Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food Column with Carol Taylor – Favourite dishes of 2018

Some of my favourite dishes – Carol Taylor

Wow…Another New Year has begun where does the time go? It does seem to be that the older I get the quicker the time flies…

For my first post of the year I thought I would share my favourite foods …

I love food…Good food, but my tastes have changed over the years, is that with age or location and availability of foods? Maybe, but here are a few favorites of mine…. recipes I make often, or if the family asks for…

This is a recipe that my daughter gave me along with a packet of Chia seeds as I couldn’t
always get them here. That has now changed due their growing popularity and they are sold everywhere here now.

Banana Smoothie

Bananas we have in spades as they grow in abundance here so my freezer always has frozen bananas ready to make a smoothie.


• 1 frozen Banana
• 1 cup of coconut milk.
• 2 tbsp oats.
• 1tbsp peanut butter or you can use halved walnuts as in the picture.
• A shot of espresso.
• 1 cup of ice
• 1tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds and honey.

Put all ingredients in your blender and blitz away. Pour into glass and enjoy!

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.

• 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 dipping sauce.

Since living here I have met many people from around the world who are willing to share their recipes which is great for me as I have tasted so many wonderful dishes and some I had never even dreamed of…

Beef Rendang is one such dish made with Tamarind, which is a fruit I hadn’t cooked with until I lived here In Thailand …Tamarind is lovely with prawns but this recipe for Beef Rendang is a recipe given to me by my friend Mamik and is very nice… the beef is amazing.

It is also my go-to recipe if I want that special dish to impress, although there are many ingredients. and it has quite a long prep time. It is so worth it and as I said earlier if I am having guests a really lovely dish. You can see how rich and flavoursome that meat looks, and it tastes amazing…

It is also probably the only dish I will spend as much time as I do preparing and making it.


• 2” Galangal
• 2” Ginger
• 1 kg beef (Bottom Round)
• 1-litre Coconut Milk (3 sm tins and made to one litre with water)
• Grind together and put on one side, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds, 1 tsp Cumin seeds and 1 tsp white peppercorns.
• 2 Star Anise.
• Half cup toasted coconut (pound in pestle until oil is released and it looks like a paste.)
• 1 Turmeric Leaf (Leave the leaf whole but tear side to stem along leaf) this releases the flavour.
• 2 stems lemongrass crushed along the stem.
• 2 Lime leaves.
• Soak 1-2 tsp Tamarind pulp in a little water and set aside for later.

Curry Paste: Blitz the next 4 ingredients together.

• 2cm Fresh Turmeric.
• 10 Shallots
• 5 Cloves Garlic
• 10 large red chillies (de-seed if you want a milder curry)

Let’s Cook!

  1. Cut the beef into large cubes.
  2. Put a tbsp oil of your choice in a cooking pot (I use a wok). Add Curry paste, ground coriander seeds, cumin and white peppercorns plus add chopped ginger, turmeric and galangal stir for 5 mins, add beef and stir to combine. Add coconut milk/water mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Slowly bring to a gentle simmer, add torn turmeric leaf, lemongrass and lime leaves and star anise.
  4. Cover pan and cook until meat is tender at least 3 hrs on a low simmer, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the ground coconut paste about half hour before the end of the cooking time and also the tamarind liquid and this is when the magic happens and the taste goes from just another curry to something wonderful.
  6. When the meat is cooked and tender remove the turmeric leaf and lemongrass stalks although if we are not eating the curry until the next day I leave them and remove them before we eat the curry.

This curry should traditionally have a very thick paste and is also best eaten the next day to allow the flavours to develop.

However, as Europeans prefer a thinner sauce you can choose not to reduce down as much.


