Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Recipe : Perizaad Zorabian's mothers recipe for Prawn Pilaf (Pulao)

Found this recipe floating in cyberspace and tried it out, it was quite good.

1kg basmati rice
pinch of saffron
1/2 tsp red color
juice of 1 lemon
8 tbsp oil
3 large onions
8 cloves
8 flakes garlic
1 tsp jeera powder
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp corriander+ jeera powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 green chillies
1 kg prawns shelled
3 large tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp brown vinegar
salt to taste
4 tbsp ghee
a handful of freshly chopped corriander for garnish
4 halved hard boiled eggs, halved
onion slices to serve

Parboil the rice in salted water, drain and set aside.
Add saffron, colour and lemon juice to the rice.
Heat oil in a large pan.
Grind the cloves and garlic to a paste.
Add chopped onion, cloves garlic paste, jeera, chilli powder, dhania-jeera powder, turmeric powder and sliced green chillies. Fry till cooked.
Add washed and lightly squeezed prawns and fry for 5 minutes
Add chopped tomato, sugar, vinegar and salt and simmer till prawns are cooked.

To assemble the pilau, grease a degchi (broad based heavy pan) with the ghee.
Add a layer of rice, a layer of the prawn mix and another layer of rice on top.
Melt the remaining ghee and pour over the rice.
Cover the degchi and let the pilau cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with chopped corriander and boiled eggs.
Serve with sliced onions.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Recipe : Mulberry Cobbler

A recipe given to me by a friend. Very simple and easy to make, with no eggs. So pure vegetarian. Plus a lot of the sweetness comes form the fruit that you use and you can decide to cut down on the sugar if you prefer.

Mix together
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
till smooth and no lumps.
(the recipe did not call for it, but I added a pinch of baking powder and a bit of vanilla essence)

Melt a bit of butter (about half a stick) to coat the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan and then some.

Pour the flour batter over the butter. Pour fruit over the flour mixture. Do not stir.

Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Any fruit with its juice can be used for eg:
a can of peaches
blackberries, blueberries or nectarines.
Any bakeable fruit - fresh or tinned.

If you are using fresh fruit, depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you may want to toss it in some powdered sugar.

I used mulberries that were a bit tart, so I did sprinkle powdered sugar over the fruit before adding them to the flour mixture.

I apologise that the pictures haven't come out too well. husband has taken the cameras on his trip and I had to take these with the camera phone which doesn't have the best resolution or flash.

Serve hot cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (so as not to overpower the flavour of the fruit)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Spice : Thyme

Latin Name: Thymus vulgaris

Alternate Names: Garden Thyme, Wild Thyme


Parts Used: Above ground portion.

Properties: Antibacterial, Anthelmintic, Antifungal, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antitussive, Aromatic, Astringent, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Immune Stimulant, Rejuvenative, Rubefacient, Sedative, Stimulant, Tonic, Vermifuge, Vulnerary.

Internal Uses: Alcoholism, Appetite Loss, Asthma, Bronchitis, Catarrh, Colds, Colic, Cough, Depression, Diarrhea, Dysmenorrhea, Dyspepsia, Flatulence, Flu, Gastritis, Hangovers, Hay Fever, Headache, Herpes, Hysteria, Indigestion, Laryngitis, Pleurisy, Shingles, Sinusitis, Sore Throat, Stomachache, Tetanus, Tuberculosis, Whooping Cough, Worms

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture, Capsules.

Small amounts are a sedative whereas larger amounts are a stimulant. It is used against hookworm, roundworms, and threadworms. Thyme warms and stimulates the lungs, expels mucus and relieves congestion. It also helps deter bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Both thymol and carvacrol have a relaxing effect upon the gastrointestinal tract's smooth muscles.

