Category Archives: Christmas Drinks

No sugar quick-pickled Onions and ham with crackling and a Kamikaze Cocktail…

I would just like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas from sunny Thailand…Also to thank you for all your comments and support for my blog…It really is much appreciated…I will be away for a few days just enjoying the sunshine and a few cocktails …From me to you…

A very apt Christmas message ….xxx

As promised how to cook your ham…

When the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

 

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves.

Ham- cloves- home cooked

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves

Once it has finished cooking scored the fat and studded with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

My third way of making ham which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg. I started it the day after Boxing day and it was lovely for New Year…

It is also much quicker to brine than a whole leg and only takes between 4-6 days depending on the size of your meat and how salty you like your ham.

I used 2 kilos of Pork Loin.

Ingredients for Rub:

  • 2 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre)

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 2 1/2  litres water
  • 450 gm salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter.

Mix the ingredients for the rub together and rub over the pork loin. Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge. Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place. Day two: Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered. Store the ham cold. Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves. Let the ham brine for 4-6 days.

Tip: The first time I used loin I left it for 4 days the second time I left it for 5 days which suited our taste… It is always wise to do a test run I think as personal tastes vary.

Ham- crackling-home cooked-sliced-platter

Home-cooked ham and crackling

If I am making crackling ham I buy pork with the skin on and score the fat….when I get to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked I covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat put it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…Awesome!

As promised  Pickles with no sugar…

You’ll only need six ingredients (plus water) to make these tasty and healthy pickles.

red onion-899102_640

  • Red onion:
  • White vinegar:
  • Kosher salt: If you use fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
  • Seasonings: Dried bay leaves and whole peppercorns, mustard seeds.

Let’s Pickle!

Peel the onion and slice it into thin, 1/8-inch slices. Separate the slices and place them in a jar large enough for all of them (a 1-quart jar should work).
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water and salt. Add the bay leaves and the peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt dissolves.
Turn the heat off. Pour the liquid over the onions. With a wooden spoon, press down on the onions to make sure they are well-covered. Close the lid and allow to sit at room temperature 3 hours before serving.
Refrigerate any leftovers which will be good for up to a week.
Lastly, I can’t go without leaving a cocktail…Cheers xxx
It was a choice between a sedate pina colada which I do have a penchant for when sitting at a beach bar or this …..I am after all slightly crazy at times…
The Kamikaze…
kamikaze-847224_640
The Kamikaze Cocktail is a historic drink, a distillate of elegance and sumptuous scents. It belongs to the great family of the sour cocktails, namely a spirit (in this case vodka) + triple sec + lemon/lime juice. 3 parts of each for a triune cocktail, packed with a compact and precise elegance.
One could say that the Kamikaze cocktail is a Margarita made with vodka instead of tequila.
But it would be a shame to reduce it to a simple variation since it’s not only one of the most famous cocktail, but also on of the finest and most drinkable, especially as an aperitif.

 

The history and cocktails always have a history…  the cocktail Kamikaze is dark and it is assumed that, as was the Japanese Slipper cocktail, it was born after World War II, in Tokyo, in a bar of an American military base, during the occupation of Japan.

Others think that it came out in the 70s and consider it a classic disco cocktail….Cheers xxx

That’s all for now ..have a great Christmas 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 very Merry Christmas 🙂 xx

 

 

Christmas…In my house…Traditions, Treats and a touch of Trivia…How to cook the perfect turkey and gravy…

Join me for a Mince Pie

Come and join me for a mince pie and a toddy…Then I will show you how to cook a turkey and make a lovely Christmas gravy…

Christmas is nearly upon us …although it is arriving quietly here…well a few Chrismas tunes are belting out…The ham was a great success not so good to carve…I was used to purchasing nicely butchered and trimmed joints of meat and have had to get used to something different…Butchering is not a skill that many possess here…

A farmer with a few pigs or a couple of cows plus a small vegetable patch is more the norm just enough to feed the family and maybe sell a little to raise funds for the seeds or seedlings for the next crop is how it is…A small price to pay for fruit and vegetables raised with love and no chemicals and meat where the animal roams free and grazes to their heart’s content. Which means I have tasty ham just not always perfectly shaped slices…

Today I have some recipes for gravy which can be made 2-3 days in advance or frozen.

