Category Archives: Carol Cooks2

The Culinary Alphabet…The letter W…

It is that time of the month when I am over at Esme’s Salon...This month I am exploring ingredients beginning with the letter W…

The Culinary Alphabet ...The Letter W (1)

Can you believe it, we are getting close to the end of this culinary series.

Welcome to this month’s edition where I am exploring some culinary delights beginning with the letter W…

Walnuts

Classed as one of the world’s healthiest foods the Walnut originated in the Mediterranean region and Central Asia and has been part of the human diet for thousands of years. These nuts are rich in omega-3 fats and contain higher amounts of antioxidants than most other foods.

Walnut-shell

Walnut showing kernel.

If you’re looking for a snack food that lowers your cholesterol levels, research shows that you should get cracking! Ha Ha… In a study published by The Medical Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that people who munched their way through 1.5 oz of whole walnuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL cholesterol by 9.3%.

Wasabi

Wasabi aka Japanese Horseradish is so rare that the wasabi you eat with your sushi probably only contains about 5% wasabi. Wasabi is harvested by hand and takes about 18 months…That surprised me…Does it surprise you? It is hard to grow and takes time…Which in turn pushes up the cost to the consumer…

Photo credit: randomwire on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

 

Water Bath

Quite simply a water bath is simply a pan of hot water placed in the oven, this method has two benefits when baking. First, a water bath adds moisture to the oven and this is important for baking foods like cheesecakes, which tend to crack from the heat of the oven, or custards which can become rubbery without moist heat.

Water Chestnuts

Wandering around a food market in Wanon, Northern Thailand…and losing myself among the sights and smells of beautiful tempting Thai food. I spied a few fruits and vegetables which were unknown to me and this one. Although once I knew what it was then I recognised the taste ….without knowing the name I was puzzled I sort of knew the taste but didn’t connect the dots…lol

We were talking and looking for these a few weeks ago when were thinking about what to cook for dinner and reminiscing about the Chinese food we remembered having years ago with these crunchy water chestnuts in..you never got many just a few slices… I was then looking in the shops at imported goods to see if I could them and no luck…Then there they were the other day right under my nose and fresh ones….strange world… When your thoughts take you unexpectedly to what you were looking for.

Usually available in specialty groceries or supermarkets, they should be washed thoroughly and peeled with a sharp knife, especially if to be eaten raw. At this point, adding a few drops of lemon juice keeps them from turning brown when steamed or sautéed.

To read the original post…Click Here

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 are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Welcome once again to Whimsical Wednesdays where I unashamedly indulge myself…I do hope you enjoy my meanderings today…Come with me and let’s begin…These posts are never planned… if I come across anything which I love or which tugs at my heartstrings then I save it for Whimsical Wednesdays… the rest just happens…It is wherever my thoughts take me at that time…Mainly they are random and unplanned…I mean they are the best thoughts…Enjoy! xxx

Christmas…gaining momentum…In our house, the tree is up…and so were the scales yesterday morning…3lb…Guess who gave themselves a big talking too…Yep..Moi…I have been cold I mean for me 9 degrees is cold aka freezing.. Cardi weather…

I also discovered that these lovely little fried donut thingys tasted lovely with a little golden syrup and even better with bananas and ice cream…In my defence, I had shed loads of bananas to eat…Yep, I have made a few loaves of banana bread as well…No More…That’s It!

That part of the local economy bonding and supporting will be no more…3lb be gone…..

Isn’t this just the cutest??? We kept horses for quite a few years and they are the loveliest of animals…For instructions on how to make this lovely wreath Click Here

hh_xmas_hrswreath_gates_sm

I so love this…Such a pretty wreath…

Question: What did the other reindeer not let Rudolph do because of his shiny red nose?
Answer: Join in any reindeer games…Boom! Boom!

Time for a story…

This is a continuation of a short story started by author Steph Richmond with the offer to contribute …intrigued I took her up on this offer so as you will see I write the occasional chapter…Will this be finished who knows.?.. The girl as yet doesn’t have a name just an unknown past…Enjoy!

