About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

William Price King Meets some Legends – ABBA – The 1980s


Welcome to the final part of the ABBA Series.. in reality there was a very short period of time when the group were active and producing hits. It just goes to show what an impact they made on our lives that we still dance, sing along to and romance to ABBA.

Over to William to bring this series to a close with some final background and more of their hits.

At ABBA’s peak, they explored other markets for their music, and in 1980 they recorded a compilation of Spanish-language tracks called “Gracias Por La Música.”  The album became a major success, and along with the Spanish version of “Chiquitita”, sealing their breakthrough in Latin America.

via William Price King Meets some Legends – ABBA – The 1980s

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Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – My Father’s A Goldfish – A Time to Remember by Mary Smith


Welcome to the Christmas posts from Your archives and today the second of two posts from Mary Smith. Mary’s father suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease which meant that events such as Christmas were all the more poignant and a time to be together.  This post was written after her father died and will be very emotional for many of us.

My Father’s A Goldfish – A Time to Remember by Mary Smith

Every night for the last two weeks and more I wrote ‘Goldfish post’ on my to-do list for the following day. At the end of every day I transferred it to the next day’s list – sometimes underlining it several times, sometimes adding a row of exclamation marks. Other things always ‘cropped up’ to take precedence.

I had not forgotten December 3rd was the anniversary of his death. Wee-sis and I talked about it on the day. It wasn’t until I was in the garden centre the other day (anniversary of his funeral though I hadn’t been conscious of it being that particular date) and found myself suddenly welling up that I understood my inability to write anything for the blog.

The Goldfish – despite appearances – enjoying an afternoon out with best-support-worker in the world on the left and daughter on the right.

The Goldfish loved going round the garden centre, especially at this time of year when all the Christmas displays are on full dazzle. As well as trees and lights and tinsel, this garden centre has various tableaux – one with full size reindeer, another winter scene with igloo and snow and ice and – his favourite – a St Bernard dog, complete with brandy barrel around his neck, which nods and turns his head. The Goldfish always liked me to stop the wheelchair so he could have a word with the dog. “Hello,” he’d say, “You’re a fine big fellow, aren’t you.” The dog would nod in agreement and we’d head for the coffee shop, via the book shelves, for banoffee pie.

On the way out, we’d stop to drool over the displays of Christmas treats – chocolates, truffles, cakes, fancy drinks. I usually bought the Goldfish a bar of Guinness chocolate. I didn’t buy a bar this time. It’s embarrassing enough being all weepy in front of a nodding St Bernard, I think if I broke down while clutching a bar of chocolate – even if it did have real Guinness in it – staff and customers would be seriously concerned. We really don’t do crying in public, do we? I didn’t howl properly until back in the car.

I’m sure my inability to write a post was connected with the subconscious knowledge the anniversary of the Goldfish’s death was approaching. And although I felt sad on the day itself it was a self-conscious sadness. Standing in the garden centre, which is awash with memories – happy, funny, embarrassing (a place, even, where I learned not to be embarrassed about things which happen when out with a person with dementia – stuffing his wet underpants in my handbag for example) caused an emotional unravelling I had not expected.

I will go back to the garden centre again – and I’ll buy a bar of Guinness chocolate which I will enjoy eating in memory of the Goldfish.

©MarySmith 2015

My thanks to Mary for sharing her stories of her father and a reminder to all of us who have lost those we love that they are still there in the small moments and treasures we keep close.

About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Mary’s latest book

Having read and reviewed this short story collection I can recommend Donkey Boy and Other Stories by Mary Smith as a great Christmas present.

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.

One of the excellent new reviews for the collection

Heartfelt stories on 11 December 2017

Smith brings us some short stories set in various parts of the world. In this book of tales such as Donkey Boy and other stories, they all offer some thought provoking dilemmas and situations where the characters find themselves questioning others and themselves.

In Donkey Boy, a young Pakistani boy is denied education in order to help out with the family chores. When he receives a generous tip from tourists one day, he finds an unfamiliar dilemma with having extra money in his pocket and is forced to decide how he will spend the tip.

These stories are all fictional, but include the elements of moral dilemmas and humanity. Smith can still find a way to inject humor in some of these stories despite an inner sadness some of the themes evoke in her stories. A heartfelt read.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075VC1XNX

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VC1XNX/

Other books by Mary Smith

And two Local History books

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith

Connect to Mary on her blogs and social media.

