Tag Archives: Recipes

Traditional Hot Cross Buns…

Yes, that time of the year is nearly upon us when we celebrate Easter with Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday followed by Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday and Simmel Cake on Easter Monday.

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

I have been seeing lots of alternative recipes for Hot Cross Buns...some sound delicious some sound as if they are made just because the baker can…

Most of the recipes from my childhood I don’t want to change… it’s tradition lest we forget…x…

So without further ado here is your recipe for…Traditional Hot Cross Buns...Warm from the oven there is nought better than a Hot Cross Bun buttered with lovely grass-fed butter…

Ingredients:

For the dough

  • 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
  • 50g caster sugar …I use natural golden sugar.
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g  butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • oil, for greasing
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Salt…ordinary salt is ok.

The spices and dried fruit

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100g currants
  • Optional: Orange or lemon zest.

For  the pastry crosses:

  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

Let’s Bake!

Put the flour, yeast, castor sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix well. If you want to add a little lemon or orange zest it can be added now. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.

Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.

Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few secs, then divide into 12 even portions – I roll my dough into a long sausage shape, then quarter and divide each quarter into 3 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet greased with butter, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise.

Use a small, sharp knife to score a cross on the top of each bun, then cover with the damp tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins until almost doubled in size again. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas

When the buns are ready to bake, mix the plain flour with just enough water to give you a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag (or into a plastic food bag and snip the corner off) and pipe a white cross into the crosses you cut earlier. Bake for 12-15 mins until the buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. While still warm, melt the granulated sugar with 1 tbsp water in a small pan, then brush over the buns.

Tip: I put my mix for the cross in one of those plastic refill sauce bottles as I find I get all sorts of shape and size of the cross if I use a piping bag/greaseproof. clumsy klutz that I am..ha ha.

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Hot from the Oven! Yum!

Legend tells us that if sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and a half for me, Between us two, shall goodwill be” is said at the time or if hung in the kitchen they are said to protect against fire and all bread will turn out ok this is replaced every year.

And I’m sure there are lots more traditions but I just want the butter to put on my bun.

buttered hot cross bun

Enjoy your buns xx

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week  and don’t forget I do love to chat if you want to leave a comment xx

British Pie Week…1st-7th March 2021.

Pies have been recorded as early as the Neolithic Period, around 9500 BC. The ancient Egyptians’ diet featured basic pies made from oat, wheat, rye, and barley, and filled with honey and baked over hot coals…

I would never get into a discussion as to who makes the best pies as all around the world if you start a discussion on the merits of pie…Someone’s mum always makes the best pies for me my mum does…Be it Steak and Kidney, Fish Pie, Mince pies or an Apple pie her pastry is the best and her pies lauded …

A pie can have a top and a bottom or just a top and it could be a pastry or potato topping…Plain or latticed…There is no end to the variations of the fillings or the case or indeed the type of pastry…

My Hubbies all-time favourite is the Steak and Kidney Pie…

Speaking of which however hot it gets and it is currently only 10am and 30C and rising…Hubby will still eat meat pie…I make individual ones and then he can have pie and I have my Thai food…

two meat pies

For fillings, I either make mince and onions, Steak and Mushroom, Steak and Ale or hubby’s favourite steak and kidney…Chicken and Mushroom or Chicken and Leek Pie…BUT of course not forgetting the British favourite Apple Pie…

For the pastry

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 140g cold unsalted butter, roughly cubed
  • 1 large egg  yolk
  • 1 small egg  whisked with 1 tbsp milk, for the egg wash

For the filling…Steak & Kidney

  • 1 ox kidney, about 400g/14oz, get it fresh from your butcher. Pig’s and lamb’s kidneys only need short cooking time so if used add 15 mins before the end of cooking.
  • 1 kg trimmed braising or stewing beef
  • 250g flat mushrooms, unpeeled but wiped with a damp cloth
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion,  peeled and thickly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 50-85g plain flour, depending on how thick you like your gravy
  • 600ml fresh stock or  water and 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Let’s Cook!

It’s important to cook the meat a day ahead so that you can discard any fat that has risen to the top, and so that the pastry doesn’t slump in the face of a too-warm filling, so up to 48 hours ahead -make the pastry. Whizz the flour and a pinch of fine sea salt together for a few seconds in a food processor, then add the butter and whizz until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk together the egg yolk and 3 tbsp water and whizz with the pastry until it collects in a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least one hour…

TO COOK THE MEAT.

