Category Archives: Christmas Menu with recipes

#A Christmas Special… #A Vegetarian Christmas Menu…

There is a definite trend towards more plant-based recipes and this time of year with cranberries and other delicious fruits/vegetables some of them are just awesome and so tasty…I hope you find something that will tickle your taste buds …Merry Christmas xxx

Welcome to a Christmas menu with vegetarians in mind and I have tried to think of tasty dishes that as dare I say it a carnivore I would eat… In fact, I eat both because as long as a meal is tasty then that is what matters and I love vegetables.

The starters are quick and easy to make and ooze taste and most of the dishes can be made in advance as we don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on Christmas morning while everyone else has fun…Do we?

I always try to cook at least one dish I haven’t cooked before for Christmas as we all have our tried and tested family favourites, don’t we? It is just nice to try something new although some of the family favourites I dare not leave off the menu…

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favourite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

Let’s Cook!

Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.

Toast the bread.

To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Mushroom Pate.

• 2 cups of mixed mushrooms…
• 1 cup of walnuts
• 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 1 onion chopped finely
• 1 tbsp oil
• ½ cup of parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

Let’s Cook!

Toast the walnuts carefully as nuts always burn if you take your eye of them well mine do…Set to one side…

Add the oil to a pan add onions and cook 2 mins and add the garlic cook until onions and garlic is soft watching the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add all the other ingredients and saute for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. If the mix gets too dry then add a little water. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then blitz; scraping down the sides I like mine a little coarse.

Put the mixture into a dish and press the mix down and smooth the top.

Serve with crackers of your choice or sliced cucumber and peppers.

Mushrooms on toast with Brie.

• 2 slices of bread halved I use sourdough.
• 8 mushrooms sliced…I use chestnut mushrooms
• 170 gm brie sliced
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp oil
• 6 sprigs of thyme

Let’s Cook!

Heat the butter and the oil in a small pan add the mushroom and saute on a medium to high heat until browned and a little crispy around the edges about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat and add the garlic and cook for a further minute turn of the heat. Strip two of the thyme leaves and stir into the mushroom mix.

Lightly toast the bread top with the slices of brie put the toast back under the grill until the brie has melted top with the mushroom mix, as sprig of thyme and some freshly ground black pepper.

These toast starters serve two people but are easy recipes to double or triple up.

 

 

 

 

Spiced Red Cabbage

Red cabbage…our Christmas dinner would not be the same without it…I have been making this …Well, it seems like forever but it must be at least for the last 35 years so it is a well, tried and tested recipe and one which we absolutely love. The recipe was originally given to me by a very dear friend whom sadly is no longer with us…but every time we have this dish we remember you with much love Pauline…x

The recipe has German origins which is where Pauline’s husband came from.

Cooked with Apples, red onion or shallots, some spices, balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm…try a glassful…lol…

It is a lovely accompaniment to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two before eating…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas Dinner without it…we love it.

• One medium-size Red Cabbage.
• One medium to large Red Onion Or about 8 shallots…
• 2/3 cloves of garlic
• One large Bramley Apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
• A half to whole glass red wine.
• Salt and Pepper to season.
• 1-2 tsp Cinnamon or mixed spice.
• Cinnamon Stick ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

Chop cabbage, Onions, garlic and Apple.

Cook Onions and garlic in butter or olive oil until onions are soft.

Add chopped cabbage and apple, half of the balsamic and half of wine.

Season and add spices.

Cook for at least 2 hours (I cook mine for 3 generally) and add more wine and balsamic to taste. If you think it is a bit dry then add a little water.

Tip: If like me the Bramley cooking apples are unavailable where you live then its trial and error. I tried green apples, and it was ok but this week I used 4 dessert apples and it was the best, the same with seasoning and spices its personal taste so play with it and adjust to your taste which is what I do with all my cooking ….and especially now I live here it has taught me a totally new way of cooking, I was very recipe and measurement-driven.

Now I just look inside the fridge or freezer and cook with what I have because it is about taste, taste and taste again… or it could be just certain ingredients are unavailable here…….the only time I now measure is when I make pastry or cakes and that does have to be more precise but any other dishes then I play with ingredients and I have much more fun when I am cooking.

This dish can be made at least a week in advance if you are keeping it in the fridge or longer if you are freezing it.

