Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Cook from Scratch – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – Almond Milk, Arrowroot, Aubergines dip #Thai and Avocado Guacamole.


Welcome to a new series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs.

Hello from sunny Thailand …today is the first post of my Culinary tour through the alphabet.

The foods or recipes which I choose will all be made from scratch..from foods readily available and if they are not I will suggest substitutes…Some of the foods or recipes will also be alternatives to some standard foods either because it is what I prefer to use or to offer you a healthier option.

Today I have chosen to start with Almond Milk…

Why? Well, I know many people whether it is choice or because of health reasons are looking for alternatives to cows milk.

Before you make the Almond milk you must ensure that you do the following:

Very Important: First sprout the almonds to get rid of the enzyme inhibitors that impede digestion. To do this simply soak the almonds overnight in water, then in the morning let them dry on a plate.

When the almonds are dry you are ready to use them to make your almond milk…

Almond Milk.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw sprouted almonds
  • 1 cup pitted dates (use more or less to control desired sweetness)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1½ cup of raw coconut water

Let’s Cook!

  1. Blend all ingredients in a vita-mix or blender until thick and creamy.
  2. Line a fine strainer with a “nut milk” bag or cheesecloth and strain.
  3. Put your Almond milk in the refrigerator for several hours to cool and enjoy.

Arrowroot powder …is fast gaining in popularity in the western world as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch either because they have corn allergies/sensitivities or they want to avoid anything GMO and laden with pesticides.

A starchy substance which is extracted from the root of a tropical plant known as Maranta arundinacea which is cultivated to produce Arrowroot it is also known as Prayer Plant due to the way the leaves close at night they also when harvested look very similar to cassava or underground tubers.

Arrowroot, however, does not go through the same extraction process as cornflour by using high heat or harsh chemicals it is extracted using simpler traditional methods.

It is simply a white, powdery starch that is naturally gluten and grain-free. I used to use cornflour which has a slight taste and a cloudy appearance Arrowroot, on the other hand, is much better as it has no taste and leaves food glossy and clear…It is a great thickener and can easily replace cornstarch.

Arrowroot powder is also great mixed with dried herbs and used to coat chicken or fish before frying and produces lovely crisp and crunchy food.

Asparagus Pea or wing bean as I call them are pretty beans with four winged edges very unusual looking beans.

Winged beans are nutrient-rich and all parts of the plant are edible. Leaves can be eaten like spinach, flowers can be used in salads, the tubers can be eaten raw or cooked and the seeds used in similar ways to the soya bean.

Sliced and cooked with garlic, oyster sauce and a little magi (Thai) seasoning sauce they are delicious as a light meal with rice or as a side dish.

Simple and easy and quick to cook…

Aubergines nice just sliced, seasoned and put on an oiled baking sheet in a hot oven for 5-7 mins then brushed with a mixture of herbs of your choice and popped under the grill for 30 seconds. Serve immediately. Nice as an accompaniment to chicken or fish with a nice salad on a summers evening.

Fancy a quick dip for unexpected guests…

  • 2 aubergines
  • 100ml natural yoghurt
  • juice ½ lemon/lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Olive oil, to drizzle

Let’s Cook

  1. Char the aubergines over a flame or cook in the oven and remove the skin.
  2. Tip into a food processor with the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, chilli, coriander and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Blend until smooth tip into a bowl, and drizzle with more olive oil.
  4. For a chunkier dip, the aubergine, garlic and chilli can be chopped by hand and mixed with the other ingredients.

Enjoy!

Aubergine dip the Thai way.

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2-4 chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 med shallots
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Big handful coriander

Let’s Cook

  1. BBQ your eggplant, shallots, chilli and garlic the chilli and garlic will be done first, pop the chillies into a sealed plastic bag to cool it makes it easier to remove seeds and skin.
  2. When eggplant is soft then scoop out the flesh and add all the ingredients to your food processor or just a pestle and mortar like it is done here.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if required more fish sauce or lime juice.
  4. Serve with noodles or raw vegetables.

Lastly on my culinary trip through the letter A is the Avocado

Guacamole.

homemade guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 birds eye chilli finely chopped
  • 1 -3 tbsp fresh coriander
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Peel and roughly chop the avocado stir in the chopped onion, chilli, tomatoes and the coriander.
  2. Season the guacamole to taste with salt, black pepper, and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
  3. Cover bowl with clingfilm and chill before serving.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter B.

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:  Amazon US

Connect to Carol

Blog: Carol Cooks 2
Twitter: @TheRealCarolT
Facebook: Carol Taylor

My thanks to Carol for sharing this new series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 5th – 11th January 2020 – Count Basie, Phosphorus, Reviews, New Books, Bloggers and Funnies.


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed during the week here on Smorgasbord.

It seems to take longer each year to get back to normal after the holidays. Almost the middle of January and at least spring always appears to be around the corner once we get into this part of the year. Nothing startling happening around the house as we are waiting for dry weather to get in stones for drainage and topsoil to finish the piece where the new fence has been erected. We have adopted a much more relaxed approach to these jobs now, as nothing we do or say is going to make the weather more amenable to our needs!

Never mind, there is plenty of warmth and friendship online to enjoy and we could have it a great deal worse. As the fires in Australia continue, we can only be grateful for days of rain and the ability to live safely. The devastation and loss of life and wildlife is something that will take decades to fully recover from and it must be a huge worry for relatives of families in the areas under attack.

As always my thanks to the regular contributors and to you for dropping in and supporting us with your comments and sharing of posts.

This week William shares the music of the legendary Count Basie – 1904 – 1984

William Price King with Count Basie

In the final post of this series Carol Taylor and I team up to share the symptoms of a deficiency of Phosphorus and the foods you need to include in your diet regularly.

This week cooking from scratch to prevent a deficiency of phosphorus

This month Silvia Todesco shows us how to make authentic pesto sauce, and essential ingredient in pasta sauces.

Pesto alla Genovese sauce, ten tricks for the best result

What I wish I knew then by Pete Springer

My review for Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

My review #Mystery Watching Glass Shatter by James M. Cudney

Two more stories from this collection…

Eric – Just Making Do

Fionnuala The Swan

For the first Tuesday in the month for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 159 it is poet’s choice.  I have selected a Butterfly Cinquain…

Butterfly Cinquain – Friendship

Unarranged Marriage by Ritu Bhathal on pre-order February 9th.

Beck ‘n’ Call Lands of Exile Book 2 by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

The Old Gilt Clock by Paulette Mahurin

Thriller Carol Balawyder, Mystery Diana J. Febry, Afghanistan Patricia Furstenberg

Poetry Lynda McKinney Lambert, Thriller Don Massenzio, Prehistory Jacqui Murray

Book Review Michelle Clements James, Book Launch Tips Mary Smith, Climate Change Carol Taylor

Movie Review D.G. Kaye, Funnies The Story Reading Ape, Measurements Beetley Pete

Recipes Amy Reade, Tarot Jan Sikes, Interview Jane Risdon

Carol Taylor – Whimsical Wednesdays – Robbie Cheadle Book review, Marcia Meara with a marketing opportunity

Aurora Jean Alexander – Books, Inspiration Charli Mills, Japanese Poetry Colleen Chesebro

Here is part one of an alternative shopping list that your body might write if it was capable. It does try to tell you that it is missing elements that it needs which is when you are sick. This list contains the top sources for the nutrients our bodies need to be healthy.

Shopping List by Nutrient – Vitamins A- B

More funnies from Debby and a joke from Sally’s Archives

More funnies and an invitation to join in the fun

Thank you for all your support and wishing you a great week ahead. Look forward to seeing you here again.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Phosphorus


In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

This is the final post in the series as we have covered most of the essential nutrients over the last 18 months and from next week Carol Taylor  will be starting her new column and sharing her A – Z of food for the rest of the year.

In this post on phosphorous I give you the information on why this nutrient is so essential for our health and then Carol will provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Phosphorous is a mineral that you will not find in your multi-vitamin and mineral supplement because it is considered that we obtain sufficient through our diet.