Facebook addresshttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/marysmithwriter
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
Website:www.marysmith.co.uk http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/mary-smith/
Blogs:http://novelpointsofview.blogspot.co.uk/ and   https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/2014/07/

EXCITING TIMES…COVER & BLURB REVEALED


Annika Perry is looking forward to the release of her debut short story collection within a few days.. She is sharing her cover reveal and it would be great if you could head over and share..

Annika Perry's Writing Blog

Did you hear that whoop of joy? That screech of overwhelming excitement and happiness? It is with utmost delight and sense of pride that I can unveil the cover of my collection of short stories entitled, The Storyteller Speaks.

The ebook will be out in a few days.

TSS_Kindl_72dpi

No book cover reveal would be complete without the accompanying blurb.

About the Book

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

View original post 388 more words

William Price King Meets some Legends – ABBA – The 1980s


Welcome to the final part of the ABBA Series.. in reality there was a very short period of time when the group were active and producing hits. It just goes to show what an impact they made on our lives that we still dance, sing along to and romance to ABBA.

Over to William to bring this series to a close with some final background and more of their hits.

At ABBA’s peak, they explored other markets for their music, and in 1980 they recorded a compilation of Spanish-language tracks called “Gracias Por La Música.”  The album became a major success, and along with the Spanish version of “Chiquitita”, sealing their breakthrough in Latin America.

“The Visitors,” ABBA’s eighth and final studio album, showed a songwriting maturity and depth of feeling distinctly lacking from their earlier recordings but still placing the band squarely in the pop genre, with catchy tunes and harmonies.

“The winner takes it all” was the first single from the group’s “Super Trouper” album in 1980. Fältskog stated that though “The Winner Takes It All” is her favorite ABBA song and that it has an excellent set of lyrics, the story is not about her and Ulvaeus: there were no winners in their divorce. In a 1999 poll for Channel 5, “The Winner Takes It All” was voted Britain’s favorite ABBA song. This feat was replicated in a 2010 poll for ITV. In a 2006 poll for a Channel Five program, “The Winner Takes It All” was voted “Britain’s Favorite Break-Up Song.”

“Super Trouper” is the title track from their 1980 studio album of the same name. The name “Super Trouper” referred to the spotlights used in stadium concerts. “Super Trouper” became ABBA’s ninth (and final) #1 in the UK. This distinction placed ABBA fourth for the most UK chart-toppers in history (behind The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Cliff Richard); a position the group would keep for almost 20 years until Madonna scored her tenth UK #1 with “Music” in 2000. The track was also the third biggest selling single in the UK for 1980.

“One of us” was one of the last songs recorded for ABBA’s 1981 album “The Visitors.” It was one of many tracks that explored the darker territory of Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson’s songwriting, as the two men’s divorces were beginning to influence their musical output. This was ABBA’s last major hit, and their last # 1 single in many countries.

“Thank you for the music” was originally featured on the group’s fifth studio album “ABBA: The Album”(1977), and was released as a single in November 1983, to promote the compilation album of the same name. This song was intended to form part of a “mini-musical” called “The Girl with the Golden Hair” and was included in ABBA’s 1977 tour.

After ABBA disbanded in December 1982, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage,while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued solo careers with mixed success. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until the purchase of ABBA’s catalogue and record company Polar by Polygram in 1989 enabled the groundwork to be laid for an international re-issue of all their original material and a new Greatest Hits (ABBA Gold) collection in September 1992 which became a worldwide smash.

Several films, notably “Muriel’s Wedding” (1994) and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (1994), further revived public interest in the group and the spawning of several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical “Mamma Mia!” that toured worldwide. A film of the same name, released in 2008, became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. A sequel is currently being filmed for release in 2018.

ABBA were honoured at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, when their hit “Waterloo” was chosen as the best song in the competition’s history. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2015, their song “Dancing Queen” was inducted into the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame.

Additional sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABBA

ABBA’s Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.com/ABBA/e/B000APR9C2

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of William’s posts on Jazz, Classical and Contemporary artists in this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

Thanks for dropping by and we hope you have enjoyed this week’s performances.. Your feedback is always welcome. Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Christmas Past by Jemima Pett


Welcome to another piece of Flash Fiction from children’s author Jemima Pett. She mentioned when she sent through the short story that it mirrored her life growing up… as you will see.. What it must be like for the fairy on top of the Christmas tree….