Topical Uses: Acne, Arthritis, Asthma, Athlete's Foot, Blemishes, Bronchitis, Bruises, Burns, Candida, Colds, Crabs, Dandruff, Dental Decay, Depression, Eye Soreness, Flu, Fungal Infection, Halitosis, Insect Bites, Insect Stings, Laryngitis, Lice, Mastitis, Mouth Sores, Muscle Soreness, Parasites, Plaque, Rheumatism, Ringworm, Scabies, Sciatica, Sore Throat, Thrush, Tonsillitis, Warts, Wounds

Topical Applications: Gargle and mouthwash for dental decay, laryngitis, mouth sores, plaque formation, sore throat, thrush, tonsillitis, and bad breath. Compress for lung congestion such as asthma, bronchitis, colds and flu. Poultice for wounds, mastitis, insect bites and stings. Wash for fungal infections such as athlete's foot and ringworm, and use against parasites such as crabs, lice and scabies. Douche for Candida. Compress for bruises. Use as an eyewash for sore eyes and as a hair rinse for dandruff. Use a salve on acne, blemishes, burns and wounds. Use as a bath herb for sore muscles, arthritis, and colds. Essential oil is added to soaps and antidepressant inhalations. Added to massage oils for sore muscles, rheumatism and sciatica, and applied directly to warts. Used as a strewing herb in Middle Ages.

Culinary uses: Added to soups, stews, vegetables, chicken, jams, fruit salads, bouquets garni, gumbos, and Benedictine liqueur. Aids in the digestion of high fat foods. Used to preserve meat. Thyme honey, made when bees collect pollen from thyme flowers, is excellent.

Energetics: Pungent, Bitter, Warm, Dry.

Chemical Constituents: Essential oil (borneol, carvacrol, cymol, linalool, thymol), bitter principle, tannin, flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin), saponins, triterpenic acids.

Contraindications: Avoid therapeutic doses during pregnancy. As with most essential oils, it must be diluted before applying to the skin.

Comments: The genus name Thymus may be derived from the Greek word thymon meaning 'courage' as it was once used as a bath herb by Roman soldiers to help them be more courageous. It also helps people to speak up more courageously. Or perhaps it was from the Greek thymon, 'to fumigate', as it has been used as an incense. The species name serpyllum for Wild Thyme may be due to the plant's creeping snakelike appearance and in reference to the ancient treatment of snakebites and the bites of poisonous sea creatures with Thyme. The plant was burned in ancient Roman times to deter scorpions.

It is still used for embalming. Oil of Thyme was used during World War I to treat infection and to help relieve pain. On Midsummer Night's Eve, fairies are said to dance on beds of Thyme.

Its energetic is mildly bitter.

The common name Thyme includes the species Thymus serpyllum (Wild Thyme), which is used interchangeably with Thymus vulgaris (Garden Thyme).

Spice : Basil

Latin Name: Ocimum basilicum

Alternate Names: Sweet Basil, Garden Basil, Tulsi (Ayurvedic), Lui Le (Chinese), Tulsi (Sanskrit And Hindi)


Parts Used: Above ground portion.

Properties: Antibacterial, Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Carminative, Circulatory Stimulant, Diaphoretic, Digestive Tonic, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Galactagogue, Immune Stimulant, Nervine, Parturient, Sedative.

Internal Uses: Alcoholism, Anxiety, Bronchitis, Colds, Cough, Depression, Drug Overdose, Drug Withdrawal, Exhaustion, Fever, Flatulence, Headache, Marijuana Overdose, Mental Fogginess, Nausea, Placenta Delivery, Rheumatism, Sinus Congestion, Stomachache, Vomiting

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture, Capsules.

Topical Uses: Acne, Eye Fatigue, Fatigue, Fungal Infection, Insect Bites, Insect Repellent, Muscle Soreness, Ringworm, Thrush

Topical Applications: Poultice or salve for insect bites, acne and ringworm. Gargle or mouthwash for thrush. Bath herb for energy. Eyewash for tired eyes. Smell essential oil to gain a second wind when fatigued. Essential oil added to massage oils for sore muscles. Burn dried herb as an antiseptic incense. Having a pot of Basil on the table helps to repel flies and mosquitoes. Juice is applied to fungal infections.

