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CarolCooks2…Healthy eating… How to shift those Christmas and Covid kilos…For good!

 

 

Christmas is over and a New year has begun…..Not having made any New Year resolutions at all this year and having no intention of doing so although I know many of you do…

I do need to drop a few pounds…This post is a rewind of a 2018 post that was quite popular…and frankly watching what we eat never changes…Does it?…

I know it is #veganuary but I will never be a vegan…I respect those who are…I think there are too many “isms” now and I am happy just eating sensibly with a treat on occasion …

Nothing is banned just eaten in moderation and I do eat meat-free meals and love them…I also think that some sustainably reared meat and fish is healthy for eating a balanced diet…

I have put on a few kilos..why?? Well not counting Covid and the Christmas excess…That Christmas dinner was awesome…I just love bread sauce and stuffing with cranberry sauce and the Christmas pudding and cream…After eight mints you know the ones with the little hard pieces of crunch in them? Or the peppermint creams…

It knocked me off my little healthy eating path..a few potholes…or craters…lol

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Normally I am fine...I walk every day or 6 out of 7 days… Eat generally what I like 80% of the time and occasionally my 20% kicks in when I fancy something a bit naughty but nice…Who doesn’t???

My weight has dropped 5 stone since  I have been living here and my tummy is quite flat…There is not so much temptation here as the food is entirely different and the diets… Lots of fresh produce and eaten raw as well most of the time…so I guess not so much temptation and now I don’t crave sweet things like I did…I can make that box/ packet of goodies last a week or more..happy with 1 piece of chocolate a day instead of the whole box…

Do I love food?...Of course, I do… But I love my health and wellness better…

Do I love spending hours in the kitchen?? In this heat, you must be kidding!

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So as I need..No want to kick those few extra kilos into touch I have gone back to watching what I eat just a little closer as generally, I am ok…

I have also been researching and trying new recipes which are healthier, tasty and will make your taste buds sing..

So Tuesdays are going to be my healthier eating day when I will bring you some tasty food and of course some chatter those of you who know me … Just know I love a chat! So talk to me, tell me what you want, where you need help and if I can I will…

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Just know I am not quiet, shy and retiring…I love to chat and I love finding out about the food I eat and it is harder for me than most of you…I don’t have fancy cooking pots and pans here…I am lucky I have a kitchen most Thai houses don’t!

Just a two ring burner and a BBQ ..most of the time outside and not even a kitchen sink… I am luckier than most here…I have a sink…lol… and a ceramic hob… the oven that is soon to be replaced  is this table top thing and it is ok…but not reliable and I am waiting for a proper oven although it will be bottled gas as there is no mains gas here…

But if you have visited Thailand then you probably have seen the marvellous tasty amazing food which is produced by the side of the road, on a street market stall …Who needs a state of the art kitchen??? Look at that beautiful squid!

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I will bring you tasty healthy food which takes longer to cut your veggies than cook..most of the time…

I can hear your thoughts…I bet I can’t get the ingredients you can…Well, not all of the time…But most of the time you can and if not I will suggest a substitute…

It won’t all be delicious Thai food, it may be European, Indian I have some wicked recipes given to me by my Indian friends…It won’t come from a packet it will be cooked from scratch…For those of you who can’t cook or don’t cook it will be easy…Although many chefs and bakers have emerged during this enforced period of Covid…

I don’t do complicated very often and I don’t do many cakes and puddings…But I will for those of you who like them..only sometimes…haha… as a treat… I can be mean…Who needs a pudding when you have just eaten the most delicious lunch or dinner???

Ok, Ok…I know sometimes you do… I can do snacks like lovely fresh salsa…and yes, Doritos or crackers…You have your 20% … Don’t you???

Use it wisely…

I want you to love your food and lose weight…But we all know that it is not always easy for some and some go into it half-heartedly but I want to live as long as I can…by watching what I eat…I am not fanatical…I eat proper food… I just like to know what is in my food… I don’t do gyms for exercise I walk..but if a gym is what you like and enjoy then go for it…That is half the battle won…

If we love our chosen exercise and food we do it and eat it!  stay healthy and lose weight… No fads..No get slim quick..no fancy foods…No going without…Think moderation… No right way or wrong way ..Just your way!

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It has worked for me but I am a single-minded cussed old cow sometimes who loves a bit of Christmas pudding and cream…I don’t follow a rigid diet or exercise plan… I enjoy my life and want it to continue as disease free for as long as I can…It works for me…Will it work you?? Only you can answer that…

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Moderation is all I ask and honesty be honest..don’t feel guilty about what you eat..Enjoy it! Love it!….We are all grown ups and we know what is good for us and what is not…

If that television advert, or magazine spread or that famous celebrity or doctor is telling you about something marvellous…They are laughing all the way to the bank…If it sounds too good to be true…It is!

Well, that’s my not so little spiel over…Will you join me on  Tuesday ???

For delicious healthy recipes???

I hope you do xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last minute Pickles…Time to pickle…Cucumbers, Rosella Relish…Dill Pickle Bread…

Good morning and it’s sunny shine here my mornings are getting warmer…My shawl is still on standby just in case… my shoulders or knees need warming up…Here are some recipes for you pickle lovers… Pickle addicts can pickle and pucker…Don’t you love that initial intake of breath when the vinegar hits your taste buds…?? Makes you give a little involuntary shiver…

You still have time to make some last-minute pickles…

Cucumbers are always plentiful here and pickle nice and quick…Lovely with some nice cheeses…

Pickled Cucumbers…

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I used 4 cucumbers ( they are short) ones here not like the ones we used to get when in the UK although I have discovered Japanese cucumbers and they are nice, crispy and very similar to the cucumber I know and love.

The cucumbers here are much smaller with larger seeds in the centre and not quite as crispy and flavoursome. In fact, I think I prefer them pickled.

Lets Pickle!

  • I peeled and sliced( quite thickly) 4 cucumbers.
  • 1 large Onion peeled and sliced.
  • 3 cups of vinegar.
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of sugar or sweetener of your choice. I only used a 1/4 cup of sugar and some salt to season as required.
  • 1 cup of water.

Whisk vinegar, sugar and water together in a jug. Put alternative slices of cucumber and onion in pre-sterilised jars, then pour the vinegar mix over the cucumber and onion making sure to cover completely.

Screw the lid down tightly and refrigerate they will be ready to eat in 2 days in fact if you leave these too long they get too vinegary. They are really a quick pickle recipe.

My number two recipe for pickling cucumbers…

Pickled Dill cucumbers. 

  • 3 medium cucumber
  • 1 large Onion thinly sliced.
  • 85g sea salt flakes (essential- table salt will render your efforts inedible)
  • 500ml cider vinegar
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • small bunch dill

Wash the cucumbers, split along their length and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into finger-length chunks, then cut into 5mm strips. Mix with the onion and salt in a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.

The next day, drain the juices, rinse the vegetables in cold water and drain well. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a very large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins to let the flavours infuse.

Add the vegetables and bring the pan to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring now and again. Boil for 1 min, then remove the pan from the heat. Tear in the dill, then pack into sterilised jars making sure that no air bubbles are trapped. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

in jars..pickled

I also had a lovely message today from a lady who had made the recipe and said they were lovely and it was a great recipe and to keep writing…How lovely was that?  It really made my day…

As you know I am always on the lookout for something new to pickle…This lovely flower can be found at the moment, not in great amounts but the small farmer’s stalls carry a small amount…The Rosella Fruit…

Initially, I tried the flowers dried as tea which is very nice…For more information on the Rosella fruit please click here…

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Rosella Fruit freshly picked

Now you all know me well and know I can’t resist thinking would it be like if I added some ginger and chilli…very nice as it happens…

Rosella Relish

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Rosella Relish

 

Ingredients

  • 250 gm Rosella fruit
  • 60 ml of sugar
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger grated finely
  • 2 red shallots chopped finely
  • 5 ml red chilli powder/flakes
  • 10 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 375 ml of water
  • A pinch of salt

Let’s Cook!
Remove the red portions/calyces & discard the seed pods
Wash & place in a pan along with water, shallots, ginger, sugar, salt and chilli flakes
Bring to a soft rolling boil and cook until the liquid is greatly reduced. This takes approx 25-30 mins.
When the chutney is almost done, add the vinegar and stir well.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly and put in a sterilised glass container.

Lovely as a relish with cold/ hot meats or in a burger… with brie and freshly made bread it is very nice

Just a reminder… don’t throw away the Pickle Juice…

You can use pickle juice in almost any recipe that calls for vinegar. Try using it in salad dressings, soups, potato salad, coleslaws, and more. Pickle juice adds an extra boost of flavour to anything you put it in!

Take some sliced red onion, a few carrot batons, some orange or red bell pepper sticks and your pickle juice…

Let’s, Pickle!

Heat up the pickle juice in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop until boiling. Put the vegetables and red onion back in the pickle jar and pour the pickle juice over top.

Screw the top onto the pickle jar and let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least 5 hours. The pickles will keep for up to 1 week.

One of the quickest pickles on record…Just use odds and ends from your fridge…

Guess what I will be making…It doesn’t get better than this…

 

I reckon some of this bread, pickles, cheese and a Bloody Mary ( with) pickle Juice and my Christmas will be sorted…

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

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

Happy Pickling!

 

Christmas Recipes…Winter Warmers…

Christmas Recipes Winter Warmers

On a cold Winters Day or just because…..These recipes will warm you right down to your toes.

Hot Chocolate.

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To serve 2 people:

  • 2 cups of milk.
  • 3 oz of best quality chocolate..either bittersweet or semi-sweet.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 2-star anise.
  • 2 tsp of honey or Tate and Lyle’s Golden syrup.
  • 1 tsp brown sugar.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 2 tbsp or as you like it of spiced rum or dark rum.

Let’s Cook!

Put the milk in a saucepan with the chocolate broken into pieces, cinnamon stick, honey and sugar and heat very gently until the chocolate has melted.

Add the vanilla extract and using a small hand whisk start whisking, add 1 tbsp of the rum( still whisking) stop long enough to TASTE and add more rum as required for your taste.

Still whisking, add some more sugar if required.

Take out the cinnamon stick and star anise, pour hot chocolate into 2 cappuccino cups or caffè latte cups.

If you are making this for someone who is tee-total or a kiddie omit the rum and add some marshmallows or add marshmallows anyway…Why not? Spoil yourself.

Enjoy!

In the run-up to Christmas, we all want something which is quick and easy to do and when it is cold which warms us up…

Fish Pie can be pastry topped or topped with mashed potato…or just sprinkled with some fresh breadcrumbs for a lighter pie.

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My mum always used to make it topped with potatoes sometimes she sliced them and others she boiled them… I think the slices potatoes look very pretty if you are having someone to dinner but when I am making especially if I am busy then mashed potato fits the bill nicely.

I top with mashed potatoes either sweet potatoes ( which) I love but everyone one else likes the normal mashed potato as they call it…

Ingredients:

For the filling

  • 400 ml whole milk
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 gm thick white fish fillets, skinned…although if I can I get a pack of mixed fish pieces which includes salmon, smoked fish and other fish and it is very nice.
  • 40 gm butter
  • 40 gm plain flour
  • 150 gm frozen peas/sweetcorn
  • 200 gm large raw prawns, peeled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 800 gm medium  potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 40 gm  butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 100 gm mature cheddar cheese, grated/ or breadcrumbs and parmesan makes for a nice topping.

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 200C /400F/ Gas 6.

To make the filling, pour the milk into a large pan and add the sliced onion and bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper.

Place the fish fillets in the pan and bring to a very gentle simmer, cover and cook for two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand and infuse for 20 minutes. Remove the fish and transfer to a colander over a bowl, then pour the milk into a jug.

Half fill a large saucepan with cold water. Add the potatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain the potatoes and cover with a clean tea towel which absorbs the steam. Mash with the butter, milk and three-quarters of the grated cheese. If I have cream in the fridge and feel a bit decadent then I omit the butter and milk and mash with cream.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To finish the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually add the infused milk, stirring constantly, and simmer over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in the peas and season with salt and black pepper.

Spread one-third of the sauce into the base of a 1.5 litre/2¾ pint ovenproof dish. Scatter half the fish fillets over the sauce, breaking them into chunky pieces as you go and discarding the onion and bay leaves.