Cut out the white central core of the kidney and  (discard). Cut the kidney into bite-sized pieces. Cut the beef into bite-sized cubes and cut the mushrooms into chunks.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the kidney and fry until lightly coloured. Tip into a colander to drain.

Wipe out the frying pan and return it to low-medium heat, adding 25g/1oz of the butter and 1 tbsp oil. Tip in the onion and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly golden add the garlic for the final 2/3 minutes.

Transfer to a large casserole, using a slotted spoon.

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 3/fan 140C. Tip the 85g/3oz flour into a large plastic bag, and season it generously. Throw in the beef and shake until lightly floured. Return the frying pan to medium-high heat, adding a little more oil and butter if needed. Shake off any excess flour (reserving it) then fry the beef in batches until golden-brown. As each batch is done, transfer it to the casserole.

Adding more oil and butter to the frying pan if necessary, fry the mushrooms for about 2 minutes until starting to wilt, then add them to the casserole with the drained kidneys, stock or hot water, bouillon powder and bay leaf, plus the excess flour in the bag if you like a thick gravy.

Stir well, cover and cook in the oven for 75-90 minutes until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick. Cool thoroughly, then put in the fridge (preferably overnight) so any fat will solidify – it can then be skimmed off and discarded the next morning.

In the morning – return the pastry to cool room temperature, then roll it out thinly on a well-floured surface. Invert a 28-30x23cm, 6.5cm deep pie dish on to the pastry. Mentally add an extra 1cm all round, then use the dish as a guide to cut out the pastry lid. From the remnants, cut out enough 6cm-wide strips of pastry to go round the dish – they should cover the flat rim and about halfway down the insides.

Lightly butter the rim of the dish and line it with the strip(s) of pastry, sealing any joins with a little dab of water. Butter the shoulders of a pie raiser or an upturned egg cup and stand it in the middle. Spoon in the meat mixture to come level with the top of the dish.

Don’t overfill: reserve any excess gravy to serve hot with the pie.

Brush the pastry rim with a little water, then drape the pastry lid over it, pinching the edges to seal. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge if not baking immediately.

Finally, an hour before serving – preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Make four slashes in the lid of the pie, then brush with the egg wash. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, turning the heat down 10-20º after about 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and leave it to rest for around 10 minutes before cutting into it.

These instructions are if you are making one large pie…If I am making individual pies I just cut a strip of pastry to go around the top of the dish fill the dish with the meat mixture and add a pastry top…This cuts the calories…But if you like a large pie and want to cut nice slices then a pie bottom can be added.

Of course, the cooking time will also need to be adjusted…For an individual pie depending on your oven, it takes approx 25 mins.

To celebrate British  Pie Week... Tweet  #britishpieweek

Enjoy!

We can’t forget to mention the Apple Pie…Can We?

https://carolcooks2.com/2017/01/02/apple-pie/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend I look forward to your comments and what your favourite pie is… Enjoy your pie  xx

#Pancake Day…16th February …Aka #Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.

Who doesn’t like a nice thin, lacy pancake with sugar and lemon? Pancakes are eaten almost all over the world in one form or another so although plain and simple is my favourite I don’t mind some of the other versions on occasions.

pancake-2367620_1920

I am also quite good at tossing them much to the surprise of the kids although not sure how I would fare in some of the pancake races which are held throughout the Uk and tossing them while running…lol….that would be a sight to behold…

The first recorded pancake race was way back in 1445 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England. Since 1950 Olney has competed against women of Liberal, Kansas, the USA in an international race.

Tradition declares that the race was first run in the year 1445, pancakes at the time being a popular dish, receiving royal favour. It was run on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, and the whole day was given over to a festival of celebration, pranks and pastimes. It is not known where the original start line was but the finish line was at the Church door. The winner has to bang on the door with her frying pan…

The year I was born…

Did you know????

The largest pancake was created in Rochdale, Manchester, the UK in 1994, by the Co-Operative Union, Ltd. Measuring 15.01 m (49 ft 3 in) in diameter and 2.5 cm (1 in) thick, the pancake weighed 3 tonnes (6,614 lb) and took more than just a frying pan to flip over!

