Tag Archives: Pork Crackling

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Good morning and we have rain…Long-awaited rain…it has cleared the air and cooled it down…lovely…it has now settled into a steady rain there have been some fierce winds luckily no damage here although some of the houses in the outlying villages haven’t been so lucky…

Thank you for joining me for Whimsical Wednesdays I have no clear idea of what or where my thoughts will take me yet this post is always written on the fly I just start writing and go where my thoughts take me..maybe I should make some tea and let the thoughts flow free…

I can always remember my mum saying “Beware the Ides of March her other saying sticks in my head is ” March comes “in like a lion, out like a lamb.”…I always thought she referred to the weather…Well, not so in 1973…

March 1973 was the year my oldest son arrived into the world…March is notorious for being wed, windy and cold so my baby layette consisted of lots of hand-knitted cardigans, bonnets and blankets…Not so when Sean came into the world on the 14th of March it was hot and sunny…my mother who always came and stayed for the first 2 weeks of my confinement was drying and airing his nappies outside it was so warm…he slept in a cotton vest and a nappy it was too hot for the winter clothes we had ready for him…There was a mad dash around the shops by my sisters and friends for little cotton suits…147 hrs of sunny shine…

March -�Sunny, mild and very dry.

Mean Temperature � 7.3�C
�Monthly Highest �17.4�C� �Total Rain � 14 mm
�Monthly Lowest �-3.5�C �Total Sun 147 hrs

March 14 is also Pi Day which celebrates the annual occurrence of 3/14 with math jokes, pi-reciting competitions, and (of course) freshly baked pie.

But what does “Beware the Ides of March” actually mean?

It was Shakespeare…In Julius Caesar…Supposedly, in 44 BC, a seer told Julius Caesar that his downfall would come no later than the Ides of March. Caesar ignored him, and when the fated day rolled around he joked with the seer, “The Ides of March have come.” The seer replied, “aye, Caesar; but not gone.” Caesar continued on to a senate meeting at the Theatre of Pompey and was summarily murdered by as many as 60 conspirators. Ironically, the spot where Caesar was assassinated is protected in today’s Rome as a no-kill cat sanctuary.

So, if someone tells you “Beware the Ides of March,” they are probably just letting you know they’ve read Shakespeare.

March is also the second of the seven months of the year to have 31 days…

Let’s have a tune…

music notes

Born on this day 4th March 1971… Feargal Lawlor, drummer, with Irish rock band The Cranberries who had the 1994 UK No.14 single ‘Linger’. The bands 1993 album Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can’t We spent 86 weeks on the UK chart.

86 weeks in the album charts…But who spent 18 weeks at number 1?

Frankie Lane with I Believe…

How did he manage that? American crooner Frankie scored his first ever UK Number 1 in April 1953, just after his 40th birthday and seemed reluctant to let go. Not content with notching up nine weeks at the summit, after a week at Number 2, he went back up to spend a further six at the top. But it wasn’t over yet. Famous composer Mantovani then claimed the Number 1 spot, before Frankie gave him a nudge and racked up an additional three weeks. Only five songs in history have scored three separate stints at the top! The other 4 were Bryan Adams, Wet, Wet, Wet, Drake and Queen…

My pick…not because I don’t like listening to the other tracks and not because I think this is their best track…Just because…

I also love Angel Eyes…

Did you know?  on 7th March 1933, the Monopoly Game was introduced… It was originally the Landlord’s Game a board game patented in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie as U.S. Patent 748,626. It was a realty and taxation game intended to educate users about Georgism. It was the inspiration for the board game Monopoly.

monopoly-1356307_640

I think the better question for me to ask is who hasn’t played Monopoly?

Peanut Butter and Pork crackling two of my favourite foods…It was Peanut butter day on March 1st and today is …Ta Da…drum roll, please…Crown Roast of Pork Day…

 

I have never cooked a crown roast of pork but after watching this I think I will be doing so…it looks awesome…Crown Pork roasts are impressive and for me, they make me picture banquets in times past with this luscious centrepiece although there are no tales of the origins of this day or its creator just mentions that today is the day and that it can only be Crown Roast of Pork nothing less…

Pigs have been around for centuries as far back as 5000BC…A relative of the wild boar it is said to be the most eaten meat in the world…I wonder if that will change in future years…

Did you know?

