Christmas…In my house…Traditions, Treats and a touch of Trivia…

Welcome to my house and the Christmas preparations...This weekend it is Stir -Up Sunday…time to make the puddings…

We have made a decision as to our Christmas meats and are having ribs of beef and one of our black chickens…

A first for me or for us I should say…

What are black Chickens? It wasn’t until we were given a pair of black chickens that we realised they were black, everything…  The meat, bones, and skin are all black. Although as our black boy doesn’t seem to mind who he gets amorous with we now have some mixed breeds. Mum here is sitting on her eggs so we will soon be having more little black chicks…

Many people find the black chicken to be an odd food and tend not to eat it. I have yet to find out we are going to sample one next week. my daughter in law has already sampled one and she liked it…She made soup with the chicken…Thais don’t roast meat like we do…

Although the chicken flesh itself is a dark bluish-gray or even black, and the bones are black as well. The meat really doesn’t taste different by nature; it’s just chicken.

Healthwise it is said to be full of antioxidants…The antioxidant that is found in black chicken is called Carnosine. High concentrations of Carnosine is good for muscles and the nervous system.

I will report back to you as to our verdict…

I promised you some sample menu’s ….this week I will give you some starters which would be lovely to start your Christmas meal…

Christmas Starters…

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favorite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

To Prepare

  1. Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

We really loved this starter which I made for the first time last year and will be making it again…It would lovely with any fruits I like blackberries but raspberries or blueberries would also be very nice.


Mushroom Pate.

• 2 cups of mixed mushrooms…
• 1 cup of walnuts
• 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 1 onion chopped finely
• 1 tbsp oil
• ½ cup of parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

To Prepare

  1. Toast the walnuts carefully as nuts always burn if you take your eye of them well mine do…Set to one side…
  2. Add the oil to a pan add onions and cook 2 mins and add the garlic cook until onions and garlic is soft watching the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and saute for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. If the mix gets too dry then add a little water. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then blitz; scraping down the sides I like mine a little coarse.
  4. Put the mixture into a dish and press the mix down and smooth the top.
  5. Serve with crackers of your choice or sliced cucumber and peppers.

Beetroot Tartare.

Beetroot tartare with capers


• 160 gm of cooked beetroot.
• 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp of double cream

For Fried Capers:
• 10 capers
• Oil to fry about 3 tbsp.

For the crispbread:
• 2 very thin slices of stale bread
• 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Make the crispbreads by cutting the bread into squares allow 3 to 4 squares per person.
  2. Heat the grill on its highest setting and put the bread on a tray and drizzle with the oil. Grill on each side for 1-2 mins until crisp and golden being careful not to burn (like I did)
  3. To make the tartare, finely chop half the beetroot and blitz the other half with the olive oil to make a rough paste, and then combine with the chopped beetroot and cream and season to taste.
  4. Rinse the capers and pat dry then heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat add the capers and fry for 30 seconds until they have started to open up then drain on kitchen paper.

To serve: Place a 6-8cm ring on a plate and put in some beetroot mix then remove the ring.
Garnish with capers and the crispbread.

This starter is also a family favourite although I will make the mixture just a little firmer and add horseradish this time as I love horseradish with beets.

Mushrooms on toast with Brie.

• 2 slices of bread halved I use sourdough bread.
• 8 mushrooms sliced…I use chestnut mushrooms
• 170 gm brie sliced
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp oil
• 6 sprigs of thyme

To Prepare

  1. Heat the butter and the oil in a small pan add the mushroom and saute on a medium to high heat until browned and a little crispy around the edges about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and cook for a further minute turn of the heat. Strip two of the thyme leaves and stir into the mushroom mix.
  3. Lightly toast the bread top with the slices of brie put the toast back under the grill until the brie has melted top with the mushroom mix,  a sprig of thyme and some freshly ground black pepper.
  4. These toast starters serve two people but are easy recipes to double or triple up.

Next week I will give you some starters for fish and meat-eaters…although as much as I love chicken liver pate I do love a nice mushroom pate equally as well…taste wise both are good…

While reading comments on one of the blogs I follow a question came up as to whether when stuffing the meat what do we call it… Stuffing OR dressing…

I initially thought that was an odd question as I think of dressing as something liquid for example I would dress a salad…

On reflection…The term is also used in the preparation of meat…As in dressing the meat ready for cooking…so maybe not so much of an odd question in hindsight.

Back in medieval times, it was called stuffing or forcemeat…which was a mixture of finely chopped and seasoned foods, usually containing egg white, meat or fish, etc., used as a stuffing or served alone…both equally delicious.

Then we came to the Victorian era where they were prudish for want of a better word and the word stuffing was not thought to be the correct words used as is shown in Catharine Esther Beecher’s popular Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book, published in 1850, she described stuffing beef with dressing, defined as “the stuffing of fowl, pigs, etc.”

Then we get to the dressing which meant to prepare and season a bird ready for cooking but did the said bird have stuffing in it?…. Yes, most of the time it did…

Are you still with me… haha…Well over time things got more relaxed and the word stuffing started to be used again although in some areas and a lot is probably down to tradition as in what your mum and her mum used to call it…

We call it stuffing…What do you call it?

That’s all for now ..Enjoy your weekend xxx

Lastly, remember not everyone is fortunate and some people dread this time of year be aware and if you can add a little cheer please share your joy but also remember the other 364 days of the year pass your smile around and be kind… 

About Carol Taylor: Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great weekend 🙂 xx


22 thoughts on “Christmas…In my house…Traditions, Treats and a touch of Trivia…

  1. Pingback: Christmas…In my house…Traditions, Treats and a touch of Trivia… | Retired? No one told me!

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  4. petespringerauthor

    Thanks for sharing some of your traditions, Carol. I am a traditionalist by heart, and I see that quality in my son. He will have to carry the torch one day to keep these good things going.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      So am, Pete.. I always try something new but stick to the favourites.. Sometimes here I cannot always get the ingredients so have to improvise.. My children like your son stick to tradition. . Christmas day and Sunday lunch is ingrained in them… Haha 🎄🤶xxxx


  5. johnrieber

    So many terrific ideas to celebrate the holiday…about the “Black Chicken”: there is a winery in Napa Valley called Biale – they sell a red wine called “Black Chicken”…during prohibition was back in the day, they were forced to stop selling wine and so they farmed some of the land…but still sold wine “under the counter” – you just ordered eggs, potatoes, carrots and a “black chicken” – and a bottle of wine was put at the bottom of your bag!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you,Susie I am looking forward to tasting it with a few reservations although I don’t know why given some of the foods they eat here…haha…Have a great weekend 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Haha…I have a few reservations but it is a chicken after all and my daughter in law has been the guinea pig she liked it so..Hey ho in for a penny in for a pound as they say …Have a great weekend 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. koolkosherkitchen

    Dear Carol, you live and you learn; I’ve never heard of black chicken – wow!
    I make a similar mushroom pate when we have vegetarian/vegan friends visiting, and we call it “fake chopped liver.” I don’t toast walnuts, though, so thank you for

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Haha..the times that has happened to me mid sentence…I always toast mine . I hadn’t until a aneighbour gace us a pair and now we have lots of little ones and more on the way…I have yet to try it …I am guessing the colour puts a few people off .Enjoy yor weekend , Dolly 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person


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