Category Archives: Short story

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – Festive Stories – Snow Storm by Carol Taylor

Christmas for some is not a joyous time of year for many reasons and I hope none so touching as this…Thank you, Sally, for promoting my early tentative attempts at finding my writer’s voice….xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Most of you will know Carol Taylor from her Food and Cookery Column here on Smorgasbord as well as her own eclectic blog located in Thailand, where she shares the wonderful food on her doorstep and recipes that turn them into delicious meals.

Carol also is passionate about the environment and has some down to earth things to say about our contribution to the state of the world, and the loss of habitat leading to the extinction of far too many species. You will also find her quirky and whimsical sense of humour coming through in all her posts..

Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes: Carol Cooks 2

Carol also writes short stories and contributed tothe Phuket Island Writers AnthologyAmazon US

Which leads me to the reason you are here today, which is to…

View original post 968 more words

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

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

December 5th, 1791…Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart sadly died but what a legacy he left…His music has lived on…

I could sit and listen to this for hours…Both soothing and invigorating…

Did you know? There are two islands named Christmas Island one in the Pacific Ocean and the other in the Indian Ocean.

Also, the Rubiks Cube was the highest-selling Christmas toy in 1980 when it sold for $1.99 and today it retails for $10…

John Rieber never ceases to amaze or shock me sometimes with the weird and wacky finds he writes about…This is no different…Would you eat it?

raw-turkey-cake

I would… Doesn’t it look realistic though?

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 14

by S C Richmond

She walked into the poorest part of town, feeling completely overdressed in her new outfit, it was late afternoon and she thought that if 23, Coal Street was Georges address that they could go out for a drink. She hoped he could tell her more about her family, he obviously knew something of her history.

She walked along Coal Street and watched the numbers 17, 19, 21, then there it was number 23, her heart quickened, she hoped he wouldn’t be upset to see her here. She looked around her, the street was eerily quiet, she turned and tapped hesitantly on the door.

She thought she heard some movement and then nothing, no one came to the door and now there was only silence. She hadn’t walked all of this way to just turn and go home again, she looked into the window, it was a little grimy so she rubbed her hand against the pane and peered in. It was a dark small room with an old painting on the wall opposite but there was no sign of anyone at home.

“Oy!” Came a voice from behind her. “What do you think you’re doing? There’s nothing worth pinching there.” She turned and saw the voice had come from a burly man with a full bushy beard and a shirt open to his waist.

“I’m sorry, I was looking for George.”

“Well he’s in, I saw him not more than an hour ago. Maybe you should knock again rather than peering through people’s windows.” He tutted and walked away.

She did as he suggested and knocked again, still nothing. She started to worry, what if he was ill and couldn’t get to the door or something had happened to him, she had to get into the house.

She followed the path that led to the back of the house, it went under a covered area by the side of a house and at the end of it was a tall gate that she knew would lead to the garden and outhouses. She pushed the gate and it swung open she turned right and counted three houses down, that was the back of George’s house, she hoped no one noticed her as she walked towards it.

She stood looking at the house from the back, then approached the window to take a look inside, this time she checked that no one was watching her, they weren’t. She put her eye to the glass and immediately ducked back down below the window level. It couldn’t be right, could it? Carl was in the kitchen with George, he had been stood over the old man. What was Carl doing here?

Their voices were too low, she couldn’t hear anything they were saying, she moved towards the door and quietly tried the handle, it was open. She slipped inside silently and found herself in a little hallway that obviously led into the kitchen, there was a larder to her left and the kitchen to her right. She didn’t move, from here she could catch snippets of the conversation and she heard her name mentioned more than once and the name of someone called William, she kept listening.

“You shouldn’t have said anything George, you always have to cause trouble don’t you,”

“She has a right to know, what business is it of yours anyway?”

“William has told me to get that necklace, she has no idea what it is nor it’s value.”

“Leave her alone Carl, I won’t help you, she’s a nice girl. Just leave her alone.”

She heard a thump, and then a door banging. Someone had left the room. She didn’t know what to do next.

TBC.

Did you know? Neither did I…Each year on December 4th, National Dice Day recognizes and ancient gaming tool. Many games incorporate dice as a way to add random challenges or obstacles to the objectives.

The origin of dice is uncertain. However, it is known that they have been around for thousands of years.  At the Burnt City, an archaeological site in south-eastern Iran, the oldest known dice were excavated as part of a 5000-year-old backgammon set.

So come on hands up was it two dice hanging in the car or a nodding dog in the back window…???

For those of you who love a  Cookie,  it is also National Cookie Day…Please feel free to share your Christmas Cookie recipes…x

The English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word koekie meaning “little cake.”

