Tag Archives: Cooking from scratch

CarolCooks2…Week 4…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Tahini Paste…

How to make your very own Tahini paste/butter..it is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties….

Let’s Cook! 

Into the kitchen, a quick, toasting of the Sesame Seeds, then into the mini blender, 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz, scrape down the sides, another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape, a  bit more oil and a quick whizz and viola your Tahini Paste is now ready to use.

tahini paste

I have been making my own Tahini paste for years now made even simpler as we have our own little sesame seed bushes…


It is such a pretty plant…which apart from producing seeds which are used mainly in desserts in Thailand. Here down on the farm they are dried and used for just that really and to make the lovely sesame biscuits which we love…

The oil from the seeds is not really used in Thai cuisine like it is in Chinese cookery.

The sesame seed is one of the most ancient seeds on earth there have been remains of Sesame seeds found and dated as far back as 3500BC. It was also widely traded in parts of Mesopotamia and the Indian subcontinent around 2000BC.  Always highly valued in Eastern, African and Mediterranean culture it has been used for thousands of years in cooking to flavour foods. Sesame oil has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and a rich nutty flavour. Across the continent’s world-wide sesame oil, tahini and seeds are widely used.

It is a good source of vitamins and minerals that boost nutrient absorption, it is beneficial to human metabolism and the bodies fat-burning ability.

Sesame oil is a strong antihypertensive and can also help normalize blood pressure levels.

Sesame butter or Tahini is a pretty calorific dense food with 89 calories plus 8 gm of fat per tablespoon BUT the majority of that fat comes from healthy unsaturated fat like Omega 3 oils which help lower inflammation thus lower the risk of heart attacks. However, as always I advise moderation.

Making your own Tahini is so quick and easy just the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties…

You have made your tahini so what else can you use it for?

Lebanese Tarator is a Tahini based tasty and delicious tahini-based sauce perfect to serve with falafel…steamed veggies, kofta’s, with a meze…burgers a tasty versatile dressing.

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • 3/4 cup lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp parsley. finely, chopped.
  • ground sumac or paprika to garnish(optional)

In a food processor, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt together. Blitz, adding the water as you are combining the ingredients. Mix until it forms a smooth sauce. Remove from the processor and scoop into a small bowl. Stir in parsley and sprinkle with some sumac or paprika powder.

Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.

Some other uses if you want to use up the jar…add some honey and orange juice/zest for a wonderful dressing, deep fry some cauliflower bites and add some more lemon to the sauce…

That’s all for today...another easy to make at home paste…it saves you money and cuts the chemicals and fillers.

Thank you for reading this post I hope you enjoy this new series…if you cook from scratch and have some tips to share please leave a comment I would love to hear from you…Love Carol x

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…1st March-6th March 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…we are now in March… the time just flies…I am seeing the first signs of spring in some hemispheres…lambs, snowdrops, daffodils please keep those images coming and the snow I have seen some pictures so those who are experiencing minus temps snuggle up and stay safe and warm…

Let’s go and see what goodies I had for you last week… snuggle up in your favourite corner with your favourite drink tea/coffee or hot chocolate although depending on where in the world you live it could be a glass of wine…Cheers!

Meatless Mondays:

I love cauliflower and it seems many of you do as well… I have come across so many recipes and have received ideas for cauliflower from you for which I thank you…I mean who would have thunk…, not me …of putting cauliflower cheese on toast or using truffle powder in your cheese sauce, cauliflower spicy buffalo wings…I think I will have to do a post of cauliflower part 2 once I have made/tried these recipes…You all rock xx



Time for some recipes that pack a punch from, Sally…Sally also linked to one of my posts on smoothies…Thank you, Sally…I  love the colour coordination to the fruits and veggies it looks cool…Please head over to Sal’s and she will tell you just how easy it is to eat your recommended servings of fruit and vegetables per day…see you there x


It was lovely going back to one of my passions…the world the beautiful world we live in…early signs have been positive I want to thank you for all your lovely comments…you rock x

Part two will be on March 17th…This coming Wednesday, March 10th it will be my new A-Z with the middle letter of the word i.e…Brawn, Blueberry and Yucca…which could be fun and stretch the old grey matter somewhat…I hope you enjoy this one…


You can’t keep me out of the kitchen although I need the fan now…getting too hot already to cook…time to get another freezer and start batch making again and then I only have to thaw and heat up…

