Category Archives: Christmas Treats and Traditions

‘Tis the Friday before Christmas… the season of love and laughter…and a Salty Dog…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and a Merry Christmas xxx

Christmas…’ Tis the season of love and laughter…Have you chased the Green Fairy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ice sculpture

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

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

troika snow white horse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

absinthe glass and spoon

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

Do you remember Green Goddess or Green Fairy?

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

Chilli and Tomato Chutney is a wonderful thing.

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

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

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

Blitz…I love that word…

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

Pour into warm sterilised jars with secure lids.

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

tomato-chutney

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

Enjoy!

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

bells-160841_640

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

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

HOW TO OBSERVE

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

Come on make someone happy…xxx

 

 

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

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

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

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

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

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

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

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

hh_xmas_hrswreath_gates_sm

I so love this…Such a pretty wreath…

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

Time for a story…

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

The Charade – Chapter 15

 by S C Richmond

9a15bbcccf402180463cff95a6c0a40e--amethyst-jewelry-swarovski-jewelry

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

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

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

TBC

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

Answer: “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”

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

iced biscuits 1

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

Ingredients:

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

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

Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 10 minutes

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

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

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

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

Answer: He hides in Santa’s sack

 

Time for some music…

 

music notes

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

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

 

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

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

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

Use this #HumanRightDay when posting on social media…

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

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

poinsettia-4647951_640

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

The Poinsettia is also the National flower of Madagasgar.

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

How about a Winter Sangria?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup (237 ml) brandy
  • 1 cup (237 ml) pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup (237 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, arils removed
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick

In a large jug or serving bowl, stir together the wine, brandy, pomegranate juice, and orange juice. Add orange slices, pomegranate arils, cranberries, and cinnamon stick. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

Serve with ice cubes.

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

Enjoy!

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

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

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

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

However little Lily is here this weekend and so the tree will be going up, I have made the Coconut ice this morning so that is setting in the fridge and will be sampled later…At least my arms had a workout as I used fresh coconut from the drupe…Recipe and pictures tomorrow…

We are also baking the cake a little late but Lily wanted to help and there is still time to top it up before I need to ice it…

For the last two weeks, I have given you some ideas/recipes to start your Christmas Lunch today I will give some recipes for side dishes. Starting with the one dish I always make…

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

Spicy Red Cabbage (1)

The recipe has German origins 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.

asparagus with bacon

Asparagus is another of our favourite vegetables they can be lightly steamed or cooked in butter and just serve with some thinly sliced parmesan cheese..so simple yet so very tasty…They are beautiful just wrapped in bacon…Very easy… Just wrap bacon slices around each prepared asparagus spear. Skewer both ends of asparagus and add 3 to 4 per skewer. Grill the asparagus on direct heat until the bacon is crispy and the asparagus tender which takes around 15 mins making sure that you turn the asparagus at least once.

Parsnips are also one of my favourite winter veggies…

parsnip-20320_640

Normally I cook in butter, olive oil, thyme, honey with some freshly cracked black pepper and salt to season…However, with some oil and maple syrup it takes the taste to another level not so sweet as honey but with the parsnips natural sweetness…Just perfect…

or baked with some potatoes au gratin…A lovely Christmas treat…

Ingredients:

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 350 gm parsnips
  • 200 ml single cream
  • 105 ml of milk
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 75 gm grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • butter or olive oil to grease the dish

Let’s Bake…

Peel your potatoes and parsnips and cut them into thin slices then steam for 5 minutes then leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, pour the milk and cream into a pan with the garlic and bring to the boil over medium heat.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand at room temp for about 10 mins to let the garlic infuse.

Lightly grease your oven baking dish and preheat your oven 180 C/350 F/Gas mark 4

Arrange the thinly sliced potatoes and parsnips in your dish sprinkling each layer with a little freshly grated nutmeg and plenty of ground black pepper and a little salt.

Pour the cream and milk mixture into the dish then lightly press the potatoes and parsnips down into the mixture.

