Category Archives: Thailand

Eggplant, Garlic,Horseradish and a Mai Tai…

You may think that is a strange combination however there are lots of National Days and months relating to food…There really are…Today is the last day of the National Eat your Fruit and Vegetables Month as well as the last day for the National Eggplant, Garlic and Horseradish Month…It is also National Mai Tai Day today…and why not?

Therefore I am going to share my favourite recipes using the above vegetables and fruit and after that, I will surely need a Mai Tai…Just saying…

Eggplants...A very popular vegetable here which come in all colours shapes and sizes…from tiny pea eggplants to the big purple ones.

They are used as an ingredient in curries, stir-fries, dips, pickled and eaten raw…

One of my favourite ways to eat them is pickled…I love pickles and pickled with cabbage they are very nice…

To Pickle:

Layer Cabbage, Green Onions, eggplants and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands. I use lovely yellow eggplants on this occasion but any of the small eggplants can be used except for the pea eggplants.

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.

Garlic…I love garlic and always use far more than any recipe states again garlic is a popular vegetable here which belongs to the onion family and has many proven health benefits. I also think it is the reason why mosi’s don’t bite me…

It is used in curry pastes, curries, stir-fries, dips and sauces, pickled and eaten raw here …Thais eat more raw vegetables than cooked I would say at every meal…This is a good example a small fish called Batu which is like mackerel an oily fish and one Lily loves.

Batu and vegetables

As you can see the plate is made up of far more veggies than fish the dip is made from eggplants which are BBQ’d and then ground with garlic and aromatics like fish sauce, shrimp paste, chillies it varies…

My garlic recipe is a favourite here I always have a jar or three in the fridge and they get dipped in as and when…

Pickled Garlic…

  • 8-10 garlic bulbs
  • 500 ml white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 90 gm sugar
  • 1 tsp salt…I always use salt mined here locally or Himalayan salt.
  • 1 tsp per jar of either mustard seed or fennel seeds (optional)

2 x 250-300 ml jars with good lids

Separate the bulbs of garlic into cloves and peel.

In a saucepan bring the vinegar, salt and sugar to the boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the garlic cloves to the pickling liquid. Bring it back to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

Transfer the garlic cloves to sterilised jars. Add the mustard or fennel seeds if using. We actually couldn’t decide Fennel or mustard seeds so I normally do some of both they are equal in taste to us. Carefully fill the jars with the hot pickling liquid. Seal.

pickled garlic

The garlic will be ready to use in about a week but improves over time.

Horseradish…a root vegetable known for its taste and odour…I love horseradish as a sauce with beef or as a flavouring it adds that bit of oomph to a dish…I use it with fish, beetroot and in a seafood sauce…It is not a flavour that Thais like too much it is a different heat to chillies a bit like wasabi…

horseradish-3599860_640

It often grows wild in many places and can be brought ready-made as a sauce, grated or as a root which is how I buy it here…This is one of my favourite recipes…

Smoked Trout, Horseradish and Apple.

Ingredients:

  •  8 oz smoked trout with all skin and bones removed.
  •  1 cup sour cream
  •  ¼ cup prepared horseradish
  •  1 clove garlic finely chopped
  •  2 tbsp Olive oil
  •  1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  •  2 tbsp spring onions finely chopped
  •  1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  •  1 dessert apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
  •  A pinch cayenne pepper

Let’s Cook!

In a small bowl whisk the cream, horseradish, garlic, oil, and vinegar together until well blended. Add the spring onions, parsley, salt, and cayenne pepper and mix well.

Gently fold in the apple and the trout…Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with crackers or as crostini.

Enjoy!

Let’s celebrate National Mai Tai Day…

A tropical, fruity rum-based cocktail…which goes down well on a lovely balmy sunny day which at the moment has got up and gone and the heavens have opened…it is now lovely and cool but definitely not the weather to sit outside with a sundowner…

The lovely yellow cocktail is made using star fruit and a Carol Special Mai Tai…

Also known as Carambola it is a lovely fragrant fruit ..Take I star fruit and slice it… add to the glass reserving a slice for decoration…If you have a rounder glass then it is better as you need to muddle the star fruit to release the juice…Squeeze the juice of 1 lime and muddle again…Add a pinch of rock salt and some sugar syrup about a tbsp depending on your taste I probably add a little less then add a measure of vodka yes this Mai Tai uses vodka…gently stir add some ice and stir then top up with soda or sprite. Add more ice or vodka(shhh) if required…

Add a straw and a slice of star fruit to the glass…Enjoy!

That’s it for today…Tomorrow it is the 1st day of National Pickle and picnic Month…It is also National Ginger snap Day…In July there are lots of ice cream days and alcohol days scotch included…and one I hadn’t heard of National Penuche Day…WELL…for a fudge lover I didn’t know this …nice surprise says she licking her lips…Penuche is a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, using no flavourings except for vanilla. Penuche often has a tannish colour, and is lighter than regular fudge. It is formed by the caramelization of brown sugar; thus, its flavour is said to be reminiscent of caramel.

Photo credit: thehoneybunny on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: thehoneybunny on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Yummy is what I have to say…Who would have thunk xxx

Thank you for reading this post I hope you have enjoyed reading about the vegetables that I can get here in Thailand 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!

Be safe and stay well xxx

Saturday Snippets…

Here we are again…I hope you all have had a productive week and are still safe and well…Time to tell you what has made me laugh, cry or cringe this week…time to tell you what I have been cooking…of course…

The answer is not so much…

Well if you call bread not much…Spurred on by Meeks or her offspring I should say…I made some dinner/breakfast rolls and they really got the thumbs up and I was told by my testers they were the best of my baking exploits yet…Whoo Hoo…They now want the same recipe as hot dog rolls…long instead of round but methinks I can do that…A baker I am not…

I am pleased to say though that they came out exactly as the video promised…

Loved them!

Last week I horrified many of you with dead man’s fingers…This week …2 days ago to be precise hubby was out in the garden and went to his shed where there was a green snake curled around a large Gekko.

A call to the local snake catchers was made and within 10 minutes they duly arrived…The look of delight which passed between them was priceless they were excited…Their pronged stick soon prompted the snake to uncurl and that Gekko scooted away for his life…Luckily he hadn’t been there long enough to be suffocated by the snake…The only damage to the Gekko was the loss of his tail as when a Gekko feels threatened their tail comes off but they soon grow another one…

The snake was duly taken away to be released back into the wild…Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture but this video will give you an idea although in this case, it looks like the Gekko is definitely the aggressor …

While we were waiting for the snake catchers to arrive Aston who follows the teachings of Buddism told us the meaning as there is always a meaning or warning…Good or bad luck if you get the picture. He then proceeded to tell us that one of the sounds the Gekko makes is a call out to a green snake…The reason they do this is that the Gekko is getting old and his liver is failing…The snake then enters the Gekko through his mouth and removes the liver…The Gekko then grows a new one and extends his life…This is good karma…

I mean they have the capacity to grow a new tail but a liver…we didn’t have the heart to dispute this tale as it was well told and in some ways made sense however we did not really believe… many teachings come down through generations by word of mouth and this is one of them as he did say it was what the old grandmothers believed…

Maybe be its equivalent to the fairy tales we told our children and grandchildren…

Thai Vegetables…

As you know I am always looking out for new fruits and vegetables and I came across this one for the first time a little while ago…my daughter in law had no idea what it was which unusual as she normally knows everything as she forages a lot…

smart

They were young and tender so I added to a stir fry and very nice they were…I put the picture on Instagram and FB last week and finally someone told me what they wereand once I knew I could tell that yes that is exactly what they are…The bean pods of Chinese Cabbage…It just took someone to tell me…I will also most certainly be snapping them up if I come across them again…

Wellness Corner:

I am loving this series of Sally’s and learning so much…Part Three – Achieving the correct pH balance in your body – The Plan

project-101-2 Sally Cronin

Head over to Sally’s and have a read of  Project 101 – Resilience is aimed at developing a strong immune system and a body that can fight off disease at any age. One of the key factors in achieving that level of robust health is being a healthy weight. There have been a number of risk factors identified that put certain groups of the population at a higher risk of a critical outcome from being infected with COVID- 19 – Opportunistic pathogens like nothing better than an acidic environment to thrive in.

