Category Archives: christmas recipes

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

I am rather proud of this menu as it was the first time I put anything like this in print…The beetroot tartare I will be making again as we loved it…I hope you enjoy reading it and find something that you love as well…Thank you, Sally, for reposting this menu…Hugs xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I little bit earlier than last year, but with Thanksgiving not until 28th of November, I thought those of you having Turkey for that celebration might enjoy some of the dishes Carol Taylorcreated for this menu.

Traditional Christmas Menu (and some ideas for Thanksgiving)

This menu is a mix of the traditional with a couple of other dishes thrown in…I always like to make at least one new dish every Christmas some I never make again as they were ok..Just not that memorable…You know what I mean don’t you…

Prawn Cocktail

As far back as I can remember Prawn Cocktail has been a must-have for our Christmas starter…..One year I fancied a change and we had a fantastic fresh seafood platter with Oysters, Langoustines everything you could think of and some Thai dips made by the daughter in Law…The only way to eat Oysters. But we also had to…

View original post 3,391 more words

Mistletoe and Wine, Christmas Cheer…

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

Just a reminder…  the 24th of November…Stirup Sunday‘, so put on your apron, gather your ingredients, gather family or friends to make a Christmas pudding. It’s the day when wishes are said to come true, so get stirring!

Christmas Cake…

Have you made yours yet? There are so many variations to the recipes for Christmas Cake some people like me like a rich fruit cake others like a lighter fruit cake …If you have a favourite tried and tested recipe then please share it here…Ally has made her Christmas cakes and very tasty they look ..she adds ginger ale to her recipe check it out here…

Christmas Cake …Bake and Mature

I love a rich fruit cake and it lasts as long as you want it too some people love the traditional Christmas or now some make a square cake and cut it into slices it is just preference and of course once it is made I always just sprinkle a little brandy, whisky, rum or sherry over the cake every couple of weeks an age-old tradition in our house and I am sure many others.

Ingredients:

• 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
• zest and juice 1 orange
• zest and juice 1 lemon
• 150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
• 250g pack butter softened
• 200g light soft brown sugar
• 175g plain flour
• 100g ground almond
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp mixed spice
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• 100g flaked almond
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Let’s Cook!

Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over medium heat.

Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.

Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.

Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.

Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.

Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it.

Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.

That’s the cake and pudding recipes sorted but don’t forget your pickles ...Homemade pickles are so much nicer and cheaper to make …We love pickles and I pickle so much more than I have ever done…

For the next few weeks, I will share my pickle recipes…. let’s get pickled…

https://carolcooks2.com/2017/07/26/healthy-eating-just-pickled/

Who loves Christmas Kitsch? My Christmas kitsch has travelled the world with me and on the 1st Dec, it will all come out of its wrappings, mugs, teapot, t/towels and towels, plates and dishes…I love my Christmas crockery…

I also love those quirky Christmas toys that as you move past it goes Ho Ho Ho…Merry Christmas and then plays its tune…Yes, it is Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas in this house and it will never ever be any different….Others can call it what they like…Me….I stick with tradition…

Back on the subject of my quirky Christmas toys…we have some grinches here who remove the batteries…How mean is that???

Bah Humbug I say…So for all you grinches…

Smile and be kind…

Christmas lights…I love small twinkly Christmas lights….Do you have a few tasteful, pretty displays or do you go the whole hog??? If you do then please share…I love Christmas lights and did you know who made the first Christmas lights? Thomas Eddison of course…He draped the first set of Christmas lights around his Menlo Park Laboratory but wasn’t until nearly 40 years later that Christmas lights became a tradition…

If you love Coldplay you may like their take on Christmas Lights…A tune…

Only a few weeks now to Thanksgiving…I am looking forward to seeing a few new recipes that I haven’t tried before…as a cook, I am always looking for new recipes…

happy-thanksgiving-4567939_640

I would like to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving and to ask if you would please share your recipes with us here…x If you are looking for recipes then pop over to Sally’s tomorrow where I will be there with Sally where we will share some of our Thanksgiving recipes.

