Category Archives: Cook from scratch

Welcome to my Cookery Column over at Sally’s where to enable me to concentrate on my cookbook and novel we will be running my A-Z of Food…I hope you enjoy the letter A …

Now pop over Sally and have a read…Enjoy!

The Culinary Alphabet ...The Letter A

 

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Cook from Scratch – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – Almond Milk, Arrowroot, Aubergines dip #Thai and Avocado Guacamole.

CarolCooks2…This week in my kitchen…Cake and Purple Carrots…Old fashioned carcass soup…

That’s Christmas and the New Year over until next year…

My first post for 2020… Not so much going on in my kitchen this week…Still, food to use up…That Christmas cake keeps beckoning and talking to me…The chocolate and sweets and biscuits I can happily give away…My Christmas cake the first one I have made for many a year will not be given away…It will be eaten I will then assess the damage which so far is 3lb on…

Not bad… I am happy with that considering that my diet has been less than perfect for the last few weeks but hey ho…No beating myself up…I will just start again…tomorrow is another day…

My Christmas cake was all made from scratch, the marzipan and royal icing all made by me with a little help from Lily…

What was new..?. Purple carrots which were how carrots were originally… all those centuries ago until someone decided they should be Orange…The original carrots in Central Europe were purple or yellow…It was around the 17th century that carrot growers managed to cultivate Orange roots which became the norm…and as we know and love them now…

carrot purple -3936797_640

These purple carrots are very nice but unless steamed they colour every other vegetable purple …which doesn’t affect the taste just the colour. Not only are they eye-catching they also provide unique health benefits specific to purple fruits and vegetables.

All types of carrots are highly nutritious, but purple carrots are especially rich in powerful antioxidants known to fight inflammation and benefit certain health conditions.

What makes purple carrots nutritionally unique is the content of the antioxidants anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins belong to the polyphenol family of antioxidants and are found in purple fruits and vegetables like blackberries, grapes, purple sweet potatoes, purple cabbage, purple eggplants and purple carrots…They have a slightly sweeter taste but not too sweet and now I added them to my list of purples…so far we have steamed them and roasted them with a little olive oil and fresh thyme and rosemary with some crushed garlic thrown in the mix…They are delicious…

Now for that cake…

Back to Christmas cake…I have eaten it with a slice of cheese as per Sue’s recommendation and it is lovely…my new favourite accompaniment to Christmas Cake…Those lovely little truckles of cheese that my #1 son sent us are going down a treat…

What also went down a treat was the Xmas pudding that I saved from last year it was super delicious absolutely so much better letting it keep and mature…The outcome is that I will be making some puddings very soon for next year…

What’s cooking? Thai rice soup which is similar to Congee…Congee is a Chinese rice porridge which can be served savoury, sweet or just plain…A dish which is generally made for children or someone who is or has been sick…Comfort food…A good way to use up cooked rice…It looks very ordinary but with a good chicken or vegetable stock, it tastes extraordinary…

Rice Soup

 

Ingredients
  • 250 grams of minced pork
  • 600 ml of Thai pork/chicken stock
  • 250 grams of cooked jasmine rice
  • 3 spring onions chopped
  • a small handful of Chinese celery or regular celery leaves chopped
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander leaves picked
  • 1 long red chilli sliced
  • 2 tsp of Thai fried garlic
  • 1 tbsp of Fish Sauce you may need more or less depending on how salty your stock is
  • 1 tbsp of Thai light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sugar (optional)
  •  freshly ground black pepper
 
Let’s Cook!
In a bowl, mix the pork with the soy sauce and a good pinch of black pepper. Shape into little meatballs or you just crumble the pork and add.
Bring the stock to a boil and add the pork. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the fish sauce, spring onions, celery, a good amount of black pepper and sugar(if using), and stir well.
Taste for seasoning and serve in bowls topped with the chilli, coriander and a teaspoon of the fried garlic.
Note: Thais can use sugar too much I think and where I think it is unnecessary in dishes like this I omit it …
If you want to add more vegetables or some bean sprouts or mushrooms anything goes in this soup …
Now for a little bit about how my blog will take a bit of a new shape over the coming year..
.A brand new year…2020…A new decade…

I will be keeping my Monday post on Climate Change and the environment as I do think things are escalating and taking a more serious turn for the worse.

