Tag Archives: Mince Pies

How to Have a Greener Thanksgiving and Christmas…

 

I do think that the tide is turning…I also think that we should nurture our young and encourage their ideas as there are so many young people who have discovered ways to help the environment and I am not talking about those who skip school and carry placards but still carry the latest phones and wear the latest fashions without a thought about how those actions hurt the environment, how much of that cannot be recycled and how much of that is produced using child labour instead they are intent on telling us to turn vegan/vegetarian and ditch the transport… Except of course when we are joining the other traffic as we drop them at school or college having picked their friends up on the way…

I live in the real world I know some transport is essential, I know some local transport isn’t as good and cheap as what it is where I live…I also don’t have to get children to school, to their activities and then go to work, come home and cook dinner…Oh, there is also shopping and cleaning…

I could go on but I won’t I will spare you that and rely on the fact that you also have active imaginations and can fill in any gaps.

Change needs to happen in our homes…our shopping habits…

Eating produce in season …Why? Because produce which is eaten at the height of its season, and close to where it was grown, usually tastes better — juicier, more flavourful, fresher.

Research also shows seasonal food can be more nutritious than food consumed out of season, and purchasing from local farms supports the local economy and requires less storage time and travel, which is better for the environment.

Of course, all you lucky people who live in Northern Climes have a glut of beautiful local fruits and vegetables which are typical Thanksgiving and Christmas fare…Luckily Brussels sprouts are grown in the colder North of Thailand but vegetables like parsnips and swede are imported and horrendous prices and that is without taking into account their carbon footprint…

Yes, I can get beautiful young strawberries around Christmas sweet and lovely …so it is swings and roundabouts …Most Christmases I get root vegetables but this year because of this blessed virus there will be no visitors to bring me parsnips, celeriac and swede…BUT I would much rather everyone stayed safe and well so will have to live with what I can get locally…

Advent Calendars there are lovely reusable wooden ones or you could make your own…or make a book I think this one is lovely and so personal…

Thinking about gifts you’re going to buy for Christmas, consider what kind of presents may be more long-lasting than others, and thus reduce the risk of simply being discarded after a short while.

This year due to all the lockdowns and restrictions we all have more time and I think this is beautiful for any age and a keeper…

Thoughtful, long-lasting presents may include a photo album, a plant or something the recipient has specifically said they want and is likely to use time and time again….Homemade cakes, puddings or sweets are always something a loved one would be happy to receive…

Alternatively, you could buy an experience rather than a material thing for Christmas, such as a trip to the theatre. A fun memory is a present that can last a lifetime, after all…it will also help the theatres once this Covid is over as many of them are struggling and it helps us in quarantine a thoughtful gift and knowing that we have something to look forward to …

This video which Tori who has supported me unfailingly throughout the year sent me the link to is worth a look as it suggests ways we can have a greener Christmas…Thank you Tori xxx Tori has also written some great kiddies books..If you still need stocking fillers then please visit her Amazon link 

 

All the items we have in our homes and would be likely to throw away… some really cool ideas… I love the seed idea and snowflakes…

It is also no secret that I love music...It warmed my heart that Coldplay has taken a stand and won’t tour again until they can ensure that their concerts are “actively beneficial” for the environment.

Frontman Chris Martin told BBC News that the band would be “disappointed” if their next tour is not carbon neutral.

Of course, they have made their millions and don’t need to tour again and that puts them in a fortunate position that they are able to call the shots…So fair play to them as it will pave the way forward …I think it is a great move…

It will make the concert promoters more aware and they think in $ and £’s so it is in their best interest to look at plastic and solar power…

Chris Martin said “All of us have to work out the best way of doing our job,”  telling the BBC that the group wants future tours to “have a positive impact.”

It is true as we know we all have to play a part however small it is just like a jigsaw …Lots of small pieces make a bigger picture…

Be wary of your Christmas tree’s carbon footprint…

While some may assume that purchasing a plastic tree would be a more environmentally friendly alternative to buying a real one, this isn’t necessarily the case.

The Carbon Trust outlines that a real Christmas tree has a “significantly lower” carbon footprint than an artificial tree, especially if it is thrown away in a responsible way.

According to the organisation, a natural 2m Christmas tree that does not have roots and is disposed of in a landfill produces a carbon footprint of approximately 16kg of CO2.

