Tag Archives: garlic

Fruity Friday…The humble Fig

The Fig…You can get it dried almost anywhere in the world and fresh and luscious from September through to autumn.

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There is nought like the taste of fresh figs and dried they are different but sweet, with a chewy flesh and crunchy edible seeds.

Figs start off as an enclosed inverted flower. The shape of their flower inhibits them from relying on bees or wind to spread their pollen in the same way other flowers can. Instead, figs must rely on the help of pollinator wasps to reproduce.

Nearing the end of her life, a female wasp will crawl through the tiny opening of the inverted fig flower to lay her eggs. She will break off her antennas and wings in the process, dying shortly afterwards.

The wasp’s body is then digested by an enzyme within the fig, while her eggs prepare to hatch. Once they do, male larvae mate with female larvae, which then crawl out of the fig, with pollen attached to their bodies, to continue both species lifecycle.

This is where some controversy creeps in...Some followers of veganism profess that as figs are a product of a wasps death then this fruit should not be considered vegan…however common sense prevails in most case and it is seen as a symbiotic relationship which allows both species to survive.

Figs are sweet with a chewy flesh, smooth skin and crunchy edible seeds. They are also one of the only fruits to ripen on the tree.

Did you know? Fig puree can replace fat/sugar in baked goods? Well neither did I until fairly recently a fig puree can be used as a sugar and fat substitution.

Just combine 8 ounces of fresh figs and 1/4 -1/3 cup of water in a blender; puree until smooth. If using dried figs, soak figs in water until softened before pureeing. Use as you would applesauce in baked recipes, as a substitution for both fat and sugar. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig puree, and reduce or eliminate the sugar required.

Or use the puree as a spread over toast and fruits; or thin it out with more water and use as a liquid sweetener for coffee, drinks and in place of honey or maple syrup in your recipes.

The fig is also a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. It has Vitamin A, B1, and B2…. 3 figs have  5 gm of fibre..so if you are not careful you could if you eat too many figs end up with the “back door trots”. This is an old English saying just in case you were wondering.

In the Indian sub-continent, it is made into a soothing, calming salve which if applied by a topical application it can provide relief to Venereal Disease.  Although more research needs to be done to prove its effectiveness.

The Spaniards introduced figs to California in the early 16th century. The priests who lived in San Diego at the “Mission” originally planted the figs and the dark purple figs became known as Mission figs.

Native to the Middle East and western Asia the fig tree Ficus Carica is also a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness cultivated since ancient times it is mentioned many times in the bible and probably why many also believe that it was not apples in the garden of Eden but figs which tempted Adam and Eve. Now that is a thought.

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Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1982 introduction of Fig Newtons cookies…I just love fig bars.

Did you know that eating one-half a cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking a half a cup of milk?

Figs also go wonderfully with blue cheese and wrapped in parma ham they are to die for. Just saying…

The Fig like lots of herbs, fruits and vegetables we eat have amazing healing properties and I think we should look at what we have growing naturally in our beautiful world instead of buying all these ready-made processed foods which are not even convenient most of the time and full of nasties…

Here endeth the sermon…

This fig sauce is lovely over duck breasts or chicken.

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Fig Sauce

  • 12  dried black figs with the stems trimmed off.
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh chicken stock
  • 2 sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 sprig rosemary although I will admit to adding a bit more…
  • Salt and pepper to Taste
  • Fresh Figs (optional)

In a small saucepan cook the black figs in the chicken stock for about 10 minutes until soft, remove from the stock and chop finely and return to the stock. Set to one side.

In a small pan melt the butter and add the finely chopped garlic and mushrooms cook for 30 secs don’t allow to burn as garlic it catches quite quickly. Add the brandy and simmer for 1 minute. Add rosemary sprig and fig stock and fresh figs (if using) simmer for 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Just serve over your sliced duck breasts it is a lovely rich sauce and nice for that special occasion.

If fresh figs are in season then they are lovely served with the duck breast…

Enjoy!

