Author Archives: CarolCooks2

About CarolCooks2

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. This is now taking me into other areas like deforestation, chemicals and preservatives in the food chain. 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!

Christmas Recipes…Winter Warmers…

Christmas Recipes Winter Warmers

On a cold Winters Day or just because…..These recipes will warm you right down to your toes.

Hot Chocolate.

hot-chocolate-1 

To serve 2 people:

  • 2 cups of milk.
  • 3 oz of best quality chocolate..either bittersweet or semi-sweet.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 2-star anise.
  • 2 tsp of honey or Tate and Lyle’s Golden syrup.
  • 1 tsp brown sugar.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 2 tbsp or as you like it of spiced rum or dark rum.

Let’s Cook!

Put the milk in a saucepan with the chocolate broken into pieces, cinnamon stick, honey and sugar and heat very gently until the chocolate has melted.

Add the vanilla extract and using a small hand whisk start whisking, add 1 tbsp of the rum( still whisking) stop long enough to TASTE and add more rum as required for your taste.

Still whisking, add some more sugar if required.

Take out the cinnamon stick and star anise, pour hot chocolate into 2 cappuccino cups or caffè latte cups.

If you are making this for someone who is tee-total or a kiddie omit the rum and add some marshmallows or add marshmallows anyway…Why not? Spoil yourself.

Enjoy!

In the run-up to Christmas, we all want something which is quick and easy to do and when it is cold which warms us up…

Fish Pie can be pastry topped or topped with mashed potato…or just sprinkled with some fresh breadcrumbs for a lighter pie.

fish-2552022_1920

My mum always used to make it topped with potatoes sometimes she sliced them and others she boiled them… I think the slices potatoes look very pretty if you are having someone to dinner but when I am making especially if I am busy then mashed potato fits the bill nicely.

I top with mashed potatoes either sweet potatoes ( which) I love but everyone one else likes the normal mashed potato as they call it…

Ingredients:

For the filling

  • 400 ml whole milk
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 gm thick white fish fillets, skinned…although if I can I get a pack of mixed fish pieces which includes salmon, smoked fish and other fish and it is very nice.
  • 40 gm butter
  • 40 gm plain flour
  • 150 gm frozen peas/sweetcorn
  • 200 gm large raw prawns, peeled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 800 gm medium  potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 40 gm  butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 100 gm mature cheddar cheese, grated/ or breadcrumbs and parmesan makes for a nice topping.

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 200C /400F/ Gas 6.

To make the filling, pour the milk into a large pan and add the sliced onion and bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper.

Place the fish fillets in the pan and bring to a very gentle simmer, cover and cook for two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand and infuse for 20 minutes. Remove the fish and transfer to a colander over a bowl, then pour the milk into a jug.

Half fill a large saucepan with cold water. Add the potatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain the potatoes and cover with a clean tea towel which absorbs the steam. Mash with the butter, milk and three-quarters of the grated cheese. If I have cream in the fridge and feel a bit decadent then I omit the butter and milk and mash with cream.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To finish the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually add the infused milk, stirring constantly, and simmer over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in the peas and season with salt and black pepper.

Spread one-third of the sauce into the base of a 1.5 litre/2¾ pint ovenproof dish. Scatter half the fish fillets over the sauce, breaking them into chunky pieces as you go and discarding the onion and bay leaves.

Arrange half the prawns on top of the fish and pour over another third of the sauce. Repeat this with the remaining fish and prawns and finish with the final third of sauce on top.

Spoon the mash over the fish mixture, spreading to the edges with a palette knife. With a fork just take it across the surface and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

Sometimes I also slice some tomatoes and arrange them around the side of the dish.

Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling.

Fish Pie Potato topped

Serve with some lemon slices.

Some steamed vegetables can be served if a more substantial meal is required.

N.B This is also a nice recipe and can be made in individual servings just divide the mix between 4 bowls and brown the top for about 15 minutes.

Curries are also a nice warming dish and most can be kept warm so as someone arrives home cold and chilled or just worn out it can be served almost immediately.

One of my all time favourite is a Duck Curry, not one I make often and when I do I vow to make it more often but generally I make it when I want something a little more special.

I had Duck curry for the first time on a little island just off Phuket, Thailand it is a fiery curry offset by pineapple and tomatoes. Some add lychee as well as pineapple but we found it a little sweet for us but experiment, everyone’s taste is different….I also add some vegetables, mange tout or sugar snap peas maybe a few florets of brocolli..really whatever I have in the fridge.