Christmas Past by Jemima Pett

via Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Christmas Past by Jemima Pett

Smorgasbord Christmas Reblog – Miss, a Word in your Ear by Paul Andruss


We will be seeing a lot of Paul this week as we have a very special story written for you which is being posted on Friday and Saturday.. The Three Sisters and not to be missed.

Paul’s own post on his blog is a fascinating look at one of the most fundamental elements of the Christian Christmas.. the birth of Jesus.

There has always been a mystery surrounding Jesus the man.. the belief in his existence has always caused conflict and is infused with myth, legend and ‘truths’ written centuries after his birth. Paul however, can always be relied on to deconstruct myths and legends and get to the crux of the matter.. this post does carry a warning however…. about strangers whispering sweet nothings in your ear… you have been warned.

Miss, a Word in your Ear by Paul Andruss

Caravaggio: The Annunciation ( Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy: Public Domain) Caravaggio was a master of the chiaroscuro technique: using darkness to illuminate

The divinity of Christ divided Christians from the earliest days. The fallout lasted over 500 years. Christians wondered if Jesus was God or merely similar to God? Was he both God and Man?

It seems trivial to us, but to them it was paramount. If Jesus was God, he did not suffer on the cross and his sacrifice to redeem our sins meant nothing. To suffer he had to be a man. Eventually they decided he had two separate natures; making him both God and man. Unfortunately this solution caused more problems than it solved.

An early gospel ascribed to St Peter only survived in quotes until a fragment about the crucifixion and resurrection was dug up in Egypt in the last century. It may be the earliest written account of the crucifixion: the one all others are based on.

In it Jesus feels no pain and does not die on the cross because he is God. His mortal body is only an illusion. Other gnostic gospels say much the same. Some even claim someone was substituted for Jesus on the cross. Although it might seem like heresy, such traditions are very early.

The idea Jesus did not suffer on the cross is echoed in the gospels of John and Luke. Some scholars refer to his ‘passionless passion’, and claim the passage in Luke where Jesus sweated tears of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, was put in by a later scribe to make him seem more human.

To discover how these beliefs originated, we need to look at the first century after the crucifixion, when a theological framework was being put in place around the recollected words, deeds, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The gospels call Jesus ‘the Son of God’. The term was understood in two very different ways by the Jews and the gentile Christians. It is not the only example in the gospels of how things got confused as Christianity took root in a pagan Roman world ignorant of Jewish tradition.

The Jews believed just or pious men, and the Kings of Israel, were ‘Sons of God’. In the gospels, Jesus is referred to the King of the Jews. The radical theologian Barbara Theiring believes he was exactly that: the legitimate heir to the Jewish throne. Unfortunately, going into details of her claims would only bog us down.

The pagans believed Zeus physically sired sons on mortal women. They were the Greek heroes, Heracles, Perseus, the twins Castor and Pollux, and Dionysus, the god of wine. It was nothing for them to believe God had physical sons, but it was blasphemy to the Jews.

In the gospels, Jesus’ Virgin Birth is described almost word for word from a prophecy by Isiah. The word Isiah uses for virgin only means ‘unwed woman’. This led critics like Celsus (in 177AD) to claim Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier named Pantera, which infuriated early Christians. The doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity also comes from the gnostic gospels; despite the official gospels mentioning Jesus’ four brothers and two of his sisters.

Neither was Jesus’ father, Joseph, a carpenter. A. N. Wilson’s biography of Jesus says the word meant scholar as well as craftsman. It makes more sense for Jesus ‘the carpenter’ to have originally been ‘the Scholar’, especially as he is called Rabbi (teacher).

The Jewish historian Joesphus writing shortly after Jesus does not mention Nazareth in his list of Galilean towns. It is first mentioned in 200AD. Neither does he mention the Slaughter of the Innocents by King Herod.

The term translated as ‘Nazarene’ might be confused with the Jewish word Nazarite which was someone consecrated to God from birth, such as John the Baptist. No one but Jesus is called ‘Nazarene’ in the gospels. Early Christians said Jesus’ brother James the Just was a Nazarite, and some modern scholars claim St Paul took Nazarite vows.

Epiphanius (360AD) said the Nazareans were a group existing before Christ, who did not know Christ. They were one of many Jewish groups believing God would send a King (Messiah) to free Israel from Roman occupation.

Given these were all misunderstandings as the faith moved into the Roman world, how did people view Jesus as God, or at least the Son of God?

Please head over and read the rest of this illuminating post: http://www.paul-andruss.com/miss-a-word-in-your-ear/

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Finn Mac CoolFinn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

When the fairy folk deliver a soldier called Finn (the first outsider in plague-stricken Ireland for a decade) Erin believes he is Finn Mac Cool – returned to kill the tyrant King Conor Mac Nessa of Ulster. and free Great Queen Maeve – Ireland’s true ruler & Erin’s dying mother.

The druids kidnap Finn – planning to turn him into the hero Finn Mac Cool – who will save the world by destroying it.

Erin goes in looking for Finn – so he can kill Conor Mac Nessa before her mother’s dream of a free Ireland dies with her.

Erin’s quest draws her ever-deeper into Ireland’s ancient mythological landscape; a place…
… Where dream and reality merge
… Where a man’s fate is written fifteen hundred years before he was born
… Where books are legends & a library a myth
… Where people hate Christians for defying the gods
… Where phony druids use real magic

Find out more and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

Here is my review of Thomas the Rhymer

Challenge your senses with a rival to Harry Potter by Sally Cronin

After 60 odd years of reading it is easy to get into bad habits. By this I mean sticking to the tried and tested with regard to genres and authors. This is not healthy when you are a writer yourself, as I have discovered when reading Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss.

I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling when it was released. Whilst I enjoyed it as a children’s story, I really did not find myself engaged or inspired to read the other seven books or watch the movies. I felt excluded from the millions who did and usually keep my silence in the face of fans.

However, Thomas the Rhymer had me hooked from page one and continued to keep me engaged the entire 319 pages.

This is an ensemble piece with a cast of characters that would be happy in starring roles in Alice in Wonderland or any Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Jack Hughes, Ken, Catherine and the delightful Rosie, along with Thomas with his foot in this world and that of the Fairies; draw you into their inner circle and hold you fast.

Each of these wonderfully drawn characters face challenges in their past or present that make them feel isolated until they join forces to protect the most vulnerable amongst them and bring a brother home.

The story will challenge your beliefs in spectacular fashion. Is there another world or worlds running parallel with ours, are fairies sweet and delicate creatures or demons; is that tramp outside the Post Office real or an illusion? As you travel with Jack, Ken and Catherine on their quest, hurtling along ley lines and battling fantastic monsters and evil temptresses, you will find your heart beating a little bit faster. And probably checking under your bed at night!

The scenes set in London that criss cross centuries are filled with historical facts distorted with fairy dust. Next time you are in the city and walking the streets you will be looking into dark doorways and wondering if behind that old oak door with chipped paint lies a nest of elfin waiting to rob you of your senses.

The writing is superb with wit, humour and an edge that turns this from a children’s fairy story into a multi-generational adventurous fantasy that I believe knocks Harry Potter into a cocked hat!

I recommend reading Thomas the Rhymer and at £1.22 it is a steal worthy of the elfin themselves with a value of very much more in my opinion. There are more books to come in the Jack Hughes series and I would love to see the movies.

Challenge you senses and pick up a copy today.

Currently for a limited period Thomas the Rhymer is FREE to download via Paul’s website. It would be a great service if you could download the book and review and put it on Amazon and Goodreads.

Smorgasbord Health – Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Walnuts are all they are cracked up to be!


Welcome to the series where I share the health benefits of some of the healthiest foods in our diet and Carol Taylor enhances their natural goodness with stunning recipes.. This week let’s go nuts!

Walnuts are all they are cracked up to be!

Evidence of walnut consumption was dug up, literally, in Southwest France during excavation on Neolithic archaeological sites dating back over 8,000 years. It appears that there were walnut groves in the hanging gardens of Babylon and in Greek mythology the walnut was highly revered and temples built to honour it.

The Latin name for the tree, Juglans Regia, comes from the Roman civilisation where it was called Jove Glans or the Royal nut of Jove. The nut and the oil have been used since ancient times, both as a food and for dyeing wool and are now worldwide commodities.

Walnuts are very versatile – chopped up on savoury or sweet dishes or used as a snack between meals they give you a very healthy nutritional punch. Omega 3 fatty acids are a special type of protective fat, rather than harmful fat, and it is something that the body does not produce itself. – 14 half walnuts provides you with over 90% of your daily requirement and if you look at the health reasons for taking Omega 3 you will understand how very important this small handful of nuts is.

