Tag Archives: christmas recipes

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

I would just like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas from sunny Thailand…Also to thank you for all your comments and support for my blog…It really is much appreciated…I will be away for a few days just enjoying the sunshine and a few cocktails …From me to you…

A very apt Christmas message ….xxx

As promised how to cook your ham…

When the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

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 ..have a great 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… 

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 very Merry Christmas 🙂 xx

 

 

Christmas Recipes…Sauces, Stuffings and Sides…Even a gluten free bread Sauce…

Christmas Recipes Sauces and stuffings

Wow..where does the time go??? We think we have lots of time and then that clock just whizzes around and before we know it…Christmas is upon us…

To me, there is nothing nicer than seeing that stuffing oozing out of the turkey…

I have a few recipes ( 6) for homemade stuffing for you it is very easy to make and makes much more than you get out of a box and no nasties…It freezes well so you can make it and pop it into the freezer all ready for Christmas day…

This first stuffing is not a traditional one as I used to know it..we always had sage and onion never anything else but since I discovered how easy stuffing is to make it has opened up a whole new world…

Rice, walnut and squash stuffing.

Serves 8.

  • The bottom half of 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 200 gm walnuts, chopped….I use walnuts as I can’t always get chestnuts but chestnuts can be used
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4  sage leaves, chopped plus extra sage leaves, to serve
  • 200g mixed wild and basmati rice
  • 500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 25 gm parmesan(optional) or a vegetarian alternative, grated

Heat oven to 200 C /180 C fan/gas 6.
Tip the onion, squash, and walnuts into a roasting tin with the oil, chopped sage, and seasoning, then toss well with your hands. Roast for 20 mins or until the edges of the squash start to tinge brown. If your oven is full, you can simply fry the lot together in a large frying pan.

Add the rice and stir to coat it, then tip the lot into a saucepan. Add the stock and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 mins or until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. Add cheese, if using, and tip into a baking dish. You can now cover and chill the stuffing for up to a day. 

To finish, heat grill to high, then cook until the top is browned and crisp and the stuffing is hot through.

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Date and bacon stuffing.

stuffed pork loin-386802_640

  • slices bacon, chopped
  • stalks celery, finely chopped
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4cup snipped pitted whole dates
  • tbsp snipped fresh thyme
  • clove garlic, minced
  • cups dry cubes sourdough bread
  • 1 – 1 1/3cups vegetable or chicken broth

Let’s Cook!

In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of drippings. Add celery and onion to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in dates, thyme, and garlic.

In a large bowl combine bread cubes, date mixture, and bacon. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, stirring to combine.

You can then cook the stuffing and serve as an accompaniment or use to stuff a piece of loin as I have done we love pork loin with stuffing.

To stuff, the pork loin either cut a pocket and stuff or cut the loin but not right through put the stuffing down the middle and roll and tie with string.

This recipe is for stuffed pork loin but with a different stuffing but more detailed on how to stuff a pork loin if you are a beginner.

You can then wrap the loin in bacon if desired.

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My stuffing is a mushroom stuffing using porcini mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 25 gm pack dried porcini mushrooms
  • 425 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp shredded basil
  • 4-6 tbsp grated parmesan

Let’s Cook!

Heat oven to 200 C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Oil a non-stick 12-hole bun tin and line holes with two strips baking parchment, to form a cross. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and pour over the hot vegetable stock. Leave for 20 mins, then strain, reserve the stock and chop the mushrooms, if large.

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and fry for 5 mins until softened. Add the pine nuts and fry until lightly toasted. Add the garlic, rice and cook for 2 mins.

Tip in wine, let it bubble, then add the reserved stock, mushrooms and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins, until the rice is just cooked. Remove from heat and cool, then stir in the egg, basil, pepper, and salt, if using.

Fill the tins with stuffing, sprinkle over parmesan. Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden on top. Cool in the tins, or for 5 mins if serving straight away. Remove by pulling up the parchment crosses.

You can make these up to two days ahead.  Then reheat on an oiled baking sheet, at 200 C/fan 180C/gas 6 for 10 mins.