Let’s Cook!

Duck Curry

Firstly cook your duck breasts, we like ours medium rare.

Put the duck skin side down in a cold pan, turn the heat to medium and cook the duck breasts for 6-8 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy, turn the breasts over and just sear the other side for 1 minute. Turn over so they are breast side up and put in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing the breasts thinly.

  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3/4 cup fresh pineapple cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 10 cherry tomatoes.
  • 6-10 mange tout..or other vegetables of your choice.
  • 100 gm Thai eggplant cut into quarters. ( Pictured below)

SAM_7044

  • 1-2 tbsp red curry paste.
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves torn
  • Bunch Thai basil washed and leaves picked..
  • 2 tsp lime juice.
  • 100gm pea eggplants( Pictured to the right above)

To make sauce put a very tiny drop of oil in the pan over a medium heat add your curry paste and stir to cook for 1 min, add fish sauce. Gradually add coconut milk whilst still stirring.

Bring to a slow boil and add torn lime leaves and eggplants cook for 5/6 mins and add tomatoes and pineapple, cook for a further 10 minutes then add mange tout and stir in some Thai basil leaves and lime juice.

Now taste and adjust curry paste if you want more heat. If anything else needs adjusting you can also do that now. Thai flavours are very pronounced and if you get it balanced ..very nice if not…I have had some disasters and I don’t mind admitting that…which is why I always say TASTE and Taste again.

When you are ready to serve then add sliced duck to the sauce and just warm through and serve with some Thai basil over the top and a sliced red chilli if you like.

Serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

christmas-tree merry christmas-3825102_640

I hope you have enjoyed these easy to make Winter Warmers…

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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

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

 

 

CarolCooks2…My weekly roundup of recipes, Christmas traditions and Trivia…

Recipes and reveals what is in our food

Welcome to this weeks roundup…How are your Christmas preparations going? I am happy as my Christmas supplies have arrived, my sweet mincemeat and puddings are now made. My new oven is set up and ready to go so now I can bake some cakes … Not so many mod cons here…but I manage with a few improvisations and have surprised myself over the last few years as to how resourceful I have become…

Beef Bourguignon is an old family favourite and a lovely dish if you have a few friends around over the Christmas period it is a one-pot dish and cooks itself.

christmas Eve Supper

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/09/beef-bourguignon/

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Next up are some dessert recipes Bingsu which you may not have heard of before but which is a popular dessert here in Asia…A lovely dessert to share, Mango and sticky rice is almost iconic and can be found almost everywhere here and very nice the mango offsets the sweetness of the coconut rice, Fruit Salad ours is a bit more tropical due to living here but always a crowd pleaser and lastly, my all-time favourite dessert is Creme Brulee and this one has a slight twist a touch of chilli and some lime…

Bingsu

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/10/christmas-recipes-bingsu-sticky-rice-with-mango-creme-brulee-and-fresh-fruit-salad/

Mince Pies and Sausage rolls don’t need too much of an introduction for many and a firm favourite in this house…and yes I make my own sausage meat as I cannot purchase it here…

sausage rolls mince pies home made

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/11/christmas-recipes-mince-pies-and-puddings/

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Next, it is over to Sally’s for my last post until after the New Year and my second Christmas Menu which is a traditional one with a few twists… Sally, however, has her 12 days of Christmas posts and what a star she is… Not only is she promoting other authors and there are some great Christmas books to be had which would make lovely stocking fillers, but she is also promoting my recipes…Thank you, Sally xxx

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-food-column-carol-taylor-traditional-christmas-menu/

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I would not like to say how many Turkeys I have cooked …But we all have to start somewhere and I know it can be a pretty daunting task when it is your first Christmas Turkey…

Roast Turkey

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/13/how-to-cook-the-perfect-turkey/

I have now got two adorable pictures of two lovely children in Christmas Jumpers for this Fridays Christmas Traditions and Treats…I was hoping that more of you would send your pictures in of your Christmas finery be it jumpers, sweaters, socks or a beautifully decorated tree or house…So don’t be shy please send me some images xx

Christmas Treats and Traditions (1)

There is a mulled wine recipe, lots of trivia and traditions and until next week an empty jumper corner…Boo Hoo x