In total, Brits use an unbelievable 52 million eggs on Pancake Day. That’s 22 million more than any other day.

The most flips anyone has ever done with a pancake is 349 flips in two minutes. That’s ‘flipping’ good’!

We all have our preferences for pancake toppings but the weirdest pancake toppings have to be ketchup and mustard, please…Nooooo! peanut butter and ice cream, coco pops and cream…I just love maple syrup on mine or lemon..simples is best!

The Guinness World Record for the most pancakes served in eight hours is 34,818.

William Shakespeare was also a pancake lover! It is reflected in many of his plays. When Shakespeare was alive Shrove Tuesday is much as it is today – that is people ate plenty of pancakes!.  Dinner was a midday meal instead of evening, and the pancakes would follow their main meal. The Tudors enjoyed heavily spiced foods and regularly included ale or beer as ingredients instead of water. They ate very rich foods, and their pancakes could have been enriched with rose-water, sherry, eggs, ale or butter – or a mixture of them all

In France and the United States, Pancake day is called Mardi Gras which means ‘Fat’ or ‘Grease Tuesday’.

My Simple Pancake batter recipe.

pancake-2367620_1920

  • 100 gm flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml of milk
  • Oil/ butter for frying
  • Lemon wedges to serve
  • Sugar to serve

Let’s Cook!

Put your flour, eggs, milk, pinch salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Using an omelette or crepe pan add a knob of butter and when melted add some of your mix to pan and roll about to cover the bottom…I like my pancake thin so don’t use too much mix others like theirs thicker but personal choice.

cooking-933208_1920

Cook until nicely golden and flip over and cook the other side …keep warm in the oven while you are cooking all your pancakes.

Serve with a good squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar.

That is my way, plain and simple but it is your opportunity to use your favourite toppings…

What do you top your pancakes with??? Please tell me in comments…

Pancakes are made all over the world and vary somewhat… if you missed my post on how they are made here in Thailand then I have added the link for you to enjoy these were made down in one of the local homes here and they kindly let us take the photos…It is a family affair both young and old play their part…I found it fascinating…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/traditional-handmade-thai-pancakes-khao-gle-at/

Pancakes drying

Or these lovely oat pancakes

Maple Walnut Banana Pancakes…

banana maple syrup pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3/4 of a cup of rolled oats
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of maple syrup
  • Chopped banana, blueberries, walnuts and maple syrup to serve.

Put the banana, oats, eggs, baking soda and maple syrup in the blender and blitz until smooth and well combined.

Heat your pan and add some mix cook for about 2 mins each side I did find they cooked quite quickly so watch you don’t burn them…

Serve with sliced banana, blueberries or fruit of your choice, walnuts and maple syrup…They were actually very yummy…

I didn’t have gluten-free oats so mine were not gluten-free but still healthy and I had no maple syrup extract so substituted maple syrup, the walnuts I caramelised and I didn’t have blueberries…and I cooked mine in grass-fed butter… I will make them again and next time will add blueberries as they will add that touch of tartness…

However, if you eat Gluten-free use Gluten-free rolled oats and cook in a non-stick pan

If you love pancakes I hope you have found some here to tickle your tastebuds …Enjoy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week and please tell me in comments what your favourite pancakes are…I just love to chat and swap recipes xx

#Meatless Monday’s …week 6…#Frittata.

Why Meatless Mondays?…

Lots of reasons but health-wise I know we should eat more plant-based meals not only for our health but for the environment…I have decided to do it in stages as to me it should be a permanent commitment and I wish to find some tasty dishes which are equal in taste to what I normally cook for my family.

Introducing more plant-based meals into your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight if you have some weight to lose then adding more plant-based meals has the benefit of removing foods from your diet which cause weight gain.

