Category Archives: blogging

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 16th -22nd October –

Sally’s jam-packed weekly roundup …You must watch the video of the seal it is great ..he is so cute xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed this week.

I hope all is well with you, I am sure that many of you in the UK and Ireland have been experiencing the benefits of Storm Ellen who seems like a very bad tempered individual. The wind has dropped marginally compared to the last four days and one benefit of our unpredictable weather for the last three weeks is that I have not had to water the pots once..

There are worst things however than too much water and I hope that the current California bush fires are soon brought under control. It is devastating the area and over 770,000 acres have already been destroyed. With everything else happening on top of Covid 19, it is another blow to the health and safety of millions.

Book reviews and other marketing observations.

I continue to…

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Thailand…Down on the Farm…Jambulan Plum and Mulberry’s…

Down on the farm this Jambulan plum- tree is another tree which is bearing fruits for us and another one which was new to me…It is so exciting all these wonderful tasting fruits that are coming into season.

Jambulan is a nutritious seasonal fruit found in abundance in Asia. Its season is April to July. It can be found growing in forests, backyards and along the roadsides. Natural wild-growing trees have a single seed. The hybrid varieties are seedless.

A purplish-black oval-shaped fruit when it is mature has a sweet and sour flavour which can be acidic and astringent. It is rich in the plant pigment anthocyanin and if you eat too much it is likely to leave you with a purple tongue and you may get the same feeling as I did when as a kid I ate too much of that sour lemon sherbet which made your fingers where you dipped and licked wrinkly and your tongue tingle. Who remembers that??

It can be used to make Jams and jellies but due to the very low pectin levels must be mixed with fruit with high pectin or a commercial pectin substitute.

It makes a lovely accompaniment for pulao or rice pilaf. Just mix chopped deseeded Jambulan with fresh yoghurt and combine. Add chopped coriander and powdered cumin and stir. Taste and season with salt.

The pulp is used to makes sauces and fermented beverages like shrub, cider and wine. Now if you are wondering what shrub is ( and I was) it is flavoured vinegar. Which makes wonderful drinks with soda and ice or with cocktails…But that is another post for another day.

Jambulan Jelly.

  • 1 3/4 cups of chopped and seeded Jambulan.
  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of liquid pectin
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice.
  • 7 cups of sugar.

Combine the Pectin, juice and water with the Jumbulan and bring to a fast, rolling boil. Add the sugar and stirring bring to a fast-rolling boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and skim of any foam. Pour quickly into hot pre-sterilised jars and seal.

N.B: If the fruit is too astringent then it can be soaked in saltwater before cooking.

The Jambulan plum can also be known as Java plum, black plum and Jambul it is also often eaten just as a healthy snack sometimes with a little salt to taste. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids.

The fruit, seeds, bark and leaves all have medicinal properties and it is believed to have its origins in Neolithic times. In  India, it is known as  ” Fruit of the Gods

They can vary in size due to the soil and the weather conditions but can survive and thrive in dry, humid conditions.

The seeds when dried and powdered are a known effective treatment for diabetes. Bark powder mixed with the juice of the fruit is an effective treatment for coughs and colds. Leaves, when they are ground, are effective against dysentery and also for healing wounds.

Bark powder is also used as a cure for tapeworm. I am always amazed when I come across fruits like this as to how much they are still relied on in the villages here as cures for so much.

Mulberry’s…these berries which I again discovered by chance are very similar to our Blackberries maybe not quite as juicy but they taste very similar called Mon Ton here. So I thought I would treat the men to an Apple and Mulberry crumble.

Yes, everyone from she who doesn’t cook desserts hardly ever…A dessert!

I  have always cooked dishes like crumble the way my mum always did but for once I thought I would try something new and deconstruct it!

The original crumble is lovely but you always get that bit between the fruit and the crumble which goes soggy…Don’t you??

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/03/28/apple-and-mulberry-crumble/

Mulberries are also one of the favourites of the silkworm who produce the silk for the famous Thai Silk…Read about it here

Discovering all these fruits and plants which have medicinal uses made me think when a few years ago when I got stung by a jellyfish one of the ladies in a close-by restaurant went and picked some leaves crushed them and mixed them with something and put it on my sting and gave me the rest to take home and apply when needed…It worked…

At the time I was in so much pain and I didn’t ask the name of what she mixed it with or the name of the leaves she picked but my point being she knew what to use and it was obviously a remedy which had been passed down.

I am not saying that conventional medicine is not an option at all as sometimes it is a necessity and has saved many lives but there are times when if we know what to use we can find very effective drug free ways to heal and cure ourselves and our families.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this little fruit I hope to bring you a few more I have at least one more which is ripe and ready to eat so until next time.