Firstly this is my easy to make tasty turkey gravy and we need a lovely tasty gravy to go with our Christmas dinner…Don’t we?

sunday roast

Turkey Gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg chicken wings halved with kitchen scissors
  • the turkey neck, if you have it, cut into pieces
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 2 onions, unpeeled and chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • small handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp  Coconut oil
  • 2 tsp golden castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5-litre fresh vegetable stock

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oven to 220C/390F/Gas 7.

Tip the chicken wings into a roomy roasting tin with the turkey neck (if using), carrots, onions, celery and thyme. Scatter over the sugar, toss in the oil and roast for 50 mins until brown and lightly charred.

Put the roasting tin on low heat, stir in the tomato purée and flour, and cook until sticky. Splash in the balsamic vinegar, pour over 1.5 litres of stock to just cover all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer. then using a potato masher to mash all the ingredients together so as to release the flavour.

Simmer everything for 20 mins until you have a tasty thickened gravy, then strain it through a sieve, pushing down hard on all the mushy veg. Cool and chill for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Heat the gravy to serve, adding roasting juices from your turkey, if you like.

Serves 8.

For more special Christmas gravy recipes please click the link…

A good gravy completes the Christmas meal and I have cooked more turkeys than I could count but if cooking a turkey is new to you…Let me tell you when I cooked my first turkey I was petrified…I mean it is far bigger than the chook you normally cook and you have the in-laws coming and you want it to be perfect…Don’t you?

Well stick with me (and) Sally and you will get the perfect turkey time after time…

Turkey.. a bird that was usually eaten mainly at Thanksgiving and Christmas but is available all year in supermarkets and butchers. Before handing over to Carol.. a look at all the health benefits this large bird brings to the table.

Meleagris Gallopavo (you can eat if you can catch it) Turkey

The wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo (something to do with the difficulty in catching it I think) is native to North America. The bird was brought into Europe, in the early part of the 16th century, by the Spaniards. The English name “Turkey” arose because of a confusion with Guinea Fowl – which were imported through Turkey, from Africa. Both birds were originally known as “Turks”. Eventually, in the 18th century, it was given its Latin name but the original name stuck.

The Native American Indian used the turkey as a staple of their diet. They introduced it to starving pilgrims, along with their native plants and seeds including corn and squash. The pilgrims were so grateful they celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621 where their American Indian friends were guests of honour…To read the original post.

Whenever I think of turkeys I think of Mr Bean…Not generally a fan of slapstick comedy this one always makes me smile…as does the Hamlet turkey advert…

 

Of course, you probably know by now that not only do I love pickles but Christmas is when I love to indulge and make a cocktail or three…

Pineapples are very plentiful here and it is such a shame to waste them and the fresh juice is just amazing …A Pina Colada is almost a staple here… but for a change, this Bahama Mama makes great use of pineapple juice we also have some very good rum which is made locally here..so as to boost the awareness of the importance of our carbon footprint ..Cheers!

Bahama Mama cocktail-1191924_640

Can you take a guess where this eye-watering drink originated? The Bahamas! This drink is rumoured to be indirectly named after Dottie Lee Anderson, a Caribbean dancer and performer in the 1930s who also went by the stage name “Bahama Mama.” Another theory is that this cocktail became popular during the Prohibition when the Bahamas were used as a rum smuggling base. While there are many theories as to how this cocktail came to be, no one’s certain which is true of the origins of many a great cocktail…

This cocktail can be made with as little or as much rum as you like…It is a taste it and see cocktail… Depending on how much rum you decide to add, it can be a little more on the sweet side once you add the pineapple juice. Adding soda gives it a slight fizz, making it a great option for those who aren’t really hardened alcohol drinkers…But beware… the alcohol can easily be hidden, just to be sure pace yourself. Trust me when I say — it will eventually hit you, and when it does…It will be a Merry Christmas…

The traditional way to sip on this treat is over ice, but it can be made into an adult Slurpee by pulsing all the ingredients in a blender. I also use limes instead of lemons…

That’s all for now ..Enjoy your weekend and try to chill out as I remember the last minute Christmas rush…Merry Christmas 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 Salty Dog…

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 Eve...As a child was such a special time…The decorations were all up and the tree had been brought in from the garden and decorated…Christmas Eve was when Mr Brown used to bring a fresh Capon( a castrated) male chicken fattened for eating he also used to bring me jigsaws or books all passed down but books he knew I would like on Botany, Biology or history for example and jigsaws..big jigsaws which took a while to do as they were hard…He would have a couple of hot mince pies and a toddy or two with my dad…Then dad would go out and come back a few hours later with the fruit… lovely oranges, cox’s apples and bananas, pick and mix sweets, dates, figs and nuts then they would all be put out in the best dishes in the sitting room…Ready for Christmas Day…

I can’t remember having anything special for Christmas Eve Dinner…we would, of course, put out a mince pie for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer…

Of course, if you live in Italy...They do love their food…The Christmas Eve dinner is seafood as they celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes…La Vigilia…The meal is traditionally made up of only fish or shellfish — seven varieties, as the name suggests — and vegetable dishes… Octopus, anchovies, salt cod, and clams are among the common ingredients, but the most traditional ingredient is capitone (eel). Seafood pasta dishes are also part of the menu.

Those recipes look amazing…I do love fish and seafood…What About Christmas Day?

After indulging in Cenone Della Vigilia, Italians still make room for Christmas lunch. This typically consists of the first course of pasta in broth, followed traditionally by eel or, in more recent times, roast turkey. For dessert, sweetbreads are typically served, such as panettone and pandoro.

Jeez, that is two days of a lot of food…

In Germany, it’s a tradition for people to eat potato salad and sausages on Christmas Eve. Potato salad there are so many versions made with either crushed new potatoes, peeled potatoes cubed and boiled, cubed and boiled in their skins or steamed.

Whatever potatoes you use I add to mine some chopped spring onions and or shallots maybe some crispy bacon, just enough mayo not too much and stir through I always do mine when the potatoes are still warm…Season really well with salt and fresh black pepper add some lemon or lime juice an easy one to knock up and again a nice accompaniment. This year I will be adding pickle juice to mine as I have heard that it adds a nice zing…

If you are Russian…

Then you fast…known as the Nativity Fast…is a period of abstinence and penance practised by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus (December 25)

The fast typically lasts until after evening service or when the stars come out. After the fast, some might eat a traditional Russian dish called kutya. Kutya consists of grains, honey, and poppy seeds, shared from the same bowl to symbolize unity. No meat is allowed.

Oftentimes, a house blessing is also part of the Christmas Eve tradition — a priest will sprinkle holy water in each room and pray for everyone to have a safe and blessed year.

The French…Most families in France have a huge feast on Christmas Eve. The traditional dinner includes meat such as duck or goose, as well as side dishes like foie gras and oysters. The meal ends with the Buche de Noël, a rolled sponge cake decorated to look like a Yule log.

Iceland has one of my favourite traditions…Iceland’s tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve then spending the evening reading them… The holiday season starts off with the delivery of the Bokatidindi, which is a catalogue of every single book published in Iceland.

The tradition began in during WWII. Paper was one of the few commodities not rationed, and Icelanders could indulge in their love of books (and in giving books as gifts) as they weren’t in short supply.

Food definitely plays a huge role in Christmas celebrations wherever you live in the world…I feel bloated just writing this up…

All that food needs to be washed down...How about a Salty Dog?

Maybe more suited to a tropical climate but hey ho…You have central heating, don’t you? A classic cocktail that has become somewhat underappreciated in recent times, the Salty Dog is the perfect cocktail to enjoy while making the most of every last bit of summer sunshine or just because…

Incredibly easy to make the ice-cold Salty Dog is well overdue a revival. So, where did this fruity delight come from?

The Salty Dog was originally created as a variation of the Greyhound cocktail. George Jessel added a salt rim to the popular combination of gin and grapefruit juice sometime in the 1950s, as a way to increase the palatability of the drink for those who were less than fond of the bitter grapefruit taste. The Salty Dog soon became more popular than the Greyhound, but it does mean that the histories of both drinks are intertwined since the creator of the Greyhound had a hand in the fortunes of the Salty Dog.

Rumour also has it that the Salty Dog was first created sometime in the 1950s by the same bartender who invented the Bloody Mary. The story goes he wanted to change up a greyhound into something more sophisticated. However, the same tale involves George Jessel( The Toastmaster) as the inventor who actually was an actor from the 1920s by the 1950’s he was no longer famous and liked to tell the story as a way of keeping his notoriety. Which means that the actual creator may be lost to history which is often the case…

Salty Dog was also mentioned in the Savoy Cocktail book in the 1930s, the Greyhound is thought to have been created by the author of the book series, Harry Craddock. Originally from London, Craddock had moved to America to further his bartending career. He spent most of the 1920s and 1930s in the States, returning home when prohibition hit and working at the famous Savoy hotel.

It is thought that the Greyhound was created just before the move since gin was a more popular spirit overseas than vodka, which is now the preferred spirit for most in this drink. It became a popular drink at the Savoy hotel but really came into its own when Jessel adapted it to create the Salty Dog.

To be honest…Its origins don’t really matter too much as it is a lovely cocktail…at Christmas, I just love making cocktails…

That’s all for today…See you tomorrow at my house for some more Christmas recipes and titbits…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 wonderful festive season and a Merry Christmas xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

As Christmas is not celebrated here our Christmas is far more low key…Not so frantic as it was in the UK…I do miss the atmosphere and the build-up but I don’t miss all the crowds and the must-have this as it does take away from the real meaning where family and friends get together and enjoy each other’s company…

Today however we have received a lovely parcel of goodies including chocolate and cheeses lovely little truckles of assorted cheeses…I am looking forward to sampling these over Christmas with some nice onion chutney…

What is a truckle of cheese some of you may ask…A truckle of cheese is a cylindrical wheel of cheese, usually taller than it is wide, and sometimes described as barrel-shaped. The word is derived from the Latin trochlea, ‘wheel, pulley’. Truckles vary greatly in size, from the wax-coated cheeses sold in supermarkets, to 25 kilograms or larger artisanal cheeses.

For the last two weeks, I have given you some ideas/recipes to start your Christmas Lunch today I will give some recipes for side dishes. Now, what about the food which can take a while to be ready like your Christmas ham?  My recipe for curing ham.

Christmas Ham Recipe.

Blog HeaderChristmas Ham

A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.

Suitable plastic( not metal) container to brine meat in.

Ingredients for Rub:

  • 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 5 litres water
  • 900gm salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch.

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham cold.

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.

N.B. IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.

Tip: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing. I didn’t the first time and I had sore hands all my own fault.

Once the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

cooked Ham

Next week I will give you my recipes to cook your brined ham sometimes I just cook with spices as the image above and sometimes I cook and crisp the pork rind which gives some lovely crackling as in the header image I normally brine a piece of pork loin when I require crackling…Today I am brining a piece of pork hip to see how that turns out…I am always experimenting with different cuts of meat…I then just adjust the liquid and the brining time if you have questions please ask I am happy to help.

Mistletoe... Is synonymous with the festive celebrations and there is always some at Office Christmas parties…Botanically it is an interesting plant as it is a hemiparasite which means that although it does grow on its own it also does attach itself to other trees and sucks all the nutrients from the tree…

mistletoe-berries-16393_640

There are many tales and traditions surrounding mistletoe and although it is poisonous to us it is a source of food to animals and birds…Butterflies lay their eggs on it and bees collect the pollen so an important source for wildlife…

It is also a very striking looking plant with the dark green leaves and white berries don’t you think and looks lovely in Christmas Wreaths.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to Norse mythology it was also thought to have magical powers and ward off evil spirits…

Now this time of year I absolutely love my cocktails…This lovely homemade Limoncello makes a lovely base for cocktails, on its own or as a nice long drink…

 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…So what to drink with Limoncello I hear you ask?

The traditional way of drinking limoncello is to serve it well chilled, neat (no ice), in a chilled cordial glass.
Limoncello Tall Drinks
  1. Water.
  2. Unsweetened iced tea.
  3. Lemonade.
  4. Club soda or sparkling water.
  5. Cola.
  6. Cranberry juice.
  7. Tropical fruit punch.