Pizza is something I rarely eat however I discovered this lovely cauliflower Pizza Base and love it…


• 1 medium head cauliflower.
• 1 egg, large.
• 1 tsp Italian seasoning (dried oregano or basil)
• 1/8 tsp salt.
• 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.
• 1/2 cup Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded.
• Cooking spray, I make my own spray I don’t do bought oil in spray cans…I have a little stainless steel one for oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 C and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Rinse cauliflower, remove the outer leaves, separate into florets and chop into smaller pieces. Process in a food processor in 2 batches, until a rice like texture forms.
  3. Transfer cauliflower rice on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 mins this just removes some of the moisture.
  4. Remove cooked cauliflower rice from the oven, transfer to a bowl lined with a double/triple layered cheesecloth or linen towel, and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Then squeeze the liquid out of the ball as hard as you can. Be patient and do this a few times until barely any liquid comes out.
  6. Increase oven temperature to 4 degrees F/200 C. Then in a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg with dried herbs, salt and pepper for 10 seconds. Add cheese and squeezed cauliflower mix very well with a spatula until combined.
  7. Line the same baking sheet with new parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  8. Transfer cauliflower dough to the middle and flatten with your hands until thin pizza crust forms.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, carefully flip with a spatula and bake for a few more minutes. Top with your favourite toppings and bake again until cheese on top turns golden brown.

Slice and enjoy! If you are like me and love a nice thin crispy base then this it and so tasty…I love it!

Pad Thai is the ultimate “street food” The best of these cooks have cooked the same dish day-after-day, year-after-year and have achieved near perfection.

A great Pad Thai is dry and light bodied, with a fresh, complex, balanced flavour. It should be reddish, brownish in colour.

Pad Thai is another dish which is perfect for vegetarians, just omit the shrimp and substitute soy sauce for a vegetarian substitute. Add tofu if you like and viola perfect for a vegetarian.


• 1/2 pack Thai rice noodles
• 1-1/3 cup bean sprouts.
• 1-1/2 cup Chinese chives.
• 2 tablespoon cooking oil
• 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
• 2 tablespoon sugar ( I use palm Sugar)
• 1 minced or finely chopped shallots
• 1/2 lime
• 2 tablespoons peanuts ( Optional )
• 1/2-1/4 lb shrimp.
• ground pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground dried chilli pepper
• 3 cloves minced garlic
• 1tbsp Soy sauce
• 4 teaspoons fish sauce
• 1 egg


The trickiest part is the soaked noodles. Noodles should be somewhat flexible and solid, not completely expanded and soft. When in doubt, under-soak. You can always add more water in the pan, but you can’t take it out.

In this recipe, pre-ground pepper, particularly pre-ground white pepper is better than fresh ground pepper.

For kids, omit the ground dried chilli pepper.

Tamarind adds some flavour and acidity, but you can substitute white vinegar.


  1. Start with soaking the dry noodles in lukewarm or room temperature water while preparing the other ingredients. When you are ready to put ingredients in the pan, the noodles should be flexible but not mushy.
  2. Cut the Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside a few fresh chives for a garnish.
  3. Rinse the bean sprouts and save half for serving fresh. Mince or finely chop shallot and garlic together.

Let’s Cook

  1. Heat wok on high heat and pour oil in the wok. Fry the peanuts until toasted and remove them from the wok. The peanuts can be toasted in the pan without oil as well. Add shallot and garlic; stir them until they start to brown.
  2. Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and chilli pepper. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case.
  3. Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. The noodles should soft and chewy. Pull a strand out and taste. If the noodles are too hard (not cooked), add a little bit of water.
  4. When you get the right taste, add shrimp and stir. Sprinkle white pepper around. Add bean sprouts and chives. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled.
  5. Pour onto the serving plate and sprinkle with ground pepper and peanuts. (I serve peanuts) on the side as do many restaurants now.

Serve hot with a wedge of lime on the side, raw Chinese chives and raw bean sprouts on top.

That is all for this week I could go on forever with my favourite foods as there are many…What is your favourite dish or food?

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


 You can find all of the previous posts in the directoryCarol Taylor Food Column

My thanks to Carol for her wonderful contributions. You can tell each dish is made with love and with taste in mind… She will be back soon with new recipes and posts for 2019.

36 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food Column with Carol Taylor – Favourite dishes of 2018

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2…A roundup of my New Years posts… | Retired? No one told me!

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Who is referring others to your blog? Guests, music and laughter | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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