Tag Archives: Spiced red cabbage

CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 28…Germany the land of forests,woodlands, Fairy castles and Beer Festivals!

Welcome to my latest A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…

Today I am looking at the cuisine of Germany…

A country I have visited a number of times over the years… they are famous for the Christmas Markets and Glühwein…I have memories of holding a warming mug of Glühwein while snow is falling and the brass band is playing while we shop for gifts…it is magical at Christmas…

However, we are here for the food famous for its Bratwurst Sausages although there are at least 1,000 different types, there are over 300 different kinds of bread and over 1,200 types of cake…and in BAVARIA Beer is considered a food officially…

The biggest Beer Festival in the world is Oktoberfest in Munich, Bavaria, where the beer glass size is not 500ml but a whole litre!

The Germans’ love for beer is also expressed through the popular saying, “Durst wird durch Bier erst schön,” which translates to “Thirst is only beautiful when accompanied by beer.”

Whilst there are regional variations in food culture, most German recipes focus heavily on bread, potatoes, and meat, especially pork, as well as plenty of greens such as types of cabbage and kale. Cake, coffee, and beer are all highly popular elements of German cuisine too – which will be good news to most!…

No visit to Germany would be complete without having a slice of Black Forest Gateaux…and who better to give a demonstration than “The Hairy Bikers”…

One of my favourite German Christmas recipes came from a dear friend whose husband was German…Spicy Red Cabbage...

This beautiful cabbage dish can be eaten with hot or cold meats and is a firm favourite in this house the red cabbage is braised with red onions, apples and spices it smells absolutely divine whilst it is cooking just like Christmas…however even though it is something we always have with our Christmas dinner I also make it at other times of the year…Called Rotkohl, Blaukohl or Blaukraut in Germany, depending on the region, this braised red cabbage is a staple side dish that is served throughout Germany.

All that bread, cakes and beer there are more types of bread than in any other country you would think it wouldn’t bode well for the waistline however only 17% of the population is obese, compared to 33% of Americans or 27% of Britons. So how do they stay so thin?…as a nation Germans love to hike…and a walk is not just a stroll around the park but rather a brisk 10km (6.2 miles]) ramble that is likely to include ascending an Alp and drinking copious amounts of schnapps…which all proves my theory that you can eat and drink more or less what you like as long as you do enough exercise.

Plus Germans don’t tend to eat their big meal in the evening. Most big companies have an on-site canteen where employees eat their hot meal for the day. In the evening, it’s Brotzeit (bread time), where people have a couple slices of dark spelt or rye bread with some pâté, smoked meat and cheese with a beer or some wine…sounds good to me and pretty similar to my lifestyle now I eat my main meal before 2pm and don’t eat a meal after that I may have fruit or a brownie for a treat but I eat my breakfast and main meal early in the day and walk a lot…

Sauerbraten is a traditional German roast of heavily marinated meat. It is regarded as the national dish of Germany and is frequently served in German-style restaurants internationally.

It can be prepared from a variety of meats, most often from beef, but also from venison, lamb and mutton, pork and horsemeat…I think everyone has eaten or heard of schnitzel which is meat that is pounded until it is very thin then coated in breadcrumbs and fried…although schnitzel can be made using any meat In Germany and Austria, the name Wiener Schnitzel is protected and can only be made with veal.

Schnitzel made of any other meat is Schnitzel Viennese Style.

All the food so far seems pretty normal or is it? Like many countries, there are foods that may not be acceptable to everyone’s palate I mean I draw the line at eating horsemeat and veal just my personal views but for many, it’s on the menu…

However what about Hackepeter or Mett...many of us have been warned by our parents not to eat raw meat however many cultures do and that is the case here in Germany …Mett has been eaten for centuries and even the EU warns against eating Mett or Hackepeter. This preparation of raw minced pork is often sold on bread rolls and is a classic food that is often found on buffets…

Blutwurst is a blood sausage similar to black pudding…but in Germany, the peculiarity of the German Blutwurst is that it has names like Himmel und Erde(Heaven and Earth)  served with apple sauce and mashed potatoes or Tote Oma(Dead Grandma) where hot Blutwurst is smashed to bloody pieces and mixed with liverwurst and mashed potatoes.

Saumagen(Sows Stomach) is a pig’s stomach stuffed with pork, potatoes, carrots and spices again similar to a haggis which is a favourite Scots dish…

Milbenkäse (“mite cheese”), called Mellnkase in the local dialect and often known as Spinnenkäse (“spider cheese”), is a German speciality cheese. Produced exclusively in the village of Wurchwitzthe cheese is left in a wooden box with cheese mites for about 3 months…the bugs eat the rind and the digestive liquid they secrete ferments the cheese…the cheese is then eaten with the living mites…

I would pass on this cheese and the raw minced pork although to me it is similar to a tartare…and the blood sausages again are eaten in many other countries so I don’t really class them as weird food just food that I’m not partial to…

Thank you for joining me today for this virtual tour of the cuisine of Germany as always I look forward to your comments and thoughts and appreciate any shares…x

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Cabbage…Do you eat your #Greens?


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

This week it’s…Cabbage, Greens…

I love every sort of greens/cabbage either steamed lightly, stir-fried, pickled, fermented, raw we all do even the kids…I also think that school cooks, our grandmothers or mothers have much to answer for as to whether or not we love our greens or maybe we are just damn fussy or have never eaten them since we were a child and have carried that into adulthood and passed it on to our kids…there are as many who hate their greens as who ♥ their greens.

I ate them as a child I didn’t particularly like them or not but I had to eat my dinners or risk it being served for breakfast although I never remember that particular threat being carried out…lol…I also learnt as I started cooking that you didn’t need to boil the life out of them like my mother and my nanna did…although I have fond memories of the cabbage water with a touch of vinegar being a treat.

I also remember my father one Christmas saying to my mother “why don’t you cook your greens like Carol does”…I think if I had been the one that was said to my reaction would have been a tad different to my mother’s but from that day on she cooked her greens the same way I did…apart from that she also taught me much of what I know now and encouraged my love of cooking and baking…

I will now share with you some of the ways I cook and serve greens to my family and hope that if you don’t eat your greens that you will at least try one of them with an open mind…after all you may hate cabbage but do you eat coleslaw?

Types of Greens…

Affordable, versatile “Cabbage” makes an appearance in cuisines from all around the world. They can be braised, grilled, sautéed or even pickled and yet we often take them for granted,

But this humble vegetable can do way more in a dish than simply be tossed in a salad with some dressing…plus it goes without saying that cabbages are jam-packed with nutrients, packed with Vitamin C, K and B6…high in fibre…iron and antioxidants…crinkly or smooth leaf the cabbage belongs to the Brassica family which includes broccoli, cauliflower and kale…it is easy to grow even in a window box and its low cost…What’s not to like?

Around the world, the cabbage is king…a green, white or red cabbage with tightly packed leaves just like a cannonball is at its delicious best when delicious braised, stewed or boiled in a simple soup with chopped-up cabbage, carrots, corn and pork ribs…it’s perfect for shredding into coleslaw or fermented into sauerkraut…used as a wrap with Larb Moo is one of the ways I serve white cabbage and its one of Lily’s favourite and most request dinners.

She has a big chunk of white cabbage on the side and wraps a piece of cabbage around a spoonful of larb and eats it ..the taste and the texture of raw crispy cabbage with the spicy, pork with chillies and herbs is a joy to eat…we also sometimes make the larb into balls and fry them until crispy and wrap in the cabbage leaf there is a recipe for both in the highlighted link above.

Napa Cabbage…

I’m sure many of you are now familiar with seeing this beautiful cabbage for sale on markets and in your local store…In Korea, it is used to make kimchi…added to soups, or as a stuffing for dumplings…Try it shredded into a slaw, tossed with noodles, or stuffed in a hearty wrap…its uses don’t stop there though some Napa cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, and sliced pork tenderloin all stir-fried together in a Thai sweet chilli sauce that adds a pop of heat to the dish and you have a tasty meal…

But in keeping with my policy for waste not want not in mind I am giving you a dish made with the stems of napa/Nappa Chinese cabbage. Most days I start my day with a bowl of vegetable stir fry with rice…we all love veggies and on my plate, my veggies far outweigh the amount of meat I eat…

Who throws this away?

It is the stalk of the napa cabbage cut on the diagonal and am going to stirfry them with some chopped garlic, chopped ginger, dried chillies and chopped green onion. A sauce made from black vinegar, oyster sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.

Start by heating a little oil in your pan and adding the chillies, garlic and onion and cook for 1 min.

Then add your Nappa cabbage stalks and stir fry for a further 2-3 mins. Add your sauces I always mix mine beforehand so they are ready. Cook for another minute…

This can either be served with rice/noodles or as a side to your main dish…

Almost the same colour as the rice it was actually very tasty and the whole of the Napa cabbage was used…no waste…

Savoy Cabbage…

One of my favourite cabbages…easily recognisable the Savoy cabbage has wrinkly leaves. … They’re shaped into a tight, round head, like conventional green or red cabbages, but the leaves have the distinctively wrinkled appearance of Napa cabbage leaves. Savoy varieties are milder-flavoured than regular green cabbage, but the two can be used interchangeably in recipes.

How to cook cabbage…nothing fancy but as a side vegetable with your Sunday roast or midweek meal…

Boiled or Blanched:

Put the cabbage leaves or shredded cabbage in a large pan and cover halfway with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 3-5 mins or until tender. To blanch (so they can be sautéed or fried later), cover with water and boil for 3 mins. Transfer the leaves to cold water to refresh.


Best for spring green cabbage, Savoy cabbage…Put your prepared, shredded cabbage in a steamer and steam for around 5 mins or until tender.


For all types of cabbage...Shred the leaves from half a head of cabbage, removing any tough leaf stems. Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok, then add the cabbage and 2 sliced garlic cloves. Stir-fry until the cabbage starts to wilt then add 75ml vegetable stock. Cover and cook for 3 mins until just tender.


For red cabbage, white cabbage…Finely slice 1 large onion and put it and 50g butter, or 50ml olive oil in a heavy-based, flameproof casserole dish. Fry the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 mins. Cut the core from a 750g cabbage and finely slice the leaves. Add this to the casserole dish and toss everything together, cooking over low heat while you peel and slice 1 apple. Crush 1 tsp juniper and 1 tsp caraway seeds together, then add these and the apple slices to the pan. Season and pour in 500ml cider, red wine or water. Stir well and bring to a simmer, cover the dish and cook for 20 mins.

Other ways to cook include the following;

Spiced Red Cabbage: Not only is this a regular on our Christmas menu we also have it at various other times of the year…it can be eaten with cold or hot meats and keeps well in the fridge or freezer…Spiced Red Cabbage.

Pickled/brined Cabbage: White cabbage is a regular purchase here we either eat it raw or I brine it with salt or we just have it steamed as a side as above.

Pickled Cabbage, green onions and Eggplant…

Layer Cabbage, Green Onions, eggplants and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands. I use lovely yellow eggplants on this occasion but any of the small eggplants can be used except for the pea eggplants.

We then leave the dish covered on the kitchen top or in the sun for 1 day.

Then drain and lightly rinse and add more salt if required. Cover and leave for 2/3 days or until it reaches your ideal taste. With pickled cabbage, it is purely down to personal taste some like it saltier or sour more than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

My daughter in law who is Thai doesn’t like it as sour as we do… she doesn’t like the Winegar taste as she puts it… Once it reaches your required taste it is ready to eat…you can of course leave the eggplants out and add some spring onions or wild garlic which is lovely.

Not forgetting of course and one of the best recipes ever that you can make with leftover cold cabbage is Bubble and Squeak

bubble and squeak-potato-cabbage

Bubble and Squeak

This is one of the best meals ever with some bacon and eggs…

If you still do not like cabbage but like cheese sauce then make a nice au gratin with some cauliflower, broccoli and some white cabbage…

Make any white sauce and add grated cheese and some mustard…A white sauce is essentially Béchamel sauce traditionally made from a white roux and milk.


  • 500ml whole milk
  • 1tsp English mustard powder
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 100gm mature cheddar, grated
  • 50gm parmesan grated

Let’s Cook!

Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour and mustard powder to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer to thicken to a smooth sauce, stirring constantly.

Take the sauce off the heat and stir in 2/3 of the cheddar and half the Parmesan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour over your steamed cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli and sprinkle over the remaining cheeses. I also add little cherry tomatoes around the edge or tomato slices…

Cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli bake

Cook under the grill until the sauce is bubblier and the top is golden brown for about 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180/200 degrees.

I didn’t run out of tomatoes...lol…hubby doesn’t like tomatoes so I always leave a gap…

That’s all for cabbage(although) there are so many other ways to cook this beautiful green vegetable I hope I have encouraged you to try cabbage or other greens…I look forward to your comments xx

Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations Rewind – The Ninth Day of Christmas with guests John W. Howell, Sandra Jackson, Chocolate and Non Alcoholic Wines


Spiced Red Cabbage…It was a toss-up for me as today as it should have been the last post of my environmental A-Z but Christmas is nigh and we all know by now what we should have done and so I decided it can wait until the New Year…food for me always invokes memories…of places and people…

This beautiful red cabbage always reminds us of a dear departed friend… Pauline, I always think of you when I make this recipe…Christmas cake eaten with cheese makes me remember Sue Vincent as it was she who passed that little gem on to me…Cheers, Sue…this year I have another little gem to add to my recipe book of memories from Mary Smith …A beautiful soul who in her own words is on her “final Journey“…I am heartbroken…  Mary has supported me and my girls through our yet unfinished journey but being the amazing soul she is she has been a great comfort to me… Mary has left me with a new way to eat Christmas cake and that is to fry a slice of cake with bacon…I mean bacon makes everything taste better…Go with peace and love, Mary…

I also have to mention Sally...I have struggled most days to get words down and make a post and “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”  has been a godsend by sharing my festive recipes…Thank you, Sally …Hugs…today Sally treated her special guests to my Red Cabbage recipe…Please click the link below and read all about Sally’s Christmas memories and the memories of her special guests it is a heartwarming and delightful read #recommended read


Christmas dinner for one…Part One.

