Tag Archives: This week in my kitchen

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

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

 

 

This week in my Kitchen…Chettinad Chicken Masala and more…

This week in my kitchen…It is too hot to stay in the kitchen for very long and when it is hot and humid I don’t want to eat.

Fruits in season this month here are Mangoes of all sorts, Custard Apples, Sala Fruit, Mangosteen, Pineapple, Watermelon, Lychee, Dragon Fruit, Rambutan, Small Banana all delicious and readily available everywhere street corners and markets…The good thing here is it can be cut while you wait which means no waste and no difference in price and always a lovely dip to go with it…

The small bananas are nice and creamy, sweet and very nutritious lovely for snacking on they are also BBQ or fried with or without batter …Very nice served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…

Dragon fruit is one of the prettiest of fruits and always catches my eye which this lovely red fleshed one did the other day…Lovely to look at but not much flavour so into the blender it went with a few blackberries and blueberries, some greek yoghurt and some raw honey…

 

Look at the colour of that and it tasted awesome…

I seemed to come back loaded from market this week mangoes as I need to make more mango chutney I mean an Indian curry just isn’t the same without it is it? Some beautiful, red tomatoes to make my sauce for spag bol, chilli or anything else which needs tomatoes…Because of the BPA lining in tins of tomatoes, I won’t buy tinned tomatoes just when you think you are winning the war on plastic in your home…It is what manufacturers coat the inside of many tinned foods…

A bowl of ripe tomatoes

BPA is an endocrine disruptor that interrupts hormones and, in laboratory experiments on animals, has been linked with breast cancer, prostate cancer, hyperactivity and other metabolic and behavioural problems, diseases which are all on the rise in the West. But the plastics and chemicals industries insist its use is safe and accuse campaigners of misleading the public, pointing to industry-funded studies involving large numbers of rodents that have shown no harm…How many times have we believed manufacturers to then find out years later that it was all true and just what they wanted us to think for the sake of their profits…

Recycling Corner:

Would you recycle more at home if you had the correct recycling bins, can crushers and other tools to make recycling easier? Well, have a look at this…I think it is such a cool idea…

What else was cooking in my kitchen this week…

Chettinad Masala Powder:

Ingredients:

  • 16 dried red chillies
  • 4 tsp of black pepper
  • 3 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp dried unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-star anise
  • 8 cloves
  • 4 x 1-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 20 fresh/dried curry leaves

Dry roast all the ingredients you may have to do this in a couple of batches depending on your pan but be careful not to burn the spices.

Transfer to a plate or dish and allow to cool down before grinding to a powder.

Indian-spices- roasted- curry

Chettinad Masala roasted spices

 

Store in an airtight container. This recipe makes enough for 3/4 curries.

The original recipe I found on Madraasi @ a Tamilian Tales and is now my go-to Indian curry spice mix and one we all love…

Now to the recipe for the Chicken Masala.

  • 500gm Chicken.
  • 2 tbsp Oil or ghee
  • 1 large Onion.
  • 2 Large tomatoes pureed.
  • 1-2 sprigs Curry Leaves.
  • 1 Bay Leaf( Optional)

Marinade:

  • 1/8th tsp Tumeric.
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder.
  • 2 tsp lemon juice or Natural Yoghurt.
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped finely.
  • 1in piece fresh ginger chopped finely.
  • Salt as required.

Marinade the chicken.

Add oil to the pan and cook onions until golden, this adds more flavour.

SAM_7725

Add  3 tbsp of Masala mix and stir.

Add chicken, curry leaves and tomatoes.

SAM_7726

Add little water, bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to simmer until chicken cooked.

imagesXL6V2C5LServe with boiled rice, Mango Chutney and or nan bread.

This is a lovely curry well-flavoured and not over the top spicy.

That’s all for this week have a great weekend…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!

MeWe

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.com/i/caroltaylor3 

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://carolcooks2.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 are having a great weekend and have a creative week ahead xx

 

 

This week in my Kitchen…Week 13…Green tomato and egg curry, Keffir Limes and Hotcross Buns…

Welcome to week 13 in my kitchen…Lots of rain mixed with the sun this week which means lots of puddles to play in with little Lily… Songkram is only a few weeks away so we can get out our water pistols .

The market is full of lots of new fruits and vegetables which have just come into season, Durian is everywhere as is Jackfruit and Asian pears, the trees are laden with keffir Limes and tamarind there is not much young tamarind around now as it is maturing but much dried tamarind is to be found  and the mango season is in full swing they are ripe and lovely which means lots of smoothies everywhere…

Easter is nearly here and in case you missed it…The recipe for Hot Cross Buns….

buttered hot cross bun

Thai Mango Chicken …One of our favourite dishes when mango is in season…

For the Mango Sauce:

  • 2 fresh ripe mangos, fruit scooped out (or substitute 2 cups frozen or canned mango)
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and diced, or 1 tsp chilli sauce or 1/2 tsp dried crushed chilli
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, Take out the vein and roll and finely shred.

For the Chicken:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or rice flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 to 3 chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch-long pieces or you can cook the chicken breasts whole and slice..I have tried both ways and think I prefer to slice first.
  • 1/4 cup oil for pan-frying
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 mango, cut into chunks (to finish the dish) optional.
  • 3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk or water.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped. 

Let’s Cook! 

Place the 2 ripe mango cut into chunks, red chilli, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves in a food processor or blender. Blitz well, until more or less smooth.

Taste the sauce.

You should have a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Add more sugar if you find the sauce too sour (this will depend on the sweetness of your mangoes). If not spicy enough, add more chilli. If not salty/flavourful enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty or too sweet, add more lime juice. Play with your flavours add a little at a time and keep tasting as you can always add more it is harder to adjust the balance if you have put too much of one thing in…Just keep tasting…

Set to one side.