Culinary uses: Dips, dressings, eggs, fish, meats, salads, tomato sauces, pesto, Soupe au Pistou. Chartreuse.

Energetics: Pungent, Warm, Dry.

Chemical Constituents: Essential oil (estragol, eugenol, lineol, linalol), caffeic acid, tannins, beta carotene, vitamin C.

Contraindications: Pregnant women should avoid therapeutic doses.

Comments: The name originates from the Greek, basilikon phuton, meaning 'kingly or royal herb.' In India, Basil was held in such high esteem that it was used in courts to swear upon, and next to the Lotus it was considered one of the most sacred plants. Was used as an embalming herb in Ancient Egypt. In some parts of Mexico, Basil is carried in one's pocket to attract money and keep a lover faithful.

Spice : Rosemary

Latin Name: Rosmarinus officinalis

Alternate Names: Sea Dew, Our Lady's Rose, Rosemarine


Parts Used: Above ground portion.

Properties: Anodyne, Antibacterial, Antidepressant, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Aromatic, Astringent, Cardiotonic, Carminative, Cholagogue, Circulatory Stimulant, Decongestant, Diaphoretic, Digestive Tonic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Hypertensive, Nervine, Rejuvenative, Stimulant, Stomach Tonic, Tonic.

Internal Uses: Anxiety, Asthma, Debility, Depression, Dyspepsia, Epilepsy, Fatigue, Flatulence, Food Poisoning, Headache, Rheumatism, Stress, Vertigo

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture, Capsules.

A study done at Rutgers State University found that Rosemary had preservative qualities more powerful and safer than the common food additives BHA and BHT. It helps prevent food poisoning.

Topical Uses: Balding, Canker Sores, Capillary Weakness, Dandruff, Gingivitis, Gray Hair, Headache, Insect Repellent, Muscle Soreness, Neuralgia, Sciatica, Sore Throat

Topical Applications: Skin toner as a rejuvenative. Important ingredient in Queen of Hungary water, a popular beauty tonic. When used on the skin it helps to strengthen the capillaries. Sachets of dried Rosemary are placed in a pillowcase to stimulate dreams. Bath herb acts as a rejuvenative and helps sore muscles. Gargle for sore throat, gum ailments, canker sores and breath freshener. Eyewash. Used in shampoos and conditioners for dandruff, dark hair premature graying and hair loss. It is a potpourri ingredient that repels moths. Essential oil is used in perfume, toothpaste, insect repellants and massage oil, as well as a liniment for neuralgia, sciatica and sore muscles. Add a few drops of Rosemary oil to a freshly washed hairbrush for delightfully aromatic hair.

Culinary uses: Add to vegetables, soups, breads, biscuits and jellies . Used to flavor tofu, eggs, seafood and meat dishes. Cooking with Rosemary aids the digestion of fats and starches.

Energetics: Pungent, Bitter, Warm, Dry.

Chemical Constituents: Essential oil (borneol, camphor, cineole, linalol, verbenol), tannins, flavonoids (apigenin, diosmin, luteolin), rosmarinic acid, rosmaricine, heterosides, triterpene (ursolic acid, oleanic acid), resin.

Contraindications: Avoid excessively large doses which can cause miscarriage, convulsions and -- if one really pushes it - death.

Comments: The genus and common name are derived from the Latin ros marinus, meaning 'dew of the sea' as the plant grows profusely near the Mediterranean sea coast and sea foam sprays upon it. Rosemary has long been considered a symbol of friendship and loyalty -- 'Rosemary is for remembrance'. Ancient Greek scholars would wear laurels of Rosemary on their heads to help them when taking examinations. In weddings, brides would wear a wreath of Rosemary and carry it in their bridal bouquets so that they would remember their families and their marriage vows. It was also used at funerals and religious ceremonies as protection from evil and to remember the dead. It was often buried with the dead as well. Indeed its antiseptic aroma could help prevent the spread of infection. During the sixteenth century, Europeans carried pouches of Rosemary to ward off the plague. The branches were strewn in legal courts to prevent the spread of typhus. It has been burned in sick rooms and placed in books to deter moths.