The Charade – Chapter 15

 by S C Richmond

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   Sitting in the safety of her room she was angry at herself for running away, she had seen George as she ran past the window and she thought he had glimpsed her but she had kept running. She no longer knew what to think, she took her necklace off and looked at it carefully, but she didn’t know what it represented and she was beginning to think that the only way she was going to find out was to stand up to Carl. She was more than a little nervous about how to approach that as she had been warned about him, although she had no idea why. She was very aware that he knew something about her and she needed to know what that was. That meant she had to go and find him.

   She took off her necklace and tucked it into a small bag that she slipped over her wrist if it was causing this much excitement and it was worth something she thought it would be best not to wear it all of the time, until she could find someone to take a look at it for her, maybe Mr. James would know someone. She stepped out of her flat and looked around she couldn’t see Carl but she was sure that he would turn up if she walked around the shops for a while, he had every other day. So she wandered towards Georges shop but it was still closed up. Then she changed direction and walked towards the bakers, she was still promising herself one of those indulgent cakes in the window, after all, she had some money to spare in her pouch. Still, there was no sign of Carl, just as she wanted to see him it seemed he had disappeared.

   Being unsure what to do next she bought two cakes and went to see Kathy, she might have some idea of what she could do now.

TBC

Question: Which Christmas song contains the lyric “Everyone dancing merrily in the new old fashioned way?”

Answer: “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”

Little Lily has always loved to help me cook…These are some of her early biscuit makings…Pink of course as most little girls prefer a pink Christmas…

iced biscuits 1

Obviously, I supervised her and would do anything which would not be safe for her to do but she sieves the flour, mixes, and rolls out. She cut out her shapes using my Christmas cutters. She also iced the biscuits herself and put the sprinkles on.

Ingredients:

  • 140 gm of butter
  • 100 gm of soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 350 gm flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg beaten

Melt the butter, sugar, and syrup and then let it cool for 10 minutes.
Sieve the flour, baking soda and pour in the melted butter plus the egg. Stir to combine.

Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 10 minutes

When chilled roll out to 5 mm thick and cut out shapes. Put on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake at 200C for about 12 minutes until golden turning the tray halfway through cooking.

When cold ice as desired. Lily wanted pink and white with sugar strands so even the penguin was pink…lol The icing apart from the first one when I showed her how to flood the biscuits she did herself…

This biscuit recipe is nice and the biscuits are quite soft in the middle but firm on the outside. it cuts out nice and clean it is a little crumbly and soft when not cooked but manageable..well… Lils managed so I am sure anyone else can.

Question: In the movie Elf, how does Buddy get to the North Pole?

Answer: He hides in Santa’s sack

 

Time for some music…

 

music notes

From 1980 until 1986 we heard St Winifreds School Choir singing …There’s No one quite like Grandma…Awww that tugs grandma’s heartstrings. The Human league topped the charts the next year with Don’t you Want Me…a catchy tune and then we got Renee and Renato…Saving our love…The flying Pickets treated us to… Only You…It was then time for Band-Aid’s first Christmas song …It was a joint effort by a rag-tag group of 1980’s musicians and pop stars known as Band-Aid… The original 1984 song, with Bono, Boy George, George Michael, Sting and Simon le Bon, raised £8million for famine-stricken Ethiopia. We then had a rock and rolling Christmas the following year with Shakin Stevens…Merry Christmas everyone…

Last, in this roundup, we had the lively Reet Petite by Jackie Wilson… Well, it was a hard choice but…Shakin Stevens just pipped Band-Aid at the post for me…

 

Today is National Human Right’s day… It is also Nobel Prize Day…

On December 10th, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This milestone document proclaimed the inalienable rights that every human being is entitled to. These human rights exist regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, opinion, origin, or another status. The UDHR is the most translated document in the world. It has been translated in over 500 languages.

Many of the promises included in the UDHR have yet to be realized. However, the document has stood the test of time. The document’s importance empowers every human being in the world. Along with empowering individuals to stand up for their own human rights, it seeks to enable them to stand up for the rights of others.

Use this #HumanRightDay when posting on social media…

The December birth flower is the Narcissus...often mistaken for a daffodil…The yellow of this flower reminds us that the cold winter will not last forever…Bringing the narcissus into your home is said to attract wealth and good luck…Herbalists use narcissus to relieve stress and to quiet busy minds…

To me, the red of Christmas is brought to life by the beautiful red of the poinsettias…To many, the shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought of as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red coloured leaves symbolise the blood of Christ. The white leaves of the Poinsettia represent his purity.

poinsettia-4647951_640

Native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as ‘Taxco del Alarcon’ where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them ‘cuetlaxochitl’. The Aztecs had many uses for them including using the flowers (actually special types of leaves known as bracts rather than being flowers) to make a purple dye for clothes and cosmetics and the milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers. (Today we call the sap latex!)

The Poinsettia is also the National flower of Madagasgar.

With Christmas coming up I always love to get out my cocktail shaker and my punch bowl and make some cocktails…This one always goes down well…

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.

Do you know? Which female artist features with the Pogues on the song ‘Fairytale of New York’?…..

Enjoy!

That’s all from me today on Whimsical Wednesday… I hope you have enjoyed reading this post…xx

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 are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

Mistletoe and Wine…Time to pickle…Cabbage, eggplant, beets and watermelon rinds

Goodmorning and although sunny it is a cool 10 degrees here this morning…Time to get out a shawl for my shoulders…Tuesday is the day where all you Pickle addicts can pickle and pucker…Don’t you love that initial intake of breath when the vinegar hits your taste buds…?? Makes you give a little involuntary shiver…

Pak Dong…Is Thai pickled cabbage which comes in many forms from just cabbage or cabbage and green onions this week I added some small yellow eggplants…

Ingredients:

  • 1 white cabbage. cut or torn into pieces.
  • 8 large spring onions chopped
  • 12-15 sm yellow eggplants halved
  • Coarse Salt.

Method:

Pickled cabbage is very easy to do and there are many variations I have seen it with fresh chillies. It can also be made with Chinese cabbage or Pak Choy…Our preference is just plain old white cabbage and spring onions it is quick, easy and very moreish it can be eaten on its own, stirred into soup or with a curry as an accompaniment. It doesn’t last long here at all as our little granddaughter loves it and just eats it on its own.

To Pickle:

Layer Cabbage, Onions, eggplants and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands.

We then leave the dish covered on the kitchen top or in the sun for 1 day.

Pickled cabbage with egg plants

Then drain and lightly rinse and add more salt if required. Cover and leave for 2/3 days or until it reaches your ideal taste. With pickled cabbage, it is purely down to personal taste some like it saltier or sour more than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

My daughter in law who is Thai doesn’t like it as sour as we do… she doesn’t like the Winegar taste as she puts it… Once it reaches your required taste it is ready to eat.

This recipe is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

My second pickle and I pickle anything as do Thais…

Pickled Watermelon Rinds.

The Watermelon is very plentiful here at the moment but not only is it a lovely fruit but it is also packed full of goodness.

Originating in Africa watermelons are pretty much available worldwide, prized not only for its water content in many countries it is also used medicinally and records show used as far back as the Egyptians.

Packed with vitamin C it is like the tomato packed with Lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant. 

I pickle anything as I have said but how often have you bought a watermelon and thrown away the rind?? Hands up! I have or I did until I discovered a lovely recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rind.

Now I make a lot of pickles and this one thing I hadn’t thought of pickling… you live and learn, don’t you?

Watermelon rinds

Ingredients:

  • 4lb of Watermelon
  • 1 chilli thinly sliced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger finely sliced or diced
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp salt I use fresh mineral salt dried here
  • 1 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar

Let’s Cook!

Using a vegetable peeler remove the outer green rind and slice the watermelon into I inch slices. Cutaway all but 1/4 inch of the flesh (it is) the white part we are pickling. The red flesh I keep for smoothies or ice cream or a nice salad with feta cheese.

Then cut the rind into 1-inch pieces.

Add the chilli, ginger, star anise, salt, pepper, rice vinegar, and sugar plus ½ cup of water together in a pan, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the watermelon rind and bring back to a rolling boil and then again reducing the heat to a simmer for 5 mins or until the rinds are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave the liquid to cool down. You may need to weigh the watermelon down with a plate or lid, as it needs to stay submerged in the liquid until cool.

Pickled watermelon rinds

 

Once cooled then transfer to a container with a well-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before you eat…This will keep refrigerated for about 2/3 weeks if it lasts that long…lol

My daughter in law took some of this to her village and they loved it…I thought maybe it would be too vinegary for them but no although they did suggest that next time I made it add some tamarind which I think( as) I love Tamarind is a great idea.

Last week I featured the Pickeback well there is now an update on the original Pickleback…

It’s a shot of tequila, followed by juice from pickled watermelon rind.

Chef Sasha Pogrebinsky of Roberts’ new restaurant, Starlight in Brooklyn, invented the drink when the kitchen ran out of pickle brine. Starlight is around the corner from the Bushwick Country Club, and the shot is available at both locations. Roberts is thinking of calling it the “melon back,” but the jury’s still out. if Brooklyn isn’t in the cards, try making your own pickled watermelon rind and use the brine at home. It’s a new dawn for the pickleback.

If you make lots of pickles like me then rather than waste the juice…let’s make a cocktail …

 

Pickled Beetroot:

Red Beetroot with leaves and one cut beet

I have pickled beetroot for so long now that I just do it…I am sure now that some people bake the beetroot…I just wash my beets cover with cold water and add some salt bring the water to the boil and then simmer for about an hour…I then let the beets get cold in the water.

While waiting I add vinegar to a pan with a bay leaf, mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and some cloves also a little brown sugar I bring the liquid to a slow boil then turn off and allow the spices to infuse.

I then peel and slice the beets and pack into sterilised jars and cover with cooled vinegar.

They will be ready to eat within a few days.

I think the Christmas adverts are better than the commercial breaks…we don’t get so many here and as I download all my programmes I don’t get ant at all …I loved this as I could watch all the cute Chrismas Adverts at once…Which one is your favourite…Mine is the dragon at the moment but that could all change after watching these a few times…Enjoy!

That’s all until tomorrow unless you saw tomorrows today before I took it off and rescheduled it…Up until about 3pm today I thought it was Wednesday it was only when my son saw my post and was reading it and asked me what day it was today when I told him Wednesday he laughed and said that’s tomorrow…Opppps…xxx

I haven’t been on the pickle juice all day…honest…Hic…xxx

I hope you have enjoyed these pickle recipes if you try then please let me know…I like some of these as they don’t have to be left too long and can be eaten almost immediately unlike some pickles which need time to mature..xx

Don’t forget please let me have your Christmas images, jumpers, food, Christmas parties anything Christmas…Let’s get into the Christmas zone…x

That’s all for today…I hope you have enjoyed this post see you next Tuesday…x

P.P.S…There will be a Christmas jumper corner…I just need to see yours???? So come on don’t be shy…Please Share…x

 

 

 

Coconut Ice…That’s what the recipe said!

Welcome to what was to be my Saturday Christmas Homemade sweetie day…

I followed the instructions to the letter...I wanted a recipe that didn’t use condensed milk…my reasoning was ..well sweets are sweets but I thought I would reduce the sugar content by not using sweetened condensed milk and then sugar and then desiccated coconut.

This recipe used coconut, sugar, and milk…Perfect I thought…I couldn’t have been more wrong…

I do wish I had my mum’s recipe for coconut ice it was sweet, coconutty and a little crumbly but held together well and was not chewy sweet nothing…

Just like Coconut ice should be…

I will not name and shame…I also will not be tagging or leaving a review…It was a sticky mess…

Now was it my fault for substituting fresh coconut?

I did have to boil it for twice as long as the recipe stated…Maybe that was it?… On this occasion, was fresh was not best???

