Category Archives: Cook from scratch

Saturday morning Market… Kaffir Limes…

I adore the markets here…Lively and bustling and they sell everything from meat, fish fruit, vegetables, curry pastes, rice, clothing, garden pots and knives you name it it is sold here…On a Saturday I will share with you what I have found…

It may be a fruit or a vegetable it may be known to you or unknown…Today it is…

Kaffir Limes… I have used Kaffir Lime leaves in many of the Thai dishes that I cook they are used in many Asian dishes…The trees are small evergreen trees and prickly. The one I had was quite a young one and I had not seen any fruit…It wasn’t until a neighbour gave me some of the fruit that I put two and two together and realised that was the fruit of the tree I had growing in the garden and now we have fruit.

Kaffir Lime tree and fruit

The rind is very bumpy unlike the normal limes I use and when cut open the flesh is quite dry and what juice there is has an acidic, bitter and is very strongly sour tasting.

A complete contrast to the zest which is quite aromatic.

A little zest goes a long way and very finely chopped or added to ingredients it imparts a beautiful citrusy flavour. I have added a little video as there is a knack for chopping the lime leaves very finely.

Here in Thailand, it is also pounded in a pestle and mortar as it is an ingredient in many curry pastes.

it is added to the iconic Tom Yum soup and other soups and stews here and also are an ingredient in Thai shrimp cakes.

 

The Madagascans use the whole macerated fruit and make rum I wonder if I could have a go…Carol’s distillery in her garden shed…Does that sound like a plan???

Called Rhum arrange it comes from the islands of la Reunion and Nearby Madagascar as well as the French islands in the Caribbean.

House or homemade rums flavoured with fruits, roots and spices that are macerated for a minimum of 1 month..although it is recommended to let it macerate for 6 months or even longer.

There are as many as 400 different recipes for rhum arrange and some have been macerated for 3-4 years…Wow, I bet they pack a punch!

And there is no end to what things are put into those bottles to “arrange” the rums…it could be a snake or sea urchin or just fruits and spices but all supposed to be quite delicious…

There are two different ways of macerating one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.

The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.

Rhum Combava (Kaffir Lime)

Kaffir lime fruits

  • 1 litre of white rum (traditionally Rhum Charette) or rhum Agricole
  • Grated zest of one combava/kaffir lime
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in two
  • 150g raw cane sugar

Mix and infuse the rum for at least 2 months.

I think I could manage to do that and make it into a nice cocktail… Oh Yes!

Nutritionally the benefits of the Kaffir Lime is from the oils in the rind and the high levels of citronella and limonene which are both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Oil extracted from the leaves is also used for medicinal purposes, it is mixed into shampoos, soaps salves and fragrances.

Most often it is used in oral products or the leaves can be rubbed directly onto the gums as it eliminates harmful bacteria in the mouth.

In the rural areas and villages, you will find many herbs, fruits and vegetables are used like this to help alleviate and cure many ailments as many either are to far away to visit the doctor or cannot afford to or even just prefer to use remedies passed down through the generations.

It is also used as an insect repellant by mixing the juice or oil with a lotion or salve and it reduces the chance of being bitten.

Having quite a few these limes I decided to grate the zest always handy to have in the freezer and to try making some marmalade.

Kaffir Lime Marmalade.

Ingredients.

  • 1 lb Kaffir limes
  • 3/4 lb Limes
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 4 cups of granulated sugar

Let’s Cook!

Wash the limes really well cut them in half and then slice very thin half-moon slices. The regular limes I removed the peel and segmented them.

Cover the prepared fruit with the water and put in the fridge overnight or for up to 48 hrs…The smell of limes was amazing.

When ready pour the mixture into a heavy-based saucepan and add the sugar bring to the boil stirring until the sugar is dissolved keep stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 222 F on a sugar thermometer. I stirred it almost constantly as I am very good at forgetting and burning anything containing sugar…

When ready remove from the heat and transfer to sterilised jars. Once cool I keep refrigerated. It is a lovely marmalade if you love marmalade with lots of peel like I do and has a strong lime taste which I love and takes away from the sweetness… I made half the recipe as I always do when I am trying something for the first time…

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Kaffir Lime...Do you use Kaffir lime or its leaves ????