Phosphorus and bone health

However there are some interesting facts about phosphorus that makes it worth taking a closer look at. Many women as they approach the menopause will begin to supplement with additional calcium to prevent bone loss and take up weight bearing exercise such as walking and yoga. However, very few women realise that phosphorus is also very important for bone health and without it calcium is less effective.

Clinical studies have shown that calcium supplementation without enough phosphorus may actually lead to bone mass reduction. Although most calcium supplements are combined with Vitamin D to assist absorption, trials have shown that with the addition of phosphorus bone fractures in high-risk patients was reduced by 43% within 18 months.

What is phosphorus?

Phosphorus is an essential mineral usually combined with oxygen as a phosphate. Most phosphate in the body is found in our bones. But, phosphate containing molecules, (phospholipids) are also important components of cell membranes and lipoprotein particles such as HDL (healthy cholesterol) and LDL (lousy cholesterol). A small amount of phosphate plays a role in many of our biochemical reactions including the production of our essential fuel ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and the formation of red blood cells.

What are the causes of a phosphorus deficiency?

Deficiency is rare in a person with a normal diet. Alcoholics however are at risk as are people who are constantly taking antacids because of the aluminium content in some brands.

Osteoporosis sufferers who are heavily supplementing with calcium are also at risk of deficiency and it is usually recommended that they take phosphorus at the same time.

The far bigger risk with phosphorus is the amount we are consuming in processed foods such as soft drinks. A diet high in phosphorus may decrease the absorption of other minerals such as iron, copper and zinc.

Phosphoric acid for example in soft drinks has been linked to kidney stones in some trials and certainly people with kidney disease should avoid taking in any food or drink that contains large amounts of phosphorous.

Some symptoms of a phosphorus deficiency

  1. General weakness and loss of appetite.
  2. Spikes in energy levels particularly associated with cravings for caffeine and sugar.
  3. Tingling or numbness in fingers and toes.
  4. Bone and joint pain.

What are the best food sources of phosphorus?

  • Sufficient phosphorus is found in a diet that includes plenty of protein rich foods such as turkey and other poultry and meats.
  • Dairy products are rich in the mineral and eating beans regularly will also provide good amounts.
  • Vegetarians need to include plenty of whole grains and nuts in their diet to ensure that they obtain sufficient phosphorus.

Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are healthy sources of phosphorous.

Today I will be giving you some recipes which contain Phosphorus…Sally has explained the importance of phosphorus in our bodies and I have tested some recipes which if you have a deficiency then these will help you ensure you are getting enough phosphorus in your diet.

Roasting or cooking with a dry heat preserves most of the phosphorus in foods.

I have chosen to use the two meats which have the highest amounts Pork tenderloin and chicken livers…

Pork Tenderloin with peppercorns.

Ingredients:

• 1lb Pork Tenderloin.
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• 3tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 2 tsp dijon mustard
• 2 tsp vegetable oil divided
• Salt and pepper to season meat
• 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 2/3 stems fresh peppercorns

Let’s Cook!

  1. Combine the maple syrup, balsamic in a small pan cook over a medium heat until the liquid reduces about 2/3 minutes remove from the heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard.
  2. Slice your pork into about 8 pieces then put between two layer of greaseproof paper and pound to flatten to about ¼ inch.
  3. Heat tsp of the oil in a non stick pan, add the garlic and stir then add your seasoned pork.
  4. Cook for a minute and a half and turn and cook the other side. Repeat with your remaining fillets.
  5. Return the cooked pork to the pan and add your sauce stir and heat for one minute.

Your pork is now ready to serve either with rice or potatoes and some steamed vegetables. I served mine with roasted fennel.

It is a dish which was quick to make and the sauce was nice although I didn’t think there was much sauce it actually was enough…

Spicy Chicken Livers.

This lovely spicy chicken liver dish is very easy and quick to make…..In Thai it translates to Pad Ped Kuang Nai Gai Tua Fuk Yaao … try saying that after a few vino’s.

This dish is a family favorite.even hubby eats it and he doesn’t really do spicy but I think his love of liver takes over …Although we prefer chicken liver to lambs or pigs liver is is softer and has a milder flavour.

Ingredients:

• 350 gm Chicken Livers
• 4 or 5 long green beans.
• Tsp Red curry paste….. depending on red curry paste you use you may need to add more…I use a locally made one which blows your head off …so only use a tsp and it is still hot!
• 1-2 tbsp Fish Sauce.
• 6/8 Lime leaves very finely shredded.
• 4 tbsp Coconut Milk.
• Small amount of coconut oil.

N.B You can use oil of your choice I just always cook with Coconut oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Clean and cut up chicken livers..I do bite size pieces.
  2. Cut up long beans into half-inch long pieces.
  3. Finely shred lime leaves…..I roll them and shred.
  4. Heat Pan over fairly high heat, add a small amount of oil, add chilli paste and 1 tbsp Fish sauce stir until paste is liquid, add finely sliced lime leaves and chicken livers , stir until just cooked.
  5. Add green beans and coconut milk and cook gently for 2/3 mins.
  6. Taste and add more fish sauce if required…I generally add about another half tbsp.

It is now ready to serve…Serve with rice and additional vegetables if desired.

This is quite a dry dish so can be served with a small bowl of miso soup with chopped spring onions if liked.

If you are vegetarian and have a phosphorus deficiency Whole grains and nuts are high in phosphorus therefore I would advise making a lovely wholegrain loaf with nuts or making a crumble topping. This crumble topping could be used to top fruit or yoghurt either as a dessert or breakfast. You can use any choice of nuts…

Crumble Topping.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup Pine Nuts
• ½ cup cashews
• ½ cup of pecans
• 1.5 cups of coconut either fresh shredded or desicatted…I used fresh toasted coconut
• 3 tbsp coconut oil
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• Pinch salt.

Method

  1. Blitz your nuts in short bursts I left mine smallish pieces a little smaller than I wanted so short sharp bursts or it may be too fine.
  2. Then add the cinnamon, salt , coconut oil and maple syrup and mix tocombine then spread on a greased tray and cook for about 20 mins on 180…
  3. Check a few times just to ensure they don’t burn and give a little stir halfway through cooking.
  4. Allow to cool or if you want a hot pudding then layer with fruit of your choice.

I had a few mangoes so cooked them down with a little raw sugar and a few cumin seeds.

I then layered the mango with the nut crumble… You could use any fruit apples, blackberries, raspberries even bananas if you sliced them and added some spices or maple syrup. Play with your flavours…

My thanks to Carol for preparing these delicious dishes to ensure you and your family are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals in your diet. 

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: Carol Cooks 2

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 29th December to 4th January 2020 –


Welcome to the first round up of 2020 with a posts that you might have missed during the week.

It was a quiet Christmas and New Year for us and we enjoyed taking it easy and watching favourite movies and series again. Including the Millennium Trilogy featuring the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the first three books… in Swedish with sub-titles. Brilliant.

From January 13th we will be treated to the first of the new series by D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies on another of her areas of expertise… relationships. She is going to introduce the column and then she will begin the series in March on her return from her winter sunshine in Mexico. I am really looking forward to her insight and I am sure you will enjoy too.

 

Carol Taylor will also be changing her column from the 15th of January. There is one more cooking from scratch to prevent deficiency this coming week with Phosphorous as the nutrient in question… and then Carol will be featuring her A – Z of food every two weeks. She is going to be getting her cookbook and novel ready to be published this year (no pressure then Carol ♥) I think you will find you will be expanding your shopping list by the end of the year to include new and healthy foods to enjoy.

Silvia Todesco will also be continuing her column on Italian Cookery throughout the year and we will be starting the new series this coming Thursday with an essential ingredient to many pasta dishes and synonymous with Italian cookery… homemade pesto sauce.  Then a new dish every month for you to try and enjoy.

William Price King is of course going to be providing the music for the blog again this year with his extensive background in jazz, classical and contemporary music, we have been privileged to enjoy a masterclass every two weeks. I have always loved music and have discovered so many more artists to listen to and a better understanding of the different styles across the decades. William is back this coming Tuesday with the legendary Count Basie.

Time to catch up on the posts from the week.

My New Year’s Eve Post with special thanks to the contributors to the blog this year.

Happy New Year

A new series of Posts from Your Archives featuring two of your favourite posts from 2019.. full details in the post.

New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

I continue with the stories from What’s in a Name during the week.

Celia – Crisis of Faith

Clive – The Debt

David – In Remembrance

Diana – Full of Grace

Elaine – A Shining Light

Time for the first Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills of the year and this week we are offered the chance to write about a hutch… either as a piece of furniture or an animal hutch.

The Rabbit Hutch

The final posts in this year’s Christmas book fair with more of my recommended reads for 2019.  Here are just a handful that I recommend..you can find the rest in the post.

More Recommended books by Sally

Author update.

Marcia Meara, Karen Ingalls, Lorinda J. Taylor

Robbie Cheadle, C.S. Boyack, Eloise de Sousa

Mary Adler, Jane Sturgeon, Sally Cronin

Charli Mills, John W. Howell, James J. Cudney

Over the last year I gave up sugar in most forms including alcohol and am now three stone lighter and considerably fitter. This post is how I achieved that.

My year without sugar and the results

More funnies from Debby and a joke from Sally’s Archives

Even more funnies from Debby Gies and Sally

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope to see you again next week…Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 22nd – 28th December – Christmas Music, Food, Short stories and Recommended Books 2019


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed whilst enjoying your Christmas with family and friends.. a much more important priority than reading blog posts. I hope you had an amazing time and are now looking forward to New Year’s Eve and 2020.

According to some astrologists, 2020 is going to be a fabulous year so buckle up.

In the coming week although there will be more recommended books that I have read and reviewed.. A final post in the Cook from Scratch series on the subject of Phosphorus, and news of Carol Taylor’s upcoming series in 2020.

There will also be changes to Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore.. in the name to start with as it will now become Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore in line with the other series on the blog.

As always the aim is to support your own book marketing strategies, and for new authors who do not have a presence on a blog or any social media, I do have my FREE pdf which now includes setting up Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and also a blog for accessibility and readability. It does not have to be complex and have all the bells and whistles as Keeping it Simple is just as effective. Just email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com for a copy.

There will be some Cafe updates during the week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves and here will also be a new series of Posts from Your Archives and more about that on New Year’s Day.. and more stories from What’s in a Name series every day.

As always my thanks to the regular contributors and this week William Price King and D.G.Kaye have done a wonderful joy in keeping us entertained. Also to those who have submitted festive stories and this week two more from Audrey Driscoll and Eric Lennick.

Now for the posts from this week you might have missed.

William Price King shares more Christmas Music with us…

Today Christ is Born and There is No Rose Behold the Star

The Christmas Day post with a video that should leave you smiling

Merry Christmas and Afternoon Video

I have read and reviewed 26 books in 2019 and wanted to share them with you.. Part two coming up this week with my recommended books from 2018/2017 since they are fabulous books that I hope you will enjoy reading.

My recommended books Part One – 2019

 

And my last review of 2019 Blackthorn by Terry Tyler.

My review for Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the stories from A- Z from my collection What’s in a Name.

Alexander Defender of Men

Anne Favour and Grace

Beatrix – Behind the Mask

Brian the Birthright

Audrey Driscoll shares two festive excerpts from her action and adventure novel  Book 4 of the Herbert West Series – Hunting the Phoenix.

Winter Solstice in the House of the Phoenix by Audrey Driscoll

Eric Lennick, the other half of the writing Duo with his wife Joy Lennick shares a short story with a twist…

Jemima’s Christmas Stocking by Eric Lennick

New book on the shelves

Warning Signs, a novel about obsession by Carol Balawyder

Author updates with recent reviews.

#Doglovers Sue Vincent, #Fantasy Vashti Quiroz-Vega,#Novella Jan Sikes

#mystery James J. Cudney, #Memoir Brigid P. Gallagher, #Children’s Annika Perry, #Romance Harmony Kent

#Warromance Marina Osipova, #Poetry Frank Prem, Children’s Pamela S. Wight

#Interview D.G. Kaye and Darlene Foster, #Interview Richard Dee with Emily Moore #Scams by Dan Alatorre and Christoph Fischer.

More funnies from D.G. Kaye and a festive poem from Sally.

Even more funnies from Debby Gies and Sally

Thank you very much for dropping in during the week and today and wishing you Happy New Year.. hope to see you soon. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – A sumptuous #Vegetarian Christmas Menu


Carol Taylor has been very busy the last few weeks preparing Christmas menus for the whole family and this week she has created a feast for vegetarians with some sumptuous ingredients.

Welcome to a Christmas menu with vegetarians in mind and I have tried to think of tasty dishes that as dare I say it a carnivore I would eat… In fact I eat both because as long as a meal is tasty then that is what matters and I love vegetables.

The starters are quick and easy to make and ooze taste and most of the dishes can be made in advance as we don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on Christmas morning while everyone else has fun…Do we?

I always try to cook at least one dish I haven’t cooked before for Christmas as we all have our tried and tested family favorites, don’t we? It is just nice to try something new although some of the family favorites I dare not leave off the menu…

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favorite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

To Prepare

  1. Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Mushroom Pate.

• 2 cups of mixed mushrooms…
• 1 cup of walnuts
• 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 1 onion chopped finely
• 1 tbsp oil
• ½ cup of parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

To Prepare

  1. Toast the walnuts carefully as nuts always burn if you take your eye of them well mine do…Set to one side…
  2. Add the oil to a pan add onions and cook 2 mins and add the garlic cook until onions and garlic is soft watching the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and saute for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. If the mix gets too dry then add a little water. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then blitz; scrapping down the sides I like mine a little coarse.
  4. Put the mixture into a dish and press the mix down and smooth the top.
  5. Serve with crackers of your choice or sliced cucumber and peppers.

Mushrooms on toast with Brie.

• 2 slices of bread halved I use sour dough.
• 8 mushrooms sliced…I use chestnut mushrooms
• 170 gm brie sliced
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp oil
• 6 sprigs of thyme

To Prepare

  1. Heat the butter and the oil in a small pan add the mushroom and saute on a medium to high heat until browned and a little crispy around the edges about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and cook for a further minute turn of the heat. Strip two of the thyme leaves and stir into the mushroom mix.
  3. Lightly toast the bread top with the slices of brie put the toast back under the grill until the brie has melted top with the mushroom mix, as sprig of thyme and some freshly ground black pepper.
  4. These toast starter serve two people but are easy recipes to double or triple up.

Spiced Red Cabbage

Red cabbage…our Christmas dinner would not be the same without it…I have been making this …Well, it seems like forever but it must be at least for the last 35 years so it is a well, tried and tested recipe and one which we absolutely love. The recipe was originally given to me by a very dear friend whom sadly is no longer with us…but every time we have this dish we remember you with much love Pauline…x

The recipe has German origins which is where Pauline’s husband came from.

Cooked with Apples, red onion or shallots, some spices, balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm…try a glassful…lol…

It is a lovely accompaniment to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two before eating…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas Dinner without it…we love it.

• One medium-size Red Cabbage.
• One medium to large Red Onion Or about 8 shallots…
• 2/3 cloves of garlic
• One large Bramley Apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
• A half to whole glass red wine.
• Salt and Pepper to season.
• 1-2 tsp Cinnamon or mixed spice.
• Cinnamon Stick ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

  1. Chop cabbage, Onions, garlic and Apple.
  2. Cook Onions and garlic in butter or olive oil until onions are soft.
  3. Add chopped cabbage and apple, half of the balsamic and half of wine.
  4. Season and add spices.
  5. Cook for at least 2 hours (I cook mine for 3 generally) and add more wine and balsamic to taste. If you think it is a bit dry then add a little water.

Tip: If like me the Bramley cooking apples are unavailable where you live then its trial and error. I tried green apples and it was ok but this week I used 4 dessert apples and it was the best, the same with seasoning and spices its personal taste so play with it and adjust to your taste which is what I do with all my cooking ….and especially now I live here it has taught me a totally new way of cooking, I was very recipe and measurement driven. Now I just look inside the fridge or freezer and cook with what I have because it is about taste, taste and taste again… or it could be just certain ingredients are unavailable here…….the only time I now measure is when I make pastry or cakes and that does have to be more precise but any other dishes then I play with ingredients and I have much more fun when I am cooking.

This dish can be made at least a week in advance if you are keeping it in the fridge or longer if you are freezing it.

To serve just gently reheat and check the seasoning…

Crispy Fried Kale

• 2 bunches curly kale (about 2 1/2 pounds)
• 1/4 cup good olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Sea Salt Flakes

Let’s cook

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Arrange 3 oven racks evenly spaced in the oven.
  3. Lay each kale leaf on a board and, with a small sharp knife, cut out the hard stem. Tear large leaves in half. Place the kale in a large bowl of water and wash it well. Drain the kale and dry it in a salad spinner. Dry the bowl, and put the kale back in the bowl.
  4. Toss the kale with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the kale among 3 sheet pans or roast them in batches. If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never become crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.
  5. Sprinkle with the sea salt flakes and serve hot.
  6. I like these as a side as they add a bit of crunch to the otherwise soft dishes.

Potatoes, parsnips baked in garlic and cream

• 3 large potatoes about 1 ½ lbs
• 12 oz parsnips
• 2-3 cloves of garlic
• ¾- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1 cup of single cream
• 105 ml of milk
• 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Let’s cook

  1. Peel the potatoes and parsnips and thinly slice then place in a steamer and cook for 5 mins.
  2. Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Put the cream and milk into a heavy pan with the garlic slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat .Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for about 10 mins so the garlic can infuse into the milk.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  5. Using a 10 in rectangular oven proof dish, grease the dish and arrange the sliced potatoes and parsnips in layers sprinkle each layer with I use lots of black pepper and a little grated nutmeg.
  6. Pour the reserved cream and garlic mix over the potatoes and parsnips pressing the vegetables down. The liquid should come to just under the top layer.
  7. Cover the dish with a piece of baking parchment or buttered foil and bake for 45minutes remove the dish from the oven and remove the paper or foil the sprinkle over the cheddar cheese and return the dish to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.

For a recipe variation you could use sweet potato, carrots, Swede or artichokes.

Mushroom and Chestnut Stuffing.

I love mushrooms and chestnuts and although a meat eater I prefer my stuffing with no meat.

• 1 tbsp oil
• 300 g mushrooms (10 medium mushrooms)
• 180 g/ 1 cup cooked and peeled chestnuts, e.g. tinned or vacuum-packed
• 1 small onion, diced I prefer shallots
• 1 small red onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp dried sage
• 100 g wholemeal bread/sourdough bread
• Small bunch fresh flat leafed parsley
• Salt
• Black pepper

Let’s Cook

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan; add the diced onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and any excess liquid has evaporated.
  3. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Season generously, and blitz until the mixture just comes together.
  4. Transfer the stuffing mixture to a baking dish, and bake for around 40 minutes, until crispy on top. Serve warm.

Nut Roast with salsa

• 40 g unsalted butter , plus extra for greasing
• 100 g quinoa
• 150 g onion squash or cooking pumpkin
• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 sticks of celery
• olive oil
• 200 g tinned or vac-packed chestnuts
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 pinch of sweet smoked paprika
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 2 large field mushrooms
• 1 lemon
• 60 g fresh breadcrumbs
• 80 g dried cranberries
• 100 g dried apricots
• 100 g mixed nuts , such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and brazil nuts
• 4 large free-range eggs
• 40 g mature Cheddar cheese

 Salsa.

• 2 fresh red chillies
• 1 stick of cinnamon
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 small onion
• ½ bunch of fresh thyme , (15g)
• 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes or the equivalent in fresh tomatoes.
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Let’s Cook

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 1 litre loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cook the quinola according to the instructions on the packet and set to one side.
  3. Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, then chop the flesh into rough 1cm chunks (you don’t need to peel the skin) unless you are using cooking pumpkin. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic, then trim and roughly chop the celery.
  4. Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large pan over a medium heat, add the chopped vegetables and crumble in the chestnuts. Add the picked rosemary leaves, discard the stalks.
  5. Add the cayenne, paprika and oregano and season with salt and pepper stir well and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 15 mins or until slightly softened add the chopped mushrooms to the pan for the last 5 mins of cooking.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and grate in half of the lemon zest.
  7. Put mixture into a bowl and stir in the cooled quinola, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and nuts if you prefer your nuts les chunky then chop into smaller pieces.
  8. Crack the eggs into the mixture and stir well to combine then put the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Put into the pre-heated oven and cook for 45-50 minutes until cooked through and set.
  9. When there is about 30 minutes to go make the salsa… Over a low –medium heat put a pan with a glug of olive oil and add the pricked chillies and the cinnamon. Add the finely sliced garlic and the onions cut into 8 wedges. Pick some of the time leaves reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Add the tomatoes plus 2 cups of water stir well breaking up the tomatoes.
  10. Season and stir in the balsamic vinegar then bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and reduced.
  11. Once the tomato mix is ready remove 1 chilli, carefully halve and deseed and roughly chop and return to the mix. If required loosen the salsa with a little water remove the whole chilli and cinnamon stick and put to one side.
  12. Remove the nut roast from the oven and carefully remove from the tin. Put the nut roast into the tin containing the salsa and grate the cheese over the top. Put the cinnamon stick and reserved chilli back into the mix and put the reserved thyme sprigs over the top.
  13. Return to the oven for 10-15m minutes or until bubbling and golden.

Baked Celeriac

• 1 celeriac 600-800 gm
• 60 gm walnuts toasted and chopped
• 1 tsp of thyme leaves
• 100 gm of blue cheese crumbled
• 50 gm butter
• 100 ml honey/maple syrup

Let’s Cook

  1. Peel the celeriac keeping the shape as natural as possible. Using a 6-7 cm biscuit cutter make an indent in the top of the celeriac or like me you can use a knife ( carefully) and then using a melon baller or apple corer scoop out the flesh to about halfway down.
  2. Heat the oven to 180c/160 fan/gas 4
  3. Toss the walnuts, thyme and blue cheese together and pack into the cavity of the celeriac if it is higher than the top don’t worry just pack it in…
  4. Take a sheet of foil large enough to cover the celeriac…Dot the top of the celeriac with the butter then drizzle with the honey and season with salt.
  5. Wrap the celeriac completely in the foil making sure there are no gaps and roast for 1 hr 15 mins or until the celeriac is soft. Open the foil and cook for a further 15 mins or until the top is golden…Serve on a chopping board and reserve any juices to spoon over the celeriac when serving.

Coconut and Lime Cheesecake.

For the base.

• Flavourless oil for greasing
• 300g digestive biscuits
• 50g desiccated coconut
• 160g unsalted butter, melted
• 25g coconut oil, melted

For the filling

• 560g full-fat cream cheese
• 250ml coconut cream
• 397ml tin condensed milk
• Juice 4 limes
• 4 medium free-range eggs

For the caramel

• 100g caster sugar
• 25g unsalted butter
• Good splash rum
• 75ml double cream, at room temperature
• 1-2 pinches sea salt flakes
• Pulp from 3 ripe passion fruits

To prepare

  1. For the base, lightly oil a 20cm diameter, 8-10cm deep loose- bottomed cake tin and set aside.
  2. Put the biscuits and coconut in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs.
  3. With the mixer running, pour in the melted butter and coconut oil and process until combined.
  4. Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
  5. Using the back of a metal spoon, press down on the crumbs to form the base, working them all the way up the sides of the tin to form a deep tart case.
  6. Smooth the base until even, and then chill until needed.

Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/ gas 3.

  1. To make the filling, put the cream cheese, coconut cream and condensed milk in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until combined.
  2. Gradually beat in the lime juice, then the eggs.
  3. Pour the mixture into the biscuit base (don’t let it come over the sides of the biscuit).
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until lightly set – it should wobble in the centre a lot when gently pushed, but it will firm up in the fridge.
  5. Remove to a wire rack, still in its tin, and cool completely, then chill.

To serve, bring back to room temperature before removing from the tin.

