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Eat Smart, Eat Healthy…Lunches!

Good morning from sunny Thailand… we are warming up here as we are coming into our High Season soon although the nights and early mornings can still have a nip to them.. while many of you I know are feeling the winter chills as you have snow and ice…

Today I have some ideas for healthy lunches…which will warm you up …

It is quite difficult to think of what to suggest as when I worked in my last job although we had the heating on the doors were continually opening and closing so if you were working on the ground floor it was a tad cold most of the time so a warm bowl of soup or a jacket potato was very welcome at lunchtime.

I always used to make extra if I made a stew or chilli and freeze in portions it was then easy to take to work and I know from experience that if I ventured out at lunchtime as I hadn’t bought anything in with me it was over to Marks & Spencer who do the most divine sandwiches and of course, all their yummy sweet things are by the till…Do I need to say more???

Not taking in lunch is a trap many of us fall into without realising, isn’t it? Plus it is more costly…

As I am at home and lunch is my main meal I generally have a stir fry they are quick to do and cook while the rice is cooking which Is why I like them…either way whether you are at home, at work or eating lunch on the go…I have something for you…

Fried Fish with peppercorns in black bean sauce.
Serves 1.

fish black bean sauce

  • 100 gm white fish cut into smallish pieces and rolled in rice flour.
  • Small onion roughly cut
  • 2 spring onion sliced
  • 1-2 chillies sliced diagonally
  • 1 stem of fresh peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp black bean sauce
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Sm piece fresh ginger minced or finely Julienne
  • Fish sauce to taste.

Lets Cook!

Heat up the oil in a wok and shallow fry fish quickly on each side until it becomes golden brown, it will take around 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
In the same wok where fish is fried sauté garlic, chilli, onion and ginger.
Add green onion and peppercorns then stir-fry for a minute. Then add fish.
Add splash water, black bean sauce bring to a rolling boil, add fish and turn over once to coat with the sauce and simmer for 2 mins. If the sauce is thin you can add a bit of cornstarch/arrowroot slurry to thicken it.
Flavour with fish sauce and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with steamed rice and a chilli dip( optional)

You could also make this at home and heat gently at work for lunch or microwave it.

Jacket Potatoes…Easy to do and will fill you up…If you have an oven at work then in your break pop one in the oven it will then be ready and waiting at lunchtime all you need to do is add your topping and… take a portion of chilli, baked beans, cheese, coleslaw, sweetcorn, caramelised onions and mushrooms to work and there you are lunch on the go…What is your favourite topping?

jacket-potato-2906023_640

My favourite topping is chilli be it meat or vegetarian one or cheese and coleslaw if it isn’t too cold that is more of a spring/summer topping for me…

Soup is also very good...You make a batch at home and freeze in portions it just needs reheating or take it in a thermos flask…

Yesterday I made a lovely mushroom soup …a new recipe and it needs tweaking my little taste tester told me what I needed to do….lol

It pleases me though because it means that he tastes the food and knows when it needs something else so that is good for a child.

Mushroom Soup…

  • 2 lbs of mushrooms…mixed I used straw, button, crimini and some small ones which I can’t remember the name.
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 6 sprigs of thyme tied together
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

Melt the butter and add the mushrooms and add a pinch of salt and cook until they give up their juices and reduce the heat. Cook stirring until the juice has evaporated and the mushrooms start to brown.

crimini straw button mushrooms

Pick out a few nice pieces and set to one side for the garnish.

Mix the onions into the mushrooms and cook until the onion softens about 5 minutes.

Add the thyme and garlic and pour in the stock and water simmer for 1 hour.

Remove the thyme before blending the soup, if the consistency is still too thick then add more stock/water…Return to a pan and add the cream…Taste and season with salt and black pepper…

Mushroom Soup

 

I hope this has given you a few ideas about what to have for lunch…What is your favourite lunch?

I have added the link to a Chicken Noodle soup as it also has the recipe for homemade chicken broth.

Noodle-soup-Thai-chicken

https://carolcooks2.com/2018/09/13/thai-chicken-noodle-soup/

All of these you could batch cook every two weeks and freeze in portions and you would never have to worry about what is for lunch… Just add your garnishes and herbs if required…

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoy the soup …Or maybe you have already tried it…Do you love it?? Please let me know in comments xxx

Eat Smart! Eat Healthily…Breakfast!

 

Good morning from not so sunny Thailand(10 degrees) even hubby and it is first for him since we landed here 8 years ago(he) who has always laughed at me for donning warm clothes has succumbed and is wearing jogging pants and a jumper…

I hope you are all well and getting over the Christmas festivities it is such a busy time of year and sometimes we don’t have time to eat or eat on the run…Don’t we???

