Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Mushrooms.

Welcome to the next article in our series Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor. At first we were a little concerned about the length of the posts as they including both the health benefits and some delicious recipes from Carol.. but apparently it is not a problem.

We do suggest however, that you bookmark and then read when you can put your feet up and read with a cup of tea, or even better a glass of wine.  Our aim is to elevate everyday food to not just culinary delights but also to share why that food is so healthy for us to eat in our regular diet.

First.. why are mushroom so good for us?

According to the ancient Egyptians, over 4,000 years ago, eating mushrooms granted you immortality. The pharaohs even went as far as to ban commoners from eating these delicious fungi but it was probably more to guarantee that they received an ample supply. Mushrooms have played a large role in the diet of many cultures and there is evidence that 3,000 years ago certain varieties of mushrooms were used in Chinese medicine and they still play a huge role in Chinese cuisine today.

There are an estimated 20,000 varieties of mushrooms growing around the modern world, with around 2,000 being edible. Of these, over 250 types of mushroom have been recognised as being medically active or therapeutic.

More and more research is indicating that certain varieties have the overwhelming potential to cure cancer and AIDS and in Japan some of the extracts from mushrooms are already being used in mainstream medicine.

Apart from their medicinal properties, mushrooms are first and foremost an excellent food source. They are low in calories, high in B vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc – and supply us with protein and fibre. They are versatile and they are easy to cook and blend with other ingredients on a daily basis. For vegetarians they provide not only protein but also the daily recommended amount of B12 a vitamin often lacking in a non-meat diet.


The most common mushrooms that you are likely to use in cookery are white button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms. They may not be as exotic as some of the oriental varieties but they still hold many health benefits. They are not only low in calories and fat, and therefore great if you are trying to lose weight, but they will also provide you with plenty of fibre. Even the little white mushrooms contain B vitamins, potassium and selenium and there are some interesting studies being conducted at the moment into some very important medicinal applications.

One area of research is into the phytochemical action that suppresses two enzymes, aromatase and steroid 5alpha-reductase. Aromatase converts the hormone androgen into oestrogen, an excess of which can promote the development of breast cancer. Steroid 5alpha-reductase has the same effect on testosterone, converting it to dihydrotestosterone, which has been shown to be involved in the development of prostate cancer. In the laboratory a team led by a Dr. Chen discovered that the mushroom extract suppressed the growth of both these cells.

Another property in mushrooms that is potentially very interesting is the amount of the antioxidant ergothioneine compared to the amounts in other foods such as wheatgerm and chicken livers. In fact, mushrooms can have up to 12 times as much – which means that a small serving of 5oz could provide excellent protection against oxidative damage throughout the body.

Until recently it was difficult to find some of the traditional medical mushrooms outside of specialist shops but supermarkets have begun to carry Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms. They can be a little more expensive but their benefits far outweigh the cost.


shitakeShiitake mushrooms range in colour from tan to dark brown and they have broad, umbrella shaped, caps. They feel soft and spongy when raw but when cooked they are rich tasting and meaty in texture. They are ideal as an alternative to red meat in pasta dishes as you can chop them finely and cook with a little olive oil in exactly the same way.

Shiitake’s main benefit is the ability to lower LDL cholesterol. There is a specific amino acid in the mushroom, which helps speed up the processing of cholesterol in the liver resulting in lower levels in the blood and therefore reducing the risk of heart disease.

In 1969 Japanese scientists isolated a polysaccharide (sugar) compound from Shiitake they called Lentinan. It appears that this substance stimulates the immune system cells to rid the body of tumour cells resulting in either a reduction in size or complete removal of cancerous growths. In Japan the Federal Drug Agency has licensed Lentinan as an anti-cancer drug and there is on-going research into the effect of Shiitake mushrooms and AIDS.


The Maitake mushroom is found in clusters of dark fronds, which are firm but supple at the base. They have a distinctive aroma and taste rich and earthy. They are great in any dish where you use mushrooms but are wonderful in a homemade stroganoff sauce served with brown rice.

They are also known as the “hen of the woods” possibly because of their shape. As with the Shiitake this mushroom has a compound that inhibits the growth of cancer cells by stimulating the immune system and in addition they have been found to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels but this has not been proven in humans as yet.

Another area of research is diabetes and it is thought that Maitake mushrooms may have a blood sugar balancing action that may reduce the need for insulin.

Mushrooms, as with most fruit and vegetables, hold some interesting and potentially lifesaving properties as well as nutritional benefits.


Button mushrooms should be white, plump and clean. Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms tend to be brown and slightly wrinkled but they should not have any damp, slimy spots. Keep mushrooms in a loose paper bag in the refrigerator for about a week and store dried mushrooms in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for six months.

Use a damp cloth to clean and then either slice or chop finely and add to your favourite recipes. They are great in stir-fry vegetable dishes, soups and stews and cooked gently in a little olive oil they make a great accompaniment for steak and poultry.

One word of warning: Naturally occurring Purine in mushrooms causes an increase in the amount of uric acid in the blood. This can lead to the formation of kidney stones and also the crystals that collect in joints in the toes that result in gout. If you suffer from kidney problems or gout I suggest that you limit your intake of mushrooms to once a week. If you still experience problems then you should avoid these and other Purine-rich foods altogether.

Candida: As a yeast overgrowth it was assumed that eating fungus such as mushrooms should be avoided. However, recent research has found that it is sugars that are the problem.

Now time to hand over to Carol Taylor who has been slaving away all week in the kitchen to prepare these recipes to showcase these little bundles of goodness.

The mushroom is such a versatile little vegetable there are your common garden variety that you see in every supermarket or market and then the exotic looking ones and it is can be found paired with beef or chicken in a pie, beef and mushrooms or onions is a favourite Chinese dish for many. Mushroom stroganoff is another way to use the mushroom and I am sure the breaded mushroom is still a favourite starter for many.

The King Oyster mushroom is very nice cut and layered with bacon on a skewer, brushed with some teriyaki sauce and cooked on the BBQ…..It is a lovely meaty mushroom which I use a lot here as it is freely available and it stores well.

Sliced and cooked with butter and garlic, eaten with some freshly made sour dough bread to mop up the juices it is a lovely thing.

There are some 20,000 varieties of mushrooms and Sally tells me some 2,000 of them are edible…That is an awful lot which are not. Thais do a lot of foraging and I have seen many weird and wonderful mushrooms available on the local markets but I stick to what I know as there are also a few deaths here every year from eating the wrong mushrooms so if you do forage please, please make sure you properly identify any mushrooms you find…before you eat them…

No desserts again this week as I think a mushroom is preferable in a savoury dish unless it is (and I haven’t) had them for years those sweet coconut mushrooms I used to love them…But sadly not available here…

Firstly I have one of my favourite Thai soups which is also probably known throughout the world…Tom Yum…

Tom Yum Soup with Prawns (Tom Yum Goong)

This is one of my favourite Thai soups and the first time I made it from scratch I questioned the colour as in many restaurants it is a bright orange colour. It is because a Tom Yum paste or stock cube is used…This one is made from scratch it also doesn’t have that sharp taste but is more mellow and I think more pleasant.


  • 2 litres of water
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1 inch chunk of galangal
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 Thai chillies
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 500gm Prawns
  • 300 grams of oyster mushrooms
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut into quarters.
  • 2 white onions (medium-sized) cut into large chunks.
  • 1 and half teaspoons of sugar
  • 7 – 10 tablespoons of fish sauce (depending on your taste)
  • Juice of 5 -8 limes.
  • Handful of cilantro ( Coriander)

N.B Next time I will use shallots instead of white onions and I recommend using lowest amount of limes and fish sauce and Taste! Adjust if necessary as everyone’s taste varies.

Lets Cook!

First thing to do is put about 2 litres of water in a large pot to boil. Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.

Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling-pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1 inch strips or so.

Take about 1 thumb sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.
Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.

Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.

I used about 10 Thai bird chilli for this recipe, but you can use however many you like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you’d still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.

Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.

You can put the lid on just so it starts to boil which releases the herb flavours quicker.

Now prepare your prawns I remove everything except for the tail…..others put in whole prawns…personal preference.

Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes.

Then add your mushrooms, which you should pre rinse beforehand.

Cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and onions.

Cook for further 6-8 minutes.

Now add prepared prawns and cook for 2-3 mins max (if overcooked the prawns will sink to the bottom of the pan. If you get any scum on the surface of soup it’s from the prawns then just skim off with a spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

Taste and adjust if necessary.

This delicious soup is now ready to serve.

The other Tom Yum soup which is popular here is Tom Yum Gai (Chicken) which uses chicken instead of prawns and adds coconut milk.

Stuffed Mushrooms

I think one of the biggest mushrooms I have eaten is a stuffed Portobello mushroom which stuffed is a meal in itself.

Just take the caps and put gills up in an oven proof dish and pop in a pre-heated oven on 450F and roast them for about 20 minutes or until just tender. Mix some breadcrumbs with some parmesan cheese, season with salt and cracked black pepper then mix in a little chopped parsley and a little ½-1 tbsp olive oil then put on top of the mushroom gills and put back in the oven for 5 mines until the top is a little crispy and golden.


Mushroom Pate:


  • A cup of shelled walnuts
  • Half a cup of minced shallots
  • ¼ lb shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ lb Crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ lb Portobello mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tbsp of roasted garlic puree
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Lets Cook!

Pre-heat your oven to 350F, 175C

Spread the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven until lightly brown. Take out and set to one side.

In a large pan melt the butter and add the shallots, cook until translucent then add the mushrooms, garlic, parsley, thyme , salt and pepper, cook, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Next blend the walnuts and oil together until they form a thick paste, add the mushroom mix and blend until it reaches your desired consistency…some like a coarser pate than others.

Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

Put in small ramekins or one large dish. Cover with cling film and chill for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Mushrooms on Toast:

Ingredients to serve 2 people.

  • 2 slices of sour dough bread or bread of your choice. Toasted.
  • 170 gm of mixed mushrooms
  • 1=2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 slices of bacon or prosciutto
  • Few sprigs of Parsley, chopped for dish and to garnish
  • Knob of butter

Let’s Cook!

Fry your bacon or prosciutto and set to one side. Cut into pieces.

Add the butter to a pan then add mushrooms cook for 2 minutes, add crushed garlic and crème fraiche cook for 3-5 mins and stir in some chopped parsley.

Pile mushrooms on top of toast and garnish with bacon and some parsley.

If you are feeling really peckish then top with a poached egg.


Mushrooms also go well in a cream or tomato sauce over pasta or in a lovely mushroom risotto. As I said before they lend themselves to so many savoury dishes and cream of mushroom soup is very nice…One of my grandsons favourites.

Now for a taste of Italy some wonderful home pickled mushrooms.


  • 3⁄4cup lemon juice
  • 6 cups water
  • 8 cups small mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2teaspoons dried oregano or 4 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2tsp dried basil or 4 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 8 small bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups red wine vinegar or 6 cups white wine vinegar

Let’s Cook!

Combine lemon juice and water in a large pot.

Add mushrooms and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Drain off liquid.

Place herbs and mushrooms, garlic and bay in clean hot jars.

Bring vinegar to a boil and pour over mushrooms leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Seal and process for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath.


Rich Mushroom Ragout:

Lastly I have a recipe for a lovely rich mushroom ragout which even the hardened meat lovers including my hubbie grudgingly has to admit it is ok…..I think it is because he thinks if he says it is really nice I may serve him more veggie dishes and he is a die hard

This dish can be served with lovely mashed potato or some beautiful buttered new potatoes or with rice…I had to add that as I am a rice lover…


  • 200 gm shitake mushrooms halved
  • 200 gm chestnut mushrooms halved
  • 3 large field mushrooms quartered
  • 70 cl bottle of full bodied red wine
  • 600ml fresh vegetable stock or you can use stock cubes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 450 gm baby carrots, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 300 gm baby onions or small shallots
  • 140 gm fine green beans topped and tailed
  • 4 skinned, deseeded tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Flat leaf parsley to garnish

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and add the baby onion and the mushrooms cook over a high heat stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes…Remove from pan and set to one side.

Add wine, garlic, bay leaves and thyme to the pan, bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced by half. Return the onions and mushrooms to the pan add the carrots, tomato puree and the stock and bring back to the boil then simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the carrots are just tender.

Blend the corn flour to a paste with a tbsp of cold water and mix until smooth then stir into the casserole. Bring to a rolling boil and stir until thickened. Season to taste (remove bay leaves and thyme) add the green beans and tomatoes to the pan, cover the pan and reduce to a simmer, cook for a further 15 minutes. Sprinkle over chopped parsley before serving.

Serve with potatoes or rice.


Again many thanks to Sally for letting me collaborate with her and add my recipes to her Health Benefits of eating mushrooms.

And my thanks to Carol for showing us how we can include simple vegetables, such as mushrooms into our daily diets so deliciously.

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 vegetables 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 have 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!

Connect to Carol


Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts you can find them here:


Guest author: Marilyn Armstrong – Visions

Another tale from the unexpected over on Sue Vincent’s blog. So many people have had unexplained brushes with something that cannot be defined that it is clear we have to keep an open mind. Mine is definitely open and after reading Marilyn Armstrong’s experiences I think you will too. #recommended

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo


Over the years, I envied Christians. They always seem of all the things which for me are nothing but doubts.

On August 30th, 2004, sometime between midnight and dawn, I had a vision in that peculiar space between sleeping and waking. I was very near death. The skin all across my abdomen had turned septic. Antibiotics were not working. Even the emergency debridement from the plastic surgery swat team had not fixed it. I knew I was dying. I could feel myself slipping away. I expected death to be more dramatic and certainly more frightening. I was less afraid than sad. I felt I had not done whatever it was I was supposed to do this time around the wheel.

Then came the vision. Unlike a dream, it has stayed clear as crystal. Never has it become faded or confused.

I was a little bird, a sparrow. I was broken…

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Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – The Irish View on Life, Bars, Accents and Heaven and Hell

I have to mention that my husband is Irish and his father was one of the finest raconteurs of jokes and stories, Irish or otherwise. My own mother’s family originated from County Cork.. in Ireland, Cork men have been the butt of many a joke as have those poor souls from Kerry.

The Irish have a long and revered history but they have also endured dark times. And I have little doubt that it is their wonderful sense of humour and their ability to take the mick out of themselves that make them so universally liked.

I remember coming out of the Shelbourne Hotel in St.Stephen’s Green in Dublin shortly after our return to live twenty years ago. An upmarket establishment to say the least and I followed on the heels of two very well dressed, be-hatted ladies of mature years. I stood behind them as we waited for traffic lights to change so that we could cross the road and one said to the other. “Would you look at that feckin’ traffic!”

Source: Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – The Irish View on Life, Bars, Accents and Heaven and Hell

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – The Irish View on Life, Bars, Accents and Heaven and Hell

I have to mention that my husband is Irish and his father was one of the finest raconteurs of jokes and stories, Irish or otherwise. My own mother’s family originated from County Cork.. in Ireland, Cork men have been the butt of many a joke as have those poor souls from Kerry. The Irish have a long and revered history but they have also endured dark times. And I have little doubt that it is their wonderful sense of humour and their ability to take the mick out of themselves that make them so universally liked.

I remember coming out of the Shelbourne Hotel in St.Stephen’s Green in Dublin shortly after our return to live twenty years ago. An upmarket establishment to say the least and I followed on the heels of two very well dressed, be-hatted ladies of mature years. I stood behind them as we waited for traffic lights to change so that we could cross the road and one said to the other. “Would you look at that feckin’ traffic!”

It took me a while to get used to hearing the use of this word in everyday language but whilst in some cases it is a less offensive version of its four letter cousin, it in fact started life as a meaning ‘to steal’ or ‘to throw’ something.

Hollywood has over the years employed lead actors who have attempted to master the Irish accent.. Like their attempts to add toner to their faces and bodies to impersonate Native American Indians, Leading Indian politicians and other races, it is not always successful.. In this video a master class in the different Irish accents with a note to stars such as Tom Cruise (Titanic) and others that they could save themselves some embarrassment and employ one of our many fine home grown actors.

Now that you have that under your belt you will be wanting a drink… something else that the Irish are very good at.. You will note the the Irish have quietly and without causing offence, invaded every country virtually in the world. And I hear recently even at the airport at the ends of the earth at Lukla the gateway to the Himalayas.


Too much of the good stuff.

One night, Mrs McMillen answers the door to see her husband’s best friend, Paddy, standing on the doorstep.

“Hello Paddy, but where is my husband? He went with you to the beer factory”

Paddy shook his head. “Ah Mrs McMillen, there was a terrible accident at the beer factory, your husband fell into a vat of Guinness stout and drowned”

Mrs McMillen starts crying. “Oh don’t tell me that, did he at least go quickly?”

Paddy shakes his head. “Not really – he got out 3 times to pee!”


Oil be there!

Decades ago, there was a huge fire in one of the oil fields in Texas. The boss of the field contacted Red Adair, but was told that he couldn’t do anything as he was booked up for weeks. But Red Adair gave the Boss the telephone number of his cousin, Green Adair, in Ireland. So the Boss phoned Green Adair, who said he and his team would be over on the next available boat.

A few days later Green Adair and his team drove their transit van off the boat and travelled without stopping to Texas. Arriving at the oilfield, the boss tells him that the best place to see the fire was up on top of a nearby ridge. So Green and his men pile back into the Transit and drive up to the edge of the ridge.

After a few minutes, the Transit slowly moves off the top of the hill, gathers tremendous speed, and plummets right into the centre of the fire. Green Adair and his men jump out, and start stamping on the fire and blowing at it furiously. After a couple of hours, the fire is out.

The Boss is delighted and goes to see Green Adair and his men. “That’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen in my life! Incredible!!!” says the Boss. He willingly and delightedly gives them a cheque for $5 million, and asks Green Adair what’s the first thing he’ll do with the money. “Get the feckin’ brakes fixed!!!” came the reply…


Irish War Games

‘Hallo, Mr. Sarkozy!’ a heavily accented voice said. ‘This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Clare, Ireland .. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you! We voted to reject the Lisbon treaty!’

‘Well, Paddy,’ Sarkozy replied, ‘This is indeed important news! How big is your army?’

‘Right now,’ says Paddy, after a moment’s calculation, ‘there is myself, me Cousin Sean, me next door neighbour Seamus, and the entire darts team from the pub. That makes eleven!’

Sarkozy paused. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100,000 men in my army waiting to move on my command.’