The end result was a sticky mess although it did stay together as per the recipe …when a little was dropped into cold water…

This also proves that until you try a recipe unless you know the cook and know it has been tried and tested…They all so haven’t…This one is a prime example…

If anyone has a foolproof recipe for Coconut Ice which has a little crumble but is not the sticky, chewy coconut ice…I am talking old fashioned grandma’s recipe…Please share it with me as I now just want a Good Coconut Ice EVEN more than I did…

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

 

 

 

 

Christmas…’Tis the season of love and laughter…and a glass of Egg Nog…

The magic which is Christmas...I try although it is hard when it is sunny and no one else celebrates it…But Chrismas is in my soul and I hope that I can share some of the magic I have always felt with you and of course make you remember and smile…

christmas tree and baubles-2939314_640

Image by 5598375 from Pixabay

A real tree was the start of Christmas as a child…the cards strung around the room all counted…haha…and every sender known and duly sent a card back…The paper chains we made and strung across the ceiling no fancy decorations then they were homemade with love and a little glitter…

NB...Please though if you are buying a real tree make sure it is from a sustainable source or buy one well-rooted, keep it watered and away from the central heating then plant for next year this is something my father always did.

The postman, the coalman, and the milkman were duly given their Christmas Boxes and well deserved as they were always on time with a cheery smile…You could set your watch by them…

The Carol Singers who came round at night and stood beneath the lampost and sung their hearts out…

That was a real Christmas…Midnight mass and Boxing day service…The Nativity proudly displayed…Hot mince pies, sausage rolls and tea provided by the lovely ladies of the Women’s Institute…A real community Christmas …where the neighbours had a mince pie over the garden fence or in the kitchen…a sneaky sherry…just the one…

Christmas was warm and special…Where a neighbour who was on their own was invited to Christmas lunch or a plate was taken to them…No one went without…xx

Father Christmas or Santa Claus is what I have always known the man in the red suit as…Not so in the rest of the world, Santa goes under a few different guises…

father-christmas-3013595_640

Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay

Today I am going to take you on a little trip around the world just to give you a flavour of the foods served and how some of the customs vary from what we know..all very interesting, some delicious foods and the different names our beloved Father Christmas is called…

Santa Claus is someone who will remain in the hearts of children forever. He is the make-believe person ( or was he?) who brings toys and other gifts to children at Christmas.

Santa Claus also has some other names: Saint Nicholas, St. Nick, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel.

Two of his names — Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas — both come from the Dutch who settled in New York long ago.

The Dutch believed Saint Nikolaas gave gifts to children. They honoured this kindly saint with a yearly festival on December 6th. The English-speaking people who lived nearby greatly enjoyed Dutch festivals. And they brought the saint and the custom of giving gifts into their own celebration at Christmas time.

England, of course, knows him as Father Christmas… Turkey, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing, cranberry sauce, Brussel sprouts, mince pies, Christmas pudding and trifle being favourite foods at Christmas. My Christmas Menu…  with recipes…

In Brazil, he is called Papai Noel… or Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man).

The Christmas meal is also served on the evening of the 24th rather than the 25th and consists of a Chester( chicken)  Salted cod balls, no roast potatoes but cold potato salad and instead of gravy farofa, a mix of fried cassava flour and chopped bits of crispy bacon. Cabbage is replaced by kale heavily flavoured with salt and garlic.

A custom in Brazil which I am sure that many would love to have that same custom where they live is that it is common in Brazil to get a ’13th salary’ at the end of the year – i.e. in December you get twice the normal amount of pay for that month!

The idea is to help boost the economy around Christmas. This has been going on for decades and most people don’t even question that other countries might not do it!

Favourite Christmas foods in Brazil include pork, turkey, pork, ham, salads and fresh and dried fruits. Everything is served with rice cooked with raisins and a good spoon of “farofa” (seasoned manioc flour.) Popular Christmas desserts include tropical and ice cream.