Whimsical Wednesdays are where I indulge myself and I love writing these posts… so that stays…

Fridays in my Kitchen that will stay …there will be new recipes and info on how my cookbook is taking shape and any other business which happens in my kitchen…

Saturdays...There may be a recipe or three or some healthy eating info if I am shocked enough or wowed enough although the reason I am stopping my  Tuesday post is that we all know that a healthy balanced diet is the way to go, coupled with some exercise…We all know there will always be a new fad which is hyped up by celebrities and the like and the reality is they don’t work or in the main are not conducive to good health long term.

Sundays are the time for my weekly roundup…They are staying…

So cutting down to enable me to concentrate on my writing…I will be around on social media as and when time permits…

I can also be found over at Sally’s once a fortnight for my cookery column where this year my updated Culinary Alphabet will be the theme once a fortnight starting on 15th January 2010…

Now Christmas is over who still makes soup with the carcass of the chicken and turkey? The way your mum used to make it??? It was always a family favourite of my children and is still a favourite…My mum just used to chuck the carcass in the pan with chopped up veggies and let it cook…Nought wrong with that…Sometimes she would add dumplings or potatoes…How do you make yours…feel free to share your version…

 

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass (from a 12- to 14-pound turkey)
  • 2 cooked turkey wings, meat removed
  • 2 cooked turkey drumsticks, meat removed
  • 1 turkey neck bone
  • 1 medium unpeeled onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 small unpeeled carrots, cut into chunks
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup dried mixed lentil/peas(optional)
  • 4 quarts plus 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles (optional)

 

  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

To get the maximum taste I have updated her recipe a little and now roast the bones before I cook them to make a broth by placing the turkey carcass, bones from wings and drumsticks, neck bone, onion, carrots and garlic in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 1 hour, turning once.

I then transfer the carcass, bones and vegetables to an 8-qt. stockpot. Add 4 qt. cold water then set aside. Pour remaining cold water ( 1 cup) into the baking pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Add to the cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 hours.

It is now that I also add some mixed lentils and dried peas if I am using them… Once cooked…Cool the soup slightly. Remove the bones and discard them and the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Skim fat from broth. Add the carrots and noodles or potatoes if using…Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in the parsley, salt, thyme and pepper.

This really is a throw anything in the soup but wholesome and in keeping with nose to tail eating and waste not want not…

That’s all for this week I hope you have enjoyed the recipes…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 will be more on this on my blog this year

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!

Christmas Recipes…Sauces, Stuffings and Sides…Even a gluten free bread Sauce…

Christmas Recipes Sauces and stuffings

Wow..where does the time go??? We think we have lots of time and then that clock just whizzes around and before we know it…Christmas is upon us…

To me, there is nothing nicer than seeing that stuffing oozing out of the turkey…

I have a few recipes ( 6) for homemade stuffing for you it is very easy to make and makes much more than you get out of a box and no nasties…It freezes well so you can make it and pop it into the freezer all ready for Christmas day…

This first stuffing is not a traditional one as I used to know it..we always had sage and onion never anything else but since I discovered how easy stuffing is to make it has opened up a whole new world…

Rice, walnut and squash stuffing.

Serves 8.

  • The bottom half of 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 200 gm walnuts, chopped….I use walnuts as I can’t always get chestnuts but chestnuts can be used
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4  sage leaves, chopped plus extra sage leaves, to serve
  • 200g mixed wild and basmati rice
  • 500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 25 gm parmesan(optional) or a vegetarian alternative, grated

Heat oven to 200 C /180 C fan/gas 6.
Tip the onion, squash, and walnuts into a roasting tin with the oil, chopped sage, and seasoning, then toss well with your hands. Roast for 20 mins or until the edges of the squash start to tinge brown. If your oven is full, you can simply fry the lot together in a large frying pan.

Add the rice and stir to coat it, then tip the lot into a saucepan. Add the stock and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 mins or until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. Add cheese, if using, and tip into a baking dish. You can now cover and chill the stuffing for up to a day. 

To finish, heat grill to high, then cook until the top is browned and crisp and the stuffing is hot through.

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Date and bacon stuffing.

stuffed pork loin-386802_640

  • slices bacon, chopped
  • stalks celery, finely chopped
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4cup snipped pitted whole dates
  • tbsp snipped fresh thyme
  • clove garlic, minced
  • cups dry cubes sourdough bread
  • 1 – 1 1/3cups vegetable or chicken broth

Let’s Cook!