It seems many you already make your own fresh tomato sauce and why not as it has so many uses and not just for pasta…Bloody Mary…just saying…cheers and you can use some of your pickle juice…I won’t tell if you don’t…x


Turning Back the Clock by Sally Cronin…Part 8

Just a little bit would be lovely…For lots of good advice on how to do just that head over to Sally’s, you can be sure of a great welcome and say hello from me…


British Pie Week:

Well, that was a lively conversation and good to know the Brits stand by their favourite Pie…in the US there are pot pies and Apple Pies as well as Pumpkin Pie…The Brits love their meat pies and their cheese and leek pies not forgetting the Pork Pie which is an institution…or a game pie which I love like Pete with pickles and chutney…


Saturday Snippets:

Some jumping Jive this week which I love to watch and listen to and even have a boogie myself…Whale vomit…do you know how much it can be worth?.. Did you have BowieNet? Frogs legs are on the menu here just like they are in France as are stuffed frogs which I had only recently tried… they are very spicy but nice…


Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…I hope you have enjoyed the read…if you have please head over and leave a comment it makes my day to hear from you …Love Carol xx


Homemade Protein Shakes…Banana and Papaya…

Papaya and Banana Protein Shake.

Now for those who exercise quite hard and take or think you should take protein drinks then how about making your own?

I know many people who exercise who take these… So I thought I would do a little research and make my own… Cost-wise it is a no-brainer against the cost of some most Protein powders.

The protein shake is 3/4 cup of liquid and 1/3 cup of your main protein…

This is the third protein shake I have made and today I have used Papaya and Banana.

Below are what you can use to make your own protein shakes and in all honesty, they taste really nice although having never, ever used powders and the like I can’t really compare taste except to say I have been told the tastes are not always great and those who know me know I  don’t do manufactured stuff…I prefer to know what is in my food.


Almond milk, Coconut milk or water or Soya milk… It is important to get the right balance not what liquid you choose.


Greek yoghurt, Silken tofu, nut butter i.e raw cashews ( which) require soaking overnight to soften.

Extra proteins:-

Chia seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax or whole oats.


Papaya and Banana Protein Shake.



  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen Papaya
  • 1 small banana sliced and frozen
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1/2 limes…1/4 cup or  60ml
  • A piece of carrot sliced
  • 1/3 cup of Greek yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 tsp chia seeds ( optional)


Let’s, Blitz.

Put all the ingredients into blender and blitz …Taste and add more lime if required.


I hope you are enjoying these recipes for homemade protein drinks if you are and you make your own please share your tips in comments I love to hear from you…Love Carol  xx

Fruity Fridays…The Coconut…Is it a fruit, a nut or a seed?


The Coconut …Is it a fruit?  Welcome to Fruity Fridays where I showcase a different fruit each week.


I am sometimes flummoxed by what is a fruit, a nut or a seed or indeed a tree …Take the Papaya tree which grows in abundance here and also I will add grows very quickly …It has fruit with the same name as the tree but it is a PLANT …It has no branches and a soft stem with all the very large leaves at the top and can grow up to 10 metres high.  It is, in fact, a herbaceous plant as the stem bears little wood and stays green and soft until it dies. But ask anyone here and they will call it a Papaya tree…

Which brings me back to the Coconut …Well, it has a hard outer shell-like a nut, doesn’t it?

Don’t you think my Coconut tree looks magnificent?

Botanically it is known as a one-seeded drupe otherwise known as a dry drupe. 

Where does that leave us? With a fruit, a nut and a seed?

The name itself infers it is a nut….after all, a nut can be defined as a one-seeded fruit. But true nuts do not open on maturity and release their seeds… the nut has to decay and then it releases its seeds and is dispersed by an animal either in its faeces or just by being dropped on the ground.

The coconut we buy in the shops or market has no resemblance to the coconut on my tree and until I moved here I thought there was only one type of coconut…

There are so many here coconuts for drinking, eating the soft flesh, hard and hairy like the ones I knew…I am certainly furthering my education by leaps and bounds although I have always been inquisitive…Yeh Yeh…Ok..plain nosey…I like to know things…


It has 3 layers the first is typically green …This layer is called exocarp then you get the fibrous husk( mesocarp) this surrounds the woody layer ( endocarp) which surrounds the seed…. which is what you get in the supermarkets.

But did you know???

The coconut palm is not a tree as it has no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. It is a woody perennial known as monocotyledons as the trunk is the stem.