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

P.P.S…There will be a Christmas jumper corner…I just need to see yours???? So come on don’t be shy…Share…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…We all need to be aware of our home’s carbon footprints…where does our food come from? How far does it travel…Simple to do but if we all did it…Not only would we support local businesses but reduce our carbon footprint…

green foot prints eco system

 

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site that is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…Health, Recipes, and plenty of Christmas cheer! …Week ending 17th 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…There have been floods and lots of rain around the world, snow so many lovely images which I love seeing from the warm…haha…Loy Krathong is over for this year a lovely Thai Festival one of my favourites… which dates back 6,000 years…It is a beautiful festival I mean water, candles, flowers and beautiful girls however as ancient as it is I am pleased that certain things as in the making of the Krathong are being changed.

This is our little grandaughter with her Krathong made from banana leaves and fresh flowers…Isn’t it pretty?

So without any more ado let’s see what has been going on this week in my blogging world?

Monday… Recycling and environmental News…

Here in Thailand, the government means business and they have said a resounding NO!

In an effort to minimize plastic waste, Thailand will be curbing the use of plastic bags at shopping malls and department stores nationwide, from January of 2020.

This will be the first step for Thailand to eradicate any single-use plastic by 2021.

Photo credit: European Parliament on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Already you can see the signs the bags are disappearing faster than the speed of light here…

Sweden… well my admiration knows no bounds have no recycling waste…More on this tomorrow…It is impressive what they have achieved…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/11/recycling-and-environmental-news-11th-nov-2019time-to-say-no-to-plastic-bags/

Tuesday…Time for mistletoe and wine it’s Christmas time…

I love that song..made famous by Sir. Cliff Richard…

gingerbread-men-3084961_640

For a few weeks, Tuesdays will be devoted to everything Christmas…So please let’s have your recipes, pictures of your decorated houses and porches, gingerbread houses, Christmas jumpers/sweaters, homemade fudge or other sweeties anything Christmassy…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/12/mistletoe-and-wine-christmas-time/

Wednesday…Whimsical Wednesday with Carol…

I was feeling rather lonely last Wednesday…NO COMMENTS…Then the lovely Pete kindly sent me a message …comments were disabled…How, when, where I hadn’t a clue but a Happiness engineer sorted it out for me so please if you wanted to comment and couldn’t it isn’t too late I would love to hear from you…Thank you, Pete, once again…

This is an example of what I really love about the blogging world someone is always ready to help…You all rock xxx

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/13/whimsical-wednesday-with-carol-18/

Also on Wednesday this week, I was over at Sally’s…

Where Sally discussed what the mineral Manganese provides and how we can increase manganese in our diets if we need to …The recipes which are tried and tested in my kitchen at home include ingredients which contain manganese…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/11/13/smorgasbord-health-column-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiencies-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-minerals-manganese/

Thursday…Christmas… Mistletoe and Wine and all things good …

The first of my Christmas posts…You can expect tried and tested recipes which were passed down from my mum, recipes I have been gifted by friends and family from all over the world and which are now our family favourites.

Christmas Treats and Traditions 23rd Nov

Traditions there are many Christmas traditions practiced from around the world and I will be bringing you some of those and anyone who wishes to contribute with a guest post of their own on a special Thanksgiving dish or tradition then you would be very welcome so please share…  I know my friends across the pond and my rellies celebrate Thanksgiving on the 28th of November and have turkey and lots of other goodies …

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/14/christmas-mistletoe-and-wine-and-all-things-good/

Friday…Christmas …In my house…

This week I posted some Christmas cheer and trivia but starting next Friday my sample Christmas menus…I will be featuring more plant-based menus as I know many people are changing and cooking with more vegetables, lentil/beans all of which I love but the menfolk here not so much…so there will also be some recipes with fish or chicken…

victorian-christmas

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/15/christmas-in-my-house-traditions-treats-and-a-touch-of-trivia/

Saturday…There wasn’t a post this week as I was busy cooking and trying out a new ingredient I found called cowslip creeper…It is an edible flower very pretty and it tasted lovely…It grows in South East Asia, China, and India…I will share this recipe next week…

 

Here are just a couple of images to tempt you…I am nice …haha…The farmers market were selling big bags of produce and I brought a lovely big bag of fennel so looking for new recipes using fennel…

If you are experiencing wildfires or flooding then please stay safe…

Thank you for reading have a great weekend 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 well being.

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site that is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all are having a relaxing weekend xx

 

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…Chocolate, Health, Recipes …Week ending 10th Nov 2019…

Welcome to this week’s roundup and do I have some goodies for you…Lots of things going on in the world first it was Halloween …I also have some Halloween pictures for you…Then Guy Fawkes, The election in the UK which I am following but will not be commenting on I will leave that to everyone else…Back to Haloween and let’s have a mop-up of the photos…

I don’t really know many people in the UK who are big on Halloween but Tori waves the flag for Halloween and her pumpkin pie looks very nice…This one is her very prettily decorated window and the rest you will find by clicking the link… there are photos of her fur babies and a recipe for the pie inc a vegan version of pumpkin pie…Enjoy!

