Welcome to my house and the Christmas preparations...
As Christmas is not celebrated here our Christmas is far more low key…Not so frantic as it was in the UK…I do miss the atmosphere and the build-up but I don’t miss all the crowds and the must-have this as it does take away from the real meaning where family and friends get together and enjoy each other’s company…I used to love the Nativity and this picture of my little grandson a grown man now always tugs at my heartstrings.
For me, the essence has gone when I look at pictures of people’s trees and the mound of presents…No child or person needs all of that to me that is what is wrong with the world. Wrong when there are people who are starving, cold, homeless or just working to keep the bills paid and food on the table but with no wiggle room for all the advertised goodies it must be a terrible time of year…
Here when asked what would you like me to buy you at Christmas much thought is given and I will be given an answer of the ONE…Yes, one thing they would really like…No lists as long as your arm and some…
It makes such a refreshing change…xx
Christmas Starters or Aperitif…
Last week I gave you some ideas for plant-based starters today I am giving you a few tried and tested starters which include fish or meat…
I normally make two starters one is always prawn cocktail which is a given in our house my mum used to make it and I have made prawn cocktail every year without fail since I married… I have tried to drop it from the menu but even I wouldn’t dare as the fall out would be akin to a nuclear one…haha…
- 500gm of Prawns, peeled.
- 5 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
- 5 tbsp Salad Cream.
- 2-4 tsp hot Horseradish Sauce.
- Salt and freshly ground Pepper.
- 3tsp Lemon Juice.
- Paprika to garnish.
Shredded Iceberg lettuce.Tomatoes to garnish. Extra prawns for garnish…I leave the tails on these.
Mix tomato ketchup, salad cream together. Add horseradish sauce, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.
At this stage, I taste and adjust the seasoning and add more of whatever I need to…. generally horseradish.
Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
To serve: Put some shredded lettuce in individual serving dishes with cucumber if using. Put a generous serving of the cocktail sauce on top. Sprinkle with Paprika. Garnish the dish with Prawns, A slice of lemon and tomatoes if using.
This next recipe is an authentic Thai recipe … Pumpkins and squash grow very well here and are found on every market stall and on every street food stall so much is done with this versatile vegetable lots of lovely Thai desserts and soups…
- 400 gm pumpkin peeled and diced into 2 cm cubes
- 1 tsp white peppercorn
- 2 coriander roots
- 2 stalks of lemongrass very finely sliced
- 3 small shallots diced
- 1 tsp fermented shrimp paste…You will be able to purchase this from most Asian stores or online.
- 300 ml of prawn stock….I always keep my prawn heads and bits in the freezer until I have enough to make some stock.
- 700 ml of coconut cream
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tbsp roasted chilli paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 16 prawns /shrimp, peeled and deveined or crab meat
- A handful of fresh Thai basil leaves save some for garnish
- 2 tbsp coconut oil to stir-fry
Firstly pound the peppercorns and the coriander root into a smooth paste. Then in a large saucepan, over a medium heat stir-fry the peppercorn/coriander root paste, pumpkin, lemongrass, onions and shrimp paste, stirring all the time for about 3 minutes until all those lovely Thai flavours are released.
Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan with a lid and cook very gently for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft, stirring occasionally.
Next, transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend with the shrimp stock until smooth. Pour back into a saucepan and add the coconut cream and bring to a slow gentle boil.
Add your seasonings, lime, fish sauce, sugar, chilli paste and stir to combine, add your prawns/ crabmeat and cook for 1-2 minutes…Now taste and adjust seasoning if required.
Remove from the heat and pour into serving bowl or bowls. Stir in the basil leaves and garnish with extra leaves.
The true Thai way is to also garnish with spring onions or garlic stems, some fried crispy garlic or chicken skin and it always looks so vibrant and you just want to dive in and drown in the lovely flavours.
Chicken Liver Pate is an old favourite which I make throughout the year…It is easy and tasty
4 shallots chopped.
2 cloves, crushed or finely chopped.
450g/1lb chicken Livers, trimmed and cut in half.
1 tbsp Brandy.
1 tsp mustard powder.
salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1 bay leaf, to garnish.
2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.
Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured.
Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer the pâté into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf….. I use lime leaves as cannot always get fresh bay leaves.
Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.
How about a baked whole camembert cheese served with cheese straws wrapped in bacon???
Now that ticks all the boxes for Moi…
Did you know?…
What is the most popular meal for Christmas in Japan?
KFC fried chicken
It’s so popular in fact, that you have to order in advance or face standing in long lines to get your Christmas fried chicken. Some people even start lining up Christmas Eve to make sure they get their Christmas KFC.
The aperitif is typically served, approximately 30 to 60 minutes before dinner. For the digestive system, some say, it is best to serve after the dessert or cheese course,
As for what glass to present your aperitif in, this varies greatly depending on the type of drink you’ve made…What is your favourite aperitif?…
We always start the day with a mimosa…Maybe a glass of Bailey’s with my first mince pie of the day and then while cooking the lunch…a bloody Mary goes down very well…
Bloody Mary’s… just saying! One of my favourite cocktails and this Naga Vodka which my son bought me apparently the best way to drink it is in a Bloody Mary… Shots are not advised! I am waiting until New Year’s Eve until I sample it ….Have any of you been that brave and tried Naga Vodka yet ????
- 3 ¼ cups of tomato juice
- 1 ¼ cups of vodka ( or thereabouts) Hic
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tbsp horseradish
- 2 tsp Tabasco sauce or peri-peri sauce
- 2 tsp Lea & Perrins sauce ( Worcestershire sauce)
- ½ tsp celery salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 6 stalks of celery with leaves.
Combine everything together in a jug or cocktail shaker and TASTE… this is where I adjust and give it a tweak or two…I make my own tomato juice and as tomatoes vary so does the TASTE….It is a fine art and needs much testing to get this just right …Hic
Chill in the fridge until required… this recipe makes about 6 glasses.
Add some ice to a chilled glass and fill with the Bloody Mary mix…pop in your celery stick and a slice of lime and or some olives and if you are feeling really….well… If you have some bacon to use up then crisp it up and stick a slice in with the celery… Anything goes when I am making cocktails.
I love chai tea..and for those you who rather have a hot aperitif this lovely recipe fits the bill…
Can you not just tell that on this one day of the year…I enjoy a favourite tipple or three…Cheers one and all …xxx
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