Omega 3 is known to help protect us from cardiovascular problems, improve brain function, help with inflammatory diseases such as asthma and arthritis and in skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Walnuts also contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid, which boosts the immune system and protects against cancer.

walnut

What is the most important benefit of walnuts?

For anyone who suffers from elevated LDL (low density lipoprotein that when oxidised forms blockages in the arteries) levels in their bloodstream, eating walnuts is definitely helpful. It is one of those rare occasions when claims that certain foods can help a condition are permissible. In the case of walnuts the FDA in America were sufficiently convinced by scientific research into the benefits of the nuts in lowering LDL cholesterol that they allowed the health claim to be advertised on products containing the nut or the oil. This is down to the excellent levels of Omega 3 in the nuts, which contain the highest amount in 1 oz. compared to other nuts (2.5 g of Omega 3 against 0.5 g in other nuts)

Omega 3 helps prevent erratic heart rhythms and because the LDL, which causes platelets to clot, is lowered the risk of strokes is also reduced.

Omega 3 works on our brain function because our brains are actually 60% structural fat and needs to be supported in our diet by specific Omega 3 fats like those in walnuts, flax seeds and cold water fish like salmon. Part of the reason is that the cell membranes that everything has to pass through are mainly fat. Omega 3 is very flexible, and fluid, and can pass easily through the cell membrane taking other nutrients with it at the same time. This increases the cell uptake of nutrients making them more effective.

Studies of Omega 3 deficiency have highlighted some worrying trends. One of the most concerning is the evidence of depression in children. It has also been linked to hyperactivity, behavioural problems such as tantrums and learning difficulties. This deficiency is on the increase particularly in the United States, and the UK is not far behind.

Other beneficial nutrients in walnuts.

There are several other good reasons to include walnuts in your daily diet as they include the following nutrients:

Manganese; Needed for healthy skin, bone and cartilage formation as well as glucose tolerance. Also forms part of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which helps prevent free radical damage.

Copper is an essential trace element needed to absorb and utilise Iron. It is needed to make ATP and is also to synthesise some hormones and blood cells. Collagen needs copper, as does the enzyme tyrosinase, which plays a role in the production of skin pigment. Too much copper in the diet can depress levels of zinc and effect wound healing.

Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine; The Master Vitamin for processing Amino Acids – the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. It assists in the formation of several neurotransmitters and can therefore help regulate mood. It has been shown to help lower Homocysteine levels in the blood linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. It produces Haemoglobin the Oxygen carrying pigment in the blood. It helps the release of carbohydrates stored in the liver and muscles for energy. It is involved in the production of antibodies and it helps balance female hormones. It is needed for the production of serotonin along with tryptophan and B12.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is the lowest in terms of levels needed by the body. It is responsible for normal sleep patterns. Vitamin B6 is needed for the formation of tryptophan, which affects serotonin levels. These serotonin levels influence sleep and mood.

During the day, snack on 14 half walnuts that is about 190 calories or indulge by including in these fabulous recipes from Carol Taylor.

Wonderful Walnuts.

The Walnut is probably one of my favourite nuts and I always remember my mum used to make a wicked Walnut and coffee sponge for which she won prizes for at the Women’s Institute….

It is a nut which if you have read Sally’s health part of this post is very good for you in many ways and I always eat a handful of walnuts per day.

My first recipe using walnuts is for a Chimichurri and it is lovely as an accompaniment with grilled lamb cutlets.

Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • ¼ cup Niçoise olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Let’s Cook!

Pulse oil, mint, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, anchovies and garlic in a food processor until it has a coarse, rustic texture. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in olives, walnuts and crushed red pepper.

Candied Walnuts:

  • 1 cup walnut halves/pieces (you can also use this recipe for candied pecans)
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Let’s Cook

Use a non stick pan over medium heat; add walnuts, granulated sugar and butter.

Remain on a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so your mixture doesn’t burn.

When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and nuts are coated.

Transfer immediately onto a sheet of parchment paper and separate the nuts right away.

Using two spatulas is a faster way to do it.

You don’t want to give the nuts a chance to turn into a piece of inseparable delicious goodness unless you are the only person who will be enjoying the walnuts… Seriously, move quickly from the time the nuts are coated until they are separated out on the parchment paper. Once the coating hardens (5-7 minutes) Make paper cones and fill with the walnuts they then make a lovely little gift.

Home made gifts always seem to be something which most people love to receive it shows a lot of thought and means so much more .

