Tag Archives: christmas recipes

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.

hot-chocolate-1 

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.

fish-2552022_1920

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)

SAM_7044

  • 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!

christmas-tree merry christmas-3825102_640

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

 

 

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

explosion-147931_640

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

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

 

 

CarolCooks2…weekly roundup 1st November -7th November 2020… Recipes, Health, Whimsy, Apples and Music …

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed any posts during the week… whatever your time zone grab a coffee or a glass of wine…Take a pew, get comfy… have a read…

Relax and Enjoy! (1) Weekly Roundup

I woke up this morning to the news… America has a new President Joe Biden…I am happy for all my friends for whom this was the outcome they desired. I do hope this brings back some dignity to the role of President and that bridges will be mended and for those for whom it wasn’t the expected outcome that you accept that and move on as you all live in the United States…one people under one flag who may have different opinions but who respect those whose opinions are different…

Tuesday…Time to make the Christmas Puddings, Cake and Sweet Mincemeat…

christmas Baking Cakes and Pudding

There are now only 49 sleeps until Christmas Eve…or 7 Fridays…Gulp…That will fly by…x

https://carolcooks2.com/2020/11/03/time-to-make-the-christmas-puddings-cake-and-sweet-mincemeat/

Wednesday: The Culinary Alphabet with a twist…The Letter I(chimichurrI)

I found quite a few ending in the letter I…Pete came up with Ravioli and Fetticinni which I hadn’t well done Pete…Dolly from Koolkosherkitchen gave me the translation for two ingredients which are toppings for the Blini… Smetana is sour cream, and tvorog is farmer cheese…Thank you, dear Dolly x

Food and culinary processes ending in the letter I…I am enjoying this challenge although J is certainly a challenge so any ideas peeps would be most gratefully received I only have 3 so far…

Next time I most likely will put J & K together in I post…

https://carolcooks2.com/2020/11/04/the-culinary-alphabet-with-a-twist-the-letter-ichimichurri/

Thursday: The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – #Aromatherapy – #Eucalyptus – Respiratory, Fevers and Pain by Sally Cronin.

I love essential oils which is why I love this series BUT  apart from the ones I use regularly I don’t know very much about the other oils so I find it both informative and fascinating. #recommended read

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/11/05/the-medicine-womans-treasure-chest-aromatherapy-eucalyptus-respiratory-fevers-and-painby-sally-cronin/

Fruity Friday…Apples…

apples

Did you know that worldwide 7,500 different varieties of apples are grown? My favourite apples are Bramley’s, Cox’s and Braeburn apples which ones are your favourite apples ???

As the saying goes an ” Apple a day keeps the doctor away” and that little round ball of goodness is 2/3 fibre has lots of anti-oxidants especially in the peel so do not peel it…please. They are also fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free and come in all shades of red, green and yellow so many to choose from…Which apple or apples are your favourite????

We also…Lily and I had our first attempt at making toffee apples…They came ok…not as easy to coat as the tube videos have you to believe …practise make perfect here methinks…

https://carolcooks2.com/2020/11/06/fruity-friday-apples/

Saturday Snippets: 7th November…

Lots going on a bit about the work of Prince Charles, a unique cave home…Lots of music, recipes… its National Stuffing Month and as stuffing can be frozen if you make it now or in a few weeks it is one less dish to prepare on Xmas Eve…and so much more please pop over and have a read…

I think a nice tasty stuffing enhances that chicken or turkey into something special…I love a nice crunchy stuffing ball or dish of stuffing…hubby prefers his from the bird’s cavity it’s just softer but can also be very tasty as it absorbs the lovely meat juices. Sometimes I also put a layer of stuffing underneath the chicken or turkey skin just another layer of flavour…

https://carolcooks2.com/2020/11/06/fruity-friday-apples/

That’s all for this week’s roundup … fewer posts has made my stats boom…go figure… I do hope you have enjoyed it and I look forward to your comments xx

God bless you all in these turbulent times…especially those of my readers who are facing new lockdowns…Please stay safe and wear your mask and practise social distancing or this virus will not go away…x

When this is all over my hope for the future is a cleaner world… I do want to see communities, and caring for your neighbour becoming the new norm…WORKING TOGETHER INSTEAD OF WORKING AGAINST EACH OTHER…Being kind to each other…Loving someone whatever their religion or skin colour…Can we make this happen? We have to but in the right way…Are we willing to make a stand? Personally, I would love to see lessons learned..realistically I have my doubts…

Thank you for reading be well and stay safe 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 well being.

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 stay safe and healthy xx

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