To serve just gently reheat and check the seasoning…

Crispy Fried Kale

• 2 bunches curly kale (about 2 1/2 pounds)
• 1/4 cup good olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Sea Salt Flakes

Let’s cook

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange 3 oven racks evenly spaced in the oven.

Lay each kale leaf on a board and, with a small sharp knife, cut out the hard stem. Tear large leaves in half. Place the kale in a large bowl of water and wash it well. Drain the kale and dry it in a salad spinner. Dry the bowl, and put the kale back in the bowl.

Toss the kale with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the kale among 3 sheet pans or roast them in batches. If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never become crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.

Sprinkle with the sea salt flakes and serve hot.

I like these as a side as they add a bit of crunch to the otherwise soft dishes.

Potatoes, parsnips baked in garlic and cream

• 3 large potatoes about 1 ½ lb
• 12 oz parsnips
• 2-3 cloves of garlic
• ¾- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1 cup of single cream
• 105 ml of milk
• 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Let’s cook

Peel the potatoes and parsnips and thinly slice then place in a steamer and cook for 5 mins.

Leave to cool slightly.

Put the cream and milk into a heavy pan with the garlic slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat . Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for about 10 mins so the garlic can infuse into the milk.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Using a 10 in a rectangular ovenproof dish, grease the dish and arrange the sliced potatoes and parsnips in layers sprinkle each layer with I use lots of black pepper and a little grated nutmeg.

Pour the reserved cream and garlic mix over the potatoes and parsnips pressing the vegetables down. The liquid should come to just under the top layer.

Cover the dish with a piece of baking parchment or buttered foil and bake for 45minutes remove the dish from the oven and remove the paper or foil the sprinkle over the cheddar cheese and return the dish to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.

For a recipe variation, you could use sweet potato, carrots, Swede or artichokes. or alternate the layer with white potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Mushroom and Chestnut Stuffing.

I love mushrooms and chestnuts and although a meat eater I prefer my stuffing with no meat.

• 1 tbsp oil
• 300 g mushrooms (10 medium mushrooms)
• 180 g/ 1 cup cooked and peeled chestnuts, e.g. tinned or vacuum-packed
• 1 small onion, diced I prefer shallots
• 1 small red onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp dried sage
• 100 g wholemeal bread/sourdough bread
• Small bunch fresh flat leafed parsley
• Salt
• Black pepper

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).

Heat the oil in a frying pan; add the diced onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and any excess liquid has evaporated.

Transfer the vegetables to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Season generously, and blitz until the mixture just comes together.

Transfer the stuffing mixture to a baking dish, and bake for around 40 minutes, until crispy on top. Serve warm.

 

Nut Roast with salsa

• 40 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
• 100 g quinoa
• 150 g onion squash or cooking pumpkin
• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 sticks of celery
• olive oil
• 200 g tinned or vac-packed chestnuts
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 pinch of sweet smoked paprika
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 2 large field mushrooms
• 1 lemon
• 60 g fresh breadcrumbs
• 80 g dried cranberries
• 100 g dried apricots
• 100 g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and brazil nuts
• 4 large free-range eggs
• 40 g mature vegetarian  cheese

 Salsa.

• 2 fresh red chillies
• 1 stick of cinnamon
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 small onion
• ½ bunch of fresh thyme, (15g)
• 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes or the equivalent in fresh tomatoes.
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 1-litre loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet and set to one side.

Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, then chop the flesh into rough 1cm chunks (you don’t need to peel the skin) unless you are using cooking pumpkin. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic, then trim and roughly chop the celery.

Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat, add the chopped vegetables and crumble in the chestnuts. Add the picked rosemary leaves, discard the stalks.

Add the cayenne, paprika and oregano and season with salt and pepper stir well and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 15 mins or until slightly softened add the chopped mushrooms to the pan for the last 5 mins of cooking.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and grate in half of the lemon zest.

Put mixture into a bowl and stir in the cooled quinoa, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and nuts if you prefer your nuts less chunky then chop into smaller pieces.

Crack the eggs into the mixture and stir well to combine then put the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Put into the preheated oven and cook for 45-50 minutes until cooked through and set.

When there is about 30 minutes to go make the salsa… Over a low –medium heat put a pan with a glug of olive oil and add the pricked chillies and the cinnamon. Add the finely sliced garlic and the onions cut into 8 wedges. Pick some of the time leaves reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Add the tomatoes plus 2 cups of water stir well breaking up the tomatoes.

