more widely grown and well known…Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sam palang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the world’s largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed, it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next season’s crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

Other uses for the root  are:

  • To make starch for clothing.
  • To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.
  • Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from tapioca flour. Thai pancakes
  • It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.
  • Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

 

Khanom man sam palang is a cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2   cups of grated Cassava
  • 6 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp of mung bean starch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake before serving. If you spread it over the top of the cake then it is lovely toasted before spreading it over the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam…A Thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.

Everything in the garden is coming up roses as the saying goes it looks like we will have fruit and vegetables galore.

Some of the fruit and vegetables I am familiar with as you can get them almost everywhere.

Others are very new to me and I am having to do a little research as sometimes there isn’t an English pronunciation for the Thai word.

This one looks quite creepy I was quite expecting to see a snake so I was going along quite gingerly watching where I trod.

Then it was back to the drawing board to find out a little more about this creepy looking gourd…

I was then on the hunt for some baby ones as those big boys are not for cooking…This is what I discovered…A recipe for…

Snake Gourd Riata.

  • 2 cups of natural yoghurt.
  • 2 small snake gourds diced.

The snake gourd has a naturally occurring waxy white surface so rub some salt on the surface before cooking or using to remove.

  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 2tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 10-15 shallots finely chopped.
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp urad dal powder/paste
  • A handful of coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil as required.

Let’s Cook!

Heat some oil on a medium flame and fry the mustard seeds and urad dal for 20 seconds.

Add green chillies and chopped shallots saute for 2 minutes, add diced snake gourd cook 1-2 minutes and add grated coconut and mix well.

Remove from the heat allow to cool slightly, stir in yoghurt and add salt to taste.

Garnish with coriander and serve.

Here are some more facts about the fascinating Snake gourd.

The snake gourd or Buap nguu, serpent gourd, chichinga or Padwal are some of the other names it is known under.

Native to south-east Asia it is a vine which grows around a tree or trellis and then unfurls its large white frayed flowers. Then fruits which grow straight down towards the ground.

It can grow up to 5 feet in length sometimes a stone is tied to the small gourd to help it grow straight down as it can grow into all sorts of shapes.

Also because of its length, it is used to make the traditional didgeridoo in Australia.

It turns orange when it is fully ripe but this is when it is very bitter so it is usually used in curries and raitas before it ripens fully. When ripened the flesh is sometimes used as a replacement for tomatoes.

The leaves, tendrils and other leafy parts are used as vegetable greens lightly steamed or raw.

It’s strange names and appearance have often caused it to be overlooked for its health benefits. It is proven to be very effective at improving the strength of the body’s immune system, reducing fevers and treating diabetes. Currently there much medical research into other health benefits of the Snake Gourd.

There are so many fruits and vegetables with health benefits which to me is quite amazing…I personally think it should be on the school curriculums and children should be taught about what they are eating and why…maybe that would help curb obesity if kids were more aware. Just my thoughts.

Thank you for reading about my life and discoveries in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

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!

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

 

Life on The farm… Thai Potatoes, Rice and Banana leaf wrapped desserts…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Farang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

SAM_8849

It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the world’s largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

cassava-285033_1920 root

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed, it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next season’s crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

SAM_8852

Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

dessert-1549271_1920 steamed

Khanom man sampalang is a cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

  • 2   cups of grated Cassava
  • 6 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp of mung bean starch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

 

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely when toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees bananas we also have trees with bananas for frying and making Somtam…A Thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.

The rice crop is growing well but it is hard work when it is farmed the traditional way …Weeding has to be done as if you don’t then your crop will not be as bountiful but it is backbreaking we also harvest it the old way and not by machine as again you don’t get as much rice…But it is all done with a smile and it is a real community event…

         Harvest time- Rice- rural Thailand

Sticky rice and banana parcels made by Tik’s mum…we couldn’t get a smile out of her still…But? I was allowed to take photos for my blog…These banana leaf-wrapped parcels are hand made and sold almost everywhere…Always check the filling though as it varies somewhat…

25075402_10155396952754865_661740917_o

Everything is ready to make these lovely sticky rice and banana parcels

Bananas cut into halves, uncooked sticky rice ( Khao niao), sugar pot, banana leaves cut into rectangles and bamboo strips to tie the parcels. These are then cooked in hot water for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

The halved bananas are rolled in the sticky rice..which is uncooked with a little sugar added.