Spice : Oregano

Latin Name: Origanum vulgare

Alternate Names:
Wild Marjoram


Parts Used: Above ground portion.

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Aromatic, Carminative, Cholagogue, Diaphoretic, Digestive Tonic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Stimulant, Stomach Tonic, Tonic.

Internal Uses: Amenorrhea, Bronchitis, Colic, Cough, Dysmenorrhea, Dyspepsia, Fever, Flatulence, Headache, Indigestion, Measles, Motion Sickness, Mumps, Nausea, Neuralgia, Pleurisy, Rheumatism, Tonsillitis

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture, Capsules.

It helps headaches due to nerves.

Topical Uses: Bruises, Colds, Congestion, Flu, Headache, Joint Pain, Sinus Congestion, Sprains, Swellings, Toothache

Topical Applications: Use as a liniment, poultice or compress for bruises, sprains, swellings, headache and painful joints. Bath herb for colds and flu. Inhalations of tea to clear congested lungs and sinuses. Hair rinse. Chew on leaves or apply diluted oil for toothaches. Perfume.

Culinary uses: Used to season vegetables and sauces in German, Greek, Italian, Mexican and Spanish cooking. Use to season pizza, chili, meat dishes, beans, eggs, relishes, dips and salad dressing. Used in bouquets, garnishes, beer, bitters and vermouth. Energetics: Pungent, Warm.

Chemical Constituents: Essential oil (carvacrol, thymol), terpenes (borneol, terpinene, terpineol), flavonoids, tannins, bitters.

Contraindications: Avoid large medicinal dosages during pregnancy.

Comments: The genus name, Origanum is from the Greek words oros and ganos, meaning 'joy of the mountain' in reference to the plant's beauty when growing on mountainsides. Romans made wreaths of Oregano to crown young couples.

Spice : Bayleaf

Greek name and pronunciation: Daphni, pronounced THAHF-nee (hard th sound)

At the market: Dried bay leaves, either crushed or whole, are readily available in disposable containers. It is also sold at herb farms for a kitchen herb garden.

Physical characterisitcs: Usually encountered in dried form, bay leaves are 1 1/2 - 3 inches long and are elliptical or lance shaped. Leaves are greenish-tan, and look leathery and slightly waxy, with a natural wave pattern around the edges. Leaves have a central fibrous channel (stem extension) with pronounced branching channels.

Usage: In cooking, bay leaves are used to flavor soups, stews, meat and fish dishes. They are excellent used in tomato-rich recipes. Olive oil and apple cider vinegar seasoned with bay leaves may be used to further enrich a fresh garden salad.

Bay leaves are used to add a woodsy taste during cooking, and are generally removed from the dish before serving.

Substitutes: Indian bay leaves, boldo leaves (use less, this has a stronger flavor), juniper berries (for meats)

Origin, History, and Mythology: Bay laurel trees are indigenous to the Mediterranean and parts of India and Africa. Used primarily as a flavoring herb in Greek cooking, bay leaves are used by Bedouins in parts of Saharan Africa to flavor their coffees.

It has been cultivated as a shrub and tree since the time of Homer, the ancient Greek writer and philosopher. Homer's "Odyssey" mentions bay laurel as an herb and medicine used by Ulysses.

Greeks of antiquity considered the bay laurel a sacred tree because of folklore associating the tree with both Apollo and Zeus. Pythia, Apollo's priestess and Oracle of Delphi, is said to have chewed bay leaves as part of the oracular process. In an earlier era at Delphi, Apollo is said to have made a wreath or crown from laurel to signify his victory over, slaying of, the dragon Python - the original "crown of victory," which was later (in history) bestowed upon winning atheletes at the Pythian games (at Delphi) and at the Olympian games of Greek antiquity.