Pasta with walnut Pesto and roasted tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 50 gm/2 oz of shelled walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 12 cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaved parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
  • 350 gm pasta

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oven to 220C/Gas mark 7

Snip the tomatoes into 4 bunches and put in a shallow roasting tin with the walnuts and garlic, the drizzle with about 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season.

Roast for about 10-12 minutes or until the tomatoes start to colour and the walnuts are toasted.

Cook the pasta as per the pack instructions or for 8-10 minutes until al dente.

Put the walnuts and garlic with any juices from the pan in a mini blender with the remaining olive oil.

The tomatoes can be kept warm in the switched off oven.

Blitz the walnuts and garlic for a few seconds then add the herbs and 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese.

Pulse again until just combined but not smooth.

Drain your pasta well and return to the pan. Fold in the pesto and season to taste.

Serve with the roasted tomatoes on the side and a scattering of cheese.

Walnut Madeline’s.

Ingredients:

  • 90g unsalted butter, plus extra, melted, to prepare the tin
  • 65g plain flour
  • 60g walnuts
  • 165g icing sugar
  • 60g ground almonds
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground coffee beans
  • 4 egg whites (170g)
  • 50ml espresso coffee

For the syrup…

  • 75ml espresso
  • 40g caster sugar

Let’s Cook!

Preheat the oven to 160ºC / Gas Mark 3.

Next, brush the Madeleine shells with melted butter followed by a dusting of flour and then freeze the tin for 5 mins. Repeat this process once more and leave the tin in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. This was a technique which I learnt from the Daily Telegraph some time ago and it worked so I have used it ever since.

In a small pan, melt the butter and cook it until it turns brown and begins to smell nutty, at this point pour it out into a heat proof bowl and set to one side.

Blitz your walnuts in a food processor, or chop them roughly depending on how much texture you’d like in your Madeleine’s.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, baking powder, cardamom, ground coffee, egg whites, espresso, a ¼ tsp of salt and the melted butter into the mixing bowl, and beat until you have a smooth, thin batter.

Transfer the batter into a jug and stir through the walnuts.

Almost fill each shell of the Madeleine tin with the batter and then bake for 20 mins. The Madeleine’s are done when they spring back to the touch. When they are cool enough to handle, turn them out, shell side up, onto a wire rack.

As the Madeleine’s are cooking, rapidly boil the espresso and sugar in a small pan, until it is reduced and syrupy, this will take around 5 mins. Finally, brush the syrup over the warm Madeleine’s and those shiny shells are ready to eat with a well-earned coffee.

Alternately fill the Madeline’s with a chocolate butter cream either way they are very nice…

Walnut Biscuits

I don’t make biscuits very often…almost never but I food because of the humidity doesn’t last long here it either goes off or the ants take residence. I was guided by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats.

These cookies are my basic recipe and next time will be my experimental recipe I am already planning what I can add to them.

Ingredients:

  • 150gm rolled oats
  • 100gm plain flour
  • 100gm light brown sugar (I used raw sugar)
  • 100gm walnuts chopped
  • 100gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, walnuts and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to the boil and add two tbsps of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking (the mix made 15 balls) slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.
Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…ha-ha…I could build a wall with them…Poppas

This is my truly tried tested old faithful recipe for brownies and verified by everyone who has tried it….I don’t know why I have never shared it with you here on WP…I thought I had but never mind I now have shared it for you chocolate brownie lovers to enjoy! This recipe is part of my 20%… If you are wondering it is my 80% healthy eating and 20% indulgence plan….And indulgence it certainly is and very enjoyable BUT if you read the ingredients it is as healthy as a chocolate brownie can be….. Lol

Chocolate and Walnut Brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of oil (I use coconut oil)
  • 1½ cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup of good cocoa powder
  • 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Let’s Cook!

Mix oil, sugar and vanilla together and then beat in eggs.Combine all dry ingredients except for walnuts and stir into mixture.Add walnuts.Put batter into prepared baking dish and cook for about 1 hr on 175C/350F.

N.B. I added a ½tsp of dried chilli to my second batch.  Those of you who know me know I just have to ㋡Next time; I am going to add just a few cranberries or blueberries depending on what I have in the cupboard.

I have also used half oil and half melted butter before and nothing seems to phase this brownie recipe it always turns out well and tastes amazing.This is probably the best brownie mix I have made as the top is nice and crispy but with a gooey underneath, just how I like it or maybe just how this temperamental oven of mine works.

