Tag Archives: Recipes

Meatless Mondays…



Why Meatless Mondays?…

Lots of reasons but healthwise I know we should eat more plant-based meals not only for our health but for the environment…But there is so much information that to read, test and digest it takes a while …I have decided to do it in stages as to me it should be a permanent commitment and find some dishes which are equal in taste to what I normally cook.

I have stated many times that I will never be fully vegetarian or vegan as I believe in a healthy balanced diet coupled with exercise…but eating more plant-based meals seems to be the way to go…

What are the best meat substitutes which I have tried and my family like…

1.Jackfruit...Luckily I have a jackfruit tree in my garden which I share with the wildlife predominantly the birds and the squirrels.

Jack Fruit on tree in my garden

My Jackfruit Tree

The first time I tried Jackfruit I did add some pork mince I now don’t and continue to be surprised at how like meat it is in both texture and taste…



My second Chilli recipe from a friend of mine …Richard and it is his vegetarian chilli…Thank Richard it is very nice. It is Richards recipe with a Thai twist and tasty…

Meat-free Chilli with lentils.

vegetarian chilli with lentils


  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 chillies
  • 125 gm mushrooms chopped
  • A handful of chopped green beans
  • 100 gm black lentils
  • 1 tbsp each of fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar
  • Basil Leaves

Then cook as normal ensuring lentils are cooked through.

The instructions are as I received them as Richard obviously knows I can cook…lol

For anyone needing more details then cook as my chilli recipe above but adding lentils instead of the meat. I did add a couple more tomatoes and some kidney beans to Richards original recipe….I also soaked my lentils… he doesn’t as he likes his lentils al dente…

Cooking is all about personal taste and I sometimes just chuck it in the pot and take it from there… That’s how I cook most of the time and TASTE…


3. Black Beans.

Whether you buy them canned or dried, black beans are a great way to enjoy a high protein meal without meat. If you buy them canned, you can drain the packaging liquid to incorporate into other recipes — or simmer the beans in that very liquid for a rich dish with a built-in sauce. Black beans are of course a delicious component in tacos and burrito bowls, but you can also try blending them up and incorporating them into homemade veggie burgers and creamy dips.


Chickpeas are one of the legumes which I have used the most over the years…I mean who doesn’t love hummus with some lovely crisp veggies?

But as I am discovering there is so much more including aquafaba which you can use as a substitute for raw egg whites…

store cupboard basics banner


For more info on using dried peas, beans and lentils please click the link above.

I will, of course, add to this list as I try more different products…it does, of course, depend on what I can purchase here as not all foods as you know are available around the world.

That’s all for today on my first foray into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday…

If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I love as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx

It’s Friday …Time for Fish Pie…

Fish Pie can be pastry topped or topped with mashed potato…you can slice potatoes and mix white and sweet potatoes or parsnips even pastry if you wish…The potatoes sprinkled with bread crumbs and maybe some parmesan…

For a special occasion get creative and make a pish shaped pie…

My mum always used to make it topped with potatoes sometimes she sliced them and other times she boiled them and mashed them with milk and butter… I think the slices potatoes look very pretty if you are having someone to dinner but when I am making especially here as I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen…It’s hot!

I top with mashed potatoes either sweet potatoes ( which) I love but everyone one else likes the normal mashed potato as they call it…


For the filling

  • 400ml/14fl oz whole milk
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g/1lb 2oz thick white fish fillets, skinned…although if I can I get a pack of mixed fish pieces which includes salmon, smoked fish and other fish I do and it is very nice.
  • 40g/1½oz butter
  • 40g/1½oz plain flour
  • 150g/5½oz frozen peas/sweetcorn
  • 200g/7oz large raw prawns, peeled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 800g/1lb 12oz medium  potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 40g/1½oz butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 100g/3½oz mature cheddar cheese, grated/ or breadcrumbs and parmesan makes for a nice topping.

Let’s Cook! Fish Pie…

fish pie with peas

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

To make the filling, pour the milk into a large pan and add the sliced onion and bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper.

Place the fish fillets in the pan and bring to a very gentle simmer, cover and cook for two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand and infuse for 20 minutes. Remove the fish and transfer to a colander over a bowl, then pour the milk into a jug.

Half fill a large saucepan with cold water. Add the potatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain the potatoes and cover with a clean teatowel which absorbs the steam. Mash with the butter, milk and three-quarters of the grated cheese. If I have cream in the fridge and feel a bit decadent then I omit the butter and milk and mash with cream.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To finish the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually add the infused milk, stirring constantly, and simmer over medium heat for 3–4 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in the peas and season with salt and black pepper.