In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of drippings. Add celery and onion to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in dates, thyme, and garlic.

In a large bowl combine bread cubes, date mixture, and bacon. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, stirring to combine.

You can then cook the stuffing and serve as an accompaniment or use to stuff a piece of loin as I have done we love pork loin with stuffing.

To stuff, the pork loin either cut a pocket and stuff or cut the loin but not right through put the stuffing down the middle and roll and tie with string.

This recipe is for stuffed pork loin but with a different stuffing but more detailed on how to stuff a pork loin if you are a beginner.

You can then wrap the loin in bacon if desired.

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My stuffing is a mushroom stuffing using porcini mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 25 gm pack dried porcini mushrooms
  • 425 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp shredded basil
  • 4-6 tbsp grated parmesan

Let’s Cook!

Heat oven to 200 C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Oil a non-stick 12-hole bun tin and line holes with two strips baking parchment, to form a cross. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and pour over the hot vegetable stock. Leave for 20 mins, then strain, reserve the stock and chop the mushrooms, if large.

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and fry for 5 mins until softened. Add the pine nuts and fry until lightly toasted. Add the garlic, rice and cook for 2 mins.

Tip in wine, let it bubble, then add the reserved stock, mushrooms and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins, until the rice is just cooked. Remove from heat and cool, then stir in the egg, basil, pepper, and salt, if using.

Fill the tins with stuffing, sprinkle over parmesan. Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden on top. Cool in the tins, or for 5 mins if serving straight away. Remove by pulling up the parchment crosses.

You can make these up to two days ahead.  Then reheat on an oiled baking sheet, at 200 C/fan 180C/gas 6 for 10 mins.

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My next stuffing is a little more of a traditional stuffing and has my beloved herb sage…I love sage…this stuffing is our family favourite…I love rice and rice-based stuffings not so the menfolk in my house especially at Christmas so this one it is…

Pork, Sage and Onion Stuffing

  • 800 gm Cumberland Sausages removed from the skin.
  • 10 rindless streaky bacon rashers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Bramley apple, peeled and chopped (about 325 gm)
  • 85 gm fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 5 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 1 large egg

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the celery and onion, and cook for about 5 mins until starting to soften.

Tip into a bowl to cool while you remove the sausage meat from the skins. Add the apple, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, herbs, egg, and seasoning. Mix well – the easiest way is to knead it together in the bowl with your hands. I use about 1/4  of this mix to stuff the neck cavity of the turkey.

Stuffing Mix

For the remainder, I line a 900 gm loaf tin with 8 rashers of streaky bacon, spoon in the stuffing, lift the bacon over and cover with the last 2 rashers. Heat oven to 180C/160 C fan/gas 4 and bake the stuffing for 40-50 mins.

It can be made ahead up to this point and chilled for 2-3 days.

Turn out onto a baking-parchment-lined baking tray and return to the oven (once the turkey has come out) at 220 C/200C fan/gas 7 for 15-20 mins more to brown the bacon.

If chilled, reheat at the lower temperature for 45 mins, covered in foil, then turn out for the extra 15 mins at the higher temperature. Allow standing, then scatter with parsley (if you like), slice and serve.

Next one of my favourite Christmas fruits a stuffing made with cranberries …

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Bacon, Chestnut, and Cranberry Stuffing

  • 2 rashers unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips
  • 450 gm sausage meat
  • 100 gm dried cranberries
  • 50 ml ruby port
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 50 gm butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 140 gm fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 140 gm peeled, cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium egg,  beaten

Let’s Cook!

Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour.

Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter, until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.

Cool slightly, then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind  I find it easiest to use my hands so get those hands in and mix thoroughly.

This stuffing can be baked in a dish or rolled into balls that will be crisp on the outside and moist inside.

Stuffing Balls

Bake in a greased dish at 190 C/gas 5/fan 170 C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausage meat stuffing, cooked right through.

Alternatively, roll into balls that are about 4cm in diameter. Roast the stuffing balls in hot fat (they can be tucked around the turkey or done in a roasting tin of their own) for 30-40 minutes, until crisp and nicely browned on the outside.

Spicy Pork Balls (5)

These are lovely stuffing balls and probably my favourite at Christmas as I love cranberries…

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Water Chestnut and Bacon Stuffing.