Today 4th March 1922 the first Vampire film Nosferatu premiered @ The Berlin Zoological Gardens, Germany an adaptation for the film of Bram Stokers, Dracula…

I loved the old Dracula movies with Christopher Lee although I am getting used to some of the newer versions…

That’s all for today …Thank you for joining me on my whimsical ramblings I do hope you have enjoyed this post…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.

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 fabulous week xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – How to Cook the Perfect Sunday Roast

Sunday Roast…There are those who cook a great one and there are those whom just the thought strikes fear into their heart…Never fear…CarolCooks2 and a roast dinner…haha…Come with me and all will be revealed…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

How to cook the perfect Sunday Roast.

Sunday Roast…They range from the best to the worst they also strike fear into the heart of many people…Some people thing it is the easiest meal in the world to cook and then find out it isn’t…

Why?

Meat…Depending on what meat you are cooking it could take anything from an hour to three plus hours…

Potatoes…Who doesn’t love a nice golden, crispy potato with a soft fluffy inside?

Vegetables… Most are cooked in a flash…

But they all have different cooking times and methods …Getting them all perfect and ready at the same time is no mean feat.

If Yorkshire (puddings) come into the equation then…That can throw a spanner in the works…They should be well risen and golden… Flat and stodgy doesn’t cut it!

We used to cook one of the best roast dinners in the area when we had our…

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Christmas Recipes…Home Cured Ham & Bacon…

Christmas Ham and Bacon (2)

I have home cured my own ham/ bacon for a long time now…

Those of you who know me are well aware of my aversion to anything processed and ham/ bacon is no exception to that rule. The ham you purchase from the shops is just slimy, and not nice at all….The bacon of doubtful origins at best especially where I live now…In the Uk you could get some lovely home cured kinds of bacon and hams not so here or if there is I have not found them….I have also been experimenting with various different ways of curing bacon and ham which may be more healthy…

Bacon contains nitrates which some people have an aversion to using or it causes headaches and other adverse symptoms.

Today I am using celery juice..just put the celery into the juicer and out the other side and viola this lovely vibrant green juice.

Now celery also contains nitrates but they are naturally occurring nitrates although for some people it may still cause headaches but if your aversion is to chemicals only then celery may be a better way to cure your bacon.

I used 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.

For every Kilo of Pork use I used:

  • 2 parts rock salt to 1 part sugar.
  • 4 cloves garlic.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A bunch of Lemon Thyme.
  • 20/30 Mustard Seeds,
  • 12 Pepper Corns,
  • Celery Juice as required to make the mix damp.

Lets Cook!

Finely slice bay Leaves and lightly crush with other spices in Pestle & Mortar.

Combine with Sugar and Salt and mix with liberal amounts of celery juice until damp.

Rub into the Pork.

Belly pork bacon Naturallly cured

Place Pork in a sealed container or bag ( I used a brining bag). Turn halfway through the week. That is why I like using the brining bags as it is much easier to turn the pork belly over.

Store in the fridge for 5 Days.

After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.

Cook in the oven @ 100 C for 2 hours. Cool and slice.

Home cured belly Streaky bacon

It also looks lovely and pink ( no grey) which means the natural nitrates in the celery juice had worked their magic.

All I need now is a home-made smoker and some lovely flavoured woods. Maybe use some maple syrup, honey, someone suggested coffee..some nice tea springs to my mind so many options…A different blend of herbs or cut of meat…

Have you made your own bacon and if you did what did you use?

Now the tester…How will it taste?

Home cured Bacon frying

Naturally cured with celery juice

It smells like bacon, looks like bacon and made a lovely sandwich….  Most households have some who love thick bacon and some who like thinner bacon the beauty of making your own bacon is everyone can have their bacon sliced to their own requirements …How cool is that?

If you start experimenting now you can have some lovely home-cured bacon for Christmas or as a lovely present for someone you love …

My next two ham recipes are using Salt Petre I made the conscious decision that for the amount used and the dilution per litre of liquid that as the body can cope and disperse with the nitrate I would use that rather than getting botulism which the body generally doesn’t cope with. Also for the number of times, I make ham we are not eating it day in day out week after week the risk is minimal and considering the number of chemicals which are in foods by cooking my own food from scratch I have control. That is my decision. It is also extremely likely if you buy your ham ready to cook that nitrates have been used in the curing process I believe I use far less than any ham I buy ready to cook.

Christmas Ham Recipe.