My favourite…A bit too hard to choose really …as long as they don’t contain chocolate I love them…Don’t get me wrong I love chocolate just not in cookies…

These biscuits are really easy to make and very moreish..

Coconut Biscuits

I don’t make biscuits very often..almost never but once a packet of food is opened here because of the humidity it doesn’t last long it either goes off or the ants take residence. I was guided by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar… aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats.

These cookies are my basic recipe but of course, you can add anything sultanas, chocolate whatever takes your fancy…

Ingredients:

  • 150 gm rolled oats
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100 gm desiccated coconut
  • 100 gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175 C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to the boil and add two tbsp of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes.

They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could build a wall with them…Opppps

Time for a tune…

They are definitely getting more Christmassy…Yeah!

1973 MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY SLADE
1974 LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS MUD
1975 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY QUEEN
1976 WHEN A CHILD IS BORN (SOLEADO) JOHNNY MATHIS
1977 MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS’ SCHOOL WINGS
1978 MARY’S BOY CHILD – OH MY LORD BONEY M
1979 ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (PART 2) PINK FLOYD

Oh dear…Time to close my eyes and just pick one…I love all of these…Just check out the haircut…A Mullett is what we called it…

Which brings me nicely (in the absence) of Christmas Jumpers…Yep…I am not letting it go I still would like to see your Christmas Jumpers or hats in the meantime…

Haircuts..fads and fashions over the years…Here is me way back in 1980…

smart

 

Sporting the Lady Di hairstyle…very pink for some reason…

Poems I probably wouldn’t be any good at writing one…I might receive the crown for the worst poem …haha…But since I have been blogging I have read a few poems and discovered that I quite like some poems…This particular one written and spoken by Ellen Best is very pertinent for this time of year …The time of year coming brings much joy and hope to many people but it also brings sadness… and sorrow to many as well…

It is certainly the season of very many mixed emotions and I think we need to take more care if our emotions are of the joyous kind..and there is naught wrong with that…

We need to be mindful of those for whom the Chrismas season is tinged with sadness and despair if we can help with a smile, a touch of the shoulder or a hug… a gift of mince pies, a hot dinner, a sleeping bag we should…Chrismas, after all, is a time for Loving and giving…x

I give you...Charlie A poem At Christmas by Ellen Best…

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Welcome to my world and whimsical Wednesdays…

Who doesn’t love the window seat on a plane?... I love flying and love just gazing at the clouds there are so many wonderful cloud formations and I always get the urge and wonder what it would be like to walk among the clouds…Just a fantasy which plays out in my head …

Windowless planes would make that fantasy a reality…Designers are saying that within the next 10-15 years that could actually happen…Reading the comments the majority of people expressed a horror…Is my brain wired wrong? I think that is such an exciting concept…How cool is that?

Do you love this concept or does it fill you with horror ???

I am sure everyone’s thoughts now are on what they are having for Christmas dinner…My mum always cooked either a Goose, turkey or a capon…Years ago the traditional Christmas lunch was a swan…Now in the UK, it is only the Queen who is allowed to eat the swan however as she officially owns all the mute swans I am sure she doesn’t…

Insect-eating is becoming more popular among the masses and it is certainly the norm here…Sold everywhere..crispy and salty they are big business…

Traditionally for South Africans, they were a Christmas snack…The caterpillar from the emperor moth was or is deep-fried and served as a snack.

Would you eat me?

I’ll leave the question with you…

 

Time for a story…

The Charade

 Chapter 11

 by SC Richmond

 71414cb886ccacb9a175dafd2b49776c--vintage-evening-gowns-vintage-gowns

She was so shocked at this man’s words she staggered slightly and the old man pulled a chair from behind the counter for her to sit on. He watched her with concern. “Sit, sit.”

   “But Sir how could you know my Mother, even I don’t remember her well?” She accepted a cup of some warm liquid from him.

   “I didn’t know her well but still I thought she was a very special lady, maybe I like to think I knew her better than I really did, I don’t suppose she would remember me anyway. I fell in love a little when I first saw her, you are very much like her. Tell me what brings you into this kind of town?”

   She could barely grasp what he was saying to her. Why wouldn’t she live around here? “I’m sorry Sir.”

   “No please call me George, I’m no Sir.” He chuckled.

   “George, please tell me about her.”

   “There’s not much to tell, Elizabeth was a beautiful lady, I didn’t know she had a daughter though, I only thought she had the two boys, but you are so much like her and wearing that necklace then she must have had a girl too. You are so welcome in my shop.”

   “Thank you but can you tell me more about her, please.” She held her breath he must know her he had called her Elizabeth.

   “I don’t know anything else girl.” George was beginning to look uncomfortable, she followed his eye-line to the doorway but there was no one there. “I have to go now and start to close the shop, pop by and see me again won’t you?” With that, he started to usher her towards the door.

   She stood outside the shop only then realising that she was still wearing the beautiful dress and her old clothes were still inside the shop, she turned to go back inside but the door had already been closed to her. She would have to return tomorrow and collect her old clothes from George, she did love the new dress. She turned towards her room and as if from nowhere Carl appeared, looking at her in a totally different way than he had before. Since she had first met him at the party, he now seemed to be everywhere she turned, was he following her.

T.B.C

Did you know?

Today Nov 13th, 1977 saw the last episode of Dad’s Army…it had run for 9 years and such was its popularity it is still being rerun…Keeping it seasonal let’s have a look at Christmas dinner the Dads Army way on the menu…Turkey…

 

I have always loved music and still do...1952 the year after my birth on 14th November the first UK singles chart was published by New Musical Express(NME)

Who was the top of the charts that week? It was that legendary crooner Al Martino with the lovely ballad Here in my heart…

For the first 7 years of the charts, it was…

1952 HERE IN MY HEART AL MARTINO
1953 ANSWER ME FRANKIE LAINE
1954 LET’S HAVE ANOTHER PARTY WINIFRED ATWELL
1955 CHRISTMAS ALPHABET DICKIE VALENTINE
1956 JUST WALKIN’ IN THE RAIN JOHNNIE RAY
1957 MARY’S BOY CHILD HARRY BELAFONTE
1958 IT’S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE CONWAY TWITTY

Each week until Christmas I will pick my favourite. from the chart I publish..As I like a party and the piano Winifred Atwell is my choice she was top of the charts for 5 weeks…

She could certainly tickle those ivories…she played a boogie-woogie style of ragtime and was hugely popular both in Britain and Australia in the ’50s …I have fond memories of my dad singing Boomps a Daisy to me as he bumped me up and down on his knees…

 

Sadly her planned breakthrough performance as a guest on the Ed Sullivan Show in the U.S.A in 1956 didn’t go ahead or was even recorded due to racist opposition to having a black woman as a guest…To read her biography click here…

A glass of wine anyone? Winemaking is an age-old tradition that spans centuries…

wine-1543172_1920

 

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that winemaking occurred as early as 6,000 BC…

Of course with the time of year approaching a nice glass of mulled wine is often on the menu…

The nicest mulled wine I have had was years ago when I used to travel to Germany each year for the Christmas Markets called  Christkindlmarkt …I still have my mug somewhere as you purchased a mug complete with your Glühwein, wine and sipped your wine as you strolled around the market…Perfect…

 

mulled-claret-550332_640

Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

These markets are now replicated around the world…I loved the wooden cabin styled stalls I wonder if they are still the same…

My one abiding memory is of my dear friend Maureen ( Mo) who is now no longer sadly with us who when our boat pulled in to dock and she saw the snow… she announced she had only white stilettos to wear…Yes she was an Essex girl…haha

My flowers for her funeral were in the shape of that white stiletto…It will be 19 years on the 1st Dec where does the time go?… I miss you Mo xxx

Time for a recipe…

Glühwein – Mulled Wine Recipe

  • 1 bottle of dry red wine 
  • 1/2 cup of brandy or rum (optional)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 large orange, peeled then juiced
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 lime, peeled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup or sugar
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1 nutmeg, about 10 gratings
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved
  • 2-star anise

Peel large sections of skin from the orange, lemon, and lime. Over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan, pour in agave syrup and water, then add the peels and juice of the orange.

Add the vanilla bean, cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg gratings. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. The liquid will reduce, after around 30 minutes, add in about a half cup of wine. This allows the flavors to infuse and will create a syrup.

Once your syrup is ready then turn the heat down to low and then pour in the bottle of wine and brandy if used.

Bring back to a gentle simmer and heat for about 5 minutes or depending on how much alcohol you want to burn off you can simmer a bit longer. Ladle it into glasses and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Back in 1992 the fabulous Joanna Lumbley and friends made their debut on the idiot box…Ad Fab went on to become a comedy Phenomenom which run for 5 seasons and even had its own feature film.

Those ladies certainly were fabulous…Patsy, she was something else…haha…Caution some bad language…

I will leave you with this thought...

Today is World Kindness day…

The World Kindness Movement started World Kindness Day in 1998 and has spread to 28 countries.

Use #WorldKindnessDay to share on social media.

Kindness is generally paid forward… if you can remember someone doing a kindness for you…How did it make you feel and did you then pay kindness to someone else?

Like a smile kindness is infectious…xxx

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Welcome it is that time of the week …I hope you all enjoyed Halloween?…

Yesterday the 5th of November was Guy Fawkes in the UK…he was the guy who in 1605  tried and failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament…The effigy we make to sit on top of our bonfires is a symbol of Guy Fawkes…

It will then be the start of the Christmas preparations…I always loved the preparation and the run-up to Christmas…The Christmas Carol’s, the pantomimes, the decorations and some of those are just awesome all added to that ambiance which is what I miss here…Christmas is not celebrated here…The big shopping centres, of course, have the tree and decorations and there it stops there is no atmosphere and Christmas joy which I remember… I try to recreate it at home and I am the only house with a tree and fairy lights here…

I do wonder though if I go back at Christmas would I feel the same joy I used to…?

Although pantomime is often seen as something quaint, something utterly British, its origins lie in warmer climes. It developed from the Italian street theatre of the Commedia dell’arte in the 16th Century, with comedic moments, stock characters and great physicality.

John Rich, actor-manager of the Lincoln’s Inn Theatre (opened 1714) and The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden (opened 1732), has been called the father of pantomime because he was the first to realise the potential of the Commedia characters.

What is your favourite panto? Do you have your tickets booked? I loved the panto as a kid and it is still part of English tradition…

Did you know it has been 18 years since the first Harry Potter movie was released…4th November 2001…Who would have guessed that The Philosophers Stone would be followed by so many sequels?…. Oops I got my movie and my book muddled but thanks to Tori who is an avid fan she very nicely corrected me…It’s been 18 years since the first Harry Potter movie was released. It’s been longer for the book version, which was released on June 26th, 1997. Sorry… Been a huge Harry Potter fan since 2000, when the publicity of the release of the 4th book brought it to my parents’ attention, and they got me a copy of the first book.

Going back a few more years to Nov 1996 saw the start of the phenomenon which was The Spice Girls…Love them or hate them they were a success and their debut album “Spice” sold 23 million copies…

After all these years they have evolved and are still news…For me, the best thing is David Beckham…A fine figure of a man…I unashamedly do think he has aged very well…Ahem…

David Beckham in Denver

David Beckham in Denver

Photo credit: ebatty on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Moving on quickly…

Food Waste…starvation…Homelessness always tweaks at my heartstrings…This time of year when the winds get cold and snow and frost prevail it always seems worse…But among all the sad stories there are the most heartwarming tales of the goodness which exists in some peoples’ hearts.

Yesterday I came across Stone Soup when I was reading the lovely Dolly’s blog a post by Dorothy on Stone Soup…I have never heard of stone soup…Dorothy also participates in

” The empty Bowl”…A lovely community project… Please pop over and have a look it is projects like this which give me hope and reassure me that people do care and have a heart but please remember we should care all year round…And please if you have any local community projects like this let me know and I will share…

Anyone for stone soup?…. I would love those stories…  I also love how the concept has evolved…

Fascinating…

Time for a story…S C Richmond…

The Charade…Chapter 10…by Carol Taylor…

71414cb886ccacb9a175dafd2b49776c--vintage-evening-gowns-vintage-gownsIt was getting late and the street lights had just come on. What had started out as an adventure to find a new dress was turning into a fruitless search.

   They were either too much money or dresses that she wouldn’t wear they were tacky and cheap.

The euphoria she has felt earlier had all but gone ….Shoulders slumped she started to make her way back to her room…That lonely room..Where the nightmares always came.

   Turning the corner she saw some twinkling lights come on and noticed a little shop…It lay back from the other shops which surrounded the markets stalls.

   She drew closer and saw a delightful little Christmas scene in the window someone had decorated it so beautifully,  everything twinkled and sparkled, she wondered who had been so artistic and clever, it caught her breathe, it was very lovely. The bell on the door tinkled and a little old man came out “Come in and look, my dear”

   “Oh, No thank you, I was just admiring your window it is beautiful but I am looking for a special dress”.

   “My dear I may have just the dress for you” On an impulse and he had such a kindly face she stepped inside …It was just like a wonderland..

Staring round in amazement…. So many pretty things…why had she not seen this shop before?

Her eyes were drawn to a beautiful pale blue dress….

“I see you looking at the blue dress my dear ..my grandson made it..he is very talented… Try it on. It looks like a perfect fit for you”. Taking the dress and putting it behind some curtains the old man held the door open.

   Putting on the dress just felt right it molded her body in all the right places, stepping outside to look in the mirror..she gasped was that really her. The young lady looking back at her was beautiful.

   “Just a ribbon for your hair is all you need. Who is the lucky man?”

   The girl twirled around and couldn’t believe her eyes..it was perfect and her necklace would be the finishing touch. Reaching into her bag she fastened the ribbon around her neck. Perfect.

   “How much… Is the dress?’ She held her breath waiting for the old man to speak. Please, please let me have enough.

When he told her she gasped “Are you sure… That is so little for a wonderful dress”

   “It looks like it was made for you my dear and the dress deserves a beautiful lady to show it off..My grandson would be so proud if he could see it on you”.

   “Is he not here?”

   “No, he is away on business buying more silk and satin”.

Paying for the dress the girl felt like a real lady for once, cinders would go to the ball.

   She heard a gasp; the old man was looking at her necklace with a look on his face which the girl couldn’t fathom. “ Where did you get that necklace?”

   “I have always had it… It’s all I have to remind me of my parents… Why are you looking at me like that?

The old man’s face took on a look of such sadness… “You have her eyes girl..Such beautiful eyes”

   “You know my mother?”

   “A long time ago my dear…”

T.B.C.

The first week in November is National Fig week…I love fresh figs…figs fresh and dried

Fig Facts:
  • Figs keep baked goods fresh by naturally holding in moisture
  • California grows one hundred percent of the nation’s dried figs.
  • Early Olympians consumed figs while training.
  • A half-cup of figs has as much calcium as a half cup of milk.
  • Figs, not apples, may have been grown in the Garden of Eden
  • Fig Newton cookies made their debut in 1892.

Did you know? Fig puree can replace fat/sugar in baked goods? Well neither did I until fairly recently a fig puree can be used as a sugar and fat substitution.

Just combine 8 ounces of fresh figs and 1/4 -1/3 cup of water in a blender; puree until smooth. If using dried figs, soak figs in water until softened before pureeing. Use as you would applesauce in baked recipes, as a substitution for both fat and sugar. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig puree, and reduce or eliminate the sugar required.

Or use the puree as a spread over toast and fruits; or thin it out with more water and use as a liquid sweetener for coffee, drinks and in place of honey or maple syrup in your recipes…To read more about the humble fig here is a previous post…

I can’t finish without a tune...Art Garfunkel of Simon and Garfunkel fame was born on the 5th of November 1941…One of my favorites… Bridge over troubled Water…is a beautiful song and often used to express or represent a person, a friend or loved one…

The line “Sail on, silver girl” is often reputed to refer to a needle (meaning the song is about heroin) but it actually refers to Simon’s girlfriend (and later wife) Peggy Harper who found a few gray hairs and was upset. The lyric was meant as a joke – Simon calling her “Silver Girl” because of her hair.

That’s all from me for this week I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…xxx

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

It’s that time of the week again…the time when I can reminisce and just be…

Last week I spoke about Disney’s opening day on 16th October 1923…Today 23rd October back in the year 1941 Walt Disney released that family favourite which is still watched by families and children around the world…Dumbo…

It will soon be time and we have one very excited little girl here as Frozen 2 will be released soon…

FROZEN 2 is expected to be a dark, more sinister sequel to the original film – and the trailer has just dropped giving fans the first glimpse into the follow-up film. When is Frozen sequel out in cinemas?

It is out 21st November here in Thailand and 22nd in the US and the UK… Already the toys have been released so that’s Christmas sorted then for many of us…haha

What will Elsa and Anna have to face…Have a look at the official trailer…

Time for a story… The continuation of the Charade this week chapter penned by moi…Enjoy!

The Charade – Chapter 8

By Carol Taylor

 9a15bbcccf402180463cff95a6c0a40e--amethyst-jewelry-swarovski-jewelry

Mr James sat in his chair his thoughts troubled. What should he tell the child? He still thought of her as a child and was trying to protect her but she was an adult now and asking questions. Questions to which she deserved an answer, but answers which could put her in grave danger.

Kathy burst in the room.

Mr James “That poor girl, you really must tell her about her past and her parents, before someone else does.”

“None of your business Kathy. I will when I am ready and not before.”

Kathy looked at him. Gave a tut and flounced out of the room.

Meanwhile, Carl was pondering and wondering how best he could get a closer look at that necklace without raising the girl’s suspicions.

She was leaving the house and looked happy as she headed in the direction of the market. She stopped at the ribbon stall, the gaily coloured ribbons were lovely and she was picking them up putting them down it was so hard to choose a colour.

A hand reached in front of her and plucked a beautiful violet piece of ribbon with little flecks of silver in it from the bunch she held in her hand.

This one will be perfect. Is it for that necklace? Before she could say anything the ribbons were changed and the necklace was back around her neck.

The girl couldn’t believe Mr Ward was standing in front of her with a shy smile on his boyish face.

“You do like it? Don’t you?

“Oh Yes? It’s beautiful. Thank you.

“Well, pretty girl would you do me the honour of dining with me tonight?”

The girls face dropped, she had nothing nice to wear….she turned and fled.

Carl smiled….Mission accomplished, it was definitely the girl he was looking for now to gain her trust.

Food…I am still trying to find Gingko Nuts no luck thus far but I am sure  I will soon find some I am on the trail…We are nearly at the end of National Pumpkin Month as those of you who follow me will be aware it is also National Apple Month and today is National Boston Cream Pie day…

Me I pictured a lavish pie with a fancy top and lots of cream however I was wrong it is in fact not a pie at all but a cake… a lovely vanilla cake with a pastry cream filling and covered with chocolate ganache…Sounds delicious…

But for those of you who love a pie…I am sharing my mothers Apple Pie recipe…

My mum makes the best apple pie in the world…made with Bramley Apples, a few cloves and her amazing melt in the mouth short pastry.

coffee-2760064_1920

Picture source: Pixabay

Make the shortcrust pastry.

I use half fat to flour so for example for 8oz of flour I use 4oz of fat. 

The flour is not the same here and very recently when I was comparing items from the UK against the US….I made some startling discoveries of the differences and it has made an instant difference to my cooking especially my pastry…. I will say no more but I had a silent rant!

Again I cannot get the same cooking fat so I use an olive oil-based fat and Crispo. For this sort of pastry when I want a nice soft pastry I used1/3 olive oil fat and 2/3 Crispo.

And cake flour, not all-purpose flour, and the difference was remarkable…….mmmm I am still silently ranting…lol

Prepare your pastry making sure you use ice-cold water from the fridge and wrap in clingfilm and put in the chiller for at least 20 minutes.

Roll out and line a pie plate or dish.

Some prebake at this point and some don’t …I have done both depending on the time I have or just how I feel.

If I don’t prebake I stand the dish on a baking tray so as to make sure there are no  “soggy bottoms”

Peel and core your apples. If I am using Bramleys or large cooking apples I would use 4 apples any other normal-sized eating apples I would use 8 for a pie plate.

 Cook in a pan with a little water until they soften slightly. I like my apples to keep their shape and not be mushy in a pie. But that is down to personal preference. I also add a couple of cloves or nutmeg and cinnamon.

If I use Bramleys I would add a little sugar as we don’t like our filling too sweet but here I cannot get them so I use a new Zealand dessert apple which doesn’t need any added sugar.

Drain off the juice and put into the pie base.

cake-597175_1920

Photo source: Pixabay

Roll out remaining pastry and put over the top of the apples. Making sure you crimp the edges. Cut 3 slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Brush the top with a little beaten egg and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 40/45 mins or until pastry is cooked.

To check just lightly scrape fingernail on edge of the pastry and if it crumbles off it is cooked.

If you make individual pies the cooking time is slightly less.

When cooked remove from oven and sprinkle with castor sugar..it is nice mixed with a little cinnamon.

Serve with custard or fresh cream.

Enjoy your slice of pie with a nice cup of tea or coffee..a lovely mid-morning or afternoon treat…Go on you deserve it!

Time for a tune…Something a bit newer today…A lady with a haunting voice…Who also happens to be very funny as well…

Her single released 23rd October 2015 called Hello…had over 1 million downloads in the first week…Here she is singing live ably helped by James  Corden…

In a little village in the Peak District…In this real English Village, this lovely lady has baked the whole village in cake and it seems this is now an annual charity event…

It even has a resident ghost…

Now, who didn’t sing this song as a child?

London Bridge is falling down
Falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down
My fair lady

Well fall down it did in the tornado of 1091…The tornado struck the heart of the city, causing a great deal of damage. The church of St Mary-le-Bow was completely levelled, to the extent that four huge 26-foot rafters were driven so far into the earth that only four feet remained visible above ground. Many more buildings, including around 600 mainly wooden houses, were also demolished although amazingly, only two deaths were recorded.

It was rebuilt and then 40 years later was again destroyed this time by fire …It was then rebuilt in stone…

Often confused with Tower Bridge they are not one and the same they are situated in close proximity to each other but are two different Bridges…

London Bridge has existed in one form or another for nearly 2,000 years now. It’s the site of the oldest crossing of the River Thames on record. The London Bridge that still stands today dates from 1973. So, despite the fact London Bridge has existed here the longest, the actual bridge standing today is one of the more modern bridges over the Thames in London.