Today I am going to repost and have revamped one of my healthy eating posts from a few years ago starting with the first meal of the day… Breakfasts which I hope will help sustain you until lunch and which you can prepare really quickly… there is something for everyone…vegetarians, vegans whatever your eating plan…Breakfast is served…

Firstly…Porridge…

If you don’t know already I had six children, a dog, a cat, a snake, a parrot and a horse…Get the picture all who I had to feed and get off to school before I went to work….lol

Breakfast time was busy…My slow cooker was a lifesaver during the cold winter months …I put the porridge on at night before I went to bed and come the morning it was ready and waiting…So easy…

Hubby was first out of the door having had his bowl of porridge and as the kids appeared they could get theirs it was always fresh and hot…

You can serve porridge with honey, fruit compote, fresh fruit or even a sprinkling of brown sugar which was an occasional treat for me…a throwback to my childhood…

Other toppings:

  • Mango and toasted coconut
  • Bacon and maple syrup
  • Peanut Butter and grapes

I cannot pick a favourite out of these as I love them all…

How about some nice wholemeal Toast with peanut butter and sliced banana maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon and /or honey…for my US cousins it’s jam/jelly…

Or slice some strawberries..anything goes really or some mashed avocado and a hardboiled egg roughly chopped… Quick, easy and nutritious…

Love Peanut Butter then here is the link to make your own…quick and easier than anything you have ever made and no nasties.

Eggs are always a good way to start your day…

Softly scrambled or poached…they are one of my favourite things. Hubby has bread with his eggs I just eat scrambled eggs on their own sometimes I grill some tomatoes as I really love eggs and tomatoes.

Here is a lovely video on how to poach an egg something that many including me have had problems getting the perfect poached egg… And if everyone wants a poached egg this man shows you how to do six eggs at once…

A yoghurt is a great option if you don’t have time to eat it at home put it in a mason jar with a lid and eat it when you get to work…

What I love about these jars is you can take them you and any fruit of your choice you can layer it or just top the yoghurt with it.

Easy to make oats to top your yoghurt or porridge.

Quick crunchy Oats…

  • 1 cup of uncooked oats…
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar…
  • 3 tbsp butter.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder ( optional)

Let’s Bake!

Mix all 3 ingredients together and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes stirring  I love to add a bit of cinnamon…

Allow to cool and top your porridge or yoghurt.

Thank you for reading I hope some of these breakfast ideas has made your tastebuds zing xxx

What is your favourite breakfast?

That’s all for this morning thank you for popping in today I hope you have enjoyed this breakfast edition …as always I look forward to your comments as you all know I love to chat…Thanx Carol xx

 

It’s Friday …Time for Fish Pie…

Fish Pie can be pastry topped or topped with mashed potato…you can slice potatoes and mix white and sweet potatoes or parsnips even pastry if you wish…The potatoes sprinkled with bread crumbs and maybe some parmesan…

For a special occasion get creative and make a pish shaped pie…

My mum always used to make it topped with potatoes sometimes she sliced them and other times she boiled them and mashed them with milk and butter… I think the slices potatoes look very pretty if you are having someone to dinner but when I am making especially here as I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen…It’s hot!

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

  • 400ml/14fl oz whole milk
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g/1lb 2oz 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 I do and it is very nice.
  • 40g/1½oz butter
  • 40g/1½oz plain flour
  • 150g/5½oz frozen peas/sweetcorn
  • 200g/7oz large raw prawns, peeled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 800g/1lb 12oz medium  potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 40g/1½oz butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 100g/3½oz mature cheddar cheese, grated/ or breadcrumbs and parmesan makes for a nice topping.

Let’s Cook! Fish Pie…

fish pie with peas

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 teatowel 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 medium heat for 3–4 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in the peas and season with salt and black pepper.

Special occasion? then add some white wine…

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 the 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 with peas

 

Serve with some lemon slices.

Add some steamed vegetables or green peas if a more substantial meal is required.

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Mistletoe and Wine…No sugar quick-pickled Onions, ham with crackling and a Kamikaze Cocktail…

I would just like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas from sunny Thailand. (although there is a definite chill in the air this morning…Thank you for all your comments and support for my blog…It really is much appreciated…From me to you…x

A very apt Christmas message ….xxx

Your ham is all ready to cook…How to cook it my way…

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves.

Ham- cloves- home cooked

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves

Once it has finished cooking scored the fat and studded with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

My third way of making ham which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg. I started it the day after Boxing day and it was lovely for New Year…

It is also much quicker to brine than a whole leg and only takes between 4-6 days depending on the size of your meat and how salty you like your ham.