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My next stuffing is a little more of a traditional stuffing and has my beloved herb sage…I love sage…this stuffing is our family favourite…I love rice and rice-based stuffings not so the menfolk in my house especially at Christmas so this one it is…

Pork, Sage and Onion Stuffing

  • 800 gm Cumberland Sausages removed from the skin.
  • 10 rindless streaky bacon rashers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Bramley apple, peeled and chopped (about 325 gm)
  • 85 gm fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 5 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 1 large egg

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the celery and onion, and cook for about 5 mins until starting to soften.

Tip into a bowl to cool while you remove the sausage meat from the skins. Add the apple, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, herbs, egg, and seasoning. Mix well – the easiest way is to knead it together in the bowl with your hands. I use about 1/4  of this mix to stuff the neck cavity of the turkey.

Stuffing Mix

For the remainder, I line a 900 gm loaf tin with 8 rashers of streaky bacon, spoon in the stuffing, lift the bacon over and cover with the last 2 rashers. Heat oven to 180C/160 C fan/gas 4 and bake the stuffing for 40-50 mins.

It can be made ahead up to this point and chilled for 2-3 days.

Turn out onto a baking-parchment-lined baking tray and return to the oven (once the turkey has come out) at 220 C/200C fan/gas 7 for 15-20 mins more to brown the bacon.

If chilled, reheat at the lower temperature for 45 mins, covered in foil, then turn out for the extra 15 mins at the higher temperature. Allow standing, then scatter with parsley (if you like), slice and serve.

Next one of my favourite Christmas fruits a stuffing made with cranberries …

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Bacon, Chestnut, and Cranberry Stuffing

  • 2 rashers unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips
  • 450 gm sausage meat
  • 100 gm dried cranberries
  • 50 ml ruby port
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 50 gm butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 140 gm fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 140 gm peeled, cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium egg,  beaten

Let’s Cook!

Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour.

Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter, until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.

Cool slightly, then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind  I find it easiest to use my hands so get those hands in and mix thoroughly.

This stuffing can be baked in a dish or rolled into balls that will be crisp on the outside and moist inside.

Stuffing Balls

Bake in a greased dish at 190 C/gas 5/fan 170 C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausage meat stuffing, cooked right through.

Alternatively, roll into balls that are about 4cm in diameter. Roast the stuffing balls in hot fat (they can be tucked around the turkey or done in a roasting tin of their own) for 30-40 minutes, until crisp and nicely browned on the outside.

Spicy Pork Balls (5)

These are lovely stuffing balls and probably my favourite at Christmas as I love cranberries…

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Water Chestnut and Bacon Stuffing.

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of bacon, diced
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 to 4 stalks celery, diced (about a 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large onion or 2 small, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 oz pack of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can of whole water chestnuts, roughly chopped, optional…I am lucky I can get fresh water chestnuts.
  • 12 oz breadcrumbs
  • Poultry seasoning to taste (recipe to make your own here)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Any of your favourite herbs or seasoning: additional thyme, rosemary, sage or 1/2 a teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes, etc.
  • Chicken stock to moisten (2 to 2 1/2 cups)

In a large pan, fry bacon until crisp, remove and put to one side. Discard all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of drippings. Add butter and stir till melted. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms & garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs, the reserved bacon and water chestnuts, if using. Toss together and add chicken broth to moisten. Taste for seasoning & add in salt, pepper and additional desired herbs.

This is best left overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Check for the desired amount of moistness and add additional broth, if needed, before baking. Stuffing should not be wet.

Bake in a buttered casserole, covered, at 325 to 350 degrees for about an hour, uncover and continue to bake until top is a little crispy and crunchy, an additional 15 minutes or so.

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Next, I  always do a little tester, in fact, I generally do that with all my stuffing as it is the only way to tell if the seasoning is correct. Fry a knob of stuffing in a little butter, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

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Pigs in Blankets:

  • 8 thin slices smoked bacon
  • 16 cocktail sausages
  • I tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp clear honey.

Mix honey, thyme and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl, add sausages and make sure they are coated in the mix. Cut bacon down the middle long ways. Wrap bacon around sausages.

To freeze now put in a container and separate the layers with greaseproof paper then remove  from the freezer on Christmas morning and cook as below

Put sausages on a baking sheet well spaced apart.

Cook on 180 for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and bacon is crispy.

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Bread Sauce.

Christmas dinner without bread sauce to me is like bread with no butter…Gin and tonic with no Gin…I know many people have an allergy to gluten…This recipe is especially for you…Using celeriac instead of the traditional bread it is a lovely alternative a bit smoother than bread sauce but a great accompaniment to your Christmas meal…

Gluten-Free Bread Sauce…

Ingredients:

  • 600ml of milk
  • 2 bay leaves, torn several times
  • small onion
  • cloves
  • garlic clove, bashed with the back of a knife to squash but keep intact
  • 700g of celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 25g of butter
  • salt
  • white pepper

Let’s Cook!

Peel the onion and stud with the cloves. Place the single garlic clove, studded onion and torn bay leaves into a medium-sized pan with the 600ml of milk and bring slowly to the boil to infuse while you prepare the celeriac.

In a medium-sized pan melt the butter. Then add the celeriac and stir to coat in the butter. Strain the infused milk over the celeriac and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Do not worry if the milk splits.

Season with salt and white pepper. Once the celeriac is tender, blend in the liquidiser and keep warm…White pepper is used to give an aesthetically pleasing appearance black pepper is fine if this isn’t your concern.

Now for my original Bread Sauce recipe…

Bread Sauce

Tip:

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use( I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…

Ingredients:

About half loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.

  • I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • Salt & Pepper.
  • About half-pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

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Cranberry Sauce.

  • 3  cups or 12 oz of cranberries.
  • The juice of 2 large Oranges.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

Cranberry Sauce.JPG

Allow mixture to cool and put in an airtight container and refrigerate.

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When I was a child the only time we had dates were at Christmas they were a treat but dates now are used as appetizers wrapped in bacon the saltiness of the bacon is a good foil for the sweetness of the dates also stuffed with blue cheese they are a lovely thing and very moreish and are seen on many a buffet table.

dates rolled in bacon-2327534_1280

I hope you have enjoyed these recipes please let me know your favourite if you try any…Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your week 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 great festive weekend with as little stress as possible…Merry Christmas one and all xx

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Christmas…gaining momentum…In our house, the tree is up…The cake made, just the marzipan to make, the sauces made, I will be making the first mince pies and sausage rolls this weekend…Later this year but because it is hot here and just us..I try to save the Christmas goodies until last to try and conjure up that Christmas vibe…

Thank you to everyone who follows and supports my blog …You all rock!

Let’s see what is going on around the world at Christmas time then shall we…?

This post will be all I love about Christmas so there will be a few of my favourite tunes…My Christmas cake is smelling rather enticing  I am going to make the marzipan later today and get that on to dry out and then ice it at the weekend.

My first Christmas ham is on…and the smell of the spices is wafting into my office space…This is only a small piece just over a kilo…Our test piece…

Let’s have some music…

Disappointingly for me, the last 10 years Christmas numbers ones haven’t been Christmassy at all…Mariah takes the top spot for the most played Chrismas tune which although it is catchy it’s getting boring…

This is one of my favourite versions of Rocking Around the Christmas Tree…Brenda Lee…Who made this record when she was 13 years old she certainly had some pipes on her …

Did you Know?

Who earns the most royalties from their Christmas songs? Well, Mariah Carey makes about £375,000 per year from All I Want For Christmas and The Pogues make about £400,000 from Fairytale of New York. But top of the tree is Slade, who are reckoned to earn £500,000 per year from Merry Christmas Everybody,

That some spondoolies isn’t it?

Plant-based recipes are getting more popular…This is good as I do think people should eat more veggies although I do think a healthy balanced diet is better for our long term health and also how we cook our food…Today over @Smorgasbord Magazine ..Sally is resharing my Vegetarian Christmas Menu…

One of my favourites is the celeriac I just love celeriac….

Christmas Averts I know I am not the only one who looks forward to adverts and I am sure some of them cost a lot… John Lewis, it’s been reported the Christmas campaign, which is John Lewis’ first joint-venture with sister company Waitrose, cost an eye-watering £7million to make.

By contrast, this little locally produced one cost £100 and already getting lots of views and could claim the top spot…

It is from a little known hardware shop in Wales that starred the owner’s own little son.

Time for a story…

This is a continuation of a short story started by author Steph Richmond with the offer to contribute …intrigued I took her up on this offer so as you will see I write the occasional chapter…Will this be finished who knows.?.. The girl as yet doesn’t have a name just an unknown past…Enjoy!

The Charade – Chapter 16

download-3the-charade

She sat with Kathy for a while in the kitchen, they chatted as they ate the delicious cakes, she felt confident with Kathy they were beginning to become good friends and she thought it was time to share some of her thoughts about Carl with her. “I really liked him Kathy but now I’m not sure what to think.”

   “Don’t have anything to do with him, he’s a slippery character is my advice.” Kathy seemed stern as she said it. “He’s after something for sure.”

   “Yes, I’m beginning to think it’s nothing more than my necklace. I don’t know what’s so special about it anyway. It’s got to be something to do with my family.” She said as she licked buttercream from her fingers. “Do you know anyone called William that’s connected to him?”

   “I know a few William’s but not one that would lower themselves to work with him.”

   “You really don’t like him do you?”

   “No, I don’t!” That was obviously the last she was saying on the matter.

   They sat a while longer in the warmth of the kitchen chatting about cooking until a bell rang. “That’ll be Mr. James wanting his tea, I’d best move myself.” Kathy smiled.

   She finished her tea and put on her wrap to leave when Kathy shouted through. “Mr. James wants a word with you before you go.” She walked through the house until she found Mr. James in his armchair before the fire. He smiled up at her. “I have a job for you, you’ll be away for a few days, I’m sending you to York.”

   “Oh okay, can’t anyone else do it?”

   “No apparently not, you have been requested. You have clearly made an impression on someone.”

   “I don’t know anyone in York.”

   “A Mr. Peasbody has requested that you help him to welcome guests to his party, he will pay you handsomely. He met you at a party here a few months ago.”

   “Okay, and you think I should accept?”

   “I do, I have left a small case in the hallway, you can use it to pack a few things you may need, he will send a carriage for you tomorrow afternoon.”

   “Mr. James, do you know a William connected to Carl?”

   “I’m sure I don’t know child.” Those were the words that came out of his mouth but his eyes projected something different.

   She knew she would get no more out of him, she turned to leave, feeling more than a little nervous…

TBC…

A Christmas Cocktail…

A Dirty Martini…What is a Dirty Martini or drink? A drink in which you may slightly change the color and taste by adding or changing some of the essential ingredients. A dirty martini, for instance, contains olive juice. The first time I tried one of these was at my besties birthday party in Pattaya a few months ago now…very nice it was too…

Ingredients:
1/2 oz (1 part) Dry vermouth, 3 oz (6 parts) Gin/Vodka
Straight: Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in a chilled martini
cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with olive.
How to Serve:
Straight (or on the rocks) In a cocktail glass
Garnish:
Olive, Lemon twist…

That’s all from me today on Whimsical Wednesday… I hope you have enjoyed reading this post…xx This will be the last Whimsical Wednesday Post until after Christmas now…I hope you all have a wonderful Festive season and enjoy it! xxx 

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

As Christmas is not celebrated here our Christmas is far more low key…Not so frantic as it was in the UK…I do miss the atmosphere and the build-up but I don’t miss all the crowds and the must-have this as it does take away from the real meaning where family and friends get together and enjoy each other’s company…

Today however we have received a lovely parcel of goodies including chocolate and cheeses lovely little truckles of assorted cheeses…I am looking forward to sampling these over Christmas with some nice onion chutney…

What is a truckle of cheese some of you may ask…A truckle of cheese is a cylindrical wheel of cheese, usually taller than it is wide, and sometimes described as barrel-shaped. The word is derived from the Latin trochlea, ‘wheel, pulley’. Truckles vary greatly in size, from the wax-coated cheeses sold in supermarkets, to 25 kilograms or larger artisanal cheeses.