Greek mythology also gave the herb its Greek name. Daphne, a beautiful nymph and daughter of the river god Peneios (Lathonas) and earth goddes Ge, was transformed by her parents into a bay laurel tree in order to retain her virginity and to escape Apollo's lustful pursuit. Hence, bay laurel is associated with purity and acts of purification.

Spice : Sage

Latin Name: Salvia officinalis

Alternate Names: Garden Sage, Red Sage, Shu-wei-tsao (Chinese), Dalmation Sage


Parts Used: Above ground portion.

Properties: Anaphrodisiac, Antifungal, Antigalactagogue, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antisudorific, Aromatic, Astringent, Cerebral Tonic, Carminative, Choleretic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Diaphoretic, Hypoglycemic, Nervine, Phytoestrogenic, Rejuvenative, Tonic, Vermifuge.

Internal Uses: Anxiety, Blood Clots, Candida, Colds, Congestion, Cystitis, Depression, Diabetes, Diarrhea, Dysmenorrhea, Dyspepsia, Fever, Flatulence, Flu, Hot Flashes, Indigestion, Insomnia, Laryngitis, Lymphatic Congestion, Memory Loss, Menopause, Migraine, Night Sweats, Profuse Perspiration, Rheumatism, Spermatorrhea, Staphylococcus, Worms

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture,Capsules.

Sage tends to have a drying effect and has even been used for excessive saliva production in those with Parkinson's Disease. It also helps women who have excessive menses.

Topical Uses: Asthma, Dandruff, Eczema, Gingivitis, Gray Hair, Insect Bites, Laryngitis, Leukorrhea, Mouth Sores, Oily Scalp, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Psoriasis, Sore Throat, Tonsillitis, Wounds

Topical Applications: Poultice of fresh leaves for insect bites and wounds. Gargle for mouth sores, laryngitis, sore throat, sore gums and tonsillitis. Wash for eczema, poison ivy or oak and psoriasis. Hair rinse for dandruff and oily scalp, and to darken gray hair. Douche for leukorrhea. Facial steam, breath freshening toothpaste ingredient. Fresh leaves are rubbed on teeth as a whitening agent. Used in deodorants as an antiperspirant. Dried herb is burned for purification of negative energy. Leaves have traditionally been smoked to relieve asthma. It helps promote mental alertness just by smelling the leaves and has long been used by students cramming for tests.

Culinary uses: Improves the digestion of fatty foods and acts as a natural preservative. Add Sage leaves sparingly to salads, beans, breads, stuffing, soups, stews, cheese dishes, fish and meat dishes. One can make Sage vinegar, Sage butter and Sage wine. Leaves and flowers can be candied.

Energetics: Pungent, Warm, Dry.

Chemical Constituents: Essential oil (thujone, borneol, cineol, camphor, pinene), bitter principle (picrosalvine), flavonoids, tannin, phenolic acid (rosmarinic, caffeic, labiatic), phytoestrogens, resin.

Contraindications: Avoid large doses during pregnancy or for extended periods. Nursing mothers should avoid large doses as it can dry up breast milk. Those with epilepsy may be adversely affected by the thujone content and should avoid large doses of Sage.

Comments: The name Sage is derived from the Latin salvere, meaning 'to be in good health'. An ancient proverb is 'Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia cresit in horto?' translated as 'Why should a man die who has Sage in his garden?' Growing Sage in the Medieval garden was a sign of prosperity. It was also a sign that if the plant flourished, the woman ruled the house.

Spice : Cinnamon Powder

Latin Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Alternate Names: Cassia, Sweet Wood, Gui Zhi


Parts Used: Inner bark, twigs.

Properties: Antibacterial, Antifungal, Aphrodisiac, Carminative, Digestive Tonic, Diuretic, Stimulant

Internal Uses: Arthritis, Bedwetting, Colds, Colic, Cough, Diarrhea, Dysentery, Dysmenorrhea, Flatulence, Flu, Headache, Indigestion, Nausea, Vomiting

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture, Capsules

When making a tea, do not boil for more than a few minutes or the taste will become bitter.