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 fabulous weekend xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cookies…

As it was Valentines Day I thought maybe I should make some cookies…Chocolate Cookies seemed like a good idea…I always use oil as often as I can unless I use butter as the cooking fats are not great here I haven’t found one I am happy with…

Recipe adapted from thefrugalsouth.com

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp coffee mixed with a little water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup plus 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp good cocoa powder

Oven 375F / 180C

Lets Bake!

Mix the oil, coffee, sugars, egg and vanilla essence together until smooth.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix I did this in batches. The original recipe said to chill for 15 minutes if required mine didn’t even in this heat although I had to cook in two batches as my oven only has one shelf and did chill the second batch while waiting to cook them.

Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart which is ample as they don’t spread like some cookie do…

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Bake 8-10 minutes depending on your oven mine took 8 minutes and that was ample…Be careful not to overbake as they will be hard..Cookies harden as they cool and I have done that before and trust me they are hard so use your timer.

The original; recipe said to roll the cookie dough in sugar before cooking I did half my batch which I also flattened a little before cooking.

The testers comments:

They prefered the first batch without sugar. I liked them but thought they were too dry my testers disagreed and said that they were cookies and they liked them.

I hope you enjoy!

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 are having a great weekend xx

 

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Good morning and welcome to Whimsical Wednesday…where I indulge myself… I just go where my thoughts take me…It could be the distant past or the future…It could be serious or quirky…This week it is almost certainly revolving around Valentines Day…Over the centuries much has happened in the month of February …Here I concentrate on the happy events…

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February 14th 1984 is one such moment when Torvill and Dean bagged a Gold Medal in Sarajevo…I remember it well the dramatic music and skating toRavell’s Bolero…What a magical time…

Wow…what a lovely memory to relive…

It was also in February ...The 15th February 1971 when Britain went decimal…Everything changed measurements and coins…and of course the inevitable price rises…For many a sad day…

We did, however, at a later date resist the pressure to adopt the Euro and for that I am thankful.

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 22

by Carol Taylor

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Carl was panicking where was he going to take the girl?

His mind was racing he knew he shouldn’t have taken her he only meant to knock her out so he could search her room undisturbed. He also knew that Joseph Peabody was not a man to cross…He was beginning to regret taking this job it has seemed like easy money now he faced either the wrath of Peabody or the man who had employed him.

A man whose name he didn’t even know but who looked very mean and a man you didn’t want to cross.

The girl stirred…

It was getting dark outside Carl decided to wait until it was quiet and leave the girl at the bus station…Plenty of people used the bus station the girl would not remember what had happened as he had drugged her well and truly… Reaching for another vial of the drug he injected the girl before she woke that would keep her quiet for a while…

How was he going to move her without arousing suspicion?

Time to go…Carl picked up the girl supporting her Carl moved slowly out into the back alley of the building …No one was around so if anyone saw him he would say she had had too much drink…Holding the girl tightly and keeping to the shadows Carl made his way to the bus station…

Miss, Miss are you alright …The girl opened her eyes and screamed she could vaguely see a kindly face before she passed out again… Call the boys in blue Fred…I think this young lady has been drugged she doesn’t smell of drink or anything or she may be ill…I don’t want anyone dying on my watch…Can you imagine the fuss and paperwork?

Quick man…Move!

Peabody received a call…A girl answering your description has been found unconscious at the bus station the voice on the end of the phone said …Send your man to get her quick before it arouses suspicion …

T.B.C

Spoiler Alert…There will only be a few more chapters and then the plan is to add some meat to the bones and produce something you will want to read…Watch this space…

I am one of the worlds worst photographers…I try really hard and sometimes they are ok and other times well distinctly amateurish… I am in awe and love seeing great images these are no exception and just spectacular using invisible light…

So beautiful…

Time for a tune ...I love the old classics but also do like some of the new stuff …keeping with the Valentines week theme …

Did you know..?. Aretha Franklin recorded the classic soul song Respect on the 14th February 1967 …this song had also been recorded by another music great Otis Redding two years earlier…Although I love the music of both artists personally I prefer Aretha’s cover of the song…

 

Fantastic artist one of the greats in my book…Now for this week in music history…

The more I research February I realise what a fascinating month it is…So much has gone on or changed during the month of February over the centuries…

Did you know? over time the length of the month of February has changed and at one point only had 23 days…

The name of February comes from the Latin word “februum” which means purification. February was named after a purification ritual which was like an early Roman spring cleaning festival.