Stay safe and have a great week :)xxx

Dogs are not our whole life but they make our life whole… Saangchai and Soi Dogs…

Having just returned from my few days away I am still playing catchup…So I thought as Saangchai missed me I would repost one of his earlier posts which also has a link to Soi Dogs the wonderful organisation where we got Saangchai from…Without them, there would be so many more stray dogs on the streets…I will now hand you over to Saangchai…

Yeah…I get to chat with you…Woof…First time in a while but hopefully my mistress will let me on here much more… For now, this is an earlier one I wrote when I was just a puppy… Now I am grown up I don’t chew any more…and I let her friends in now although I do give them the once over a little warning scowl( growl)…

 

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It just fell apart!

It seems like everything I just “lick” falls apart…….well maybe..just maybe I chew it a little bit……Hey, peeps welcome to my Monday blog… have you noticed that I don’t say ” woof ” so often?

It ‘s because my mistress…. she doesn’t like it and I think I am just going to have to do as I am told.

Her friends came round..again!……..So I barked… well I did growl too……but they came in any way and my mistress she got her…you will do as you are told voice on…and kept saying NO!

What’s a boy to do?  anyway I gave one last  ” woof ” and lay down beside her…but that lady seemed very nice, I slowly crept under the table towards her….she let me lick and smell her hand…she seems ok..maybe next time  I’ll be nice….she smelt of lots of other dogs so maybe she has forever dogs too..she must be ok…..my mistress is pretty cool so if she says it’s ok ….

Yehhhhh little master is here, we have so much fun…he plays and rolls about with me…today he is excited and keeps saying we are going to the beach..what’s the beach?

Anyway off we go in the truck… it wasn’t very far and I wasn’t sick..hehe…he is good fun!

Oh, this is nice and soft and I can dig holes! We run and run and went down to the water it was much bigger than that lake the other day…my mistress splashed me and it was fun…but then those things they call ” waves ” they chased me……I run off…  it scared me!

My little master and my mistress gave me lots of pats and told me it was ok…but..those waves still chased me…

SAM_7095 SAM_7096 SAM_7097 SAM_7098 SAM_7099 SAM_7100But It was fun we played ball and my little master can run really fast… just like me…my mistress wouldn’t let me off the lead…she said maybe next time…she is worried I might run off…but come on…would I?

My mistress has asked me if I can tell you my lovely readers about “Soi  Dogs”..she was watching something yesterday and she kept wiping her eyes ..these humans are silly sometimes ….she cuddled me and was really sad for a little while…

Ok..then I’ll do it……please read this and if you can give one of my furry friends a ” forever home”  like me or just……donate some money…what’s money?  I don’t use that!

BUT ANYWAY….here is the link…. please watch it as I don’t want my mistress to be sad…….and if you help…woof, woof…I won’t bark at you if you come to my home…..DEAL?

dog meat tradehttps://www.soidog.org/

See you soon…Thanks for reading…Saangchai…Woof

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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

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 creative week ahead xx

Spice It Up…………………

Chillies..Now that’s surprise..ha ha….a lovely hot sauce…

This one is definitely a keeper and one I will certainly try because as you know I love anything with chilli.

chili-1746451_1280

 

What do you do with an over abundance of chile peppers? Well, you marinate them, you make relish, you grill em and you make hot sauce! Lots and lots of hot sauce. Lots. I love making hot sauce. Bu…

Source: Spice It Up…………………

Healthy Eating! How to cure your own bacon.

lady holding veggies

 

Those of you who know me are well aware of my aversion to anything processed and ham/ bacon is no exception to that rule. The ham you purchase from the shops is just slimy, and not nice at all….The bacon of doubtful origins at best especially where I live now…In the Uk you could get some lovely home cured kinds of bacon and hams not so here or if there is I have not found them….I have also been experimenting with various different ways which may be more healthy…

Bacon contains nitrates which some have an aversion to using or it causes headaches and other adverse symptoms.

Today I am using celery juice..just put in the juicer and out the other side and viola this lovely vibrant green juice.

Now celery also contains nitrates but they are naturally occurring although for some may still cause headaches if your aversion is to chemicals then celery may be a better way to cure your bacon.

I used 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.

For every Kilo of Pork use I used:

  • 2 parts rock salt to 1 part sugar.
  • 4 cloves garlic.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A bunch of Lemon Thyme.
  • 20/30 Mustard Seeds,
  • 12 Pepper Corns,
  • Celery Juice as required to make the mix damp.

Method:

Finely slice bay Leaves and lightly crush with other spices in Pestle & Mortar.

Combine with Sugar and Salt and mix with liberal amounts of celery juice until damp.

Rub into Pork.Belly pork rubbed with garlic and lemon thyme

Place Pork in a sealed container or bag ( I used a brining bag). Turn halfway through the week. That is why I like using brining bags as it is much easier to turn the meat over.

Store in the fridge for 5 Days.

After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.

Cook in oven @ 100C for 2 hours. Cool and slice.Home cured belly Streaky bacon

It also looks lovely and pink ( no grey) which means the natural nitrates in the celery juice had worked their magic.