Special occasion? then add some white wine…

Spread one-third of the sauce into the base of a 1.5 litre/2¾ pint ovenproof dish. Scatter half the fish fillets over the sauce, breaking them into chunky pieces as you go and discarding the onion and bay leaves.

Arrange half the prawns on top of the fish and pour over another third of the sauce. Repeat this with the remaining fish and prawns and finish with the final third of the sauce on top.

Spoon the mash over the fish mixture, spreading to the edges with a palette knife. With a fork just take it across the surface and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

Sometimes I also slice some tomatoes and arrange them around the side of the dish.

Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling.

fish pie with peas


Serve with some lemon slices.

Add some steamed vegetables or green peas if a more substantial meal is required.

N.B This is also a nice recipe which can be made in individual servings just divide the mix between 4 bowls and brown the top for about 15 minutes.




It’s Tuesday! The 1st Tuesday of the New Year 2020…

The first Tuesday of the New Year…2021…


Time to start again…at this time of year most of our thoughts turn to our waistlines…There are no quick fixes though…they may work in the short term that is one thing I have learnt over the years…I have tried most quick fixes and now I have accepted that I can safely keep the pounds at bay by being sensible…by accepting that at certain times of the year I will indulge BUT I shelve the guilt and enjoy my indulgences and guilty pleasures but without the guilt…Hey, this is real life…

I have decided to repost my Healthy Eating posts with a few updates as my thoughts on eating and cooking have changed in some ways…

I will never be vegan or a full vegetarian HOWEVER I do believe that we should cut down on our meat consumption…I also love my veggies as do my family…We WILL be having a Meatless Monday in our house and one clever clog said oh we will be having fish then…with a smile as he ducked…haha…

My first e-mail from Meatless Mondays has arrived with some great ideas some of which I already follow, some I will try and some which I am unlikely to try BUT something for everyone which is great…Lots of choices…Thank you, Becky, for the introduction…


Which means this week I will be trying out some of the recipes ready to start next Monday…My family are overjoyed(NOT) but have admitted if I can provide the taste they will AT LEAST try it…

Baby steps…Slowly, slowly catchee monkey…

All in all, I am looking forward to trying some new recipes and a slightly different way of eating but as always I am a firm believer in eating a varied diet unless of course, you have a confirmed medical reason to exclude food groups or you have a confirmed diagnosis of an allergy…

We need variety and moderation in our diets…I also believe we should encourage children to cook as I was as a child and they then carry this forward into adulthood.

It is also a known fact that if children help to prepare their food they will eat it and it encourages them to cook and experiment with food and flavours…no fussy kids in my family…they don’t like everything but none of us does but they try it and as their tastes develop and change they may eat it in the future…

My posts will contain choices and also maybe I will end up liking tofu which I don’t at the moment but I am willing to try it now and again…sigh…who knows I may come across a great recipe which changes my mind…

In the meantime, Sally posted a great post on Healthy Eating which I will share here...She shares many of my beliefs like intermittent fasting..which works for me and the 80/20 approach (which) allows for those moments when you just have to…

Sally also delivers lots of other great health advice…Sally is the trained nutritionist I am not… I just trust my gut, my instincts, what my mother taught me and what I have learnt which works for me over the years…

Please pop over and have a read and say hello…Sally can answer any questions and will always make you welcome…x

My recipe today is Prawn(shrimp) stir fry with beansprouts…

  • 200g raw, peeled tiger prawns from a sustainable source
  • 1 green Thai chilli, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, 1 crushed and 2 finely sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks separated
  • A scant half tbsp caster sugar(optional)
  • juice 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3cm piece ginger, finely sliced, then shredded
  • 8 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 85g water chestnuts, sliced
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

To serve:

  • Egg or rice noodles or rice.
  • Lime wedges.

Let’s Cook!

Put the prawns in a bowl. Put the chilli, garlic, coriander stalks (snip these up using scissors first) and caster sugar in a spice grinder or small food processor and whizz together. Add half of the lime juice and the fish sauce, then pour this over the prawns.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok, add the ginger and spring onions and fry for 1 min. Add the red pepper and fry for 1 min, until the pepper starts to soften. Add the water chestnuts(my) favourite stir fry ingredient and bean sprouts, and toss together until the bean sprouts start to wilt. Add the soy sauce and a really good grind of black pepper.

