Category: Food Dictionary

Bisquick Recipe

Flour

My good friend, Bess Mercado, cooked Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits which has bisquick as the main ingredient.

By all account this Red Lobster Cheddar bay biscuit is rather delicious.  It is therefore worth finding out how it is cooked especially as I have never heard of a bakery selling them in London.

I am not familiar with bisquick to be honest. But I want to know what is it.

Thank goodness, I found and easy recipe for it which as follows.

Bisquick Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¹/3 cup butter or margarine

Method of Preparation:

  • To correctly mix the baking powder and salt with the flour, they must be sift three times into a mixing bowl.
  • Cut the butter or margarine into small cubes and rub them in to the sifted flour until they resemble bread crumbs.
  • Now it is ready to go; it can be cooked immediately or keep in the fridge for a few weeks until needed.

 

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.

Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.

One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time are beetroots. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce it’s quality.

All Photos By PH Morton

After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals.  This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂

If using home grown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.

Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.

Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.

Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-

  1. Pickling /preserve jars with airtight lids. The normal size is around 500ml, or as large as you want. Most hardware stores will supply.
  2. Pickling vinegar, which comes in 1.4 litre size. Most larger supermarkets etc supply.
  3. Brown or white sugar granules to sweeten the vinegar taste to your choice.

Place the beetroots in a suitable sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.

Boil for two hours.

Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.

Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.

The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.

Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.

Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.

Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.

If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.

Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.

But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.

Know your noodles

Noodles have become a staple for home-cooking. This east Asian staple comes in various shapes and sizes. As a reference the following are some of the types of noodle which are widely available in supermarkets:

Know your noodles

Just remember that noodles dishes can sometimes contain a lot of oil to keep the strands from sticking together.

Egg Noodle

This type of noodles are available fresh or dried. Egg Noodle usually has a distinct yellow colour. Ideal for stir-frying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Rice Noodles

This noodle is very thin and needs to be soaked in hot water before use.  This is also called vermicelli noodles or affectionately as stick noodles. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Glass Noodles

Glass noodles are also call cellophane noodles or bean vermicelli. They are made from mung beans and are good in salad.  This is my favourite noodles which is called sotanghon in the Philippines.

 

 

 


 

Udon Noodles

udon

udon

 

These are good in soup. The noodles are made from whole wheat and can be available dried or fresh.


 

Flat rice noodles or Ho fun

This is a white noodle which is available fresh or dried and in different widths.

This noodle is particularly popular in Vietnamese cooking but it originated in China.

 

 

 

 


 

Below is a recipe for a handmade noodles. If you have time, it is rather self-satisfying to roll your own.

 

 

Handmade Noodles Recipe

Ingredients:

125 g plain flour  or all purpose flour

2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup boiling water

1 tsp vegetable oil

Method of Preparation:

  • Sift the flour, cornflour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour mix.
  • Add the boiling water and 1 tsp of oil.
  • Use a wooden spatula the mix until it turns into a soft dough.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with cling film and leave for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Now make the noodles by hand.  Take a small ball of dough and roll it into a flat surface with your palm until the ball elongates into long strips, i.e. noodle.
  • Repeat until all the dough has been industriously turned into noodles. 🙂

 

Bamboo Shoots


Bamboo Shoots

Photo by Haragayato of Tokyo, Japan

If you are rather partial to Chinese food, you are probably familiar with bamboo shoots.

And if you have been to the Philippines, it is possible that you have come across bamboo shoots in menus.  Probably they would have been called labong in the Tagalog regions or rabong in the Ilocos region.  They are also often called ubod.

Outside of Asia, bamboo shoots would most probably come in cans/tins or jars.

Bamboo shoots are usually harvested during the rainy season when they shoots grow profusely.  As per above photo, the shoots are like cones covered in papery, a la papyrus, brownish and greenish leaves.  The outer shell of leaves are then trimmed off leaving a yellowish tuber.

They can be cooked in variety of ways and can then be also made into a delicious if rather spicy and piquant salad.

 

Know Your Knives

Knives Block, Photo by jMORTON

Know Your Knives

A good working kitchen has to have a set of sharp knives.

Did you know?

There are more likely to have accident with a blunt rather than sharp knives.  Strange but true, I am afraid.

And there are  knives for every corresponding jobs.

Cheese Knife

There are actually quite a few types of cheese knives as there are of course quite a large amount of different cheeses.  There are hard cheese, soft cheese, aged cheese, smoke cheese, and even spreadable cheese.  So different knife for different kind.  The above though is a favourite one.  It can cut and it can certainly spread.  The pointed tip and even spear cheese.

Cleaver

A cleaver is a rather heavy knife.  Its weight is so useful chopping bony meat or large and rather hard or tough vegetables.

Bread Knife

This is so useful.  Have you had experience of cutting bread with just an ordinary knife and the bread turns into crumbs rather than elegant slices?!!!  You need a bread knife.

Carving Knife

Chef Knife

Boning Knife.  This knife is essential for deboning meat.

Paring Knife.

Favourite Knife 🙂

This is modelled from a Japanese Santoku knife, which is a general purpose knife. Its scalloped blade prevent meat, vegetables and fish from sticking into the blade, which saves time decluttering the blade as you slice.

Sharperner Rod

A sharpener rod is so useful in the kitchen.  As soon as you feel your knife is starting to blunt, just reach for the rod and run your knife against it a few times and you have a sharp knife again.  Couldn’t be easier.