The coconut is known as the Tree of Life as every bit of the tree is and can be used for drinks, fibre, food, fuel, musical instruments,  cooking utensils and so much more.

it is also claimed although not formally recorded that during World War 11  and the Vietnam war when intravenous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors used coconut water as a  substitute for  IV solutions.

If the shell of the coconut has not been cracked, the coconut water inside is usually sterile – that is, free of bacteria and the like. So technically it could be injected safely into people, to replace fluid loss? It might, however, be said it might just be better just to drink it to replace blood plasma.

So do we now know what the coconut is? A fruit, nut or seed?

Mangoes, peaches and almonds are in the same drupe family as the coconut. Although the coconut is a dry drupe and peaches and mango are fleshy drupes.  Well, I clearly am not a botanical expert but in my world but I have always thought of those as fruits so the coconut to me is a cross between a fruit and a nut which we eat the flesh off and drink the lovely juice of a huge seed.

There you have it!

Just in case you missed it…Here is my post on how to make your own coconut oil...   Which would make a lovely present especially…shhhhhh, with Christmas coming…

If you just want to make something for yourself and your family then these macaroons are easy to make and delicious.

Coconut Macaroons.

What to make when you have egg whites leftover from making Carbonara? I have not made coconut macaroons for years. Next time for a little more colour I will lightly toast my coconut and maybe melt some chocolate and drizzle over them.


  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 cups of desiccated coconut or fresh coconut if you have it.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

Let’s Cook!
Whisk the egg whites, sugar, vanilla essence and salt until the mix is soft and frothy.
Fold in the coconut and put spoonfuls on a lined baking tray.
Cook in a preheated oven on 350F or 175 C for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a baking tray.
This recipe made about 12 depending on the size of your spoon.


Coconut any which way is available here and my early morning drink is often just a glass of fresh coconut juice…be very careful if you are coconut juice from a store though as often it is laden with sugar and not 100% coconut juice.

Coconut cream/milk is also used in curries and desserts…if you love cream but are looking for a great dairy-free option then make your own in a trice…easy to do just follow my recipe…

This lovely cream is a great alternative to fresh cream ….Fresh cream is not readily available here and tends to be treated so this little discovery was and is a godsend even hubby who loves cream liked it …

If you are trying to cut down not only on added sugars but fat and I have seen many recipes for making a non-dairy cream with coconut cream/milk that I thought it was time I tried it as this is the home of coconuts…haha…

Strawberries and non dairy coconut cream

Coconut milk is in the fridge as is the stainless steel pot and the whisk blades…Everything must be cold…It is quick and easy it whipped up in about 2 minutes if that I added nothing and as I said it was very nice even hubby who loves fresh cream and lots of it had to admit it tasted good…I think it is easier here as our coconut milk is 100% no additives at all…I will be making this in future and it is so much healthier. A non-dairy cream which would go with any dessert.

But not everyone thinks coconut oil is good for you… Coconut oil is “pure poison,” says Harvard professor… Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid….. The plot thickens my coconut oil is liquid? Far to warm here to solidify…

I know coconuts are high in saturated fats but…MODERATION… My health has improved since I have incorporated coconut oil etc in my diet although depending on what I am making I may use olive oil or another healthy oil again it is about balance and moderation…

Some research states that the saturated fat from the coconut may, react differently to other saturated fats in our bodies…..Why? Because most of the saturated fats in coconut are medium-chain fatty acids whose properties metabolism are different from those of animal origin. Medium-chain fatty acids do not undergo degradation and re-esterification processes and are directly used in the body to produce energy. They are not as ‘bad for health’ as other saturated fats. 

Personally, I love coconut and I love how it is utilised here not only for food but for wrapping goods or food whilst steaming…it is environmentally friendly and that suits me…

That’s all for today…I hope you have enjoyed learning about the versatile coconut …

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

Tuesday’s Topic…Breakfast Oats…

Good morning…last week I looked at breakfasts around the world and discussed how many of them are really unhealthy choices …They are ok to eat now and again but not on a regular basis.

Today I am going to look at oats … a popular breakfast dish which is easy to make or can be made and left overnight ready for the morning…

In recent years oats have been dogged by reports that they contain chemicals/pesticides which are harmful to our health  …Are there really pesticides in our oats…The short answer is Yes!

Are they harmful...That is the question…?

Glyphosates have been found in oat cereal, oatmeal, granola and snack bars…tests have shown that more than half contained levels higher than many groups of scientists believed they should have and which gave them concerns over children’s health.