..Gently push the mixture to the side…heat the remaining oil in the wok and add the prawns, lifting them out of their juices. Toss for 1-2 mins until they turn pink, add the marinade and swirl the wok quickly, then gently stir into the veg.

Snip over the coriander leaves and sprinkle on the remaining lime. Serves over noodles/rice with extra lime for squeezing over.


Let me leave you with this to ponder on…

Thought for the Day!

There are too many people counting calories and not enough people counting chemicals x

Thank you for popping in and reading this post I hope you will leave a comment as you know I love to chat…Love Carol x

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…27th December-2nd January 2021…Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week… Well, it’s over so let’s welcome 2021…on the face of it, not a good start (Covid) the UK has left the EU…America will soon have a new President…I mean what could possibly go wrong!

But …Always look on the bright side of Life…

if you want some respite from the repeats on TV and you want some reality whatever your time zone grab a coffee or a glass of wine, a sausage roll, mince pie, chocolate in my case Turkish Delight so take a pew, get comfy… have a read…X…

The first post out of the blocks was Tuesday’s…Let’s Cook!

In my kitchen, although we ate out for Christmas lunch there are were many leftovers…mainly cakes, puddings and chocolate which my waistline will tell you that I really shouldn’t eat any more, however…sigh…x

For a change, I  tackled for the first Peking Duck Pancakes...my first ever attempt at making the pancakes myself…so easy and such a lovely dough to work with…definitely a keeper this recipe…


Pears were also on the agenda…Hubby loves pears I like pears but have never really cooked with pears…Pears so far have been pickled and made into chutney both of which I would make again I always make half a recipe when I am testing just in case…for the recipes just click the link below ..xx


Wednesday and time for The Culinary Alphabet with a little twist…(yum som O)…

Yum Som O what a lovely word and an equally lovely refreshing pomelo salad…There are lots of delicious goodies for you…I left the easy ones for young Pete Springer like jalapeno, burrito, potato and I tackled the unusual and different …

I do eat sushi just not often and I am no expert and I am always happy when I am advised and learn something I didn’t know …on this occasion I bow to Dolly’s superior knowledge on fish eggs…Dear Carol, sorry to rain on your parade of scrumptious dishes and ingredients, but your photo of Tobiko rolls looks suspiciously like Ikura rolls (the ones usually served with a raw quail egg on top). Tobiko roe is much smaller: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4082/4795487195_819e04e36a_b.jpg and sort of crunchy, rather than soft.

Thank you, Dolly xx


As is the case every year I wonder where the time has gone…Here we are again…

New Year Eve 2020…

There are so many positives we can take away from 2020 and that is not meant to mean that we gloss over and forget the tragedies which have happened this last year but the words “always look on the bright side of life” spring to mind…

Thank you all for helping me through 2020 and keeping me positive with your kind comments and gifts…I do hope that however you are seeing in the New Year it is safely and that next year 2020 brings more positives into your lives…


Sally from Smorgasbord Magazine also joined me on New Year’s Eve for a look through the rearview mirror…

Do pop over as it is a fun post and it will not only make you smile but laugh out loud…x


Here we are once again a New Year, a clean slate, time to make lifestyle changes, time to be kind, be mindful, to think of others so many reasons to celebrate…

New Years Day 2021…


Saturday Snippets the first Saturday Snippets of 2021…

A mixed bag as normal there is music…of course, Lord of the rings, Soups and soap…yes not soap operas but soap…To read more then please click the link below…x


That’s all for this weeks roundup…I hope you have enjoyed a safe Chrismas Season wherever you are…Those covid-19 numbers around the world are increasing…Please, please be very careful and stay safe…x

Thank you for dropping in today, I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, as always I look forward to your comments… you know I love to chat!…Love Carol xx

Saturday Snippets… 2nd January 2021…

Good morning and it is a cold one here…I have sox on for the first time in 8 years, leggings, a t/shirt and a sloppy jumper…My hands were cold but between typing and kneading the bread they have warmed up somewhat…

I am seeing beautiful images of newly laid snow and I know for many of you it is much colder but I am used to warmth and 11 degrees is cold for me…hence the sox…

Show business and the music industry is well known for being fickle…such is life you could say…it was back on the 1st January 1962 and the Fab Four aka The Beatles travelled all the way from Liverpool to the Decca Studios in London for a recording audition.