I just think a lovely fresh tree or when you are on one of your walks look for any broken branches or a nice piece of wood and just simply dressed with a few lights or some holly or mistletoe it can beautiful…I just think however nice an artificial tree is they are not so cosy and warming as a real one…I have explained that very well just to me it just feels better…if that makes sense…A pressie wrapped in brown paper and tied with string just seems right and proper a real Christmas……

A 2m tree that has roots and is responsibly thrown away after being used at Christmas – by burning it on a bonfire, planting it or having it chipped – has a carbon footprint of around 3.5kg of CO2.

Meanwhile, a 2m plastic Christmas tree has a carbon footprint of around 40kg of CO2, more than 10 times greater than a properly disposed-of real tree.

To read more about the environmental impact of real and artificial Christmas trees, click here.

Did you know? 

Turkey…It is estimated that 10 million turkeys were consumed last Christmas. This also means over 3,000 tonnes of turkey packaging was being used.

Taking this into account, 125,000 tonnes of plastic wrapping used for food will also be discarded over the festive period.

Christmas puddings… the majority of which will be packaged in some form of plastic and cardboard packaging…Last year the UK alone ate 25 million.

Mince pies…Brits eat 175 million…

Mince pies

Putting this in perspective, 1 million mince pie cases equates to 1 tonne of aluminium material.

Just these three festive food items…Conjure up in my mind a staggering amount of waste…

The Solution…

Well…The Christmas pudding and mince pies are easily solvable...Cook from scratch and make your own…No packaging required…If you know someone who can’t or doesn’t cook…Make them some and put them in a pretty container…That is their Christmas present sorted…They will love it!

Turkey… If you buy fresh and local… packaging should be at a minimum just some butchers paper…I know not everyone can do that…However, if you are making your own mince pies and puddings/cake…Be pleased with that reduction in waste and it gives you a whole year to think about next year’s turkey…xx

Turn your recyclables into decorations

Rather than buying decorations, get creative with your recyclables. Vodka bottles, wine bottles and even beer bottles can easily be repurposed as table decorations and candle-holders. You can make origami using old Christmas Cards.

Please share your stories on how you plan to reduce your home’s waste at Christmas we would love to hear them…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.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…We all need to be aware of our own home’s carbon footprints…where does our food come from? How far does it travel…Simple to do but if we all did it…Not only would we support local businesses but reduce our carbon footprint…

green foot prints eco system

 

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

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

Christmas…’ Tis the season of love and laughter…and a Salty Dog…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are Russian…

Then you fast…known as the Nativity Fast…is a period of abstinence and penance practised by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus (December 25)

The fast typically lasts until after evening service or when the stars come out. After the fast, some might eat a traditional Russian dish called kutya. Kutya consists of grains, honey, and poppy seeds, shared from the same bowl to symbolize unity. No meat is allowed.

Oftentimes, a house blessing is also part of the Christmas Eve tradition — a priest will sprinkle holy water in each room and pray for everyone to have a safe and blessed year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and a Merry Christmas xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s have some music…

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

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

Did you Know?

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

That some spondoolies isn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

Time for a story…

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

The Charade – Chapter 16

download-3the-charade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   “I don’t know anyone in York.”

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

   “Okay, and you think I should accept?”

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

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

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

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

TBC…

A Christmas Cocktail…

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

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

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recycling and Climate Change…How to have A Greener Christmas…

Firstly I would love to wish you all a Very Merry and Green Christmas…xx

A green christmas-2991508_640

I would also like to thank you for your ideas and support throughout the year…xxx

I do think that the tide is turning…I also think that we should nurture our young and encourage their ideas as there are so many young people who have discovered ways to help the environment and I am not talking about those who skip school and carry placards but still carry the latest phones and wear the latest fashions without a thought about how those actions hurt the environment, how much of that cannot be recycled and how much of that is produced using child labour instead they are intent on telling us to turn vegan/vegetarian and ditch the transport… Except of course when we are joining the other traffic as we drop them at school or college having picked their friends up on the way…

I live in the real world I know some transport is essential, I know some local transport isn’t as good and cheap as what it is where I live…I also don’t have to get children to school, to their activities and then go to work, come home and cook dinner…Oh, there is also shopping and cleaning…

I could go on but I won’t I will spare you that and rely on the fact that you also have active imaginations and can fill in any gaps.

Change needs to happen in our homes…

This video which Tori who has supported me unfailingly throughout the year sent me the link to is worth a look as it suggests ways we can have a greener Christmas…Thank you Tori xxx Tori has also written some great kiddies books..If you still need stocking fillers then please visit her Amazon link 

 

All the items we have in our homes, and would be likely to throw away… some really cool ideas… I love the seed idea and snowflakes…

It is also no secret that I love music...It warmed my heart that Coldplay has taken a stand and won’t tour again until they can ensure that their concerts are “actively beneficial” for the environment.

Frontman Chris Martin told BBC News that the band would be “disappointed” if their next tour is not carbon neutral.

Of course, they have made their millions and don’t need to tour again and that puts them in a fortunate position that they are able to call the shots…So fair play to them as it will pave the way forward …I think it is a great move…

It will make the concert promoters more aware and they think in $ and £’s so it is in their best interest to look at plastic and solar power…

Chris Martin said “All of us have to work out the best way of doing our job,”  telling the BBC that the group wants future tours to “have a positive impact.”

It is true as we know we all have to play a part however small it is just like a jigsaw …Lots of small pieces make a bigger picture…

This made me so happy...For years I have followed the work which is being done to clean up the River Thames…There have even been whales sighted and animals and fish which had deserted the Thames are coming back…

THE RIVER THAMES RUNS 215 miles, from Gloucestershire through London to the North Sea, and it hasn’t always been much of a source of English pride. In the 19th century it was known as the “Great Stink,” and Charles Dickens called it a “polluted stream” in David Copperfield (1850)By the late 1950s, after World War II bombings had destroyed much of London’s Victorian sewage system, it was declared “biologically dead.”

But the Thames is back. 

Sea Horses are unknown…But they have appeared…For me, like unicorns, they are magical creatures…

Numbers are steadily increasing… It is all great news for the old lady Thames …she is home to seals, otters, and all sorts now …

This was all achieved by people just doing it…Getting on and doing it…Quietly going about the business of cleaning up the Thames…For some it was their job for others it was their passion.

Last week I talked about wrapping presents…This week I will give you a few facts about the food we eat and what it comes packaged in…

Did you know? 

Turkey…It is estimated that 10 million turkeys were consumed last Christmas. This also means over 3,000 tonnes of turkey packaging was being used.

Taking this into account, 125,000 tonnes of plastic wrapping used for food will also be discarded over the festive period.

Christmas puddings… the majority of which will be packaged in some form of plastic and cardboard packaging…Last year the UK alone ate 25 million.

Mince pies…Brits eat 175 million…

Mince pies

Putting this in perspective, 1 million mince pie cases equates to 1 tonne of aluminium material.

Just these three festive food items…Conjure up in my mind a staggering amount of waste…

The Solution…

Well…The Christmas pudding and mince pies are easily solvable…Cook from scratch and make your own…No packaging required…If you know someone who can’t or doesn’t cook…Make them some and put them in a pretty container…That is their Christmas present sorted…They will love it!

Turkey… If you buy fresh and local… packaging should be at a minimum just some butchers paper…I know not everyone can do that…However, if you are making your own mince pies and puddings/cake…Be pleased with that reduction in waste and it gives you a whole year to think about next year’s turkey…xx

Please share your stories on how you plan to reduce your home’s waste at Christmas we would love to hear them…xx

Like Peggy who is a self-confessed recycling, re-use, re-purpose nut. A newspaper makes good gift wrap. And I’m still using the three strings of Christmas lights I bought in 1981.

I am impressed that lights last that long and well done to Peggy for re-using her lights year after year…I have some which are a few years old but I think the point is that if they work why do we want to buy new ones?

About Carol Taylor:

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

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

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

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…We all need to be aware of our own home’s carbon footprints…where does our food come from? How far does it travel…Simple to do but if we all did it…Not only would we support local businesses but reduce our carbon footprint…

green foot prints eco system

 

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

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

Christmas Recipes…Mince Pies and Sausage Rolls.

sausage rolls mince pies home made

It’s that time of year when there is never enough hours in the day isn’t it or they are and because we have been dashing about frantically we are just too tired…

I always get my mince pies and sausage rolls made and store in the freezer uncooked and just take them out as required.

Pastry Recipe.