Rice Cooker – Kitchen Hero

Rice cooker, photo by JMorton

Rice Cooker – Kitchen Hero

I am fairly new to using a rice cooker. For 30 years here in London, I have been cooking rice, boiled in normal sauce pan.  Sometimes, it cooks okey, sometimes it ends in disaster; pretty hit and miss and more on the miss.  But I have never thought of getting a rice cooker.  I supposed since living in London, I have not been eating rice like the way I ate it in the Philippines, which is almost 3 times a day, every day.

Here, I would cook rice, perhaps once every 3 months, if that.  And my family here, do not really eat rice, only in curries or chili con carne.

It was watching Korean dramas that I got to notice the rice cooker.  They have one in almost every drama or every household.

I ordered one in Argos.  I chose the Breville model as it was on sale as well as it has just a good review.  It is sizeable enough that you can cook rice for a large family.

I am so glad now that I bought a rice cooker.  The rice is cooked perfect everytime and with such minimal effort.  It automatically cook it and stay heating the rice afterwards, if so wish.  No more burning rice, no more watery rice, no more half-cook rice.

Same amount of rice to same amount of water, that easy.

I can even cook rice late at night and be ready for fried rice in the morning.

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

These photos were taken at the Ferdinand Marcos Ancestral House Museum, which is located at Batac Ilocos Norte.

The above ‘banga’ can be found in the house kitchen.

Having lived in London for several decades, walking through Marcos’s house is like going back in time, especially around the kitchen.  I suddenly recognised things that I have forgotten.

If you happen to be in Vigan and wanted to have a trip on memory lane, that is if you are as ancient as me, or curious about Ilocano household before the 90s, then I would recommend a visit to this museum.

….

We used banga to cook our viand or ‘abraw’ when we were still living in Marag.  The conical shape of banga sit perfectly on the 3 prong terracotta stove which uses firewood.

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

Kangkong, photo by JMorton

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

I love kangkong, or water spinach as its English given name.

Kangkong is a green leafy aquatic vegetables which is rich in vitamins and nutrients.  They have a long slender leaves attached to a hollow tube stem which is crunchy or there is bite to it. Yummy

They usually grow in anything watery plot, in fields, swamp, lakes, river or even in bogs.

I remember that they grew near a dyke in the middle of your rice field when we were still living in Marag.

Kangkong can grow rather vigorously and needed a good trim to prevent them overpowering the water surface.  Good thing they are so delicious.

I remember going into the waist-high water in our field to gather the kangkong sprout.  I almost had a near panic attack after a carabao leech decided to attached itself to my stomach. It took ages to remove it and it seems the more you pull at it the longer it gets.  That still gives me nightmare to date.

My father did smoke whenever he plowed the field.  He would use the burning ember of the cigarette to unhook any pesky leech.

Oops, back to kangkong, they are delicious in sinigang as were as blanch and made into a salad.

Alamat Ng Ampalaya (Legend of Bitter Gourd)

Ampalaya, Photo by PH Morton

Alamat Ng Ampalaya (Legend of Bitter Gourd)

Ampalaya is so bitter so it is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.  But having said that, once you get used to its taste, you might actually love it as an ingredients to many recipes.

Ampalaya, is a Tagalog name for bitter gourd and it is called parya in the Ilocos region of the Philippines where I spent my childhood eating our own homegrown parya.

There is a Filipino legend how this vegetable got its bitter taste.

 


Alamat ng Ampalaya:

Once upon a time, there was a Green Garden, where all sorts of vegetables grew robustly and profusely.

In this verdant garden, there grew pumpkins with unique sweetness.

There were tomatoes with slight sourness but with fair, soft complexion.

The eggplants were sublime in their royal purple coats.

The lettuce carpeted the ground with their dewey leaves as they look up to the early morning sun.

The jicamas were as fresh and crisp as a new day.

Rhizomes of spicy ginger stood majestically amongst the vegetables.

The onions, shyly confident with their breathtaking thin delicate skin, that they make one cry!.

The daikon radish is the fairest of them all and knows it very well. 🙂

In the far corner stood a little gourd, waiting, watching, hoping to be noticed.

But she was different from the rest, she was wan and pale with a taste that was hard to explain . Day after day she watched the others with their boasting, their preening, their chattering, their joy.

She can’t help  but compare herself with them.  The more she does the more she thought that she cannot measure up with anyone.  As days passed, she can’t bear it anymore, she planned and plotted to carry out a most heinous scheme.

As soon as it got dark, she stealthily went from one vegetable to the next and the next until she had taken all their outstanding qualities.

Overnight the ampalaya became the belle of the Green Garden.  Everyone where asking where did she come from.  She was admired for her beauty and utter perfection.

But there is no secret that can be hidden forever.  The other vegetables start to suspect that there is something that is not quite right.

As  the sun was just setting, the vegetables covertly followed ampalaya in her corner of the Green Garden.  To their amazement, they saw her peel each of the layers of the qualities that made her so perfect.  Without much ado, the vegetables frogmarched the now wan and pale ampalaya to see the Fairy Queen of the Green Garden.

The Queen was not amused.  She looked over at the amplaya and could not believe why she was not satisfied with her beautiful pale appearance!  As a punishment, she let it be known that from the next new light, the ampalaya will wake up with dark warty lumpy skin and the bitterest of taste.  And she would always either be loved or hated for all eternity.

Moral of the story:  everyone is beautiful, you just have to cultivate your own asset!

 

%d bloggers like this: