Tuesday, 17 April 2007

'Tis The Season To Be Green

We're already in mid-Spring, but only now that the weather has finally changed for the better here in London am I starting to feel like Spring is truly sprung. The colour of Spring is, of course... green. And in the past few weeks I've seen some thought-provoking blogs on the topic of green Spring food.

And I bet you thought Green Man was an aleMandira of Ahaar has just hosted the latest Green Blog Project. Whether this inspired a flush of green blog posts I'm not sure, but I've recently spotted Shauna's Asparagus soup on Gluten Free Girl and the St. Pat's Day - Green or Irish? challenge on 1x Umrühren Bitte.

Béa of La Tartine Gourmande celebrated with Green and Spring Go Well Together, while Kidskuisine offered Green Tortilla Chips and Leprechaun Legs. And Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything was both inspirational and ahead of the game with this excellent and very green Thai-Inspired Green Curry Paste published last December (now there's hoping for Winter to end!).

Birthday girl Haalo was also the host of last week's Weekend Herb Blogging, which brought a whole clutch of excellent entries in which the colour green make a good few appearances.

I got the green bug myself last week. To tell the truth, it was neither other bloggers' posts nor divine inspiration that provoked my action, but the sight of an empty jar. I'd run out of something that has become a green part of my life. And when a man runs out of his green essentials, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do...
The green herbs of Spring
I turned this...
Have a sniff of that green seasoning!
...into this
Making my own green seasoning was very satisfying. Although the end product smelt and tasted rather different from the Caribbean commercial product I'm used to, it worked brilliantly when I used it along with other ingredients in a chicken marinade. But more of that later. For now, here is my photo recipe for Caribbean English Global Green Seasoning.

19 comments:

Richard said...

I guess this isn't disimilar to a salsa verde, just taken down to a finer texture? Does it stay green in the fridge for a while? My home-made pesto goes black very quickly... maybe the vinegar sets the colour for longer?
I'll have to give it a go once my new herb garden starts giving-up its wares!

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I'm also wondering what this one tastes like. I'll have to give it a go.

Trig said...

Richard - I guess you're somewhat correct in that a salsa verde is prepared by cutting the various herbs rather than blitzing them to a sort of pulp. Salsa verde would usually have a slight crunch to it, which is often achieved with shallots. Also salsa verde is always made with olive oil to make it very drizzly, to be used as a sauce (hence "salsa"). The vinegar does do a great job of preserving the vibrant colour of the herbs, as you said.

Scott - Definitely do give it a go.The home-made version is not at all like the stuff out of the bottle, but its just as good if not better (at least more natural if nothing else)

Nick at The Tracing Paper said...

You've inspired me to have a go at this. Is it anything like the "liquor" served in traditional pie and eel shops?

A handful of alexanders would make an interesting variation!

Trig said...

I wouldn't have thought so Nick, although I've never known how that liquor is made. I'm not a big fan of jellied eels to be perfectly honest

The TriniGourmet said...

i love green seasoning :) yours looks like it would smell very crisp and green :) i've never used vinegar in mine, i use oil as the liquid.but i also use it as i make it. maybe the vinegar is for those who are storing theirs in batches? never asked others what they use. i know the person who wrote the version you wrote and well.. hehe i'll not say anything there... i'll maybe do a post on that at some point and see what the variations are! :D trini green seasoning is also VERY heavy on the cilantro and garlic as well :)

The TriniGourmet said...

oh,.. and can't wait to see what you do with it :D i'm confused by the separate recipe blog tho? :)

Trig said...

You've got me confused, Sarina, as I don't know who you think the original author of the recipe is.

I couln't find any advice in my Naparima book, so I scoured the web and came up with several identical recipes including ones by Ilka Hilton-Clarke, Ramin Ganeshram, Kate Ruth and Karen of "Ben and his Brothers" and they all looked the same. That's why I didn't attribute the recipe to anyone in particular.

I know I should have used cilantro and did list it amongst my recipe ingredients but simply didn't have any at hand. I'm sure you are right about the vinegar for preservation, so if you make yours fresh each time you use it then you can use oil instead. I'd guess that also allows you to use garlic in your seasoning (because it keeps OK, but only in oil) - I added mine at the cooking stage.

I'd really like to hear your own recipe, so publish one soon. I made a fantastic chicken dish with mine, using Worcestershire sauce, Encona pepper sauce, soy, chilli, nigella and honey. More of that later this week.

Btw - I file separate photo recipes so these can be found through the toolbar under my blog mast.

Trig said...

PS. Surprised you didn't ask me how come the weather has improved so much here in Britain that we have bananas as a seasonal fruit!

The TriniGourmet said...

ooo i didn't know garlic wouldn't keep unless in oil :) i learnt something new :) The other thing I noticed and remember now as well is that celery in Trinidad is different from what they call celery in the US.. and looking at the pic I think it looks like maybe US celery is the same as UK celery.. our celery is much more like parsley... I dunno if it's younger or the top of the celery heart or what... but it's kinda weird :) The ramin ganeshram recipe I've found is closer to what I know cos it uses garlic but I'll ask around :) I'm all excited :) the person i know is one of the other names you mentioned but i won't say more

what's encona pepper? you put nigella lawson in your dish? finally a use for her! :P

The TriniGourmet said...

don't you import your 'nanas? :) i'm so used to 'nanas that I never think of them as anything but year round iguess :)

Trig said...

Sarina - I guess you use celery leaf rather than the stalk. Is that right? Encona is hot pepper sauce, described by its manufacturers as being Caribbean, but made in Hertfordshire (just north of London). I sometimes use this, sometimes piri-piri. Nigella is a spice, sometimes called black cumin. As opposed to the gorgeous, pouting daughter of Nigel Lawson, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, wife of millionaire former advertising agent and now art-collector Charles Saatchi.

And the bananas were partly a joke, of course. We import them from the Windward Islands (and elsewhere). But I believe that Eat the Seasons is right in the sense that this the start of our peak season for banana imports.

Chennette said...

Mom always makes her green seasoning without garlic or onion - family of 6 and she worked, so she made big batches that had to keep for a while. She doesn't usually add vinegar either, but stashes some in the freezer.
The celery we use in T&T is both stalks and leaves - since you can see the end of the stalk in them, but it's like a small, skinny, greener version of what you get in the US and UK. I usually just use the leaves in seasoning. I think what we usually call chive (pronounced "Sive") also look more like green onions. We're strange sometimes ;-)
We also use pudhina - I think that's Spanish thyme? Very highly scented - can pick it from the yard in the dark by the scent and touch (fuzzy leaves).

Chennette said...

Oh, and although the garlic wasn't in the green seasoning, we do add it to the seasoning process when actually using it, not just during the cooking stage.

Trig said...

Thanks Chennette, that's cleared up a lot of the confusion. Well - I've certainly learnt something about green seasoning! I could write a book chapter on the subject now.

Chennette said...

you've done a lot of research - I was just reporting on what Mom does ;-) However, to add to your writings! - In Barbados, their green seasoning always has marjoram. Makes for a different flavour in a lot of their foods that otherwise look like ours.

The TriniGourmet said...

marjoram... weiiird :D lolz :) explains how some of the things that look the same taste so different :)

Mandira said...

I did receive several e-mails, after hosting Green Blog Project, asking for tips about gardening. This looks delicious - fresh and green.

Christopher James said...

Has anyone tried Dodo Chilli dipping sauce by Mauritius foods? It is beautiful, no burn just a warmth of chilli.

I got mine at http://mauritiusfoods.co.uk/?post_type=product

I hope you enjoy it as much as me?


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