Arrange half the prawns on top of the fish and pour over another third of the sauce. Repeat this with the remaining fish and prawns and finish with the final third of sauce on top.

Spoon the mash over the fish mixture, spreading to the edges with a palette knife. With a fork just take it across the surface and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

Sometimes I also slice some tomatoes and arrange them around the side of the dish.

Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling.

Fish Pie Potato topped

Serve with some lemon slices.

Some steamed vegetables can be served if a more substantial meal is required.

N.B This is also a nice recipe and can be made in individual servings just divide the mix between 4 bowls and brown the top for about 15 minutes.

Curries are also a nice warming dish and most can be kept warm so as someone arrives home cold and chilled or just worn out it can be served almost immediately.

One of my all-time favourites is a Duck Curry, not one I make often and when I do I vow to make it more often but generally I make it when I want something a little more special.

I had Duck curry for the first time on a little island just off Phuket, Thailand it is a fiery curry offset by pineapple and tomatoes. Some add lychee as well as pineapple but we found it a little sweet for us but experiment, everyone’s taste is different….I also add some vegetables, mange tout or sugar snap peas maybe a few florets of broccoli..really whatever I have in the fridge.

Let’s Cook!

Duck Curry

Firstly cook your duck breasts, we like ours medium-rare.

Put the duck skin side down in a cold pan, turn the heat to medium and cook the duck breasts for 6-8 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy, turn the breasts over and just sear the other side for 1 minute. Turn over so they are breast side up and put in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing the breasts thinly.

  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3/4 cup fresh pineapple cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 10 cherry tomatoes.
  • 6-10 mange tout..or other vegetables of your choice.
  • 100 gm Thai eggplant cut into quarters. ( Pictured below)

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  • 1-2 tbsp red curry paste.
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves torn
  • Bunch Thai basil washed and leaves picked..
  • 2 tsp lime juice.
  • 100gm pea eggplants( Pictured to the right above)

To make sauce put a very tiny drop of oil in the pan over medium heat add your curry paste and stir to cook for 1 min, add fish sauce. Gradually add coconut milk whilst still stirring.

Bring to a slow boil and add torn lime leaves and eggplants cook for 5/6 mins and add tomatoes and pineapple, cook for a further 10 minutes then add mange tout and stir in some Thai basil leaves and lime juice.

Now taste and adjust curry paste if you want more heat. If anything else needs adjusting you can also do that now. Thai flavours are very pronounced and if you get it balanced ..very nice if not…I have had some disasters and I don’t mind admitting that…which is why I always say TASTE and Taste again.

When you are ready to serve then add sliced duck to the sauce and just warm through and serve with some Thai basil over the top and a sliced red chilli if you like.

Serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

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I hope you have enjoyed these easy to make Winter Warmers…

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

 

 

The 13 Trolls of Christmas… aka ” The Yule Lads”!

 

Every Christmas I bring out and update my favourite Christmas posts… The naughty boys and their scary mother are one of them…What fun…We all love to regale our children and grandchildren with tales from Christmas past…most real, some imagined and we all…Come On…Admit it!

We have all stooped to bribery, corruption or just plain tall tales to make the kiddie winks BEHAVE!

Forget boring advent calendars…

Icelandic parents enthral their children (and scare) them into being good with tales of the Ogress living in the Icelandic mountains.

She is one scary Mumma, described as half-troll/animal and the mother of 13 naughty boys known as the  “Yule Lads”. Grýla lives in the mountains with her husband, her thirteen children and a black cat.

And that cat is pretty scary too…

Old Icelandic folklore states that every Icelander must receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will find themselves in mortal danger. An enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule. This obnoxious feline is known as the Christmas Cat.

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The legend goes that every Christmas, Grýla and her sons come down from the mountains: Grýla in search of naughty children to boil in her cauldron and the boys in search of mischief. She can only capture children who misbehave but those who say sorry must be released.

Wow….that story will get the kiddies hiding under the bed covers.

The husband is not as wicked as her…  but a  bone-idle,  lazy slob.

The boys aka “The Yule” lads are naughty and mischievous and have wonderful names…Oh, what stories you could weave….and what fun you could inject into your stories.

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And what funny names they have.. Spoon- Licker is tall and thin. He steals unwashed spoons, which he licks clean.  and Door- Slammer well as the name implies…    Slams doors that are kept ajar at night, keeping people awake.

Icelandic children place a shoe in their bedroom window each evening in the 13 days before Christmas. Every night one Yuletide lad visits, leaving sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes(Yuk), depending on how a  child has behaved on that day.

I think It’s much better than a boring advent calendar, just think of the tales you can weave and what fun you and the kids could have and such a cool way to keep the little darlings in check.

How about  Sausage -swiper he hides in the rafters to snatch sausages which are hung up for smoking.

Nothing is safe from these wicked boys…

What tales do you tell your children?

I was really lucky…because my youngest believed in Santa Claus until she was about 13 years old…she was much ridiculed by her peers but stood her ground and insisted that she had seen Santa.

Well, she had….She was 3 yrs old and one of my son’s friends asked if he could ( while dressed) up as Santa take a little present upstairs and put it in Laurens stocking.

He was told by me in no uncertain terms ” Do NOT wake her up”

Well, she did wake up..but the clever boy put his fingers to his lips and told her to shhhhhh and go back to sleep or I can’t leave your presents.

Which she did, from that Christmas onwards for many years she was insistent to all and sundry when they laughed and told her Santa didn’t exist…..That she knew he did because she had seen him…so thank you, Adam.for keeping a little girls dreams alive!

I wish I had known about the 13 trolls though…x

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments x

Christmas Recipes…Naga Vodka Bloody Mary…Cocktails anyone?

 


Christmas is coming only 33 sleeps…Chrismas Pudding(tick), Christmas Cake(tick)…Christmas Cocktails and drinks …they need to be tested and triple-tested (Hic)

Guess who got a bottle of Naga Vodka? A few of them might bring the New Year in with a

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In the meantime, I will give you some lovely recipes which don’t pack quite so much of a punch…As this might…

So come on own up has anyone been brave enough to try this??

Next one of my Favourites…

Limoncello:

limoncello

Ingredients:

  • I litre bottle of your favourite vodka
  • 10 Lemons
  • 5 cups of water
  • 4 cups of granulated sugar

Let’s Brew!

Well, lets cook wasn’t really appropriate …Was it???

First, wash and peel those lemons and put the peels in a glass container ( big) enough to also hold the litre of vodka.

Leave to soak for at least 10 days. then drain off the liquid and dispose of the peels.

Make a syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water, cool and add to the lemon/vodka mixture. using a clean coffee filter strain the liquid…Voila!

You now have your own homemade Limoncello…Enjoy!

This one is a lovely non-alcoholic apple-based drink.

  • 200 ml apple juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 mace blade
  • 2 whole cloves
  • small strip fresh ginger
  • 1 clementine with the peel very finely zested.
  •  100 gm golden castor sugar

Let’s Cook!

Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, clementine zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.

Refrigerate until required and serve in a glass with some apple slices and ice or warm with a stick of cinnamon it is also lovely drizzled over ice cream.

My favourite Tanqueray Gin no less and a tonic recipe ..you will never ever pull that metal ring and pour it over your gin again…This is sublime, the ultimate in a mixer and just what gin deserves and no I am not including the recipe for you…you will have to pop over to Chez’s blog and find it…haha…….Now you can all guess what I will be making this weekend 😉 If I can get Cinchona bark which gives the quinine flavour of tonic…..but Chez has it covered if you can’t she has given us the link to a man who can!

Who doesn’t love a glass of Irish Cream over ice??

Irish Cream:

Ingredients: Makes about 1 litre.

  • 1 2/3 cup(400 ml) Irish Whiskey
  • 1 cup double(heavy) cream
  • 1  14oz can sweetened condensed milk…
  • 3 tbsp Chocolate syrup or chocolate topping..
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract.

Cooks Tips: Irish Cream or Baileys is now sold in many flavours which means you can be inventive…Below are a few ideas…You can also make a dairy-free version which is equally as good…

  1. Replace the coffee and chocolate syrup with Kahlua.
  2. Add orange extract and extra chocolate.
  3. For a dairy-free version use coconut milk to make sweetened condensed milk and then use coconut milk instead of cream.
  4. Use Drambuie instead of coffee and add some Cointreau and a spot more chocolate sauce.
  5. if you don’t have chocolate syrup, use 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder instead. I suggest whisking the cocoa powder with a tbsp of cream until smooth.
  6. Your alcohol…your choice how about Southern Comfort and Amaretto. Brandy… it was awesome! or Bourbon.

Let’s Brew!

Blend all ingredients(except) for the alcohol) together lightly as you don’t want to curdle your cream add your alcohol and then refrigerate.

Serve cold and or over Ice…or buy some pretty glass bottles add a bow and a message…Now, who wouldn’t love to receive that as a Christmas Gift?

How easy is that? plus …you can get about 4 batches from one bottle of  Irish Whiskey so by my reckoning that’s a real saving and lots of Irish Cream which we tested alongside Bailey’s and it was very close…yay……

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

 

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Brew!

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

To serve.

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

I love the taste of Chai Tea so when I saw this recipe for a Chai Tea Egg Nog I thought…Yes, please!

 

How about a Winter Sangria?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup (237 ml) brandy
  • 1 cup (237 ml) pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup (237 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, arils removed
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick

In a large jug or serving bowl, stir together the wine, brandy, pomegranate juice, and orange juice. Add orange slices, pomegranate arils, cranberries and cinnamon stick. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

Serve with ice cubes.

Enjoy!

On a cold winter’s day a mug or three of mulled wine will warm the cockles of your heart…I have many fond memories and the mug of my trip to the German Christmas Markets and my mugs of Gluewein…Just in case you missed it the recipe can be found on my Christmas Treats and Traditions post.

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/12/14/christmas-traditions-treats-and-a-little-trivia/

All of these could be given as a lovely Christmas present and everyone loves a gift which is made by your own fair hands much nicer isn’t it????

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

National Pickle Day (US)14th November 2021…

Regardless of your pickled preferences, it’s time to grab your favourite crunchy, vinegary snack to celebrate National Pickle Day, observed every year on November 14. The term pickle comes from the Dutch word pekel, which means salt or brine.

National Pickle Day was first celebrated in 1949, initiated and supported by the Pickle Packers Association. The founder of the day remains unknown.

Did you know? Pickle Polka is the theme song for Pickle Packers International?

But as it’s also only 41 sleeps it’s also time to make some Christmas Pickles…

Most pickles benefit from keeping and if you start making them now they will be lovely for Christmas…we love pickles and since living here I have discovered lots of different ideas and produce for pickling…be it fruit or vegetables I pickle it!

Pickled Cabbage, green onions and Eggplant…

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.

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.

Pickled 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…

My garlic recipe is a favourite here I always have a jar or three in the fridge and they get dipped into 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) we prefer the mustard seeds.

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 a boil and simmer for five minutes.

Transfer the garlic cloves to sterilised jars. Add the mustard or fennel seeds if used. We actually couldn’t decide on Fennel or mustard seeds so initially, I did both we have now decided for us that our preference is the mustard seed…Carefully fill the jars with the hot pickling liquid. Seal.

The garlic will be ready to use in about a week but improves over time…if you can wait that long…

Pickled Cucumbers…

Cucumbers are always plentiful here and pickle nice and quick…Lovely with some nice cheeses…

Pickled Cucumbers…

I used 4 cucumbers ( they are short) ones here not like the ones we used to get when in the UK although I have discovered Japanese cucumbers and they are nice, crispy and very similar to the cucumber I know and love.

The cucumbers here are much smaller with larger seeds in the centre and not quite as crispy and flavoursome. In fact, I think I prefer them pickled.

Lets Pickle!

  • I peeled and sliced( quite thickly) 4 cucumbers.
  • 1 large Onion peeled and sliced.
  • 3 cups of vinegar.
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of sugar or sweetener of your choice. I only used a 1/4 cup of sugar and some salt to season as required.
  • 1 cup of water.

Whisk vinegar, sugar and water together in a jug. Put alternative slices of cucumber and onion in pre-sterilised jars, then pour the vinegar mix over the cucumber and onion making sure to cover completely.