They are then wrapped in the banana leaves and made into a neat little parcel tied together with the bamboo.

The parcels are then stood upright in a pot of hot water and covered with some bamboo and cooked for 2 to 2/12 hours until the rice is cooked.

sticky rice and banana

When ready you have these lovely parcels of sticky rice …These type of sweet snacks are very popular here …

These ones are what we were given yesterday by one of our Thai neighbours…It is one of the things I love about living here as when I go out walking I see chillies, mushrooms, fish or meat drying in the sun…Like these little parcels below the coconut was hand grated from the drupe, the bean curd mixed in a bowl by hand and grandma was sitting in the shade cutting the squares from the banana leaves always a proper family affair…They are then steamed as the ones above were…Such a lovely pace of family life…

The brown you can see through the yellow outer is coconut mixed with tamarind the yellow is a type of bean curd which is slightly chewy…

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm and can see how many things are still made and harvested the traditional way…

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …xx

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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  mewe.com/i/caroltaylor3 

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://carolcooks2.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 creative week ahead xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beat the Blues with food.

mental-health-2211182_1920

Updated from 6 months ago ❤

Is depression on the increase? Is medication the answer? Sometimes.

Depression is not caused by just one factor but can WE help ourselves by eating well?

Can we help control our depression by diet?

A new trial from Deakin University http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/media-releases/articles/world-first-trial-shows-improving-diet-can-treat-major-depression  has shown for the first time that improving diet quality can treat major depression.

Just cutting out sugar, caffeine and drinking more water can have a huge effect on our moods.

Well, I don’t know about you but I love good food…

I love proper food, meals the whole family can eat and not pick at, meals I can knock up quickly for one or for 6 people. Food which is not expensive and I can easily obtain or grow myself even if I only have a window box.

1.Dark, leafy greens:

Spinach

Thai Spinach:

The healthiest greens on the planet are Kale, high in Vitamins,  folate and potassium with Collard greens, Spinach, Broccoli and sprouts following close behind they all promote good brain function.

1

But I don’t like greens.

Just how many times have we heard that and not just from our kids but from some adults also…

Well, let’s introduce them gently and a little sneakily…lol

Mix lightly steamed, thinly sliced collard greens into your mashed potatoes.

Layer your lasagna with spinach which is low in calories and high in vitamins.

Better cooked than raw although great in salads. For the best sprout recipes ever sprouts with garlic, chilli..ha ha snuck that one in…lol

  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/20/our-10-best-brussels-sprouts-recipes  You will never notice you are eating greens.

2.Fish:

Salmon, trout, mackerel, snapper all high in omega 3 oils, they can be grilled, baked or steamed. Packed with protein, vitamins and potassium all healthy for your well-being. As long as you source and buy fish responsibly sourced and not farmed… fish is very good for your health and well-being.

Thai Salmon Trout.

salmon

1

Ingredients:

180 gm Trout or Salmon fillet.( per person)

For Topping:

1 spring Onion finely chopped.

2/3 stems Coriander chopped finely…I use the stem as well.

1 red birds eye chilli finely chopped help promote the release of pleasure-boosting endorphins in the brain.

1 tbsp Fish Sauce.

A cheek of lime.

Mix ingredients together.

Put fish on foil and spoon topping on reserve some topping to add when serving. Seal foil and put in the oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.

Serve with steamed rice, boiled new potatoes or over noodles.

3.Walnuts:

walnuts-1891141_1920

  7 a day may be all it takes to improve your health. The walnut is a little powerhouse packed with Vitamin E, folate, melatonin and omega 3 oils all of which support good brain health.

 

4. Tomatoes

SAM_6908

 

Packed with lycopene and antioxidants that reduce stress and repair damaged brain cells eating a tomato a day is said to reduce the blues by 52%.

My favourite recipe for sun-dried and beautiful tomatoes and here is how you do it yourself….. https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/yesterday-i-was-clever-so-i-wanted-to-change-the-world-today-i-am-wise-so-i-am-changing-myself-rumi/

1

Just words of caution tomatoes are acidic and as with anything moderation is advised because it may cause heartburn in some individuals.

5.Beans:

runner-beans-1835646_1920

 Packed with nutrients copper, folate, magnesium, zinc and calcium.You can use beans in a lovely chilli, salads, add tinned beans to soups and stews. Make a chickpea hummus to dip your veggies in. Beans are a very versatile food  and so healthy for you as this post from the Sally and Carol Cooking from Scratch series  will show you HOW

1

6.Berries: 

cranberries_background_200742

Some of the healthiest food on the planet, juicy, brightly coloured, sweet or sour, fresh or frozen add them to smoothies, yoghurt, a compote on porridge, pancake batters or in salads.

1

These foods are easily available everywhere and will help decrease depression and work alongside prescribed medication.

Does Junk food shrink your brain??  http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/media-releases/articles/does-junk-food-shrink-your-brain

This study thinks it just might!


——————————————————

Salmon, Tomatoes and Spinach photos are from my personal photo collections.

All other images are Pixabay and no attribution is required.

 

Healthy Eating…..Just Pickled!

Oh my, have I been busy pickling this week.?

I have pickled cucumbers ( 2 ways), jalapenos, garlic and cabbage.

Pickled Cucumbers:

SAM_6880

I used 4 cucumbers ( they are short) ones here not like the ones we used to get when in the UK although I have discovered Japanese cucumbers and they are nice, crispy and very similar to the cucumber I know and love.

The cucumbers here are much smaller with larger seeds in the centre and not quite as crispy and flavoursome. In fact, I think I prefer them pickled.

Lets Pickle!

I peeled and sliced( quite thickly) 4 cucumbers.

1 large Onion peeled and sliced.

3 cups of vinegar.

1/4- 1/2 cup of sugar or sweetener of your choice. I only used a 1/4 cup of sugar and some salt to season as required.

1 cup of water.

Whisk vinegar, sugar and water together in a jug. Put alternative slices of cucumber and onion in pre-sterilised jars, then pour the vinegar mix over the cucumber and onion making sure to cover completely.

Screw the lid down tightly and refrigerate they will be ready to eat in 2 days in fact if you leave these too long they get too vinegary. They are really a quick pickle recipe.

If you missed my previous pickled cucumber recipe then here it is 🙂

Pickled Dill cucumbers. 

3 medium cucumber

1 large Onion thinly sliced.

85g sea salt flakes (essential- table salt will render your efforts inedible)

500ml cider vinegar

250g granulated sugar

1 tsp Coriander seeds

2 tsp yellow mustard seed

1 tsp peppercorn

1 tsp ground turmeric

small bunch dill

Wash the cucumbers, split along their length and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into finger-length chunks, then cut into 5mm strips. Mix with the onion and salt in a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.

Next day, drain the juices, rinse the vegetables in cold water and drain well. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a very large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins to let the flavours infuse.

Add the vegetables and bring the pan to a rolling boil over a high heat, stirring now and again. Boil for 1 min, then remove the pan from the heat. Tear in the dill, then pack into sterilised jars making sure that no air bubbles are trapped. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

in jars..pickled

I also had a lovely message today from a lady who had made the recipe and said they were lovely and it was a great recipe and to keep writing …How lovely was that?  It really made my day…

Pickled Garlic:

Pickled Garlic

8-10 garlic bulbs

500 mls white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

90 gm sugar

1 tsp salt…I always use salt mined here locally or Himalayan salt.

1 tsp per jar of either mustard seed or fennel seeds (optional)

2 x 250-300 ml jars with good lids

Separate the bulbs of garlic into cloves and peel.

In a saucepan bring the vinegar, salt and sugar to the boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the garlic cloves to the pickling liquid. Bring it back to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

Transfer the garlic cloves to sterilised jars. Add the mustard or fennel seeds if using. We actually couldn’t decide Fennel or mustard seeds so I normally do some of both they are equal in taste to us. Carefully fill the jars with the hot pickling liquid. Seal.