Hawaii the jolly, white-bearded man is called  Kanakaloka he, however, does not wear the traditional red suit we all know and love but flowery Hawaiian clothing…

And on the Christmas menu here it is a traditional lu’au, complete with a pig roasted in an underground pit, chicken long rice, lomilomi salmon accompanied by the traditional Hawaiian music and Santa arrives in a red canoe…

That looks absolutely delicious…

In Hungary, the  Winter grandfather( Mikulas) comes on the 25th and only to good children and there is no jolly Mrs Christmas but a scary assistant called “Krampusz”…

Christmas fare in Hungary is Fish soup, stuffed cabbage, fried fish and rice, other meats(Pork, Chicken) an elaborate fruit topped Christmas cake, gingerbread cookies, Bejgli with walnut or poppy seeds( which is the traditional Hungarian Christmas cake)

India Baba delivers presents from a horse and cart and of course, the menus are spicy with spicy dumplings and curries, Biryani, poda, mathri and lots of other yummy sweet dishes.

Turkeys…As you know we grow our own which is very nice although Thai turkeys like Thai chickens do not have the plump breasts …well they might if they were fed supplements for a better word but we don’t…They forage and roam the farm…

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 still drinks Egg Nog?

I remember my nan and my mum drinking it we were allowed a little sip and that was it although sometimes my dad or my nan would sneak us a very small glass…This one is made from scratch…

Super easy to make and brings back memories which to me is what Christmas is about…

Called posset in 13th-century medieval England it was originally made with milk curdled with wine or ale to which spices were added. A drink favoured by medieval monks who drank the warm posset with fresh figs. Later around the 17th century the name probably changed due to the wooden mug or bowl it was served in called a “Noggin”

Sometimes confused with the Dutch rich boozy egg custard liqueur called Advocaat which when topped up with sweet lemonade is called a snowball…

That’s all for today…See you tomorrow at my house for some more Christmas recipes and tit bits…x

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 are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

 

Mistletoe and Wine…Time to pickle…Eggs and Star Fruit…

Goodmorning and although sunny it is a cool 14 degrees here this morning…Time to get out a shawl for my shoulders…Tuesday is the day where all you Pickle addicts can pickle and pucker…Don’t you love that initial intake of breath when the vinegar hits your taste buds…?? Makes you give a little involuntary shiver…

Love pickled eggs??

But want a change ?? Love the colour pink? Then add some beet juice…Fancy a bit of spice  ?? Then check out these recipes…

Jalapeno pickled eggs:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 a cup of Cider Vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 tbsp sugar.
  • 6 cloves.
  • 2 Jalapenos cut in half lengthwise and deseeded.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 onion sliced.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 9 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled.

Let’s get pickling!

Boil eggs for 10-15 mins until hard. Remove from heat and put into cold water.

In a medium pan, put vinegar, water( or beet juice) if using, onion, jalapenos, sugar, and spices. Bring to the boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Pour vinegar over eggs making sure they are completely covered.

If using beet juice also put some beet in the jar with the eggs. You will then have pickled beets as well.

Make sure the lid is tight and refrigerate. The eggs will be ready to eat in a few days and will keep for up to a month if you haven’t already eaten them.

Curried Flavoured Pickled Eggs:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/4 of an onion.
  • 3/4 cup white sugar.
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds( yellow or brown)
  • I tbsp yellow curry paste.

Let’s Pickle!

As above bring all the ingredients to the boil until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little and then pour the vinegar mix over the eggs making sure they are completely covered.

Allow to pickle for a few days in the fridge they are then ready to eat… Left with lots of pickle juice ????

Don’t want to waste that pickle juice???    Then have a …

Pickleback

What is a pickleback? You are about to find out! Let’s pickle and pucker…

It’s a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and some even follow that with a beer chaser…

A popular drink in bars around the world and apparently very good….Have you tried a pickleback????

I pickle everything well almost…

Here in Northern Thailand, the Star fruit is now in season and the trees are laden with the lovely fruit much still green at the moment but some are yellow and they are such a pretty fruit. I can smell them as I walk past the tree they have such a fragrant smell…

Star Fruit or Carambola as it is also known as is a lovely vibrant yellow and due to its distinctive ridges when it’s cut it resembles a star hence its name.