Cinnamon is a delicious herb, used to improve circulation. Its prolonged use is known to beautify the skin and promote a rosy complexion. It helps to dry dampness in the body. Use for people who are always cold and have poor circulation. Inhale on a hollow stick of cinnamon if trying to quit smoking.

Topical Uses: Athlete's Foot, Cigarette Addiction, Fungal Infection

Topical Applications: Use as a hair rinse for dark hair, or as a toothpaste flavoring to freshen breath. As a wash, it prevents and cures fungal infections such as athletes foot. Use in massage oil for lovers. Place Cinnamon in sachets to repel moths.

Culinary uses: Apple dishes, baked goods, chocolate, coffee, curries, French toast, egg nog, teas, pickles, puddings, rice dishes, wine.

Energetics: Sweet, Pungent, Hot, Dry.

Chemical Constituents: Cinnamaldehyde, gum, tannin, mannitol, coumarins, essential oils (aldehydes, eugenol, pinene).

Contraindications: Avoid during hot, feverish conditions. Not for hemorrhoids, dry stools or blood in the urine. Avoid large amounts during pregnancy.

Comments: Cinnamon was used in ancient Egypt for embalming. In ancient times it was added to food to prevent spoiling. During the Bubonic Plague, sponges were soaked in cinnamon and cloves and placed in sick rooms. It was the most sought after spice during explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries. It has also been burned as an incense. The smell of Cinnamon is pleasant, stimulates the senses, yet calms the nerves. Its smell is reputed to attract customers to a place of business.

The common name Cinnamon encompasses many varieties, including Cinnamomum cassia and Cinamomum saigonicum, which are used interchangeably with Cinnamomum zeylanicum.

Spice : Fennel

Latin Name: Foeniculum vulgare
Alternate Names:
Hinojo, Xiao Hue Xiang (Chinese), Finocchio, Carosella

Parts Used: Seeds (most medicinal), leaves.

Properties: Antispasmodic, Aromatic, Carminative, Diuretic, Expectorant, Galactagogue, Laxative, Sedative, Stimulant, Stomach Tonic.

Internal Uses: Bladder Irritation, Colic, Diabetes, Diarrhea, Fever, Flatulence, Gout, Hiccups, Indigestion, Jaundice, Kidney Stones, Laryngitis, Nausea, Obesity, Rheumatism, Stomachache, Teething, Wheezing

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture, Capsules.

The seeds are used as an appetite suppressant. It also helps to disperse congestion in the liver. It is a naturally sweet flavor that stabilizes blood sugar levels. Fennel is believed to relax the smooth muscles in the digestive tract.

Topical Uses: Eye Strain, Laryngitis, Wrinkles

Topical Applications: Tea of seeds is used as an eyewash for eyestrain. Poultice herb is used in facial steams, anti-wrinkle creams, perfume, toothpaste and soup. Oil and liniment used for muscular toning. Gargle for hoarseness.

Culinary uses: Leaves are cooked as a vegetable, added to soups or eaten raw in salads. Seeds can flavor fish, pastries, pickles, sauerkraut and tomato sauces. Chewing the seeds after a meal freshens the breath. Used in liqueurs.

Energetics: Pungent, Sweet, Warm, Dry.

Chemical Constituents: Essential Oil (anethole, estragol, fenchone, pinene, limonene), phenolic ether, flavonoids, coumarins, stigmasterol, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, potassium, phosphorus.

Contraindications: Excess use can over-stimulate the nervous system.

Comments: The name fennel is derived from the Latin, foenum, meaning 'hay' due to the finely divided leaves of the fennel plant. Ancient Greek athletes ate Fennel seed so they would gain strength, but not weight. During the Middle Ages the seeds would be chewed to stave off hunger during fasts and during long church sermons. Eating the leaves is a traditional eye, brain and memory tonic.


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