‘Begoora!’ says Paddy. ‘I’ll have to ring you back.’

Sure enough, the next day, Paddy calls again. ‘Mr. Sarkozy, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!’ ‘And what equipment would that be Paddy?’ Sarkozy asks.

‘Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy’s farm tractor.’

Sarkozy sighs amused. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armoured personnel carriers. Also, I have increased my army to 150,000 since we last spoke.’

‘Saints preserve us!’ says Paddy. ‘I’ll have to get back to you.’

Sure enough, Paddy rings again the next day. ‘Mr. Sarkozy, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We have modified Jackie McLaughlin’s ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Bar have joined us as well!’

Sarkozy was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military bases are surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I have increased my army to 200,000!’

‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!’ says Paddy, ‘I will have to ring you back.’

Sure enough, Paddy calls again the next day. ‘Top o’ the mornin’, Mr. Sarkozy! I am sorry to inform you that we have had to call off the war.’

‘Really? I am sorry to hear that,’ says Sarkozy. ‘Why the sudden change of heart?’

‘Well,’ says Paddy, ‘we had a long chat over a few pints of Guinness and packets of crisps, and we decided there is no feckin’ way we can feed 200,000 prisoners.


Heaven or Hell.

In Ireland there is a little tradition that takes place two weeks before you die. In the night the angel of death visits you and takes you on a journey.

Michael had just fallen asleep when the angel arrived and swept him off in his arms. The first stop was heaven and he set Michael down on his feet on a cloud.

“Now Michael, when you die you have a choice to come to heaven or go to hell. I am going to show you the options. Here in heaven you will be allocated your own cloud, a harp and a white toga that it is your responsibility to wash when the cloud rains once a week.

Michael looked less than impressed and after a brief look around the angel swept him back up again and plummeted downwards.

They entered through a large ornate iron gate and the angel dropped Michael to the floor where he stood looking around him in amazement. There was a swimming pool with bikini clad beautiful women, a bar serving pints of Guinness and shots of whisky, there was a hot tub and he could hear some great music coming from the beach where the smell of cooking sausages wafted across to him.

The angel looked at him and asked if he had made up his mind where he wanted to go.

Michael had no hesitation in telling him he wanted to go to hell.

The angel returned Michael to his bed and left him to wake up in the morning without any recollection of the night’s travels.

Sure enough two weeks later, Michael passed away and in a flash found himself back at the gates of hell. His memory of his recent trip fully restored, he rang the bell, and was ushered in and straight through a door marked ‘Reception and Induction’

To his horror he found himself knee high in cow dung and there were thousands of other people all shovelling the muck into carts pulled by other men and women, harnessed and being whipped.

He turned back to the door to see a guard with his arms crossed keeping an eye on the proceedings. Now Michael had been known in life as a man who was not going to take any nonsense from anybody and he stormed over to the guard and demanded to see the head man.

He berated the guard for some time and eventually the door opened and the devil himself appeared.

Michael explained that he had been shown around by the angel and where was the pool; the bikini clad beautiful women and the bar? He had not signed up for dung shovelling.

The devil smiled benignly at the man and turned on his heel. Over his shoulder he uttered the oft heard words on earth.

“That was marketing, now you are a customer!”

 And to finish off.. a video that never fails to make me crack up..

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – D. G. Kaye and Mary Anne Edwards

Welcome to the showcase for recent reviews. If you are not in the Cafe and Bookstore then you are still very welcome to share your latest review here and go into the bookstore as well.

First review is for the memoir P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D.G. Kaye.

About P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

The most recent review for the book

A Courageous Revealing on September 1, 2017

Parenthood does not come with a user manual. Children learn parenting skills from the adults in their lives. They generally emulate what they see and experience. If their lifelong experience is a negative one, they might be inclined to perpetuate it. But this does not have to be so.

In her compelling memoir, P.S. I Forgive You, D.G. Kaye reveals the habitual neglect and abuse she and her siblings suffered at the hands of an envious, threatening, narcissistic, and deceitful mother.

It takes courage, strength, and determination to prevail over hardship, especially when it is a constant in childhood; especially when a parent perpetrates neglect and abuse. But it is not impossible to overcome adversity when one focuses their intention.

Kaye shows us how to take the energy consumed by feeling mistreated, hurt, fearful, and guilty, and instead make it work for us by directing that energy toward building self-esteem, fortitude, and positive intention. She tells us how she reacted as a child, and then shows us how, as an adult, she turned a negative into a positive. Acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness are major players in this scenario, a dynamic that tested the author’s resilience, challenged her conscience, and ultimately allowed her to triumph over the all-consuming adverse conditioning perpetrated by her demanding narcissistic mother.

I highly recommend this book to anyone whose childhood was hijacked by a neglectful and abusive parent, and who would like to learn how to break free and live a happy healthy life.