The entire fruit is edible it has a firm, crunchy flesh and is quite juicy. The taste is likened to that of a grape. There are two main types of star fruit the smaller fruit is sour(tart) and the larger fruit like I have in my garden is sweeter. But although sweet they very rarely have more than a 4% sugar content.

Here in Thailand they are cooked with shrimp or chicken or eaten raw dipped into the sugar/chilli mix which is commonly eaten with fruit here or just eaten with rock salt. It can be made into relishes, preserves and juice drinks, stewed with cloves or apples.

They are also used as a pretty garnish or in a salad with papaya and pineapple.

Star Fruit Relish:

  • 8 cups of star fruit, thinly sliced and any seeds removed.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves tied in a muslin bag and slightly crushed.
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg( optional) see note below.

Let’s Pickle!

Wash and thinly slice the star fruit removing any seeds. Cover with the cider vinegar and stand overnight.

Drain the vinegar add sugar, salt and clove bag. Cook gently until the relish starts to thicken then allow to stand overnight.

In the morning remove the spice bag and reheat the mix after adding the nutmeg if used and bring back to the boil.

If you plan to store the star fruit chutney then omit the nutmeg as it will turn the relish a brown colour although it does add another dimension to the taste.

Put into hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Enjoy with some cold meats or on bread and butter.

N.B. Pickles make a lovely Christmas Present…With a pretty ribbon and a handwritten label, even the Queen of England was happy to receive a jar of homemade pickle.

I hope you have enjoyed these pick…le recipes if you try then please let me know …I like some of these as they don’t have to be left too long and can be eaten almost immediately unlike some pickles which need time to mature..xx

Don’t forget please let me have your Christmas images, jumpers, food, Christmas parties anything Christmas…Let’s get into the Christmas zone…x

That’s all for today …I hope you have enjoyed this post see you next Tuesday…x

P.P.S…There will be a Christmas jumper corner…I just need to see yours???? So come on don’t be shy…Please Share…x

In the meantime …These cute pooches will fill the space…Their mum is the lovely, Tori whose lovely children’s books would make awesome stocking fillers…

Lilie and Logan in red Christmasy bandannas

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 are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…We all need to be aware of our home’s carbon footprints…where does our food come from? How far does it travel…Simple to do but if we all did it…Not only would we support local businesses but reduce our carbon footprint…

green foot prints eco system

 

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

Christmas…’Tis the season of love and laughter…

The magic which is Christmas...I try although it is hard when it is sunny and no one else celebrates it…But Chrismas is in my soul and I hope that I can share some of the magic I have always felt with you and of course make you remember and smile…

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As a child Christmas was always a happy time a time when we got little treats which we didn’t get year-round…I mean take the hot cross bun you can get those any time of the year …I like to enjoy things in season and which I only have at certain times of the year…Do you?

We always had a stocking…Nothing fancy like today just one of my dad socks with a satsuma in the toe, a chocolate Christmas Santa, a sugar mouse and a small toy or maybe a pretty handkerchief…

A pillowcase for our main presents…I hated dolls and the like so my sisters got toys and dolls… I got books, pencils, and jigsaw puzzles…Always a Rupert Bear Annual…such happy days…

Midnight Mass...when I was old enough I was allowed to attend and then as I was in the church choir…sing…How I loved those Christmas Hymns…Do you have a favourite?

One of mine is…The First Noel…

The First Noel, the angels say
To Bethlehem’s shepherds as they lay.
At midnight watch, when keeping sheep,
The winter wild, the light snow deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel.

Of Cornish origin, it is unusual in that one musical phrase is twice repeated…A song which traditionally is sung Christmas Eve, especially in the west of England. This was when the entire village gathered for singing and celebrating the bringing in of the Yule log. At this time carols were thought of as popular religious songs meant to be sung outside the church rather than within.

