Tag Archives: Spices

Christmas Recipes…Home Cured Ham & Bacon…

Christmas Ham and Bacon (2)

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

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

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

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

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

I used 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.

For every Kilo of Pork use I used:

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

Lets Cook!

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

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

Rub into the Pork.

Belly pork bacon Naturallly cured

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

Store in the fridge for 5 Days.

After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.

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

Home cured belly Streaky bacon

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

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

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

Now the tester…How will it taste?

Home cured Bacon frying

Naturally cured with celery juice

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

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

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

Christmas Ham Recipe.

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

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

Ingredients for the Rub:

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

Day one:

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

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

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

Day two:

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

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

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

Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.

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

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

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

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

Ham- cloves- home cooked

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves

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

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

I used 2 kilos of Pork Loin.

Ingredients for Rub:

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

Ingredients for Brine:

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

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

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

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

Day two:

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

Store the ham cold.

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

Let the ham brine for 4-6 days.

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

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

Ham- crackling-home cooked-sliced-platter

Home cooked ham and crackling

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

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

About Carol Taylor:

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

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

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

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

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

 

 

Old fashioned Bread Pudding just like Grandma used to make …

 

bread-pudding-old -fashined recipe

Bread Pudding.

An old family favourite of my dad’s and a recipe passed down through the family although my nan didn’t put as much spice in as I do but recipes grow and evolve, don’t they? Which is the lovely thing… I have made it much more since living here in Thailand as all the expat men love it ( a taste of home) …

I keep all of my bits of stale bread in the freezer until I have enough for a pudding so no waste in this kitchen.

Ingredients:

2/3 Ib of bread ( brown /white) or mixed.

1 tbsp Mixed Spice.

2 eggs beaten

3 oz butter melted.

12/16 oz  dried fruit (sultanas or raisins)

Let’s Cook!

Put bread in a large mixing bowl and cover with water or mix or milk and water to soak.

When soft I squeeze out in a colander as much liquid as I can. My little helper( Lily) getting stuck in and squeezing the bread dry…Kids just love the mucky bits…lol

bread-pudding-spiced

Add melted butter, mixed spice, eggs and fruit and combine.

bread-pudding-old fashioned-recipe

Nanny poured the melted butter in and Lily did the dried ingredients. and give a good stir… Next, it will be the Christmas Puddings as we only have 118 sleeps.

I like lots of spice and fruit so if I think it needs more at this point then I add it is one of those dishes where you can add what you like for example if I have had some other fruit left over as in cranberries or blueberries I would add them.

Put in hot oven 180 degrees for 1 hour if top seems to be browning too quickly then reduce heat a little. It should rise up a little by end of cooking. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sugar.

This is when I invoke my rights to cooks perks and have the 1st bit..to try of course as it’s yummy hot and straight from the dish. It is also great served with custard or cold if there is any left..haha. It also uses up all your bits of stale bread.

I hope you enjoy these dishes..until next time xx If you missed the Bread and Butter Pudding recipe then here it is…

Bread and Butter Pudding

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/old-fashioned-bread-and-butter-pudding/

Connect to Carol( Moi)

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 if you love this recipe please share xx

New Year, New Resolutions mmmmm sort of, Maybe, Hell no!

Another post from my archives and as you can see I have never been hot on New Year resolutions but passionate about writing and cooking…I hope you enjoy my blast from the past… 2015 to be precise…Enjoy your Sunday xxx

Retired? No one told me!

Come on…own up…which category do you fall in?

Ok then I’ll go first…well events sort of overtook me…….here they come the excuses….do you know what…didn’t make any!  That’s that over with then…….

I am an Author and that’s official……Officially a published author http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RU5IYNS   here is the link for you.

So for those of you who aspire to be an author, I’ll tell you my story:

All through the years I have loved and have written( mostly never finished) I was the bain of my teacher’s life as I remember writing pages and pages for my homework or maybe not ever really told just imagined at a later date that I must have been.

Read books galore.

If I wrote a letter it was probably akin to War & Peace.

Never imagined anyone would want to read what I had written or even tried to find out, just carried on…

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Christmas Recipes…Christmas Pudding

christmas-1695531_1920

Day 4 of the Christmas Countdown…..I am sure I am not alone in thinking I have plenty of time Christmas is a couple of months away and then like a bolt of lightning …I realise I am running out of time and I must get a wiggle on….those of you who are super organised have probably already made your puds, cakes and sweet mincemeat…here as I live in hotter climes it is not advisable as it ferments so I make mine at the beginning of December and there is so much lovely fruit ( and booze) that they taste just as good as those either kept over from last year or made earlier…

I always used to save a Christmas pudding and a jar or two of mincemeat from one year to the next a tradition passed down through the generations…

I am maudling…I know…Get on with it Carol……

But before I do I must tell you…My lady turkeys are sitting on their eggs…..  in about 28 days time I will fingers crossed have little turkey babies running around…Maybe a Christmas baby or a New Year baby…..Excited or what…That’s me!

Christmas Pudding Recipes… One is gluten-free and the second one is my one passed down through the generations of my family..well tried and tested.

