Tag Archives: Recipes

Mistletoe and Wine, Christmas Time…

In the run up to Christmas, you will find everything here from recipes to trivia and traditions…I would also ask that when you are shopping for presents, food, and decorations that you think about its origin and how it was produced…carbon footprint, child labour…You think about can the packaging be recycled or reused…Do you really need it? Every little helps…x

Don’t forget… on the 24th of November…Stirup Sunday‘, so put on your apron, gather your ingredients, gather family or friends to make a Christmas pudding. It’s the day when wishes are said to come true, so get stirring!

christmas-46335_640

 

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Christmas is approaching, and to us, that means one thing: Stir-up Sunday.

My mum always used to put a silver sixpence in the pudding ...what are your family’s traditions past or present?

Putting a silver coin in the pudding is another age-old custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it. In the UK the coin traditionally used was a silver ‘sixpence’. The closest coin to that now is a five pence piece!

silver sixpence

Photo credit: seriykotik1970 on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

The tradition seems to date back to the Twelfth Night Cake which was eaten during the festivities on the ‘Twelfth Night’ of Christmas (the official end of the Christmas celebrations). Originally a dried pea or bean was baked in the cake and whoever got it, was ‘king or queen’ for the night. There are records of this practice going back to the court of Edward II (the early 1300s). The bean was also sometimes a silver ring of a small crown. The first coins used were a Silver Farthing or penny. After WW1 it became a threepenny bit and then a sixpence.

My mother stopped when my dad chipped one of his teeth and I suspect there were many a chipped tooth from those customs…

You might also get other items (sometimes called ‘tokens’ or ‘favours’) placed in the Christmas Pudding which also meant to have special meanings:

  • Bachelor’s Button: If a single man found it, they would stay single for the following year.
  • Spinster’s/Old Maid’s Thimble: If a single woman found it, they would stay single for the following year.
  • A Ring: If a single person found this, it meant you will get married in the following year! It can also mean you will be rich for the following year

A bit of history…

Christmas (or Plum) Pudding is the traditional end to the British Christmas dinner. But what we think of as Christmas Pudding, is not what it was originally like!

Christmas pudding originated as a 14th-century porridge called ‘frumenty’ that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines, and spices. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities. That sounds like a good idea as I can remember feeling extraordinarily bloated after our Christmas dinner and never wanting to move again.

Christmas Pudding

By 1595, frumenty was slowly changing into a plum pudding, having been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and given more flavor with the addition of beer and spirits. It became the customary Christmas dessert around 1650, but in 1664 the Puritans banned it as a bad custom as they could find no justification in the bible to celebrate and indulge in gluttony, drinking, and other such frivolous occupations… 

advert for plum pudding

 

Photo credit: Boston Public Library on Visualhunt / CC BY

 

In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

Christmas is also the time of many lists…I have lists everywhere or I did… I must admit as I have gotten older I have condensed them somewhat and of course, now we have the internet lists can be kept online accessible from your phone…Rather than digging down the bag for that elusive list, you know you had…

It was my dear blogging friend Dolly who reminded me of this she also has goodies like blueberry pie and other such yummies so please pay her a visit…So I found this one for you to download if you are a list person…Thank you, Carmia it is a pretty list and very functional…

Christmas Decorations…Pool Noodles…A great way to upcycle…

3-Holiday-DIYs-From-Pool-Noodles-14

Easy to make with lots of images even the kids could help…

https://chascrazycreations.com/3-holiday-diys-from-pool-noodles/

How many sleeps? 42 days, 11 hours and 42 minutes at the time of writing this…

Now my lucky American family and friends get to eat two Christmas dinners…First comes Thanksgiving …which had been celebrated on the last Thursday of November since the time of Abraham Lincoln. That was until as 1941 ended, when Roosevelt made the final permanent change, as he signed a bill making Thanksgiving Day fall on the fourth Thursday of November, regardless of whether it is the last Thursday of the month or not.