Halloween window display with hanging bat, ghost, beware sign, maple leaf, frankenstein, candle, and pumpkins

I managed to find some Gingko nuts so I will be experimenting with some recipes…If anyone already has some tried and tested recipes with Gingko nuts please share…The rice was harvested last week down on the farm and it was a bumper crop this year…The taste of fresh new rice is very nice better than any that you buy…

So without any more ado let’s see what has been going on this week in my blogging world?

Monday… Recycling and environmental News…

I don’t think I will ever run out of anything to say on this topic for a long time…The chocolate industry is still having problems and using child labour now if that isn’t a reason to give chocolate I don’t know…

circular recycling the world and a green leaf

I talked about making your own recyclable and reusable Christmas decorations and also about the plastic waste of which there is lots of great news but also lots we can still do…Steve Tanham the man who is flying the flag for eco-bricks here has written a very good post with lots more information so don’t miss tomorrow’s post where all will be revealed…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/04/recycling-and-environmental-news-4th-nov-2019homemade-advent-calendar/

Tuesday…Christmas Crafts…

This was the first post in my Christmas run-up…gently easing you in…haha…Some more ideas for Christmas crafts and my recipe for Sweet Mincemeat just in case you missed it…I have just found a yummy looking recipe for mince pies with cinnamon swirls… it looks like I will be busy in the kitchen for the next few weeks… well until after Christmas now I would say…

lady reading recipe book with wooden spoon in hand

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

I have had a little lull what with my laptop woes which just threw me a little and various other little hiccups but I am now back on track…I have my cooking head firmly in place again…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/05/christmas-crafts-d-i-y-crackers-advent-calendars-sweet-mincemeat/

Wednesday…one of my favourite posts where I can indulge myself and anything goes…

This week was no different there was stone soup…Have you heard of that? I hadn’t, pantomime, Simon & Garfunkle…I mentioned the Spice Girls and Harry Potter…The Charade…A short story…It was also National Fig week with recipes…Pop over and have a read you may find something of interest or which will make you smile and remember…

figs-2662883_1920

 

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/06/whimsical-wednesday-with-carol-17/

Thursday…Frozen Shoulder…

Not something thankfully I have experienced but I know many who have and it is by all accounts extremely painful…Sally from Smorgasbord Health has herself suffered from a frozen shoulder…In this post, she explains …

Why do so many people in their 50s suffer from a frozen shoulder?

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/smorgasbord-health-column-why-do-so-many-people-in-their-50s-suffer-from-a-frozen-shoulder-by-sally-cronin/

Friday…The final part of Store Cupboard Basics…Dried herbs and stock ( Bouillon) cubes…

Although I use mainly fresh herbs and make my own stock…There is always a time when dried is best especially in baking and sometimes we need some stock quickly and maybe we haven’t time to defrost some or have run out hence it is always a good idea to have a small stock.

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/08/this-week-in-my-kitchen-store-cupboard-basics-dried-herbs-and-stock-bouilloncubes/

Saturday…Loy( Loi) Krathong…

A Thai Festival which dates back 6,000 years…It is a beautiful festival I mean water, candles, flowers and beautiful girls however as ancient as it is I am pleased that certain things as in the making of the Krathong are being changed.

This is our little grandaughter with her Krathong made from banana leaves and fresh flowers…Isn’t it pretty?

 

I am certain all those years ago natural products were used and then with the invention of styrofoam things changed and now it is changing again as styrofoam does not decompose and neither do the steel nails used. The bases are being made now from either bread or banana tree stems and if wooden nails or little stakes were used to fix them together that would be a real step in the right direction but the signs are positive…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/11/09/thailand-loyloi-krathong/

Thank you for reading have a great weekend 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 well being.