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/14/christmas-traditions-treats-and-a-little-trivia/

Next, it is young Hugh and he did hint at a Christmas jumper pic…hint hint… He has started his annual Christmas Charity appeal so please pop over and leave your link and share, Hugh will give you a mention in The New Year and some very lucky doggies will get some extra treats…

puppy-3191770_640

https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2018/12/13/2018-christmas-charity-appeal-help-me-raise-250-for-the-dogs-trust-by-leaving-me-links-to-your-blogs-and-books/

You all know I love chillies, don’t you? Well, my big boy sent me a bottle of vodka infused with Naga Chillies which are apparently the hottest chillies on the planet and not for the faint-hearted…Shot of the said vodka is not advised and apparently a little in Bloody Mary spices it up somewhat…

There are also some recipes for some tamer tipples…Like a  winter Sangria, Mulled Wine, Irish Cream, Limoncello and more xxx

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/15/christmas-recipes-naga-vodka-bloody-mary-drinks-anyone/

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Before I go and just in case all that rich Christmas fare and overindulgence plays havoc with your digestive system a few hints and tips as I don’t know about you but a bad dose of indigestion is too painful…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/smorgasbord-health-column-heading-under-the-mistletoe-indigestion-reach-for-the-peppermint/

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I hope you have enjoyed this Christmas roundup of recipes, traditions and treats and I would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution I think most bloggers love it when you get some interaction with your posts it makes the time spent very worthwhile so thank you and please if you have any favourite Christmas Tips, recipes anything please share with us xxx

christmas-cracker-3012548_640

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,  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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

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

Christmas Recipes…Naga Vodka Bloody Mary…Drinks anyone?

 

Guess who got a bottle of Naga Vodka? A few of them might bring the New Year in with a

explosion-147931_640

In the meantime, I will give you some lovely recipes which don’t pack quite so much of a punch…As this might…

So come on own up has anyone been brave enough to try this??

Next one of my Favourites…

Limoncello:

limoncello

Ingredients:

  • I litre bottle of your favourite vodka
  • 10 Lemons
  • 5 cups of water
  • 4 cups of granulated sugar

Let’s Brew!

Well, lets cook wasn’t really appropriate …Was it???

First, wash and peel those lemons and put the peels in a glass container ( big) enough to also hold the litre of vodka.

Leave to soak for at least 10 days. then drain off the liquid and dispose of the peels.

Make a syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water, cool and add to the lemon/vodka mixture. using a clean coffee filter strain the liquid…Voila!

You now have your own homemade Limoncello…

This one is a lovely non-alcoholic apple-based drink.

  • 200 ml apple juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 mace blade
  • 2 whole cloves
  • small strip fresh ginger
  • 1 clementine with the peel very finely zested.
  •  100 gm golden castor sugar

Let’s Cook!

Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, clementine zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.

Refrigerate until required and serve in a glass with some apple slices and ice or warm with a stick of cinnamon it is also lovely drizzled over ice cream.

My favourite Tanqueray Gin no less and a tonic recipe ..you will never ever pull that metal ring and pour it over your gin again…This is sublime, the ultimate in a mixer and just what gin deserves and no I am not including the recipe for you…you will have to pop over to Chez’s blog and find it…haha…….Now you can all guess what I will be making this weekend 😉 If I can get Cinchona bark which gives the quinine flavour of tonic…..but Chez has it covered if you can’t she has given us the link to a man who can!

Who doesn’t love a glass of Irish Cream over ice??

Irish Cream:

Irish cream

 

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 pt whipping cream
  • 1 can condensed milk…
  • 2 eggs.
  • 11/2 tbsp Chocolate syrup.
  • 1/2 tbsp each  Vanilla Extract, Coconut Extract, and Chocolate Extract.

Let’s Brew!

Blend all ingredients together and refrigerate.

Serve cold and or over Ice.

Now isn’t that easy? and …you can get about 4 batches from one bottle of  Irish Whiskey so by my reckoning that’s a real saving and lots of Irish Cream which we tested alongside Bailey’s and it was very close…yay……

 

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 ????

 

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Let’s Brew!

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.

To serve.

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 the taste of Chai Tea so when I saw this recipe for a Chai Tea Egg Nog I thought…Yes, please!

