Category Archives: Merry Christmas

Mistletoe and Wine…Time to pickle…Cabbage, eggplant, beets and watermelon rinds

Goodmorning and although sunny it is a cool 10 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…

Pak Dong…Is Thai pickled cabbage which comes in many forms from just cabbage or cabbage and green onions this week I added some small yellow eggplants…

Ingredients:

  • 1 white cabbage. cut or torn into pieces.
  • 8 large spring onions chopped
  • 12-15 sm yellow eggplants halved
  • Coarse Salt.

Method:

Pickled cabbage is very easy to do and there are many variations I have seen it with fresh chillies. It can also be made with Chinese cabbage or Pak Choy…Our preference is just plain old white cabbage and spring onions it is quick, easy and very moreish it can be eaten on its own, stirred into soup or with a curry as an accompaniment. It doesn’t last long here at all as our little granddaughter loves it and just eats it on its own.

To Pickle:

Layer Cabbage, Onions, eggplants and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands.

We then leave the dish covered on the kitchen top or in the sun for 1 day.

Pickled cabbage with egg plants

Then drain and lightly rinse and add more salt if required. Cover and leave for 2/3 days or until it reaches your ideal taste. With pickled cabbage, it is purely down to personal taste some like it saltier or sour more than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

My daughter in law who is Thai doesn’t like it as sour as we do… she doesn’t like the Winegar taste as she puts it… Once it reaches your required taste it is ready to eat.

This recipe is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

My second pickle and I pickle anything as do Thais…

Pickled Watermelon Rinds.

The Watermelon is very plentiful here at the moment but not only is it a lovely fruit but it is also packed full of goodness.

Originating in Africa watermelons are pretty much available worldwide, prized not only for its water content in many countries it is also used medicinally and records show used as far back as the Egyptians.

Packed with vitamin C it is like the tomato packed with Lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant. 

I pickle anything as I have said but how often have you bought a watermelon and thrown away the rind?? Hands up! I have or I did until I discovered a lovely recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rind.

Now I make a lot of pickles and this one thing I hadn’t thought of pickling… you live and learn, don’t you?

Watermelon rinds

Ingredients:

  • 4lb of Watermelon
  • 1 chilli thinly sliced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger finely sliced or diced
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp salt I use fresh mineral salt dried here
  • 1 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar

Let’s Cook!

Using a vegetable peeler remove the outer green rind and slice the watermelon into I inch slices. Cutaway all but 1/4 inch of the flesh (it is) the white part we are pickling. The red flesh I keep for smoothies or ice cream or a nice salad with feta cheese.

Then cut the rind into 1-inch pieces.

Add the chilli, ginger, star anise, salt, pepper, rice vinegar, and sugar plus ½ cup of water together in a pan, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the watermelon rind and bring back to a rolling boil and then again reducing the heat to a simmer for 5 mins or until the rinds are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave the liquid to cool down. You may need to weigh the watermelon down with a plate or lid, as it needs to stay submerged in the liquid until cool.

Pickled watermelon rinds

 

Once cooled then transfer to a container with a well-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before you eat…This will keep refrigerated for about 2/3 weeks if it lasts that long…lol

My daughter in law took some of this to her village and they loved it…I thought maybe it would be too vinegary for them but no although they did suggest that next time I made it add some tamarind which I think( as) I love Tamarind is a great idea.

Last week I featured the Pickeback well there is now an update on the original Pickleback…

It’s a shot of tequila, followed by juice from pickled watermelon rind.

Chef Sasha Pogrebinsky of Roberts’ new restaurant, Starlight in Brooklyn, invented the drink when the kitchen ran out of pickle brine. Starlight is around the corner from the Bushwick Country Club, and the shot is available at both locations. Roberts is thinking of calling it the “melon back,” but the jury’s still out. if Brooklyn isn’t in the cards, try making your own pickled watermelon rind and use the brine at home. It’s a new dawn for the pickleback.

If you make lots of pickles like me then rather than waste the juice…let’s make a cocktail …

 

Pickled Beetroot:

Red Beetroot with leaves and one cut beet

I have pickled beetroot for so long now that I just do it…I am sure now that some people bake the beetroot…I just wash my beets cover with cold water and add some salt bring the water to the boil and then simmer for about an hour…I then let the beets get cold in the water.

While waiting I add vinegar to a pan with a bay leaf, mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and some cloves also a little brown sugar I bring the liquid to a slow boil then turn off and allow the spices to infuse.

I then peel and slice the beets and pack into sterilised jars and cover with cooled vinegar.

They will be ready to eat within a few days.

I think the Christmas adverts are better than the commercial breaks…we don’t get so many here and as I download all my programmes I don’t get ant at all …I loved this as I could watch all the cute Chrismas Adverts at once…Which one is your favourite…Mine is the dragon at the moment but that could all change after watching these a few times…Enjoy!

That’s all until tomorrow unless you saw tomorrows today before I took it off and rescheduled it…Up until about 3pm today I thought it was Wednesday it was only when my son saw my post and was reading it and asked me what day it was today when I told him Wednesday he laughed and said that’s tomorrow…Opppps…xxx

I haven’t been on the pickle juice all day…honest…Hic…xxx

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Welcome to my house and the Christmas preparations...

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

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

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

It makes such a refreshing change…xx

Christmas Starters or Aperitif…

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

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

Prawn Cocktail.

prawn cocktail

 

Ingredients:

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

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

Let’s Cook!

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

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

Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

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

Enjoy!

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

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

pumpkin-soup-1804351_1920

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

Enjoy!

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

SAM_6863

 

Ingredients:

  • 220g/8oz  butter.

  • 4 shallots chopped.

  • 2  cloves, crushed or finely chopped.

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

  • 1 tbsp Brandy.

  • 1 tsp mustard powder.

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1 bay leaf, to garnish.

  • 2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.

Let’s Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Or!

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

Now that ticks all the boxes for Moi…

Did you know?…

What is the most popular meal for Christmas in Japan?

KFC fried chicken

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

An Aperitif…

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

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

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

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

 

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Brew!

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

To serve.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open .

One of my first posts as a blogger and it is lovely to see many of the people who liked this post are still with me and for that I thank you. Also many of you I can now call friends because those initial likes have turned into something more…The joy and wonder of blogging…
I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas,
Happy Hanukkah.
Joyous Kwanzaa.
Yuletide Greetings.
Happy holidays.
Joyeux Noël.
Feliz Navidad.
Seasons Greetings wherever you are in this wonderful world and it is…It is the little things that make us smile and however, we wish our friends a Merry Christmas it is given with love and happiness and it should be accepted as just that …This blog does not promote political correctness …I have no time for that…I love life and people and animals and chocolate in no particular order as well as your comments and loyalty…Merry Christmas one and all sent with love and hugs and a hangover cure if you want one…xxxx

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Retired? No one told me!

Now isn’t that just the truth you can just be sitting, watching the world go by and something, anything no matter how small unfolds in front you and you give an involuntarily smile, it makes you happy and we can all find those little moments on a daily basis and put them all together and looking back we have had a pretty happy day. Made out of nothing, just a brief moment in time that made you happy, a childs smile or when they put their little hand in yours , baby birds newly hatched oh the wonders of nature, a lovely view or a pretty flower, when your cake rises and your dumplings are fluffy….me..i’m still working on that one!

So many moments in our day too numerous to mention but nevertheless make for a happy day. Sometimes it all gets caught up with our day-to-day what we think is mundane, boring …

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