I like that Thanksgiving is before our Christmas as sometimes I find some yummy recipes which I haven’t tried before…as a cook I am always looking for new recipes…

happy-thanksgiving-4567939_640

I would like to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving and to ask if you would please share your recipes with us here…x

That’s all for today …I hope you have enjoyed this post see you next Tuesday…x

P.P.S…There will be a Christmas jumper corner…I just need to see yours???? So come on don’t be shy..Share…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…We all need to be aware of our 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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site that is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

Welcome it is that time of the week …I hope you all enjoyed Halloween?…

Yesterday the 5th of November was Guy Fawkes in the UK…he was the guy who in 1605  tried and failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament…The effigy we make to sit on top of our bonfires is a symbol of Guy Fawkes…

It will then be the start of the Christmas preparations…I always loved the preparation and the run-up to Christmas…The Christmas Carol’s, the pantomimes, the decorations and some of those are just awesome all added to that ambiance which is what I miss here…Christmas is not celebrated here…The big shopping centres, of course, have the tree and decorations and there it stops there is no atmosphere and Christmas joy which I remember… I try to recreate it at home and I am the only house with a tree and fairy lights here…

I do wonder though if I go back at Christmas would I feel the same joy I used to…?

Although pantomime is often seen as something quaint, something utterly British, its origins lie in warmer climes. It developed from the Italian street theatre of the Commedia dell’arte in the 16th Century, with comedic moments, stock characters and great physicality.

John Rich, actor-manager of the Lincoln’s Inn Theatre (opened 1714) and The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden (opened 1732), has been called the father of pantomime because he was the first to realise the potential of the Commedia characters.

What is your favourite panto? Do you have your tickets booked? I loved the panto as a kid and it is still part of English tradition…

Did you know it has been 18 years since the first Harry Potter movie was released…4th November 2001…Who would have guessed that The Philosophers Stone would be followed by so many sequels?…. Oops I got my movie and my book muddled but thanks to Tori who is an avid fan she very nicely corrected me…It’s been 18 years since the first Harry Potter movie was released. It’s been longer for the book version, which was released on June 26th, 1997. Sorry… Been a huge Harry Potter fan since 2000, when the publicity of the release of the 4th book brought it to my parents’ attention, and they got me a copy of the first book.

Going back a few more years to Nov 1996 saw the start of the phenomenon which was The Spice Girls…Love them or hate them they were a success and their debut album “Spice” sold 23 million copies…

After all these years they have evolved and are still news…For me, the best thing is David Beckham…A fine figure of a man…I unashamedly do think he has aged very well…Ahem…

David Beckham in Denver

David Beckham in Denver

Photo credit: ebatty on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Moving on quickly…

Food Waste…starvation…Homelessness always tweaks at my heartstrings…This time of year when the winds get cold and snow and frost prevail it always seems worse…But among all the sad stories there are the most heartwarming tales of the goodness which exists in some peoples’ hearts.

Yesterday I came across Stone Soup when I was reading the lovely Dolly’s blog a post by Dorothy on Stone Soup…I have never heard of stone soup…Dorothy also participates in

” The empty Bowl”…A lovely community project… Please pop over and have a look it is projects like this which give me hope and reassure me that people do care and have a heart but please remember we should care all year round…And please if you have any local community projects like this let me know and I will share…

Anyone for stone soup?…. I would love those stories…  I also love how the concept has evolved…

Fascinating…

Time for a story…S C Richmond…

The Charade…Chapter 10…by Carol Taylor…

71414cb886ccacb9a175dafd2b49776c--vintage-evening-gowns-vintage-gownsIt was getting late and the street lights had just come on. What had started out as an adventure to find a new dress was turning into a fruitless search.

   They were either too much money or dresses that she wouldn’t wear they were tacky and cheap.

The euphoria she has felt earlier had all but gone ….Shoulders slumped she started to make her way back to her room…That lonely room..Where the nightmares always came.

   Turning the corner she saw some twinkling lights come on and noticed a little shop…It lay back from the other shops which surrounded the markets stalls.

   She drew closer and saw a delightful little Christmas scene in the window someone had decorated it so beautifully,  everything twinkled and sparkled, she wondered who had been so artistic and clever, it caught her breathe, it was very lovely. The bell on the door tinkled and a little old man came out “Come in and look, my dear”

   “Oh, No thank you, I was just admiring your window it is beautiful but I am looking for a special dress”.

   “My dear I may have just the dress for you” On an impulse and he had such a kindly face she stepped inside …It was just like a wonderland..

Staring round in amazement…. So many pretty things…why had she not seen this shop before?

Her eyes were drawn to a beautiful pale blue dress….

“I see you looking at the blue dress my dear ..my grandson made it..he is very talented… Try it on. It looks like a perfect fit for you”. Taking the dress and putting it behind some curtains the old man held the door open.