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of bacon, diced
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 to 4 stalks celery, diced (about a 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large onion or 2 small, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 oz pack of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can of whole water chestnuts, roughly chopped, optional…I am lucky I can get fresh water chestnuts.
  • 12 oz breadcrumbs
  • Poultry seasoning to taste (recipe to make your own here)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Any of your favourite herbs or seasoning: additional thyme, rosemary, sage or 1/2 a teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes, etc.
  • Chicken stock to moisten (2 to 2 1/2 cups)

In a large pan, fry bacon until crisp, remove and put to one side. Discard all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of drippings. Add butter and stir till melted. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms & garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs, the reserved bacon and water chestnuts, if using. Toss together and add chicken broth to moisten. Taste for seasoning & add in salt, pepper and additional desired herbs.

This is best left overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Check for the desired amount of moistness and add additional broth, if needed, before baking. Stuffing should not be wet.

Bake in a buttered casserole, covered, at 325 to 350 degrees for about an hour, uncover and continue to bake until top is a little crispy and crunchy, an additional 15 minutes or so.

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Next, I  always do a little tester, in fact, I generally do that with all my stuffing as it is the only way to tell if the seasoning is correct. Fry a knob of stuffing in a little butter, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

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Pigs in Blankets:

  • 8 thin slices smoked bacon
  • 16 cocktail sausages
  • I tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp clear honey.

Mix honey, thyme and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl, add sausages and make sure they are coated in the mix. Cut bacon down the middle long ways. Wrap bacon around sausages.

To freeze now put in a container and separate the layers with greaseproof paper then remove  from the freezer on Christmas morning and cook as below

Put sausages on a baking sheet well spaced apart.

Cook on 180 for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and bacon is crispy.

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Bread Sauce.

Christmas dinner without bread sauce to me is like bread with no butter…Gin and tonic with no Gin…I know many people have an allergy to gluten…This recipe is especially for you…Using celeriac instead of the traditional bread it is a lovely alternative a bit smoother than bread sauce but a great accompaniment to your Christmas meal…

Gluten-Free Bread Sauce…

Ingredients:

  • 600ml of milk
  • 2 bay leaves, torn several times
  • small onion
  • cloves
  • garlic clove, bashed with the back of a knife to squash but keep intact
  • 700g of celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 25g of butter
  • salt
  • white pepper

Let’s Cook!

Peel the onion and stud with the cloves. Place the single garlic clove, studded onion and torn bay leaves into a medium-sized pan with the 600ml of milk and bring slowly to the boil to infuse while you prepare the celeriac.

In a medium-sized pan melt the butter. Then add the celeriac and stir to coat in the butter. Strain the infused milk over the celeriac and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Do not worry if the milk splits.

Season with salt and white pepper. Once the celeriac is tender, blend in the liquidiser and keep warm…White pepper is used to give an aesthetically pleasing appearance black pepper is fine if this isn’t your concern.

Now for my original Bread Sauce recipe…

Bread Sauce

Tip:

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use( I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…

Ingredients:

About half loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.

  • I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • Salt & Pepper.
  • About half-pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

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Cranberry Sauce.

  • 3  cups or 12 oz of cranberries.
  • The juice of 2 large Oranges.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

Cranberry Sauce.JPG

Allow mixture to cool and put in an airtight container and refrigerate.

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When I was a child the only time we had dates were at Christmas they were a treat but dates now are used as appetizers wrapped in bacon the saltiness of the bacon is a good foil for the sweetness of the dates also stuffed with blue cheese they are a lovely thing and very moreish and are seen on many a buffet table.

dates rolled in bacon-2327534_1280

I hope you have enjoyed these recipes please let me know your favourite if you try any…Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your week 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.

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 festive weekend with as little stress as possible…Merry Christmas one and all xx

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 20th December 2019 – #TurkeyandGravy Carol Taylor, #Breadstuffing Sheryl Lazarus, #Dessert Silvia Todesco

Well, that’s the best part of Christmas food and drink sorted…How to cook and stuff the turkey, make delicious Christmas gravy and relax and enjoy an original Italian dessert…Enjoy thanks to Sally for hosting us over on her Bloggers Daily…Merry Christmas everyone xxxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The first blog is from Carol Taylor who writes the food and cookery column for us, and if you have not yet explored her own blog – Carol Cooks Two.. then you have been missing some great posts. Today is another Christmas themed post from her kitchen.

