Tag Archives: Ginger

The Culinary Alphabet …The Letter G

Carol Cook!Culinary Alphabet G

This week it is time for my monthly post over at Esme’s Salon where she very kindly lets me loose once a month this month it is the letter G of the culinary alphabet, of course, we have the obvious but I hope there is just even one that you hadn’t heard of there was for me…Which one do you think it was ??

Starting my Culinary journey with two ingredients which I use on almost a daily basis starting with my ginger tea first thing in the morning.

Ginger and Galangal are both used frequently in Thai cuisine and indeed the culinary world. The difference visually is quite apparent Galangal has that lovely pinkish hue when it is freshly dug up.

Ginger is a soft brown colour a comparison could be the peacock and the peahen..in my mind..haha

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Galangal or as it is also known Thai ginger is used in many dishes ..it can only be sliced it does not grate well it is also an integral part of the ingredients in Thai Tom Yum Goon Soup.

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

Both members of the rhizome family..turmeric and cardamon also being relatives of ginger which has a softer taste than the citrusy Galangal.

Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits. Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.

Ginger Beer… my mum used to make it and I have memories of the corks popping out while it was fermenting in her pantry. She used to feed the root and then pass half on to a friend a bit like we pass on our sough dough or kombucha. I keep saying I am going to start a ginger beer plant as I have happy memories and love a drink of ginger beer.

The true Ginger Beer Plant dates back to around the 1700’s and is not actually a plant at all, instead it is a living organism. This organism forms a gelatinous cluster which moves about within its jar naturally, and used correctly can allow you to make a lifetime’s supply of authentic, naturally fizzy alcoholic Ginger Beer that used to be commonplace in most UK households.

Many recipes now use yeast and I have seen some with sultanas in but they are not true ginger beer plants this recipe is my mum’s. Wash and peel the root first and my mum used tap water but not knowing what is in today’s tap water I would suggest filtered water or mineral water.

Dice a tbsp of the freshly cleaned ginger root into small cubes and place this into a sterilized jam jar three-quarters full of filtered or mineral water.

Add two tsp of white sugar.

Cover the top of the jar with some muslin to allow the air to circulate but protect from foreign bodies or insects falling into the jar.

Leave the jar in an exposed place at room temperature, e.g. a kitchen shelf.

Every day for about a week you need to add two tsp of sugar and two tsp of freshly diced and peeled ginger root.

If after one week the mixture is frothy with a pleasant odour it is ready to use. If it is mouldy discard it and start at the beginning again.

I do suspect it may be the water which is a problem on occasions as my mum didn’t often have that problem. 

Garlic…

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Garlic has been used for several thousands of years a common seasoning used by most people it is also hailed as having numerous health benefits.

Garlic one of my most purchased foods and one I use daily it is also lovely pickled… If you coat the cloves with olive oil and roast them in the oven until they are soft they can then be squeezed and made into a dip.

The Koreans heat the heads of garlic for several weeks and the sweet and syrupy result is sold as black garlic.

Now, who doesn’t love garlic bread and I claim to make the best garlic bread… Garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini all made with garlic are just wonderful…

Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic and if used as a substitute for fresh garlic 1/8 tsp is equivalent to approx 1 clove of garlic.

The garlic leaves are used in cooking here and in many parts of Asia… Cut, cleaned and then stir-fried with eggs, fish, meat or vegetables…they are very nice.

Gribiche… a sauce originating in France made with hardboiled eggs and capers but is it a sauce? A vinaigrette, a mayonnaise or a condiment it seems to get labelled around the world of cuisine as any of those and has evolved over the years as many recipes have …I think I much prefer the original.

Guacamole…first developed by the Aztecs it is a popular dish of Mexican origins and also made all over the world now as an appetizer or side to spicy dishes.

 

Ingredients:

  • I avocado
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 finely chopped shallot or green onion…I prefer shallots
  • I  birds eye chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of fresh coriander
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • Lime juice

Let’s Cook!

Peel and roughly chop the avocado stir in the chopped onion, chilli, tomatoes and the coriander. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and a generous squeeze of lime juice.

Cover bowl with cling film and chill before chill before serving.

Goosefat… Make for the best roast potatoes and it also has a high smoke point. It has also been known as that “old white magic” and used for generations in Europe. Once so prized in France only the aristocracy had permission to eat it… milder than duck fat it has a distinct flavour  and adds a quality of any of your dishes  very versatile you can confit, sauté, bake, roast, baste, pan fry, deep fry and stew and is still widely used in French cuisine.

Gratin… Who doesn’t love a cauliflower cheese or other vegetables coated in a cheese sauce? The meaning is a dish topped with lightly browned bread crumbs or cheese.

 

Garam Masala… I make all my own spices and this is no exception easy to make and it means spices rotate quicker so they are always fresher which one reason why I make my own spice mixes and also it is cost effective and they contain no fillers and nasties like sore bought mixes.

Some ask the question is it the same as curry powder? The answer no…Curry powder contains many of the same ingredients, for example, fenugreek and cumin along with other spices however garam masala consists entirely of pungent spices and has a stronger flavourMasala chettinad spice powder

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamon pods green
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 piece of mace.

Let’s Cook!

Dry roast all your spices individually until warm and fragrant. Leave to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder …I have a little coffee grinder which I use to grind my spices and it works really well prior to that I used a pestle and mortar which is hard work but brilliant as an arm toner.

Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months as the spice will start to lose its potency …If you use a lot of gamma masala then just double or treble the quantities.

Green Papaya… One of my favourites and used all the time here to make Som Tam ( Papaya Salad) I also use them to make mango chutney as although I love Thai food I also love Indian food.

Papaya on tree

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/08/18/papaya-salad-one-of-thailands-iconic-dishes/

I hope you have enjoyed this walk through some of the culinary ingredients beginning with G and tune in next month for my culinary journey and the letter  H…, Of course, I can immediately think of a couple of spicy culinary ingredients beginning with H…Can You???

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

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Until next time thank you for reading  have fun, stay safe and be mindful xxx

Fruity Friday’s…Rosella Fruit.

Carol cooks! Rosella Fruit

 

And yes it is Saturday but yesterday was Thai New Year…Songkran and it was hot, wet and very alcoholic…Hic….But today is another day…

Rosella Fruit.

I have only ever seen these dried before not fresh…so something new to try… I just love it when I come across something I have not used or seen before…I get so excited.

I love finding fruit and vegetables which I haven’t come across before and this one caught my eye when shopping …I did have to put out a call on FB as I didn’t know the name or what I could do with it…Luckily one of my Indonesian friends came to the rescue…Once she told me the name I recognised it as having had a tea made from the dried fruits a while ago and loving it.

Rosella grows easily here it loves a tropical climate it is also a very pretty plant the species grown here in Thailand has broader leaves and pink rather than cream flowers and the leaves are used more than the fruits.

In Australia, it is still thought by many to be an exotic plant but has been mentioned in early Australian history and known by many as “Bush Tucker”

Also known by the more recognisable name of Hibiscus it is rich in Vitamin C and when made into a tea is promoted as a cure for colds if taken regularly.

A very nice sugar syrup can also be made for using in cocktails…Just saying!

After some scouring of the internet, I came across a recipe for jam…I only made a small amount as I was not familiar with the fresh fruit or the taste.
Ingredients:

rosella flowers

  • 500 gm Rosella fruit, seedpod separated from the Calyx and Bracts ( cut into small pieces)
  • Approx 2 cups Sugar depending on exact weight of fruit
  • Approx 2-3 cups Water

 

Firstly I soaked the fruits in cold water for about 20 minutes so as to not only clean them but remove any insects.
It was then a case of removing the seed pod from the inside of the fruit…Covering the seed pods with water and cooking them for about 20 minutes.
The seed pods contain naturally produced pectin…I simmered these for about 20 minutes and then removed the pods and disposed of them aka binned them.Remember to keep the cooking water.
I weighed the flowers before cooking them and then I measured exactly half their weight of sugar.

rosella fruit in pan
The Rosella flowers were then added to the cooking water in which the seed pods were cooked and the fruits cooked until they were softened and the liquid starts to turn syrupy which took about 10 minutes I then added the sugar and cooked the fruit until it softened and turned jam-like..
Remove from the heat and put in sterilised jars…

The key to this recipe is to weigh the fruit and do the exact amount of sugar and water.
This makes a very nice fruit preserve and one which I will definitely make again.