I know Christmas for many people for a variety of reasons and Covid…sigh… social isolating and bubbles which could mean Christmas dinner for one…

Christmas in a household of 4, for example, may mean a few compromises…especially if there is a fussy eater…then we get the TV and the music…maybe the games there is always a sore loser…

Christmas for one...means you can indulge yourself with your food choices…TV or music…your choice…there is no one to hog and eat all the best chocolates…less washing up and clearing away…you can veg out on the sofa after dinner…you can take a nap, read a book and eat chocolate, have a choice of TV channels, your choices are endless…It sounds close to heaven on earth to me…

What’s for dinner then? 

You could ask your butcher to cut you small lamb rack of 2/3 lamb cutlets and make a lovely crumb… its fairly quick to cook,

A nice piece of steak with new potatoes and a salad or a beautiful red wine sauce.

Pork fillet with a nice peppercorn sauce.

Salmon with new potatoes and asparagus.

A small turkey crown or a stuffed turkey thigh…

I did think about a nice quail, pigeon or venison but my son told me that they could be quite difficult to cook if you weren’t familiar with the cooking of them so, I discarded that thought unless of course, you are a cordon bleu chef and then it is a doddle.

If you just want traditional then here’s how…

A traditional Christmas dinner for one…


  • 3 pork chipolata sausages
  • 1 small apple, cored, ½ grated, ½ cut into wedges
  • 4 walnut halves, chopped
  • 2 slices brown bread, chopped into small pieces
  • pinch of dried sage
  • 1 skinless chicken breast
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon
  • 5 Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 small potatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium parsnip, trimmed
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp vegetable, or sunflower oil
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 250ml red wine
  • 250ml beef or chicken stock (can be made with 1/2 stock cube)

Let’s Cook Christmas Dinner:

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Squeeze the meat from one of the chipolatas into a bowl, discarding the skin. Put the grated apple in a clean tea towel and squeeze out any excess liquid, then add to the sausagemeat with the walnuts, a quarter of the bread and the sage. Season, then combine using your hands and form into a fat sausage shape.

Cut a long slit in the chicken breast lengthways on one side, being careful not to cut it in half (you should be able to open it up like a book). Stuff the chicken breast with the stuffing sausage, then wrap two of the bacon rashers around it so it’s fully enclosed, securing it with a couple of cocktail sticks.

Put the stuffed chicken breast in a large roasting tin. Wrap the remaining bacon rashers around the remaining chipolatas and add to the tin around the chicken.

Christmas lunch would be the same without our pigs in blankets although I did see a recipe the other day for ducks in duvets which I found amusing…That recipe is for another day.

Add the apple wedges, sprouts and potatoes to the roasting tin. Cut the parsnip in half lengthways and put it, cut-side down, on a chopping board. Make very thin, close cuts into the parsnip halves that go almost but not fully through just to fancy it up like a Hasselback potato it is Christmas after all…

Transfer to the roasting tin with the garlic and two of the bay leaves. Drizzle over the oil and season everything with salt and pepper. Roast for 40-45 mins, or until everything is cooked through. Brush the vegetables in the oil and meat juices once or twice near the end of the cooking time. 

Now a traditional Christmas dinner would not be the same without bread sauce…which we can make while waiting for the meat and veggies to cook.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan with the remaining bay leaf, the cloves and shallot. Heat gently for 5-6 mins, stirring occasionally, or until the shallot is starting to soften. Strain the milk into a heatproof jug, reserving the shallot and discarding the bay leaf and cloves. Return the milk to the pan with the remaining bread and cook, stirring, until you have a thick, porridge-like sauce. Add half the butter and stir until melted, then season, remove from the heat and set aside. 

That’s the bread sauce done…x

Time for a glass of wine…

Now slice the reserved shallot, then add to a frying pan with the rest of the butter. Fry until just golden, then pour in the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook until the vinegar has reduced and is thick and sticky, then add the wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, then stir in the stock and bubble until the sauce is glossy and slightly thickened. 

Gently reheat the bread sauce. Slice half the chicken (reserving the rest for leftovers) and put on a plate with the pigs in blankets and the roast apple, sprouts, potatoes and parsnip. Drizzle over the red wine gravy and serve with the pickled red cabbage and cranberry and bread sauces on the side. 

Serve with cranberry sauce and my spiced red cabbage. This red cabbage can be made in advance it freezes well and keeps in the fridge well for at least 2/3 weeks. You can make as little or as much as you like by adjusting the recipe and it also pairs well with a roast dinner so there will some left if you are cooking for one for a few other meals.