I used 2 kilos of Pork Loin.

Ingredients for Rub:

  • 2 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre)

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 2 1/2  litres water
  • 450 gm salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter.

Mix the ingredients for the rub together and rub over the pork loin. Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge. Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two: Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered. Store the ham cold. Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves. Let the ham brine for 4-6 days.

Tip: The first time I used loin I left it for 4 days the second time I left it for 5 days which suited our taste… It is always wise to do a test run I think as personal tastes vary.

Ham- crackling-home cooked-sliced-platter

Home-cooked ham and crackling

If I am making crackling ham I buy pork with the skin on and score the fat….when I get to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked I covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat put it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…Awesome!

As promised  Pickles with no sugar…

You’ll only need six ingredients (plus water) to make these tasty and healthy pickles.

red onion-899102_640

  • Red onion:
  • White vinegar:
  • Kosher salt: If you use fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
  • Seasonings: Dried bay leaves and whole peppercorns, mustard seeds.

Let’s Pickle!

Peel the onion and slice it into thin, 1/8-inch slices. Separate the slices and place them in a jar
large enough for all of them (a 1-quart jar should work).
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water and salt. Add the bay leaves and the
peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt dissolves.
Turn the heat off. Pour the liquid over the onions. With a wooden spoon, press down on the
onions to make sure they are well-covered. Close the lid and allow to sit at room temperature 3
hours before serving.
Refrigerate any leftovers which will be good for up to a week.
Lastly, I can’t go without leaving a cocktail…Cheers xxx
It was a choice between a sedate pina colada which I do have a penchant for when sitting at a
beach bar or this …..I am after all slightly crazy at times…
The Kamikaze…
kamikaze-847224_640
The Kamikaze Cocktail is a historic drink, a distillate of elegance and sumptuous scents. It belongs to the great family of the sour cocktails, namely a spirit (in this case vodka) + triple sec + lemon/lime juice. 3 parts of each for a triune cocktail, packed with a compact and precise elegance.
One could say that the Kamikaze cocktail is a Margarita made with vodka instead of tequila.
But it would be a shame to reduce it to a simple variation since it’s not only one of the most famous cocktail, but also on of the finest and most drinkable, especially as an aperitif.

 

The history and cocktails always have a history…  the cocktail Kamikaze is dark and it is assumed that, as was the Japanese Slipper cocktail, it was born after World War II, in Tokyo, in a bar of an American military base, during the occupation of Japan.

Others think that it came out in the 70s and consider it a classic disco cocktail….Cheers xxx

That’s all for now ..Merry Christmas xxx

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

In many countries there are also new guidelines because of a mutated strain of Covid which spreads much faster please, please stay safe don’t play dare with other people’s life we all want to see and celebrate next Christmas and if it means we don’t celebrate this in the manner we always do I’ll opt for seeing in next Christmas…

Thank you for dropping in today, I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, as always I look forward to your comments… you know I love to chat!

Thanx Carol xx

 

 

‘Tis the Friday before Christmas… the season of love and laughter…and a Salty Dog…

The magic which is Christmas...I try although it is hard when it is sunny and no one else celebrates it…But Christmas is in my soul and I hope that I can share some of the magic I have always felt with you and of course make you remember and smile…

Christmas Eve...As a child was such a special time…The decorations were all up and the tree had been brought in from the garden and decorated…Christmas Eve was when Mr Brown used to bring a fresh Capon( a castrated) male chicken fattened for eating he also used to bring me jigsaws or books all passed down but books he knew I would like on Botany, Biology or history for example and jigsaws..big jigsaws which took a while to do as they were hard…He would have a couple of hot mince pies and a hot toddy or two with my dad…Then dad would go out and come back a few hours later with the fruit… lovely oranges, cox’s apples and bananas, pick and mix sweets, dates, figs and nuts then they would all be put out in the best dishes in the sitting room…Ready for Christmas Day…

I can’t remember having anything special for Christmas Eve Dinner…we would, of course, put out a mince pie for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer…after we came home from Midnight Mass…

Of course, if you live in Italy...They do love their food…The Christmas Eve dinner is seafood as they celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes…La Vigilia…The meal is traditionally made up of only fish or shellfish — seven varieties, as the name suggests — and vegetable dishes… Octopus, anchovies, salt cod, and clams are among the common ingredients, but the most traditional ingredient is capitone (eel). Seafood pasta dishes are also part of the menu.

Those recipes look amazing…I do love fish and seafood…What About Christmas Day?

After indulging in Cenone Della Vigilia, Italians still make room for Christmas lunch. This typically consists of the first course of pasta in broth, followed traditionally by eel or, in more recent times, roast turkey. For dessert, sweetbreads are typically served, such as panettone and pandoro.

Jeez, that is two days of a lot of food…

In Germany, it’s a tradition for people to eat potato salad and sausages on Christmas Eve. Potato salad there are so many versions made with either crushed new potatoes, peeled potatoes cubed and boiled, cubed and boiled in their skins or steamed.

Whatever potatoes you use I add to mine some chopped spring onions and or shallots maybe some crispy bacon, just enough mayo not too much and stir through I always do mine when the potatoes are still warm…Season really well with salt and fresh black pepper add some lemon or lime juice an easy one to knock up and again a nice accompaniment. This year I will be adding pickle juice to mine as I have heard that it adds a nice zing…

The French…Most families in France have a huge feast on Christmas Eve. The traditional dinner includes meat such as duck or goose, as well as side dishes like foie gras and oysters. The meal ends with the Buche de Noël, a rolled sponge cake decorated to look like a Yule log.

Iceland has one of my favourite traditions…Iceland’s tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve then spending the evening reading them… The holiday season starts off with the delivery of the Bokatidindi, which is a catalogue of every single book published in Iceland.

The tradition began in during WWII. Paper was one of the few commodities not rationed, and Icelanders could indulge in their love of books (and in giving books as gifts) as they weren’t in short supply.

Food definitely plays a huge role in Christmas celebrations wherever you live in the world…I feel bloated just writing this up…

All that food needs to be washed down...How about a Salty Dog?

Maybe more suited to a tropical climate but hey ho…You have central heating, don’t you? A classic cocktail that has become somewhat underappreciated in recent times, the Salty Dog is the perfect cocktail to enjoy while making the most of every last bit of summer sunshine or just because…

Incredibly easy to make the ice-cold Salty Dog is well overdue a revival. So, where did this fruity delight come from?

The Salty Dog was originally created as a variation of the Greyhound cocktail. George Jessel added a salt rim to the popular combination of gin and grapefruit juice sometime in the 1950s, as a way to increase the palatability of the drink for those who were less than fond of the bitter grapefruit taste. The Salty Dog soon became more popular than the Greyhound, but it does mean that the histories of both drinks are intertwined since the creator of the Greyhound had a hand in the fortunes of the Salty Dog.

Rumour also has it that the Salty Dog was first created sometime in the 1950s by the same bartender who invented the Bloody Mary. The story goes he wanted to change up a greyhound into something more sophisticated. However, the same tale involves George Jessel( The Toastmaster) as the inventor who actually was an actor from the 1920s by the 1950’s he was no longer famous and liked to tell the story as a way of keeping his notoriety. Which means that the actual creator may be lost to history which is often the case…

Salty Dog was also mentioned in the Savoy Cocktail book in the 1930s, the Greyhound is thought to have been created by the author of the book series, Harry Craddock. Originally from London, Craddock had moved to America to further his bartending career. He spent most of the 1920s and 1930s in the States, returning home when prohibition hit and working at the famous Savoy hotel.

It is thought that the Greyhound was created just before the move since gin was a more popular spirit overseas than vodka, which is now the preferred spirit for most in this drink. It became a popular drink at the Savoy hotel but really came into its own when Jessel adapted it to create the Salty Dog.

To be honest…Its origins don’t really matter too much as it is a lovely cocktail…at Christmas, I just love making cocktails…

That’s all for today…See you tomorrow at my house for some more Christmas recipes and titbits…x

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 wonderful festive season and a Merry Christmas xxx

Mistletoe and Wine…How to cook the perfect turkey and how not to… aka Mr Bean…

Join me for a Mince Pie

Come and join me for a sausage roll or a mince pie and a hot toddy…Then I will show you how to cook a turkey or not!

Christmas is nearly upon us …although it is arriving quietly here…well a few Chrismas tunes are belting out…

I have cooked more turkeys than I could count but if cooking a turkey is new to you…Let me tell you when I cooked my first turkey I was petrified…I mean it is far bigger than the chook you normally cook and you have the in-laws coming and you want it to be perfect…Don’t you?

Well stick with me and you will get the perfect turkey time after time…

Turkey.. a bird that was usually eaten mainly at Thanksgiving and Christmas but is available all year in supermarkets and butchers.

Whenever I think of turkeys I think of Mr Bean…Not generally a fan of slapstick comedy this one always makes me smile…as does the Hamlet turkey advert…

Of course, you probably know by now that there is a better way…

Now for the serious stuff…Where to Start…

I stuff the neck cavity and just put onion or lemon with some cloves and butter in the main body cavity. You could use fresh herbs and butter in all honesty mine does vary from year to year.

