Category Archives: Christmas

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

 

Mistletoe and Wine…Christmas Pickles…

In the run-up to Christmas, you will find everything here pickle recipes…I pickle most things,  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

Firstly I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving…

happy-thanksgiving-4567939_640

Have fun, enjoy and please share your images we would all love to see them…xx

Before I share the pickle recipes just a little bit about Christmas lights which I love and safety…

Christmas lights...I love them although compared to some my lights are probably pretty meagre, Although the honour for the first Christmas tree goes to Germany the light explosion can be credited to the Americans…

President Benjamin Harrison erected the first Christmas tree in the White House in 1889 decked with candles, ornaments and toys to the delight of his grandchildren but it wasn’t until 5 years later  in 1894 that the then President Cleveland and the fact that the White House now had electricity that the first electric lights were on the Presidential tree.

While electric tree lights are safer than candles there are still many accidents and fires caused by faulty tree lights…I always turn mine off at night and if I am out it is better to be safety aware than lose lives and your home …There are many cheap lights on offer now but safety comes first so please don’t be tempted.

China is probably one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of Christmas lights and also in the recycling..It has been big business for the Chinese town of Shijiao starting some 20years ago the recycled light were turned in to slipper soles and other goods…However, it was not the cleanest way to recycle so due to the bans on imports from other countries and the pressure to clean up due to the environment I am not sure what this year will bring for the town of Shijiao…

If you have lights to recycle this link has some suggestions…Please don’t just throw them in the bin some contain mercury…

I still love lights though …If you have images of your Christmas lights or jumpers(sweaters) you would love share please message me…email carolcookstwo@gmail.com

To get you in mood one of my favourite Christmas songs for a bit of Christmas cheer…

 

Christmas Pickles…

I pickle anything… we love pickles and since living here have found different ideas for pickling…

Ingredients…

  • 2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.
  • 11/2 pints pickling vinegar…I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.
  • 2tbsp Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, white peppercorns, coriander seeds.

Method2 days before mixing 2pts water with 4 oz salt pour over onions, cover and keep in a cool place. I keep in the fridge due to the heat here.

Home made pickled onions

Then drain onions and pat dry. Pack into sterilised jars layering pickling spices as you go then pour vinegar over the onions making sure they are completely covered. Store for 4-6 weeks and they ready…They are the crispest onions I have eaten, far better than shop-bought and generally don’t get to 4 weeks let alone 6 weeks as they get dipped into …men!

Today I have pickled Pineapple with Jalapenos for you…We like them a lot something a little different…

Pickled Pineapple

Pickled Pineapple.

Ingredients:

  • 300 gm of fresh pineapple cut into smallish chunks
  • A handful of shallots finely sliced
  • 1 pickled jalapeno sliced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
  • The juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • A handful of chopped coriander

Pickled Pineapple Ingredients

3 sterilised jars with lids.

Let’s Cook!

Heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, limes and Jalapenos together and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat add the shallots and leave the mixture to cool down.

 

Spoon the pineapple and coriander into the prepared jars and cover with the vinegar mixture. Add the lids and leave to cool down before putting in the refrigerator.

Pickled Pineapple.

Leave for 1-2 days before eating.

Enjoy!

N.B Some recipes say use pickled jalapenos and some say to use fresh Jalapenos… I used some I had already pickled this time …I will try fresh ones next time and compare the taste.

If you use pineapple in juice the cut down on the sugar you use.

Next something we love pickled tomatoes…

Pickled red and yellow cherry tomatoes…

Ingredients:

  • 30 cherry tomatoes I mixed different colours.
  • 1-2 green Thai chillies finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar.

 

red-yellow-thai style-pickled-tomatoes

Red and yellow pickled tomatoes

Let’s get pickled!

Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Take a cocktail stick and prick the tomatoes a few times this allows the brine to infuse nicely.

Put the tomatoes in a sterilised jar or a Tupperware container and cover with the marinade mix.

Put in the refrigerator …these can be eaten after one day and within 4 days. The juice can then be used as a marinade for fish or added to salads.

I hope you have enjoyed these 3 pickle recipes if you try then please let me know …I like some of these as they don’t have to be left too long and can be eaten almost immediately unlike some pickles which need time to mature..xx

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

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

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

About Carol Taylor:

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

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

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

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

green foot prints eco system

 

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

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

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

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

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

Monday…Recycling and climate change…

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

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

Tuesday…Mistletoe and Wine…

 

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday…Whimsical Wednesdays with Moi…Carol Taylor…

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

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

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

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

Thursday…Christmas and more recipes and trivia…

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

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

Friday…The Culinary Alphabet…The letter V…

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

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

Friday…Christmas …in my house…

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

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

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

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

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

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A first for me or for us I should say…

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

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

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

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

I will report back to you as to our verdict…

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

Christmas Starters…

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

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

To Prepare

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

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

Enjoy!

Mushroom Pate.

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

To Prepare

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

Beetroot Tartare.

Beetroot tartare with capers

Ingredients:

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

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

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

Let’s Cook!

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

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

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

Mushrooms on toast with Brie.

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

To Prepare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We call it stuffing…What do you call it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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!

Thank you once again for reading this post I

hope you all have a creative week ahead xx

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