N.B. Next time I will cut the fruit into smaller pieces rather than leave them whole.

Now you all know me well and know I can’t resist thinking would it be like if I added some ginger and chilli…very nice as it happens…

Rosella Relish

rosella-fruit-relish

Rosella fruit

 

Ingredients

  • 250 gm Rosella fruit
  • 60 ml sugar
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger grated finely
  • 2 red shallots chopped finely
  • 5 ml red chilli powder/flakes
  • 10 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 375 ml water
  • A pinch of salt

Let’s Cook!
Remove the red portions/calyces & discard the seed pods
Wash & place in a pan along with water, shallots, ginger, sugar, salt and chilli flakes
Bring to a soft rolling boil and cook until the liquid is greatly reduced. This takes approx 25-30 mins.
When the chutney is almost done, add the vinegar and stir well.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly and put in a sterilised glass container.

Lovely as a relish with cold/ hot meats or in a burger… with brie and freshly made bread it is very nice.

Thank you for reading this I do hope you enjoyed it and loved the recipes if you did please feel free to hit the share button……Thank you xxx

 

Connect to Carol( Moi) on my other social media the links are below:

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Healthy Eating…How to lose weight and eat the foods you love…

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Welcome to my Tuesday ( Boot camp) where we have sensible conversations on what we eat and enjoy… Yes, enjoy! Let’s do this!

Just to recap on last week what have you been snacking on tell me???

Oh, and did you enjoy your pancakes ??? I did I had two with lime and a bit of sugar and they were delicious…

What did you think of last weeks post??? Which is just below in case you missed it…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/healthy-eatinghow-to-lose-weight-and-eat-the-foods-you-love/

Did you try any of the snacks or have you got your own go-to snacks??

This week as I know so many of my readers live in colder climes I will give you the recipes for some delicious soups..all healthy, made from scratch and good for you…

This is one of my favourite Thai soups and the first time I have made it. It also brings back memories of a certain lady…Keeleigh who when she visited us could not get enough of this fabulous soup.

You may also notice that it isn’t the bright orange colour of many Tom Yum soups you see or may have had it is because a mix is used and it has colouring in it …If it is this colour it is made from scratch from fresh ingredients no preservatives and colourings.

Tom Yum soup with Prawns

Tom Yum Goon

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres of water
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1-inch chunk of galangal
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 Thai chillies
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 500 gm Prawns
  • 300 grams of oyster mushrooms
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut into quarters.
  • 2 white onions (medium-sized) cut into large chunks.
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of sugar
  • 7 – 10 tablespoons of fish sauce (depending on your taste)
  • Juice of 5 -8 limes.
  • A handful of cilantro.

N.B Next time I will use shallots instead of white onions and I recommend using the lowest amount of limes and fish sauce and Taste! Adjust if necessary as everyone’s taste varies.

Let’s Cook!

The first thing to do is put about 2 litres of water in a large pot to boil.

Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.

Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling-pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1-inch strips or so.

Take about 1 thumb-sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.

Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.

Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.

I used about 10 Thai bird chillies for this recipe, but you can use however many you’d like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you’d still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.

Throw the lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.

Tom Yum Goon 3

You can put the lid on just so it starts to boil which releases the herb flavours quicker.

Now prepare your prawns I remove everything except for the tail…..others put in whole prawns…personal preference.

Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes.

Then add your mushrooms, which you should pre-rinse beforehand.

Cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and onions.

 

Cook for further  6-8 minutes.

