Category: FOOD & DRINKS

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Stir-up Sunday

A Christmas Pudding, sometimes cream or custard etc are added as a topping.

 

Stir-up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent.  The custom comes from when families & relatives gathered together and stir the ingredients of a traditional British Christmas pudding before the first Sunday in Advent as observed by Anglican churches.

There is a Collect (prayer)

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’  

Also, It allows time for the pudding to mature properly for the month before the Christmas Day meal. By tradition, each member of a family or participant is encouraged to make a wish as they stir.

The pudding mixture is stirred from East to West in honour and remembrance of the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus with their gifts.

In some households, silver coins are added to the pudding mix. It is believed that finding a coin brings good luck.

I remember as a child in the 1960s, my mother would traditionally put & stir ‘silver’ sixpence coins known colloquially as a tanner into the mixture. Later when the UK went decimal ‘other’ silver coins were added.

It is believed that like Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, Christmas puddings were introduced to the UK in the 1800s, by Prince Albert, who was the husband and consort to Queen Victoria.

There can be some variations of ingredients, traditional puddings mainly contain dried fruits, raisins etc. The mixture and cake are held together by egg and suet &  sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses. It is flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and or other spices. Measured alcohol is added, mainly brandy but dark beers or stout can be used.

Before the pudding is served during the Christmas meal, some households set light to the pudding as the alcohol content allows it to burn briefly as part of the serving tradition.

The pudding is usually aged for a month or more,[or even a year until the following Christmas Day; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.

 

 

 

Chicken Karaage (Japanese Chicken popcorn Recipe)

Chciken Karaage, photo by JMorton

I saw a bit of GMA’s Mars on youtube and like the recipe of the Japanese version of a fried chicken. Thanks to Benjamin Alves, the guest celebrity cook, for making it looks so easy to make and yet so yummy. All the women in the show were all saying how good it was.

Chicken Karaage (Japanese Chicken popcorn Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 6-8 pieces of boneless, with skin on chicken thighs; each thigh, depending on the size, should be cut into two or three pieces.
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 cup cornstarch/cornflour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • slices of lemon to garnish

Method of preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, season the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper. Set this aside.
  2. Make the marinade using a different container. Mix thoroughly the ginger, garlic and brown sugar with the soy sauce and sake.
  3. Pour this mixture onto the chicken thighs. Mix well to soak all the crevices of the chicken thighs.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. After an hour or so, heat the oil in large frying pan or wok for deep frying.
  6. Before frying, each of the chicken pieces, roll each one into the cornflour and then let it sizzle in the hot oil until done.
  7. Serve with your favourite sauce.

Itadakimasu

Ripen Fruits with a Banana

Ripening tomatoes with banana, photo by PH Morton

Food Tips

Ripen Fruits with a Banana

 

Now that summer has rolled into autumn, it is now time to gather in the fruits and vegetables still in the garden before the onset of cold weather and frost.

 

 

From his experience of keeping an allotment for more than 50 years, Mick, our neighbour, and good friend has lots of tips for gardening and how to store the yield produce.

He said to ripen green tomatoes, store them with a banana in a closed container. We use spare space in a kitchen drawer.

Peter applied this tip with a few green tomatoes last night and when he checked them this morning and found that they had started to ripen. (See above photo)

Remember!

Do not refrigerate an unripe banana.  The temperature of the fridge will halt the natural ripening process of a banana and would now remain green and unripe even when taken out of the fridge.

Ginisang Munggo with Talong (Mung Beans Stew with Aubergine)

Filipino Recipe

Mung Bean Stew. Photo by PH Morton

Ginisang Munggo with Talong (Mung Beans Stew with Aubergine)

This is a delicious recipe which is easy to make.  Very filling and will delight the whole family especially during winter time.

Below is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mung beans (can be left to stand in lots of water to make the beans swell and would cut minutes of cooking time)
  • 1 medium size aubergine (eggplant), sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 100 g pork belly, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method of Preparation:

    • In a medium size pan, cover the mung beans with enough water and bring to a boil.  Lower down the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Carefully discard the water and some of the green bean husks that gather to the top.
    • Using a casserole pan, fry the garlic and onion until golden brown.
    • Stir in the pork slices and cook until brown all over.
    • Add the ginger, stir.
    • Add 4 cups of water, crush the vegetable bouillon over it.
    • Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
    • Add the mung beans, cover the pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes more.
    • Pour in the fish sauce, give it a stir.
    • Add the aubergine and cover the casserole once again and allow to cook for five minutes.
    • Check the seasoning, add salt according to taste.  Give it a good measure of black pepper.
    • Enjoy with freshly boiled rice.