Season and stir in the balsamic vinegar then bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and reduced.

Once the tomato mix is ready remove 1 chilli, carefully halve and deseed and roughly chop and return to the mix. If required loosen the salsa with a little water remove the whole chilli and cinnamon stick and put to one side.

Remove the nut roast from the oven and carefully remove from the tin. Put the nut roast into the tin containing the salsa and grate the cheese over the top. Put the cinnamon stick and reserved chilli back into the mix and put the reserved thyme sprigs over the top.

Return to the oven for 10-15m minutes or until bubbling and golden.

Baked Celeriac

• 1 celeriac 600-800 gm
• 60 gm walnuts toasted and chopped
• 1 tsp of thyme leaves
• 100 gm of blue cheese crumbled
• 50 gm butter
• 100 ml honey/maple syrup

Let’s Cook

Peel the celeriac keeping the shape as natural as possible. Using a 6-7 cm biscuit cutter make an indent in the top of the celeriac or like me, you can use a knife ( carefully) and then using a melon baller or apple corer scoop out the flesh to about halfway down.

Heat the oven to 180c/160 fan/gas 4

Toss the walnuts, thyme and blue cheese together and pack into the cavity of the celeriac if it is higher than the top don’t worry just pack it in…

Take a sheet of foil large enough to cover the celeriac…Dot the top of the celeriac with the butter then drizzle with the honey and season with salt.

Wrap the celeriac completely in the foil making sure there are no gaps and roast for 1 hr 15 mins or until the celeriac is soft. Open the foil and cook for a further 15 mins or until the top is golden…Serve on a chopping board and reserve any juices to spoon over the celeriac when serving.

 

Coconut and Lime Cheesecake.

For the base.

• Flavourless oil for greasing
• 300g digestive biscuits
• 50g desiccated coconut
• 160g unsalted butter, melted
• 25g coconut oil, melted

For the filling

• 560g full-fat cream cheese
• 250ml coconut cream
• 397ml tin condensed milk
• Juice 4 limes
• 4 medium free-range eggs

For the caramel

• 100g caster sugar
• 25g unsalted butter
• Good splash rum
• 75ml double cream, at room temperature
• 1-2 pinches sea salt flakes
• Pulp from 3 ripe passion fruits

Let’s Bake!

For the base, lightly oil a 20cm diameter, 8-10cm deep loose-bottomed cake tin and set aside.

Put the biscuits and coconut in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs.

With the mixer running, pour in the melted butter and coconut oil and process until combined.

Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin.

Using the back of a metal spoon, press down on the crumbs to form the base, working them all the way up the sides of the tin to form a deep tart case.

Smooth the base until even, and then chill until needed.

Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/ gas 3.

To make the filling, put the cream cheese, coconut cream and condensed milk in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until combined.

Gradually beat in the lime juice, then the eggs.

Pour the mixture into the biscuit base (don’t let it come over the sides of the biscuit).

Bake for 50-60 minutes until lightly set – it should wobble in the centre a lot when gently pushed, but it will firm up in the fridge.

Remove to a wire rack, still in its tin, and cool completely, then chill.

To serve, bring back to room temperature before removing from the tin.

To make the caramel, put the sugar in a heavy-based frying pan and heat very gently until completely dissolved – every now and then gently stir it back and forth with a fork to distribute the sugar evenly.

Turn the heat up and bubble to a rich golden-red colour, then remove from the heat quickly and add the butter and rum. It will spit, so be careful.

Stir to combine everything, putting the pan back on the heat if the caramel hardens.

Once smooth, stir through the double cream and the sea salt flakes.

Put in a heatproof bowl, cover with a piece of cling film directly touching the surface, then leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Mix the passion fruit pulp into the caramel, then serve drizzled over the cheesecake while the caramel is still a little warm.

N.B.The cheesecake will keep chilled for 6 hours or wrapped in cling film and frozen for up to 1 month.

Once defrosted then drizzle with the caramel.

Fresh Fruit Salad.

The beauty of a fresh fruit salad is that you can make it as large or as small as you like one portion or ten. You can use any fruit that you have and it can different every time.

The one I always make is straightforward, I use Oranges, Apples, Grapes, Pear, and section and slice them and add lemon/ lime juice to stop the fruit going brown.

Sometimes I also add some freshly squeezed orange juice or other fruit juice.

