Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘U’ for Upside Down Cake, Udon Noodles, Ugli Fruit and Unleavened Bread


The A-Z of Food… A culinary tour through the alphabet which today stops and explores the letter U.

The Culinary Alphabet,The letter U, yes we are on the letter U.

Halloween is nearly upon us, the trees are changing color and what glorious colors we are seeing around the world. I love the changes of the seasons and Autumn is one of my favorites. At this moment in time, it is 104 nights of sleep which sounds a lot. The reality is before we know it, it will be Christmas Eve.

Without further ado. let’s look at the letter U – not so many this time although maybe as I write some more will spring to mind.

Udon Noodles.

Udon noodles are a type of thick, wheat flour noodles which are often used in Japanese cuisine…Often served hot in a noodle soup called Kake Udon which is a mildly flavoured broth made with soy sauce, dashi, and mirin then topped with spring (green) onions which is called kakejiru.

Image by yuri hwang from Pixabay

They are also used in stir fries or served cold with miso dip…cold noodles are very popular here just not for me there is something I don’t like about cold noodles…

Made with whole wheat flour they are quite filling and in moderation provide several nutrients, fibre and a healthy dose of carbs.

Ugli Fruit

A cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin! It is about the size of a grapefruit but it tastes a bit sweeter and has a wrinkly skin that peels easily. This funky fruit comes from Jamaica and is also grown in the USA – and it’s not that ugly! It can look a bit weird because its yellowy-green skin is thick, rough and puffy – and sometimes a bit blotchy!

Unleavened Bread.

Is bread made without using a raising agent? A simple bread that is easy to make.

Unsalted Butter

If you are a baker of pies and cakes recipes often state unsalted butter – why? As we often don’t know how much salt is in salted butter and a recipe also calls for a tsp of salt that ups the salt content of our bake. If you only have salted butter then just reduce the amount of added salt i.e half a tsp instead of a tsp full.

Salt is also a preservative which means salted butter keeps much longer whereas unsalted butter is fresher although it has a limited shelf life.

Uvas

The Spanish translation for grapes. The tendency to make single-variety wines, dominant in Spain for decades, has led to an increased interest in the identification and authenticity of native varieties. In accordance with current legislation, only those varieties that are found in the Spanish Registry of Commercial Grape Varieties can be cultivated in this country. In total, there are more than a hundred majority varieties grown in Spain, distributed throughout the country and present in the different Designations of Origin as authorized varieties. Eating 12 grapes (Uvas) at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain. Rare is the Spaniard who will risk poisoning their fate for the coming year by skipping the grapes, one for each stroke of midnight.

Upside down cake

This was the first cake my mother taught me to make. It always looks impressive and delicious. You can use fresh or tinned pineapple.

For the topping: Ingredients

• 4 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple rings in pineapple juice
• 8 to 10 maraschino cherries

For the cake: Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 8 tbsp(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 large eggs
• 9-inch round cake pan.

Let’s Bake!

  1. Heat the oven and prepare the pan. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round/square cake pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and sugar for the topping. Melt the butter and sugar in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently. The mixture is done when the sugar is bubbly and slightly browner.
  3. Pour the sugar mixture into the baking pan. Pour the sugar mixture into a prepared cake pan and spread into an even layer to cool slightly.
  4. Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries in the cake pan. Remove the pineapple rings from the can and reserve ½ cup of the juice. Set a single ring in the center of the pan, then arrange 6 to 7 rings around the center ring. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each ring and set the pan aside.
  5. Whisk together the dry cake ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  6. Cream the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer, then add the eggs. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat on medium speed until lightened and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until smooth, about 1 minute more.
  7. Add the flour mixture and pineapple juice in alternating batches. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the reserved ½ cup pineapple juice, in this order: Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add ½ of the pineapple juice, mixing until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add another ½ of the remaining flour and mix again for about 30 seconds, followed by the remaining pineapple juice and 30 seconds of mixing.
  8. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until completely smooth, about 1-minute total.
    Spread the batter over the fruit. The batter will be thick, so use a large spoon to dollop a large spoonful of the batter evenly over the fruit in the pan. Smooth the batter with an offset spatula, then tap the cake pan lightly on the counter to settle the batter.
  9. Bake the cake for 45 minutes. Bake the cake until dark golden-brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  10. Cool the cake for 10 minutes and then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the warm cake from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes (do not wait longer, or the cake will not come out of the pan). Invert a plate over the cake pan and, using kitchen towels or oven mitts to grasp onto both the plate and the cake pan, flip both the pan and the plate over so the pan now sits on top of the plate. Slowly lift the cake pan away. Serve the cake warm or cool before serving and storing.

Enjoy!

Unsaturated Fats

Tend to be liquid at room temperature.

Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can improve your health. Unsaturated fat comes from plants. It’s found in:

• vegetable oils
• olives
• nuts and seeds
• some fish

There are two main types of unsaturated fat:

Monounsaturated fats can help improve your cholesterol levels and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It may also help you control your insulin levels and blood sugar.