This recipe is my mums she makes the best pastry ever and I try really hard to match hers but she once told me that no two batches of pastry are ever alike and that the only person who realises that is moi….and I think she is right..mums usually are 🙂

I use half fat to flour so for example 8 oz  Flour and 4 oz fat.

Ice cold water added 1 tbsp at a time( the amount depends on flour used)

1 egg beaten for the glaze.

I know that fat varies depending on where you live, in the Uk ..well spoilt for choice because we invented pastry…well from as far back as the Romans when it was crude flour and water wrapped around meat and game before cooking and no way would you eat it…it was to retain meat juices.

Over time pastry was enriched with fat and milk and began to vaguely resemble today’s shortcrust. But living here in Thailand my choice is restricted…..I have a choice of pastry fat or Crispo…sometimes I mix the two when making meat pies but I digress.

For mince pies, I use the pastry fat. When making pastry it must be kept cool which here is never easy ..so fat from the fridge, iced water from the fridge and fan madly whirring to keep the air cool..and me folks…I touch the pastry mix as little as possible, I quickly rub the fat into flour to resemble breadcrumbs, add iced water gradually, draw together with your fingers to make a ball, if too dry add more water, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 mins in the fridge.

When I roll I use the heel of my hand to start to flatten pastry and roll gently out to desired thickness…I handle as little as possible to keep the pastry cool.

Using a pastry cutter, cut circles and line patty tins, add filling and top with a pastry lid. Brush tops with beaten egg. Cook in the oven on 200c/gas7 for 15-20 mins until golden. Remove from oven, cool slightly and dust with icing sugar.

 

If you haven’t made your sweet mincemeat yet then never fear the recipe is here

Note: Some of you may have noticed I don’t add sugar to my shortcrust pastry…With the sweetness of the filling and the icing dusting, I /we all feel it is sugar overload but personal preference if you like to add 1 tbsp sugar to breadcrumbs before adding water.

I also use the same pastry for my sausage rolls…

Now….if you make them now omit the cooking stage and freeze uncooked in a sealed container separate the layers with greaseproof paper and just take out however many you want as needed and cook…Simples!

For sausage rolls, I use the same pastry. I add finely chopped onions, garlic and a little sage to my sausage meat or I did in the UK….i can’t get sausage meat here so I make my own very finely chop my pork making sure I add a little of the fat and then add the seasoning as above.

To make the sausage rolls just roll out your pastry take some sausage meat and roll it to form a sausage put the sausage meat on the pastry and roll. Just wet the edge slightly and either use a fork to make some holes in the top or as I do make a couple of slice on the top of the pasty as in the picture.. Cut into equal size pieces and put on a baking tray and then brush the top if the pastry with milk or an egg wash and pop in a preheated oven 200C for 15 mins then reduce the heat to 180C for another 10-15 minutes or until your pastry is golden…It also depends on the size of your sausage rolls.

sausage-rolls-pastry

Home made sausage rolls

Once cooked put on a cooling rack and then store in a lidded container.

Enjoy!

About Carol Taylor:

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

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

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

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

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

If you love this recipe please pin me xxx

Christmas Recipes…Prepare now..Freeze for later…

 

christmas-1695531_1920The time is just flying by now it’s 7th December already…

Have you finished shopping? Have you wrapped your presents yet?preparation done? Don’t know what to make? Well never fear Carol is here???

Today I am going to give you a few recipes and tips about what you can cook in advance to make life just that bit easier…

Sausage rolls and mince pies

Mince pies and Sausage Rolls

We have made our sweet mincemeat...haven’t we???

Pastry Recipe.

This recipe is my mums she makes the best pastry ever and I try really hard to match hers but she once told me that no two batches of pastry are ever alike and that the only person who realises that is moi….and I think she is right..mums usually are 🙂

I use half fat to flour so for example 8 oz  Flour and 4 oz fat.

Ice cold water added 1 tbsp at a time( the amount depends on flour used)

1 egg beaten for the glaze.

I know that fat varies depending on where you live, in the Uk ..well spoilt for choice because we invented pastry…well from as far back as the Romans when it was crude flour and water wrapped around meat and game before cooking and no way would you eat it…it was to retain meat juices.

Over time pastry was enriched with fat and milk and began to vaguely resemble today’s shortcrust.But living here in Thailand my choice is restricted…..I have a choice of pastry fat or Crispo…sometimes I mix the two when making meat pies but I digress.