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site that is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all having a relaxing weekend xx

 

Christmas Crafts…D.I.Y crackers, Advent Calendars…Sweet Mincemeat…

This is the first of my Christmas posts…Sorry but some things have to be made sooner rather than later if we are going to have the greenest most recyclable Christmas ever…

After all, there are only…49 Days…9 hours…44 mins at this moment in time…

This year I am going to make crackers and an advent calendar…My crackers could be a problem as no one ships here they are classed as explosives by customs…I have found a tutorial which means stripping down those champagne poppers which could work…I think I will enlist the help of my grandson and let you know or if you don’t hear from me he has blown us up…haha…

For those of you who can purchase cracker snaps through Amazon or Etsy here is a tutorial…

 

Fir cones…we used to collect lots as a child and then they were made into pretty table decorations, wreaths for the front door or decorations for the tree they look so pretty spray painted or sprayed with artificial snow, unfortunately, I cannot get them here but for those of you who can then…Have fun creating and please share your pictures…

http://allathomehealth.co/pine-cone-decoration-ideas/

Homemade advent calendars…again something which I cannot get here or get easily…One year I can last year I couldn’t so this year I am going to make my own…

This video has some great ideas and even for your pets…

I hope you find some good ideas here…If we all started to make our own recyclable decorations not only would it save us money but it would save so much unwanted plastic and paper ending up in landfill…The figures are horrendous…It also makes them so much more personal …Just think how much pleasure they will bring and how much fun you will have finding that special little gift…

Lastly, just in case you missed it and haven’t made your sweet mincemeat yet here is the recipe again…

Don’t forget… on the 24th of November…Stirup Sunday‘, so put on your apron and gather family or friends to make a Christmas pudding. It’s the day when wishes are said to come true, so get stirring! Christmas is approaching, and to us, that means one thing: Stirup Sunday.

That’s all for today I hope you enjoyed and if you have any ideas please share ..Tomorrow it is Whimsical Wednesday…please join me for a touch of nostalgia…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…We all need to be aware of our home’s carbon footprints…where does our food come from? How far does it travel…Simple to do but if we all did it…Not only would we support local businesses but reduce our carbon footprint…

green foot prints eco system

 

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site that is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

Eat Smart, Eat Healthily…No more diets…But…The holiday season is coming…

No more...Diets Healthy eating 27th November

Good morning from sunny Thailand I am sure by now that for most of you your celebrations are in full swing…Some of you will have had all your presents labelled and wrapped since January I know I had a friend who did just that…Until one day her kids found them and opened them…I don’t think I need to tell you how the rest of the story went and ended…

Halloween for those of you who celebrate it will soon be upon you and then the Christmas preparations will begin…

There are 56 Days, 4 hours and 41 minutes at the time of writing this…

Now I am not a party pooper and I wish you all a joyous time and I will be leaving you with a few tips to help over the Christmas period and then I will leave to enjoy it and come back just after the New Year…

As you know I have lost quite a bit on my eating plan...But I do not wish to put those lbs back on…

Christmas is more low key here…Thais don’t celebrate Christmas but the New Year… So not so many temptations for me…I do however remember the rounds of Christmas get-togethers all the goodies everyone used to bring into work…It played havoc with the diet and the waistline.

Lips-chocolate-woman

Lips and chocolate

Chocolate… So many different ones, fudge, Turkish delight, marzipan fruits, after eight mints, quality street, pick and mix, sugared oranges and lemons, sugared almonds and so many more…We all know that Dark chocolate is good for you this link gives you some tasty options my favourites are anything with mint, orange or chilli…Now you just knew I was going to get that one in didn’t you?

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/healthy-delicious-chocolate-bars-dietitians-eat/

The sausage rolls and mince pies we used to have so many of them when I was at work…Homemade ones, Marks & Spencers Finest and they were not bad…I am salivating here…The good news is Marks & Spencer is so far away from me that is all I can do…

What can you do?

Keep a little pot of these spiced mixed nuts/ Thai nuts with you at all times.

  • 2 cups of raw nuts I used walnuts, cashews, almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder ( I chop fresh garlic very finely) and stir in at the end of the cooking time.
  • 1/4 tsp. rounded cayenne pepper (or more/less to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Let’s Cook!

Heat oven to 325 degrees and line a small cookie sheet with parchment.

Combine all the spices in a medium bowl; add oil and mix until smooth.

Add the nuts into the bowl and stir until they are evenly coated.

Spread evenly on the prepared pan in a single layer.

Bake nuts for 12-15 minutes, stirring at the halfway point.

Remove from oven and stir once more before letting sit on the pan to cool for about an hour.

mixed nuts

Store in an airtight container.