That’s all for the walnut and next week it is the Turkey which will be the last post before Christmas so I will try and find some lovely seasonable recipes for you…

Again many thanks to Sally for letting me add my recipes to her wonderful health tips although this week they do seem to be more on the sweet side rather than the savoury but the ingredients for sweet treats are as healthy as they can be..

And I am very grateful for the wonderful season of recipes that Carol has provided for us and the good news she will be back next year in the role of Food Columnist… sharing foods from Thailand as well as foods we might be more familiar with.. More on the new columns that will be part of the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine next year..

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

New additional Blog: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

Phuket Island Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Christmas Past by Jemima Pett


Welcome to another piece of Flash Fiction from children’s author Jemima Pett. She mentioned when she sent through the short story that it mirrored her life growing up… as you will see.. What it must be like for the fairy on top of the Christmas tree….

Christmas Past by Jemima Pett

The fairy clambered over the pine needles and came face to face with the globe of blue and white swirls on its golden surface. It was a grand reunion. She remembered when she’d first seen it, that Christmas in 1968 when everyone was watching the pictures from the spacecraft. She rested a while, contemplating Christmases past.

She’d been with this tree for years now, ever since she was a wee thing not long out of fairy-school. There had been another one. She’d played with that for two years and learned about the Outside from it, since that was where it spent the rest of the year. She would have liked to go outside with it and guard it properly, like a fairy should, but it said it was safe the rest of the year, and the fairy could rest in peace and quiet once her main task was done.

This tree lived in a box, like she did, once the season was over. They used to live at the top of a cupboard, but now they lived under the stairs. It wasn’t as quiet, but it was safe.

Each year when she came out of her box, she looked around to check where she was. For the first twenty years it had been a pleasant, east-facing room with a chimney and a coal fire. There was one long chair and two armchairs. The family sat and watched the picture box in the corner, or read books, or played games. She used to watch them do that, wondering if she could ever learn how to count money to buy Mayfair. Each year the children grew taller, then they disappeared. The girl always came back, and the middle son usually came for the day. She didn’t know where the others went, although the eldest came to see her now.

One Christmas she had a surprise. She was in a completely different place. This was a very light room, facing south, and it was always warm. The picture box was in a different corner, closer to her, and was much larger. The adults were, well, greyer than she remembered them, and the children were taller than ever. The same size as the adults in fact. About five years later there was a baby again, she came with the middle son and another woman the fairy hadn’t met before. It was nice having children around again. That continued for about five years, then they didn’t visit but her two old people went out, maybe to see them, she thought.

Another twenty years passed before anything else exceptional happened. She was taken aback when she found herself climbing the tree in a new place, in a bay window right next to a road. The room was low and dim, and quite small, although pleasant enough with pretty furniture. They were so close to the road she could watch the children going up and down the pavement, going to and from school, and then other people hurrying past, going up the hill in the morning, and down it again in the evening. The girl of the family was the only one in the house, and she went out in the morning and joined people going up the hill, too. The following year the room was even smaller. The tree was perched on a box in a corner by a bookshelf. All the furniture was squeezed into one room. She wondered what was happening, but the girl was there, and people visited, and they had a nice Christmas, so the fairy assumed all was well.

The following year the tree was in another new place, this one. Some years she was in the front window, and others she was in the corner of the living room. The tree didn’t have any comment to make, but then trees aren’t given to making comments. She would have liked a little conversation though. It could be lonely being a fairy.

She looked at the blue and white swirly globe. She could just make out her face in it. She was looking a little older, wings a bit tattered round the edges, but she was still as dainty as ever. I’m not as fit as I was, though, she muttered as she started her climb up to the top branch. There were no swans clipped on the branches now, but there were some pretty shiny birds who didn’t have much conversation. The big snowball had gone, and so had many of the old ornaments. The pretty purple bell was there, joined by more bells, small glass ones with ornaments making the clangers, and larger, wooden ones, beautifully decorated, who had introduced themselves very politely and explained they’d come from India. There was a reed-woven llama on a long string that spoke of a lake high in the mountains of Peru. There were matching gold and red globes with elegant decorations that told her of a much smaller tree they had decorated in the small room where the road was so close.

Christmas tree 2012She climbed past the icicles, only two of them now, but they were even older than her. Old. It was funny being a fairy on a Christmas tree. Work hard for a few weeks once a year, and count the years go by. She reckoned she must be the same age as the girl, now grey-haired, who sat and enjoyed her Christmas once again with her brother.