Figs are not native to Thailand which is why very rarely I only see ones that are imported and very expensive however it is also said that they can adapt to the Thai climate which means maybe I can plant my own fig tree if I can find one…The search is on xxx

I hope you are enjoying Fruity Fridays don’t forget if you have a fruit you would like me to feature please send me a picture…

Until next time be well and stay safe…

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!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

Eggplant, Garlic,Horseradish and a Mai Tai…

You may think that is a strange combination however there are lots of National Days and months relating to food…There really are…Today is the last day of the National Eat your Fruit and Vegetables Month as well as the last day for the National Eggplant, Garlic and Horseradish Month…It is also National Mai Tai Day today…and why not?

Therefore I am going to share my favourite recipes using the above vegetables and fruit and after that, I will surely need a Mai Tai…Just saying…

Eggplants...A very popular vegetable here which come in all colours shapes and sizes…from tiny pea eggplants to the big purple ones.

They are used as an ingredient in curries, stir-fries, dips, pickled and eaten raw…

One of my favourite ways to eat them is pickled…I love pickles and pickled with cabbage they are very nice…

To Pickle:

Layer Cabbage, Green Onions, eggplants and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands. I use lovely yellow eggplants on this occasion but any of the small eggplants can be used except for the pea eggplants.

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

Pickled cabbage with egg plants

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 or sour more than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

My daughter in law who is Thai doesn’t like it as sour as we do… she doesn’t like the Winegar taste as she puts it… Once it reaches your required taste it is ready to eat.

This recipe is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Garlic…I love garlic and always use far more than any recipe states again garlic is a popular vegetable here which belongs to the onion family and has many proven health benefits. I also think it is the reason why mosi’s don’t bite me…

It is used in curry pastes, curries, stir-fries, dips and sauces, pickled and eaten raw here …Thais eat more raw vegetables than cooked I would say at every meal…This is a good example a small fish called Batu which is like mackerel an oily fish and one Lily loves.

Batu and vegetables

As you can see the plate is made up of far more veggies than fish the dip is made from eggplants which are BBQ’d and then ground with garlic and aromatics like fish sauce, shrimp paste, chillies it varies…

My garlic recipe is a favourite here I always have a jar or three in the fridge and they get dipped in as and when…

Pickled Garlic…

  • 8-10 garlic bulbs
  • 500 ml 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.

pickled garlic

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

Horseradish…a root vegetable known for its taste and odour…I love horseradish as a sauce with beef or as a flavouring it adds that bit of oomph to a dish…I use it with fish, beetroot and in a seafood sauce…It is not a flavour that Thais like too much it is a different heat to chillies a bit like wasabi…

horseradish-3599860_640

It often grows wild in many places and can be brought ready-made as a sauce, grated or as a root which is how I buy it here…This is one of my favourite recipes…

Smoked Trout, Horseradish and Apple.

Ingredients:

  •  8 oz smoked trout with all skin and bones removed.
  •  1 cup sour cream
  •  ¼ cup prepared horseradish
  •  1 clove garlic finely chopped
  •  2 tbsp Olive oil
  •  1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  •  2 tbsp spring onions finely chopped
  •  1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  •  1 dessert apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
  •  A pinch cayenne pepper

Let’s Cook!

In a small bowl whisk the cream, horseradish, garlic, oil, and vinegar together until well blended. Add the spring onions, parsley, salt, and cayenne pepper and mix well.

Gently fold in the apple and the trout…Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with crackers or as crostini.

Enjoy!

Let’s celebrate National Mai Tai Day…

A tropical, fruity rum-based cocktail…which goes down well on a lovely balmy sunny day which at the moment has got up and gone and the heavens have opened…it is now lovely and cool but definitely not the weather to sit outside with a sundowner…

The lovely yellow cocktail is made using star fruit and a Carol Special Mai Tai…

Also known as Carambola it is a lovely fragrant fruit ..Take I star fruit and slice it… add to the glass reserving a slice for decoration…If you have a rounder glass then it is better as you need to muddle the star fruit to release the juice…Squeeze the juice of 1 lime and muddle again…Add a pinch of rock salt and some sugar syrup about a tbsp depending on your taste I probably add a little less then add a measure of vodka yes this Mai Tai uses vodka…gently stir add some ice and stir then top up with soda or sprite. Add more ice or vodka(shhh) if required…

Add a straw and a slice of star fruit to the glass…Enjoy!