   Putting on the dress just felt right it molded her body in all the right places, stepping outside to look in the mirror..she gasped was that really her. The young lady looking back at her was beautiful.

   “Just a ribbon for your hair is all you need. Who is the lucky man?”

   The girl twirled around and couldn’t believe her eyes..it was perfect and her necklace would be the finishing touch. Reaching into her bag she fastened the ribbon around her neck. Perfect.

   “How much… Is the dress?’ She held her breath waiting for the old man to speak. Please, please let me have enough.

When he told her she gasped “Are you sure… That is so little for a wonderful dress”

   “It looks like it was made for you my dear and the dress deserves a beautiful lady to show it off..My grandson would be so proud if he could see it on you”.

   “Is he not here?”

   “No, he is away on business buying more silk and satin”.

Paying for the dress the girl felt like a real lady for once, cinders would go to the ball.

   She heard a gasp; the old man was looking at her necklace with a look on his face which the girl couldn’t fathom. “ Where did you get that necklace?”

   “I have always had it… It’s all I have to remind me of my parents… Why are you looking at me like that?

The old man’s face took on a look of such sadness… “You have her eyes girl..Such beautiful eyes”

   “You know my mother?”

   “A long time ago my dear…”

T.B.C.

 

The first week in November is National Fig week…I love fresh figs…figs fresh and dried

Fig Facts:
  • Figs keep baked goods fresh by naturally holding in moisture
  • California grows one hundred percent of the nation’s dried figs.
  • Early Olympians consumed figs while training.
  • A half-cup of figs has as much calcium as a half cup of milk.
  • Figs, not apples, may have been grown in the Garden of Eden
  • Fig Newton cookies made their debut in 1892.

Did you know? Fig puree can replace fat/sugar in baked goods? Well neither did I until fairly recently a fig puree can be used as a sugar and fat substitution.

Just combine 8 ounces of fresh figs and 1/4 -1/3 cup of water in a blender; puree until smooth. If using dried figs, soak figs in water until softened before pureeing. Use as you would applesauce in baked recipes, as a substitution for both fat and sugar. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig puree, and reduce or eliminate the sugar required.

Or use the puree as a spread over toast and fruits; or thin it out with more water and use as a liquid sweetener for coffee, drinks and in place of honey or maple syrup in your recipes….To read more about the humble fig here is a previous post…

I can’t finish without a tune...Art Garfunkel of Simon and Garfunkel fame was born on the 5th of November 1941…One of my favorites… Bridge over troubled Water…is a beautiful song and often used to express or represent a person, a friend or loved one…

The line “Sail on, silver girl” is often reputed to refer to a needle (meaning the song is about heroin) but it actually refers to Simon’s girlfriend (and later wife) Peggy Harper who found a few gray hairs and was upset. The lyric was meant as a joke – Simon calling her “Silver Girl” because of her hair.

That’s all from me for this week I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog:
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

This week in my kitchen…Store cupboard basics…Spices…

Welcome to my store cupboard basics which means it is Friday once again and Spices something I use every day in one form or another…I am also always on the lookout for new spices…I just adore what a touch of spice does to food…

If you have been following this your store cupboards BASICS by now yours should be nearly fully stocked…

The smell of spices always draws me wherever I am and sometimes it is so strong that it makes me cough and my eyes water…but I love it…It is also one way for me to get my kitchen cleared quickly …haha…

Spices are many and varied, they need to be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. As flavours dimish with age then buy in small quantities the only spices I buy in large quantities are those I know I will use quickly…

To make your own mixes is quick and easy and ensures your spices are always fresh…As I go through the spices, I use I will link to recipes where I make my own mixes which are far superior as they contain no preservatives and work out far cheaper than costly spice mixes …

Allspice…This berry has a warm, slightly cinnamon-clove flavour readily available ground and can be used in both sweet and savoury cooking.

Cayenne Pepper…Fiery and piquant this spice is made from dried red hot chillies used sparingly it is excellent added to cheeses dishes, fish, creamy sauces, meat sauces and soups. Added sparingly to these salmon burgers it just lifts the flavour…

Chilli Flakes… Crushed dried red chillies can be added or sprinkled over many dishes…so easy to make your own just dry fresh red chillies in the sun if you have any or even on a hot radiator and then just crush in a pestle and mortar and store in an airtight jar. Used in many Thai dishes like larb or homemade sausages I have linked to these as it shows how I use many of the spices I have on this post.