All I need now is a home-made smoker and some lovely flavoured woods. Maybe use some maple syrup, honey, someone suggested coffee..some nice tea springs to my mind so many options…A different blend of herbs or cut of meat..

Have you made your own bacon and if you did what did you use?

Now the tester…How will it taste?

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It smells like bacon, looks like bacon and made a lovely sandwich….  Before you say yes I cut it thinly and no not everyone in the household likes it like that but the beauty of making your own is everyone can have their bacon sliced to their own requirements …How cool is that?

If you start experimenting now you can have some lovely home cured bacon for Christmas or as a lovely present for someone you love …

Next week I will give you the recipe for my home cured ham…

Until then stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot and as you know and if you don’t THEN you have not been reading my posts to the end ….Laughter is proven medically to be the best medicine and it is FREE!

 

 

 

 

Have you made your Christmas pudding yet??

My oh, my is the time not flying now???

Time to make the puddings and mincemeat for Mince pies…

Christmas Pudding

This first recipe is gluten free..for all of my friends who have to eat gluten free for a diagnosed medical condition and it is delicious and quite frankly just as nice as my tried and tested recipe I always make..not much difference in taste.

So I am giving you both recipes one Gluten free and my tried and tested one which if you used gluten free breadcrumbs and flour would also be Gluten free..

Hopefully this year I will have proper rolls of wrapping paper as one’s son is in England and will be bringing some back for me…Yehhhh no juggling with those silly little rolls which are just enough to wrap a matchbox…I am not kidding!

 

 So here is the first recipe for a… Gluten FREE Christmas pudding… Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100gm currants.
  • 100gm sultanas.
  • 100gm sour cherries.
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Grated zest and juice of half an Orange.
  • 1tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.
  • 100ml of brandy..this is where my hand slipped…haha
  • 180gm dark brown sugar
  • 1 granny smith Apple( I can’t these) so used a new Zealand apple which is quite tart.
  • 1 large carrot, grated.
  • 250gm ground almonds.
  • 50gm gluten-free cornflour.
  • 1tsp gluten-free baking powder.
  • 2 med free-range eggs.
  • 50ml vegetable oil( I use coconut oil)
  • plus extra for greasing.
  • 2 tbsp black treacle.
  • This makes enough for a 2-pint pudding basin or two 1 pints.

To make:

In a large bowl put dried fruit, zest, and juice, spice, and brandy stir to combine, cover and leave for 24hrs.

Then mix in sugar, apple, and carrot, add beaten eggs then stir in oil and treacle.

Lastly,  stir in dry ingredients with a pinch of salt.

Put mixture into a greased pudding basin it should be two-thirds full. Cover the top with a round of greaseproof paper the cover with pleated tin foil and secure with string.

You can now either set the pudding in a saucepan on an upturned plate and fill the pan with boiling water about halfway up the basin. Put the lid on and steam for 4 hours remembering to top up the water as necessary.

I always use a steamer and in this case, it was my wicker rice steamer which the bowl sits in nicely over the pot of water.

If you have made a lot of puddings over the years like me  I think you find your own preferred method of steaming your puds.

Once steamed, cool and rewrap pudding and store in a cool, dry place. It is the fridge for me as too humid…I do miss my cool pantry…

To serve simmer or steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs, then invert onto a plate and flame the pud or serve with sauce, brandy butter or cream…

It’s cream all the way for me …and lots of it!

My second recipe is slightly different but adaptable to make gluten-free and the one I make year after year…I could do it blindfold now…lol

So for all of you who want to get your Christmas Puddings made so they develop the lovely flavours then here is my tried and tested recipe….. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 300gm fresh breadcrumbs ( I use brown)
  • 100gm self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
  • 350gm raisins
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 50gm flaked almonds
  • 250gm suet
  • 225gm Demerara sugar
  • 225gm sultanas
  • 225gm currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated
  • (shhhh)Wet ingredients
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small wine glass of brandy  shhhhh and a tad more..ha ha
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:

Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.

Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.

When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the match and viola a flaming pud 🙂

N.B. As I live in sunny climes then I store mine in the fridge as they ferment very quickly here and that’s not quite what we want.

Happy Cooking and don’t forget to make a wish 🙂

Just in case you missed it, my turkey babies…  Down on the farmThe turkeys are growing nicely so my Christmas dinner for the first time in two years will be…Turkey!

The recipe for sweet mincemeat will follow maybe next week…lol…But you will get it ..If you can’t wait then it is here Sweet Mincemeat..the same recipe every year but tried and tested… family ones are the best…No nasties and made from scratch…

I hope by now you have forgiven me for using the dreaded C word…..But it is creeping up and fast… It is only 107 sleeps!!!

Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know what I am going to say it is Free and proven to be good for your health…..

Laughter aside…My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who have been or will be affected by Hurrican Irma we are all thinking and praying for your safety and well-being…Much love and prayers…