Plants are high in fibre…this means by introducing more plant-based recipes to your diet that the health of your gut improves so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from your food… you will be eating foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Fibre can lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar and it’s great for good bowel management…

This week I am going to showcase plant-based/meat-free recipes we love at home…I have tried tofu, cooking lentils not yet tried Quorn or Nutritional Yeast but lentils I have had a few tips thank you… I know I need to use lentils (as) I like them just its different lentils for different things and it’s blowing my mind a little…the same with all the different tofu’s and I do really want to try Paneer…but baby steps I can’t do it all at once it needs to be gradual and I don’t want my family to get weary of too many experimental dishes…

 

This frittata has green beans, broccoli and asparagus and of course cheese…

Frittata...isn’t that an omelette I was asked…my answer was no it’s like a quiche with no pastry…A frittata is cooked slowly over low heat while an omelette is cooked quickly over higher heat. Whereas omelettes are served hot straight from the stove, frittatas are often served at room temperature, making them perfect to make ahead for brunches or buffets…

I always think a frittata is a great way to use up the odds and ends in your fridge…a couple of mushrooms, half a pepper, a handful of spinach…it cuts the waste and the calories as no pastry like quiche and they are tasty…

They can be served with salad, with some lovely steamed veggies, a jacket/baked potato, rosemary and garlic potatoes, slaws, in so many different ways…

Some flavour combinations:

  1. Spinach, artichoke and feta cheese.
  2. Broccoli, cheddar and green onion.
  3. Cremini mushrooms, arugula and goat cheese.
  4. Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, mozzarella and basil.
  5. Yellow onion, carrot, bell pepper, goat cheese and chives.
  6. Asparagus and new potatoes.
  7. Masala paste, cherry tomatoes and coriander
  8. Green vegetable frittata pictured above.

Dairy option:

As there is NO pastry...I go for heavy cream, half-and-half and whole milk. Sour cream, crème fraîche and yoghurt will work as well…semi-skimmed or skimmed milk is too watery for a good frittata.

Pre-cooked your veggies or use leftover veggies from the day before as adding them fresh releases too much water and generally won’t be fully cooked by the time the eggs are…

sliced potato

Potatoes can be cooked ones from the day before and ideal way to use them up or cut and slice a potato and pre-cook until just done I also crisp my potatoes in the oven a little before adding the eggs…

Cheese is also a great idea...cheddar and parmesan or a soft goats cheese or salty feta all good choices…You can stir up to one cup of grated or crumbled cheese directly into the egg mixture, or reserve some for topping the frittata.

Don’t overcook the frittata just remember eggs carry on cooking once removed from the heat or the oven…

Bake until the edges puff up a little and the middle is just a little jiggly…

What to cook your frittata in…use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or an oven-safe, non-stick skillet if you are cooking on the stovetop…I sometimes start mine on the stove and then pop in the oven.

Oven baking then use a well-oiled baking dish or muffin tin think breakfast frittatas…but always well oil to be sure…

I will give you a basic frittata recipe which can be halved depending on how many you are serving…or you may be freezing some for another day…

If freezing, place frittata pieces on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready to eat. To reheat, place frozen frittata pieces on a cookie sheet and bake in a 275 degrees F preheated oven (135 degrees C) for 20 minutes.

Basic Frittata Recipe…

  • 12 eggs, whisked just until the egg yolks and whites are blended nicely.
  • 3 tbsp full-fat dairy of your choice I generally just use whole milk.
  • 3 cups cooked and seasoned vegetables.
  • 1 cup grated or crumbled cheese.
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Freshly grated black pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

Preheat the oven to 425F/218C for the traditional stovetop method, or 350F/177C for the baked methods (casserole or mini/muffins).

Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Add your dairy of choice and the salt and pepper. Whisk just until the egg yolks and whites are combined then whisk in all or half of the cheese (you can reserve the other half for topping the frittata before baking if desired). Set the mixture aside.

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or any other large skillet that’s oven-safe), warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the vegetables, starting with chopped onions or other dense vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then add any softer vegetables such as zucchini. Cook until those vegetables are tender, then add any garlic or greens, and cook until fragrant or wilted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste…if you are halving the recipe then use a 9″ skillet or pan.

Traditional stovetop option: Whisk the eggs once more and pour the mixture over the vegetables. Stir with a spatula briefly to combine and distribute the mixture evenly across the pan. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittata.

Once the outside edge of the frittata turns lighter in colour (about 30 seconds to 1 minute), carefully transfer the frittata to the oven. Bake for 7 to 14 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittata jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake.

Remove the frittata from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, slice with a sharp knife, and serve.