I love listening to The Kings Choir, Cambridge…

 

Traditions around the world at Christmas…

A Christmas tale …What fun they can be…We all love to regale our children and grandchildren with tales from Christmas past…most real, some imagined and we all…Come On…Admit it!

We have all stooped to bribery, corruption or just plain tall tales to make the kiddie winks BEHAVE!

Forget boring advent calendars….

Icelandic parents enthrall their children (and scare) them into being good with tales of the Ogress living in the Icelandic mountains.

She is one scary Mumma, described as half-troll/animal and the mother of 13 naughty boys known as the  “Yule Lads”. Grýla lives in the mountains with her husband, her thirteen children, and a black cat.

And that cat is pretty scary too….

Old Icelandic folklore states that every Icelander must receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will find themselves in mortal danger. An enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule. This obnoxious feline is known as the Christmas Cat.

cat-2540940_1920

The legend goes that every Christmas, Grýla and her sons come down from the mountains: Grýla in search of naughty children to boil in her cauldron and the boys in search of mischief. She can only capture children who misbehave but those who say sorry must be released.

Wow…that story will get the kiddies hiding under the bed covers or behind nannies apron…See yesterdays post…

The husband is not as wicked as her…  but a  bone-idle,  lazy slob.

The boys aka “The Yule” lads are naughty and mischievous and have wonderful names…Oh, what stories you could weave….and what fun you could inject into your stories.

the-icelandic-yule-lads

And what funny names they have.. Spoon- Licker is tall and thin. He steals unwashed spoons, which he licks clean.  and Door- Slammer well as the name implies….    Slams doors which are kept ajar at night, keeping people awake.

Icelandic children place a shoe in their bedroom window each evening in the 13 days before Christmas. Every night one Yuletide lad visits, leaving sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes(Yuk), depending on how a  child has behaved on that day.

I think it’s much better than a boring advent calendar, just think of the tales you can weave and what fun you and the kids could have and such a cool way to keep the little darlings in check.

How about  Sausage -swiper he hides in the rafters to snatch sausages which are hung up for smoking.

Nothing is safe from these wicked boys…

♦♦♦♦♦♦

What tales do you tell your children?

I was really lucky…because my youngest daughter believed in Santa Claus until she was about 13 years old…she was much ridiculed by her peers but stood her ground and insisted that she had seen Santa.

Well, she had….She was 3 yrs old and one of my son’s friends asked if he could ( while dressed) up as Santa and take a little present upstairs and put it in Laurens stocking.

He was told by me in no uncertain terms ” Do NOT wake her up”

Well, she did wake up..but the clever boy put his fingers to his lips and told her to shhhhhh and go back to sleep or I can’t leave your Christmas presents.

Which she did, from that Christmas onwards for many years she was insistent to all and sundry when they laughed and told her Santa didn’t exist…..That she knew he did because she had seen him…so thank you, Adam, .for keeping a little girl’s dreams alive!

I wish I had known about the 13 trolls though….

Now for some recipes…Thank you so much to those of you who have already shared your Christmas recipes please keep them coming…

Stir up Sunday has passed and the puddings are made and young Hugh shared his pudding mix and the finished cake which looks beautiful…They look so yummy and for those you who don’t like Christmas pudding, Meeks has shared a yummy and delicious Chocolate Mousse Cake...It looks and sounds so delicious…I could just dive in and indulge my self right now…Thank you so much, Meeks and Hugh, for sharing your Christmas fare…Just as a side note any Christmas Jumper pictures? I have last years not this years yet…

I know many people who have already got their tree up…Although I love Christmas I think having a tree up too early takes away the magic…I used to put mine up Christmas Eve when the kids were in bed and then get up early so that I could put on the lights and then I would wake them up and take them downstairs all sleepy to see the tree it was always such a lovely, magical time…

That was of course until they got older and demanded the tree went up a bit earlier…

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 the 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’.

I  do love the many traditions which surround Christmas around the world ..What is your favourite tradition?

 

 

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

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 are all having a great week so far..busy given the time of year…Enjoy! 🙂 xx

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