For mince pies, I use the pastry fat. When making pastry it must be kept cool which here is never easy ..so fat from the fridge, iced water from the fridge and fan madly whirring to keep the air cool..and me folks…I touch the pastry mix as little as possible, I quickly rub the fat into flour to resemble breadcrumbs, add iced water gradually, draw together with your fingers to make a ball, if too dry add more water, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 mins in the fridge.

When I roll I use the heel of my hand to start to flatten pastry and roll gently out to desired thickness…I handle as little as possible to keep cool.

Using a pastry cutter, cut circles and line patty tins, add filling and top with a pastry lid. Brush tops with beaten egg. Cook in the oven on 200c/gas7 for 15-20 mins until golden. Remove from oven, cool slightly and dust with icing sugar.

Note: Some of you may have noticed I don’t add sugar to my shortcrust pastry…With the sweetness of the filling and the icing dusting  I /we all feel it is sugar overload but personal preference if you like to add 1 tbsp sugar to breadcrumbs before adding water.

I also use the same pastry for my sausage rolls…

Now….if you make them now omit the cooking stage and freeze uncooked in a sealed container separate the layers with greaseproof paper and just take out however many you want as needed and cook…Simples!

For sausage rolls, I use the same pastry. I add finely chopped onions, garlic and a little sage to my sausage meat or I did in the UK….i can’t get it here so I make my own very finely chop my pork making sure I add a little of the fat and then add the seasoning as above.

Cranberry Sauce.

  • 3  cups or 12oz 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.

 Stuffing Mix:

Now stuffing mix is hard to get here and because it is imported also expensive. I have tried various stuffings in the past with limited success…we didn’t like them!

I found this recipe on a blog the other week and it sounded great…It had bacon in it…

Picture this…. I thought I had all the ingredients .. wrong!….no bacon and nearest shop was a way away so I put my thinking cap on and tweaked the recipe and it turned out brilliant…..Replaced the bacon with Minced Pork, The stuffing mix( which) I had not heard of became just breadcrumbs. Chestnuts I didn’t have but they were optional.

The celery became Thai celery which is much smaller more the size of coriander…

Ingredients:

  • 200 gm of Minced Pork
  • 6 oz  of breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz finely chopped chestnuts( optional)
  • 5 shallots finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of Thai celery chopped finely. Which when chopped did take on more of a celery smell.
  • Freshly made chicken stock.
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper.
  • Tbsp dried Sage
  • Fresh rosemary.
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme.

Heat pan with a glug of olive oil and 1oz butter. Add shallots and garlic cook 2/3 mins until soft but not coloured add mince and celery and chestnuts if using cook for a further 4/5 mins. Add breadcrumbs gradually moistening mix with spoonfuls of stock as required.

The mix should be fairly thick but soft so you are able to form balls.

stuffing-mix

Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cool slightly and then form into balls.

If you want to freeze them then do it at this stage. Pack into a freezer box and all ready for Christmas day.

If not then cook in oven until lightly browned and crispy approx 20/30 mins on 180 degrees. I didn’t need to add any additional fat as the oil and butter already incorporated in the stuffing mix kept them moist and not too dry but if required add more oil.

I generally don’t like meat in stuffing mixes but the amount I added was small and gave a nice texture and flavour but wasn’t the overriding taste.

This is now going to be my Christmas stuffing.

Pigs in Blankets:

  • 8 thin slices smoked bacon
  • 16 chipolata 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 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.

Bread Sauce.

Bread Sauce

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.

 

What to make in advance???

Yesterday I pickled some more onions and just hope I don’t have to pickle more before Christmas I made 4 jars so even the one who shall be nameless doesn’t eat a jar full a week.

pickled onions Dec 2017

  • 2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.
  • 11/2 pints pickling vinegar…I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.
  • 2tbsp Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, white peppercorns, coriander seeds.

Method2 days before mix 2pts water with 4 oz salt pour over onions, cover and keep in cool place. I keep in the fridge due to the heat here.

Then drain onions and pat dry. Pack into sterilised jars layering pickling spices as you go then pour vinegar over the onions making sure they are completely covered. Store for 4-6 weeks and they ready…They are the crispest onions I have eaten, far better than shop bought and generally don’t get to 4 weeks let alone 6 weeks as they get dipped into …men!

That’s all for today…..

Take care and have fun x