Enjoy!

 

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…Have you chased the Green Fairy?

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…

It made me so happy to know I did just that for Joy…who said…What a great, warm ‘hug’ of a rich Christmas post to keep out the chill. Bravo, Carol. Jingle Bells…Being in my 80’s, those early Christmases were really memorable as we all visited each other a lot more. I always helped my mother decorate the Christmas cake with silver balls, little fir trees and the like and, of course, we made our own paper-chain decorations. Happy, memorable times.

Thank you so much Joy for that lovely comment please pop over and have a read of Joy’s lovely… Letters from Spain where she merges the now with the past…xx

Like Joy, I remember the cake decorations coming out year after year those same silver balls, fir trees, the snowman, and a Father Chrismas…

Last week I explored Father Christmas and the traditions which surrounded him around the world…I was struck by how in Britain we don’t have such lovely tales surrounding Father Christmas to tell our children and grandchildren… we left the customary carrot and mince pie which was always gone in the morning leaving just a few pastry crumbs on the plate.

This week I will be telling you about the Russian Father Christmas courtesy of Dear Dolly from koolkosherkitchen ...The tale of Grandfather Frost and his granddaughter Snegurochka (the Snow Girl)…A beautiful ice sculpture with Snegurochka.

ice sculpture

Photo credit: Dave Siberia on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Dolly said that… Historically, it was Peter the Great who brought this holiday into Russia, the tree and all. However, in Russian tradition, Nicholas is the patron saint of thieves and smugglers, so Peter arbitrarily called him Grandfather Frost. The Snow Girl was added a bit later, to keep him company. Also, instead of deer, his sled is driven by a “troika” of snow-white horses.

troika snow white horse

Photo credit: seriykotik1970 on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Dolly also went on to tell me that ...Peter literally “dragged Russia into Europe by the beard,” i.e. he would ride around with a pair of scissors, swoop into houses of high aristocrats, grab their beards and cut them off, then stuff them into their own pockets. They had no choice but to become clean-shaven, as the European fashion demanded. Grandfather Frost was the only one allowed to have a beard.

How exciting was all that?… Thank you, Dolly xxx

Egg Nog… I really didn’t realise how popular egg nog still was…I am loving how many Christmas traditions are still being upheld…It got me thinking…dangerous I know…haha…

But as a young girl, I was taken with my friend to visit her grandmother who lived in London…in one of the old terraced houses with a parlour…While thinking about past Christmases and what I can bring to this post in the way of memories I remember Julie’s nan giving us a tincy wincy in a shot glass taster of Green Goddess…I can just remember the vibrant green colour and the bottle so off I go to Mr. Google…

As soon as I saw the images I recognised the bottle but nothing else…Can you guys remember drinking Green Goddess or still drink it…It seems to be a type of Absinthe and with fennel seeds which are also an aniseedy taste …I have also come across the French translation which means Green Fairy…Established at Pontarlier in eastern France by Henri-Louis Pernod, the first distillery produced Pernod Absinthe, a liqueur made from anise, fennel, mint, and wormwood. The drink quickly caught on in Paris and became a favourite among artists and painters.

This guy has an interesting piece of equipment…I love pieces like this I find them interesting..there are proper glasses and spoons…so cool…

absinthe glass and spoon

Photo credit: stormwarning. on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

Do you remember Green Goddess or Green Fairy?

Stuck for what to give for a Christmas Present...Home Made Chutney is always well received and this one is very popular among my friends…

Chilli and Tomato Chutney is a wonderful thing.

This lovely vibrant chilli and tomato chutney gets hotter the longer you keep it if it lasts that long..but is lovely with cold meats, cheese, hot sausages, Pork Pies or just use as a glaze over your meat when you are cooking it or your prawns…Lovely with your cold meats on Boxing Day…

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm of mixed tomatoes..some can be green.
  • 4 large red chilli..deseed if you don’t want your chutney too hot or maybe just reduce the chillies.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced.
  • An inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 300 gm of sugar golden or brown.
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar or balsamic.
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce.

Let’s Cook!

Skin the tomatoes by putting in hot water. Then add to the food processor with the chilli and ginger.