Scary…as on the plus side oats have proven health benefits…they lower cholesterol, burn fat, contain lots of fibre so keep you fuller for longer and contain folate and potassium.

Many health and agriculture experts claim humans don,t absorb glyphosate in the same way as they do other chemicals like DDT.

However, the International Agency for Cancer Research classified Glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen”

Scientists are also of the mind that just because government agencies quote legal limits to us…that legal is not the same as safe…

This month is National Organic Month…I think Oats are one of the products which we should consider buying Organic…

Yes, most organic produce has a higher price tag however many stores now have their own brand organic goods which are considerably better priced than brand names…Savvy shoppers look in the bulk aisles as often there are savings to be made there.

Coupons can be found in-store magazines, on their websites and on retailers web sites … everyone wants you to buy their brand …If you see it on offer and have the storage buy one or two extra packets…Oats stores well and can be used in many recipes…cookies, cereal bars and at least you know they don’t contain additives and lots of added sugars…I call that a win-win situation …

These are some of my favourite breakfast recipes…

Orange and vanilla oats with Citrus salsa

  • 2 Oranges or 4 clementines
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 140g porridge oats
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled, seeded and chopped…I use pomelo as grapefruit is not readily available here.
  • A small handful of mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 6 walnut halves, broken
  • Natural yoghurt to serve (optional)

Peel the oranges, then finely chop 1 tbsp of the peel. Put the peel in a large bowl with the vanilla, oats and 800ml water. Cover and set aside to soak overnight.

To make the salsa, chop the oranges and mix in a bowl with the grapefruit and mint leaves. Cover and chill.

The next morning, tip the porridge oats into a pan and cook until bubbling and thick.

This recipe serves 4 ...for 2 just pour half of the porridge into two bowls and tip the remainder into a container ready to chill, top with half the salsa, seeds and nuts. Divide the other half of the salsa between the two bowls of porridge along with the yoghurt if using. Scatter with the remaining nuts and seeds. The leftover porridge can be reheated the next day with a splash of water. Top with the remaining salsa and yoghurt.

Leftover porridge… How about some pancakes?

  • 150g cold leftover porridge
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100ml milk
  • 2 tsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • fruit, yoghurt and maple syrup or honey, to serve

Mix the porridge, flour, baking powder, banana, eggs and milk in a bowl. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Drop 2-3 tbsp of the porridge mixture into the pan and cook over medium heat until the underside is golden and bubbles are popping on the surface.

Flip over and cook for another few mins until cooked through, then keep warm in a low oven and repeat until you’ve used up all the batter. Serve with the fruit and yoghurt and top with a drizzle of the syrup or honey.


Dairy-Free Oats…Serves 4

  • 100g rolled porridge oats (not instant)
  • 25g creamed coconut, chopped
  • 200g frozen raspberries
  • 125g pot coconut yoghurt
  • a few mint leaves, to serve (optional)

I have added a link here for Amazon Creamed coconut just in case you cannot get creamed coconut in a block where you live although Asian stores should stock it. I also don’t get a commission just saying x

Tip the oats and creamed coconut into a large bowl, pour on 800ml cold water, cover and leave to soak overnight.

The next day, tip the contents of the bowl into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 -10 mins until the oats are cooked. Add the raspberries to the pan with the yoghurt and allow to thaw and melt into the oats off the heat. For 2 servings…Reserve half for the next day and spoon the remainder into 2 bowls. Top each portion with mint leaves, if you like.


I love oats and they can take any toppings…I am a fan of fruit compote with my porridge, Add some cinnamon to your porridge when cooking it and top with bananas and berries, cranberry and orange make a lovely compote, for a treat try maple squash, bacon and blueberries…Very nice x

How do you eat your oats?

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!

Have a great week, stay safe and be well xx

Time for Sally’s Health common where she tells us all about the many benefits of Watercress.

My first memories of watercress were for Sunday afternoon tea in the summer served with Salmon, brown bread or egg and watercress sandwiches. I used to love them…

When I was reading Sally’s marvelous post on the health benefits of watercress it is certainly a most impressive little aquatic herb and packed with lots of iron….those egg and cress sandwiches were my first thought and watercress gives that wonderful distinctive peppery taste and of course if it picked while young and tender it much milder as the pungency gets stronger with age…Enjoy the post xx


via Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – Watercress – More Iron than Spinach