The garlic will be ready to use in about a week but improves over time.

Pickled jalapenos:

Pickled Jalapenos

This recipe was given to me by a Texan friend and it has carrots in the Jalapenos something I hadn’t thought of. His mum’s recipe and they are the best ones. The carrots taste lovely pickled with the jalapenos. It is our go to recipe and I make them all the time …The current batch has some blow your head of Jalapenos isn’t it funny how they vary in heat just like chillies. But pickled they are oh so scrumptious.

INGREDIENTS:

10 large Jalapenos sliced into rings.

1/2 to 1 carrot sliced into rings.

3/4 cup of water.

3/4 cup of distilled white vinegar.

3 tbsp white sugar.

1 tbsp salt.

1 clove garlic crushed.

1/2 tsp oregano.

METHOD:

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic and oregano in a saucepan over a high heat.Bring to the boil.

Add carrots bring back to boil and lower heat slightly, cook for 5 minutes.Stir in Jalapenos and remove the pan from heat. Alow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Pack carrots and Jalapenos in sterilised jars using tongs. Cover with vinegar mix or put in sterilised storage container and keep in the refrigerator.

Thai Pickled Cabbage ( Pak Dong)

SAM_6824

1 white cabbage. cut or torn into pieces.

8 large spring onions chopped

Coarse Salt.

Method:

Pickled cabbage is very easy to do and there are many variations I have seen it with fresh chillies. It can also be made with Chinese cabbage or Pak Choy..Our preference is just plain old white cabbage and spring onions it is quick, easy and very moreish it can be eaten on its own, stirred into soup or with a curry as an accompaniment. It doesn’t last long here at all as our little granddaughter loves it and just eats it on its own.

To Pickle:

Layer Cabbage, Onions and salt in the dish add a little water . Mix it all together with your hands.

We then leave the dish covered on kitchen top or in the sun for 1 day.

Then drain and lightly rinse and add more salt if required. Cover and leave for 2/3 days or until it reaches your ideal taste. With pickled cabbage, it is purely down to personal taste some like it saltier than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

Then refrigerate and enjoy!

Images:

All images are mine and from my own photo collection.

I do hope you enjoyed this pickle of a post…it reminds me of the song of Peter Piper who picked a peck of pickled peppers..try saying that quickly…lol

Also when I was a little girl…I am not telling how many years ago…My nan used to give me the liquid from the greens when she cooked them…although I will say they massacred them then..no lightly steamed veg then it was cooked for at least an hour and she added vinegar to the green juice…It was such a treat though I loved it!

Can anyone else remember that?

If you enjoy my posts then please share or reblog it makes this whimsical English lady very happy and if you comment I will always reply back..I love comments and making new friends and exchanging recipes and tips….I love it!

So enjoy those pickles..always in moderation of course as vinegar is a fermented food, so if you suffer from gout be careful as too much will aggravate your condition otherwise the vinegar in pickle juice is actually good for the digestive system. “It encourages the growth and healthy balance of good bacteria and flora in your gut”

You didn’t think you were going to get away without a little bit of a Healthy Eating Talk, did you?

I am sure or I know there are lots of other benefits of pickles and a few downsides and all that is for another time and post just enjoy those pickles in moderation as with everything.

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as laughter is the best medicine you know…Happy endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals which in turn make you feel relaxed.

Love you all…..

 

 

 

Egyptian Lamb Flatbreads

Lamb is very expensive here and a treat for us…Monday we had a lovely butterflied shoulder and had some leftovers ..cold lamb is not very nice so decided to make some flat bread..a first time for me and I was really pleased with how they came out..very quick and easy to make and use the leftover lamb. Hence my Egyptian Lamb flatbreads.

Egyptian lamb flat breads (2)

Ingredients:

Flat Bread:

flat-bread-easy-recipe

Flatbreads

  • 1/2 cup water.
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 cups flour.
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder.
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt.