  1. To make the caramel, put the sugar in a heavy-based frying pan and heat very gently until completely dissolved – every now and then gently stir it back and forth with a fork to distribute the sugar evenly.
  2. Turn the heat up and bubble to a rich golden-red colour, then remove from the heat quickly and add the butter and rum. It will spit, so be careful.
  3. Stir to combine everything, putting the pan back on the heat if the caramel hardens.
  4. Once smooth, stir through the double cream and the sea salt flakes.
  5. Put in a heatproof bowl, cover with a piece of cling film directly touching the surface, then leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Mix the passion fruit pulp into the caramel, then serve drizzled over the cheesecake while the caramel is still a little warm.

N.B.The cheesecake will keep chilled for 6 hours or wrapped in cling film and frozen for up to 1 month.

Once defrosted then drizzle with the caramel.

Fresh Fruit Salad.

The beauty of a fresh fruit salad is that you can make it as large or as small as you like one portion or ten. You can use any fruit that you have and it can different every time.

The one I always make is very simple I use Oranges, Apples, Grapes, Pear, and section and slice them and add lemon/ lime juice to stop the fruit going brown.

  1. Sometimes I also add some freshly squeezed orange juice or other fruit juice.
  2. This is now when it gets interesting as you can add a little freshly grated ginger, some crushed lemon grass even treat yourself to one of those exotic fruits you have seen in your local shop or farmers market just to liven it up, change it.
  3. Maybe even a touch of chilli???
  4. Some sesame seeds? Some poppy seeds?? Even a few sprigs of mint…
  5. If I use a soft fruit like banana, melon, mango, strawberries, peaches, apricots, watermelon or kiwi then I put those in about 15 mins before I serve the fruit salad. Otherwise, they can go too mushy and we like our fruit salad fresh and vibrant, nice and crisp.
  6. And of course here I have access to plenty of fresh pineapples, Lychees and Dragon fruit are plentiful and in season here at the moment so into the mix they go…What is your favourite fruit salad mix???
  7. You can use any combination of fruit that you like just make sure you use lemon/ lime
  8. Juice to stop the fruit from discolouring and keep in the fridge until you is ready to serve.
  9. It can be served quite simply with fresh cream or clotted cream if you can get it… Ice cream or even custard which hubby prefers.

A huge thank you to Carol for putting this menu together and to you for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed the recipes please let us know if you try any in comments.

©Carol Taylor 2019

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

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes: https://carolcooks2.com/

My thanks to Carol for all her efforts to bring great cookery and healthy options into our diets and I know she would love your feedback. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 8th -14th December – Make a Wish, Choirs, Cranberries, A-Z Christmas and Cheesy funnies!


Before we get into the posts you might have missed this week on the blog, a reminder about the Christmas Party on the 21st of December…

The theme for this year’s party is Just One Wish. We are all familiar with the story of Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, who was pretty liberal with that magic wand of hers and managed to turn a pumpkin into a golden carriage.

Unfortunately, she has long since retired and hung up her wand, but because I asked nicely (and she would like me to promote her memoir – The Prince Charmings I have Known!) she has agreed to allow you all one wish.

  • Your wish can be for anything you like, for you, for someone close to you, real, imaginary, massive such as world peace (that might be a bit of a stretch for her) or something you wish you had done or said in the past.
  • Humour is very welcome as it is tough for anyone to deny you anything if you make them laugh, and this particular Fairy Godmother has a very active funny bone.
  • Her memory is not as sharp as it used to be, and her attention tends to wander, so I suggest you keep your wish to 100 words or less. I cannot guarantee that your wish will be fulfilled, however, putting it out there could produce magical results.
  • My part of this is to fit in as many of your requests in as possible and so I suggest you get your wish in as quickly as you can.
  • I will also do the usual addition of links to your Amazon Page if you are an author, blog as well as one of your main social media.
  • There will be younger family members at the party, so please bear that in mind when submitting your wish, and the Fairy Godmother is not very worldly!

If you are a regular visitor to the blog I will have all your details and just need your ‘one wish’ in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

If a new visitor then please include your blog or website, Amazon link if you have one and your main social media link to sally.cronin@moyhilll.com.

Now time for this week’s posts and as always my thanks to the regular contributors who share such wonderful articles.  And to you for keep showing up with your amazing support.

I am so pleased that William Price King will be a sharing a selection of Christmas music to get us into the festive spirit up to Christmas Day.. enjoy.

Here is another of our posts where I share the nutritional benefits of an ingredient and Carol Taylor incorporates it in a delicious recipe. Next week Carol will be back to share some of her creations from her Thai kitchen offering you some alternative delicacies to eat over the festive season. This week… ..Cranberries – a bitter berry which has a long history in medicinal terms and is still used today in certain over the counter preparations.

Christmas Cook From Scratch – Cranberries Bittersweet

The A-Z of Christmas in Britain – Part Three – Holly and Ivy to Sprouts by Mike Biles

Mince Pies, Christmas, Britain

Mike Biles A – Z of Christmas – Holly & Ivy to Sprouts

Delighted to share a story by Victoria Zigler from the book Ulrike’s Christmas and you can find details of how to buy this book and Victoria’s many other children’s books after her story.

The Tinsel Story by Victoria Zigler

As a special treat, Linda Bethea is sharing another wonderfully entertaining story from her archives, and today we experience a Christmas from the depression that was still filled with homemade gifts, love, laughter and some retribution for past misdemeanours.

Kathleen’s Cuthand Christmas (from Kathleen’s memoirs of the depression) by Linda Bethea

Most of you will know Carol Taylor from her Food and Cookery Column here on Smorgasbord as well as her own eclectic blog located in Thailand, where she shares the wonderful food on her doorstep and recipes that turn them into delicious meals. Carol has shared a very poignant short story.

The Snow Storm by Carol Taylor

This week the prompt words are ‘Give and Shake’ for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 157 And I have chosen the synonyms ‘Grant and Tremble’ in a Butterfly Cinquain.

I Grant you Permission by Sally Cronin

I grant
you permission
to abandon restraint
and tremble with ecstatic bursts
of joy.
It is the time of chocolate
and freedom to consume
as many bars
you wish.

©Sally Cronin 2019

This week on the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills we were tasked on writing a story about a garden gnome or gnomes…mine is loosely based on an alleged true event…

Carrot Ranch – Missing by Sally Cronin

I was given a gift of this lovely anthology and over the last few days I have enjoyed the stories, imagining myself on a front porch swing enjoying balmy breezes somewhere in the southern states of America.. having lived in Texas and visited Tennessee and Mississippi frequently, it did not take much imagination.

My review for Southern Season Stories from a Front Porch Swing

New books on the Shelves for Christmas

#Children 3 – 6 Oskar’s Quest by Annika Perry

Author updates with recent reviews

#Romance Karen Demers Dowdall, #Thriller Toni Pike, #Design Valentina Cirasola, #Memoir J.E. Pinto

#Romance P.C. Zick, #Fantasy Jim Webster, #Thriller Stevie Turner, #Poetry Balroop Singh

YA A.J. Alexander, Romance Christine Campbell, Family Claire Fullerton, PostApocalyptic Sandra J. Jackson

Fantasy Deborah Jay, Memoir Abbie Taylor Johnson, History adventure Andrew Joyce, thriller Daniel Kemp

#Poetry Lynda McKinney Lambert, #Memoir Marian Beaman, #Thriller JP McLean, #Romance Shehanne Moore

Wendy Janes shares the differences in proofreading fiction and non-fiction and it is very interesting.

Musings on Proofreading Fiction and Non-Fiction

Robbie Cheadle who is an experienced book reviewer shares her easy to follow methodology on writing a review.

Robbie Cheadle on how to write a book review

Review D.G. Kaye, Contest Kaye Lynne Booth, Christmas Cake Robbie Cheadle

Story Contest Stevie Turner, Flash Fiction Charli Mills, Book Review Angie Quantrell

#Q&A D.G. Kaye with Lisa Thomson, #Jacksparrow Dolly Aizenman, #Redwine Christy Birmingham

It is that time of year when we tend to throw caution out of the window along with any slimming books and fitness apps we might have (well some of us anyway).