This is now when it gets interesting as you can add a little freshly grated ginger, some crushed lemongrass even treat yourself to one of those exotic fruits you have seen in your local shop or farmers market just to liven it up, change it.

Maybe even a touch of chilli???

Some sesame seeds? Some poppy seeds?? Even a few sprigs of mint…

If I use a soft fruit like banana, melon, mango, strawberries, peaches, apricots, watermelon or kiwi then I put those in about 15 mins before I serve the fruit salad. Otherwise, they can go too mushy and we like our fruit salad fresh and vibrant, nice and crisp.

And of course here I have access to plenty of fresh pineapples, Lychees and Dragon fruit are plentiful and in season here at the moment so into the mix they go…What is your favourite fruit salad mix???

You can use any combination of fruit that you like just make sure you use lemon/ lime

Juice to stop the fruit from discolouring and keep in the fridge until you is ready to serve.

It can be served quite simply with fresh cream or clotted cream if you can get it… Ice cream or even custard which hubby prefers.

That’s it for my vegetarian menu…Enjoy!

Next week it will be a Tradition Christmas Menu and the week after A menu for one as I know this Christmas there will (because) of Covid-19  more people eating Christmas dinner on their own…It can still be tasty and when you have your zoom chat you can show your family just what you have prepared for one…xx

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

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – A sumptuous #Vegetarian Christmas Menu

There is a definite trend towards more plant based recipes and this time of year with cranberries and other delicious fruits/vegetables some of them are just awesome and so tasty…I hope you find something that will tickle your taste buds …Merry Christmas xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Carol Taylor has been very busy the last few weeks preparing Christmas menus for the whole family and this week she has created a feast for vegetarians with some sumptuous ingredients.

Welcome to a Christmas menu with vegetarians in mind and I have tried to think of tasty dishes that as dare I say it a carnivore I would eat… In fact I eat both because as long as a meal is tasty then that is what matters and I love vegetables.

The starters are quick and easy to make and ooze taste and most of the dishes can be made in advance as we don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on Christmas morning while everyone else has fun…Do we?

I always try to cook at least one dish I haven’t cooked before for Christmas as we all have our tried and tested family favorites, don’t we? It…

View original post 3,535 more words

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup… week ending 24th Nov 2019…

Welcome to this week’s roundup and do I have some goodies for you…Lots of things going on in the world …The election in the UK is gathering momentum…I have watched a few live clashes between the leaders of the parties and to say I am not impressed by much is an understatement…Here all is well and sunny …We had some aftershocks from the earthquake in neighboring Laos the other day…my bed shook somewhat and made me jump out rather quickly but that’s all nothing major…

Let’s see what I had for you this week….Enjoy!

Monday…Recycling and climate change…

circular recycling the world and a green leafAll good news though and there is a lot of that… it is not all doom and gloom…but we have to have hope and there is a lot to make us hopeful for but please remember there is a lot we can do to bring hope to many more around the world who maybe have no hope and just maybe we can help give them hope.

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/18/recycling-and-climate-change-the-good-no-the-great-news/

Tuesday…Mistletoe and Wine…

 

In the run-up to Christmas, you will find everything here from recipes to trivia and traditions…I would also ask that when you are shopping for presents, food, and decorations that you think about its origin and how it was produced…carbon footprint, child labour…Please think about can the packaging be recycled or reused…Do you really need it? Every little helps…x

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/19/mistletoe-and-wine-christmas-cheer/

Wednesday…Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food Column with Carol Taylor – #Thanksgiving/#Christmas Traditional Menu…

This week Sally very kindly republished my Christmas Menu which is also ideal for Thanksgiving…Lots of choices for all the courses and no I don’t make them all for our Christmas Meal may be a choice of two starters and desserts but just one main course…I hope you find something which tickles your tastebuds…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-column-with-carol-taylor-thanksgiving-christmas-traditional-menu/

Wednesday…Whimsical Wednesdays with Moi…Carol Taylor…

The Christmas adverts have started I think the adverts are sometimes better than the TV programs… every year they seem to get better and better…I use u tube a lot and based on U tube views….Mogs Christmas is tops…I wonder if any of this year’s ads will knock it off its top spot…? That little dragon is cute… I just loved him…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/20/whimsical-wednesday-with-carol-19/