Then In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the chicken pieces and turn or gently stir them to coat evenly.

Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then begin frying the chicken pieces, 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until light golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and set on a paper towel.

Lastly, put a pan over medium-high heat and add the mango sauce plus red pepper. Bring to a gentle rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the peppers have softened but are still a little crispy

If the sauce becomes too thick, add 3 to 4 tablespoons water.

Add the fried chicken pieces, gently stirring them into the sauce. If desired, add chunks of mango (fruit of 1/2 to 1 ripe mango). Simmer briefly, just until everything is hot.

Do a final taste-test for salt (tasting the sauce together with the chicken). Add a little more fish sauce or chilli if desired.

Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with fresh coriander or some lightly pickled vegetables or deep fry some julienned vegetables and serve with  Thai jasmine-scented rice or rice of your choice.

Enjoy!

Next week I will bring you some recipes using Asian pears…

Asian Pears

Asian pears although similar in texture to an apple have the nutritional benefits of pears. These fruits are high in fibre, low in calories and contain a number of micronutrients that are important for blood, bone and cardiovascular health. Although delicious on their own, the light sweetness and crispy texture of Asian pears make them a unique addition to any salad or stir fry.

Durian…The king of fruits… This beautiful fruit is very nice to eat although many do not like the smell and indeed it is banned in many places…Airlines being one of them…

Durian fruit ready to eat

Durian is a very nutritious fruit rich in fibre, B-vitamins, vitamin C and various healthy plant compounds…It also makes for beautiful creamy ice cream…

Chef Anthony Bourdain once described it as “French-kissing your dead grandmother.”

Have you eaten or cooked with Durian? What are your thoughts?

Love it or Hate It?

This week’s Curry…Green Tomato and egg Curry…

There are lots of green tomatoes at the moment on the markets so I have experimented with this green tomato Curry… When I make a new curry or dish I always only make enough for 2/3 persons…Just in case…

Makes 2/3 portions

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium green tomatoes chopped
  • 3/4 spring onions sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic finely cut
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger finely cut
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 stem of curry leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped brown onion
  • 2 tsp oil/ghee
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 green chillies chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste.

Let’s Cook!

Heat oil or ghee in a pan add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for a few seconds stirring then add the chopped onions, green chilli and curry leaves cook until the onions are soft.

Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a minute and then add the tomatoes and spring onions then cook until the onions and tomatoes are soft.

green tomatoes cooking with spices

 

Add the other spices and add water as the tomatoes soften as required if the sauce gets too thick…Taste and season with salt as required.

Meanwhile, boil your eggs. Once the tomatoes have softened add the eggs and stir gently to coat with the sauce.

green tomato and egg curry

Serve with rice or flatbread…

I would make this again it is a spicy little sauce but the chillies pack some punch here I tried it with brown rice but would have bread next time as the sauce would be lovely scooped and eaten with bread.

This week’s desserts have been mainly tropical fruits and durian...But Hubby loves a crumble so I had some lovely mulberries which I saw on the market so he got a treat my deconstructed crumble…

These berries which I have just discovered by chance are very similar to our Blackberries maybe not quite as juicy but they taste very similar called Mon Ton here. So I thought I would treat the men to an Apple and Mulberry crumble.

Yes, everyone from she who doesn’t cook desserts hardy ever…A dessert!

I  have always cooked dishes like crumble the way my mum always did but for once I thought I would try something new and deconstruct it!

The original crumble is lovely but you always get that bit between the fruit and the crumble which goes soggy…Don’t you??

Ingredients for the topping:

  • 50 gm butter
  • 50 gm flour
  • 50 gm sugar
  • 50 gm ground almonds.

Fruit compote.

  • 2 apples peeled and cored, sliced.
  • 2 cups of mulberries
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp sugar.

Let’s Cook!

Put the apples and mulberries in a saucepan with 1/2 tbsp sugar and gently heat until the juices start to flow add a little water if required cook gently until the apple breaks down and is soft. The apples I get here are dessert apples so are quite sweet so I don’t add very much sugar…If you are using cooking apples then sweeten accordingly… I would use Bramley Apples in the Uk…I miss my Bramley apples.

Rub the butter into the flour then add the sugar and the nuts. Spread the mixture out on a baking tray and pop in a preheated oven on 180 degrees for 10- 15 minutes.

Crumble Topping

Stir once or twice to get an even golden colour. Watch it carefully as I …Yes, I did! I burnt the first batch… Then break up any large lumps.

Then assemble the fruit and crumble mix in layers… This went down a treat with the men here… They love it when I do my little sample batches…hovering they were…lolFruit crumble

I am so pleased I tried the crumble mix this way and it can also be varied you can use brown sugar and any type of flour you like. I mixed almonds and a few walnuts in the second batch I made and I might add cinnamon when I make it next time especially if I  use just apples.

You can also make any amount as long as all the measurement are equal. Today I made 20 gm for each ingredient as I was only making a sample the other day I did the 50 gm( that) was the one I burnt…

The topping has a nice sort of soft crunch to it and the sample I made today.. I didn’t get a look in although I didn’t mind I got a teaspoon full to try and the menfolk ate the rest.

It would also be nice served with custard, ice cream…Or my dairy free topping…I just whip a carton of chilled coconut milk and viola I had some lovely cream which tasted just as good as whipped fresh dairy cream…But Dairy free…How good is that? xxx

Thank you for joining me for this week in my kitchen 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 I bid you 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://carolcooks2.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

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

MeWe is a new social media and one which many of us are turning to mainly migrating over to as FB has banned many of my friends and for what seems no good reason that we can see I hope you will join us there.

MeWe: mewe.com/i/caroltaylor3

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