Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor #Fajita Spice, #Tahini #Peanut Butter #Hummus

Carol Cook’s …My favourite spice mixes.

Welcome to this week’s Cookery column …This week I thought I would share with you some of my go to recipes ones which I make on a regular basis. My staples really I suppose ones, which I make quite often as they are family favourites.

As you know I mostly cook from scratch and it is something I have always done. Now more than ever as there are so many additives in products on the shelf.

Much of the time I either can’t get what I want here, or as it is imported, it is silly prices, but also because of all the negative articles about processed and manufactured food stuff.  I prefer to make my own as I know what it contains …So much now is laden with added sugars and preservatives that it is quite scary, and also increasing evidence that many chronic illnesses can be prevented or improved by eating less pre-prepared unhealthy foods.

This Chettinad Curry powder is one which I always make from scratch and it has lots of ingredients, but once you have measured them out and roasted them, all you have to do is pop them in a grinder. I have a small grinder and do it in a couple of batches it makes enough for 3-5 curries so it is always lovely and fresh.


• 2 tsp black pepper
• 8 dried red chillies…
• 1 ½ tbsp cumin seeds
• 1 ½ tbsp dried coconut… I use fresh coconut which I dry but if you are unable to do that buy an unsweetened desiccated coconut.
• 2 tbsp coriander seeds
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 star anise
• 4 cloves
• 2 1” pieces of cinnamon
• 2 tbsp fennel seeds
• 10 curry leaves

Let’s Cook!

Dry roast all your ingredients in a frying pan or wok stirring to make sure you don’t burn them …Turn out on to a plate or board to cool down and then grind to a powder. Store in an airtight container.

Then make your curry as usual using your homemade powder. To test the strength of the curry you prefer, start with a smaller amount and add to it as necessary. I use about 3 tbsps per curry.

My next one is a Buffalo wing mixture which is so easy to make and I just make the amount I need at the time .

Buffalo Wing Spice Mix… For 2 lbs of chicken


• 1 tbsp of chilli flakes or powder…I just grind some dry fried chillies and blitz.
• 1 tbsp sweet paprika
• 1 ½ tsp cumin powder
• 2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 ½ tsp dried garlic not garlic salt.
• 1 ½ tsp salt
• 1 ½ tsp black pepper.

Mix all the dry ingredients together put in zip loc bag with the chicken and about a tbsp of olive oil either seal the bag and move it about to coat the chicken or get your hands in the bag like we do and make sure the chicken is all coated. Put in the fridge for at least 20-30 mins and cook as normal.

N.B Depending on who I am cooking for I may add more cayenne or chilli flakes but as with all homemade mixes …Play with the flavours …Have fun.

My Final Mix is my Fajita Mix


• 3 tbsp Cornstarch.
• 2 tbsp Chilli Powder.( I use dried chillies ground to a powder)
• 1 tbsp Salt.( I use Himalayan pink salt or mineral salt which is produced locally)
• 1 tbsp Sugar.
• 1 tbsp Paprika
• 2 1/2 tsp Powdered chicken stock/seasoning.
• 1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder.
• 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder.
• 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper.
• 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder.

I always make my own mixes as I find that I can save money by buying larger packs of spices and also I have a quicker rotation so the spices stay fresh and not linger in the cupboard forever.

This little dip is a recipe from Bali given to me by my grandson’s girlfriend it is very easy to
make but made more special by the addition of tamarind.

Called Rujak sauce it is lovely with mangoes or with chicken.

• Take 200 gm of palm sugar shaved.
• 15 gm of tamarind flesh and 5 tbsp of water leave to infuse for 5 mins and then drain and keep the tamarind flavoured water.
• 6 or more Thai chillies.
• 1/4 tsp shrimp paste and 1/4tsp salt.

Blitz all these ingredients together and you have fiery little sauce.

Thai Peanut Sauce.

Peanut sauce for use with satay or vegetables, pancakes or anything you fancy as it goes with almost anything. I love this easy sauce as it has so much flavour and can be made up really quickly.


• 1 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
• 1 cup water
• 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
• 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar (palm sugar preferred)
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup oil
• 1 heaping tablespoon tamarind pulp (soaked in 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes, squeeze the tamarind pulp for juice and discard the pulp)
Spice Paste:
• 6-8 dried red chillies (seeded and soaked in warm water)
• 3 cloves garlic
• 3 shallots
• 2 lemon grass (white parts only)
• 1 inch galangal
• 1 tablespoon coriander powder (optional)

Let’s Cook!

Crush the peanuts with mortar and pestle or mini food processor until quite coarse and set aside.

Chop the spice paste ingredients and blend until fine. Heat oil and fry the spice paste until aromatic and smells spicy. Add the peanuts, tamarind juice, water, sugar, sweet soy sauce and stir thoroughly.

Simmer on a low heat while continuing to stir for about 3 minutes until the peanut sauce turns smooth. Serve at room temperature with the satay or vegetables.

N.B. I use fresh peanuts and dry cook in hot pan just make sure you keep stirring or shaking them as they cook very quickly.

I just love this peanut sauce and keep a little pot in the fridge… the taste is far superior to any peanut satay sauce I had ever had before I came to Thailand.

While we are on the subject of peanuts I always make my own peanut butter…It is the simplest thing to make and once you have tried it you will never buy a shop brought jar of peanut butter again.

Peanuts are a good source of Vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese as well as providing resveratrol, the phenolic antioxidant also found in red grapes and red wine. While it cannot compare with the fruits highest in antioxidants i.e. pomegranate, roasted peanuts do compare with the antioxidants of apples, carrots and beets.

Rather than buying store bought peanut butter which is full of nasties it is easier and it is very quick to make your own.

It is the quickest easiest recipe to make ever, the kids can help blitz it and as well as being tasty it has no preservatives or added sugars.

Let’s Cook!

Take 500 gm raw peanuts. Put in oven on tray and cook on high for 10 mins. Take out of oven and reserve a few (if you like crunchy peanut butter) like me. Put the remainder of nuts in a food processor and blitz at 1 min intervals scrapping down the sides. Do this for 4 mins or until smooth.

Add 1tsp of salt, 1 tbsp oil and remainder of reserved nuts if using. If you want to add honey or flavouring of your choice then add now.

Blitz again for 1 min and put in a suitable container. Stores in fridge for 3/4 weeks…….IT’S DELISH!

Lastly I always make my own Tahini Paste… Very easy and cheap as chips as they say.
How to make your very own Tahini paste/butter…it is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties….

Let’s Cook!

Into the kitchen, Take 1 cup of sesame seeds and give them a quick toasting of the Sesame Seeds, then into the mini blender, 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz, scrape down the sides, another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape, a bit more oil and a quick whizz and voilà your Tahini Paste is made.

How easy is that?

The next favourite follows on from the tahini…Hummus

• 3 tbsp Tahini Paste
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon/lime juice

Blitz these together in the food processor.

• 2tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 clove Garlic
• ½ tsp ground Cumin
• ½ – 1 tsp salt and blitz.
• 1 can of drained, rinsed chickpeas

Add half a can of the drained, rinsed chickpeas and again blitz 1-2 mins.

Add the other half of Chick Peas and blitz again 1-2 mins.

Put in a suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with Paprika.

So easy and healthy and it’s now ready to eat with sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.

This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.

I hope you have enjoyed some of my favourite recipes and mixes and will let me know how you get on when you try them. I am sure that the whole family will enjoy.

©Carol Taylor 2018

I will definitely be trying out those spice mixes and we eat a lot of fajitas.. also the peanut butter which sounds so much more appetising than the ones on the shelves.

The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory:

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!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol


If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Thank you for dropping in today and Carol would be delighted to answer any of your questions and we always enjoy your feedback. Thanks Sally

30 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor #Fajita Spice, #Tahini #Peanut Butter #Hummus

  1. Yum! Just in time to drool with envy before I go eat dinner. 🙂 You reminded me that I haven’t made homemade Tahini in a long time. And how I love Thai peanut sauce! Just had authentic Pad Thai for dinner last night from a fabulous authentic Mom and Pop restaurant close by. And I may have also had half a spring roll dipped in Satay sauce. Love it! 🙂 ❤ xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Tahini, August predictions and all that Jazz | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Family Favourites and Spices in action Part Two | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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