Until next time stay safe and well and have a joyous festive season…xxx



#A Christmas Special… #A Vegetarian Christmas Menu…

There is a definite trend towards more plant-based recipes and this time of year with cranberries and other delicious fruits/vegetables some of them are just awesome and so tasty…I hope you find something that will tickle your taste buds …Merry Christmas xxx

Welcome to a Christmas menu with vegetarians in mind and I have tried to think of tasty dishes that as dare I say it a carnivore I would eat… In fact, I eat both because as long as a meal is tasty then that is what matters and I love vegetables.

The starters are quick and easy to make and ooze taste and most of the dishes can be made in advance as we don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on Christmas morning while everyone else has fun…Do we?

I always try to cook at least one dish I haven’t cooked before for Christmas as we all have our tried and tested family favourites, don’t we? It is just nice to try something new although some of the family favourites I dare not leave off the menu…

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favourite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

Let’s Cook!

Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.

Toast the bread.

To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.


Mushroom Pate.

• 2 cups of mixed mushrooms…
• 1 cup of walnuts
• 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 1 onion chopped finely
• 1 tbsp oil
• ½ cup of parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

Let’s Cook!

Toast the walnuts carefully as nuts always burn if you take your eye of them well mine do…Set to one side…

Add the oil to a pan add onions and cook 2 mins and add the garlic cook until onions and garlic is soft watching the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add all the other ingredients and saute for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. If the mix gets too dry then add a little water. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then blitz; scraping down the sides I like mine a little coarse.

Put the mixture into a dish and press the mix down and smooth the top.

Serve with crackers of your choice or sliced cucumber and peppers.

Mushrooms on toast with Brie.

• 2 slices of bread halved I use sourdough.
• 8 mushrooms sliced…I use chestnut mushrooms
• 170 gm brie sliced
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp oil
• 6 sprigs of thyme

Let’s Cook!

Heat the butter and the oil in a small pan add the mushroom and saute on a medium to high heat until browned and a little crispy around the edges about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat and add the garlic and cook for a further minute turn of the heat. Strip two of the thyme leaves and stir into the mushroom mix.

Lightly toast the bread top with the slices of brie put the toast back under the grill until the brie has melted top with the mushroom mix, as sprig of thyme and some freshly ground black pepper.

These toast starters serve two people but are easy recipes to double or triple up.





Spiced Red Cabbage

Red cabbage…our Christmas dinner would not be the same without it…I have been making this …Well, it seems like forever but it must be at least for the last 35 years so it is a well, tried and tested recipe and one which we absolutely love. The recipe was originally given to me by a very dear friend whom sadly is no longer with us…but every time we have this dish we remember you with much love Pauline…x

The recipe has German origins which is where Pauline’s husband came from.

Cooked with Apples, red onion or shallots, some spices, balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm…try a glassful…lol…

It is a lovely accompaniment to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two before eating…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas Dinner without it…we love it.

• One medium-size Red Cabbage.
• One medium to large Red Onion Or about 8 shallots…
• 2/3 cloves of garlic
• One large Bramley Apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
• A half to whole glass red wine.
• Salt and Pepper to season.
• 1-2 tsp Cinnamon or mixed spice.
• Cinnamon Stick ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

Chop cabbage, Onions, garlic and Apple.

Cook Onions and garlic in butter or olive oil until onions are soft.

Add chopped cabbage and apple, half of the balsamic and half of wine.

Season and add spices.

Cook for at least 2 hours (I cook mine for 3 generally) and add more wine and balsamic to taste. If you think it is a bit dry then add a little water.

Tip: If like me the Bramley cooking apples are unavailable where you live then its trial and error. I tried green apples, and it was ok but this week I used 4 dessert apples and it was the best, the same with seasoning and spices its personal taste so play with it and adjust to your taste which is what I do with all my cooking ….and especially now I live here it has taught me a totally new way of cooking, I was very recipe and measurement-driven.

Now I just look inside the fridge or freezer and cook with what I have because it is about taste, taste and taste again… or it could be just certain ingredients are unavailable here…….the only time I now measure is when I make pastry or cakes and that does have to be more precise but any other dishes then I play with ingredients and I have much more fun when I am cooking.

This dish can be made at least a week in advance if you are keeping it in the fridge or longer if you are freezing it.

To serve just gently reheat and check the seasoning…

Crispy Fried Kale

• 2 bunches curly kale (about 2 1/2 pounds)
• 1/4 cup good olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Sea Salt Flakes

Let’s cook

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange 3 oven racks evenly spaced in the oven.

Lay each kale leaf on a board and, with a small sharp knife, cut out the hard stem. Tear large leaves in half. Place the kale in a large bowl of water and wash it well. Drain the kale and dry it in a salad spinner. Dry the bowl, and put the kale back in the bowl.

Toss the kale with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the kale among 3 sheet pans or roast them in batches. If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never become crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.

Sprinkle with the sea salt flakes and serve hot.

I like these as a side as they add a bit of crunch to the otherwise soft dishes.