Chinese five-spice powder…This is a mixture of star anise, cassia, fennel seeds, cloves and anise pepper again if you have the spices easy to make in minutes. It has quite a strong powerful flavour so use sparingly.

Cinnamon…one of my most used spices it has many uses…I buy the sticks and use whole or ground although you can buy powdered cinnamon ready ground I prefer to do my own. The powder can be used in baking and making spice mixes. The sticks can be added to stews or drinks. This Thai braised Pork is a good example of where I used star anise, cinnamon and Chinese five-spice powder.

Cloves…Available whole or ground these dried flowers buds are used in sweet and savoury dishes…Baked apples, bread sauce they are one of my most used spices. If sing ground use sparingly as it is strong and too much is unpleasant to the palate.

Coriander…Available whole or ground I buy large packs as I use it often…It is the basis in my Indian spices and curries…

Cumin…Warm and pungent cumin works well with most meats particularly lamb again one of my favourite spices and one I use a lot.

Fennel Seeds…These little green seeds have quite a sweet aniseed like flavour that goes well with chicken and fish and again I use when making Indian spice mixes.

Garam Masala…Ground and roasted spices make this mixture which is used in many Asian dishes. Available ready mixed but if you have the spices so easy to make your own and the flavour is much better. My recipe where you can see my use of spices…

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamon pods green
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 piece of mace.

Let’s Cook!

Dry roast all your spices individually until warm and fragrant. Leave to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder …I have a little coffee grinder which I use to grind my spices and it works really well prior to that I used a pestle and mortar which is hard work but brilliant as an arm toner.

Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months as the spice will start to lose its potency …If you use a lot of gamma masala then just double or treble the quantities.

Ginger…This ground dried spice is useful for baking although for savoury dishes I use fresh root ginger.

Green Cardamon…The green papery pods contain little black seeds which can be easily crushed and the seeds scraped out.

Mustard Seeds…are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are coloured from yellowish white to black. They are an important spice in many regional foods. Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar or other liquids creates mustard. Simples said the meercat…

Nutmeg…Is available ground but to me not the same as storing a few whole nutmegs and grating it as required.

Paprika Pepper…Used in many Spanish dishes it is available both mild and hot…It has a slightly sweet flavour and is lovely used as a garnish for a seafood sauce or an egg dish.

Pepper…Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices and should always be used freshly ground as it loses its flavour quickly.

Green peppercorns have a milder flavour and can be found dried or in brine. Fresh green peppercorns are widely used in Thai cooking and one of our favourites.

White peppercorns are hotter than green but less aromatic than black peppercorns but ideal for a sauce if you don’t want the black specks but want a pure white sauce.

Pink Peppercorns seem to be more popular of late…Pink peppercorns are not only pretty, but they also offer a fruitiness along with their peppery bite for a deep, well-rounded pepper flavour. They’re delicate and should be crushed with a knife, rather than a pepper mill, to be used on seafood, poultry, salad, even popcorn, in curries, sauces, chutney, or in place of black pepper for an interesting twist. They are also more expensive.

Star Anise…Earthy, a subtly sweet spice which has a number of uses in savoury cooking, especially in traditional Asian dishes.

Turmeric...Used in many Indian dishes the ground turmeric is made from the dried turmeric root it has a peppery, slightly earthy taste and stains if you are not careful…

Vanilla…Dried vanilla pods are long and black encasing hundreds of tiny black seeds expensive but so worth it…Just make sure what you are buying as there are many inferior products on the market.

vanilla-pods-sugar

I hope you are finding these posts on store cupboard basics helpful…It does take time (and) money to build up a store cupboard which is why I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Until next week when in my store cupboard basics it will be Dried herbs and stock cubes…

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 well being.

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

 

 

 

Halloween…Sweet Potatoes and a Mexican Michelada…

The witching hour is soon to be upon us… I expect all you lovely Halloweenies are prepared and ready…

Halloween is the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows‘ Day (also known as All Saints’ or Hallowmas) on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November, thus giving the holiday on 31 October the full name of All Hallows‘ Eve (the evening before All Hallows‘ Day).

halloween witch and bats-478582_640

Halloween symbols are not made up or random… Black cats, spiders, and bats are all Halloween symbols because of their spooky history and ties to Wiccans. All three were thought to be the familiars of witches in the middle ages, and are often associated with bad luck.