Hubby loved the nuts I liked them..Next time I will double up on the spices xx

My second recipe is a Thai one and most bars serve these with the drinks I love the addition of basil and ginger…I have also done this one with walnuts as they are my favourite nut…

Let’s Cook!

  • 2 cups unsalted peanuts
  • 2 heaped tsp chilli oil (with the flakes and oil)
  • 20 dried lime leaves, crushed (hard stems removed)
  • 20-25 leaves Thai basil, chopped (reserve a couple tbsp for garnish)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or very finely chopped
  • small piece ginger, grated
  • salt to taste

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss all the ingredients together on a baking sheet, and bake the nuts for 10-15 minutes, tossing halfway through so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven, toss with the reserved basil, and a little more salt if you like, and serve or when cold store in an airtight container.

Some Tasty Snacks.

Turkey Rolls.

  • 4 slices turkey breast.
  • 4 teaspoons cream cheese.
  • 4 pickles or cucumber strips.

Place turkey breast slices on a large plate. Spread 1 tsp of cream cheese on each slice. Place a pickle or strip of cucumber on each turkey slice and roll up.

Olives.

Olives are one of the nutritious staples of the Mediterranean diet. They are very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and contain powerful antioxidants like oleuropein.

Depending on their size, 25 green or black olives contain about 100–175 calories.

Tomatoes and mozzarella sliced is a lovely thing..

Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

Sun-dried tomatoes contain more lycopene than regular tomatoes.

What’s more, they are usually packed in olive oil, which helps your body absorb more of the lycopene.

A 3.5 oz (100 grams) serving of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil provides 170% of the RDI for vitamin C and contains a little more than 200 calories.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts.

Marinated artichoke hearts are delicious and nutrient-dense.

Artichoke hearts contain fibre and are a good source of vitamin K and folate.

Studies have shown that artichokes help protect the cells lining your arteries and contain prebiotic fibres that nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

A 3.5 oz (100 grams) serving of artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil contains about 190 calories.

Homemade Beef Jerky…The Thai Way…

  • 1 lb top round steak, cut into strips measuring approximately 4 inches long, ½ inch wide, and ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark or light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground white (or black) pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oven to 120°F and set a rack in the middle of it. Spread out the beef strips on a large cookie sheet and let them dry out in the oven for one hour. Turn the beef strips over and let them dry for another hour.

You know the beef strips are ready when their surface is dry to the touch while the texture is still somewhat soft and elastic. When that happens, remove the beef strips from the oven or the drying basket and place them in a mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, heat up some vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or an 8- to a 12-inch frying pan with a raised edge on medium heat. You only need just enough vegetable oil to come up to about 2 inches from the bottom of the pan. Line a platter with a piece of paper towel and keep it nearby.

Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper, and sugar to the beef strip bowl and toss; make sure that all of the beef strips are evenly coated with the seasoning sauce.

Test the oil by sticking a wooden skewer or chopstick into the oil, making sure the tip of the wooden skewer touches the bottom of the pan. If you see tiny bubbles rising from the point where the wooden skewer touches the pan, the oil is ready.

Shake excess seasoning off of the beef strips and fry them in two batches. Be sure to stir the beef strips around to ensure even cooking. On medium heat, the beef only needs to be in the oil for less than a minute. You’ll see that the beef will brown up and develop a nice, glossy coating. When that happens, transfer them to the paper towel-lined platter.

Serve the fried sun-dried beef with spicy Thai dipping sauce and sticky rice.

Enjoy!

N.B. I dry my beef outside before frying but have given instructions to oven dry as I know many of you don’t have the weather I have here.
All these little snacks are lovely if you are drinking with friends or taking a few bits into work…I love a sausage roll or mince pie but I do feel very sluggish if I eat too much fat/ sugar so snacks like this work fine for me…They don’t make me feel bloated and it is nice to have a little nibble with a drink when you are socialising isn’t it?

Going out for drinks or a pre- Christmas dinner?

I will say just plan for that make a pot of soup so you always have soup to heat up either at home or take some to work… If you have breakfast and then a cup of soup as you need it through the day then you can go out and enjoy your festivities…Eat, drink and be Merry! A nice bowl of porridge which will/should stop you snacking until lunchtime… Or a nice protein drink or smoothie…These smoothies always keep me going and with the beetroot which helps give it that lovely colour it is one of my favourites.

