Tag Archives: Spiced red cabbage

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…

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Enjoy!

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.

Enjoy!

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

 Salsa.

• 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 …

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/12/02/recycling-and-climate-changethe-good-news-2nd-dec-2019/

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…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/12/03/mistletoe-and-wine-time-to-pickle-eggs-and-star-fruit/

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

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/12/04/smorgasbord-health-christmas-cook-from-scratch-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-perfect-and-healthy-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…

smart

Carol 1980

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/12/04/whimsical-wednesday-with-carol-21/

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

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/12/05/christmas-tis-the-season-of-love-and-laughter-and-a-glass-of-egg-nog/

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…

smart

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…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/12/06/christmasin-my-housetraditions-treats-and-a-touch-of-trivia-3/

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…

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/12/07/coconut-ice-thats-what-the-recipe-said/

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

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/12/07/silly-saturday-season-of-sustainability/

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

 

 

 

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

As Christmas is not celebrated here our Christmas is far more low key…Not so frantic as it was in the UK…I do miss the atmosphere and the build-up but I don’t miss all the crowds and the must-have this as it does take away from the real meaning where family and friends get together and enjoy each other’s company…

However little Lily is here this weekend and so the tree will be going up, I have made the Coconut ice this morning so that is setting in the fridge and will be sampled later…At least my arms had a workout as I used fresh coconut from the drupe…Recipe and pictures tomorrow…

We are also baking the cake a little late but Lily wanted to help and there is still time to top it up before I need to ice it…

For the last two weeks, I have given you some ideas/recipes to start your Christmas Lunch today I will give some recipes for side dishes. Starting with the one dish I always make…

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

Spicy Red Cabbage (1)

The recipe has German origins 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.

asparagus with bacon

Asparagus is another of our favourite vegetables they can be lightly steamed or cooked in butter and just serve with some thinly sliced parmesan cheese..so simple yet so very tasty…They are beautiful just wrapped in bacon…Very easy… Just wrap bacon slices around each prepared asparagus spear. Skewer both ends of asparagus and add 3 to 4 per skewer. Grill the asparagus on direct heat until the bacon is crispy and the asparagus tender which takes around 15 mins making sure that you turn the asparagus at least once.

Parsnips are also one of my favourite winter veggies…

parsnip-20320_640

Normally I cook in butter, olive oil, thyme, honey with some freshly cracked black pepper and salt to season…However, with some oil and maple syrup it takes the taste to another level not so sweet as honey but with the parsnips natural sweetness…Just perfect…

or baked with some potatoes au gratin…A lovely Christmas treat…

Ingredients:

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 350 gm parsnips
  • 200 ml single cream
  • 105 ml of milk
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 75 gm grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • butter or olive oil to grease the dish

Let’s Bake…

Peel your potatoes and parsnips and cut them into thin slices then steam for 5 minutes then leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, pour the milk and cream into a pan with the garlic and bring to the boil over medium heat.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand at room temp for about 10 mins to let the garlic infuse.

Lightly grease your oven baking dish and preheat your oven 180 C/350 F/Gas mark 4

Arrange the thinly sliced potatoes and parsnips in your dish sprinkling each layer with a little freshly grated nutmeg and plenty of ground black pepper and a little salt.

Pour the cream and milk mixture into the dish then lightly press the potatoes and parsnips down into the mixture.

Cover the dish with lightly buttered foil or baking parchment and cook for about 40 minutes…Remove the dish from the oven and remove the foil or paper…Sprinkle the grated cheese over then return the dish to the oven and bake for a further 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the top is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Now this time of year I absolutely love my cocktails but not everyone drinks alcohol and this video shows you some lovely healthy drinks for the Christmas season which won’t leave you feeling left out…

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

Christmas Recipes…Spiced Red Cabbage.

christmas-1695531_1920

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…

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 or Thanksgiving Dinner without it…we love it.

Spicy Red Cabbage.

Spicy Red Cabbage

Ingredients:

  • 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 Bramley apples are unavailable where you live then it’s 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…

 

 

The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you are in the bathroom!

Here is another of my very first blogs which has a lovely recipe for Spiced Red Cabbage which I always cook as an accompaniment to the Christmas Turkey. It’s easy to make and very nice 🙂