Bats are also connected to Halloween by the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire, which drove away insects and attracted bats.

Halloween is also the most important day for devil worshippers…However, for most people, Halloween is a fun time of dressing up, creating elaborate costumes and decorations, visiting haunted houses, taking kids trick-or-treating, and of course eating candy. It has become a heavily commercialized holiday second only to Christmas in terms of the number of people who celebrate and participate in it.

But many fundamentalist Christians, believe that there is a dark and sinister side to the Oct. 31 festivities when the boundaries between the living and the dead are blurred.

Did you know?

Candy Corn was originally known as chicken feed as corn was and is still also fed to chooks… They even used to have a picture of a rooster on the original box.

Halloween Food…Chilli con Carne and jacket potatoes are good for a chilly evening and easy to do but if you fancy a change I have some lovely recipes for  Sweet Potatoes.

I like something a little different… This recipe is a nice treat… A recipe that was given to me by a friend who used goat’s cheese… I use feta or ricotta if I can’t get goats cheese…

Baked Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato with goat’s cheese, honey, and roasted grapes.

Ingredients:

• 4 sweet potatoes
• 2 cups of red seedless grapes
• 1 tsp of coconut or olive oil
• ¼ tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
• 4 ounces of goats cheese, feta/ricotta
• Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
• 2 tbsp of honey plus additional to drizzle if required

For 4 potatoes take 2 cups of small seedless grapes and put on a baking tray drizzle with oil and a season with salt and pepper then roast them at 350F for about 20 mins or until the skins just start to burst… Do check them as ovens vary and they can tend to burn…

Remove from the oven and leave to cool then take your cooled sweet potato and gently remove the flesh… the skins are not as hardy as a normal potato are they? So my advice is to leave some of the potato attached to the skin or you may struggle to fill them.

In a bowl mash the potato with 3 oz of the goat’s cheese, honey, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste then put the potato back in the skins and crumble some more goats cheese on top …To serve: add the grapes and drizzle more honey if desired…

Enjoy!

Other sweet potato fillings:

How about a baked sweet potato filled with cooked black beans, corn, sweet peppers topped with sour cream with some lime rind stirred through or sprinkled on the top and some chopped coriander.

Or the Thai way our sweet potatoes here are a bright purple we do get the orange but many are purple a really beautiful colour… Baked and topped with Thai Peanut sauce they are heavenly…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic very finely chopped or minced
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. brown sugar (to taste)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce (for vegetarians: substitute 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp. regular soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste (or 2 tbsp. lime juice)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or 1/2 tsp Thai red chilli paste more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

Let’s Cook!

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until the sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.

Taste.... adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more red curry or cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you’d prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.

This sauce tends to thicken as it sits–just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. Otherwise, it stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Add to your baked sweet potato and top with chopped red onion, green onions and coriander and some crispy fried garlic…yummy if you love Thai flavours.

Enjoy!

Lillie and Logan ready for HalloweenNow, who doesn’t love cute little fur babies…These two belong to Tori and she has shared an adorable image of them all dressed up in their Halloween outfits…Lillie and Logan, you look so cute…Thank you Tori xxx

All Hallows night is tonight( Thursday) but whether you are celebrating tonight or at the weekend have fun!

All your decorations are probably up by now and costumes made or hired…Just maybe some last-minute bits and pieces to do…

Just in case you haven’t decided on a Halloween special drink then this one may be the one for you…and while you are there perusing the recipe congratulate the lovely Vero on the birth of a little girl a sister for Canito…

It is an awesome tipple… a Spicy Mexican Michelada which is similar to a Bloody Mary ( my fave) but made with beer and clam juice…

michelada-beauty-shot-with-beer-bottle-and-lime-500x411

Doesn’t that look drinkable and I am not a beer drinker but I may give this one a go so pop over to Vero’s lovely blog for the recipe…

https://withcoloursandcanitointhekitchen.blog/2018/10/11/michelada-recipe-spicy-mexican-beer-mexican-please/

I hope you have enjoyed these Fang-Tastic Pumpkin posts…

I am off to check out the Micheladas…Laters xxx

 

witch-1424756_640

Oops…nearly came off my broomstick…Hic 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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog:
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

National Mincemeat Day…26th October…

Today is National Mincemeat day and an opportune moment to get that mincemeat made…This year I have decided to make a cake as well something I haven’t done so for a number of years or since I have been here or at least not a proper fruit Christmas cake …I just have a hankering for a rich fruit cake topped with marzipan and icing…proper icing not fondant icing …One like my mum used to make…

National Mincemeat Pie Day

Christmas pudding, cake or a jar of mincemeat make lovely presents especially for someone on their own… a beautiful pudding or cake for one would be so gratefully received as hand made gifts of food always are and so personal and thoughtful…Don’t you think?