Cover the dish with lightly buttered foil or baking parchment and cook for about 40 minutes…Remove the dish from the oven and remove the foil or paper…Sprinkle the grated cheese over then return the dish to the oven and bake for a further 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the top is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Now this time of year I absolutely love my cocktails but not everyone drinks alcohol and this video shows you some lovely healthy drinks for the Christmas season which won’t leave you feeling left out…

That’s all for now ..Enjoy your weekend xxx

Lastly, remember not everyone is fortunate and some people dread this time of year be aware and if you can add a little cheer please share your joy but also remember the other 364 days of the year pass your smile around and be kind… 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

christmas tree and baubles-2939314_640

Image by 5598375 from Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

father-christmas-3013595_640

Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That looks absolutely delicious…

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

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

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

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

In the Uk approx 76% of homes serve up a turkey in the US it is a staggering 46 million turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving and 22 million at Christmas but at least you can just put the turkey in the oven and enjoy your celebrations…Not so easy for some  The Puerto Rican national dish is the roast suckling pig known as lechón, and this almighty beast needs the more-or-less constant attention of at least two people as it slowly turns on an outdoor spit from as early as two in the morning.

To while away the long hours cranking the handle with a coconut shell full of coquito, a festive Puerto Rican spin on eggnog made with coconut milk, condensed milk and a hearty dash of rum is somewhat of a consolation…Who still drinks Egg Nog?

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

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

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

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

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

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

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

 

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

Welcome to my house and the Christmas preparations...

As Christmas is not celebrated here our Christmas is far more low key…Not so frantic as it was in the UK…I do miss the atmosphere and the build-up but I don’t miss all the crowds and the must-have this as it does take away from the real meaning where family and friends get together and enjoy each other’s company…I used to love the Nativity and this picture of my little grandson a grown man now always tugs at my heartstrings.

For me, the essence has gone when I look at pictures of people’s trees and the mound of presents…No child or person needs all of that to me that is what is wrong with the world. Wrong when there are people who are starving, cold, homeless or just working to keep the bills paid and food on the table but with no wiggle room for all the advertised goodies it must be a terrible time of year…

Here when asked what would you like me to buy you at Christmas much thought is given and I will be given an answer of the ONE…Yes, one thing they would really like…No lists as long as your arm and some…

It makes such a refreshing change…xx

Christmas Starters or Aperitif…

Last week I gave you some ideas for plant-based starters today I am giving you a few tried and tested starters which include fish or meat…

I normally make two starters one is always prawn cocktail which is a given in our house my mum used to make it and I have made prawn cocktail every year without fail since I married… I have tried to drop it from the menu but even I wouldn’t dare as the fall out would be akin to a nuclear one…haha…

Prawn Cocktail.

prawn cocktail

 

Ingredients:

  • 500gm of Prawns, peeled.
  • 5 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 5 tbsp Salad Cream.
  • 2-4 tsp hot Horseradish Sauce.
  • Salt and freshly ground Pepper.
  • 3tsp Lemon Juice.
  • Paprika to garnish.

Shredded Iceberg lettuce.Tomatoes to garnish. Extra prawns for garnish…I leave the tails on these.

Let’s Cook!

Mix tomato ketchup, salad cream together. Add horseradish sauce, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.

At this stage, I taste and adjust the seasoning and add more of whatever I need to…. generally horseradish.

Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

To serve: Put some shredded lettuce in individual serving dishes with cucumber if using. Put a generous serving of the cocktail sauce on top. Sprinkle with Paprika. Garnish the dish with Prawns, A slice of lemon and tomatoes if using.

Enjoy!

This next recipe is an authentic Thai recipe … Pumpkins and squash grow very well here and are found on every market stall and on every street food stall so much is done with this versatile vegetable lots of lovely Thai desserts and soups…

Ingredients:

  • 400 gm  pumpkin peeled and diced into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 tsp white peppercorn
  • 2 coriander roots
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass  very finely sliced
  • 3 small shallots diced
  • 1 tsp fermented shrimp paste…You will be able to purchase this from most Asian stores or online.
  • 300 ml of prawn stock….I always keep my prawn heads and bits in the freezer until I have enough to make some stock.
  • 700 ml of coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp roasted chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 16 prawns /shrimp, peeled and deveined or crab meat
  • A handful of fresh Thai basil leaves save some for garnish
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil to stir-fry

Let’s Cook!

Firstly pound the peppercorns and the coriander root into a smooth paste. Then in a large saucepan, over a medium heat stir-fry the peppercorn/coriander root paste, pumpkin, lemongrass, onions and shrimp paste, stirring all the time for about 3 minutes until all those lovely Thai flavours are released.

Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan with a lid and cook very gently for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft, stirring occasionally.

Next, transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend with the shrimp stock until smooth. Pour back into a saucepan and add the coconut cream and bring to a slow gentle boil.

Add your seasonings, lime, fish sauce, sugar, chilli paste and stir to combine, add your prawns/ crabmeat and cook for 1-2 minutes…Now taste and adjust seasoning if required.

Remove from the heat and pour into serving bowl or bowls. Stir in the basil leaves and garnish with extra leaves.

pumpkin-soup-1804351_1920

The true Thai way is to also garnish with spring onions or garlic stems, some fried crispy garlic or chicken skin and it always looks so vibrant and you just want to dive in and drown in the lovely flavours.

Enjoy!

Chicken Liver Pate is an old favourite which I make throughout the year…It is easy and tasty

SAM_6863

 

Ingredients:

  • 220g/8oz  butter.

  • 4 shallots chopped.

  • 2  cloves, crushed or finely chopped.

  • 450g/1lb chicken Livers, trimmed and cut in half.

  • 1 tbsp Brandy.

  • 1 tsp mustard powder.

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1 bay leaf, to garnish.

  • 2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured.

Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer the pâté into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf….. I use lime leaves as cannot always get fresh bay leaves.

Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.

Enjoy!

Or!

How about a baked whole camembert cheese served with cheese straws wrapped in bacon???

Now that ticks all the boxes for Moi…

Did you know?…

What is the most popular meal for Christmas in Japan?

KFC fried chicken

It’s so popular in fact, that you have to order in advance or face standing in long lines to get your Christmas fried chicken. Some people even start lining up Christmas Eve to make sure they get their Christmas KFC.

An Aperitif…

The aperitif is typically served, approximately 30 to 60 minutes before dinner. For the digestive system, some say, it is best to serve after the dessert or cheese course,

As for what glass to present your aperitif in, this varies greatly depending on the type of drink you’ve made…What is your favourite aperitif?…

We always start the day with a mimosa…Maybe a glass of Bailey’s with my first mince pie of the day and then while cooking the lunch…a bloody Mary goes down very well…

Bloody Mary’s… just saying! One of my favourite cocktails and this Naga Vodka which my son bought me apparently the best way to drink it is in a Bloody Mary… Shots are not advised! I am waiting until New Year’s Eve until I sample it ….Have any of you been that brave and tried Naga Vodka yet ????

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 ¼ cups of tomato juice
  • 1 ¼ cups of vodka ( or thereabouts) Hic
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce or peri-peri sauce
  • 2 tsp Lea & Perrins sauce ( Worcestershire sauce)
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 stalks of celery with leaves.

Let’s Brew!

Combine everything together in a jug or cocktail shaker and TASTE… this is where I adjust and give it a tweak or two…I make my own tomato juice and as tomatoes vary so does the TASTE….It is a fine art and needs much testing to get this just right …Hic
Chill in the fridge until required… this recipe makes about 6 glasses.

To serve.

Add some ice to a chilled glass and fill with the Bloody Mary mix…pop in your celery stick and a slice of lime and or some olives and if you are feeling really….well… If you have some bacon to use up then crisp it up and stick a slice in with the celery… Anything goes when I am making cocktails.

I love chai tea..and for those you who rather have a hot aperitif this lovely recipe fits the bill…

Can you not just tell that on this one day of the year…I enjoy a favourite tipple or three…Cheers one and all …xxx

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

 

 

Sowmya's Spicy Corner

Authentic Vegetarian Recipes

Mimi At 15b

Allotment | Food | Lifestyle | Sustainability |Travel

The Humble Avocado

A lifestyle blog based on all things natural and plant-based whilst looking after the pennies. 'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' Be The Humble Avocado.

Pesky Recipes

Delicious pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan recipes

Just Keep Swimming

memoir that matters

Platform Number 4

Becky Ross Michael: an author's blog

priorhouse blog

Photos, art - and a little bit of LIT.

Sustain

Climate Change, Coronavirus and Sustainability

A Foodies Wish

People who love food are always the best people.

Take It Easy

Retired, not expired: words from the after(work)life. And music. Lots of music!

%d bloggers like this: