Tag Archives: Hummus

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Review… Pine Nuts…

Welcome to Friday Food reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…The Pine Nut.

This teardrop-shaped, delicious little nut is often used in making pesto and in the cooking of other dishes. Pine nuts (also called pignoli) are the edible seeds of pine trees. Seeds are the inner, usually edible part of a hard, inedible nut casing.

Which pine trees produce these expensive little nuts then…From about 120 species of these evergreen conifers of the pine family (Pinaceae), found throughout the world Approximately 20 species of pine trees produce pine seeds that are large enough to harvest.

The most commonly harvested seeds come from four particular pine tree varieties: the Mexican pinon (Pinus cembroides), the Colorado pinion (P. edulis), the Italian stone pine (P. pinea), and the Chinese nut pine (P. koraiensis).

Why is the Pine Nut so expensive…?

Ahhhhh that makes sense now…

Pine nuts… those tiny little gems are packed with flavour. Also known as piñón, pinoli or pignoli, they’re most associated with Mediterranean cuisine but go great as a garnish in so many recipes.

Perhaps the most well known of the pine nut recipes, pesto is a classic Italian sauce with a load of garlic, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil, along with our favourite pine nuts. This sauce is super versatile and is great on pasta, pizzas and salads. It also makes a tasty marinade.

As pine nuts are so expensive my aim is to use them in as many recipes as possible like these ones below by just enhancing the recipes with a 1/2 cup of pinenuts can make so much difference…

Though pine nuts are not a standard ingredient in hummus, they are used in this recipe to greatly enhance the flavours. Your favourite dip has never tasted so good…Just make this easy hummus recipe…

Then toast a handful or half a cup full of pine nuts then garnish the hummus with the pine nuts a drizzle of good olive oil, some dried oregano or black pepper or some crushed juniper berries whatever you fancy …Its looks and tastes delicious…

How about a nice crusty bread with a soft interior with great cheesy nutty flavours….Just take your favourite bread recipe then add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese and cook as normal …I will be making this for New Year but will use my Dutch Oven recipe and add the pine nuts and parmesan…I tried some bread with pine nuts and parmesan at a local Japanese bakery which is what gave me the idea when I was thinking how I can make a pack of pine nuts go a long way…

Coq au vin is a lovely one-pot chicken dish add a garnish of toasted pine nuts and it is taken to the next level. Tender melt in your mouth chicken braised in wine with dried apricots, tons of fresh herbs and garnished with pine nuts. This one can’t be missed!… It is definitely one to try…

We love fish…  baked fish gently seasoned with lime/lemon and garlic then garnished with fresh parsley and toasted pine nuts…maybe a few olives…Delicious.

Brussell Sprouts with pancetta, cranberries and pine nuts…those Brussels are in the news again it’s that time of year. Brits love Brussels…

  • 6 ounces pancettadiced medium or bacon.
  • 2lbs Brussels sproutstrimmed and halved
  •  Salt and pepperto taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  •  tbsp  balsamic vinegar
  •  cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries.

Let’s Cook!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In an oven-safe 12-inch pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crisp. Remove with a
slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the Brussels sprouts to the empty skillet, season
with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally until they start to brown. Remove from the
heat and stir in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, tossing once or twice. Increase the oven
temperature to 425 degrees F, stir in the pine nuts and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and stir in the pancetta and dried cranberries.
This recipe serves 4-6 people but is quite easy to halve for two of you…

Soup...There is nothing like a warming bowl of homemade soup…want to jazz it up a little make it look extra special then take 1/4 cup and toast the pine nuts, 1/4 cup crème fraîche, some chopped chives, and parsley, A broccoli floret… Garnish the top of your soup and ….Serve.

I hope this has given you some ideas as to how you can spread this little packet of pine nuts a long way…not only are they tasty but they are nutritious…Pine nuts are rich in magnesium, iron, antioxidants, zinc, and protein, which can help with diabetes management, heart health, and brain health…

Any recipe which calls for the addition of nuts then you can substitute other nuts like the Walnut…Both walnut and pine nuts are high in calories, dietary fibre, iron, potassium and protein. Pine nut has more niacin, however, walnut contains more Vitamin B6 and folate. Pine nut is a great source of Vitamin E. Walnut is an excellent source of calcium.

They slightly vary in some nutrients but overall both are good nuts to add to a healthy diet…

The next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to pick up a pack of these delicious little gems. They may look expensive, but a little goes a long way… as I have demonstrated above…

Thank you for joining me today I hope you have enjoyed reading about the healthy little pine nut and if you want to join in the conversation and leave a comment you are welcome as we love to chat over here and share tips…See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets it will also be New Years Day and the beginning of another New Year …Carol xx



The Culinary Alphabet with a little twist…(yum som O)…

Good morning everyone and Pete… time for another post which is this crazy idea from one of my fellow scribes …but food fun…this week the letter O…Enjoy!

I have left some easy ones for Pete who sometimes is a little devil I am sure he is thinking up a new challenge for me after this one…So Pete what are your O’s and you can’t have jello, jalapeno, alfredo, avocado or antipasto…


A popular Filipino dish and cooking process in Philippine cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade.


Originally flavoured from bitter almonds, various modern commercial brands are prepared from a base of apricot stones, peach stones, or almonds, all of which are natural sources of the benzaldehyde that provides the principal almond-like flavour of the liqueur.

Popular for making cocktails if you love the flavour balance of sweet and sour, then you’ll enjoy the classic cocktail, amaretto sour…A favourite of mine…


Seared bonito and sushi are a popular Japanese street food …Bonito flakes are used to make katsuobushi-dashi, the second most favoured type of dashi (Japanese broth) for miso soup. Bonito flakes are also used for onigiri filling and to make ponzu sauce.

Mmmm not for me as I don’t eat raw eggs but a popular Japanese dish.


One of my favourites I love chorizo sausage just cooked with lots of garlic and dried chillies in good olive oil and served with crusty homemade bread to dip in the delicious oil just beautiful.

In Europe, chorizo is a fermented, cured, smoked sausage, which may be sliced and eaten without cooking, or added as an ingredient to add flavour to other dishes like a paella…Chorizo is something that I think is worth spending a bit more to get the original chorizo well worth the extra cost.


Is a fish stew originating in San Francisco, California. It is typically a combination of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish, all sourced from salt-water ocean, in this case, the Pacific. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce. It is an Italian-American dish and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine.


Is a dark-skinned wine grape from the Monferrato hills of Northwestern Italy.

Dolcetto produces soft-styled, fruity wines with colours varying from deep ruby to purple. They are characterized particularly by their low acidity, which is the source of the variety’s name; Dolcetto means “little sweet one”. Some might understandably assume that Dolcetto wines are all sweet, but this is certainly not the case – sweet-styled Dolcetto is something of a rarity.


The difference between coffee and espresso has to do with the method of preparation, starting with the beans themselves. Coffee beans designated for espresso are generally roasted for a longer amount of time than beans meant for drip coffee. Espresso beans are also ground on the finer side, more like sand than gravel.


Espresso Martini is also one of my favourite cocktails…The espresso martini is a cold, coffee-flavoured cocktail made with vodka, espresso coffee, coffee liqueur, and sugar syrup. It is not a true martini as it contains neither gin nor vermouth BUT it is delicious…


Fino is a dry, pale white sherry wine.  It is made from the Palomino grape and biologically aged, entirely under a layer of flor…What is flor? It’s something that grows on the surface of wine: a film of yeasts. And it alters the flavour of the wine in interesting ways.

Two wine regions have become famous for flor. The first is Jerez in Spain’s Andalucia region, where the biologically aged sherries Fino and Manzanilla develop under flor. The second is France’s Jura region, where Vin Jaune also develops this way. There are other places with a tradition with flor-aged wines, but they are less well known.


Frappuccino is a trademarked brand of the Starbucks Corporation for a line of iced, blended coffee drinks. It consists of coffee or crème base, blended with ice and other various ingredients like flavoured syrups, usually topped with whipped cream and or spices.


The Spanish name for the chickpea a wonderful versatile bean…Think hummus and aquafaba…


It a chilli…I bet you wondered how long it would take me to sneak a chilli in…lol. The habanero is a hot variety of the chilli and measures 100,000–350,000 SHU…


Kangeroo is gamey tasting meat, very lean, cooked correctly it is tender and tasty. A stronger flavour than beef it is produced in Australia from wild kangaroos and exported worldwide to over 60 countries.

Hunted for their meat by the Indigenous Australians for many generations, kangaroo meat wasn’t legalised for human consumption until 1980 in Southern Australia, followed by other states in 1993.


It’s cheese…Manchego is a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed. It is aged between 60 days and 2 years.


A soup made from diced tripe slow-cooked with vegetables. like plantains, cassava, bell peppers, capers, limes ..most commonly found in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines.


A sweet, seedless citrus hybrid which is similar to a grapefruit…which brings me nicely to Yum Som O  which is one of my favourite Thai salads made with pomelo and prawns…


Freshly made pomelo salad

A light refreshing salad as a main meal or a starter…


Breadcrumbs…very popular here in Thailand Panko are made from a crustless white bread that is processed into flakes and then dried. … the result is a drier crispier food…These breadcrumbs have a dryer and flakier consistency than regular breadcrumbs, and as a result, they absorb less oil.

Parmigiano Reggiano:

An Italian hard cheese made from cows milk.


A popular Vietnamese street food…a broth with noodles and meat…Vietnams National Dish it is now popular around the world.

Basically,  a bowl of pho consists of a foundation of rice noodles topped with thinly sliced raw beef, which gets cooked when a portion of steaming, spiced beef broth is poured over the top…very similar to Thai noodle soup…

Shishito Peppers:

A wrinkly green mildly spicy pepper…shishito peppers are known for having a high vitamin C content they are also loaded with manganese, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin B6.


The name for a Korean set of eating utensils…


Think sashimi or sushi they are the roe(eggs) of a flying fish which has a natural, vibrant bright red colour…

Uovo in Raviolo:

Is the delicious dish of ravioli which has a runny yolk in the centre…

Xo Sauce:

Made from dried seafood including dried scallops (conpoy), fish, and shrimp, which are cooked with chilli peppers, onions, and garlic.

This popular sauce takes several hours to make which is why it can be quite expensive to buy…it can be found in Chinese food stores and online.

That’s all for today I hope you have found something interesting and unknown…I have left some O’s for you, Pete …x

Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know what I am going to say it is free and proven to be good for your health…..Laughter aside…My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who have been or will be touched by this Covid-19 virus…the new lockdowns and restrictions..stay safe be aware and social isolate where required and we will beat this thing…xx

Thank you so much for your visit today I hope you have enjoyed the read…Please feel free to leave a comment as you know I love to chat…Love Carol xxx


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘H’ is for Honey, Hamburgers, Hummus, Herbs, Haggis and Hoisin Sauce

The letter H…Honey and all things nice…I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it…xx.

No more Diets…Healthy Eating …

BANNER CHOCOLATE CAKE peanut butter rice cakes

Hello and welcome… How is your healthy eating going are you still feeling enthused after all that Christmas Fare and ready to eat healthily, have more energy and keep the advancing years at bay? Or is that old enemy Will Power creeping into your life… He creeps about silently but deadly… He just loves it when you sneak a piece or two of that cake that is saying ” Eat me”

Taking a slice of chocolate cake

His little face lights up and he knows he is winning…

Did you know that the more you resist the temptation that he starts to disappear…He does like a willow the wisp…

The thing is the more you give in he grows bigger and like the gremlins, he sprouts out lots of little Will Powers they are so small they can sneak in anywhere…

gremlin smiling

They are so clever they plant little ideas and feed on your thoughts…and before you know it you are back to square one…

I will now turn you over to Sally @ Smorgasbord as she has some very sensible ideas on how to find some willpower unlike my little flight of fantasy…haha…So please pop over to Sally’s and if a Gentle Detox is how you like to start your New Year then Parts 1 & 2 will tell you all you need to know …Three brilliant posts full of good ideas and sensible easy to understand information to get you up and running…


Who remembers rice cakes??

processed rice cakes

Way back in the late 1980’s to 1990″s when I followed one fad diet after another…When low fat and high carbs were one of the Die(t) trends…Rice Cakes were touted as the thing to eat…Cardboard in taste although low-calorie at 35 calories a cake…Looking back they were nothing more than a mouthful or three which had minimal vitamins and minerals, no fat, no fibre and maybe just maybe a gm of protein…Refined carbs which converted very quickly into sugar, they were sprinkled with salt and generally sprayed with artificial flavourings…Did they take my mind off food…No! They left me feeling sluggish and still craving so I demolished the whole packet…

Please tell me they are not still on sale??

Healthy Snacks:

Greek yoghurt and berries with granola.

Hummus with veggies…Get the recipe here

Dark chocolate with 1 oz of almonds or walnuts.

Guacamole with red peppers

2 hardboiled eggs with some cherry tomatoes

A cup of homemade vegetable soup…When I was cold I used to keep a pot simmering and if I felt a bit peckish then I would just pour my self a mug full and it kept away the hunger pangs.

Salsa with baked tortilla chips or veggies.

To bake your own using corn or flour tortillas, a light brushing of oil or a spritz of cooking spray and a bit of salt, you can bake tortilla chips in your own oven and enjoy them while they are still warm.

Peanut Butter and a banana wrapped in a whole grain wrap.

To make your own Peanut Butter couldn’t be easier…

Rather than buying store-bought peanut butter which is full of nasties, it is easier and it is very quick to make your own.

It is the quickest easiest recipe to make ever, the kids can help blitz it and as well as being tasty it has no nasties.

Let’s Cook!

Take 500 gm raw peanuts. Put in oven on tray and cook on high for 10 mins. Take out of oven and reserve a few (if you like crunchy peanut butter) like me. Put the remainder of nuts in a food processor and blitz at 1 min intervals scrapping down the sides. Do this for 4 mins or until smooth.

Add 1 tsp of salt,1 tbsp oil and remainder of reserved nuts if using.

Blitz again for 1 min and put in a suitable container. Stores in fridge for 3/4 weeks…….IT’S DELISH!

Just a few snack ideas to keep you going… What is your favourite snack ???