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

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

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

A farmer with a few…

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

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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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

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

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

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

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Recycling and Climate Change…How to have A Greener Christmas…

Firstly I would love to wish you all a Very Merry and Green Christmas…xx

A green christmas-2991508_640

I would also like to thank you for your ideas and support throughout the year…xxx

I do think that the tide is turning…I also think that we should nurture our young and encourage their ideas as there are so many young people who have discovered ways to help the environment and I am not talking about those who skip school and carry placards but still carry the latest phones and wear the latest fashions without a thought about how those actions hurt the environment, how much of that cannot be recycled and how much of that is produced using child labour instead they are intent on telling us to turn vegan/vegetarian and ditch the transport… Except of course when we are joining the other traffic as we drop them at school or college having picked their friends up on the way…

I live in the real world I know some transport is essential, I know some local transport isn’t as good and cheap as what it is where I live…I also don’t have to get children to school, to their activities and then go to work, come home and cook dinner…Oh, there is also shopping and cleaning…

I could go on but I won’t I will spare you that and rely on the fact that you also have active imaginations and can fill in any gaps.

Change needs to happen in our homes…

This video which Tori who has supported me unfailingly throughout the year sent me the link to is worth a look as it suggests ways we can have a greener Christmas…Thank you Tori xxx Tori has also written some great kiddies books..If you still need stocking fillers then please visit her Amazon link 

 

All the items we have in our homes, and would be likely to throw away… some really cool ideas… I love the seed idea and snowflakes…

It is also no secret that I love music...It warmed my heart that Coldplay has taken a stand and won’t tour again until they can ensure that their concerts are “actively beneficial” for the environment.

Frontman Chris Martin told BBC News that the band would be “disappointed” if their next tour is not carbon neutral.

Of course, they have made their millions and don’t need to tour again and that puts them in a fortunate position that they are able to call the shots…So fair play to them as it will pave the way forward …I think it is a great move…

It will make the concert promoters more aware and they think in $ and £’s so it is in their best interest to look at plastic and solar power…

Chris Martin said “All of us have to work out the best way of doing our job,”  telling the BBC that the group wants future tours to “have a positive impact.”

It is true as we know we all have to play a part however small it is just like a jigsaw …Lots of small pieces make a bigger picture…

This made me so happy...For years I have followed the work which is being done to clean up the River Thames…There have even been whales sighted and animals and fish which had deserted the Thames are coming back…

THE RIVER THAMES RUNS 215 miles, from Gloucestershire through London to the North Sea, and it hasn’t always been much of a source of English pride. In the 19th century it was known as the “Great Stink,” and Charles Dickens called it a “polluted stream” in David Copperfield (1850)By the late 1950s, after World War II bombings had destroyed much of London’s Victorian sewage system, it was declared “biologically dead.”

But the Thames is back. 

Sea Horses are unknown…But they have appeared…For me, like unicorns, they are magical creatures…

Numbers are steadily increasing… It is all great news for the old lady Thames …she is home to seals, otters, and all sorts now …

This was all achieved by people just doing it…Getting on and doing it…Quietly going about the business of cleaning up the Thames…For some it was their job for others it was their passion.

Last week I talked about wrapping presents…This week I will give you a few facts about the food we eat and what it comes packaged in…

Did you know? 

Turkey…It is estimated that 10 million turkeys were consumed last Christmas. This also means over 3,000 tonnes of turkey packaging was being used.

Taking this into account, 125,000 tonnes of plastic wrapping used for food will also be discarded over the festive period.

Christmas puddings… the majority of which will be packaged in some form of plastic and cardboard packaging…Last year the UK alone ate 25 million.

Mince pies…Brits eat 175 million…

Mince pies

Putting this in perspective, 1 million mince pie cases equates to 1 tonne of aluminium material.

Just these three festive food items…Conjure up in my mind a staggering amount of waste…

The Solution…

Well…The Christmas pudding and mince pies are easily solvable…Cook from scratch and make your own…No packaging required…If you know someone who can’t or doesn’t cook…Make them some and put them in a pretty container…That is their Christmas present sorted…They will love it!

Turkey… If you buy fresh and local… packaging should be at a minimum just some butchers paper…I know not everyone can do that…However, if you are making your own mince pies and puddings/cake…Be pleased with that reduction in waste and it gives you a whole year to think about next year’s turkey…xx

Please share your stories on how you plan to reduce your home’s waste at Christmas we would love to hear them…xx

Like Peggy who is a self-confessed recycling, re-use, re-purpose nut. A newspaper makes good gift wrap. And I’m still using the three strings of Christmas lights I bought in 1981.