Screw the lid down tightly and refrigerate they will be ready to eat in 2 days in fact if you leave these too long they get too vinegary. They are really a quick pickle recipe.

My number two recipe for pickling cucumbers…

Pickled Dill cucumbers. 

  • 3 medium cucumber
  • 1 large Onion thinly sliced.
  • 85g sea salt flakes (essential- table salt will render your efforts inedible)
  • 500ml cider vinegar
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • small bunch dill

Wash the cucumbers, split along their length and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into finger-length chunks, then cut into 5mm strips. Mix with the onion and salt in a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.

The next day, drain the juices, rinse the vegetables in cold water and drain well. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a very large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins to let the flavours infuse.

Add the vegetables and bring the pan to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring now and again. Boil for 1 min, then remove the pan from the heat. Tear in the dill, then pack into sterilised jars making sure that no air bubbles are trapped.

Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

 

We love pickled eggs…Do you love pickled eggs??

Jalapeno Pickled Eggs:

 

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

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

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

Pour vinegar over eggs making sure they are completely covered.

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

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

Curried Pickled Eggs:

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

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

Allow to pickle for a few days in the fridge they are then ready to eat…

Pickled jalapenos:

 

This recipe was given to me by a Texan friend and it has carrots in the Jalapenos something I hadn’t thought of. His mum’s recipe and they are the best ones. The carrots taste lovely when pickled with jalapenos. It is our go-to recipe and I make them all the time …The current batch has some blow your head of Jalapenos isn’t it funny how they vary in heat just like chillies. But pickled they are oh so scrumptious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 large Jalapenos sliced into rings.
  • 1/2 to 1 carrot sliced into rings.
  • 3/4 cup of water.
  • 3/4 cup of distilled white vinegar.
  • 3 tbsp white sugar.
  • 1 tbsp salt.
  • 1 clove garlic crushed.
  • 1/2 tsp oregano.

Let’s Pickle!

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic and oregano in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil.

Add carrots bring back to boil and lower heat slightly, cook for 5 minutes. Stir in Jalapenos and remove the pan from heat. Allow cooling for about 10 minutes.

Pack carrots and Jalapenos in sterilised jars using tongs. Cover with vinegar mix or put in a sterilised storage container and keep in the refrigerator.

Thai Pickled Cabbage ( Pak Dong)

  • 1 white cabbage. cut or torn into pieces.
  • 8 large spring onions chopped
  • Coarse Salt.

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

To Pickle:

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

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

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 than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

Then refrigerate and enjoy!

A while ago I was having a fancy for a kebab and my thoughts turned back to the beautiful kebabs we used to get that had these wonderful pickled chillies/peppers…I found this recipe and it is delicious and goes lovely with a salad or a kebab filling…

Piperies Mikres Toursi…

  • 36 thin peppers, such as Anaheim peppers, about 3 inches long, stems trimmed to 1/4 inch long
  • 3 tablespoons coarse-grained salt
  • Water, enough to cover the peppers
  • 5 cups red wine, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or spiced vinegar (any flavour)

Add the peppers to a large glass bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and then fill the bowl with cold water until it just covers the peppers. Soak for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Drain the water after 6 hours. Lay the peppers on clean towels until the peppers dry. When the peppers are dry, stuff them into clean and sterilized 1-quart mason jars. Pour vinegar into each jar, making sure to cover the peppers. Seal the jars according to the package instructions for the Mason jars.

Store the peppers in a clean, dry place for up to 3 months.

The only jar I could find was quite a big one and my peppers floated…What I did was fill 2 bags with salted water(just)in case they split and dropped them in the jar…the vinegar rose and my peppers are submerged so if you have a jar that is just too big then this little tip is a godsend…

Left with lots of pickle juice ????

Don’t want to waste that pickle juice???    Then have a …Pickleback shot or cocktail…

What is a pickleback? You are about to find out!

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

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

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

I would also ask that when you are shopping for presents, food, and decorations that you think about its origin and how it was produced…carbon footprint, child labour…Please think about the packaging can it be recycled or reused…Do you really need it? Every little helps…x