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

and at Amazon UK:

Also by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow D.G. Kaye on Goodreads:

Connect to D.G. Kaye through her website.

Flirting with Time is the 5th book so far in the Charlie McClung Mystery series by Mary Anne Edwards.

About The Charlie McClung Mystery series

The Detective Charlie McClung mysteries are gripping yet tender novels. The books are set in the early 1980s, a time without cell phones or laptop computers making life more simple but solving crime more difficult. The plots are filled with twists and turns. The characters are believable yet complex. They are people you know or want to know.

About Flirting with Time – Book Five of the series

Do you know what it’s like to feel someone stalking you, shadowing every move you make?

For months now, Detective Charlie McClung and his wife have been tormented by an elusive figure, toying with them, almost daring the detective to catch him.

Any hopes that this is the work of a harmless prankster vanish when an innocent man is found brutally murdered.

McClung will go to any lengths to protect his family, but how far is too far?

The most recent reviews for the book

Another Great Book on September 2, 2017

This is the fifth book in the Charlie McClung Mystery series by Mary Anne Edwards and it was another great story. They just keep getting better and better. There was suspense with a dash of romance. I loved this book. A must read!

I have enjoyed the progression of Charlie and Marian’s ‘love affair.’ Something or someone is always trying to inflict harm on one of them. This just serves to strengthen their relationship. Their friends all rally around to try to protect them. The characters are believable and the reader can ‘picture’ what they look like and their personalities. I like the continuity and progression of a series. While it is a big help to have read them in sequence, the reader can pick up on the characters and their relationships quickly.
I can’t wait for Mary Anne’s next Charlie McClung Mystery. Charlotte Pinkston


Read the other reviews and buy Flirting with Time:

and at Amazon UK:

Also by Mary Anne Edwards

Read all the many reviews and buy the Charlie McClung Series:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Mary Anne Edwards on Goodreads:

Connect to Mary via her website:

Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you will check both these authors and their books out.. Thanks Sally


Sally’a Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – A Girl Named Truth by Alethea Kehas

About A Girl Named TruthSome mystics believe we choose our name, along with our life’s lessons, before we are born. The name we select becomes our constant guide, helping us to navigate the journey ahead. In her memoir, A Girl Named Truth, Alethea explores the subjective nature of truth while she untangles the uncomfortable wrap of narratives she was raised on. Her name serves as her beacon, guiding her to heal and find the inner voice of her own truth.

Source: Sally’a Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – A Girl Named Truth by Alethea Kehas

Sally’a Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – A Girl Named Truth by Alethea Kehas

Welcome to a new author to the Cafe and Bookstore.. Alethea Kehas with her memoir, A Girl Named Truth.

About A Girl Named Truth

Some mystics believe we choose our name, along with our life’s lessons, before we are born. The name we select becomes our constant guide, helping us to navigate the journey ahead. In her memoir, A Girl Named Truth, Alethea explores the subjective nature of truth while she untangles the uncomfortable wrap of narratives she was raised on. Her name serves as her beacon, guiding her to heal and find the inner voice of her own truth.

The author’s story begins with her formative years, when her mother left her father and went into hiding with the Hare Krishnas. Months later, the young Alethea finds herself living 3,000 miles away from her extended family, trying to love a new father and forget the one she has left behind. Only she never forgets…A Girl Named Truth is a story of loss, love and the redemptive power of awakening a silenced voice.

An early review for the memoir

This is an inspiring and beautifully written memoir, a must-read! I was hooked from the first chapter as her life unfolds in front of us, incorporating all of the characters who formed her being into what it is today. Incredibly moving story, I could not put it down! Highly recommended!

Buy A Girl Named Truth:

and Amazon UK:

Alethea Kehas has also contributed to a number of short story and poetry anthologies

You can find all Alethea’s books on her Amazon author page:

About Alethea Kehas

Alethea Kehas has been obsessed with the origin of her name for as long as she can remember.

My spiritual and healing journey led me to write my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, and to delve into the study of metaphysics. My business, Inner Truth Healing, evolved after I became a Master/Teacher of Shamballa Multidimensional Healing.

Now I devote my non-writing and motherhood time to helping others heal and discover the deeper Truth within.

My current writing project involves a series of books for young adults that contains metaphysical teachings in a fantasy setting. As a life-student of the mysteries, I am in my third year of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness and am studying yoga with the intention of integrating it into my healing practice.

Connect to Alethea via her website and social media.