For a few more ideas and just in case you missed it then this post will help you plan…

Raspberry Protein Drink

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of coconut water
  • 1/3 cup of Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 medium beetroot(raw) peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp honey ( optional)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds ( optional)

Raspberry Protein Shake

Let’s Blitz!

Measure all the ingredients into your blender and blitz away… The colour was amazing a beautiful colour and it tasted very nice not too sweet and I did add honey.

Lastly, go for your evening jolly and…Enjoy!

Until January I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year xxx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

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

Connect to Carol

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favourite Christmas Recipes…With Chestnuts…

Christmas Recipes ...Chestnuts

Chestnuts to me are synonymous with winter and Christmas my memories are my father putting the chestnuts in the ash pan under the fire they are also of toasting crumpets and toast over an open fire and if you got too close getting burnt legs all red and mottled… Health and Safety would have kittens now and get all freaked out methinks…

So today I am going to share a few of my favourite dishes using chestnuts…

Not only are they delicious but their health benefits are enormous… Dr Mehmet Oz, MD said…Chestnuts are the only low-fat nuts, containing just 1 gram of fat and a little less than 70 calories per ounce of dried or roasted nuts. Additionally, chestnuts are the only nuts that contain vitamin C; in fact, just 3 ounces of chestnuts supply about 45% of the recommended daily amount of this vital antioxidant nutrient. And they’re a great source of dietary fibre, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. When chestnuts are in season, you can roast them in the oven. If you’re pressed for time, you can buy them prepackaged and ready to eat any time of year. You should eat up to 3 ounces of chestnuts a day to maximize their benefits.

https://www.sharecare.com/health/health-value-of-foods/the-health-benefits-eating-chestnuts

This dish is a recipe I have had for a long time… These little cakes are very tasty and lovely with some steamed vegetables or a salad. This mix makes 6 rice cakes. If you haven’t made risotto before please don’t let it put you off. As long as your liquid is hot and you let each addition of stock become absorbed into the rice before adding more stock it is a doddle. So much easier than most people think it is certainly don’t let the disasters on the TV cooking shows put you off.

Risotto Cakes with Chestnuts and Brussel Sprouts.

chestnuts sprouts risotto

These lovely risotto cakes also are vegetarian and the first time I made them was at Christmas for a veggie friend and they loved them.

I also think meat-free dishes have come a very long way…Don’t you? There is so much more on restaurant menus and I also think home cooks are more adventurous with flavours.

These risotto cakes certainly fit the bill even if you are a die-hard meat-eater.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz risotto rice
  • 8 oz Brussel sprouts finely shredded
  • 6 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz cooked, shelled chestnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 3/4 – 2 pints of hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 8 oz fresh breadcrumbs.

15-20 Sage leaves for garnish, a little flour for dusting and a pinch of paprika.

Oil of your choice for deep-frying.

Line 6 x 4-inch cooking rings with cling film.

Cook the shredded Brussel sprouts in lightly salted water for 1 minute. Drain set to one side.

Melt the butter in a pan and cook the shallots for 2 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated with the melted butter.

Stir in 1-2 ladles of the hot vegetable stock at a time and stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock before adding your next ladles of stock. Do this until the rice is just tender but with a little bite. This will take about 25 minutes as does any risotto.

Add the cheese and season being careful of the salt as both the cheese and the stock contain salt. Gently stir in the chestnuts and the sprouts. If the mixture seems too thick add a little more stock.

Divide your mixture between the cooking rings. Leave to cool and then chill until set and firm.

When the rice cakes are nicely chilled remove the rings and the clingfilm.

Double dip the lightly floured rice cakes in egg and then breadcrumbs…repeat. You may need to reshape the cakes.

Heat the oil until a small crouton of bread turns golden within a minute and dust the sage leaves with the flour and paprika and fry for 1-2 minutes…set aside on kitchen paper.

Deep fry the cakes for 5-7 minutes until they are golden and crisp. It is probably best to do these 2 at a time while keeping the cooked ones warm in the oven.

To serve:

Add some deep-fried sage leaves to the top of the cake served with your Christmas vegetables it is wonderfully tasty and makes a lovely Christmas main course for anyone who isn’t eating turkey.

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

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

Water chestnuts

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

Once peeled, they’ll only remain fresh in water that’s changed daily for two to three days.

Chinese Chicken with Water Chestnuts.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb of chicken breasts or pork finely sliced.
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of corn flour or arrowroot
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp of spring onions
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated or Julienne
  • 2 cups of water chestnuts peeled and sliced ( tinned are fine) and can be found in most Asian sections of supermarkets.
  • 1 cup of bamboo sliced (optional) or bean sprouts.