That’s it for today…Tomorrow it is the 1st day of National Pickle and picnic Month…It is also National Ginger snap Day…In July there are lots of ice cream days and alcohol days scotch included…and one I hadn’t heard of National Penuche Day…WELL…for a fudge lover I didn’t know this …nice surprise says she licking her lips…Penuche is a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, using no flavourings except for vanilla. Penuche often has a tannish colour, and is lighter than regular fudge. It is formed by the caramelization of brown sugar; thus, its flavour is said to be reminiscent of caramel.

Photo credit: thehoneybunny on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: thehoneybunny on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Yummy is what I have to say…Who would have thunk xxx

Thank you for reading this post I hope you have enjoyed reading about the vegetables that I can get here in Thailand 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.

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!

Be safe and stay well xxx

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – The pungent defenders Onions and Garlic by Sally Cronin

Sally certainly knows her onions…Lots of great info on the benefits of eating your onions and garlic and recipes to make your mouth water and your body healthy…Enjoy!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to  prevent rogue cells in the…

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Beef Bourguignon…

 

christmas Eve Supper

A lovely one-pot Beef Bourguignon which would make a lovely Christmas Eve supper dish it is also really easy to double up if you are having guests just make sure you lengthen the cooking time.

One of the first dishes that I cooked my husband some 40 odd years ago was Beef Bourguignon…He was a man who ate only meat and two vegetables and did not like garlic???

Well..he ate it! .. I didn’t tell him what was in it apart from Beef and Red Wine…

When he asked after saying ” That was really good” and I said Beef, garlic, red wine etc….

But I don’t like garlic

He now eats this dish at every opportunity and asks me to make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Beef…I use good braising steak. Cut into cubes.
  • 3/4 rashers smoked bacon cut in 1/4 pieces.
  • 250gm button mushrooms..small as I use whole.
  • 10-15 small onions/shallots used whole.
  • 3/4 pint good beef stock.
  • Half bottle red wine……..I use a Shiraz.
  • 2/3 bay leaves.
  • 4 large cloves garlic chopped not too fine.
  • 2 tbsp flour for the roux. plus extra flour to coat beef.
  • 2 tbsp  Good Olive Oil.

 

Let’s Cook!

Toss the cubed beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

Heat some oil in large pan over med heat seal cubed beef in batches.

Once all beef is sealed set to one side.

In the same pan add a little drop of oil and cook bacon and garlic until bacon cooked nicely just slightly crispy.

Add Beef and stir in 2 tbsp flour.

Then add beef stock and stir until smooth gravy. It’s like making a roux.

Add Bay leaves and Red wine bring to slow boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 1/2 hrs until meat is tender. Depending on your cut of meat it may take a little longer.

About 30 minutes before the end of cooking add button onions and 15 mins before add button mushrooms.

Taste and adjust seasoning it may need more pepper. Again it is personal taste.

Beef Bourguignon 2

This can be served with mashed potatoes and vegetables or rice and vegetables.

I hope you enjoy!

If you loved this recipe please pin me!

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 weekend xx

 

Thai Pork Noodle Soup…Gaeng Jeud Woon Sen…

Pork-noodle-soup-authentic-recipe

Today I will show you how to make a Pork Stock for this lovely soup…Thai’s make beautiful stocks either chicken( last weeks) or Pork and they are the basis for many of their dishes.

Using the neck pork bones this is a very tasty stock…a basis for soups and stir-fries.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb of Pork Bones
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • The top part of the lemongrass…When I use lemongrass I keep the top and again freeze for stocks. It does not have such a strong lemongrass taste as the white part but you don’t want the stock to have a strong lemongrass taste
  • 2 coriander roots ( I remove the roots from coriander when I use it and keep a small bag of them in the freezer handy for stocks or anything which calls for coriander root.
  • 3 1/2 litres of cold water

Let’s cook!

Wash the pork bones and put in a pan and cover with the water bring slowly to a slow rolling boil any scum will rise to the top. Cook very slowly for an hour and them skim off any scum on top of the water.