Being nervous, the audition didn’t go too well and a few weeks later their manager Brian Epstein was told ” they didn’t have a future in the show business”

As it is debatable who made that decision I am sure they lived to regret that error of judgement or maybe it spurred the band members to step it up a notch…The rest is history…

Subsequent signings, among others, included the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Moody Blues, the Small Faces and Tom Jones all who all had/have long careers in the industry…

Did you know?

J.R.R. Tolkien Day on January 3 is “The Lord of the Rings” author’s birthday and you’re encouraged to toast him in celebration. You may remember from the story that Frodo toasts his Uncle Bilbo on Bilbo’s birthday every year. Now, over sixty years after the trilogy’s original publication, The Tolkien Society asks fans to honour Tolkien’s birth, which itself was January 3, 1892.

Conservation Corner:

A hundred years ago, cargo bikes were the standard vehicle for many trades and deliveries. In actual fact, cargo bikes are still the norm here in Thailand and even hand-pushed carts are still used…Whether its to bring round brushes and brooms or to sharpen knives and garden tools or to collect bottles and cardboard a hand cart is still in daily use…

It seems like Copenhagen are calling themselves the cargo bike capital of the world…

Did you know?

The arrival of liquid soap and its wasteful packaging has caused a downturn in the sales of bar soap…The arrival of covid-19 has seen a surge in sales all these adverts promoting washing your hands properly with bar soap has helped …both the sales and the environment.

Between 2014-15, sales of bar soap fell 2.2 per cent compared to overall market growth of 2.7 per cent. But now, following decades of decline, bar soap appears to be back in the game. Sales of bar soap have climbed by nearly 3 per cent over the past year, according to data research by Kantar Worldpanel. And sales of bar soap grew faster than both liquid soaps and shower products over the period. “For the first time this century,” Kantar Worldpanel’s strategic insight director, Tim Nancholas, said, “barred soap is making a return.” Seriously, this really is cause for celebration.

Going from despairing at the waste in the world I am now becoming optimistic and although Covid-19 is scaring me with increased infections it is also giving me hope for a less wasteful future when I see changes like this…

Bloggers Corner:

This is one of(so) many of my favourite tunes…Here the old and the new have been remixed…

I love it! First seen (by) me over @ Smorgasbord Magazine...

National Soup Month:

I love a bowl of soup my favourite since I was a child has been tomato soup and although here we have beautiful soups like Tom Yum Goong…I still love a bowl of tomato soup…


  • 8 or 9 tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 3 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
  • 2 small yellow onions, cut into wedges
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 5 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • olive oil

Let’s Cook!

Tomato and Red Pepper Soup.

Preheat the oven 375F/190C

Grease two baking sheets and place tomatoes skin side down on one, then lightly coat the peppers and onions in olive oil and place on the other baking tray also throw the unpeeled garlic into the tray…Pop it in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes.

When the tomatoes and peppers are roasted heat your vegetable stock in a pan big enough to take the tomatoes and peppers. Add your roasted tomatoes and peppers to the vegetable stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

Tomato and red pepper Soup.


Allow your soup to cool slightly and then either using a stick blender or your liquidiser blend to your desired consistency…Taste and season.

Serve with a swirl of cream or natural yoghurt if liked…


I love Christmas Carol’s and New Year Songs…I heard this version of Auld Lang Syne on Songs for the New Year/cliveblogs…by Mindy Smith.

Pop over to Clive’s as he has a few other New Year songs which I hadn’t heard and some Abba if they are your choice…something for all tastes…

New Year Resolutions:

I gave up making them years ago as I never kept them and many things like if you smoke pledging to give up ..you don’t as something like that you have to really want to give up so a new year pledge to me is pointless…

Most New Year’s resolutions fail. A study from the United Kingdom’s Royal Society of Public Health found that “quitting smoking is the most difficult resolution to keep.” Only 4 % of those who attempt to quit smoking unaided remain smoke-free one year later. Another study, from the University of Scranton, found only 8 % of people who make resolutions meet their goal. This is known as “false hope syndrome.”

However…Coronavirus: Smokers quit in highest numbers in a decade.

Myself, I completed a dry November and intend to complete a dry January…December was not dry…I am also committing to Meat-free Mondays and cooking more plant-based meals…I have gradually been cutting down..not out …meat… part of my personal drive to reduce my carbon footprint and take another step forward in my pledge to be more environmentally friendly…read my story in my new column over at Smorgasbord Magazine starting on Wednesday, January  20th 2021.

