Brussels sprout

Brassica oleracea– Gemmifera Group.

Also known as Chou de Bruxelles (FR), Couve de Bruxelas (Po). It is a descendant of the common cabbage.

Brussels sprout, possibly originated in the area now called Belgium around 13th century, later moving to southern Netherlands, and the rest of north western Europe where it’s an important autumn and winter crop. It’s named after the capital of Belgium.

It’s grown for the enlarged buds (sprouts) formed in the leaf axils of erect, long stemmed plants. The buds (sprouts) are 2.5-4cm (1-1.6 inches) in diameter. They resemble miniature heads of cabbage, are consumed cooked and mostly purchased fresh, but frozen sprouts are also available.

They are similar to cabbage in taste but slightly milder in flavour and denser in texture.The characteristic flavour and taste is determined by presence of glucosinolates which are naturally occurring organic compounds that contain sulphur and nitrogen. Nutritionally, Brussel sprouts, have the same cancer inhibiting properties like cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. Continue reading

Navel Orange 

Perfect Eating Oranges

These oranges are large and thick skinned and easily identified by the “belly-button” scar located at the apex of the fruit. The ‘belly button” is as a result of the growth of a second fruit which protrudes slightly and resembles a human navel.

Navels are seedless, easy to peel, are easily segmented, and have a sweet-tart flavour with less juice, compared to Valencia. These characteristics make them perfect for eating.

They can also be used for juice but should be squeezed as needed because the juice turns bitter over time, even when refrigerated. The slight bitterness results from high concentration of limonin and other limonoids. Continue reading

What is Earl Grey Tea?

A black Tea Blend

Coconut Cherry Cake_4857 Earl Grey Tea is a black tea blend with a distinctive citrus flavour and aroma, derived from addition of oil of Bergamot, extracted from the fragrant rind of ‘Bergamot Orange’ (Citrus bergamia).

The name “Earl Grey” as applied to tea is not trademarked and therefore there are numerous tea companies that produce their own ‘versions of Earl Grey Tea” using a wide variety of tea leaves and additives. My favourite brand is Twinnings. Continue reading

Coconut Sugar

Coconut Palm Sugar myfavouritepastime.comCoconut sugar is produced from the sap tapped from the unopened coconut palm flower head (inflorescence). It’s also known as coco sugar, coconut palm sugar, coco sap sugar. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the south and south-east Asian regions.

Farmers make a cut on the immature flower head (spadix) and the sap starts to flow from the cut. The sap is then collected in bamboo containers. 􏰣􏰌Each tree can yield 1-3 litres of sap per day. About 8 litres of sap yields 1kg coconut sugar.

The sap contains about 80% water so it’s boiled to evaporate the water and a thick syrupy liquid called ‘toddy‘ is left behind. The syrup can be sold as sugar syrup, or reduced into crystals or blocks.

Coconut sugar comes in crystal or granule form, block or liquid form. It’s sweet like brown sugar but has a slight hint of caramel. Since this sugar is not highly processed, the colour, flavour and sweetness can vary depending on the processing method used.

The major component of coconut sugar is sucrose (70–79%) followed by glucose and fructose (3–9%) each. Table sugar is 99% sucrose. Coconut sugar provides 16 calories per teaspoon. Continue reading

What is Semolina?

Coarse Granular Yellow Flour

Durum Semolina myfavouritepastime.com_4125

Semolina is a coarse or granular yellow flour milled from hard durum wheat and used to make traditional pasta.and other products like breakfast cereals, puddings, and couscous. 

Semolina is made by coarsely milling the endosperm of durum wheat kernel or grain (the bran and germ is removed). This course flour is also referred to as durum semolina.To make pasta, semolina is mixed with water to form a stiff dough that is used in the process of pasta making of different shapes.

Coarse flour produced from other grains other than wheat may also be referred to as semolina, e.g Rice semolina, Corn semolina (also referred to as grit in the US)

When semolina is made from softer types of wheat, it’s white in colour and in this case, the correct name is not semolina but Farina.

Durum Semolina Continue reading