I prefer the stovetop and then into the oven…but if you want a meal which requires less watching then the oven version is just as good ideal for a larger frittata or the smaller breakfast muffins.

Let the cooked vegetables cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with butter. Stir the lightly cooled veggies into the egg mixture, then pour it all into the pan. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittata.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittata jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake. Remove the frittata from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, slice with a sharp knife, and serve.

Baked mini frittata option: Let the cooked vegetables cool for a few minutes, then stir them into the egg mixture. Grease 18 muffin cups (I used two muffin pans for this), then fill the cups evenly with a scant ⅓ cup of the mixture. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittatas now.

Bake for 13 to 17 minutes, until the eggs, are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittatas jiggle just a bit when you give the pan a gentle shake keep an eye on them as being smaller they cook much quicker… 6 hole muffin pans finish even sooner. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, and serve.

Enjoy!

Healthy eating and introducing more meat-free plant-based meals are a commitment…a commitment we make to ourselves to enjoy our food and eat as healthy as we can ….MOST of the time…

I have decided I will have a lentil corner and a tofu corner and maybe even a Quorn or nutritional yeast corner…Why?

Well, my lovely readers are giving me tips and as some of these ingredients are newish and I am not fully up to speed with them it helps me and hopefully, it will help some of you as we are all in this together…I am so grateful for any tips which will make cooking and eating of new ingredients more enjoyable…xx Cooking and eating should be fun …Right?

Lentil Corner:

Dolly’s Tip!... When I cooked lentils before Instant Pot revolution, I soaked them overnight, rinsed them, and then used 1/3 ratio. Yes, they do cook slowly and need occasional stirring. Lentil soup also has a tendency to thicken while cooling, so you might want to add more water the next day and taste for seasoning. I hope this helps.

Tofu Corner:


Lorin said:

Lorin said:

First off, tofu is NOT the byproduct of making soy-milk but is actually made by curdling the soy-milk, similar to making cheese. The pulp left over from making the milk is called okara and can be eaten (my family made “burgers” with it growing up), but I suspect if you don’t like tofu okara will be even harder of a sell.

Freezing firm tofu helps extract even more water than pressing, turning it into a regular flavour sponge. Until you have developed a taste for it, the secret is getting as much flavour in there as possible so you don’t pay as much attention to the texture, so think about sauces that really pack in the flavour and try marinating for several hours before you cook it. The best tofu I’ve eaten was baked in a thick peanut sauce. A smokey BBQ sauce also does wonderful things.

Coating cubes of tofu in cornstarch and frying it makes for delightfully crispy little nuggets, although maybe isn’t as healthy. You can probably also achieve this in the oven, with a similar level of satisfaction to doing say “fried” chicken in the oven- acceptable, but not quite the same.

Thank you, ladies, for your advice it is most helpful…x

That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx

Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I love as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx

 

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…31st January-6th February 2021…Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week… we are a week into February…February comes from the Latin word februa, which means “to cleanse.”

I’m sure for those of you who have snow… cleansing and spring cleaning are the last things on your mind…here where the sun shining thoughts do turn to spring cleaning and cleansing of the mind and body…  the streets are already being decked out with the beautiful red and gold banners which signify that Chinese New Year celebration will soon commence…the shops and market stalls are full of pretty red and gold decorations and there are lots of red and gold clothes for sale the children’s ones being so lovely…

RED AND YELLOW CHILDRENS CLOTHES CHINESE NEW YEAR

This month we have Valentine’s day on the 14th and a snow moon at the end of the month…aptly named because February is typically the snowiest month in the United States. In the 1760s, when Captain Jonathan Carver visited the Dakota tribe, he recorded that this was their name for February’s full moon.

However, this moon was also called the Black Bear Moon, due to the cubs born around this time, and the Hungry Moon due to the lack of food that was common in winter.