I am impressed that lights last that long and well done to Peggy for re-using her lights year after year…I have some which are a few years old but I think the point is that if they work why do we want to buy new ones?

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 own 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

Mistletoe and Wine…Time to pickle…Eggs and Star Fruit…

Goodmorning and although sunny it is a cool 14 degrees here this morning…Time to get out a shawl for my shoulders…Tuesday is the day where all you Pickle addicts can pickle and pucker…Don’t you love that initial intake of breath when the vinegar hits your taste buds…?? Makes you give a little involuntary shiver…

Love pickled eggs??

But want a change ?? Love the colour pink? Then add some beet juice…Fancy a bit of spice  ?? Then check out these recipes…

Jalapeno pickled eggs:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 a cup of Cider Vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 tbsp sugar.
  • 6 cloves.
  • 2 Jalapenos cut in half lengthwise and deseeded.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 onion sliced.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 9 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled.

Let’s get pickling!

Boil eggs for 10-15 mins until hard. Remove from heat and put into cold water.

In a medium pan, put vinegar, water( or beet juice) if using, onion, jalapenos, sugar, and spices. Bring to the boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Pour vinegar over eggs making sure they are completely covered.

If using beet juice also put some beet in the jar with the eggs. You will then have pickled beets as well.

Make sure the lid is tight and refrigerate. The eggs will be ready to eat in a few days and will keep for up to a month if you haven’t already eaten them.

Curried Flavoured Pickled Eggs:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/4 of an onion.
  • 3/4 cup white sugar.
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds( yellow or brown)
  • I tbsp yellow curry paste.

Let’s Pickle!

As above bring all the ingredients to the boil until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little and then pour the vinegar mix over the eggs making sure they are completely covered.

Allow to pickle for a few days in the fridge they are then ready to eat… Left with lots of pickle juice ????

Don’t want to waste that pickle juice???    Then have a …

Pickleback

What is a pickleback? You are about to find out! Let’s pickle and pucker…

It’s a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and some even follow that with a beer chaser…

A popular drink in bars around the world and apparently very good….Have you tried a pickleback????

I pickle everything well almost…

Here in Northern Thailand, the Star fruit is now in season and the trees are laden with the lovely fruit much still green at the moment but some are yellow and they are such a pretty fruit. I can smell them as I walk past the tree they have such a fragrant smell…

Star Fruit or Carambola as it is also known as is a lovely vibrant yellow and due to its distinctive ridges when it’s cut it resembles a star hence its name.

The entire fruit is edible it has a firm, crunchy flesh and is quite juicy. The taste is likened to that of a grape. There are two main types of star fruit the smaller fruit is sour(tart) and the larger fruit like I have in my garden is sweeter. But although sweet they very rarely have more than a 4% sugar content.

Here in Thailand they are cooked with shrimp or chicken or eaten raw dipped into the sugar/chilli mix which is commonly eaten with fruit here or just eaten with rock salt. It can be made into relishes, preserves and juice drinks, stewed with cloves or apples.

They are also used as a pretty garnish or in a salad with papaya and pineapple.

Star Fruit Relish:

  • 8 cups of star fruit, thinly sliced and any seeds removed.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves tied in a muslin bag and slightly crushed.
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg( optional) see note below.

Let’s Pickle!

Wash and thinly slice the star fruit removing any seeds. Cover with the cider vinegar and stand overnight.

Drain the vinegar add sugar, salt and clove bag. Cook gently until the relish starts to thicken then allow to stand overnight.

In the morning remove the spice bag and reheat the mix after adding the nutmeg if used and bring back to the boil.

If you plan to store the star fruit chutney then omit the nutmeg as it will turn the relish a brown colour although it does add another dimension to the taste.

Put into hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Enjoy with some cold meats or on bread and butter.

N.B. Pickles make a lovely Christmas Present…With a pretty ribbon and a handwritten label, even the Queen of England was happy to receive a jar of homemade pickle.

I hope you have enjoyed these pick…le 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

In the meantime …These cute pooches will fill the space…Their mum is the lovely, Tori whose lovely children’s books would make awesome stocking fillers…

Lilie and Logan in red Christmasy bandannas

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