Health and energy and long life all begin with a correct pH balance.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/project-101-resilience-acidity-alkalinity-ph-balance-for-health-part-three-and-music-therapy-sally-cronin/

After closing for three months, Barcelona’s El Liceu opera house reopened with its first concert on June 22 to an audience of 2,292… plants. The event took place the first day after Spain ended its state of emergency. Organizers said the intention was to reflect on the absurdity of the human condition in the era of the coronavirus, which deprives people of their position as spectators. All 2,292 plants (the theater’s full seating capacity) will be given to local healthcare workers as a sign of gratitude for their work during the outbreak. The concert was also streamed live on the venue’s website.

How very beautiful is this?

When the string quartet of two violins, a viola, and cello finish their performance, palms will certainly be pressed together in appreciation, after which each and every plant will be donated to a health worker as a small token of appreciation.

There have been many sacrifices and sadness because of COVID-19 but there also have been so many lovely things happening around the world which we can all learn from and hopefully make this world a better place.

That’s all for Saturday Snippets this week…Stay safe and be well…Wash your hands and please wear a mask when out in public and practice social distancing..I believe we haven’t seen the end of this virus yet and that there is more to come…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 fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

Thailand…Down on the Farm…Cannon Ball fruit,Lemongrass Salad and Tea…

Welcome to this edition of Down on the farm…

Today I am bringing to you some more of the fruits I am lucky to get here…This huge fruit which looks exactly like a cannonball is one which is growing at my local temple…quite why unless it is for the shade of the tree I don’t know because if one of those landed on your head you would almost certainly be knocked out…

 

Completely spherical with a woody shell and a reach diameter of up to 25 centimetres (10 inches), which give the species the common name “cannonball tree”.

The fruit although edible has a terrible smell unlike the fragrant flowers of the tree hence it is used as animal feed…The pigs and chickens love it!

It really is not a surprise to hear that the tree belongs to the Brazil nut family and although not palatable to us..the flowers are absolutely beautiful and the fruit has many medicinal uses…

Bats and bees are responsible for the pollination to take place. The flowers are mostly visited by wasps, bumblebees, flower bees and carpenter bees.

Some of the traditional uses for this tree and its fruit:

  • The plant extract is used to treat stomach aches and colds.
  • The juice extracted from the leaves is used to treat skin diseases.
  • In South America, the Shamans used tree parts to treat malaria.
  • The pulp is used to disinfect wounds.
  • Young leaves are used to provide relief from toothache.
  • The bark is used to cure colds.
  • The extracts of the tree parts are used to cure pain, hypertension, tumours and inflammation.
  • The fruit pulp is rubbed on sick dogs to cure them of mange.
  • The juice extracted from leaves is used to cure skin ailments.
  • In Ayurveda, the juice of the fruit is used as expectorant for bronchitis and chronic cough.

Lots of fruit and vegetables are in season now and lemongrass is very prolific I have a huge bunch so tomorrow Tom Yum Gai made from scratch will be on the dinner menu…Some are in the freezer both the stems and some I have finely cut…I also have made some lemongrass paste…I am madly thinking of what I can make with Lemongrass…some I have shared with neighbours and made a salad…

Thai Lemongrass Salad…Yum Takrai

Thai Lemongrass Salad with tamarind dip

I personally love this salad it is so fresh and vibrant, you could leave out the dried shrimp if you really eat no meat or fish products, slightly different taste but still good as if I don’t have any to hand then I leave them out.

Yum Takrai (Spicy Lemongrass Salad)

  • 15 stalks fresh lemongrass.
  • 14 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp. toasted cashews
  • 2 tbsp. whole dried shrimp
  • 12 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 12 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-1 12 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. whole dried shrimp, finely ground
  • 4-6 red Thai chillies stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 raw stemmed long beans, cut into 4″ pieces for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Trim and slice the lemongrass very finely. Transfer lemongrass slices to a medium bowl, separate rings with your fingers. Add ginger, cashews, shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, ground shrimp, Thai chiles, and shallots, and toss well. Garnish with long beans. Serve on Banana Leaf or Betel Leaf as in my picture.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice or cauliflower rice if eating Gluten-free.
We also serve with a tamarind sauce made by combing 3 tbsp tamarind pulp with cup water in a small pan, bring to boil and simmer 5 mins.
Remove from heat and stand 15 mins you can help break tamarind down with a spoon, strain through sieve extracting as much liquid as possible.
Add 2cm peeled finely chopped ginger and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar,2 tsp fish sauce,1 tbsp chilli/garlic sauce and 1 tsp soy sauce to tamarind liquid.
Bring to boil, simmer 5 mins.
Whisk 1 tbsp cornflour/arrowroot powder with little water whisk into sauce cook 1 min or until thickens.
Taste and adjust seasoning add more sugar if required.
Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
I hope you enjoy this little salad.
lemongrass-1713240_1280
How to make lemongrass tea which is a nice, refreshing citrusy drink which can be sipped hot or add ice cubes and it is a nice refreshing cold drink.
  • cut the stalks into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • boil a cup of water
  • pour the boiling water over the lemongrass stalks to steep
  • leave the stalks in the water for at least 5 minutes
  • strain the liquid from the stalks and pour into a teacup

Enjoy!

That’s all from me for today…I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the Thai fruits we grow or buy here …Can you get any of these where you live?

And don’t forget any unusual fruits or veg send me a picture and I will see what I can find out…

Thank you for reading I do hope you are all staying well and safe…It seems like the whole world is on lockdown…scary times…xx… I haven’t been going out unless it is a necessity… only shops selling food are open now and we are just waiting for the next phase…I have my stock of rice from the farm to last me a few months…It might also prompt me to have a go at making pasta…I am not worried about fruit and veg and have some larder to fall back on…we also have a bum gun so tissue isn’t a problem…My family brought us some rice and meat plus lots of limes and eggplants from the farm which I have shared around the neighbours as there were just too many for us so it will be eggplant dip and green curry this week for us …

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 for reading and please stay safe and well…xxxx

Thailand…Down on The farm… Snake Gourd,Cassava…

 

Good morning after a week of rain it is now steaming hot…the upside of a tropical climate is everything is lush and green…

Last week I introduced you to a very local Thia potato this week it is one which is more widely grown and well known…Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sam palang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the world’s largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed, it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next season’s crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

Other uses for the root  are:

  • To make starch for clothing.
  • To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.
  • Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from tapioca flour. Thai pancakes
  • It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.
  • Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

 

Khanom man sam palang is a cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2   cups of grated Cassava
  • 6 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp of mung bean starch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake before serving. If you spread it over the top of the cake then it is lovely toasted before spreading it over the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam…A Thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.

Everything in the garden is coming up roses as the saying goes it looks like we will have fruit and vegetables galore.

Some of the fruit and vegetables I am familiar with as you can get them almost everywhere.

Others are very new to me and I am having to do a little research as sometimes there isn’t an English pronunciation for the Thai word.

This one looks quite creepy I was quite expecting to see a snake so I was going along quite gingerly watching where I trod.

Then it was back to the drawing board to find out a little more about this creepy looking gourd…

I was then on the hunt for some baby ones as those big boys are not for cooking…This is what I discovered…A recipe for…

Snake Gourd Riata.

  • 2 cups of natural yoghurt.
  • 2 small snake gourds diced.

The snake gourd has a naturally occurring waxy white surface so rub some salt on the surface before cooking or using to remove.

  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 2tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 10-15 shallots finely chopped.
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp urad dal powder/paste
  • A handful of coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil as required.

Let’s Cook!

Heat some oil on a medium flame and fry the mustard seeds and urad dal for 20 seconds.

Add green chillies and chopped shallots saute for 2 minutes, add diced snake gourd cook 1-2 minutes and add grated coconut and mix well.

Remove from the heat allow to cool slightly, stir in yoghurt and add salt to taste.

Garnish with coriander and serve.

Here are some more facts about the fascinating Snake gourd.

The snake gourd or Buap nguu, serpent gourd, chichinga or Padwal are some of the other names it is known under.

Native to south-east Asia it is a vine which grows around a tree or trellis and then unfurls its large white frayed flowers. Then fruits which grow straight down towards the ground.

It can grow up to 5 feet in length sometimes a stone is tied to the small gourd to help it grow straight down as it can grow into all sorts of shapes.

Also because of its length, it is used to make the traditional didgeridoo in Australia.

It turns orange when it is fully ripe but this is when it is very bitter so it is usually used in curries and raitas before it ripens fully. When ripened the flesh is sometimes used as a replacement for tomatoes.

The leaves, tendrils and other leafy parts are used as vegetable greens lightly steamed or raw.

It’s strange names and appearance have often caused it to be overlooked for its health benefits. It is proven to be very effective at improving the strength of the body’s immune system, reducing fevers and treating diabetes. Currently there much medical research into other health benefits of the Snake Gourd.

There are so many fruits and vegetables with health benefits which to me is quite amazing…I personally think it should be on the school curriculums and children should be taught about what they are eating and why…maybe that would help curb obesity if kids were more aware. Just my thoughts.

Thank you for reading about my life and discoveries in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂

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!

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

 

Travel and Traditions…Monkey Hill… Phuket Town, Thailand

Khao Rang Hill is one of Phuket’s most famous viewpoints. Located to the northwest of the city centre, it offers views out over the town, to the south of the island, neighbouring islands and along the hills.

monkey in tree phuketCalled Monkey Hill locally and if you want to see monkeys then this is one of the places to visit….. It also boasts a nicely landscaped park with children’s playground, three restaurants of which this one is our favourite..the food is lovely… Quite spicy so if you don’t like it Thai hot ask for Mai Ped( not hot) there is also a panoramic terrace.

To access Rang Hill you can take one of two main roads leading up, one from Yaowarat Road by Vachira Hospital and the other from the east-west connecting Mae Luan Road. The access road is a steep one.

Just a word of warning about the monkeys they are very tame as they are fed by locals and visitors to the extent that they will come close…We witnessed a local boy tormenting one of the monkeys with food our friend’s father sat on one of the benches and the same monkey approached him when he saw he had food…The father offered the monkey food the monkey then went for the man and badly bit his arm so much so that it tore tendons …Please don’t torment the monkeys and place the food down …It is the only incident we have seen and we have been there numerous times but do feel the monkey wasn’t at fault as he was badly tormented and probably thought the same was going to happen again…

Phuket Town is a charming mixture of old and new…lovely Sino Portuguese buildings and all the overhead electric cables are now underground a very pretty town..

If you are up and about bright and early then you will see monks take to the streets on their daily alms rounds and the fresh market buzzes with restaurant owners buying ingredients for the day’s meals.

Time to explore..here are a few pictures of some of what we saw… A cute tuk-tuk..

Phuket was once a busy, bustling Tin mining town and the Museum is a good place to read about the history.

Time for lunch at one of my favourite restaurants…The China Inn in Thalang Road which is also a dressmakers dream for materials etc. But I digress…..Food!

The Old Town and every time I go I find something I haven’t discovered before. This lovely little shrine is down a side street on Phang Nga Road built among the houses and there it is like a little jewel in a crown. Often missed it now has a lovely ornate streetside archway.