Blitz…I love that word…

Then put in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar and bring it to the boil slowly so as not to burn the mixture, keep stirring and then lower heat and let it simmer for 25-35 minutes or until the mixture has gone slightly darker and sticky.

Pour into warm sterilised jars with secure lids.

I turn my jars upside down to get rid of any airlocks until cooled.

tomato-chutney

This will get hotter the longer it is kept although it doesn’t last that long in this house and by the time my friends have begged a jar from me…They normally return the empty jars hoping I will give them a full one in return…lol

Enjoy!

Did you know? Today is National Ding-a-Ling Day…I know what you are thinking…haha…

bells-160841_640

National Ding-a-Ling Day is observed across the United States each year on December 12.

Ding-a-Lings on this day call the people they haven’t heard from in a while.  It may be an old classmate, co-worker or neighbour from years ago.  Or perhaps a call will go out to the child who used to mow the grass during the summer.  How about that couple who carpooled for soccer.  What was their name? There are all sorts of people in our lives who manage to slip out of our lives who would love to hear the ding-a-ling of a call from you or me. Sometimes it is those who are near and dear to us who maybe we don’t call as often as we should… Why don’t you join the Ding-a-ling club and call?

HOW TO OBSERVE

Call someone you haven’t heard from in a long time and use #NationalDingALingDay to post on social media.

Come on make someone happy…xxx

 

 

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

Smorgasbord Health – Christmas Cook From Scratch – Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cranberries #bittersweet

Time to get your cranberry sauce made for Christmas but did you know about the great health benefits Cranberries can provide? If not it is all in this post along with some other great recipes and they also make great cocktails a very versatile little fruit…Enjoy!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Here is another of our posts where I share the nutritional benefits of an ingredient and Carol Taylor incorporates it in a delicious recipe. Next week Carol will be back to share some of her creations from her Thai kitchen offering you some alternative delicacies to eat over the festive season.

This week… ..Cranberries – a bitter berry which has a long history in medicinal terms and is still used today in certain over the counter preparations.

Cranberries have a documented medicinal history and were used by the Native American Indians as a nutritious addition to their diet normally sweetened with honey as of course the berries are very tart. The Indians also used the berries in poultices for wounds as they recognised the antibacterial and antibiotic effect of the fruit even if they could not scientifically prove these properties. Colonists, who had been introduced to the…

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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

December 5th, 1791…Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart sadly died but what a legacy he left…His music has lived on…

I could sit and listen to this for hours…Both soothing and invigorating…

Did you know? There are two islands named Christmas Island one in the Pacific Ocean and the other in the Indian Ocean.

Also, the Rubiks Cube was the highest-selling Christmas toy in 1980 when it sold for $1.99 and today it retails for $10…

John Rieber never ceases to amaze or shock me sometimes with the weird and wacky finds he writes about…This is no different…Would you eat it?

raw-turkey-cake

I would… Doesn’t it look realistic though?

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 14

by S C Richmond

She walked into the poorest part of town, feeling completely overdressed in her new outfit, it was late afternoon and she thought that if 23, Coal Street was Georges address that they could go out for a drink. She hoped he could tell her more about her family, he obviously knew something of her history.

She walked along Coal Street and watched the numbers 17, 19, 21, then there it was number 23, her heart quickened, she hoped he wouldn’t be upset to see her here. She looked around her, the street was eerily quiet, she turned and tapped hesitantly on the door.

She thought she heard some movement and then nothing, no one came to the door and now there was only silence. She hadn’t walked all of this way to just turn and go home again, she looked into the window, it was a little grimy so she rubbed her hand against the pane and peered in. It was a dark small room with an old painting on the wall opposite but there was no sign of anyone at home.

“Oy!” Came a voice from behind her. “What do you think you’re doing? There’s nothing worth pinching there.” She turned and saw the voice had come from a burly man with a full bushy beard and a shirt open to his waist.

“I’m sorry, I was looking for George.”

“Well he’s in, I saw him not more than an hour ago. Maybe you should knock again rather than peering through people’s windows.” He tutted and walked away.

She did as he suggested and knocked again, still nothing. She started to worry, what if he was ill and couldn’t get to the door or something had happened to him, she had to get into the house.