 

How about a Winter Sangria?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup (237 ml) brandy
  • 1 cup (237 ml) pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup (237 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, arils removed
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick

In a large jug or serving bowl, stir together the wine, brandy, pomegranate juice, and orange juice. Add orange slices, pomegranate arils, cranberries and cinnamon stick. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

Serve with ice cubes.

Enjoy!

On a cold winter’s day a mug or three of mulled wine will warm the cockles of your heart…I have many fond memories and the mug of my trip to the German Christmas Markets and my mugs of Gluewein…Just in case you missed it the recipe can be found on my Christmas Treats and Traditions post.

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/14/christmas-traditions-treats-and-a-little-trivia/

All of these could be given as a lovely Christmas present and everyone loves a gift which is made by your own fair hands much nicer isn’t it????

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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

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

2018 Christmas Charity Appeal – Help Me Raise £250 For The Dogs Trust By Leaving Me Links To Your Blogs And Books

A very worthy cause as there are so many unwanted animals and there will be even more after the festive season…Please support Hugh and help him reach his target 🙂

Hugh's Views & News

The Christmas tree is up, but something is missing. There are no gifts under it, and I need your help to put that right.

#christmastree #christmas #charity #dogstrust

For this year’s Christmas charity appeal, I’m asking you again to help me raise some money for The Dogs Trust.

The Dogs Trust, formerly known as the National Canine Defence League, is an animal welfare charity and humane society in the United Kingdom which specialises in the well-being of dogs. Click here to go to their website.

Want to get involved? Here’s what you need to do.

  1. In the comments section of this post, leave the name of your blog and a link to it. This can be a link to your ‘about me’ page, a favourite blog post you’ve published, or the home page of your blog.
  2. If you’re an author, you’re also welcome to leave a link to any books you have published. So, for example…

View original post 305 more words

Christmas Traditions, Treats and a little Trivia…

 

Welcome to this week’s additions of Christmas treats and traditions…Not long now and I have sprouts and parsnips bought over from the UK so I am a happy bunny…

How are your preparations going are your presents all wrapped? Shopping is done? Tree decorated? If so well done…

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The Christmas tree …I have seen a few magazine headings saying real or artificial? I have always had a real tree and that was that… Like many things Christmas…You don’t get a real tree here and somehow a palm or banana tree although they look very nice with lights on are a tad too big to bring inside…So it is now artificial I am also the only one for miles around who has a decorated tree in the window…

For me, however,, there is nothing as pretty as a tree covered in snow such a beautiful sight.

In India however, Instead of having traditional Christmas Trees they do decorate banana or mango trees.

In Southern India, Christians often put small oil burning clay lamps on the flat roofs of their homes to show their neighbours that Jesus is the light of the world.

Christians in Mumbai use many Christmas traditions from Goa including the star lanterns and the stable manger scenes.

In India, Father Christmas or Santa Claus delivers presents to children from a horse and cart. He’s known as ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi, ‘Baba Christmas’ in Urdu (Father Christmas); ‘Christmas Thaathaa’ in Tamil and ‘Christmas Thatha’ in Telugu ( Christmas old man); and ‘Natal Bua’ (Christmas Elder Man) in Marathi. In Kerala state, he’s known as ‘Christmas Papa’.

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Did you know? Christmas was illegal in England between 1647 and 1660 as Puritan Oliver Cromwell deemed it to be immoral to hold a celebration on one of the churches holiest days.

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Did you know? “The Night of the Radishes” is one of the annual Christmas customs in Oaxaca, Mexico. On December 23rd, The Night of the Radishes (Noche de Los Rábanos in Spanish) is an annual event in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, dedicated to the carving of oversized radishes. The event has its origins in the colonial period when radishes were introduced by the Spanish. Oaxaca has a long wood carving tradition and farmers began carving radishes into figures as a way to attract customers’ attention at the Christmas market, which was held in the main square on December 23. In 1897, the city created the formal competition. As the city has grown, the city has had to dedicate land to the growing of the radishes as the event has become very popular attracting over 100 contestants and thousands of visitors. However, since the radishes wilt soon after cutting the works can only be displayed for a number of hours, which has led to very long lines for those wishing to see the works.

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Did you know? The Advent wreath began in Germany as a Lutheran tradition but eventually spread to other Christian denominations, including the Catholic and Episcopalian Churches. The evergreen wreath traditionally has four candles around the edge to mark the four weeks before Christmas and a white candle in the centre (to be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day). It may also be adorned with berries or pinecones. The weekly lighting of each candle may be accompanied by prayer, Christmas carols, and/or snacks such as stollen or mulled wine of which I have some fond memories of sipping while I walked around the Christmas Market a lovely tradition.