It was built in 1891 by Luang Amnat Nararak (Dan Duad) in order to house Chinese deities which his family had previously respected. This shrine is used not only for worshipping all the sanctity but also for gathering his family.

Constructed in Phuket over a hundred years ago. Its name varies, depending on the languages; for example, in Hokkien Chinese, it is called “Teng Kong Tong Shrine” or “Sing Jia Kong Shrine,” while the local people call it “Am Teng Kong Tong.”

Sang Tham Shrine is so distinctive that tourists are attracted to visit. The location is very peaceful. Even though the shrine is located in the centre of Phuket, it is not affected by the city’s chaos. Furthermore, this shrine is no less spectacular than any other shrines. The architectures in the shrine were designed in cultural and traditional Chinese style. It is obvious that the building is similar to the small house with a Chinese style roof. The roof is made of stucco in the shape of dragons and Chinese dolls, which is a popular well-decorated art style in Hokkien Province. As for the shrine itself, there are paintings of black lined pattern inside the squares on two sides of the wall, depicting the legend of “Xue Rengui” in Tang Dynasty, when Ong Sun Tai Sai deity was born human.

In addition, in 1997, Sang Tham Shrine was granted the Conservation Award by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, after the selection by the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage (ASA). In 1999, there was a big renovation for the shrine’s 109th anniversary in 2000.

 It is a lovely mix of both old and new. Some of which is now housed behind glass to preserve their beauty.

A pretty town with lots to see and do which I hope you will enjoy if you visit Phuket.

Life on The farm… Thai Potatoes, Rice and Banana leaf wrapped desserts…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Farang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

SAM_8849

It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the world’s largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

cassava-285033_1920 root

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed, it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next season’s crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

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Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

dessert-1549271_1920 steamed

Khanom man sampalang is a cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

  • 2   cups of grated Cassava
  • 6 tbsp of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp of mung bean starch
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut.
  • Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

 

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely when toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees bananas we also have trees with bananas for frying and making Somtam…A Thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.

The rice crop is growing well but it is hard work when it is farmed the traditional way …Weeding has to be done as if you don’t then your crop will not be as bountiful but it is backbreaking we also harvest it the old way and not by machine as again you don’t get as much rice…But it is all done with a smile and it is a real community event…

         Harvest time- Rice- rural Thailand

Sticky rice and banana parcels made by Tik’s mum…we couldn’t get a smile out of her still…But? I was allowed to take photos for my blog…These banana leaf-wrapped parcels are hand made and sold almost everywhere…Always check the filling though as it varies somewhat…

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Everything is ready to make these lovely sticky rice and banana parcels

Bananas cut into halves, uncooked sticky rice ( Khao niao), sugar pot, banana leaves cut into rectangles and bamboo strips to tie the parcels. These are then cooked in hot water for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

The halved bananas are rolled in the sticky rice..which is uncooked with a little sugar added.

They are then wrapped in the banana leaves and made into a neat little parcel tied together with the bamboo.

The parcels are then stood upright in a pot of hot water and covered with some bamboo and cooked for 2 to 2/12 hours until the rice is cooked.

sticky rice and banana

When ready you have these lovely parcels of sticky rice …These type of sweet snacks are very popular here …

These ones are what we were given yesterday by one of our Thai neighbours…It is one of the things I love about living here as when I go out walking I see chillies, mushrooms, fish or meat drying in the sun…Like these little parcels below the coconut was hand grated from the drupe, the bean curd mixed in a bowl by hand and grandma was sitting in the shade cutting the squares from the banana leaves always a proper family affair…They are then steamed as the ones above were…Such a lovely pace of family life…

The brown you can see through the yellow outer is coconut mixed with tamarind the yellow is a type of bean curd which is slightly chewy…

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm and can see how many things are still made and harvested the traditional way…

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  mewe.com/i/caroltaylor3 

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
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Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx