Category: Food Preparation Tips

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.

Aromatic Crispy Duck

Peking Duck Parcel, photo by JMorton

Aromatic Crispy Duck

Crispy aromatic duck is a very popular Chinese meal starter.

It is a  treat!

The aroma promises a savoury delight to come as the chef or server starts shredding the crispy duck using a couple of forks at your table.

A bit shredded meat at a time would be wrapped in a pancake with cucumber and spring onion sticks generously drizzled with hoisin sauce.

This divine little parcel is good to go.

yum!

A good friend once said that instead of using spring onions, a good substitute would be a leek, with its onion taste as well as easier to cut.

 

 

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel Bulb, photo by PH Morton

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is related to the carrot family and indigenous to the Mediterranean but they are now grown in many parts of the world.

It is a perennial herb with yellow flowers. It is very aromatic.

Fennel is very versatile.  The bulbs, see above, foliage (leaves) and seeds are widely used in culinary around the world.

The bulb is delicious drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then baked in the oven.  It is sweet tasting, perfect starter or as a side dish with roast meat or even baked fish dishes.

Click here for the baked fennel bulb.

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.

 

Fried Prawns (Shrimps)

Prawns

Prawns, photo by Arnold Gamboa

Fried Prawns (Shrimps)

Prawns and shrimps are my favourite seafood.  The simpler they are cook the better.

Below is that kind of recipe, easy to follow and can be done in the least possible time.

 

Ingredients

  • 12 large prawns
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt, according to taste
  • vegetable oil

Method of Preparation:

  • Wash the prawns in warm salty water.
  • Put them whole in a large lidded pan with the water and a little bit of salt.
  • Cover the pan and cook until the water has evaporated.
  • Add a couple of tablespoon of cooking oil into the pan. Stir fry the shrimps until covered with the hot oil.
  • Serve hot with some sliced tomatoes and shallots.
  • Enjoy

 

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 is beetroot. 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). Excessive bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce its 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 homegrown 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 suitably 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.

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon sashimi, photo by Arnold Gamboa

Salmon Sashimi

With sashimi, there are at least three things to consider:  The freshness of the fish, a good sharp chef’s knife or a miyabi and a solid chopping board.

Ingredients

  • 200 g fresh salmon fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp wasabi sauce

Method of Preparation:

Clean the salmon first and then pat dry with paper towel.

Put the fillet on the chopping board.

Proceed to slice the salmon as thinly, about 1 cm in thickness maximum and as cleanly as possible.  A really sharp knife is a must.

Arrange the strips on a dainty serving plate with a little ceramic bowls of the soy sauce and wasabi sauce.

Enjoy!

 

 

Authentic Maki Zushi

Sushi platter, photo by Arnold Gamboa

Authentic Maki Zushi

I will not be telling porkies here but making sushi is somewhat difficult!  I am not only talking about the process of rolling these little babies but actually more on the ingredients and the preparation.

The rice!  It has to be cooked to perfection and the fish and vegetables should be at their freshest.

Before you say no to sushi making, please stop! 🙂 We should all be reminded that Rome was not built in a day, as the saying goes.  We have to persevere; make an effort and acquire new skill for a potentially delicious reap.

To be continued! 🙂

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