A tip is to include a small handful of rice in the stuffing as it absorbs all the raw juices from the turkey creating the most delicious stuffing.

I also cook my turkey breast down as then the juices fall into the breast which keeps it moist and succulent…

The turkey must then be turned over 30 minutes before it is done to brown the top….delicious.

Some chefs also push the butter under the skin of the turkey…..

It really is a personal choice and I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to prepare your turkey as we all have our own way of cooking this bird and all delicious there is no right or wrong way it’s a personal preference so I am just going to give you a few different options..

Cooking Times:

Take the turkey from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while the oven is heating up.

Here is the link to a handy website if you need to calculate your cooking time: http://www.csgnetwork.com/turkeycookingtimecalc.html

This recipe is the one I am going to use this year because I don’t trust my oven temperature and I think adding the hot water into the cavity of the turkey will help not only keep it moist but will ensure it cooks properly

The night before roasting, soften some butter and season with salt and pepper mixing well.

I used about 6 oz of butter.

Remove the giblets from the bird and wipe it inside and out with kitchen paper. Remove any feathers… if there are a lot of them you can singe them over a gas flame.

I remember my dad doing that but most of the turkeys now are fully plucked and dressed..ours may not be as it is fresh from the farm so I am guessing it will have a few feathers left to pluck out…

Open the cavity of the bird and season the inside with the remaining salt and pepper. Rub the seasoned butter over the turkey. Take a piece of greaseproof paper twice the size of the breast and fold to give a double layer. Lay this over the breasts (it will protect them during the cooking) and return the turkey to the fridge until morning.

Calculate your cooking times and preheat your oven… A 5kg bird should take 3 hrs 10 minutes at 180C(fan) 375F/Gas mark 5 approx as it will depend on your oven and how hot it runs…

Stuff the turkey neck with your desired stuffing.

Set the turkey on a trivet inside the tin. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and carefully pour around 250ml of the hot water into the cavity of the bird. Seal with a skewer.

Pour another 500ml of hot water into the roasting tray with some onions and carrots and a few fresh herbs Thyme and Rosemary plus some garlic cloves.

Then cover the whole thing with foil (I use two layers) and make sure that it is well sealed around the edges.

Put the lot in the oven and cook for 20 minutes on 250 C, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/Gas 5 for the remaining cooking time. After 2½ hours, remove the foil and the greaseproof paper and close the door. Don’t open it again until the cooking time is up.

To test whether the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer or knife blade into the point where the thigh joins the breast. The juice should run clear. If it is pink, then roast the turkey for another 20 minutes and test again.

If you are using a meat thermometer then it should read 180F in thigh and 165F in breast or stuffing.

Take the bird from the oven and leave it to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.

Strain the juice from the bottom of the roasting tin into a large jug to settle. The fat will rise to the top, leaving the aromatic turkey and onion juice beneath. Skim off the fat and thicken the juices if you wish, or serve as it is…..

Enjoy!

After all that I think a cocktail is called for…Don’t you?

Pineapples are very plentiful here it is such a shame to waste them, the fresh juice is just amazing …A Pina Colada is almost a staple here… but for a change, this Bahama Mama makes great use of pineapple juice we also have some very good rum which is made locally here..so as to boost the awareness of the importance of our carbon footprint ..Cheers!

Bahama Mama cocktail-1191924_640

Can you take a guess where this eye-watering drink originated? The Bahamas! This drink is rumoured to be indirectly named after Dottie Lee Anderson, a Caribbean dancer and performer in the 1930s who also went by the stage name “Bahama Mama.” Another theory is that this cocktail became popular during the Prohibition when the Bahamas were used as a rum smuggling base. While there are many theories as to how this cocktail came to be, no one’s certain which is true of the origins of many a great cocktail…

This cocktail can be made with as little or as much rum as you like…It is a taste it and see cocktail… Depending on how much rum you decide to add, it can be a little more on the sweet side once you add the pineapple juice. Adding soda gives it a slight fizz, making it a great option for those who aren’t really hardened alcohol drinkers…But beware… the alcohol can easily be hidden, just to be sure pace yourself. Trust me when I say — it will eventually hit you, and when it does…It will be a Merry Christmas…

The traditional way to sip on this treat is over ice, but it can be made into an adult Slurpee by pulsing all the ingredients in a blender. I also use limes instead of lemons…

That’s all for now ..Enjoy your week and try to chill out as I remember the last minute Christmas rush…Merry Christmas xxx

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