Wednesday…Sally very kindly added my post to her daily blogger where she promotes bloggers from around the world…Today I was with one of my favourite bloggers who has cooked a wonderful blueberry pie and Debbie the dog lady with a wonderful heartwarming tale…I was in excellent company and of course my teammate Sally…xx

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-20th-november-2019-christmas-carol-taylor-dogsitter-debbie-the-doglady-odessa1941-blueberrypie-by-dolly-aizenman/

Thursday…Christmas and more recipes and trivia…

I love Christmas and all the glitz, kitsch and trivia…BUT…I also remember the little things, the traditions and Christmas here is not so frantic…Thais do not celebrate Christmas…I am the only one where I live who has a tree and lights but my Thai neighbours always bring me a little gift and honour our Chrismas as we honour their festivals…I was very touched when they did that on our first Christmas here…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/21/christmas-tis-the-season/

Friday…The Culinary Alphabet…The letter V…

You will find me once a month over at Esme’s where I work hard to find unusual foods and cooking methods on my trawl through the culinary alphabet…This month I started with food which could be a dessert or a savoury meal…Which is Vacherin which is a beautiful French meringue dessert or it is a cheese to read more please click the link below…

https://esmesalon.com/the-culinary-alphabet-the-letter-v/

Friday…Christmas …in my house…

Where I took you down to the farm and told you about our black chicken one of which will be part of our Christmas dinner …I also discussed whether or not stuffing is what you call it or dressing…an interesting debate and lastly I gave you some recipes for starters for either your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner which I hope you will enjoy…x

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/22/christmasin-my-housetraditions-treats-and-a-touch-of-trivia/

Lastly, I reblogged a post from Sally…which disturbed me greatly…It is about the debate on whether or not to vaccinate your child and the fallout from those decisions…New statistics out show that as many as 6 children per hour are hospitalised in the UK with pneumonia…That is appalling and scary and the result of not having vaccinated your child…#recommended read.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/11/18/smorgasbord-health-column-pneumonia-pneumonia-appalling-statistics-six-children-per-hour-hospitalised-in-the-uk/

I read Jane’s blog this morning and it resonated with me so I would like to share it with you…It puts Christmas into perspective ...It is only a short read but very pertinent please if Christmas makes you frantic …Pop over and have a read and remember there are always unicorns…x

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

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

Welcome to my house and the Christmas preparations...This weekend it is Stir -Up Sunday…time to make the puddings…

We have made a decision as to our Christmas meats and are having ribs of beef and one of our black chickens…

A first for me or for us I should say…

What are black Chickens? It wasn’t until we were given a pair of black chickens that we realised they were black, everything…  The meat, bones, and skin are all black. Although as our black boy doesn’t seem to mind who he gets amorous with we now have some mixed breeds. Mum here is sitting on her eggs so we will soon be having more little black chicks…

Many people find the black chicken to be an odd food and tend not to eat it. I have yet to find out we are going to sample one next week. my daughter in law has already sampled one and she liked it…She made soup with the chicken…Thais don’t roast meat like we do…

Although the chicken flesh itself is a dark bluish-gray or even black, and the bones are black as well. The meat really doesn’t taste different by nature; it’s just chicken.

Healthwise it is said to be full of antioxidants…The antioxidant that is found in black chicken is called Carnosine. High concentrations of Carnosine is good for muscles and the nervous system.

I will report back to you as to our verdict…

I promised you some sample menu’s ….this week I will give you some starters which would be lovely to start your Christmas meal…

Christmas Starters…

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favorite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

To Prepare

  1. Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

We really loved this starter which I made for the first time last year and will be making it again…It would lovely with any fruits I like blackberries but raspberries or blueberries would also be very nice.

Enjoy!

Mushroom Pate.

• 2 cups of mixed mushrooms…
• 1 cup of walnuts
• 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 1 onion chopped finely
• 1 tbsp oil
• ½ cup of parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

To Prepare

  1. Toast the walnuts carefully as nuts always burn if you take your eye of them well mine do…Set to one side…
  2. Add the oil to a pan add onions and cook 2 mins and add the garlic cook until onions and garlic is soft watching the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and saute for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. If the mix gets too dry then add a little water. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then blitz; scraping down the sides I like mine a little coarse.
  4. Put the mixture into a dish and press the mix down and smooth the top.
  5. Serve with crackers of your choice or sliced cucumber and peppers.

Beetroot Tartare.