Add the aromatics and simmer for about 1 hour.

Strain the stock and throw away the aromatics if the bones have any meat on them pick the bones when they have cooled down and add the meat to stir-fries or as I do give the bones to Saangchai, he loves them.

If not using the stock immediately then store in a portion in zip lock bags…Don’t fill too much and then you can store it flat…easier to thaw out.

Ingredients for Pork Soup.

The ingredients for the soup have no amounts apart from the stock and garlic the reason being that it is down to taste and the amount of soup you are making…Thai food is very much about taste and taste again.

  • 1 litre of Fresh Pork Stock
  • About 150 gm of minced pork.
  • Soy Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • 1 head of garlic, Chopped
  • Napa Cabbage break the leaves into pieces.
  • Glass Noodles soaked in water 10-15 mins and then cut into pieces.
  • White Pepper/Salt

Garnish:

  • Green Onions
  • Coriander
  • Fried garlic plus garlic Oil

Let’s Cook!

Firstly cook the chopped garlic in some oil until it is golden and crispy ..make sure you watch it as it very quickly goes from not quite brown enough to burnt…Once the garlic is cooked remove from the oil and set both the garlic and oil to one side as it is for the garnish.

Slowly bring the pork stock to a simmer and then add the ground pork seasoned with a little soy and white pepper…form into small balls and drop into the stock.

Cook for a couple of minutes and add the cabbage.

Thai-noodle-soup-pork

Cook for a few minutes until the cabbage has wilted and season with white pepper and salt if required. Taste and also add a little more soy sauce and a splash of fish sauce..just be careful as I overdid the soy last time…

Add the soaked noodles and check the seasoning… Put into individual bowls to serve and garnish with spring onions and garlic and if liked add a swirl of the garlic oil.

pork-noodle-soup Enjoy!

This is a lovely noodle soup the kids love it as it is mild in flavour..no chilli and can also be served with a spicy dish as a foil to the heat…For the adults or chilli lovers, you can add a touch of dried chilli…

If you missed the Chicken Noodle recipe then I have added the link here.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/thai-chicken-noodle-soup/

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 that I cook with have 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 for reading I hope you enjoy the soup …Or maybe you have already tried it…Do you love it?? Please let me know in comments xxx

Krapow( grapow) Moo Pork with Basil

 

ingredients for grapow Moo

Krapow Moo is my favourite Thai dish and one which we often have for brunch..we are a two meal a day family. It can be made with Chicken mince but I prefer pork mince. For maximum heat, I always grind my chillies and garlic together in my pestle.

Ingredients: This serves 3/4.

  • 200 gm Pork mince
  • 4 snake beans cut into 1/4 inch slices.If you can’t get the beans pictured then ordinary green beans will be fine.
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-5 Thai chillies
  • Krapow …A big bunch of Thai sweet basil  Leaves picked and as you can see from the photo I use quite a lot.
  • 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black soy.
  • A splash of cooking oil…I use Coconut oil.
  • Good shake of seasoning..not sure if you would get the one I use here but if not just a little pork/chicken seasoning salt.

Peel garlic and cut chillies finely at this point I put in a pestle and mortar as it brings out the flavour. If you don’t eat your food very hot like us then just cut chillies and garlic finely.

Add a splash of oil to a hot wok and add chillies and garlic cook stirring for 1 minute being careful the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the minced pork( chicken) and stir until cooked 3-4 mins.

Add all sauces and stir cooking for 1 minute. Add a little hot water if the sauce is too strong.

grapow moo cooking adding herbs
Then add the green beans and cook 1 min then add Grapow and stir until wilted.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

grapow- krapow-egg-pork

Serve with rice and a fried egg which is traditionally how Thais eat this dish.

herb grapow

N.B.Holy Basil is available now in many Asian stores throughout the world.

Please note I have put for example 1-5 chillies it all depends on how hot you like your food and the same with garlic I love lots of garlic and herbs BUT as I always say start with a litle you can always add and most importantly TASTE AND TASTE again and again while you are cooking trust your palate…

Enjoy!