For the last two weeks, I have given you some ideas/recipes to start your Christmas Lunch today I will give some recipes for side dishes. Now, what about the food which can take a while to be ready like your Christmas ham?  My recipe for curing ham.

Christmas Ham Recipe.

Blog HeaderChristmas Ham

A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.

Suitable plastic( not metal) container to brine meat in.

Ingredients for Rub:

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

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 5 litres water
  • 900gm salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch.

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 14-20 days.

N.B. IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.

Tip: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing. I didn’t the first time and I had sore hands all my own fault.

Once the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

cooked Ham

Next week I will give you my recipes to cook your brined ham sometimes I just cook with spices as the image above and sometimes I cook and crisp the pork rind which gives some lovely crackling as in the header image I normally brine a piece of pork loin when I require crackling…Today I am brining a piece of pork hip to see how that turns out…I am always experimenting with different cuts of meat…I then just adjust the liquid and the brining time if you have questions please ask I am happy to help.

Mistletoe... Is synonymous with the festive celebrations and there is always some at Office Christmas parties…Botanically it is an interesting plant as it is a hemiparasite which means that although it does grow on its own it also does attach itself to other trees and sucks all the nutrients from the tree…

mistletoe-berries-16393_640

There are many tales and traditions surrounding mistletoe and although it is poisonous to us it is a source of food to animals and birds…Butterflies lay their eggs on it and bees collect the pollen so an important source for wildlife…

It is also a very striking looking plant with the dark green leaves and white berries don’t you think and looks lovely in Christmas Wreaths.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to Norse mythology it was also thought to have magical powers and ward off evil spirits…

Now this time of year I absolutely love my cocktails…This lovely homemade Limoncello makes a lovely base for cocktails, on its own or as a nice long drink…

 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…So what to drink with Limoncello I hear you ask?

The traditional way of drinking limoncello is to serve it well chilled, neat (no ice), in a chilled cordial glass.
Limoncello Tall Drinks
  1. Water.
  2. Unsweetened iced tea.
  3. Lemonade.
  4. Club soda or sparkling water.
  5. Cola.
  6. Cranberry juice.
  7. Tropical fruit punch.

Enjoy!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Smorgasbord Health – Christmas Cook From Scratch – Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cranberries #bittersweet

Time to get your cranberry sauce made for Christmas but did you know about the great health benefits Cranberries can provide? If not it is all in this post along with some other great recipes and they also make great cocktails a very versatile little fruit…Enjoy!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Here is another of our posts where I share the nutritional benefits of an ingredient and Carol Taylor incorporates it in a delicious recipe. Next week Carol will be back to share some of her creations from her Thai kitchen offering you some alternative delicacies to eat over the festive season.

This week… ..Cranberries – a bitter berry which has a long history in medicinal terms and is still used today in certain over the counter preparations.

Cranberries have a documented medicinal history and were used by the Native American Indians as a nutritious addition to their diet normally sweetened with honey as of course the berries are very tart. The Indians also used the berries in poultices for wounds as they recognised the antibacterial and antibiotic effect of the fruit even if they could not scientifically prove these properties. Colonists, who had been introduced to the…

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Smorgasbord Health – Christmas Cook From Scratch – Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Perfect and Healthy Brussel Sprouts

Awww Brussel Sprouts love them or hate them…I am in the love them camp… they always bring a lovely memory of my dad to mind as one of the last Christmas he spent with us he sat at the table saying “Love Brussels, must eat my Brussels ..repeated a few times over we were all in fits of laughter and it always makes us remember him with much love he made us smile ..Enjoy your Brussels daddy I am sure you have converted them all up there 🙂 xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

It is that time of year when we bring out the decorations and over here – The Cook from Scratch Christmas recipes... I look at the health benefits of the food.. and my friend Carol Taylorturns them into something delicious the whole family will love.

Brussel sprouts are not necessarily the most asked for vegetable by children as they do have a slightly bitter taste (actually the healthy element of the Brussels), but if you prepare them following Carol’s guidance, they should be a hit with all the family.

At this time of year they are readily available in the stores and are a wonderful side dish for Turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Variety is the spice of life….and our bodies need a wide variety of foods to extract all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

We are just coming into the Brussel sprout season and…

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