Potatoes, parsnips baked in garlic and cream

• 3 large potatoes about 1 ½ lb
• 12 oz parsnips
• 2-3 cloves of garlic
• ¾- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1 cup of single cream
• 105 ml of milk
• 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Let’s cook

Peel the potatoes and parsnips and thinly slice then place in a steamer and cook for 5 mins.

Leave to cool slightly.

Put the cream and milk into a heavy pan with the garlic slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat . Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for about 10 mins so the garlic can infuse into the milk.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Using a 10 in a rectangular ovenproof dish, grease the dish and arrange the sliced potatoes and parsnips in layers sprinkle each layer with I use lots of black pepper and a little grated nutmeg.

Pour the reserved cream and garlic mix over the potatoes and parsnips pressing the vegetables down. The liquid should come to just under the top layer.

Cover the dish with a piece of baking parchment or buttered foil and bake for 45minutes remove the dish from the oven and remove the paper or foil the sprinkle over the cheddar cheese and return the dish to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.

For a recipe variation, you could use sweet potato, carrots, Swede or artichokes. or alternate the layer with white potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Mushroom and Chestnut Stuffing.

I love mushrooms and chestnuts and although a meat eater I prefer my stuffing with no meat.

• 1 tbsp oil
• 300 g mushrooms (10 medium mushrooms)
• 180 g/ 1 cup cooked and peeled chestnuts, e.g. tinned or vacuum-packed
• 1 small onion, diced I prefer shallots
• 1 small red onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp dried sage
• 100 g wholemeal bread/sourdough bread
• Small bunch fresh flat leafed parsley
• Salt
• Black pepper

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).

Heat the oil in a frying pan; add the diced onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and any excess liquid has evaporated.

Transfer the vegetables to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Season generously, and blitz until the mixture just comes together.

Transfer the stuffing mixture to a baking dish, and bake for around 40 minutes, until crispy on top. Serve warm.


Nut Roast with salsa

• 40 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
• 100 g quinoa
• 150 g onion squash or cooking pumpkin
• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 sticks of celery
• olive oil
• 200 g tinned or vac-packed chestnuts
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 pinch of sweet smoked paprika
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 2 large field mushrooms
• 1 lemon
• 60 g fresh breadcrumbs
• 80 g dried cranberries
• 100 g dried apricots
• 100 g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and brazil nuts
• 4 large free-range eggs
• 40 g mature vegetarian  cheese


• 2 fresh red chillies
• 1 stick of cinnamon
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 small onion
• ½ bunch of fresh thyme, (15g)
• 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes or the equivalent in fresh tomatoes.
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 1-litre loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet and set to one side.

Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, then chop the flesh into rough 1cm chunks (you don’t need to peel the skin) unless you are using cooking pumpkin. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic, then trim and roughly chop the celery.

Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat, add the chopped vegetables and crumble in the chestnuts. Add the picked rosemary leaves, discard the stalks.

Add the cayenne, paprika and oregano and season with salt and pepper stir well and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 15 mins or until slightly softened add the chopped mushrooms to the pan for the last 5 mins of cooking.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and grate in half of the lemon zest.

Put mixture into a bowl and stir in the cooled quinoa, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and nuts if you prefer your nuts less chunky then chop into smaller pieces.

Crack the eggs into the mixture and stir well to combine then put the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Put into the preheated oven and cook for 45-50 minutes until cooked through and set.

When there is about 30 minutes to go make the salsa… Over a low –medium heat put a pan with a glug of olive oil and add the pricked chillies and the cinnamon. Add the finely sliced garlic and the onions cut into 8 wedges. Pick some of the time leaves reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Add the tomatoes plus 2 cups of water stir well breaking up the tomatoes.

Season and stir in the balsamic vinegar then bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and reduced.

Once the tomato mix is ready remove 1 chilli, carefully halve and deseed and roughly chop and return to the mix. If required loosen the salsa with a little water remove the whole chilli and cinnamon stick and put to one side.

Remove the nut roast from the oven and carefully remove from the tin. Put the nut roast into the tin containing the salsa and grate the cheese over the top. Put the cinnamon stick and reserved chilli back into the mix and put the reserved thyme sprigs over the top.

Return to the oven for 10-15m minutes or until bubbling and golden.

Baked Celeriac

• 1 celeriac 600-800 gm
• 60 gm walnuts toasted and chopped
• 1 tsp of thyme leaves
• 100 gm of blue cheese crumbled
• 50 gm butter
• 100 ml honey/maple syrup

Let’s Cook

Peel the celeriac keeping the shape as natural as possible. Using a 6-7 cm biscuit cutter make an indent in the top of the celeriac or like me, you can use a knife ( carefully) and then using a melon baller or apple corer scoop out the flesh to about halfway down.