Filling Mix:

  • 300 gm leftover cooked lamb…can use beef, pork or chicken.
  • 1 lemon finely zested.
  • juice half lemon.
  • 2 tsp black pepper.
  • 1 tsp oregano or marjoram.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • I tsp Paprika.
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted.
  • 2 eggs beaten.
  • 1 tsp sea salt….I always use Himalayan salt.
  • 4 Spring onions finely sliced.

Let’s Cook!

To make flatbreads.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add liquids and mix thoroughly…I used my food processor and it took literally 2 mins…. if that and formed a ball. If it is too sticky add little more flour. Divide into 8 pieces. Flatten with the heel of the hand and roll out very thin.

My first attempt at this and I didn’t roll mine out thin enough to start with.

Heat pan and cook 2/3 minutes each side turn over with tongs or fish slice and done… finito..ready to fill…easy peasy.

flat-bread-uncooked-esy-recipe

 

Lamb Filling:

Chop lamb into rough little chunks and pieces. Put in large bowl with lemon zest and squeeze half of the lemon juice into the mix. Add all your spices, the eggs, salt and pepper and most of the spring onions..retain some for garnish. Mix together thoroughly.

Layout flatbreads and cover half with filling, then fold over and press together. You get half-moon shape.

Get 2 large baking trays rub one with Olive oil Lay flatbreads on an oiled tray, lightly rub other tray and pop this on top of flatbreads. Put trays into the preheated hot oven and cook 6-8 minutes. This way the flatbread will get lovely and crispy on top. If you have small trays you may need to do in batches.

Depending on the size of flatbreads cut in two …I left mine whole as I served individually( see picture) and not on a large serving plate but for a party or just because you want to….. serve on one dish with Houmous… Just as a little note it was my young grandson(11) who arranged these on the plate for me…didn’t he do well?

Ehyptian-lamb-flatbreads

.Recipe  for hummus can be found on a previous blog ..published June 18th ..titled ..If you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven’t danced in the rain.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/if-you-think-sunshine-brings-you-happiness-then-you-havent-danced-in-the-rain/

The yoghurt dip was made with some chopped mint, good squeeze lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Scatter over reserved onions, sprinkle with little cumin. Serve with lemon/ lime wedges.

Voila ………… Eat and enjoy!

Natural Foods to treat pain and inflamation.

lady holding veggies

I have this phobia I suppose one might call it…Even my family doctor used to smile and pat my hand and say “Carol, just take them” I am sure sometimes he even wondered why I paid him a visit …..Maybe I just wanted him to advise me on what he thought was wrong with me although I was one of these people who probably only saw my doctor every few years at most.

Now I don’t even go although if I felt really, really very unwell I would go. So I am not advocating never visit a doctor again I am just saying if you have a mild pain or some inflammation there are Natural Foods which can help and indeed many people and even some doctors are advising the use of Natural Foods and Herbs.

I have listed a few everyday foods and seeds with some recipes if you wish to incorporate some of these in your daily diet.

Ginger…..

I love Ginger and grow and use it in a lot of my food and pickled it is beautiful.

Ginger you can grate or dice finely, it is used in fish dishes here or with Scallops it is a lovely thing.

A member of the rhizome family as is Turmeric…Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits.

Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.

It also is an ideal home remedy for muscle and joint problems.

In addition to drinking ginger tea, you can also use it to soak inflamed joints. Ginger is one of the best pain killers in the world having analgesic properties like the popular ibuprofen, only better.

It contains a quartet of active flavour constituents, gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone which are active ingredients to reduce pain. Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body.

All studies by researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced some improvement.

Turmeric……

.

Millions of people take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Many of these same people are now looking to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions naturally.

Awareness and knowledge is increasing and people are now aware of available natural remedies that are possibly safer, or at the very least as effective, easily accessible, and inexpensive.

Despite decades of research and thousands of preclinical studies indicating the therapeutic value of turmeric, many people are still not aware that the common kitchen spice can serve as a valuable alternative for a number of health conditions.

A human study published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine clinically confirms the medicinal value of turmeric. Results show that the turmeric’s curcuminoid extract can reduce inflammation in patients who suffer from knee osteoarthritis.

