G is for Garlic, Ginger and Goat’s Milk

Garlic

This bulb is packed full of flavour and can transform a dish. Take garlic bread. If the garlic is taken out you end up with hot buttery bread, not a bad thing, but put the garlic back in and you have a heavenly, moreish snack.

Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated foods in the world, as it is believed that we have been growing it for 5000-7000 years. It is native to Central Asia and is widely used in Mediterranean cooking. Belonging to the onion family it is a close relative of leeks, shallots, spring onions and chives. The garlic we buy in the supermarket is dried, fresh garlic is sometimes called green or wet garlic. It has a milder flavour and is picked before the bulbs have matured. The stems are bright green with a white or purple tinged bulb. The season for fresh garlic is between July and October.

Garlic is not only used in cooking, you can now buy garlic beer, vodka, chutney, mayo and jam! To get the best flavour from your garlic, fry it only gently when cooking with it. If you fry until it turns brown the garlic will taste bitter. I add garlic to my salad dressing, it does give quite a strong garlic flavour but you can always add less. Mix 2 parts olive oil to one part vinegar, this can be any type of vinegar. I generally use balsamic or white wine vinegar. Add a crushed or grated clove of garlic and give it a stir.

Ginger

Fresh, dried, powdered, crystallised and stem ginger all come from the same tubular underground root. It is native to Southeast Asia, India and China and is widely used in their cuisines. It is also used among many cultures for its medicinal properties, in particular for nausea, morning sicknesss in pregnancy, loss of appetite, pain and motion sickness. 

Fresh ginger is a knobbly root pale beige in colour, is widely available in supermarkets, you can break off the amount that you need. When you peel the woody skin off, the flesh is a pale yellow colour and has a high water content. I like to grate the ginger with a fine grater, this way you get all of the lovely fresh taste but do not run the risk of getting a lump of ginger in your mouth.

Dried and ground ginger has a very different taste to fresh. Fresh ginger is aromatic and is often used in savoury cooking such as my  ‘Chicken and Tomato Curry‘. Ground ginger is spicy and is widely used in baking and deserts.

Goat’s Milk

The vast majority of the milk consumed in the UK is cow’s milk, but goat’s milk is also widely available. Goat’s milk is actually more nutritionally wholesome for us than cow’s milk. Cow’s milk has been linked with allergies and excess mucous production due to the protein Alpha-S1-casein. Goat’s milk has less of this protein making it less allergenic. The fat content of cow’s and goat’s milk is about the same but the actual fat globules in goat’s milk are smaller, this makes them easier to digest. Some people who suffer from lactose intolerance find that goat’s milk is easier to digest due to it’s lower lactose level. Goat’s milk is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals that we need to keep healthy.

Goat’s milk smells and tastes completely different to cow’s milk. It is often described as having a ‘mild taste’, however I find the smell and taste quite strong, and whiIe I love goat’s cheese I am really not that keen on goat’s milk. You can use in just the same way as you do cow’s milk, however it does leave a bit of a goat’s cheese smell in the kitchen if have cooked with it. If you or someone in your family find cow’s milk difficult to digest or are sensitive to it, give goat’s milk a try. It may allow you to enjoy milk again.

 

Fun Facts

Garlic
  • during WW1 garlic was used to treat wounds in replace of the depleted stock of sulphur
  • if your rose garden is being attacked by aphids there is a simple home remedy. Spritz the leaves and petals with a mixture of mashed garlic and water.
  • the fear of garlic is called alliumphobia
Ginger
  • if you pickle fresh ginger in sweet vinegar it turns pink
  • one third of the world’s ginger is grown in India
Goat’s Milk
  • surprisingly goat’s milk is the number one milk consumed with about 65% of the world’s population drinking it
  • the pupils of a goat are rectangular not round like other animals
  • Cleopatra the great Egyptian Queen known for her beauty is said to have bathed in goats milk

 

 

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