Beetroot tartare with capers

Ingredients:

• 160 gm of cooked beetroot.
• 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp of double cream

For Fried Capers:
• 10 capers
• Oil to fry about 3 tbsp.

For the crispbread:
• 2 very thin slices of stale bread
• 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Make the crispbreads by cutting the bread into squares allow 3 to 4 squares per person.
  2. Heat the grill on its highest setting and put the bread on a tray and drizzle with the oil. Grill on each side for 1-2 mins until crisp and golden being careful not to burn (like I did)
  3. To make the tartare, finely chop half the beetroot and blitz the other half with the olive oil to make a rough paste, and then combine with the chopped beetroot and cream and season to taste.
  4. Rinse the capers and pat dry then heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat add the capers and fry for 30 seconds until they have started to open up then drain on kitchen paper.

To serve: Place a 6-8cm ring on a plate and put in some beetroot mix then remove the ring.
Garnish with capers and the crispbread.

This starter is also a family favourite although I will make the mixture just a little firmer and add horseradish this time as I love horseradish with beets.

Mushrooms on toast with Brie.

• 2 slices of bread halved I use sourdough bread.
• 8 mushrooms sliced…I use chestnut mushrooms
• 170 gm brie sliced
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp oil
• 6 sprigs of thyme

To Prepare

  1. Heat the butter and the oil in a small pan add the mushroom and saute on a medium to high heat until browned and a little crispy around the edges about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and cook for a further minute turn of the heat. Strip two of the thyme leaves and stir into the mushroom mix.
  3. Lightly toast the bread top with the slices of brie put the toast back under the grill until the brie has melted top with the mushroom mix,  a sprig of thyme and some freshly ground black pepper.
  4. These toast starters serve two people but are easy recipes to double or triple up.

Next week I will give you some starters for fish and meat-eaters…although as much as I love chicken liver pate I do love a nice mushroom pate equally as well…taste wise both are good…

While reading comments on one of the blogs I follow a question came up as to whether when stuffing the meat what do we call it… Stuffing OR dressing…

I initially thought that was an odd question as I think of dressing as something liquid for example I would dress a salad…

On reflection…The term is also used in the preparation of meat…As in dressing the meat ready for cooking…so maybe not so much of an odd question in hindsight.

Back in medieval times, it was called stuffing or forcemeat…which was a mixture of finely chopped and seasoned foods, usually containing egg white, meat or fish, etc., used as a stuffing or served alone…both equally delicious.

Then we came to the Victorian era where they were prudish for want of a better word and the word stuffing was not thought to be the correct words used as is shown in Catharine Esther Beecher’s popular Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book, published in 1850, she described stuffing beef with dressing, defined as “the stuffing of fowl, pigs, etc.”

Then we get to the dressing which meant to prepare and season a bird ready for cooking but did the said bird have stuffing in it?…. Yes, most of the time it did…

Are you still with me… haha…Well over time things got more relaxed and the word stuffing started to be used again although in some areas and a lot is probably down to tradition as in what your mum and her mum used to call it…

We call it stuffing…What do you call it?

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

 

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Welcome to my world and whimsical Wednesdays…

The battle of the Christmas ads has started…and every year they seem to get better and better…I use u tube a lot and based on U tube views….Mogs Christmas is tops…I wonder if any of this year’s ads will knock it off its top spot…? That little dragon is cute…

I love this because of the safety aspect…dodgy Christmas lights, it promotes reading and that is always a good thing and mainly…Kindness…

We should remember those less fortunate than ourselves at Christmas …BUT …That old saying of Christmas comes but once a year is also true …What about the other 364 days?

Please be kind and take it a step further…Social media is wonderful but it can also be so very cruel…Please think before you comment and before you share…Or better still do what I did the other day…

More and more I am seeing cruel, nasty comments on FB…There are many things we see which we may like, we may agree with, it may not be our opinion BUT we live in a democracy and I was brought up to keep it buttoned if I didn’t have something nice to say…Above all if you do have something to say don’t make it personal especially in these upcoming elections…I also see it on celebrity pages people get personal to me that is not on …Have your say everyone has a right to have a say whether we agree or not…Be nice and don’t get personal…

If we all did that the trolls couldn’t and wouldn’t prosper...Nuff said…

Did you know? The first artificial Christmas tree was made of goose feathers…Originating in Germany over 100 years ago and was meant to replicate the snow-covered fir trees in the forests…Now they come in all shapes, sizes, and mediums, we have leaves and glitter and so many colours…Nothing beats a real tree though especially if you can dog it up and replant it again my dad used to do that and they were pretty resilient they came up bigger and better the next year…He did that until they got too big and then started again.