Dating back to 15th century Britain mincemeat pies did contain meat and fruit but I suppose that is not so different from today as I incorporate meat and fruit in recipes…

The meat was soon exchanged for beef suet and although I still use suet I use vegetable suet…

Making mincemeat and cakes is always a family affair at my house…I helped my mum, my kids helped me…a stir and a wish…It is now the turn of the grand kiddies…

Sweet Mincemeat…Nothing better and so easy to make you will wonder why you ever bought a jar from the supermarket shelves and will be rewarded with such a superior taste and richness that will take your pies to a new level……Your taste buds will sing!

Ingredients.

  • 36oz of dried fruit…..I used raisins, sultanas, chopped prunes and some dried cranberries.
  • 12oz brown sugar.
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons.
  • 2oz chopped almonds or nut of your choice.
  • 1lb Apples peeled and chopped.
  • 8oz vegetable suet.
  • 4tsp mixed spice.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp fresh nutmeg grated.
  • 6 tbsp Brandy.

Mix all ingredients except for Brandy, cover and leave overnight for the fruit to plump up and absorb flavours.

Cook on very low heat for 30 mins.

Cool and stir in Brandy.

Spoon into sterilized jars, cover tightly. Store in a cool dark place.

To share your mincemeat pictures then add #NationalMincemeatDay

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 well being.

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog: 
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

But before you go just a little reminder…Stir-up Sunday…

Christmas Pudding is one of the mainstays of British Christmas traditions …it just would not be Christmas without the pudding! Now I know that and even here I have always made my Christmas pudding and there have been a few converts to this traditional Christmas fare…My Thai friends love it!

Stir-up Sunday is a centuries-old tradition where cooks spend the last Sunday before Advent ‘stirring up’ the Christmas pudding. Dating back to Victorian times, the whole family took a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, making a wish.

This year it is on 24th November when I will share my Christmas pudding recipes with you…xxx

Enjoy your weekend xx

 

 

National Pumpkin Month…Facts…Trivia and allergy-friendly mummy bars…

Good morning…The witching hour is soon to be upon us… I expect all you lovely Halloweenies are prepared and ready…

Firstly I have a recipe for some lovely allergy-free mummies as I know many people have peanut allergies and this lady has recipes and tips if you have allergies. So please pop over to her blog and have a look…

allergy free mumie bars

https://foodallergypi.com/2018/09/27/allergy-friendly-mummy-bars-biscoff-mummies/

Don’t they look cute?

Did you know??? 

In what year will the next full moon occur during Halloween?

2020…The last Halloween that had a full moon was in 2001 and the next full moon on Halloween after 2020 won’t occur until 2039.

Of course, the weather, especially at night, is getting cooler and nothing goes down as well as a good, spicy chilli on a cold Halloween night…it is one-pot cooking which is even better…

chilli-con carne-chilli peppers

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm lean minced Beef ( I use pork) as I can’t get minced beef here very often and beef is not hung here like it is elsewhere so can be very pale and not too tasty.
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper chopped
  • 3/4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1-3 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 pint of fresh-made beef or vegetable stock
  • 400 gm fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp sugar…I sneak this in when no one is looking as it brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410 gm can red kidney beans, drained or pre-soaked dried kidney beans.

Let’s Cook!
Put the olive oil in a large pan and heat add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and cumin seeds cook until onions are translucent about 5 minutes.
I like to add my cumin seeds with the onions as it brings out their full flavour and we love cumin.
Add the minced meat and cook, stirring until nicely browned.
Add the tomatoes, stock, peppers and tomato puree stirring in well and bring to a soft simmer.
Add the paprika, marjoram and sugar.
Cook for 20 minutes now this is where I taste and add more chilli and usually more cumin seeds and then add the drained kidney beans and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve with steamed rice and sour cream sprinkled with smoked paprika ( optional)

Enjoy!

Halloween Trivia! Did you know?

The 1978 blockbuster, Halloween, was only made in 21 days on a very limited budget.

Some more Halloween Trivia...

