Tag Archives: Store Cupboard Basics

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Dried herbs and stock (Bouillon)cubes…

Welcome to the final week of Store Cupboard Basics where this week I will explore dried herbs and stock cubes…

I hope you have found these posts on store cupboard basics helpful…It does take time (and) money to build up a store cupboard which is why I broke it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who were not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Dried herbs and stock cubes…

Both cheap and very useful dried herbs and stock(bouillon) cubes are convenient standbys when you don’t have fresh stock or herbs to hand.

Some recipes, of course, you will be only able to use the fresh type.

Dried herbs are much more concentrated in flavour than fresh herbs so bear that in mind as you will overpower your dish. You can always add more but once added sometimes the dish is just spoilt as too much can be overpowering.

Salt…

I am very lucky and this is where I get my salt from as these salt flats are quite close to my home in Northern Thailand.

A key ingredient salt adds flavour and brings out the flavour in other foods. It also acts as a preservative when it is used in pickling and chutney making or when curing meats and fish where it draws out moisture and prevents decomposition. It is worth paying a little extra for rock or sea salt since these do not contain any added chemicals which are often found in cheap table salt.  Sea salt has a stronger taste than table salt so use in moderation and add a little at a time and taste to prevent oversalting.

There have been a lot of scare stories regarding the use of salt and of course, we should watch our intake BUT much of the salt people consume is hidden and in highly processed foods which if you exclude THESE from your diet it will reduce your consumption of salt. If I am using stock or bouillon then I am careful and sometimes I don’t add additional salt to a dish this is where tasting frequently during cooking becomes important…

Bay…

dried bay leaves and jar

A fragrant leaf from a laurel tree that is used as an herb. Bay leaves can be used fresh or dried; dried bay leaves tend to have a slightly stronger flavor.

Bay leaves are not generally eaten but are rather simmered in a sauce or included in a braising liquid like a stew or casserole, and then removed before serving. A bay leaf is sometimes ground into a powder and used almost like a spice I dry roast them an grind them when I make my Indian curry powders.

In addition to simmering them in soups and stews, bay leaves are great for stuffing into the cavity of a chicken before roasting it, and they can be added to the liquid for cooking rice.

 

Basil…

Although my preference is for fresh basil I do always have a small pot of dried basil in my store cupboard. The sweet and pungent basil is an essential herb in the kitchen because it can do wonders for a whole bunch of dishes. While cooking with dried basil, ensure that you use it, in the beginning, to allow it to develop its flavour.

Fenugreek…

Another kitchen essential in my cupboard…Kasoori methi or fenugreek leaves have an incredible ability to instantly elevate the flavours in a dish. It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, being credited for popular dishes like butter chicken and methi aloo. Even adding a spoonful of it to dal can make the humble dish taste divine. Sprinkle some while making and kneading your dough for rotis and parathas for a flavour boost.

Oregano…

oregano-2119598_640

Again a much-used herb in my cooking I mean can you imagine biting into your favourite slice of pizza without sprinkling some oregano on it? This is possibly the one herb you should have, and the one that you must, especially if you love Italian food.

The bitter and lemony flavour of the herb makes it blend well in pasta sauces, salads and pizzas. It is extensively used in Mediterranean cuisine, and the good part is that it doesn’t overpower the other flavours in a dish. You can use it in your everyday cooking by adding it to toasts, sandwiches and even quick stir-fries.
Sage…

Sage is a herb which is commonly used in Italian cuisine it is one I always use when I am cooking pork although I prefer fresh sage dried it has its uses when making tomato-based sauces and again one I use quite a lot we love sage. I also make my own stuffings so again dried sage is a wonderful addition.

But fresh sage as above is wonderful cooked in butter or crispy as a garnish.

Tarragon…

The summer French herb can be used in everyday cooking by getting your hands on the dried version. The sweet and almost vanilla flavoured herb pairs best with eggs, cheese, seafood, chicken and fruits, and is an important ingredient in French cooking. Use it while making baked dishes, pasta, vegetable au gratin, soups and grilled meats.

Thyme…

A relative of oregano, thyme is used extensively in cooking while preparing soups and meat-based dishes. Its pungent minty flavour works wonders in stir-fries and baked pies as well. It is a key ingredient in the popular Middle East condiment called za’atar.

Of course, these are dried herbs which I use a lot in my cooking you may use dried parsley, rosemary, mint… I don’t find I have any use for those dried I always use fresh…What are your favourite and most used dried herbs? Do you dry your own?

Stock(bouillon) cubes…

These come in handy little cubes and are an excellent way to add flavour to your cooked meat and vegetable dishes, although if you are making soup the taste will be far superior if you make your own stock if you can.

It is also worth paying that little bit extra for good quality stock/bouillon cubes because cheaper ones tend to contain a lot of salt.

I always carry a small stock of different flavours just in case I run out of fresh stock or am in a hurry just always ensure if using the cubes that you taste before you add extra salt to your dish.

This is the last of my store cupboard basics I do hope you have found it useful…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 well being.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a relaxing weekend xx

 

 

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…Chocolate, Health, Recipes …Week ending 3rd Nov 2019…

Welcome to this week’s roundup and do I have some goodies for you…Lots going on in the world it was Halloween so I have some Halloween pictures for you…There was snow, beautiful white glistening snow in Susie’s part of the world and lots of it…I love seeing those lovely images from here where I am lovely and warm on this beautiful sunny morning…

So without any more ado let’s see what has been going on this week in my blogging world?…  No… I have not been discussing Brexit although I have been watching the House of Parliament live…I have better worthwhile causes to champion…The stakes have been upped and there will now be a general election…

Will I be covering this on my blog? No! Nada! I will most definitely not be covering it…

I am sure there are many opinions and although I have mine …I am not wading in…But feel free if you wish to…I love a healthy debate…

Monday…Such an ugly looking bean which produces a mouthful of pure indulgence …such a shame that the production of this also causes hardship, lack of education, cruelty through child labour and deforestation…

cacao-bean-2522918_640

 

Who doesn’t love a piece of chocolate??? Who pays more for chocolate and goods that carry “certified cocoa” endorsements?

It has been some 20 years that the big manufacturers of chocolate pledged to eradicate and not buy cocoa which is harvested using child labour.

Why am I surprised?… I am really old enough now to know that most promises made by companies and manufacturers are just clever marketing..lies…Designed to make us the consumer feel better and spend more money…To read the full story please click the link…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/28/recycling-and-environmental-news-28th-oct-2019chocolate-and-bees/

Tuesday…

Because I am not a party pooper I wish you all a joyous time in the coming weeks  I will be leaving you with a few tips to help you over the Christmas period and then I will leave you to enjoy it and come back just after the New Year…with more healthy eating tips…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/29/eat-smart-eat-healthily-no-more-diets-but-the-holiday-season-is-coming/

Wednesday…

box-christmas jumper -christmas-balls-714696 (1)

It is one of my favourite days where I can indulge myself …Of course in the coming weeks, it will be more Christmas focused… I will be looking at you guys to provide me with some lovely family recipes, crafts anything Christmassy…Even a Christmas jumper or three…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/30/whimsical-wednesday-with-carol-16/

Thursday…

Saw the end of Pumpkin month and it was Halloween…I hope everyone who celebrated Halloween had a lovely time there have been some lovely and some quite gruesome foods I have seen…but all tasty I am sure…

The 5th of November is Guy Fawkes and celebrated in the UK…Guy Fawkes Night is annually held on November 5. It is sometimes known as Bonfire Night and marks the anniversary of the discovery of a plot organized by Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605. Many people light bonfires and set off fireworks…

child with sparkler

I have many fond memories of bonfire night, potatoes and chestnuts cooked in the embers of the bonfire, of course, there are now absolutely fabulous displays but they don’t come close to my memories of such happy times as we clutched our sparklers and my dad set off the fireworks… We made our own guy and he proudly sat at the top of the bonfire although we were never allowed to participate in… penny for the guy…My mother thought it was akin to begging and we were not allowed to do that…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/31/halloween-sweet-potatoes-and-a-mexican-michelada/

Friday…

I am nearing the end of my store cupboard basic series by now you should have nicely stocked store cupboards…Spices are this weeks theme and although I grow and use many fresh spices dried spices also play their part…stronger and more intense in flavour than their fresh cousins they are ideal for baking. Everything has its place…

Roasted spices Indian cookinghttps://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/01/this-week-in-my-kitchenstore-cupboard-basicsspices/

Saturday…

Where I generally hand you over to Sally…This week she discusses skin and in particular eczema…I lived with skin conditions most of my life and am happy to say I am mostly itching and rash free…

Wool always made me itch so I wore cotton…when it came to bras, stocking, and suspenders it was the zinc in the clasps which gave me sore, itchy patches, I could never wear cheap earrings or necklaces ..zinc again..zippers anything which touched my skin brought it up in rashes and itchy patches…The introduction of tights wasn’t much better..nylon… Polo necks aka rashes, central heating aka rashes…Since living here…rashes…Gone…#recommended read…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/10/30/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-in-the-body-the-skin-eczema-lifestyle-or-genetics-by-sally-cronin/

That’s all for this week I hope you enjoyed the read…Have a great Sunday xxx

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.

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog:
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

 

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 5…Bottled/canned goods…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am looking at Canned and bottled store cupboard staples.

I do think aesthetically food stored in jars looks so much more appealing…Don’t you?

pickles-700131_640

Many foods taste better when they are fresh however some canned/bottled goods are as good or better than the fresh variety. These include canned/bottled beans, peas and lentils which simply require rinsing before using. Some canned fish and shellfish such as tuna or crab which are significantly cheaper than the fresh varieties and make excellent additions to baked pasta dishes and salads.

I would just advise moderation or finding a glass jar option…I will say I am seeing more and more goods in glass rather than cans.

Canned tomatoes are sometimes cheaper and more convenient to use than fresh tomatoes…However…

Tomatoes for me are imported to here thus canned tomatoes are much more expensive…there is also the issue of the coating inside the cans…

Bisphenol A (BPA)  on the inside of food cans.

The chemical, used since the 1960s to make certain types of plastic, mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen and has been linked to low sperm counts and infertility in men, as well as breast and prostate cancer.

That is why my advice is if you can get a similar product in a glass bottle or jar then it is safer.

I used to have a large store of canned goods but now I have very few…they are Tomato puree, sardines, tuna, kidney beans and sweet corn kernels… thats it…

cherry tomatoes

 

Tomatoes are cheap here and available all year round…Once blitzed they freeze well and they are quick to prepare… when I first started doing them I used to remove the skins and now I just blitz the whole tomato and be done with it. Unless it is a dish where the skins are really obvious but in a chilli or spag bowl you don’t notice the skins they break down and it is a little more fibre in your diet…

Sardines and tuna I buy tinned because there is a lot of publicity about the farming of fish here so I am going to take my chances …I certainly don’t even use a tin a week or even a month it is just handy to have…Also canned fish is generally higher in vitamins and nutrients, the bones are soft so we can eat them…Which especially with small fish like sardines much better than picking out fiddly bones…

The downside there is more sodium but then if I am using them in a recipe I adjust the salt accordingly…

Sweetcorn, I keep 2 cans… A small can and a larger can…Ideal in a rice salad or on a jacket potato or in a pasta salad…

Many of the other vegetables that I keep just as a standby…I can get in glass jars…Or if you are into home canning then thats the way to go you can eat foods out of season which is what my mother always used to do…

Pickles come in glass jars purely as the acid would react to the metal but from the safety point, glass jars are better than cans…

The bonus is glass jars can be sterilised and reused…Less to go into the waste…

Time for a store cupboard recipe…

We love pickled eggs…Do you love pickled eggs??

Jalapeno Pickled Eggs:

jalapeno pickled eggs

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 a cup of Cider Vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 tbsp sugar.
  • 6 cloves.
  • 2 Jalapenos cut in half lengthwise and deseeded.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 onion sliced.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 9 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled.

Let’s Cook!

Boil eggs for 10-15 mins until hard. Remove from heat and put into cold water.

In a medium pan, put vinegar, water( or beet juice) if using, onion, jalapenos, sugar, and spices. Bring to the boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Pour vinegar over eggs making sure they are completely covered.

If using beet juice also put some beet in the jar with the eggs. You will then have pickled beets as well.

Make sure the lid is tight and refrigerate. The eggs will be ready to eat in a few days and will keep for up to a month if you haven’t already eaten them.

Curried Pickled Eggs:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/4 of an onion.
  • 3/4 cup white sugar.
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds( yellow or brown)
  • I tbsp yellow curry paste.

Let’s Cook!

As above bring all the ingredients to the boil until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little and then pour the vinegar mix over the eggs making sure they are completely covered.

Allow to pickle for a few days in the fridge they are then ready to eat… Left with lots of pickle juice ????

Don’t want to waste that pickle juice???    Then have a …

Pickleback

What is a pickleback? You are about to find out!

It’s a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and some even follow that with a beer chaser…

A popular drink in bars around the world and apparently very good….Have you tried a pickleback????

The real beauty about using jars is that they look pretty, can be reused so pluses all round…As I said I keep the odd canned goods but not many I use mainly jars which store equally as well…

About Carol:

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

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

 

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

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

 

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 3…Rice…

Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard…Of things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…I am not surprised by the comments to hear that many of you already have a well-stocked store cupboard…There are however many who still do not especially youngsters or people starting out on their own…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Don’t they always though…haha

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am looking at Rice…Rice I can hear your thoughts…A column just for rice…?