N.B…I have started using arrowroot instead of corn flour it is tasteless and gives a glossy sauce and where corn flour has a slight taste and cloudy appearance arrowroot is glossy and clear. It is a great thickener and can easily replace corn flour.

Arrowroot powder is fast gaining in popularity in the western world as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch either because they have corn allergies/sensitivities or they want to avoid anything GMO and laden with pesticides.

Let’s Cook!

Mix the sherry, soy sauce and arrowroot together, set to one side.

Heat the oil in a pan and add chicken /pork and stir-fry for 2 minutes add garlic, spring onions, ginger and bamboo and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes or until meat is cooked.

Add water chestnuts and stir-fry I minute then add the arrowroot mix and stir-fry for another minute or two until juice thickens slightly add beans sprouts if using.

I always add my bean sprouts if using add the very end as I like mine crisp and just cooked.

I also add other vegetables if I have a few odds and ends like broccoli or mange tout, baby corn.

Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles…

chicken and water chestnuts

 

Enjoy!

Who doesn’t love stuffing at Christmas??? If it contains chestnuts I am happy…

Stuffing Mix with Chestnuts.

Now stuffing mix is hard to get here and because it is imported also expensive. I have tried various stuffings in the past with limited success…we didn’t like them!

I found this recipe on a blog the other week and it sounded great…It had bacon in it…

Picture this…. I thought I had all the ingredients .. wrong!….no bacon and nearest shops were a way away so I put my thinking cap on and tweaked the recipe and it turned out brilliant…..Replaced the bacon with Minced Pork, The stuffing mix( which) I had not heard of became just breadcrumbs. Chestnuts …tick…

Ingredients:

  • 200 gm of Minced Pork
  • 6 oz  of breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz finely chopped chestnuts
  • 5 shallots finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of Thai celery chopped finely. Which when chopped did take on more of a celery smell.
  • Freshly made chicken stock.
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper.
  • Tbsp dried Sage
  • Fresh rosemary.
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme.

Heat pan with a glug of olive oil and 1 oz butter. Add shallots and garlic cook 2/3 mins until soft but not coloured add mince and celery and chestnuts if using cook for a further 4/5 mins. Add breadcrumbs gradually moistening mix with spoonfuls of stock as required.

The mix should be fairly thick but soft so you are able to form balls.

 

Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cool slightly and then form into balls.

Stuffing Balls

If you want to freeze them then do it at this stage. Pack into a freezer box and all ready for Christmas day.

If not then cook in oven until lightly browned and crispy approx 20/30 mins on 180 degrees. I didn’t need to add any additional fat as the oil and butter already incorporated in the stuffing mix kept them moist and not too dry but if required add more oil.

I generally don’t like meat in stuffing mixes but the amount I added was small and gave a nice texture and flavour but wasn’t the overriding taste.

This is now going to be my Christmas stuffing.

This lovely dessert is a popular Thai dessert made from water chestnuts. It is called  Ta-Ko Haew…..Sweet Water Chestnut with Coconut Custard.

Ingredients:

  • For base:
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour.
  • 1 3/4 cup water.
  • 1/4 cup pandan leaf juice. This gives lovely soft green colour which is often seen in Thai desserts.
  • 8 oz can water chestnuts or fresh if you can get them.
  • 1/3 cup sugar.
  • For topping:
  • 1 can coconut milk or again fresh coconut milk if you can get some.
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp salt.

Let’s Cook!

Dice the chestnuts very small.

Mix both flours and sugar together add water and pandan leaf juice. Mix well. Put in pan and bring to the boil, stirring it until the mixture thickens add the diced water chestnuts and bring back to the boil then remove from the heat.

Spoon the mixture into small individual foil cups. Or if you have banana leaves then they would be traditionally wrapped in a banana leaf or on the markets they are sliced into squares and displayed.

Now make the topping.

Mix the coconut milk, sugar, rice flour and salt together bring slowly to a soft boil whilst stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and spoon over the bases.

Allow to cool and serve immediately.

These are lovely if you enjoy sweet desserts… Also an ideal Christmas dessert with a difference for those who don’t like Christmas Pudding.

I hope you have enjoyed my favourite recipe using chestnuts or water chestnuts…

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

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

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

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

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