This was a nice house, she thought, as she did every year. She was lucky to have found a family that looked after her. She climbed past the little angel ornaments, one with a light, one with a lamb, another with a star and the last with a little tree. They were older than her too.

She reached the final ascent. She climbed over the end of the tinsel, shinned up the twig to the top light, and took up her place.

She always made sure her family had a merry Christmas.

©Jemima Pett

About Jemima Pett

When Jemima Pett discovered the words ‘portfolio career’ she realised she was an example of a new trend – having not only a number of different jobs, but in totally different fields. These included social work, business management, computer technology, environmental research. The thread running through all of them was communication – and that continued in her spare time with writing and editing club magazines, manuals, reports… Jemima loved words, loved to learn and to apply her learning to the real world.

Eventually the world just wasn’t big enough, and so she went back to inventing her own, as she had as a child. First came the Realms, a feudal England run by princes in castles who just happen to be guinea pigs – although you can read them as people equally well. Then came the Viridian System, a planetary area on the outskirts of known space where a frontier mentality mixes with big business and tourism. Her next project could be anything from a D&D fantasy type world, to a children’s picture book about the real adventures of her guinea pigs, who live with her in a small village in Norfolk, UK.

A selection of books by Jemima Pett

One of the reviews for Book 7 of the Princelings Series Willoughby the Narrator.

Jul 09, 2017 Victoria Zigler rated it Five Stars.

I loved hearing Willoughby’s whole story, and thought the addition of some of his tales when he’s telling them was a nice touch.

And as J.M Pett,   About White Water Landings.

White Water Landings – views of the Imperial Airways Africa service from the ground

The silver bird straightened up and sank lower, lower, until it met the sea with a sleek spray that rushed past the windows in its fuselage. M’beriali – the imperial mail bird, as it became known in Swahili – had arrived!

Imperial Airways’ man at Lindi, East Africa, was Geoffrey Pett, then just 22 years old. Selected as a Commercial Trainee aged eighteen, he was posted to the middle of Africa to look after the ground arrangements for the new ‘Empire’ Flying Boat Service between London and Cape Town/Durban. His Africa postings ranged between Alexandria, Egypt, on the Mediterranean coast, Juba, now in South Sudan, and Butiaba on Lake Albert, Uganda. His war years were as traffic superintendant at Cairo (and at RAF Wadi Saidna, Sudan), handling troop movements and other priority personnel on the civilian aircraft, as well as ensuring the ‘Horseshoe Route’ between South Africa and Australia operated at its turning point, Cairo. His career continued with the new British Overseas Airways Company, through BEA into British Airways, until ill-health retirement in 1968.

Geoffrey was often sought out for his memoirs of Imperial Airways in Africa. After his death in 2005, he left a box of memorabilia including his photograph album and a set of tapes dictated between 1995 and 2004. His daughter, J M Pett, has laboured over the contents, producing this book to place the information out in the wider world. More content and links to archive material are on the website http://whitewaterlandings.co.uk.

Praise for White Water Landings:

a remarkable and significant piece of aviation and colonial history… shining through his memoirs is a capacity to ‘make do’…, and the sense of the Imperial ‘family’ as a source of identity, support and obligation away from home. … he reveals anxiety and frustration,cynicism for arbitrary authority… Told fondly, plainly and modestly, with touches of humour, Geoffrey’s story reads easily and lingers long. The text is equally delightful as family history, autobiography, and colonial history.” — Professor Gordon Pirie, Deputy Director of the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, and Editor of the Journal of Transport History

The romance of the Golden Age of flying meets the romance of two people torn apart by war.”

Read all the reviews for all the books and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE

Read more reviews and follow Jemima on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5388872.Jemima_Pett

Connect to Jemima

Blog: http://jemimapett.com/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jemima_pett
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jemima.pett

My thanks to Jemima for this lovely story in tribute to the fairy on the top of the tree.. Don’t forget to thank yours this year… Sally

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – Time for some festive fun and a recipe for disaster


Besht Cishmash Reshippy.

  • 1 Cup butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Cup dried fruit
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Cup nuts
  • 1 or 2 quarts of aged whisky

Before you begin, sample the whisky to check for quality. Good isn’t it?

Select a large mixing bowl and a measuring cup. Check the whisky again as it must be just right. To be absolutely sure, pour a large glass and drink as fast as you can.

Repeat

via Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – Time for some festive fun and a recipe for disaster