The round orange pumpkins that are used for most jack o’ lanterns today are native to what continent?

North America…The oldest pumpkin-related seeds were found in Mexico and were dated to sometime between 7000 and 5500 BC.

 What are some of the most popular Halloween costume for pets?

dog halloween costumes -2832245_640

Pumpkin…Next up was a hot dog, undoubtedly the top pick for dachshund owners. That Dobie looks less than impressed. Third were characters from Batman, followed by the devil. And for 5th place, bumblebees ( that bulldog doesn’t look impressed either does he….lol…Maybe that is where the saying comes from it looks like you have sucked on a wasp…

It wouldn’t be Halloween if there wasn’t some gore and gruesome goings-on would it?

Now in the Middle Ages, there was a thriving trade of mummies being bought and sold? Not what you think…haha

egyptian-museum-630297_640

To be ground into medicine…Mummies were ground up during the middle ages to make medicine because they were thought to have healing properties.

After the Middle Ages, the buying and selling of mummies remained popular. During the 17th and 18th century mummies were used to make a type of paint called mummy brown or mummia.

 

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

Vegetarian Chilli with lentils.

vegetarian chilli with lentils

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 2/3 cups of pumpkin roughly 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 some pumpkin 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…

Enjoy!

Did you know?

Pumpkins are not only orange, but also white, blue, and green?

Some mocktails for the kiddywinks.

Hundreds of vampire clubs and societies exist and claim to have real vampires as their members.

fangs

They may have had dental work on their teeth but really vampires?? What do you think ??

Did you know?? 

 In what country was the first written account of children using the phrase “trick or treat” on Halloween?

halloween trick or treat bag-151422_640

Canada…Here is the line from the newspaper:

The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.

“‘Trick or Treat’ Is Demand,” Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), November 4, 1927, p. 5, dateline Blackie, Alberta, Nov. 3.

I do think trick or treating got out of hand and now parents generally confine it to friends rather than just random door knocking…

Finally, I can’t go without a lovely colourful Halloween drink for you all…

 

I hope you are enjoying these Fang-Tastic Pumpkin posts and please if you have any tried and tested Halloween recipes I will post them and credit you so please let me have them…xxx

I am just off to check out the cocktails…Laters xxx

 

witch-1424756_640

 

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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog:
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

It’s that time of the week again…the time when I can reminisce and just be…

Last week I spoke about Disney’s opening day on 16th October 1923…Today 23rd October back in the year 1941 Walt Disney released that family favourite which is still watched by families and children around the world…Dumbo…

It will soon be time and we have one very excited little girl here as Frozen 2 will be released soon…

FROZEN 2 is expected to be a dark, more sinister sequel to the original film – and the trailer has just dropped giving fans the first glimpse into the follow-up film. When is Frozen sequel out in cinemas?

It is out 21st November here in Thailand and 22nd in the US and the UK… Already the toys have been released so that’s Christmas sorted then for many of us…haha

What will Elsa and Anna have to face…Have a look at the official trailer…

Time for a story… The continuation of the Charade this week chapter penned by moi…Enjoy!

The Charade – Chapter 8

By Carol Taylor

 9a15bbcccf402180463cff95a6c0a40e--amethyst-jewelry-swarovski-jewelry

Mr James sat in his chair his thoughts troubled. What should he tell the child? He still thought of her as a child and was trying to protect her but she was an adult now and asking questions. Questions to which she deserved an answer, but answers which could put her in grave danger.

Kathy burst in the room.

Mr James “That poor girl, you really must tell her about her past and her parents, before someone else does.”

“None of your business Kathy. I will when I am ready and not before.”

Kathy looked at him. Gave a tut and flounced out of the room.

Meanwhile, Carl was pondering and wondering how best he could get a closer look at that necklace without raising the girl’s suspicions.

She was leaving the house and looked happy as she headed in the direction of the market. She stopped at the ribbon stall, the gaily coloured ribbons were lovely and she was picking them up putting them down it was so hard to choose a colour.

A hand reached in front of her and plucked a beautiful violet piece of ribbon with little flecks of silver in it from the bunch she held in her hand.

This one will be perfect. Is it for that necklace? Before she could say anything the ribbons were changed and the necklace was back around her neck.

The girl couldn’t believe Mr Ward was standing in front of her with a shy smile on his boyish face.

“You do like it? Don’t you?

“Oh Yes? It’s beautiful. Thank you.