Mulled Wine.

Ingredients:
  • 1 bottle/750 mL red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot)
  • 1 orange (peeled and sliced; keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
  • 1/4 cup brandy ish…lol
  • 8 to 10 cloves or 5-star anise
  • 1/3 cup honey (or sugar)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks.
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger

Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has dissolved completely. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have been well blended it is ready to serve.

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Christmas Jumper Corner:

Empty!

No one sent me any pictures…Boo Hoo…Sob…

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Turkey…In the Uk approx 76% of homes serve up a turkey in the US it is a staggering 46 million turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving and 22 million at Christmas but at least you can just put the turkey in the oven and enjoy your celebrations…Not so easy for some  The Puerto Rican national dish is the roast suckling pig known as lechón, and this almighty beast needs the more-or-less constant attention of at least two people as it slowly turns on an outdoor spit from as early as two in the morning.

To while away the long hours cranking the handle with a coconut shell full of coquito, a festive Puerto Rican spin on eggnog made with coconut milk, condensed milk and a hearty dash of rum is somewhat of a consolation…

Who remembers eggnog? Who still drinks eggnog…I haven’t had it for years… I remember my nana giving me a sneaky sip of hers sneaky because I think it may have had a little something added…lol

For the recipe courtesy of Sally @ Smorgasbord…
♦♦♦♦♦
Just in case you missed it my traditional Christmas Menu was published on Wednesday…
If you are like me  I always like to have at least one new dish on the Christmas Dinner table I hope you find at least one new dish here to try…Enjoy!

 

I hope you have enjoyed this Christmas post of Traditions and treats and I would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution I think most bloggers love it when you get some interaction with your posts it makes the time spent very worthwhile so thank you and please if you have any favourite Christmas Tips, recipes anything please share with us xxx

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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

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

Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations – The First Day of Christmas with guests Mary Smith, Jacquie Biggar and John W. Howell

The 1st day of Christmas courtesy of Sally @ Smorgasbord and what a treat you have in store and if like me you haven’t made your mincemeat then the recipe is here 🙂 Enjoy!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the first of the Twelve Days of Christmas party where guests will share their best ever Christmas presents ever…and there will be food, drink and of course music and to get you into the spirit of the season.. here are some choristers with particular appeal..

I tried to remember the first Christmas that I was aware of as a child. I must have got the general idea of the concept of presents quite young as at age seven when we moved to Malta I began the practice of putting a pillowcase on the end of my bed from around mid-October…. I think this ticked my mother off somewhat because she sat me down at the beginning of December and told me that Father Christmas did not exist and that from now on I would have my presents around the tree like my two sisters who were in their…

View original post 2,518 more words

How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

How to Cook the Perfect Turkey (2)

Turkey…It is very easy to assume that everyone knows how to cook a turkey but I am sure there are many of you who don’t it could be your first home and your first Christmas dinner you have cooked and it can be pretty daunting.

In the UK alone last year over 10 million turkeys were eaten at Christmas so I expect there are quite a few chefs/people stating they have the recipe on how to cook the perfect turkey and a few who will be cooking the not so perfect turkey aka Mr Bean…

To cook the best turkey you also need some delicious stuffing…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/christmas-recipes-homemade-stuffing/

I stuff the neck cavity and just put onion or a lemon with some cloves and butter in the main body cavity. You could use fresh herbs and butter in all honesty mine does vary from year to year.

A tip is to include a small handful of rice in the stuffing as it absorbs all the raw juices from the turkey creating the most delicious stuffing.

I also cook my turkey breast down as then the juices fall into the breast which keeps it moist and succulent…

The turkey must then be turned over 30 minutes before it is done to brown the top….delicious.

Some chefs also push butter under the skin of the turkey…..

It really is a personal choice and I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to prepare your turkey as we all have our own way of cooking this bird and all delicious there is no right or wrong way it’s a personal preference so I am just going to give you a few different options…

Cooking Times:

Take the turkey from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while the oven is heating up.

Here is the link to a handy  http://www.britishturkey.co.uk/cooking/cooking-calculators.html

This recipe is the one I am going to use this year because I don’t trust my oven temperature and I think adding the hot water into the cavity of the turkey will help not only keep it moist but will ensure it cooks properly.