Turmeric is a plant specifically from ginger family, used for flavouring and colouring in cooking.

The value of taking turmeric seems to be a valid one and yet many people are still not really aware of what a powerful substance it is.

It can be taken in Golden Milk, added to carrot soup, taken as a supplement or extract but as it is not readily absorbed and retained in the body it is advised to take it with black peppercorns which aid its absorption in the body.

Golden Milk Recipe using Turmeric and Virgin Coconut Oil.

Cayenne Pepper……

Cayenne pepper has many health benefits and anti-irritant properties. It can ease stomach upsets, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhoea.

Just a simple blend of:

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of hot red chilli powder and
8oz pulpy orange juice,

Taken with a straw, can provide almost instant relief from a sore throat.

Be sure not to use more than 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for about every 8 ounces of orange juice, as Cayenne pepper is a highly concentrated spicy food powder, and when taken in higher amounts, can aggravate parts of your gastrointestinal tract.

 

A little word of warning although this is a very effective cure for sore throats be aware and careful that you do not use too much cayenne and to protect your stomach, a banana, some rice or potato before drinking will do that if you have a sensitive tummy.

 

Celery/ Celery Seeds……

 

As kids, we had celery with our tea on Sundays with crumpets and shellfish my mum always put it in her stews and now research backs all this up it has found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and its seeds and advises adding it to soups, stews or use as a salt substitute.

To me, it sounds like mum knows best….What do you think about age-old remedies which are making a comeback??

My mum probably didn’t give the benefits a thought, her only thought was that we should get good nourishing home cooked food..nothing was packets then..everything was made from scratch and that is what she taught me and I have taught my children and now my grandchildren…..

There is a lot to say about traditions and passing on knowledge and I think that all this is now making a comeback as people are questioning what is in their food and medicines.

That is good!

Oh! waffling again..sorreee we were on celery were we not?

 

I myself have used celery juice as a brine when making bacon as a substitute and natural brine if you don’t wish to use Salt-petre.

 

Celery juice is also a diuretic and can also help clear toxins that form those painful kidney stones.

 

Cherries…..

Cherries are one of nature’s best sources of health enhancing pigments called anthocyanins which provide powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect is the human body.

Anthocyanocides are particularly effective at keeping blood uric acid in check and a viable remedy for the painful condition of gout.

This lovely smoothie recipe incorporates cherries and leafy greens.

A cup of pitted cherries.

A young coconut..the meat and ½ cup of the coconut juice.

½ an apple or a pear

2 cups of fresh baby spinach (or other leafy greens)

Blitz together and enjoy!

 

Dark, green vegetables…….

Are good sources of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol thiocyanate which protects cells from inflammatory substances which can be produced in response to injury or infection in your body.

Bok Choy is one such green which is used widely in Asian countries. It can be eaten raw in salads, coleslaw or juiced. It can also be used when making fermented vegetables which are sold on every market here and very easy to do at home.

 

Walnuts…..

A valuable source of omega 3 oils walnuts are one little powerhouse.  Its anti-inflammatory properties help lower the risk of chronic inflammation. Just a handful a day or incorporate them in a lovely smoothie or shhh shh chocolate brownies..yum

Or if you want a bit of fit and healthy then look no further than this recipe for a luscious Banana Espresso Smoothie.

 

This is a recipe that my daughter gave me along with a packet of Chia seeds as I can’t always get them here. Bananas we have in spades as they grow in abundance here so my freezer always has frozen bananas ready to make a smoothie.

Ingredients:

1 frozen Banana

1 cup of coconut milk.

2 tbsp oats.

halved walnuts as in the picture or you can use 1 tbsp peanut butter

A shot of espresso.

1 cup of ice

1tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds and honey.

Put all ingredients in your blender and blitz away.

Pour into glass and enjoy!

 

I hope you are enjoying these posts and my dearest wish is that they prompt you…Yes, YOU!

To question and research what you are eating and how eating somethings can improve your health and that of your family.

Until next time….stay safe, laugh a lot and ASK a question x