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Spring also heralds the arrival of the beautiful Primrose which is the flower of February. I have many happy memories of going primrose picking and of being told never ever to pull up the plant just pick a few flowers…There is nothing nicer than seeing the primroses along the hedgerows.

Did you know? …The odds of being born on February 29th are about 1 in 1,461. Those born on a leap day can be called a leaper or leapling. They can choose which day they wish to celebrate their birthdays…However, what does the law say?… Many countries have designated the 1st March but it does vary from country to country and state to state…

There are many famous leaplings and also the man whose nemesis is kryptonite is a leap year baby…No surprises there then…It’s Superman…

Also on February 14th...1929 was the year when Penicillin was accidentally discovered by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming and even way back then he was working on an Influenza virus this way in September 1928…After leaving staphylococcus bacteria uncovered by mistake, he found that a mould had formed on the culture, which killed the bacteria.

Thus on this day February 14th 1929, he introduced penicillin to cure bacterial infections.

penicillin-2946054_640

Woo Hoo…it was on 14th February 2005 when U-Tube was founded…A video-sharing website which I use a lot …A year after its creation, the website was bought by Google for $1.65 billion… Jeez, that’s a good return after a year…

As you know it is cake month…The limit of my cake-making is banana bread and chocolate brownies although as I made sausage rolls today for the boys I made a small treacle tart…I know I shouldn’t but I did..just a little slice or two…I do love a nicely decorated cakes and these tick all the boxes so clever and most beautifully done…

Isn’t that something? There is even a red chilli and a bag of Doritos ..they are so lifelike and real looking you wouldn’t think they were cakes…

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 are having a great week xx

 

 

 

 

CarolCooks2…This week in my kitchen…Chicken feet curry, Thai Vegan Jackfruit Salad…Crispy fried Banana Balls…

Good morning and welcome to my kitchen…My green bananas are not so green any more it looks like smoothies every day, banana bread and a few more Thai snacks made with bananas are on the menu coupled with walking a few more miles…

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We did distribute some of the green bananas around the neighbours…Yesterday we shared some fish from our pond…In return we were offered ..Yep… Bananas… my son politely declined explaining that we had many of our own ..it caused some mirth and laughter…He arrived home with some soup…Well, it is National Soup Month…The liquid part of the soup/curry was very tasty…The chicken feet, cubes of dried blood we all passed on except for my grandson he loves this curry…he also fully embraces Thai food including chicken feet soup…ซุปเปอร์ขาไก่น้ำข้น…

It is, truly, nature’s super-supplement.

By adding chicken feet to that soup/curry you are upping the ante as regards vitamins and minerals… Chicken feet are comprised of entirely of bones, tendons, and cartilage. I picture your grimaces and groans…

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I mean, yes it sounds gross. But what our bodies can pull from those feet nutritionally is pure magic. Nutrients are doing a dance in our bowls.

Me… I supp the soup I just don’t suck on the bones…A step too far…

Now for one of my favourite meals…Asian Beef Brisket…

spicy asian beef

Ingredients:

  • 2k Beef Brisket
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 200ml clear honey
  • 400gm shallots cut into quarters
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2tbsp oil…I use coconut oil.

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 250ml rice wine
  • 70ml light soy sauce
  • 70ml dark soy sauce
  • 100gm fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 2 large red chillies, halved
  • 1tbsp 5 spice powder

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 3 Limes cut into wedges
  • A handful ( a large) one of fresh coriander chopped
  • 150gm unsalted peanuts/cashews.
  • 2 red chillies sliced.
  • Coconut oil for frying or oil of your choice.

Lets cook!

Heat the oven 140c/120 fan or Gas numero 1.

Heat the oil in a large pan add the shallots and cook 5 mins

Add garlic and cook for a further 1 min.

Add stock and 100ml of the honey stir and cook for another minute.

Mix sauce ingredients together. Put Beef in a large pan and pour on sauce and stock. Cover meat with baking paper and two layers of foil ..put in the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 2 and a half hours. Remove from oven, baste meat well, reseal and cook for a further 2 and a half hours or until meat tender.

I actually do baste more than once during cooking.

Once the meat is cooked remove from oven, Pour juices from meat into a large frying pan and cook on high heat for about 15 mins or until reduced…don’t do a me and let it boil away..mmmm wasn’t popular when all I had to do was watch it reduce…Ooops

TASTE  to check the seasoning and adjust if required.

spicy asian beef

Pour 2 tbsp of the reduced stock over beef and return to oven on 220c for 15 mins…It will now caramelise and crisp the top…lovely.

Lastly, for the topping heat oil in a pan, add nuts and lightly roast…let them cool a little they will very, very hot, chop roughly, mix with sliced chilli and coriander …Put over the top of the meat and add a squeeze or 2 of lime.

Enjoy!

Jackfruit is very popular now in the world of Veganism as when the young jackfruit is cooked it is very like pulled pork as both the colour and the texture changes during the cooking process. Depending on where you live you may not be able to get fresh young jackfruit it is available in cans and I have heard that it is a good substitute for fresh young jackfruit…

I have more fruit this year as since the trees which overhung my garden have been trimmed back my resident squirrels don’t seem to come to this side of the garden…Yet…Or it may be that they just prefer bananas and mangoes at the moment.

Spicy jackfruit salad which in Thai is called Tam Khanun or Tam banun is made by pounding boiled jackfruit with chilli paste and then stir-frying.

First step over and that was cutting the Jackfruit…I can guarantee if you use an oiled knife and grease your hands the latex doesn’t stick…You do have to keep re-greasing the knife though but any which attached itself came off easily with the cooking oil…

My jackfruit slices are now simmering gently on the stove…

Once they are tender and cooled down enough for me to remove the outer skin I will be ready to make the salad.

Ingredients for Tam Kanun:

  • 400 gm green, young Jackfruit
  • 100 gm minced pork (optional) if you are not vegetarian or vegan.
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes cut in quarters.
  • 3- 6 tsp Chilli paste ( depending on your taste)

To serve:

  • 2 spring onions sliced
  • 5 dried birds eye chillies fried
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic.
  • 1 tbsp coriander

Let’s Cook!

Once cooked drain the jackfruit well, pound in a pestle and mortar and set to one side. I had heard cooked this looks like pulled pork and it does…Or tinned tuna…

Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the garlic until it is nicely browned add the chilli paste and stir-fry for a minute.

Add the minced pork ( if using) and stir-fry until it is cooked 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and the jackfruit stir-fry to combine well add the kaffir lime leaves and remove from the heat.

Serve with sticky rice and the fried garlic, chillies, spring onions and coriander as garnish.

The first time I made this dish… We were very pleasantly surprised if I hadn’t cooked it and it was put in front of me I would never have known it was Jackfruit…Truly ☺

Tam Kanun Spicy Jackfruit Salad… we all loved it.

Talking of bananas I made some banana fritters well I had to didn’t I given that I have so many…They are really easy to make and taste very moreish…

Ingredients:

  • 300 gm of ripe bananas
  • 50 gm of rice flour
  • 50 gm of all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • I tbsp sugar
  • Enough oil to deep fry depending on the size of your pan.

Let’s cook!

Mash your bananas and add all the dry ingredients apart from the sugar. Mix well.

Heat your oil…When hot enough to fry then add the sugar this helps to keep the balls crispy.

Using two spoons drop balls of the banana mix into the hot oil…I cooked mine in two batches. Cook until golden brown.

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Approx 4-5 minutes.

Enjoy! We ate ours hot from the pan but they are also nice eaten with ice cream…

 

 

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…

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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