Christmas Pudding

Here is the first recipe for a… Gluten FREE Christmas pudding… Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 100gm currants.
  • 100gm sultanas.
  • 100gm sour cherries.
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Grated zest and juice of half an Orange.
  • 1tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.
  • 100ml of brandy..this is where my hand slipped…haha
  • 180gm dark brown sugar
  • 1 granny smith Apple( I can’t these) so used a new Zealand apple which is quite tart.
  • 1 large carrot, grated.
  • 250gm ground almonds.
  • 50gm gluten-free cornflour.
  • 1tsp gluten-free baking powder.
  • 2 med-free range eggs.
  • 50ml vegetable oil( I use coconut oil)
  • plus extra for greasing.
  • 2 tbsp black treacle.

This makes enough for a 2-pint pudding basin or two 1 pint puddings.

Let’s Cook!

In a large bowl put dried fruit, zest, and juice, spice, and the brandy stir to combine, cover and leave for 24hrs.

Then mix in sugar, apple, and carrot, add beaten eggs then stir in oil and treacle.

Lastly,  stir in dry ingredients with a pinch of salt.

Put mixture into a greased pudding basin it should be two-thirds full. Cover the top with a round of greaseproof paper the cover with pleated tin foil and secure with string.

You can now either set the pudding in a saucepan on an upturned plate and fill the pan with boiling water about halfway up the side of the basin. Put the lid on and steam for 4 hours remembering to top up water as necessary.

I always use a steamer and in this case, it was my wicker rice steamer which the bowl sits nicely over the pot of water.

If you have made a lot of puddings over the years like me  I think you find your own preferred method of steaming your puds.

Once steamed, cool and rewrap pudding and store in a cool, dry place. It is the fridge for me as too humid…I do miss my cool pantry…

To serve simmer or steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs, then invert onto a plate and flame the pud or serve with sauce, brandy butter or cream…

It’s cream all the way for me …and lots of it!

My second recipe is slightly different but adaptable to make gluten-free and the one I make year after year….I could do it blindfold now…lol

Ingredients:

  • 300gm fresh white breadcrumbs ( I use brown)
  • 100gm self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
  • 350gm raisins
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 50gm flaked almonds
  • 250gm suet
  • 225gm Demerara sugar
  • 225gm sultanas
  • 225gm currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated

(shhhh)Wet ingredients

  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small wine glass of brandy  shhhhh and a tad more..haha
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Let’s Cook!

Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.

Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.

When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the match and viola a flaming pud 🙂

N.B. As I live in sunny climes then I store mine in the fridge as they ferment very quickly here and that’s not quite what we want.

I am also aware that some don’t like the richness of Christmas pudding…my hubby is one such person ( he eats mice pies) though..Work that one out! Or you may live alone so I would halve the recipe and steam in little pudding moulds for 1 hour and there you have 4 lovely little individual puddings. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking and don’t forget to make wish 🙂

Tomorrow is day 5 of my Christmas Recipe countdown and I will give some lovely alternatives to a rich pudding…

 

 

BHAPA Chingri….Golda Chingri…..Shorshe Narkol……..Giant Prawn in coconut Mustard Sauce….

I love this post it tells you how to clean prawns properly and some other great tips for a lovely flavoursome prawn dish…Very nice and it has chillies…Can you hear the excitement in my tone when I mention chillies???

Cook With Reena!

IMG_20170701_200009

I have thought of a  series on Prawn preparation in next few days . My fist preparation on the series is “Bhapa Golda Shorshe Chingri”. Its an authentic Bengali (Easter region in India) preparation. Bhapa means steamed, Golda Chingri means giant prawn and shorshe means Mustard. So key ingredients to this preparation are Giant prawns, mustard paste.  Add poppy seed paste and coconut scrape adds texture to this dish.

Golda Chingri is available only in Bay of Bengal. It is famous for its tender flesh and heavenly Taste. The sound of Chingri   plays music to the ears of Bengalis and is very popular throughout Bengal.  It’s almost a compulsory dish during any celebration in Bengali household. It is best paired with steaming white rice. The pungent taste of freshly ground mustard paste and mustard oil makes it more appealing. I have posted Bhapa Ilish preparation. Similar technique is used for…

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Baked Samosas…These sound amazing!

Samosas are a very popular snack / appetizer in the Indian subcontinent, South-East Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. In India, not a single festive occasion is considered as complete without a platter of hot samosas being served to guests. Indian samosas are usually vegetarian, stuffed with a savory potato filling and is served with tamarind chutney […]

via Baked Wheat Flour Samosa — Healthy Indian kitchen

Memory Lane.

I was doing my first job of the day….  answering comments and reading blogs on my reader and came across one of my favorite food blogs.

It was for a lentil curry and I do like a bit of spice https://healthyindiankitchen.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/whole-green-moong-lentils-curry/

..yum it gets those taste buds a zinging 😉

Years ago when my kids were little and I don’t mind saying it was struggle at times …6 hungry kids to feed and I have never been a fast food mum…but have always cooked and loved it….Well… can you imagine buying jars of  pasta sauce to feed 6 hungry mouths and two adults every day?…plus any stragglers… Our food bill would have been off the scale.

So I was nothing if not inventive….. Well that green-moong lentil curry set of that lightbulb…I used to make this dish and it was a big one with a bacon Hock and a mix of dried lentils and veggies….cook it for a few hours and had this wonderful , warming stew full of soft melt in your ham/bacon …served with hot crusty Bread….One of my girls reminded me of this a while ago and said she remembered how lovely it was….

So thank you   https://healthyindiankitchen.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/whole-green-moong-lentils-curry/ I will be away to my kitchen with a smile 🙂