The night before roasting, soften some butter and season with salt and pepper mixing well. I used about 6 oz of butter.

Remove the giblets from the bird and wipe it inside and out with kitchen paper. Remove any feathers… if there are a lot of them you can singe them over a gas flame.

I remember my dad doing that but most of the turkeys now are fully plucked and dressed..ours may not be as it is fresh from the farm so I am guessing it will have a few feathers left to pluck out…

Open the cavity of the bird and season the inside with the remaining salt and pepper. Rub the seasoned butter over the turkey. Take a piece of greaseproof paper twice the size of the breast and fold to give a double layer. Lay this over the breasts (it will protect them during the cooking) and return the turkey to the fridge until morning.

Calculate your cooking times and preheat your oven… A 5kg bird should take 3 hrs 10 minutes at 180C(fan) 375F/Gas mark 5 approx as it will depend on your oven…

Stuff the turkey neck with your desired stuffing.

Set the turkey on a trivet inside the tin. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and carefully pour around 250ml of the hot water into the cavity of the bird. Seal with a skewer.

Pour another 500ml of hot water into the roasting tray with some onions and carrots and a few fresh herbs Thyme and Rosemary plus some garlic cloves.

Then cover the whole thing with foil (I use two layers) and make sure that it is well sealed around the edges.

Put the lot in the oven and cook for 20 minutes on 250 C, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/Gas 5 for the remaining cooking time. After 2½ hours, remove the foil and the greaseproof paper and close the door. Don’t open it again until the cooking time is up.

To test whether the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer or knife blade into the point where the thigh joins the breast. The juice should run clear. If it is pink, then roast the turkey for another 20 minutes and test again.

If you are using a meat thermometer then it should read 180F in thigh and 165F in breast or stuffing.

Roast Turkey

Take the bird from the oven and leave it to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.

Strain the juice from the bottom of the roasting tin into a large jug to settle. The fat will rise to the top, leaving the aromatic turkey and onion juice beneath. Skim off the fat and thicken the juices if you wish, or serve as it is…..

Enjoy!

The turkey Carcass

I have many happy memories of the luscious soup my mum used to make with the leftover turkey carcass…Do you????

Ingredients:

  • Turkey Carcass
  • 2 large Onions chopped
  • 4 carrots chopped and divided into 2 halves
  • 3 potatoes chopped
  • 1-2 cups roughly chopped cabbage
  • 3 celery stalks 2 rough chopped and one cut into bite-sized pieces
  • A Cup uncooked barley or mixed dried lentils
  • A sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • Worcestershire sauce ( optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Water to cover carcass.

N.B. You can use any vegetables which you have available sometimes I add some swede or turnip it depends what I have ….anything goes sweetcorn…just some examples ..What do you use?????

Let’s Cook! 

In a large pot put the chicken carcass and cover with water add your roughly cut carrot, onion, a bay leaf and thyme sprig bring the water to the boil reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2 hours.

Take the turkey bones out of the pot and pick off any meat. If required chop the meat and reserve. Throw away the bones and strain the broth through a fine sieve reserving the liquid and discarding the cooked vegetable.

In a clean soup pot add the strained broth add the remaining raw chopped vegetable carrot, onion, celery, potato, cabbage) parsley, barley, and simmer for an hour until the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning and add Worcestershire sauce if using.

My mum would sometimes add dumplings or we would eat with fresh crusty bread.

It is a lovely soup basically using leftovers and my kids still love this and remind me sometimes of their memories of eating this soup….

I think that is what makes turkey such a special meal…The memories we make…..

My Christmas this year is going to be mixed as my Thai family are coming so it will some of us up the table and some on traditional mats on the floor and I daresay some chilli dips…. I know they will eat the meat and vegetables, they love sausage…The sauces and potatoes maybe not and they tend to like the gravy but we will see …

I hope they will enjoy being sort of part of our traditional Christmas dinner mixed with a few chillies and raw veg…. It will fun and no doubt the traditional whiskey will be lurking around and I know they love my Baileys… well, the ladies do…

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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

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

How to cook the perfect Turkey

How to cook the perfect Turkey (1)

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/10/christmas-recipes-bingsu-sticky-rice-with-mango-creme-brulee-and-fresh-fruit-salad/

..Christmas Desserts

Until next time xxx