Welcome to this month’s Culinary trawl through the alphabet and it is the letter H. The choices on what to showcase were many and I had quite a hard time deciding which ones to feature. Otherwise, you could be looking at something akin to War and Peace and we all want peace in our kitchens don’t we?
Also known as Nectar of the Gods.
Where do I get my honey? Well, my first bottle, I was sitting on the beach with my sundowner, fending off the ever-present sellers of touristy bits and bobs, when a man appeared carrying a very heavy-looking bucket. What did he have? Well, I had to look and what a surprise, it was fresh, very fresh honeycomb, and he strained the most glorious bottle of fresh honey. I just had to purchase it, the taste was so fresh and very slightly scented, amazing and a beautiful golden color.
Now I have moved to the North of Thailand I get my honey straight from the comb, I am so lucky and I know that and it is beautiful.
I always take a little apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey in hot water first thing in the morning, on an empty tummy. I have been taking it for a couple of years. It is said to fight off joint inflammation and I don’t suffer from joint pain or anything.
Honey mixed with Dijon mustard makes a lovely glaze for BBQ meats.
Or one of my favorites is
3/4 cup of honey
Red chilies finely chopped, 1 tbsp
Green chilies finely chopped, 1 tbsp
Lime juice, 1 tbsp.
Mix all together and leave for 1 hour in the fridge it is then ready to use.
Another wonderful dip for a cold meat platter on a summer’s day…
To make you will need:
- 2 tbsp oil,
- 3 garlic cloves chopped,
- 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes,
- 1/3 cup honey,
- 2 tsp soy sauce,
- 2 tsp rice vinegar,
- ¼ to ½ cup water
- and 2 tsp cornstarch.
In a small bowl stir together the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ¼ cup of water and the cornstarch.
Put the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and let the mix warm up for about 30 seconds, add the garlic and cook until fragrant and just starting to color, 15-20 seconds max.
Add the red pepper flakes and cook for another 15-30 seconds until garlic is very lightly browned.
Restir the honey mixture and pour into the saucepan, bring to a simmer stirring, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins stirring frequently.
Add more water if desired.
You now have a lovely dip for your cold platter.
What I also love is chilli infused honey.
Place honey in a saucepan and warm until it reaches 180 degrees on a sugar thermometer. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Then pour your honey over a jar of chilies. Cool to room temperature.
Beautiful with meat or fish.
The hamburger or burger as most commonly called first appeared around the 19th century or early 20th century and the evidence suggest that it originated in the U.S.A and consisted of two pieces of bread and a ground beefsteak. How far has it evolved since then??
There are great burgers and there are the worst burgers you could ever eat. Me I am not a fan of the burger and on the odd occasion when we do have them I make my own. There are the schools of thought of which the late Anthony Bourdain was one that a burger should be just that and not have so much in it that you couldn’t get your mouth around it. I have seen pictures of some huge ones so I do tend to agree with him that less is more.
My favorite burger is a beef, red, onion and parmesan burger.
350 gm best beef mince
1 med red onion very finely chopped reserving a few whole rings of onion to go in the burger.
2 med eggs yolks beaten
25 gm breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp oregano
35 gm parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper.
If you are cooking your burgers on the BBQ then the first job is to get the BBQ going as you want it nice and hot.
Chop the onion finely and blitz in the food processor…add the egg yolks with the breadcrumbs, spices and Dijon mustard mix to combine. Finely grate the parmesan and mix in well.
Add the mince and season well..I always cook a tiny little patty as a tester that way it is easier to adjust the seasoning.
I find mixing with your hands is a good way to combine the ingredients properly once mixed then form into the sized burgers you require.
Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up before putting onto the BBQ or grill.
Drizzle with olive oil and season when you put them on the griddle and cook for 4 mins each side more if you like your burgers well done.
Once the burgers are done then let them rest for a few minutes before putting them in the burger bun.
Serve in a toasted bun with sliced red onion and relish of your choice. Plain and simple but really tasty.
Fresh Herbs are something that I always have in my fridge and my garden, Don’t you?
Also, I want to show you that it is not time-consuming to give your food that little extra pizzaz…Food should be tempting, it should be fun and enjoyable as well as being good for you…and the occasional treat…Have it! Enjoy it! Safe in the knowledge that most of the time what you and your family are eating is good, healthy food… but never boring!
Some herbs you can grow at home and pick them fresh knowing that they are pesticide free. How satisfying is that???
They are also something that I sometimes forget that I have or keep meaning to use and end up throwing them away. Does the same thing happen in your house?
It is always those tender herbs like coriander, basil, mint, parsley or chives…The hardy herbs are the ones I always keep in the freezer.
Well, no more will I be throwing away my herbs I decided that I would use my herbs more or less immediately or do something with them.
I think herbs always lift an ordinary dish and make it a little bit more special for example, if you are having a salad just snip a few herbs and toss them in with your normal salad vegetables or if you fancy a salad and have no salad in the fridge then a salad made of freshly picked herbs from the garden or the hedgerow makes a refreshing change.
Freeze some chopped herbs in ice-cube trays and then all have to do is drop one or two into your cooking when herbs are needed.
Or make some lovely herb butter ideal for melting over your fish or dropping in a sauce.
Add mint leaves to that bowl of ice cream see how much more refreshing it is.
Half and Half:
Half and half known as single cream in the UK is a blend of whole milk and light cream it also cannot be whipped. It does, of course, have a higher fat content than ordinary milk but adds that touch of creaminess to sauces, coffee, ice cream bases, rice pudding, mashed potatoes it has many uses in the kitchen. It is, however, better to add at the end of your cooking as if you overheat it then it will curdle.
What an intriguing name? It is a type of omelet with the original and most common version being made of Oysters, bacon, and eggs which sounds like a wonderful combo to me. It was originally made famous in the Californian Gold Rush in the 1850’s there are also many tales surrounding this dish from prisoners on death row ordering one as there last meal knowing that the Oysters have to be shipped in so many tales I am sure there is a book somewhere.
Quite simply to hull means to remove the stems of fruit like strawberries without just slicing the top off which not only wastes some of the lovely fruit it spoils the look of the fruit.
Originating from Lancashire in North West England it is made of lamb or mutton and onions topped with sliced potatoes and cooked slowly in the oven…
3 tbsp Tahini Paste with
2 tbsp fresh Lemon Juice and blitz in food processor.
Add 2tbsp Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic,
½ tsp ground Cumin and a
½-1 tsp salt and blitz.
Then add half of drained, rinsed can of chickpeas and again blitz 1-2 mins.
Add the other half of Chick Peas and blitz again 1-2 mins.
Put in a suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with Paprika.
Voila, it’s now ready to eat with Sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.
This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.
Haggis is traditionally served on Burns Night which is a Scottish Celebration of the famous Rabbie Burns a Scots poet. Made from sheep’s pluck ( heart, liver and lungs) which is minced and mixed with oatmeal, suet, onions, spice, salt and moistened with a rich stock it is then cooked in an animals stomach and served with neeps( swede/turnip) and tatties( potatoes) and of course a dram of Scotch Whisky to wash it down.