Store Cupboard Basics

Did you know? There are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice (the grass species Oryza sativa) said to exist. But the exact figure is uncertain. Over 90,000 samples of cultivated rice and wild species are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank and these are used by researchers all over the world.

The rice varieties can be divided into three basic groups, long grain, short grain and medium grain. Within the groups, there are also many speciality and aromatic rice…

When I go shopping I pass many rice shops…They all have at least 20 tubs all different kinds of rice, colours and grades…

Of course, I will not be listing all of those but just the most commonly used kinds of rice…

Rice is served as an accompaniment to dishes or can form the base of both sweet and savoury meals.

Basmati Rice…

Long-grain rice is widely used in Indian Cuisine. It is aromatic and when cooked presents as separate, fuffy grains. Brown Basmati is also available.

All-purpose Long Grain Rice…

All-purpose long-grain rices are imported mainly from the USA, Italy, Spain, Surinam, Guyana and Thailand and can be used for all styles of cooking. At one time long-grain rice was exported from India and was called Patna after the district in which it grew.

Long grain rice is a slim grain which is 4-5 times as long as it is wide. When it is harvested it is known as ‘rough’ or ‘paddy’ rice. It undergoes different milling techniques to give different types of rice suited to different uses.

Easy to cook Rice…

This rice has a slightly fuller flavour than regular white rice. It differs in that, unlike regular white rice, which is milled direct from the field, easy cook rice is steamed under pressure before milling. This process hardens the grain, reducing the possibility of over-cooking. It also helps to retain much of the natural vitamin and mineral content present in the milled layers.

When raw the rice has a golden colour but turns white upon cooking. Can be used in the same dishes as regular long-grain, and is especially good in rice salads.

Brown or (wholegrain) long-grain-rice…

This rice has a distinctly nutty flavour. Brown Rice undergoes only minimal milling, which removes the husk but retains the bran layer. Due to this, the rice retains more vitamin, mineral and fibre content than regular or easy cook white rice. The grains remain separate when cooked, like long-grain white, but take longer to soften. The cooked grains have a chewy texture, which many people enjoy. It is also available in the easy-cook form.

Risotto Rice…

chestnuts sprouts risotto

This rice has medium -length polished grains which can absorb a great deal of liquid while still retaining its shape. There are several types of risotto rice including the popular arborio and carnaroli. When cooking risotto rice it is necessary to stir regularly and stock should be added periodically throughout the cooking to prevent the rice sticking and burning.

Jasmine or Thai fragrant rice…

Aromatic rice its flavour is slightly less pronounced than basmati. It originates from Thailand. The length and slenderness of the grains suggest that they should remain separate on cooking but it differs from other long-grain rices in that it has a soft and slightly sticky texture when cooked. Good with Chinese and South-East Asian food.

Thai Glutinous Rice( Sticky Rice)…

A staple in the Thai diet but it is growing in popularity in the Western World. It is not as the name suggests high in gluten… this rice is soaked in water prior to cooking for at least 30 minutes or overnight and it is then steamed. Although the grains stay seperate they are rolled between the fingers into a ball and eaten with a spicy dip or fish/chicken and papaya salad…It can also be cooked in coconut milk and served with mango as a dessert.

Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango( Khao Neow Mamuang)

This dessert is almost an iconic Thai dessert…sticky rice soaked in coconut milk with luscious ripe mango. A match made in foodie heaven.

The rice is soaked in water for at least an hour and then just put in the rice and steamed this takes about 15 minutes.

To prepare the milk:

 Heat 1 cup of coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and let the coconut milk simmer. DO NOT let it boil hard as coconut milk will curdle.

 Add  2 tbsp of sugar and 2 pinches of salt. Remove from heat. Pour 3/4 of the hot coconut milk over  1 cup of the hot sticky rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. The hot sticky rice will absorb all the coconut milk. The rice should be a little mushy.

 Spoon the rest of the coconut milk on top of the rice when it is time to serve.

Enjoy!

Short grain rice…

There are several types of short stubby polished rice such as pudding rice and sushi rice. These usually have a high starch content and cook into tender grains that cling together and can be shaped easily.

Thank you for joining me in my kitchen I hope you have some fun and came away learning something or maybe you have some store cupboard tips? If so please share I love it when we have interaction and it benefits us all xx

About Carol Taylor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend  xx

This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars…

Welcome to my kitchen where anything goes…I made a few changes last week and didn’t that go well?

Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard…Of things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking down into easy stages…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Don’t they always though…haha

TIP OF THE WEEK.

You are reading a recipe and come across something you have never heard of or know it is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t store well…It is well worth the time learning what you can substitute for an ingredient and often it doesn’t alter the taste at all …I will do a post on substitutes at a later date…But always do your research don’t let one ingredient put you off making a recipe…

Staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...Today I am starting with flours and sugars…

Flours:

store cupboard flour

Photo credit: kev_walsh on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

A kitchen essential which is used in both sweet and savoury dishes…from baking cakes and pastries, pasta making, thickening gravy and making sauces…

The flour milling industry is one of the oldest manufacturing processes in the world…But with the changes and additions to flour and bread-making, some of it is akin to eating tasteless cardboard. Home baking is on the rise again…

Before I list the different flours and sugars I will add that I use unbleached flours and also check the origin of the flours I buy but for the purpose of a list of food basics, I am just mentioning uses not origins etc…The post would be too long and that isn’t the purpose of this post…

Cornflour/Cornstarch…Is a very fine white flour used to thicken sauces/gravies and also used to stabilise egg-based mixtures to stop it curdling.

Wheat Flours…Most recipes call for plain( all-purpose) flour. For recipes which call for a raising agent… self-raising flour has added raising agents. Wholemeal flour is available as both plain and self-raising. Flour labelled as a strong bread flour has more gluten and is suitable for making bread.

Gluten-free flours…For those with a diagnosed allergy to gluten which is found in wheat and other grains …Gluten-free flour is available from most supermarkets and health food stores.

Rice Flour…Rice flour (also rice powder) is a form of flour made from finely milled rice. It is distinct from rice starch, which is usually produced by steeping rice in lye. Rice flour is a common substitute for wheat flour. It is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.

Rice flour is used a lot here where I live to make the lightest of sponges which are also gluten-free…it is also what I use as a thickening agent instead of cornflour.

Raising Agents…Baking powder can be added to plain flour to give a lighter texture to cakes and biscuits( cookies). The powder works as it reacts to the liquids and heat during the cooking process which produces carbon dioxide bubbles which in turn makes the mixture rise.

Baking Soda is also a leavening agent BUT they are used for different purposes…The differences

Sugars…Refined and raw sugars are used to sweeten and flavour many different dishes…cakes, bakes, pastries, cookies, desserts and even savoury just a little sugar brings out the sweetness of the tomato.

Brown sugar…Dark, unrefined sugars have a rich caramel flavour. There are quite a few different types of brown sugar…Light and dark muscovado (brown) sugar and dark molasses sugar. The rule of thumb is the darker the sugar the more intense the flavour. Palm sugar is my sugar of choice here and quite recently I came across banana flower sugar.

Castor sugar/superfine sugar…Is a fine-grained white sugar which is used in baking cakes and biscuits( cookies)

Demerara/raw sugar… A large crystalized sugar with a rich, slightly honeyish flavour. It is great for adding texture to cookies( biscuits) and coffee.

Granulated sugar…This refined white sugar has large crystals. It is used for sweetening drinks and everyday cooking, it can also be used as a crunchy cookie or cake topping…lovely mixed with lemon or orange juice and poured on top of a warm cake…It gives a lovely citrus crunch. It can also be used in a crumble topping for extra texture.

Icing/Confectioners sugar…The finest of all refined sugars this sugar has a powdery texture and is ideal for dusting cakes, confectionery, desserts and cookies(biscuits) such a sim0le effective decoration especially if feathered or a stencil is used. It is also used for making icing for caked or sweetening flavoured creams…

If you are setting up your store cupboard from scratch I would first decide on a suitable dry, dark cupboard and make sure you have adequate containers.

Source some favourite recipes and write your list…Before you go out and buy a great deal on flour or sugar check the shelf life there is no good buying cheap money saving packets by the kilo if you don’t bake cakes often …Start small and monitor how it goes…what do you the most of? we all use more of certain food staples than others so don’t stuck with something you hardly ever use…

For example, I use more rice flour and raw sugar than I do icing sugar…SO I buy small because it is so humid here it goes hard and lumpy.

Although it is lovely to have a well-stocked pantry( store) cupboard it is not exactly fun reading is it and I always like to inject a little fun into my posts…This short clip made me laugh out loud it was so funny…Not a show I have watched I just chanced upon the clip…I hope you find it as funny as I did…

 

Thank you for joining me in  my kitchen I hope you have some fun xx

About Carol Taylor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

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Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend  xx