Heat the oven to 180c/160 fan/gas 4

Toss the walnuts, thyme and blue cheese together and pack into the cavity of the celeriac if it is higher than the top don’t worry just pack it in…

Take a sheet of foil large enough to cover the celeriac…Dot the top of the celeriac with the butter then drizzle with the honey and season with salt.

Wrap the celeriac completely in the foil making sure there are no gaps and roast for 1 hr 15 mins or until the celeriac is soft. Open the foil and cook for a further 15 mins or until the top is golden…Serve on a chopping board and reserve any juices to spoon over the celeriac when serving.


Coconut and Lime Cheesecake.

For the base.

• Flavourless oil for greasing
• 300g digestive biscuits
• 50g desiccated coconut
• 160g unsalted butter, melted
• 25g coconut oil, melted

For the filling

• 560g full-fat cream cheese
• 250ml coconut cream
• 397ml tin condensed milk
• Juice 4 limes
• 4 medium free-range eggs

For the caramel

• 100g caster sugar
• 25g unsalted butter
• Good splash rum
• 75ml double cream, at room temperature
• 1-2 pinches sea salt flakes
• Pulp from 3 ripe passion fruits

Let’s Bake!

For the base, lightly oil a 20cm diameter, 8-10cm deep loose-bottomed cake tin and set aside.

Put the biscuits and coconut in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs.

With the mixer running, pour in the melted butter and coconut oil and process until combined.

Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin.

Using the back of a metal spoon, press down on the crumbs to form the base, working them all the way up the sides of the tin to form a deep tart case.

Smooth the base until even, and then chill until needed.

Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/ gas 3.

To make the filling, put the cream cheese, coconut cream and condensed milk in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until combined.

Gradually beat in the lime juice, then the eggs.

Pour the mixture into the biscuit base (don’t let it come over the sides of the biscuit).

Bake for 50-60 minutes until lightly set – it should wobble in the centre a lot when gently pushed, but it will firm up in the fridge.

Remove to a wire rack, still in its tin, and cool completely, then chill.

To serve, bring back to room temperature before removing from the tin.

To make the caramel, put the sugar in a heavy-based frying pan and heat very gently until completely dissolved – every now and then gently stir it back and forth with a fork to distribute the sugar evenly.

Turn the heat up and bubble to a rich golden-red colour, then remove from the heat quickly and add the butter and rum. It will spit, so be careful.

Stir to combine everything, putting the pan back on the heat if the caramel hardens.

Once smooth, stir through the double cream and the sea salt flakes.

Put in a heatproof bowl, cover with a piece of cling film directly touching the surface, then leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Mix the passion fruit pulp into the caramel, then serve drizzled over the cheesecake while the caramel is still a little warm.

N.B.The cheesecake will keep chilled for 6 hours or wrapped in cling film and frozen for up to 1 month.

Once defrosted then drizzle with the caramel.

Fresh Fruit Salad.

The beauty of a fresh fruit salad is that you can make it as large or as small as you like one portion or ten. You can use any fruit that you have and it can different every time.

The one I always make is straightforward, I use Oranges, Apples, Grapes, Pear, and section and slice them and add lemon/ lime juice to stop the fruit going brown.

Sometimes I also add some freshly squeezed orange juice or other fruit juice.

This is now when it gets interesting as you can add a little freshly grated ginger, some crushed lemongrass even treat yourself to one of those exotic fruits you have seen in your local shop or farmers market just to liven it up, change it.

Maybe even a touch of chilli???

Some sesame seeds? Some poppy seeds?? Even a few sprigs of mint…

If I use a soft fruit like banana, melon, mango, strawberries, peaches, apricots, watermelon or kiwi then I put those in about 15 mins before I serve the fruit salad. Otherwise, they can go too mushy and we like our fruit salad fresh and vibrant, nice and crisp.

And of course here I have access to plenty of fresh pineapples, Lychees and Dragon fruit are plentiful and in season here at the moment so into the mix they go…What is your favourite fruit salad mix???

You can use any combination of fruit that you like just make sure you use lemon/ lime

Juice to stop the fruit from discolouring and keep in the fridge until you is ready to serve.

It can be served quite simply with fresh cream or clotted cream if you can get it… Ice cream or even custard which hubby prefers.

That’s it for my vegetarian menu…Enjoy!

Next week it will be a Tradition Christmas Menu and the week after A menu for one as I know this Christmas there will (because) of Covid-19  more people eating Christmas dinner on their own…It can still be tasty and when you have your zoom chat you can show your family just what you have prepared for one…xx

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup the 3rd- 8th December 2019…

Welcome to this week’s roundup and do I have some goodies for you…Lots of things going on in the world …The election in the UK is fast gathering momentum…I have watched a few live clashes between the leaders of the parties and to say I am not impressed by much is an understatement…The party leaders need to grow up and start discussing honestly the concerns the voting public has on current issues that are important to them instead they are intent on scoring points against each other…That’s all I will be saying on this blog…

christmas tree and baubles-2939314_640

Although I am showing my Christmas face and cheer on my blog it doesn’t feel a bit like Christmas here…I need to get my red cabbage on as the smell of that certainly makes you think of Christmas, the tree is up…all four of them…Lily decorated them yesterday and they look pretty…My own little Christmas grotto as it certainly does not feel like Christmas when I look outside ..the palm trees blowing gently in the breeze…But hey ho I am sure many you would appreciate a bit of warmth…I can’t have it both ways, can I???

Monday…The latest news on recycling and climate change…

I could quite easily become depressed and despair about the world as there is a lot of scaremongering and doom and gloom everywhere…I am trying hard as generally, I am a happy person to find the positives of which there are many…as well as unicorns xx

coloured plastic bags blowing in the wind

I love that around the world much is going on to minimise rubbish and clean up the world …


Tuesday…Mistletoe and Wine…Time to pickle…Eggs and Star Fruit…

Tuesday is the day where all you Pickle addicts can pickle and pucker…Don’t you love that initial intake of breath when the vinegar hits your taste buds…?? Makes you give a little involuntary shiver…


Wednesday…Cooking from scratch with Sally and Carol…Brussel Sprouts…

I think Brussel Sprouts are like Marmite you either love them or hate them…Both Sally and I love them. Of course, there are many tasty ways you can serve sprouts that I even have had non-sprout lovers say ..wow this is nice…So please pop over and have a look…

brussel sprouts


Wednesday …Whimsical Wednesdays with Carol…

The day when I start off with a topic maybe and then that thought takes me elsewhere who knows even I don’t until I type and then it all spills forth and that is it really …I indulge and reminisce…

Last week mainly because I haven’t yet received any images of you my readers proudly sporting your Christmas jumpers the conversation in comments turned to hairstyles probably because I am trotting out some old well-loved tunes and some of those hairstyles…Well, I think those and bell-bottoms may not see a revival although I do think maybe bell-bottoms did for a while…Mmmmm…

So I kicked off with one of me in 1980...For some reason it is a bit pink but hey ho…I think many of us sported the lady Di look…


Carol 1980


Thursday…Christmas…’ Tis the season of love and laughter…and a glass of Egg Nog…

I didn’t realise egg nog was so popular…Drank hot or over ice, it seems to still be a popular seasonal drink…

egg-nog- 2


Friday…Christmas…In my house…Traditions, Treats and a touch of Trivia…

Lily has been here for the weekend…The annual fair is on at the moment so fun and games…Lots of homemade goodies and the like and ultra-loud music which carries on way into the night…It is a good job I can go to sleep anywhere no matter how loud any noise is…Thais love loud music and no one seems to mind…


We have done a bit of baking and Lily has decorated the Christmas trees..she has done rather well…There are some recipes for some Christmas side dishes to go with your turkey or goose…and some mocktails for those of you who do not partake in any alcoholic drinks but still want to have a lovely drink…


Saturday…Homemade Sweeties…

I thought this would be a nice idea and they make lovely little presents…Last week I featured a recipe for English Toffee and this week it was to be some lovely Coconut Ice…Well that was what the recipe said…

I pride myself on being a good cook…I can follow a recipe…The recipe went well in the beginning…The cooking time was out but stoves vary and that is something us cooks are aware of…so I carried on cooking it per the instructions until it held together when dropped in cold water..It even did that…

I put it in the buttered dish as per the recipe…That was where it went downhill…It quite frankly was a sticky mess…The finished coconut ice looked nothing like the picture…The actual picture was of hardish coconut ice didn’t look chewy at all…This was reminiscent of a very chewy toffee you couldn’t cut it into squares and by that time I knew it was just a big flop…It went in the bin…

Lesson Learnt...(again) if I do not know the cook and/or when I read the ingredients they don’t stack up I am not making it…

I am also not giving up as now I really want a piece of coconut ice…So if my mum can’t recall her recipe then I have found one in an old cookbook which I am sure she may have used…I will let you know…


Lastly, as you know I have concerns about climate change and try to do what I can to help as in recycling correctly, not using plastic and growing or buying fresh vegetables locally and in season…Living sustainably…I am very impressed with Janet and how she is having a sustainable Christmas in her house ..At the moment as she has completed her Advent calendars she is knitting Christmas Crackers…How cool is that???

gift wraping-4649684_640

Please pop over and have a look she really has given this much thought and is doing something well quite a lot actually…Well done Janet…xx


That’s all for now ..Enjoy your weekend xxx

Lastly, remember not everyone is fortunate and some people dread this time of year be aware and if you can add a little cheer please share your joy but also remember the other 364 days of the year pass your smile around and be kind… 

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

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

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

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

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