Now add prepared prawns and cook for 2-3 mins( if overcooked the prawns will sink to the bottom of the pan. If you get any scum on the surface of soup it’s from the prawns then just skim it off the surface.

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Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

Taste and adjust if necessary.

This delicious soup is now ready to serve.

 

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do and remember to add the smallest amount of fish sauce and lime juice and taste and build on it, taste and build until you get the right level of salty and sour for you 🙂

Thai Rice Soup.

Thai Rice soup

 

This soup is eaten for breakfast, it is given to babies, anyone who is maybe a little unwell or just because they want a comfort food. If you use cooked rice then it will be more like a porridge and how it would be given to babies and also with less seasoning for babies.

If you want a bit more of a substantial soup then add a few prawns and if you are vegetarian just omit the meat and maybe add some pak choi or white cabbage shredded., some tomato…Play with the flavours.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup minced chicken or pork

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 and a half tbsp oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp soy sauce

1 and 1/2 cup of fresh chicken broth

1 cup of steamed rice

1 egg

1 tbsp finely Julienned fresh ginger

1 spring onion finely sliced

1 tbsp coriander chopped

Pinch of white pepper.

Let’s cook!

Heat the oil and add the minced ginger and cook until ginger is golden remove half and set to one side for garnish.

Add the chicken or pork and season with salt and the soy sauce then pour in your chicken broth and the rice. Cook for 3-5 minutes depending on whether you want a soup or more of a porridge.

Turn up the heat and crack the egg in the middle of the rice either sir to combine through the rice or let the egg poach.

Pour into your bowl and top with the garlic, spring onions and ginger sprinkle with a dash of white pepper.

Enjoy!

Two lovely soups ..No calorie counting…I don’t do that… we all have a good idea of what our food contains and whether or not we could eat bowls of it or not…Don’t we???

I eat fairly small portions but if I am still hungry I would have a little more obviously with these soups you don’t eat bread…

I generally never ever feel bloated I eat enough..enough to satisfy my appetite…I don’t count calories..I am old enough to know what is calorie laden and I am not on a diet… It is a lifestyle for me and easy to maintain because …I had my pancakes ..did I not on Shrove Tuesday… I enjoyed them…

That was my treat and no guilt…BUT… I was extra careful the next day and also walked a few extra km.

What I am really saying is MODERATION AND COMMON SENSE…Cheat every day…Who is the loser…It isn’t me…

I do hope this is helping you along with your feeling healthier and eating healthier path… If you have any questions or foods you love and need recipes for ..Ask me…I don’t bite and enjoy my food and my sundowners… But also lose weight or maintain it as now I seem to lose in little bursts…If I feel it needs a kick-start then I up my walking or cut my snacks not that I eat many anyway or will have a soup day.

Until next time eat well but eat sensibly xxx

 

 

Fish Friday… Thai Fish with crispy kale and ginger.

Ok… I know it is Saturday here but some of you are on different timelines to me …so I think I can still sneak this in as Fish Friday…

Beautiful Picture of Steamed Fish 25 rest I think

Doesn’t that look amazing and I had so many requests for the recipe… It is also far easier than it looks and doesn’t it look impressive…

Mainly I can get sea bass/bream or locally caught fish here but this recipe can be adapted to whatever fish you can get regionally where you live like rainbow trout, Tilapia.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 or 2 whole sea bass, sea bream fresh or frozen or fish of your choice.
  • 1 handful fresh coriander
  • 1 handful fresh Thai basil
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8 to 10 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • To garnish julienne very finely a large piece of fresh ginger ( sometimes I also add some garlic.
  • Shredded kale for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Preheat oven to 375 F  or fire up the BBQ…..Here I use a kettle BBQ and cook the fish on a banana leaf.

Stir all sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set to one side.

Place fish on a cutting board and score it by making vertical cuts an inch or more apart along the length of fish from head to tail. Turn fish over and do the same on the other side.

Place fish on a large piece of aluminium foil or banana leaf. Make sure the foil or leaf is big enough to cover and wrap the fish.