Unfortunately, our pets are also treated to our sense of liberation and they end up eating many things they are not used to. Also their eating patterns might be thrown out the window, and in my experience their inner body clock is more accurate than a Rolex. This does not make for happy pets. Some treats are toxic to pets and can lead to not just stomach upsets but death.

Safe Christmas Treats and Homecooked dinners for Dogs and Cats.

More funnies from D.G. Kaye and a festive recipe from. Sally!

More funnies from D.G. Kaye and a joke for Sally.

Thank you so much for dropping in today and every time you pop by. Your support is very much appreciated and I always love to hear from you… even if it is to say Hi… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health – Christmas Cook From Scratch – Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cranberries #bittersweet


Here is another of our posts where I share the nutritional benefits of an ingredient and Carol Taylor incorporates it in a delicious recipe.

Next week Carol will be back to share some of her creations from her Thai kitchen offering you some alternative delicacies to eat over the festive season.

This week… ..Cranberries – a bitter berry which has a long history in medicinal terms and is still used today in certain over the counter preparations.

Cranberries have a documented medicinal history and were used by the Native American Indians as a nutritious addition to their diet normally sweetened with honey as of course the berries are very tart. The Indians also used the berries in poultices for wounds as they recognised the antibacterial and antibiotic effect of the fruit even if they could not scientifically prove these properties. Colonists, who had been introduced to the berry, exported it home to England at the beginning of the 18th century.

Modern research into the therapeutic properties of the cranberry is not one sided and there is usually a commercial reason behind all the debate! However, I have used cranberries for over 20 years personally, with family and clients, and certainly have found that there is  some truth to its health properties. Cranberries act like your own defence team to repel opportunistic invaders who are intent on stealing your health.

Most of us, before the 80’s, restricted cranberries in our diet to Christmas and the odd time we had turkey at other times in the year. Then came the very welcome news that for those of us, who suffered from attacks of bacterial cystitis, drinking the juice of these tart little red berries could bring relief. In fact drinking cranberry (although disputed in some scientific areas) can help prevent attacks of this painful condition. Cranberries contain a unique component in which is technically termed High molecular weight non-dialysable material or NDM for short. NDM prevents bacteria from clumping and damaging soft tissue in various parts of the body including the urinary tract. It is common for many over the counter cystitis treatments to contain cranberry combined with alkaline elements to reduce the build-up of acid.

Emerging evidence shows that this fruit is a lot more versatile than we thought and there are now several very good reasons to include cranberries on a daily basis in your diet.

Cranberry the antioxidant

A free radical is a molecule. A normal molecule has an even number of electrons and is considered stable. Free radicals on the other hand have an uneven number of electrons and are unstable. They are desperate to be like the normal molecules so they have to steal from them to get another electron. This of course means that they have created another free radical. More and more cells become damaged and leave the body open to many diseases – from cardiovascular to cancer.

The free-radicals cause cells to oxidise and die. The major damage is done to our DNA, which results in mutations and death of the cells. Our body does produce anti-oxidants and enzymes that can repair this damage if we eat healthily. However, as we get older so do our cells and it becomes harder to repair them and they die. This is ageing! In our brains when cells are damaged beyond repair you are susceptible to loss of co-ordination and memory and in extreme cases dementia.

To prevent this we need a diet that is very high in anti-oxidants, which work through the body immobilising free radicals and preventing damage. Cranberries contain one of the highest levels of anti-oxidants of most fruit and vegetables and that is why drinking at least one glass per day can provide you with enough of these defensive players to protect your brain.

Artery health

In the same way, flavonoids in Cranberries function as very potent antioxidants and may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is when the arteries become clogged and narrowed restricting blood flow to the heart. The most common cause is a build-up of LDL (Low-Density lipoproteins or lousy cholesterol) oxidising and causing plaque to cling to the walls of the arteries narrowing and hardening them. This can lead to angina, blood clots and heart attacks.

Cranberries contain the flavonoids and also polyphenol compounds that have been shown to help prevent the LDL from oxidising and therefore forming the dangerous plaque that leads to arterial disease.

Dental health – another good reason to drink cranberry juice.

One would think that drinking cranberry juice with its natural sugars would have a harmful effect on the teeth but in fact the reverse is true. Cranberries actually help prevent dental problems.

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that the unique component in cranberry juice that I mentioned earlier, NDM not only prevents bacteria attaching itself to soft tissue but to the harder substances such as enamel too.

Hundreds of different types of bacteria in the mouth clump together and attach themselves to the teeth and gums and over time harden causing cavities and gum disease. This film on the teeth becomes resistant to saliva, which would normally remove bacteria from the mouth and also our normal oral hygiene routines such as brushing. One of the most resistant bacteria in the mouth is Streptococcus and in tests indications showed that Cranberry mouthwash reduced the presence of this in the mouth significantly.

Cranberry juice and peptic ulcers

Helicobacter Pylori (H.Pylori) bacteria can have a painful and devastating impact on the health of your stomach and also its ability to process the food that you eat.

A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of the stomach or duodenum, which is the beginning of the small intestine. They are quite common and one of the main causes is bacterial infection and the chief culprit is H.Pylori. It is not certain how people contract H.Pylori but it is believed that 20% of people under 40 and half of the population over 60 are infected with it.

H.Pylori weakens the protective mucous coating of the stomach and duodenum, which allows acid to get through to the sensitive lining beneath. Both the acid and the bacteria irritate the lining causing a sore or ulcer. H.Pylori is able to survive in stomach acid because it secretes enzymes that neutralise the acid. Once in the safety of the mucous lining the bacteria’s spiral shape allows it to burrow into the lining.

H.Pylori has also been associated with stomach cancer, acid reflux and gastritis. Finding a natural way to prevent H.Pylori from completing its mission is therefore a very prime research topic. As in dental health and in the urinary tract, the NDM prevents the H.Pylori from attaching itself to the lining of the stomach therefore preventing an ulcer developing.

Other benefits of cranberries

Emerging research is indicating that the benefits of cranberries are even more far reaching with research into its anti-viral properties in the treatment of infections such as herpes and the prevention of kidney infections and kidney stones. What is extremely interesting is the cranberries ability to inhibit the growth of common food related pathogens including Listeria and E.Coli 0157:H7. This antibiotic effect of cranberries was recognised centuries ago by the American Indians and it is a pity that we are only just catching up with these enlightened people.

By far the best way to get your daily fix of cranberries is fresh, mixed with other fruit or juiced. You can also include in many savoury dishes and to give you some idea of how versatile this fruit is, I am going to hand you over to  Carol Taylor who is going to share some of her recipes from her series Fruity Friday

Hi everyone and thanks for joining us for another festive post, and next week I will be back with some alternative recipes for you to try for Christmas…

First some versatile Cranberry Sauce for not just turkey but some richer meats too.

Ingredients

• 3 cups or 12 oz of cranberries.
• The juice of 2 large Oranges.
• A cup of sugar.
• 1 stick of cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

Store in a sealed container.

Camembert Puffs:

These little puffs don’t take long to make so if I need a quick snack if visitors pop in around sundowner time then these don’t take long. I always keep a little box of already cut puff pastry squares which I can just pop in the oven and I always have a container of cranberry as we like it in a sandwich if we have cold chicken or pork and it is lovely with hot meat or pork schnitzels which I just top with some cream cheese and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.

Ingredients:

• I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.
• 125 gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.
• 100gm Cranberry Sauce.
• 1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.
• 1 large egg, beaten.

To Make:

Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.

Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite-sized squares ( 3cm)

Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins.

Put into pre-heated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.

Garnish with Thyme.

Enjoy!

This next recipe is one I use if I am rolling and stuffing a piece of Pork and I have stuffed chicken breasts as well using the same stuffing.

Apple and Cranberry Pork.