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

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

Ingredients for the Rub:

  • 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre) See note at the end of the post 
  • Ingredients for Brine:
  • 5 litres water
  • 900 gm salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

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

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave the liquid to cool and save in a cold place. I put it in the fridge.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham somewhere cold. If you have  a larder or cold store that is great I keep mine in the fridge

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.

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

Warning: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing. Clever clogs here didn’t the first time and I had a skin reaction all my own fault.

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

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, a star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

Ham- cloves- home cooked

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves

I have also once it has finished cooking scored the fat and studded with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

My third way of making ham which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg. It is also much quicker to brine than a whole leg and only takes between 4-6 days depending on the size of your meat and how salty you like your ham.

I used 2 kilos of Pork Loin.

Ingredients for Rub:

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

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 2 1/2  litres water
  • 450 gm salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter.

Mix the ingredients for the rub together and rub over the pork loin.

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham cold.

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 4-6 days.

Tip: The first time I used loin I left it for 4 days the second time I left it for 5 days which suited our taste… It is always wise to do a test run I think as personal tastes vary.

If I am making crackling ham I buy pork with the skin on and score the fat….when I get to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked I covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat put it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…Awesome!

Ham- crackling-home cooked-sliced-platter

Home cooked ham and crackling

Most of the time I but my pork loin without the fat…When curing ham or bacon the meat must be fresh and not frozen.

I hope you are enjoying my Christmas recipes please let me know in comments and also what are your favourite maybe you cook something I haven’t tried or heard of…Please let me know…

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!

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://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

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

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

 

 

You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live!

Merry Christmas!….only 9 days to go….are you all busy braving the hordes of shoppers this weekend…or armchair shopping… I do a bit of both……We have been busy ..still putting up Decorations and tree looks lovely…. but no snow…….I am in a reflective mood as I think we should all remember those less fortunate than ourselves or those alone or recently bereaved as we get into the swing of the festivities…I miss my dad.., especially at Christmas.

He was a strict father and a stickler for meals being on time…..one Christmas I compromised to try to please everyone…as you do… and having about an hour to go…cooking in full swing…my kids said “mum..mum..have you seen what Grandad is doing”?….you would never guess…….there he was sitting up the table in the dining room…knife in one hand and fork in tother……waiting……me… I hissed at the kids ” talk to him..get him a drink..anything” … I laugh now as I picture him in my mind…do miss you dad xxx

SAM_6228My favorite Pork & Basil ( Moo Pad Horapa)…I must cook this at least 3/4 times a week…I have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and that is another thing I love about Thailand you eat what you fancy and when …no set breakfast dishes, or any meal…just what you fancy. …Recipe next week…

Early morning trip to the market at 6.30 am…..lovely Pork Roast today…..cooked by my son…well he does cook most days… every week…my friends ask if I can hire him out…lol..and love it when they get an invite as his Pork Crackling ” Is the nuts” his phrasing not mine..haha…

SAM_6229I’ll post the before and after pics……the smell of garlic and rosemary stuffing is divine…………….while I am waiting… I am going to watch X Factor before anyone puts the result on FB and spoils it for me..lol

Well no sun today…..just very overcast….no rain yet…..

Tomorrow I think I will get all my Christmas cloths etc out and plan my table and might do a trial run of Mince Pies….the mincemeat has been fermenting, brewing whatever for a few months now so I think a taste testing is in order and just the smell of them cooking may make me feel a little more Christmassy..

it’s definitely the cold and SNOW…that makes that Christmas feeling and atmosphere…you all so know that until Christmas is over I’m gonna keep harping on about snow and cold ….going back to the UK @ the end September for my nieces wedding…first visit in 4 years so think I may stretch it out for a few weeks so I can soak up some Christmas Cheer and do some shopping…proper size wrapping paper for one ! Yay…

SAM_6233Just look at that lovely crackling! I will say my son is a brilliant chef and I will be his Sous chef any day…….Tastes amazing…just saying…sorry peeps if you lived closer I would invite you to taste test…haha…

Once Christmas is over then it won’t be long until my oldest son comes over with his 3 kids and we haven’t seen the kids since we came to Thailand and it is their first visit here so will be busy planning some trips…methinks Big Buddha will be a good one as they can see the Elephants( Chang) and experience some great Thai food and a beautiful view..maybe hire a quad to scoot through the jungle on or an elephant trek.

SAM_3941 (1)

Tchau…any guesses?…..no?……it’s goodbye in Portuguese.

Until next time…Sayonara.

 

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