Yum, ang sarap

Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Green beans & Squash With Coconut Milk)

Ginataang sitaw at kalabasa with fried fish, photo by Mae Mercado-Sanguer

Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Green beans & Squash With Coconut Milk)

I am very partial to recipes that call for coconut milk.  It makes the dish creamy and rich tasting.  Just love it.

I urge you to try this recipe as it is really something.

This recipe uses meat.  Another recipe we have uses shrimps, which is equally good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small or 1/2 a squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cubed
  • 200g string beans (green beans), cut into about 1½ to 2 inches lengths.
  • 100 g pork, cut into bite-size pieces.
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped or minced finely
  • 1/4 cup shrimp paste (bagoong na alamang) or 1¼ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1½tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Sauté the garlic and onion.
  • Add the pork and stir-fry until golden all over.
  • Stir in the shrimp paste, if using.
  • Pour in the water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer until most of the liquid had evaporated and the meat had softened.
  • Drop in the squash and string beans.
  • If not using shrimp paste, then add the fish sauce.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and continue to stir well until it begins to boil.
  • Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and black pepper according to your taste.

Delicious served with freshly boiled rice and any leftover is fantastic as breakfast with some fried rice.

Chicken Adobo a la London

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I was happy how this recipe turned out. It was really good. Perfect for parties, bring it out in the garden for an additional summer barbecue fare.

Chicken Adobo a la London

Ingredients

2 lbs chicken pieces of thighs and legs
3 pieces dried bay leaves, I used those fresh from my garden
3 tbsp soy sauce
6 tbsp vinegar
3 -6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 cup water
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp Demerara Sugar
1 tsp whole peppercorn
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a little container,  mix together the soy sauce and garlic.
  2. In a separate large glass container, a lidded Pyrex glass, arrange the chicken pieces and then pour over them the soy sauce mix to marinate for at least three hours or overnight in the fridge.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
  4. Fry the marinated chicken pieces and garlic slivers in the oil.  Cook the  the chicken until golden brown on all sides.  Be careful with the frying as bazookas of hot oil and liquid sometimes will shoot out. 🙂 Ouch
  5. I transferred the cook chicken pieces into a casserole pan and then poured into it the remaining marinade, also adding the cup of water and vinegar. (My mother had told me never to stir the adobo before the vinegary sauce has started to boil. – No idea why!)
  6. Add the bay leaves and whole peppercorn, put the lid on the casserole and simmer for half an hour or until chicken is cooked.
  7. Sprinkle in the sugar.
  8. Check that the sauce is to your liking.  Add more vinegar if not rightly sour, add soy sauce if it is still bland and if preferred season with a dash of salt.
  9. Serve Immediately with freshly boiled rice.

Optional!  To make the Chicken Adobo that little bit more special:

From Step 8, continue cooking a little longer.

  • Minced a couple of garlic cloves
  • Heat a little oil and saute the garlic.
  • Take out the chicken pieces from the casserole, leaving the sauce to simmer until it reduces.
  • Fry the chicken pieces in the garlic until they start to sizzle.
  • Arrange neatly in a serving platter and pour sauce over the pieces.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Blackberries in Salt & Vinegar

Blackberries in vinegar, photo by JMorton

I am currently watching the semi-finals between England and Croatia.  England dominated the first half with a 1-nil to England.

As it is half-time, I suddenly craved something sour.  I spied at around lunchtime that the blackberries, growing wildly in our garden are now ripening.

Actually, I picked those which are not fully ripe yet.  They taste better in vinegar and they are crispier and crunchier with that burst of sour taste.

When the blackberries are fully ripe, I will be baking a blackberry and apple crumble.

If you want to try my sour blackberries, then half a cup to half a cup of firm ripening blackberries.  Wash thoroughly and drain.

Add to it a tablespoon of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.  These vinegars have that spicy and wonderful smell about it, really sour.

Then sprinkle a little salt, give it a stir.

Ready to crunch,

Yum

Sadly a young, relatively inexperienced and talented England team lost 2-1 in extra time, but far exceeded expectations with hope for the future. I still enjoyed my snack 🙂

Blackberries in Salt & Vinegar

 

 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussel sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are full of goodness.  They contain a lot of folate and indoles, which are bioflavanoids and nitrogen compound. Indoles are supposed to reduce the risk of cancer.

Brussels sprout is cabbage lookalike in miniature. And like cabbage, brussels sprout can cause flatulence.

Choose small green ones and they can be store in the fridge in a paper bag.  Keep them unwashed to prevent them going yellow and tasting bitter and soggy when cooked.

And they got their name from Brussels in Belgium.

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