Rub for the Pork Loin ingredients

• 4 lbs Pork Loin,
• Bacon ( enough to cover Pork Loin)
• Salt & Pepper to taste,
• 1 tablespoon Olive Oil,
• 2 finely chopped Garlic Cloves,
• 1 tablespoon chopped Thyme,
• 1 tablespoon chopped Rosemary…

Stuffing for Pork Loin:

• Half cup Vinegar,
• 1/4 teaspoon salt,
• 2 small diced red onions,
• Olive oil as required,
• 1/2 bottle Lager Beer,
• 3/4 cup Brown sugar,
• 1 teaspoon Cinnamon,
• 1 tbsp chopped ginger,
• 2/3 cup dried cranberries,
• 1 teaspoon Mustard Seed,
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper,
• 4 peeled and chopped Granny Smith Apples.

Let’s Cook!

Cut a pocket through one end of the tenderloin. Don’t slice through the other end. Season in and out properly with salt and pepper.

Mix together the ingredients for the rub and when mixed rub into the pork loin , cover and put in the fridge for an hour.

While the Pork is absorbing all those lovely flavours prepare the stuffing mix.

Finely chop the Red Onions and cook in Olive oil until soft. Add Apples and ginger, stir and cook for 5 mins.Add remainder of ingredients stir to combine and simmer gently until mixture thickens and reduces. Cool slightly before stuffing the loin.

Stuffing the Loin was quite messy the first time I made this. I tried a plastic sauce bottle which was ok..but now I use an icing bag which is much easier and quicker.

Stuff loin and then cover with bacon slices.Put tin foil on top as bacon cooks very quickly and remove foil about ten mins from end cooking to brown bacon. Rest loin for 10 mins before carving.

Once rested, carve and serve we made the gravy from the meat juices and pork stock and it was lovely. Served with vegetables and crispy roast potatoes..mmmm.

My thanks to Carol for donating her cranberry recipes for us today and to finish off… a holiday cranberry cocktail…courtesy of An Appetizing Life Lisa Marie Todd who I think might have tested a couple of glasses during the process..love it..

Now you are all set… thanks for dropping and please feel free to share.

©Sally Cronin- Carol Taylor 2017

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

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes: https://carolcooks2.com/

Next week Carol will be back to share some of her creations from her Thai kitchen offering you some alternative delicacies to eat over the festive season.

Smorgasbord Health – Christmas Cook From Scratch – Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Perfect and Healthy Brussel Sprouts


It is that time of year when we bring out the decorations and over here – The Cook from Scratch Christmas recipes... I look at the health benefits of the food.. and my friend Carol Taylor turns them into something delicious the whole family will love.

Brussel sprouts are not necessarily the most asked for vegetable by children as they do have a slightly bitter taste (actually the healthy element of the Brussels), but if you prepare them following Carol’s guidance, they should be a hit with all the family.

At this time of year they are readily available in the stores and are a wonderful side dish for Turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Variety is the spice of life….and our bodies need a wide variety of foods to extract all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

We are just coming into the Brussel sprout season and I shall be taking full advantage. I eat cabbage all year round, but Brussels are so much easier to prepare and are a powerhouse of benefits all on their own.

The Brussel sprout is a miniature cabbage and is usually in season from the early autumn to early spring, but today you can find them all year round in most supermarkets. They are, like most fruit and vegetables, at their best in the actual growing season. We eat most of our fruit and vegetables seasonally, and apart from anything else it does encourage you to widen the spectrum of types of foods that you eat and therefore gives you access to a much broader selection of nutrients.

One of the things that I encouraged my clients to do before coming for their first consultation, was to complete a very extensive questionnaire with two week food diary. A food diary is not about calories and fats consumed but does identify either food groups that are being excluded and also any important nutrients.

It is easy to slip into a routine with food. You are busy; a family to feed and it is more convenient to eat the same meals in rotation. Monday pasta dish, Tuesday shepherd’s pie, Friday fish and chips, Sunday roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, peas etc. It is not so much what you are eating but what you are not eating by adopting this regular pattern.

Brussels are related to both the cabbage and the broccoli families but have some very distinctive properties that make them an essential ingredient of any healthy eating plan.

Onto the main business of the day!

indexThe Brussel sprouts are related to both the cabbage and the broccoli families but have some very distinctive properties that make them an essential ingredient of any healthy eating plan.

Our immune system is very efficient but life takes its toll. It is important that in our diet we include foods that enhance and boost our immune system and the Brussel sprout does just that.

Brussel sprouts contain a phytochemical, which helps our own defence system to protect against disease in general but in particular cancer. Sulforaphane is a phytonutrient found in this group of plant families, and it helps boost the body’s detoxification enzymes, which help clear carcinogenic substances from the body quickly and efficiently. Brussel sprouts have also been shown to decrease the level of DNA damage in cells, which prevents mutations in the cells, which allows cancer to develop.

To get the benefit of this phytochemical the food needs to be chopped or chewed so that the liver is stimulated into producing the specific detoxification enzymes and research has shown that breast cancer cells particularly are prevented from reproducing even in later stages of the disease.

Apart from cancer, the Brussel sprout and other members of the Brassica family such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli contain large amounts of vitamin C. This supports our immune function and has been shown to help prevent heart disease, strokes and cancer but also promotes the manufacture of collagen, a protein that forms the body structure including the skin, connective tissues and cartilage.

A serving of Brussel sprouts also contains very healthy quantities of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, both vital in defending the body and promoting healthy and young looking skin.

Birth Defects

Folic acid has long been recognised for its ability to help protect the foetus against birth defects. Folic acid is a B vitamin that promotes healthy cell division. Without it nervous system cells do not divide properly which has linked to a number of birth defects such as Spina bifida. The main source of folic acid is green leafy vegetables such as the Brussel sprout and spinach but as our reliance on processed foods rather than fresh fruit and vegetables grows, the deficiency of this vitamin is becoming the most common in the western world.

Other Benefits

Apart from being rich in fibre, which helps protect us against colon disease this vegetable, because of its high content of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, is a great preventative for degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, the subject of our disease report this month.

I have posted in the past about Chicken Pox and Shingles and the importance of the amino acid L-Lysine to assist in recovery from an attack of the latter. Brussel Sprouts are one of the leafy green vegetables which contain this amino acid and another good reason to include in our diets.

I am now going to hand you over to the ever resourceful Carol Taylor to share some delicious ways to prepare and eat this very versatile vegetable.

Brussels sprouts or little cabbages fall in two camps love them or hate them a bit like Marmite. I wonder how many parents have cajoled, bribed or just said eat it or you get it for breakfast??

How many people who hated them as a child now love them?

As Sally has rightly stated in her part of the post they are packed with good things…Like a phytochemical, which helps our own defence system to protect against disease in general but in particular cancer. Vitamins A and C and so much more.

Eaten as part of a varied diet and now they are not boiled to death like my Nan used to do with anything green they are roasted, Sautéed, fried, shaved as well as steamed or boiled in lightly salted water.

In my quest for some different recipes I did come across Brussel sprout ice cream…I love the little sprout but for me that is a step too far…Some veggies don’t lend themselves to ice cream or smoothies.

I love just plain little brussels lightly steamed or boiled with my Christmas dinner…the little small ones which have had had a frost on them are so sweet and lovely.
Sautéed with bacon they are to die for…

My spicy pan fried Brussels come very close or top depending on whether you are a bacon or a chilli fan…

This recipe serves 4 people.

  • 1lb of Brussel sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 6 shallots peeled and quartered
  • Chilli flakes and chopped fresh chives to garnish.

Let’s cook!

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and shallots and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the shallots just start to turn golden.
  2. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and add the sprouts. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat then reduce the heat and cover the pan, cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the sprouts are almost tender.
  3. Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and let it cook just for a few seconds. Season the sprouts to taste with salt and cracked black pepper.
  4. Garnish with chilli flakes and chopped chives.

A beautiful side dish with your Sunday roast or Christmas dinner.

This next dish is a recipe I have had for a long time…

These little cakes are very tasty and lovely with some steamed vegetables or a salad. This mix makes 6 rice cakes. If you haven’t made a risotto before please don’t let it put you off.

As long as your liquid is hot and you let each addition of stock become absorbed into the rice before adding more stock it is a doddle. So much easier than most people think it is. Who hasn’t seen the disasters on the TV cooking shows?

Risotto Cakes with Brussel Sprouts.