I even love just a twig or a branch decorated quite simply they look stunning and with all this wind and rain I am sure on your travels you might see a small branch which has broken off which would be ideal…

When my children little we used to make our own chocolate decorations it was good fun…This video shows you how to make chocolate Christmas trees, simple and easy to do and they look lovely…

 

Time for some music…

I am taking a trip down memory lane here…I remember quite clearly singing along with What do you want to make those eyes at me for…Moon River…Return Sender…I love me a bit of Elvis…

1959 WHAT DO YOU WANT TO MAKE THOSE EYES AT ME FOR? EMILE FORD & THE CHECKMATES
1960 I LOVE YOU CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS
1961 MOON RIVER DANNY WILLIAMS
1962 RETURN TO SENDER ELVIS PRESLEY
1963 I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND THE BEATLES
1964 I FEEL FINE THE BEATLES
1965 DAY TRIPPER/WE CAN WORK IT OUT THE BEATLES

Each week until Christmas I will pick my favourite. from the chart I publish..The Beatles are in town three years on the trot…on this chart…Out of all these my favourite? It has to be Moon River followed by Elvis…I liked the Beatles but I wasn’t an out and out fan…there were no, out and out Christmas tunes in the early ’60s or if there were any they didn’t top the charts…

Time for a story…

The Charade

 Chapter 12

 by SC Richmond

 

download-3the-charade

Carl hurried towards her and swept her into his arms.

   “You look lovely, so beautiful, that dress, is it one of George’s grandson’s designs?”

   She wriggled free, blushing “Yes” she stammered. She was about to tell Carl about her wonderful discovery but something stopped her. Something wasn’t right… Carl sounded strange, something was up. He always seemed to appear, no matter where she was, she was beginning to feel as if he was watching and waiting for her. It was beginning to make her feel uneasy.

“What time shall I pick you up tonight Cinders?

He laughed at his own joke. The girl was no longer excited about going but knew she had to make the effort.

‘Is seven ok?”

   Carl nodded and smiled “seven it is.”

   The girl wandered home her thoughts all in a whirl… who was he? She also decided that she would visit the shop in the morning to collect her clothes and see if she could persuade George to tell her more,,, What was he afraid of?

   The night passed in a whirl. Carl was very thoughtful and attentive, she had so many thoughts going round and round in her head that she really didn’t notice. Maybe she would find her parents. At last, she felt there was some hope. Something she hadn’t felt before.

Carl had noticed a change in her, she was preoccupied and no longer hanging on to his every word. He also noticed the admiring glances she was getting from other men and he didn’t like it one bit.

   Home, at last, she kicked of her shoes and slipped out of her dress. She hung it on a hook on the outside of the wardrobe door. She fell asleep dreaming about her dress and the young man who made it and also about what an adventure she had today and tomorrow she may find out a bit more about her mother.

For the first time in a long time, she slept like a baby, a small smile playing on her lips she dreamed about what she may find out and tonight those nightmares didn’t appear.

   The day dawned and she was up and dressed in no time at all. She left the flat and almost skipped to the shop she was so happy. Rounding the corner she noticed that all the shutters were still down. As she drew closer she could see a bag propped against the door. It was her clothes.

There was also a note from George telling her how beautiful she had looked in the dress and how like her mother she was but also mentioning that due to a family crisis the shop would be closed for a while. It was almost as if he was saying goodbye to her. She stood and burst into tears.

  Out of sight across the road, stood Carl… watching.

 

Tommy Steele...I can still see those twinkling eyes…He was Britains 1st rock n Roll star discovered in a coffee bar in Central London way back in the early 195o’s…

Tommy Steele was also a guest on the Six-Five Special does anyone remember that show which was presented by Pete Murray? Petula Clarke my dad liked her…Lonnie Donegan all the stars I was brought up listening to…

Like a smile kindness is infectious…xxx

A recipe… I can’t go without leaving you a recipe can I?

Music and food are an integral part of who I am…

A Christmas Starter…Beetroot Tartare…

Beetroot tartare with capers

Note my Christmas plate the tartare hides the father Christmas…The recipe can be found here …xx

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