We all know that to enable us to get healthy we need to up our exercise…

Exercise…That has always filled me with horror…I have braved the gym in the past but no more…I think that with exercise it needs to be something which you enjoy doing and  I enjoy walking and at my age, I think that is enough I have also and I think it is the time of year…I am a tidy person…A neat freak…I feel the need to clean out drawers and cupboards…So each morning I tackle one or two and it is surprising how all that up and down and cleaning out the cupboards is a good little workout…No cupboards today…It was my bathroom cleaning day my ensuite walls and floors and my grandson’s bathroom…What is so difficult about screwing back toothpaste tops, shower gel and shampoo lids etc …

toothbrushes toothpaste no lid

After cleaning 3 bathrooms and that is no mean feat…I went for my morning walk so I feel quite energised at the moment…

Tomorrow I tackle another cupboard…

What is your favourite exercise???

Thank you for reading and please keep the comments coming I love to hear from you it makes my day 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 will be more on this on my blog this year

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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

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

Hummus 3 ways…Traditional, Beetroot and Apricot Hummus.

Christmas Recipes Hummus 3 ways (1)

My Christmas Recipes today are for hummus three ways and homemade Tahini paste… I had always bought my hummus it has only been since I have lived here and not being able to buy hummus that I investigated how to make it…The other factor was the extortionate cost of Tahini paste. To say I was amazed at how easy and quick it is to make is an understatement…this picture has the date and was my very first batch so I have been making it for a few years now…I think I  need to update my photo next time I make it…

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 paste 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 made and ready to use. How easy is that?

Next step…Hummus.

  • 3 tbsp Tahini Paste
  •  2 tbsp fresh Lime Juice and blitz in the food processor
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and the juice (Aquafaba) reserved and put in the fridge to chill
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil or Aquafaba Juice
  • 1 clove Garlic,
  • half tsp ground Cumin
  • half to one tsp salt to season

Put the tahini paste and the Lime/lemon Juice in the food processor or liquidiser and blitz.

Add half of drained, rinsed can of chickpeas and again blitz 1-2 mins.

Add the other half of Chick Peas and blitz again 1-2 mins.

Add garlic and cumin if using and the oil/aquafaba juice to loosen hummus.

Taste and season…

Put in a suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with  Paprika.

Voila, it’s now ready to eat with Sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.

This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.

To make a change add beetroot or apricots.

Beetroot Hummus.

To the Hummus recipe above add 250 gm cooked beetroot and reduce tahini paste to  2 tbsp. You may want to add more seasoning as beets have quite a strong flavour but it makes a lovely change from a traditional hummus and looks so pretty.

Apricot Hummus.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil, more for serving
  • Salt to season
  • 1 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp  tahini
  • 2 tbsp lime/ lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped apricots.
  • A sprinkle of paprika or red pepper flakes to serve or sesame seeds if you don’t like the heat.

Combine 3/4 cup aquafaba water, 3 tbsp. oil, the chickpeas, tahini, lemon/lime juice, garlic, apricots and 1/4 tsp. salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with some more oil and a sprinkle of paprika pepper,  red pepper flakes or sesame seeds.

Serve with pitta bread or cut vegetables or to add a bit of spice quarter your pitta bread and separate into two halves Make a little paste in a small bowl with 5 tbsp olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, a good tbsp of red pepper flakes or seasoning of your choice put the pits pieces smooth side up on two baking trays brush the tops with the oil and bake at 425 F until crisp about 7 mins …

These are really nice, crispy with a touch of spice and lovely with hummus.


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






Egyptian Lamb Flatbreads

This recipe is a family favourite and a real treat for us as lamb where we live now is very hard to find…It could be made with other meat I just think lamb has that specail taste in this recipe which the other meats don’t quite give or it may just be the fact I don’t have lamb very often so savour the taste even more…Enjoy!

Retired? No one told me!

Lamb is very expensive here and a treat for us…Monday we had a lovely butterflied shoulder and had some leftovers ..cold lamb is not very nice so decided to make some flat bread..a first time for me and I was really pleased with how they came out..very quick and easy to make and use the leftover lamb. Hence my Egyptian Lamb flatbreads.

Egyptian lamb flat breads (2)


Flat Bread:

flat-bread-easy-recipe Flat breads

  • 1/2 cup water.
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 cups flour.
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder.
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt.

Filling Mix:

  • 300 gm leftover cooked lamb…can use beef, pork or chicken.
  • 1 lemon finely zested.
  • juice half lemon.
  • 2 tsp black pepper.
  • 1 tsp oregano or marjoram.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • I tsp Paprika.
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted.
  • 2 eggs beaten.
  • 1 tsp sea salt….I always use Himalayan salt.
  • 4 Spring onions finely sliced.

Let’s Cook!

To make flatbreads.

Sift dry…

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