Facebook author page:

I would love you to welcome Alethea to the Cafe and Bookstore by commenting and sharing the news of her memoir.. thanks Sally

Post from your Archives – Guest Pete Johnson with Ollie’s Gang

Despite a short holiday in Kent, our dog Ollie is happiest at home. He misses the river, and his familiar circuit around Beetley Meadows, the woods, or Mill Lane. He misses the scent trails of deer, moles, rabbits, and squirrels, and the remembered aromas of his best friends. I could take him to the same place every day, for the rest of his life, and he would be happy. He doesn’t need pastures new, trips to the seaside, or visits to old and interesting places. He is a creature of habit, and that habit suits him down to the ground. When we got home last week, and I took him across to the meadows, he scampered off as excited as the first time he ever went out. It was a pleasure to see him so enthusiastic and happy.

Source: Post from your Archives – Guest Pete Johnson with Ollie’s Gang

The Two Elizas – The Irish Courtesans who set the World Alight

Fantastic posts by David Lawlor… in a time when it was very difficult for women to make a name for themselves these two women did so… Both led extraordinary lives and today they would be on the front pages of the tabloids. Two Elizas… head over and read their stories.. #recommended


Lola Montez Lola Montez

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl… so far, so true (and with thanks to Barry Manilow), but this particular Lola  also happened to be one of Europe’s most beautiful and talked-about women, who married several times and who was linked to some of the most prominent men in Europe.

Lola Montez… the name is redolent of exotic allure, and she certainly didn’t disappoint. Lola’s reputation for being a beautiful and temperamental seductress who could wrap men around her finger was well deserved, but what wasn’t so well known at the time was that she was actually Irish.

Eliza Rosanna Gilbert was born in Grange, Co Sligo, in 1821 (or 1818, depending on which articles you read) to Elizabeth Oliver, daughter of the former High Sheriff of Cork, and Edward Gilbert, an army officer, who took his family off to a posting in India soon after the…

View original post 1,194 more words

Post from your Archives – Guest Pete Johnson with Ollie’s Gang

Ollie’s Gang September 16, 2014 ~ beetleypete


Despite a short holiday in Kent, our dog Ollie is happiest at home. He misses the river, and his familiar circuit around Beetley Meadows, the woods, or Mill Lane. He misses the scent trails of deer, moles, rabbits, and squirrels, and the remembered aromas of his best friends. I could take him to the same place every day, for the rest of his life, and he would be happy. He doesn’t need pastures new, trips to the seaside, or visits to old and interesting places. He is a creature of habit, and that habit suits him down to the ground. When we got home last week, and I took him across to the meadows, he scampered off as excited as the first time he ever went out. It was a pleasure to see him so enthusiastic and happy.

He misses his friends. Since his first foray into the bigger world outside of our house, he has sought the company of other dogs. Luckily, a group of us tend to walk our dogs at the same time, in the late afternoon, so he is usually guaranteed to have some company, at least during weekdays. At times, there can be up to eight of us walking the circuit, all the different dogs running around together, enjoying the short time as a pack, their instinct telling them that this is the natural way. Each dog has its routines, its place in the hierarchy, and its preferred method of play. Some avoid the water, most plunge in happily. Some swim well and enthusiastically; others, like Ollie, just wade. If there is nobody around when we get over there, Ollie will constantly scan the most-used entrances, desperate to see one of the gang arriving. At times, he will actually cry, until another pal appears. As soon as he scents the familiar smell, or sees the owner in the distance, he will tear off towards them, all cares forgotten.

They are an-ill matched group on first sight. Ollie all wrinkles and curly tail, tiny Toby the Jack Russell, a relentless ball of energy, accomplished catcher of anything, and lover of balls or sticks. Oban, the slim, shy black Labrador. Gentle-natured, a little afraid of strange dogs, but always pleased to run with his friends. He is never happier than when he is carrying a huge stick, preferably at the rear of the group, occasionally tantalising the others with it, then running off before they can grab it. He is most definitely Ollie’s best friend, and they are very happy to stay at each other’s houses, or walk together all day. Big Spike, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, though younger than all the others, towers above them, in height and strength. He can knock Toby over with ease, and if he wants a stick or a ball, he always gets it. And keeps it. Ollie tries to dominate the youngster, and if you didn’t know better, you would think that they were fighting. But their tails are wagging; it is just rough play.

This core trio of the gang are often joined by Bruno, the black Pug. He is a great character, snuffling along, fighting for breath, tiny legs that won’t allow him to keep up with the others. So small, he can pass underneath Spike, he is as tough as the others really. At least in his own mind. Buddy the black terrier will usually be around. He is ball-obsessed, and has no interest in walking around with the others. They might get his ball. Buster is a Lhasa Apso with attitude. Smartly-trimmed, alert and ready for action, he has decided he doesn’t like Ollie. As his owners give Ollie small treats, Buster gets jealous, and very grumpy. He doesn’t mind smaller dogs, but he is not happy around the larger animals. So, he doesn’t join in, but he is usually there, to be quickly sniffed, and checked out by the others. Big Rocky, the Newfoundland cross, is a huge dog. He has a nice nature, and loves to play with the others. He can flatten Ollie with one paw, and often does. Unfortunately, he was a rescue dog, so cannot be let off his lead. Nonetheless, he manages to play remarkably well, on a long extension. Bracken the Springer doesn’t concern herself too much with the gang. She is too busy putting up pheasants, and other wildfowl, her instincts overriding any desire to play.

Ozzie the Bedlington, and Millie the Spaniel are always walked together. Their owners are friends, and usually appear towards the end of our walk. Millie loves strokes and fuss, and she has the most wonderfully soft wrinkly ears. Unfortunately, Ozzie has issues with constant barking, and after a while, he can set your ears ringing. Sometimes, he has to wear a special collar that his owner ‘buzzes’, to stop his incessant yaps. Little Lola, the tiny and gorgeous heart-breaker of the group. She is a Shih Tzu, with adorable eyes, a soft curly coat, and a love of strokes and cuddles. The boys are very interested in her of course, but she lets them know when their attentions are not welcome, with a snarl and a snap. There are many others. The twin Poodles, the two Shelties, bad-tempered Duncan the retriever; once a friend, now aggressive and lonely. New arrivals are frequent. Spock the Alsatian pup, only fourteen weeks old, ready for anything. The nasty terrier, owned by a family recently moved to the area. So angry, it cannot be let off the lead, and snarls and screams at every other dog, from 200 yards away. Poppy the Patterdale, all jumping and friendly, loves everyone, and every dog too.

We have lost some over the years sadly. Barley the Spaniel, who had to be put to sleep after suffering arthritic hips. The little Westie, savaged and killed by a rogue greyhound. Gem, the blind Labrador, moved away to Birmingham, and old Max the Jack Russel, who lived with Toby, finally reaching the end of a long and happy life. Some have to be avoided at all costs. The aforementioned greyhound, now always muzzled. Billy the Terrier, so aggressive he will bite any dog. Stan the Spaniel, who decides who he does and doesn’t like, and attacks accordingly. Generally though, it is a happy gang, and Ollie is sure that it is his gang. We won’t tell him otherwise.

©PeteJohnson 2014

About Pete Johnson

I retired in 2012, then aged 60, and moved from a busy life and work in Central London, to Beetley, in rural Norfolk. I thought I would start this blog to share my thoughts about life in general, and my new life in Norfolk in particular. My wife Julie is still working in a local bank, so I am at home most of the day, accompanied by my four year old Shar-Pei dog, Ollie.

My interests include local and global history, politics, and cinema and film. I also enjoy music; Motown, Soul, Jazz, along with many modern singers and styles.

After 22 years as an Emergency Medical Technician in the London Ambulance Service, followed by 11 years working for the Metropolitan Police in Control Rooms, it took some adjustment to being retired, and not working shifts.

I am updating this info on the 6th of July, 2017.

Ollie is now five years old, and is still a great dog to own. The blog has continued to grow, and I have now posted over 1330 articles. I currently write a bit about films and cinema, mostly short reviews and suggestions; and I did write a lot of anecdotes about my years in the Ambulance Service. I have written a lot about past travel and holidays, and also about architecture. I also post a lot about music and songs, those that have a significance in my life for one reason or another. The core of the blog remains the same though; my experiences of my new life in Norfolk, walking my dog, and living in a rural setting.

During the past year, I have been adding a lot of photos, and they are always popular.

I have had my blogging ups and downs; attracted some followers, both loyal and fickle, and gained a great deal from the whole process. I have written articles that were published on other blogs and websites, as well as trying my hand at more than 60 fictional stories. I am pleased to report that I have had two of these published in a magazine.

If you are considering starting a blog, I would suggest you give it a try. I really would. It may not change your life; but then again, it just might.

Get in touch with Pete


Next week Pete shares stories of Bermondsey Summers

I am sure you have enjoyed this post as much as I have and I hope you will consider commenting and sharing… and heading over to Pete’s blog where you will find even more of his entertaining posts. thanks Sally

If you would like to participate in this series of Posts from your Archives here are the details.

All of us have posts that sit idle in our archive with perhaps a handful of visits from readers who are browsing on our blog. But I would like to offer you the opportunity to share some of your posts that you feel would be enjoyed by a different audience.. Mine.

Apart from sharing your post, I will of course share your bio, any book links, social media and of course your blog so that readers can head over and enjoy your more recent hard work.

If you are interested all I need is the links to those posts you are interested in sharing (three of four as a start to see if you enjoy the experience) and then I will take it from there. Most of you have already sent me your links but if we have just met I may come back to you.

Look forward to hearing from you.