That’s all from me for this week I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…xxx

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…Climate Change, Health, Recipes …Week ending 19th Oct 2019…

Welcome to this weeks roundup…What a week …Lily is here for the school holidays so we have been baking… she loves making cakes and helping to prepare dinner she loves chopping veggies as much as she loves eating them her favourite vegetables being broccoli and cabbage she is always asking for seconds…bless her.

Aston is staying in the village with his other nan and has been busy collecting wild honey I didn’t realise he knew quite so much about bees…

I am still having laptop woes and limited to what I can do on mine but hopefully the end is in sight… in the meantime I am PC sharing where I can…good fun…not!

What has been going on this week and no I am not discussing Brexit although I was watching the House of Parliament live yesterday to the bitter end…

great reads a weekly roundup lady with electronic reader

Anyway enough of my chatter…Grab a drink it is time to settle down, relax and have a read something for everyone…Enjoy!

Monday…

I always try to bring you a mixture of the good that is happening around the world and also some of the not so good…I was concerned this week about some of the antics I saw about Extinction Rebellion…It didn’t make good reading and although I agree with some of their views I do not think the actions of some has helped their cause and in fact has probably had the opposite effect…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/14/latest-recycling-and-environmental-news-14th-october-2019/

Tuesday… Healthy Eating…

Healthy - Vegetables- Fruit- Lady

Healthy Eating

I was absolutely shocked to hear that figures were out and England saw a rise for the fourth consecutive year that severe obesity in school year 6 has broken records, and it is up more than a third since 2006.
Levels of severe obesity among children in the last year of primary school have hit an all-time high, according to official figures that have dismayed public health experts…I don’t know about dismaying public health experts it is dismaying me…

Much needs to be done by parents, schools and governments to halt this epidemic once and for all….

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/15/healthy-eating-childhood-obesity/

Wednesday…Whimsical Wednesday to be exact…

Let the fun and nostalgia begin…I covered World Food Day, the opening of Disney and lots more…Enjoy!

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/16/whimsical-wednesday-with-carol-14/

It was also the day when I was over @Sally’s for  Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – #Minerals – Magnesium…

tin ghee

Lots of expert advice from Sally and recipes from me…Enjoy!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/smorgasbord-health-column-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiencies-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-minerals-magnesium/

Thursday…

As you know it is National Pumpkin month with lots of recipes and Halloween tales but don’t forget the Apple as that is also being celebrated as there are so many lovely varieties …so from this week coming I will also be adding some apple recipes…Who doesn’t love Apple Pie???

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/17/national-pumpkin-month-facts-trivia-and-a-delicious-thai-pumpkin-soup/

Thursdays is also where once a month I can be found over at Esme’s Salon…I am nearing the end of my journey through the Culinary Alphabet and this month it is the letter U…From the Ugli Fruit to Umami…

Although I will add that the Pineapple Upside down cake was the most talked about…I am not surprised as it is delicious…

Friday…

Its store cupboard basics and this week I covered cooking oils…my most used cooking oils are olive oil, ghee and coconut oil…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/10/18/this-week-in-my-kitchenstore-cupboard-basicspart-6cooking-oils/

Saturday…

Is a subject dear to both mine and Sally’s hearts…

Obesity…The figures out last week about childhood obesity in the UK shocked me…It should also shock you if you have a child who is obese…Of course we don’t want to give children a complex but handled correctly and by us as parents making changes to our families diets and lifestyles as a family would make a difference…It is not about shaming the individual child it is about sharing the problem and tackling it by making changes.

Sally’s posts on this subject make for good helpful reading to help tackle this epidemic…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/smorgasbord-health-column-the-obesity-epidemic-part-four-finding-a-point-to-intervene-in-the-life-cycle-7-14-healthy-diet-for-brain-function-and-hormon/

That’s it for this week ...Please let me have your favourite pumpkin/Halloween recipes and if you have any ideas for Christmas table decorations instead of buying crackers which invariably add to the plastic mountain…

I for one am not buying crackers this year so looking for some great ideas from you guys…xxx

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

 

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Good morning, the sun is shining and all is well…

Oh, how I wish that was true…Damn laptop but there is light at the end of the tunnel..I have hijacked my grandsons PC so I can get this post done…A very kind heartened friend is looking at my laptop remotely…This also gives me the chance to road test Windows 10…

I had a  wonderful time in Chon Buri..Partied away with some wonderful people…

Today is National Food Day…My dream is that no one wakes up hungry or goes to bed hungry…Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Celebrated around the world today millions of people around the world will gather at marathons, exhibitions, concerts and marches to observe World Food Day. Initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) it is one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar.

More than just a casual series of festivities, World Food Day is organised to bring awareness to how our changing planet affects food production and distribution. Related events explore several topics such as examining how agriculture needs to adapt due to climate change to migration affects food security. The goal of these sessions is to set goals that will eventually lead to building a Zero Hunger Generation…doesn’t that give us hope?

Over 150 countries are taking part…There may be an event near you if so take part and take pictures lets see how many wonderful events we can capture for next weeks post..so get snapping and enjoy!

1944 – Wally Walrus debuted in The Beach Nut, a Walter Lantz’s cartoon.

Time for a story…

The Charade – Chapter 7

download-3the-charade

Chapter Seven by Steph Richmond…

He walked towards the door, he wanted to get there before his housekeeper did, this was private business.

   “Come in Carl.” He showed him into the drawing room.

   “So she works for you then?” There were no niceties offered up.

   “And that is your business, because?” Mr James retorted.

   “It is my business, trust me I need to talk to her… eventually. First I need that necklace that she is always wearing, where is she?” Carl stood his ground.

   “She’s gone.”

   “You’re lying, she was here a moment ago.”

   “So where am I hiding her then?” He challenged. Robert James had no idea what this was all about but he wasn’t going to give his best girl up to the likes of Carl Ward. He had a reputation and Robert didn’t like him one bit. “So be straight with me Carl, what is she to you, why is she so important?”

   Carl sat down heavily in an overstuffed armchair in front of the fire. “I don’t see that this is your business but you may be able to help me all the same. That jewel she wears, I need to have it back, it belonged to my mother but it disappeared a few months before she died. I don’t know how your girl got it or why but I am guessing she stole it, I want it back.”

   “She’s not a thief and she’s worn that jewel for years, in fact I’ve never seen her without it, you must have it wrong Carl, why should I trust your story?”

   “I’ve done some bad things in my life Robert but I need that jewel back it’s all there is of my mother now.” He stood up the defiance returning. “I will have it however I have to go about getting it. Give her this message.” He handed Robert a letter. “She will be pleased to hear from me, I think we got on rather well last night. Tell her nothing about the jewel.” Robert took the letter, he knew Carl as a chancer with a band of untrustworthy friends and knew better than to cross him, he would do as he was asked.

TBC

I do hope you are enjoying this little tale of intrigue…

 

Did you know?

Beheading and burning at the stake  were once  the norm..

1555 on this day Prodestant martyrs Bishop Hugh Latimer and Bishop Nicholas Ridley are burned at the stake for heresy in England.

1793 saw poor Queen Marie Antoinette  beheaded by guillotine during the French Revolution…They certainly loved beheading their queens through the ages didn’t they?

The phrase “Let them eat cake” is often attributed to Marie but there is no evidence she ever said it.

I for one am so pleased that we have moved on from that…Mmmm shootings, stabbings and bombs…So really nought changes does it just the method.

Let’s have a tune…Lighten the mood…

Love this track such a shame they disbanded…Proud Mary what an epic tune…one of the most influential rock groups of their generation, even though their recording career together lasted a brief four years. Their breakup was announced on Oct. 16, 1972.

Even today I have a fear of high winds…

Living through that storm has given me the heebie jeebies for life…

Who doesn’t love a Disney film? However as is the case with many opening ceremonies all doesn’t always go to plan…

Disney had a disasterous opening day on 16th October 1923 it turned into a nightmare and was dubbed Black Sunday…

Who would have thought all these years  later what an institution Disney would become…

Food…

Those of you who know me know what a foodie I am and how much I love finding foods which I haven’t seen or tasted before…Gingko Nuts were my new find…My friend ordered Chicken and Cashew nuts on a recent day out…It looked slightly different from the norm and she was absolutely overjoyed as it tasted just like the one she remembered…As it turned out the chef cooked old authentic Thai recipes and what a joy to eat…It also contained  Gingko nuts.

gingko-3322308_640

Image by Pusteblume0815 from Pixabay

The Chinese believe the nuts to be an aphrodisiac; others think if you eat more than ten in a sitting, you’ll get poisoned. (Neither result has happened to me) And while the nut’s positive and negative qualities might sound a little extreme, one bite and you will be sold..I am now looking for a source… apparently they are sold tinned and used for sweet desserts or fresh and used in savoury dishes…

I am now on a mission to find both the tree and the nuts so once I do…There will be more info and a recipe or two…Have any of you cooked with gingko nuts? If so please share your recipes with us…Credit will be given as always…

That’s all from me for this week I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…xxx

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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