Drizzle 3 tablespoons (or more) of the sauce over the fish, covering both sides. Be sure to spoon some into the cuts you’ve made, as well as into the underside cavity. Reserve the rest for later.

Bring the long sides of the foil up and over the fish, scrunching it together. Try to keep the foil off the surface of the fish, making a kind of shallow tent over it. Fold up each end and scrunch to secure. If using banana leaf, fold the sides and ends up and over the fish to cover it. With banana leaf, you actually want the leaf to come into contact with the fish, as this adds to the flavour.

Bake the fish in the foil directly on your oven rack.

My fish is now going on to the BBQ…

N.B. If you are using banana leaf and oven cooking you will require a dish or tray, as a banana leaf is porous.

Bake for 20 minutes or longer, depending on the size and thickness of your fish. Remove fish from oven and check some of the deeper cuts to see if the inner flesh is cooked (it should be opaque, not pink or translucent-looking). If fish still needs more time, return to your oven for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked.

Next remove the fish from the oven or your BBQ open up the foil, scrunching it around the fish to create a kind of bowl. If using banana leaf, simply open up the leaf, which will have become drier and slightly crispy.

Pour remaining sauce over fish and return to the oven. Turn oven to broil setting, and grill for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the fish is nicely browned and crisp-looking.

Meanwhile, crisp your julienned ginger in hot oil and drain on kitchen paper. Then quickly crisp your kale and drain on kitchen paper.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the fish with the crispy kale and ginger…Just pile it on.

Beautiful Picture of Steamed Fish 25 rest I think

If I am cooking my fish on the BBQ I serve the leftover sauce in a small bowl.

Enjoy!

N.B. My grandson poised to dive in…lol

If you don’t want to miss any of my posts then please subscribe to my blog and if you enjoyed this recipe please reblog or share as sharing is caring…Thank you x

I also now have a new blog called Orienthailiving where I am now posting my travel posts please pop over and say hello…x

 

 

Fish Friday…Prawns with Asparagus.

It’s that time again Fish Friday...I honestly don’t know where the days go they just fly by..when you were kids did you not think that it took so long for Christmas to come round and then, of course, there was Easter but it just seemed like forever until Easter came  now before we know they all seem to merge into one and I can certainly remember last Christmas as if it was yesterday….Is it only me or does time just fly….

Today I am giving you one of my favourite dishes  Asparagus is very plentiful here and one of my favourite stir fries are with prawns, lemongrass and lime leaves.

Very quick and easy to do once you get your ingredients together.

Ingredients:

250 gm asparagus cut in half…asparagus is very thin here but if you are using thicker asparagus then either shave the asparagus or cut into 3-inch pieces.

A small piece of ginger peeled and grated.

1 stalk of lemongrass bashed and very finely chopped.

4 lime leaves very thinly sliced

3-4 tbsp of fish sauce

1 tbsp palm sugar or light muscovado sugar

1 tbsp coconut oil

10 raw king prawns either peeled or leave the tails on.

1 shallot thinly sliced

1-2 Thai birds eye chillies finely sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

4 spring onions cut into 2-inch pieces

Lets Cook!

Mix together the ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves, fish sauce and sugar and put to one side.

Meanwhile, heat the wok on high and when it’s really hot add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add in the king prawns and stir-fry for one to two minutes, until the prawns have gone pink with slightly golden edges. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion to the wok and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the chilli, garlic and spring onion and stir-fry for a further four minutes until the onions have softened. Add the asparagus and stir-fry for a further minute.

Finally, add the prawns, pour over the sauce which was prepared earlier, and cook until the sauce becomes sticky (around three minutes).

Serve immediately with Thai steamed rice and enjoy!

Last weeks post is here just in case you missed it…as it turned out it was a really popular recipe https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/fish-friday-thai-shrimp-cakes-and-thai-sweet-chilli-sauce-recipe/

I am very happy for you to share these recipes with your family and friends and if you do…. Thank you x

I am now off to the kitchen to cook up another Halloween treat….

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know laughter is FREE and one of the best medicines known to man…