She followed the path that led to the back of the house, it went under a covered area by the side of a house and at the end of it was a tall gate that she knew would lead to the garden and outhouses. She pushed the gate and it swung open she turned right and counted three houses down, that was the back of George’s house, she hoped no one noticed her as she walked towards it.

She stood looking at the house from the back, then approached the window to take a look inside, this time she checked that no one was watching her, they weren’t. She put her eye to the glass and immediately ducked back down below the window level. It couldn’t be right, could it? Carl was in the kitchen with George, he had been stood over the old man. What was Carl doing here?

Their voices were too low, she couldn’t hear anything they were saying, she moved towards the door and quietly tried the handle, it was open. She slipped inside silently and found herself in a little hallway that obviously led into the kitchen, there was a larder to her left and the kitchen to her right. She didn’t move, from here she could catch snippets of the conversation and she heard her name mentioned more than once and the name of someone called William, she kept listening.

“You shouldn’t have said anything George, you always have to cause trouble don’t you,”

“She has a right to know, what business is it of yours anyway?”

“William has told me to get that necklace, she has no idea what it is nor it’s value.”

“Leave her alone Carl, I won’t help you, she’s a nice girl. Just leave her alone.”

She heard a thump, and then a door banging. Someone had left the room. She didn’t know what to do next.

TBC.

Did you know? Neither did I…Each year on December 4th, National Dice Day recognizes and ancient gaming tool. Many games incorporate dice as a way to add random challenges or obstacles to the objectives.

The origin of dice is uncertain. However, it is known that they have been around for thousands of years.  At the Burnt City, an archaeological site in south-eastern Iran, the oldest known dice were excavated as part of a 5000-year-old backgammon set.

So come on hands up was it two dice hanging in the car or a nodding dog in the back window…???

For those of you who love a  Cookie,  it is also National Cookie Day…Please feel free to share your Christmas Cookie recipes…x

The English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word koekie meaning “little cake.”

My favourite…A bit too hard to choose really …as long as they don’t contain chocolate I love them…Don’t get me wrong I love chocolate just not in cookies…

These biscuits are really easy to make and very moreish..

Coconut Biscuits

I don’t make biscuits very often..almost never but once a packet of food is opened here because of the humidity it doesn’t last long it either goes off or the ants take residence. I was guided by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar… aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats.

These cookies are my basic recipe but of course, you can add anything sultanas, chocolate whatever takes your fancy…

Ingredients:

  • 150 gm rolled oats
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100 gm desiccated coconut
  • 100 gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175 C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to the boil and add two tbsp of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes.

They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could build a wall with them…Opppps

Time for a tune…

They are definitely getting more Christmassy…Yeah!

1973 MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY SLADE
1974 LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS MUD
1975 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY QUEEN
1976 WHEN A CHILD IS BORN (SOLEADO) JOHNNY MATHIS
1977 MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS’ SCHOOL WINGS
1978 MARY’S BOY CHILD – OH MY LORD BONEY M
1979 ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (PART 2) PINK FLOYD

Oh dear…Time to close my eyes and just pick one…I love all of these…Just check out the haircut…A Mullett is what we called it…

Which brings me nicely (in the absence) of Christmas Jumpers…Yep…I am not letting it go I still would like to see your Christmas Jumpers or hats in the meantime…

Haircuts..fads and fashions over the years…Here is me way back in 1980…

smart

 

Sporting the Lady Di hairstyle…very pink for some reason…

Poems I probably wouldn’t be any good at writing one…I might receive the crown for the worst poem …haha…But since I have been blogging I have read a few poems and discovered that I quite like some poems…This particular one written and spoken by Ellen Best is very pertinent for this time of year …The time of year coming brings much joy and hope to many people but it also brings sadness… and sorrow to many as well…

It is certainly the season of very many mixed emotions and I think we need to take more care if our emotions are of the joyous kind..and there is naught wrong with that…

We need to be mindful of those for whom the Chrismas season is tinged with sadness and despair if we can help with a smile, a touch of the shoulder or a hug… a gift of mince pies, a hot dinner, a sleeping bag we should…Chrismas, after all, is a time for Loving and giving…x

I give you...Charlie A poem At Christmas by Ellen Best…

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