These are not New Year Resolutions but lifestyle changes...helped by one’s other half who continues to astound me every day with his newfound thirst for health aided by his first electronic device…yesterday he was extolling the virtues of drinking green tea…This is a meat and two veg man who has never listened to me or tried any of my drinks he just drinks English tea and now he is exploring ginger and green tea and after years of me trying to get him to quit smoking now he has done his own research…he has said he is giving up smoking…Which proves it is never too late to learn…

Thank you for popping in today I hope you have enjoyed the first Saturday Snippets of 2021…as always I look forward to your comments as you all know I love to chat…Thanx Carol xx

Tuesday…Let’s Cook!


I have been racking my brain for a good title for my Tuesday’s posts…Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Treats, Tuesday Tidbits or  Tropical Tuesday…None of them quite did it for me I nearly went for Tropical Tuesday which for me it is…but depending on where you live it could be Toe Numbingly Cold Tuesdays…

If so then I have a tasty treat which you can make for the birds and the squirrels…All you need is some pine cones. honey and birdseed…

Just coat the pinecones in the honey then roll the pine cone in the birdseed and let them dry…How easy is that? Then attach them to the branches of a bush or tree or fence post…

I wish I could say it was my idea but it wasn’t I found it on Granny Moons delightful blog …

Where you will find horoscopes, recipes, teachings and so much more it is a treasure trove of all that is good in the world…

Today is also the last full moon of 2020…

Full Moon December 29, 2020, in Cancer

The last full moon of the year occurs on December 29, 2020, and is in the sign of Cancer.

Most everyone is happy to say goodbye to the year 2020… What a year it has been! We never could have envisioned that the whole world would turn topsy turvy. Even though this year has turned things upside down for so many of us, it is important we look back on the gifts, even if they are hard to find…Please pop over to Granny Moons to read her words on what we have to be thankful for…a wise lady …

In my kitchen, although we ate out for Christmas lunch there are so many leftovers…mainly cakes, puddings and chocolate which my waistline will tell you that I really shouldn’t eat any more, however…sigh…x

For a change the other night we thought we would have Peking Duck Pancakes...my first ever attempt at making the pancakes myself…

The ingredients are simple…makes 16 pancakes.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 2 tbsp Sesame oil to brush the pancakes and the cooking pan.

My first thoughts were no salt and will that be enough mixture for 16 pancakes?

Let’s Cook!

Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the boiling water and mix together then leave to cool down as it is hard to work the dough when it is hot.

This Danish dough whisk is the best little gadget I have bought since I started bread making…it brings it together nicely and is easy to clean and doesn’t stick…Love it! Perfect for this as boiling water was used…

Dough whisk

Once cool knead until the dough is smooth I was surprised how non-sticky this was and easy to work…Rest for 15 minutes.

Cut into 16 pieces they are small then take a piece of dough and flatten with your hand lightly brush with the sesame oil then take another piece of dough and put on top of the first piece then carefully roll out ( it) is a little slippy but I pressed down hard on my rolling pin and then it rolled out like a dream…didn’t stick or need flour.

Repeat with the remaining balls of dough…

Brush pan very lightly with the sesame oil and over a medium heat cook the pancakes until lightly spotted turn over and cook the other side…repeat until all pancakes are cooked…

Then peel the pancakes apart…this was the tricky part methinks it needs some practice some I had cooked more than others and the lighter cooked, cooled ones peeled apart much better.

My son suggested next time to not put two together but cook singly on one side…I will try the above again as I think more practice is required…But they were very edible and scrumptious they didn’t last long…

Another string to my bow…Covid while it has its devastating downsides my baking repertoire has increased and improved…

As December is National Pear month I have experimented with a few new recipes Pickled Pears and Pear Chutney being two of them.

Pickled Pears.

Ingredients for Pear Chutney…

  • 200 gm demerara sugar
  • 200 ml Apple cider vinegar
  • 100 ml pear cider
  • 1-star anise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 red onions chopped
  • 10 firm pears peeled and chopped
  • 2 red chillies halved and deseeded
  • 50 gm sultanas

Let’s Pickle!

In a large pan bring the sugar, APV, pear cider, star anise, ground cumin, ginger and red onions to a rolling boil.

Add the chopped pears and bring down to a rolling simmer for about 40 mins or until the pears are just cooked.

Stir in the sultanas and the chillies. Remove from the heat and leave to cool before spooning into sterilised jars.

Pear ChutneyThis is a lovely chutney which goes well with cheese and homemade focaccia…

Thank you for dropping in today I do hope you have enjoyed reading the post and that you are having a lovely festive season…as always I look forward to your comments as you know I love to chat…Love Carol xx