Time to catch up on last weeks posts I am waffling again…lol

Meatless Monday’s:

Meatless Monday’s are going well and proving quite popular… I am enjoying my meatless meals and I wish to thank everyone who has sent me tips and recipes to try you are all awesome… I will also credit back to you once I have made them and my taste testers have given their verdict…

 

 

 

This was certainly a lovely curry and I know mushrooms and eggplants are not for everyone…it took me years before I really liked eggplants and I certainly have eaten more since living here as there are so many different varieties of eggplants available…

For those of you who don’t like curry’s, eggplants and mushrooms I will be experimenting with all foods so I am sure in the coming weeks there will be a recipe or two which you will love…Please speak to me and let me know your favourite foods and I can come up with meatless recipes based around those foods…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/01/meatless-monday-week-4-thai-red-curry-with-mushrooms-and-purple-eggplants/

Tuesday: Homemade Protein ShakesRaspberry and Beetroot…

Raspberries and beetroot are two of my favourite foods and combinations although beetroot and oranges go well together as well…As you know I try really hard unless it is impossible to get the ingredients or make something easily at home to replicate a healthier version in my own kitchen…Protein shakes are something which is so easy to make at home from fruits and vegetables that are in season…over the next few weeks, I will be sharing other combinations of protein shakes…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/02/homemade-raspberry-and-beetroot-protein-shake/

Wednesday: The Culinary Alphabet with a little twistFood terms ending in the letter U( tirasamU)…

This series is so much fun to research as I have discovered so many new foods and foods which also have so many different names depending on where in the world you live…fascinating…I am sad though that the series is coming to an end soon only 2 maybe 3 more posts if I can stretch the last 5 letters out…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/03/the-culinary-alphabet-with-a-little-twistfood-terms-ending-in-the-letter-u/

Thursday: Homemade Protein Shakes…Hot chocolate …

A hot Chocolate Protein Drink especially for those of you who live in colder climes…xx

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/04/homemade-protein-shakes-hot-chocolate/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock 2021 -Anti-Aging and The Hormone Factor by Sally Cronin.

I think many of us wish we could stop Father Time and turn back the clock… have fewer pounds and inches, lines and maybe health problems associated with our advancing years…well you can if you head over to Sally’s and have a read…No magic bullet and results in 5 days it takes time and commitment on your part but it is proven to have results  …

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/02/04/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-2021-anti-aging-and-the-hormone-factor-by-sally-cronin/

Fruity Friday’s…Nutmeg and Mace…

Nutmeg is normally an autumnal and winter spice which is often used in autumn and winter desserts, soups, hot beverages it also pairs well with cheese and cream-based recipes…my abiding memory is rice pudding and that lovely brown skin which formed by my mother grating nutmeg over the top before baking the pudding we used to argue over it…Mace… although both spices come from the same tree, nutmeg and mace do differ from each other. The mace is the outer coating of the nutmeg seed, this is removed first and ground into a red-coloured spice, while the nutmeg pit or seed can either be kept whole or ground up.

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/05/fruity-fridays-nutmeg-and-mace/

Saturday Snippets: 6th February 2021…

My muse is coming back…part of the reason methinks or I know is just because it was January the time after the festive season the time when our annual visa is due and we have to generally say how high when faced with differing hoops…but the passport is now stamped for another year in Paradise although after January the lily has lost some more of its gilding…

Saturday Snippets, however, is back on track…xx

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/06/saturday-snippets-6th-february-2020/

Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…I hope you have enjoyed the read…if you have please head over and leave a comment it makes my day to hear from you …Love Carol xx

 

 

What is really in your Yoghurt and how healthy is it ?

 

Reading e-mails and news this morning …I don’t why I was shocked but I was and all the protestations from suppliers and manufacturers didn’t cut it with me…I have heard it so many times before…Parents hoping to aid their children through the pain of teething could be using products that contain “potentially harmful ingredients”, dentists and researchers warn.

A new study of 14 teething gels, including Anbesol, Dentinox, Calgel, Bonjela Junior and Boots own brand, found that two contained sucrose (table sugar), six contained alcohol and six contained an anaesthetic used to numb tissue called lidocaine.

All this just doesn’t stop and it seems that tiny babies are not immune from devious/greedy money-orientated manufacturers…

This made me decide to repost a previous post on yoghurts as many of them are aimed at children and packaged to entice them…

Yoghurt is a universal food and has been around since the Neolithic period or around 5000 BC found in all cultures around the world where animals which produce milk are kept.

Yoghurt at its best and most natural only contains milk, live cultures and bacteria and as part of a balanced diet is excellent for your health.

Yoghurt at its worst contains added sugars, cream, gums, thickeners, starches, artificial colours and flavours.

One of those artificial colours comes from insects and I know that insects are used for colouring or eaten in many cultures and the red colour comes from a cockroach variety called Carmine the colour is also known as cochineal or Natural red…That I can accept as we eat many animals and insects in our diets it is when the waters get muddied by the pesky manufacturers who add to the preparation fish glue and gelatin and who knows what else in their quest for the cheapest production possible and have proved so many times that they don’t have a care about the consumer’s health???

But as with anything be it plant-based, insect-based it may cause reactions in humans and such is the case in this instance used as a colouring not only in yoghurt but fruit juices, ice cream, confectionery (sweets) and also in cosmetics lipsticks and eyeshadow is Carmine/cochineal has been known to cause severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock in some people.

Isn’t that a cute picture of a child feeding himself and doesn’t he look pleased and why wouldn’t he?

BOY-EATING-YOGHURT

Kids yoghurt line those supermarket chillers and they act like a magnet with labels which promote the latest kids fad …I.E…Ben 10, Barbie, Frozen, Munch Bunch, YoKids, Frubes, Smarties, too many to mention all designed in bright colours to attract kids…many labelled as deserts rather than yoghurt and that in itself should set those alarm bells ringing… They come in pots, pouches, tubes, little Fromage Frais pots so cute…

Do you know what is in them???

Most are very high in added sugars which all have an effect on the taste buds and if kids eat so much of this sugar-laden food then real food just doesn’t have that same taste…It ruins the taste buds and of course is a major factor in childhood diseases, obesity and that is as well as probably ruining their teeth.

Manufacturers have proven time and time again that all they care about is profit…They don’t care about the EFFECT on the nations children’s health and would say if challenged that you don’t have to buy them…NO…YOU DON’T!

Packaged breakfasts with muesli or fruit which I used to eat years ago working on the assumption that they were healthy I since found out they are anything but healthy… An average container contains 2.25 servings but the label shows the ingredients and quotes for 100gm but working on the basis that most people would eat the pot and not 100gm again sneaky manufacturers hiding true figures. It doesn’t take much to work out that if 100gm is stated to contain 594 KJ then if you eat the whole pot you are now looking at 1339 kJ plus 42 gm od added sugars…NOT such a healthy breakfast…

It is a sad world when you have to not only read the label but check the weight to get an accurate figure of what you are actually consuming…

I will now look at some individual types of yoghurt…

Coconut yoghurt just screams healthy, doesn’t it? Many contain per 100gm 785 KJ and 11.5 saturated fat and no calcium.

Probiotic yoghurt is marketed as healthy for your gut  They can’t do any harm as part of a balanced diet BUT to really be of benefit to your gut you would have to consume many pots on a daily basis to benefit and then if you suffered from IBS it could aggravate your condition so it would be more beneficial to seek advice from a dietician who specialises in gut health.

Again WHEN manufacturers are advertising the benefits of the yoghurt how many you would have to consume is very conveniently not mentioned  …IS IT?

Greek Yoghurt… Pure proper traditionally made yoghurt.

goat being milked-1617132_1280

Greek yoghurt is a delicious thing it is made from sheep or goats milk which is strained to filter out excess liquid …whey…leaving a thicker yoghurt which is tart and higher in protein than other yoghurts.

BUT… Isn’t there always a but? Because there is no definite legal definition of true Greek Yoghurt some companies have found cheaper ways to produce a yoghurt with a similar taste and texture and get away with calling it Greek Style Yoghurt.

Greek Style Yogurt contains milk protein concentrates ( MPC), whey protein concentrates (WPC) as well as fillers like gelatin or modified corn starch. Now many MPC’S come from anywhere in the world the import of them is pretty much unregulated…That always sets off alarm bells for me as so many unregulated or very lax with regulated products and they have been since proven to be detrimental to our health.

It seems that the US is far more lax and does not and this is my opinion seem to put much store on the nation’s health and well-being in the words of the FDA “found no evidence of any significant hazard to the health of the human population”

The European Food Safety Organisation ( EFSA) on the other hand had concerns about the use of Carmine in foods and set up a committee to evaluate because of the number of recorded allergic reactions by the usage. The Carmine has now been replaced with a synthesized version made from plant extract using Calcium Oxide. A step in the right direction but I would like to know more about what the synthesized product is made up of…too many times things have been found to  NOT be as they were touted to be…Yes, I know I am suspicious but past performance of the committee’s and health organisations does not fill me with trust.