“Well, pretty girl would you do me the honour of dining with me tonight?”

The girls face dropped, she had nothing nice to wear….she turned and fled.

Carl smiled….Mission accomplished, it was definitely the girl he was looking for now to gain her trust.

Food…I am still trying to find Gingko Nuts no luck thus far but I am sure  I will soon find some I am on the trail…We are nearly at the end of National Pumpkin Month as those of you who follow me will be aware it is also National Apple Month and today is National Boston Cream Pie day…

Me I pictured a lavish pie with a fancy top and lots of cream however I was wrong it is in fact not a pie at all but a cake… a lovely vanilla cake with a pastry cream filling and covered with chocolate ganache…Sounds delicious…

But for those of you who love a pie…I am sharing my mothers Apple Pie recipe…

My mum makes the best apple pie in the world…made with Bramley Apples, a few cloves and her amazing melt in the mouth short pastry.

coffee-2760064_1920

Picture source: Pixabay

Make the shortcrust pastry.

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

The flour is not the same here and very recently when I was comparing items from the UK against the US….I made some startling discoveries of the differences and it has made an instant difference to my cooking especially my pastry…. I will say no more but I had a silent rant!

Again I cannot get the same cooking fat so I use an olive oil-based fat and Crispo. For this sort of pastry when I want a nice soft pastry I used1/3 olive oil fat and 2/3 Crispo.

And cake flour, not all-purpose flour, and the difference was remarkable…….mmmm I am still silently ranting…lol

Prepare your pastry making sure you use ice-cold water from the fridge and wrap in clingfilm and put in the chiller for at least 20 minutes.

Roll out and line a pie plate or dish.

Some prebake at this point and some don’t …I have done both depending on the time I have or just how I feel.

If I don’t prebake I stand the dish on a baking tray so as to make sure there are no  “soggy bottoms”

Peel and core your apples. If I am using Bramleys or large cooking apples I would use 4 apples any other normal-sized eating apples I would use 8 for a pie plate.

 Cook in a pan with a little water until they soften slightly. I like my apples to keep their shape and not be mushy in a pie. But that is down to personal preference. I also add a couple of cloves or nutmeg and cinnamon.

If I use Bramleys I would add a little sugar as we don’t like our filling too sweet but here I cannot get them so I use a new Zealand dessert apple which doesn’t need any added sugar.

Drain off the juice and put into the pie base.

cake-597175_1920

Photo source: Pixabay

Roll out remaining pastry and put over the top of the apples. Making sure you crimp the edges. Cut 3 slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Brush the top with a little beaten egg and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 40/45 mins or until pastry is cooked.

To check just lightly scrape fingernail on edge of the pastry and if it crumbles off it is cooked.

If you make individual pies the cooking time is slightly less.

When cooked remove from oven and sprinkle with castor sugar..it is nice mixed with a little cinnamon.

Serve with custard or fresh cream.

Enjoy your slice of pie with a nice cup of tea or coffee..a lovely mid-morning or afternoon treat…Go on you deserve it!

Time for a tune…Something a bit newer today…A lady with a haunting voice…Who also happens to be very funny as well…

Her single released 23rd October 2015 called Hello…had over 1 million downloads in the first week…Here she is singing live ably helped by James  Corden…

In a little village in the Peak District…In this real English Village, this lovely lady has baked the whole village in cake and it seems this is now an annual charity event…

It even has a resident ghost…

Now, who didn’t sing this song as a child?

London Bridge is falling down
Falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down
My fair lady

Well fall down it did in the tornado of 1091…The tornado struck the heart of the city, causing a great deal of damage. The church of St Mary-le-Bow was completely levelled, to the extent that four huge 26-foot rafters were driven so far into the earth that only four feet remained visible above ground. Many more buildings, including around 600 mainly wooden houses, were also demolished although amazingly, only two deaths were recorded.

It was rebuilt and then 40 years later was again destroyed this time by fire …It was then rebuilt in stone…

Often confused with Tower Bridge they are not one and the same they are situated in close proximity to each other but are two different Bridges…

London Bridge has existed in one form or another for nearly 2,000 years now. It’s the site of the oldest crossing of the River Thames on record. The London Bridge that still stands today dates from 1973. So, despite the fact London Bridge has existed here the longest, the actual bridge standing today is one of the more modern bridges over the Thames in London.

That’s all from me for this week I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…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!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

Connect to Carol

Blog:
Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest: 

Email:

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