These lovely risotto cakes also are vegetarian and the first time I made them was at Christmas for a veggie friend and they loved them.

I also think meat free dishes have come a very long way…Don’t you? There is so much more on restaurant menus and I also think home cooks are more adventurous with flavours.

These risotto cakes certainly fit the bill even if you are a die hard meat eater.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz risotto rice
  • 8oz brussel sprouts finely shredded
  • 6 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz cooked, shelled chestnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 3/4-2pints of hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 8 oz fresh breadcrumbs.

15-20 Sage leaves for garnish, a little flour for dusting and a pinch of paprika.

Oil of your choice for deep frying.

Line 6 x 4 inch cooking rings with cling film.

Lets Cook!

  1. Cook the shredded Brussel sprouts in lightly salted water for 1 minute. Drain set to one side.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan and cook the shallots for 2 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated with the melted butter.
  3. Stir in 1-2 ladles of the hot vegetable stock at a time and stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock before adding your next ladles of stock. Do this until the rice is just tender but with a little bite. This will take about 25 minutes as does any risotto.
  4. Add the cheese and season being careful of the salt as both the cheese and the stock contain salt. Gently stir in the chestnuts and the sprouts. If the mixture seems too thick then you may want to add a little more stock.
  5. Divide your mixture between the cooking rings. Leave to cool and then chill until set and firm.
  6. When the rice cakes are nicely chilled remove the rings and the clingfilm.
  7. Double dip the lightly floured rice cakes in egg and then breadcrumbs…repeat. You may need to reshape the cakes.
  8. Heat the oil until a small crouton of bread turns golden within a minute and dust the sage leaves with the flour and paprika and fry for 1-2 minutes…set aside on kitchen paper.
  9. Deep fry the cakes for 5-7 minutes until they are golden and crisp. It is probably best to do these 2 at a time while keeping the cooked ones warm in the oven.
  10. To serve, add some deep fried sage leaves to the top of the cake and serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

Brussels also lend themselves very nicely to salads I think we are all getting so much more adventurous with food…Don’t you??

Brussel Sprout Salad with Cranberries:

This salad has all of my favourite things in one beautiful bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs brussel sprouts washed, with the tough outer leaves pulled away
  • 2/3 cup fresh or dried cranberries…I prefer fresh just for that little zing…No cranberries try blueberries.
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 large apple chopped
  • 3 or 4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
  • 2 green onion sprigs thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2  tbsp maple syrup not pancake syrup as it will not taste the same you can’t beat proper maple syrup.
  • 2  tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

  1. Hold the core end of a brussel sprout and, starting at the top, slice it into very thin slices.
  2. Discard the core and chop remaining brussel sprouts until they are all are thinly sliced.
  3. Place chopped brussel sprouts, cranberries, pecans, apples, bacon, onion and feta in a large bowl.

For the dressing

Put all of the dressing ingredients in a lidded container. Place a lid on the container and shake well. Pour desired amount over the salad, a little at a time, until the salad is coated. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge where it will keep for a few days. It can also be made in advance.

I don’t like to dress my salads but put dressing on the table as I think everyone’s taste varies.

This Brussel Sprout au gratin recipe is quick to do and very nice as a side dish.

Preheat your oven 400F and grease a 2 quart oven dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of Brussel sprouts
  • 8oz of bacon..streaky
  • Half cup of heavy cream or half and half
  • Half cup of mature cheddar grated
  • Half cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season.

Lets Cook!

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add brussel sprouts, cook for 6-8 minutes, drain and coarsely chop.
  2. While the sprouts are cooking put the bacon in a cold pan(no fat), heat and cook for a few minutes, take out and drain on kitchen paper. The bacon will carry on cooking and you will have nice crispy bacon.
  3. I learnt this on master chef and it works..bacon needs no fat as it makes it own and if you cook it until it is crispy in the pan as it carries on cooking you will then have very dry crispy bacon…I know because I always did that to mine until I saw it on master chef and it works a treat.
  4. Put the sprouts and half the bacon into your prepared dish and sprinkle with red pepper flakes..Spread the mixture over the dish and pour your cream over the top. Sprinkle the top with your breadcrumbs, cheese and the remainder of the bacon.
    Bake for 15 minutes until it is bubbly and golden.

I hope you have enjoyed our collaboration and even if you don’t like sprouts I hope these recipes tempt you to try them.

I think they really are an underrated little vegetable which maybe as a child we didn’t like and have never tried since…You may be pleasantly surprised.

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot ..Because it is proven to be the best medicine and it is FREE!

My thanks to Carol for elevating this small vegetable to its rightful place on all our plates..

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

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes: https://carolcooks2.com/

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round UP – #Thanksgiving and #Christmas all on one page.


Welcome to this week’s update which is now being moved to Saturday… It has been a busy week and so I will dive straight into the posts you might have missed from the week.

With Thanksgiving and the Christmas Book Fair, I hope there is something you will find interesting.

I have put all the Christmas Book Fair posts, including the new releases, author updates and guest posts, in a page in the menu so that they are all together. I have made the page my pinned tweet on Twitter and will update the page each day with the new posts. My intention is to include every author currently in the Cafe and Bookstore so plenty more to come in the next couple of weeks.

I would be so grateful if you are an author in the cafe and bookstore if you would visit the page and tweet or if you are on Twitter pop in to my account @sgc58 and retweet from there.

Here is the link to the page: Christmas Book Fair 2019

As always I am very thankful for all the wonderful contributions from guests and to you for dropping in.  Much more to come from tomorrow and for the rest of next week and I hope you will join me again..

I wanted to take the opportunity to say a special thank you to the collaborators who write columns each week to entertain and inform us..

D.G. Kaye, The Travel Column and Laughter Lines

William Price King in Concert, The Music Column

Carol Taylor The Food and Cookery Column

Annette Rochelle Aben a thank you and December’s Universal Energy

Over the next four weeks, Mike Biles will be sharing the A-Z of Christmas in Britain, history, tradition and trivia with us… this week part one… with much more to come.

Mike Biles shares his comprehensive A-Z of all things Christmas – Part One

Doggerel: Life with a Small Dog by Sue Vincent

Etheree – Thanksgiving

This
week has
me thinking
about the things
I am grateful for.
I have many blessings
on the material side,
but they fade away to nothing,
compared to the greatest gifts of all,
our health, and love of people around us.

©Sally Cronin 2019

Time for this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills and the prompt was ‘winners’ in 99 words, no more, no less…

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction ‘Winning’ by Sally Cronin

Delighted to welcome James J. Cudney with a guest post on his perspective on book reviewing. James is a prolific reviewer and they are always thoughtful and constructive. Always a pleasure to receive his opinion about your work.

What Makes Jay a Happy Reader

After some time offline it is great to welcome back author Don Massenzio. In this post Don explores the urban myth?… real thing?… Writer’s block!

Writer’s Block, Is it a thing? by Don Massenzio

New books on the Shelves

Short stories When I Rise by Karen Ingalls

The Call me Mom by Pete Springer

Christmas book fair author update

Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Lucinda E. Clarke, Jack Eason and Darlene Foster

Romance Jacquie Biggar, Poetry Dorinda Duclos, Saga Liz Gauffreau, Mystery Teagan Riordain Geneviene

#Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Children Pamela S. Wight, #Mystery Mary Adler

#Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Scifi Richard Dee, #Crimeshorts Jane Risdon #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Afghanistan #Dogs Patricia Furstenberg

Blogging Natalie Ducey, Writing Sue Vincent, Toxic makeup Christy Birmingham

#Thanksgiving – Soup Linda Lee Greene, Paris Cheese Potato Cake John Rieber, Turkey Snack Plate Home is Where the Boat is, Poetry Colleen Chesebro

Afghanistan Mary Smith, Nostalgia Antoinette Truglio Martin, Blogging Jenny in Neverland

#Carrot Ranch Rodeo Results, #WATWB with D.G. Kaye, #BlackFriday with Kim of By Hook or by Book

D.G. Kaye and Sally with a Thanksgiving Special

Thank you for all your support this week and have a wonderful weekend.. thanks Sally.