Pot set yoghurt the makers claim it is healthier and more nutritious because they don’t add thickeners or stabilizers but really there is rarely little difference…READ THE LABELS.

Natural or plain yoghurt is simply yoghurt with no sweeteners or flavourings or they should be… again READ THE LABEL.

Lactose-free yoghurt… Are made using soy, almond or rice milk and can contain whey (milk proteins) not sugars…

Pouring yoghurt or drinks… Made the same as other fruit yoghurts just less or no thickeners to make them portable. But they have aimed THESE again at kids much of the time and check the label because they may have fewer thickeners but what about the colouring and the sugars???

Your safest options are natural or plain yoghurt, Greek Yoghurt ( not Greek Style) and this is what irks me as tradition Greek yoghurt takes longer to make it is more expensive but although the Greek-style yoghurt is cheaper to produce you will notice that they will be higher in cost than normal yoghurt and there will also not be hardly any difference in cost to the traditional Greek yoghurt…

I think we really need to be sending manufacturers a big message by reading labels and I know it is time-consuming but once you find a yoghurt that is healthy and not loaded with added sugar and preservatives then you won’t need to read the label every time you can also check from your comfy chair if you have the make as to what they contain and the longer the list the less inclined I am to buy the product.

Or… You could make your own yoghurt get the kids to help choose their favourite fruits and if they help make it they are more inclined to eat it.

Making your own natural yoghurt is quite easy and you can either buy a yoghurt maker or if you have a thermometer, a saucepan and an oven or a thermos flask you are ready to go.

I would suggest making a small amount to start with and then take it from there as with anything some like their yoghurt to be quite tart whereas others prefer a milder taste it is a little bit of trial and error until you find what suits your palate.

Firstly you will need to buy some natural yoghurt to make your starter it must be a plain yoghurt not flavoured and must have live cultures…check the label. Once you have made your first batch of yoghurt you will then have the base for the future it is a little like your sourdough starter or ginger beer you need to have a starter.

The milk that you use to make your yoghurt should either be raw milk or locally produced milk which has been produced using a low pasteurisation process that is not homogenized or uses goats milk. Just double-check that the milk you use is NOT ultra-pasteurized or homogenized you must use whole milk.

The healthier the milk used the healthier your yoghurt will be.

I would recommend starting off with a small batch first. For each 1 pint of milk, you will need 1 tbsp of the natural yoghurt unless you already have a starter and then it is 1 tbsp of your starter.

spoonful natural yoghurt with raspberry-583076_640

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of milk
  • 2 tbsp of yoghurt or starter.

Let’s make some yoghurt!

Heat your milk in a stainless steel pan until it reaches 180 F.

Pour the milk into sterilised jars and cool down to 115 F you could also stand the jars in cold water to reduce the temperature quicker.

Then lightly stir in your natural yoghurt or your starter.

You can now either put your jars in your oven with just the light on which will produce a temperature of around 110 F and leave in the oven for 12-24 hours the longer it is left the tarter the yoghurt will be which is why I suggested making a couple of small batches until you get the flavour correct for you.

AT THIS POINT IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO USE THE OVEN THEN YOU CAN PUT THE MIX INTO A THERMOS FLASK AND LEAVE FOR THE SAME 12-24 HOURS.

Lastly, put the jars into the fridge until the yoghurt is cold and set. Then pour off the whey which has separated or pass the yoghurt through a muslin or cheesecloth to make a thicker yoghurt.

Once this is done then store in the fridge and eat as req and also keep some as a starter for your next batch of yoghurt.

This is where you can now sweeten the yoghurt with some honey or fresh fruit whatever your fancy is or just eat with fresh fruit or muesli. Once you have made your own yoghurt you will not want to buy any from a store it really is very easily made and much healthier and with no fillers or sweeteners.

Thank you for dropping by and reading this post… I hope you have enjoyed the post…do you make your own yoghurt? … if so please let us know in the comments as you know I love to chat and swap ideas and recipes xx