Foods that contain monounsaturated fats include:

• olive oil
• peanut oil
• canola oil
• avocados
• most nuts
• most seeds

Your body needs polyunsaturated fats to function. This type of fat helps with muscle movement and blood clotting. Since your body doesn’t make it, you have to get it in your diet.

Polyunsaturated fats can be further divided into two types: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may be beneficial to the heart.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in:

• fatty fish, such as sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring
• ground flax and flaxseed oil
• non-hydrogenated soybean oil
• safflower oil
• sunflower oil
• canola oil
• walnuts
• sunflower seeds
• chia seeds
• hemp seeds

Omega-6 fatty acids may also help protect against cardiovascular disease. But there’s a debate about the inflammatory role of omega-6’s. Most Americans consume more than enough of them.

Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in:

• safflower oil
• soybean oil
• sunflower oil
• walnut oil
• corn oil

Recent research reveals that there’s not enough evidence that saturated fat raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. But choosing polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fat can reduce the risk. That’s not the case if you replace saturated fat with sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Some oils may have more health benefits than others. Canola oil, although considered an unsaturated fat, is typically genetically modified and refined, bleached and deodorized. This process may cause negative health effects. Eating oils in moderation and varying your intake of types of oils is recommended. What are the recommended levels of fat intake?
People need fats, so you don’t have to do without them. But it’s clear you should eat saturated fat in moderation.

Umani

The word Umani is heard everywhere now. It is one of the 5 basic tastes in cookery. A savory taste that is found in broths and savory dishes. Escoffier, the legendary 19th-century French chef who invented veal stock, felt sure that a savory fifth taste was the secret of his success, but everyone was too busy gorging on his food to take much notice of his theories.

Fast forward to the 21st century and many cooks are delighted to finally see proof of what they had instinctively known. More recently, however, Bottura says that the discovery that parmesan is probably the most umami ingredient in western cookery has enhanced his appreciation and understanding of the dish. “Five textures, five temperatures and five levels of Umami.

Thank you so much for reading this and please as always let me have your thoughts as I love your comments…Next time the letter ‘V’…., Until next time be well and stay safe xxx

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: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

My thanks to Carol for sharing this 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 – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food ‘T’ for Tea and Toast, Turmeric, Tobasco, Tahini, Tamarind and Elephant’s Ears (it is a T)


This week some favourites from childhood that is still enjoyed by millions today.. and some more unusual foods and methods beginning with the letter ‘T’. 

 Tea and Toast

How many times in your life have you been offered tea and toast. Maybe never but it was something which when I was growing up was a telling example of your class and status.

Drinking tea and eating toast revealed more about you than you could ever imagine…For example, the taking of sugar in your tea was seen as a definite habit of the lower classes…even just a tincy winsy tiny bit more than one spoonful and you were definitely in the lower middle class ( at best)…More than two….working class and not only that cemented your status if you added your milk first and stirred noisily…Working-class…

To the English tea also had practically magical properties and that was across all the class lines.  Headache or a skinned knee, out came the teapot. Bruised ego, bereavement or divorce, and out came the teapot.  It was the balm to soothe most ills.

Photo credit: trawets1 on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Add toast to the equation and we really came into our own, haha

It must be cool and dry, no soggy toast and it was also a matter of class how you ate that toast. I mean if you slathered it with butter and marmalade and god forbid if it wasn’t Dundee marmalade, and then proceed to take a bite. So vulgar it was the height of bad manners.  The correct way: Take a small piece and add just a smidgen of marmalade before taking a gentile bite. That guys and gals are how Toast and Tea are taken in England, according to your class of course.

Tabasco Sauce – TABASCO®

 Original Red Pepper Sauce is made with three simple ingredients and aged in oak barrels for up to three years on Avery Island, Louisiana, before bottling. The recipe originating from Edmund McIlhenny in 1868 has been used by the McIlhenny family for nearly 150 years, just aged vinegar, salt, and peppers make this versatile hot pepper sauce.

Image by iSAW Company from Pixabay

Are you familiar with the following The Culinary Alphabet T terms?

Tabbouleh

Traditionally served as part of a Meze in the Arab world it has fast grown in popularity in the Western world.  I do love how increased travel and the internet have broadened our Culinary World. Tabouli salad or Tabbouleh is a simple Mediterranean salad of very finely chopped vegetables, lots of fresh parsley and bulgur wheat, all tossed with lime juice and olive oil.

Tahini

 Tahini is a thick paste-like sauce made from sesame seeds, with a little bit of oil mixed in to make it the right consistency, and usually not much else. Tahini is similar to peanut butter in texture: creamy, oily, and smooth, and like peanut butter is rich in calcium. Tahini is a common ingredient in many vegetarian and vegan recipes (particularly in salad dressings and homemade hummus) and it is often used in Middle Eastern cooking.

How to make your very own Tahini paste/butterit is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties.

  1. Into the kitchen, just quickly toast the Sesame Seeds,
  2. then into the mini blender,
  3. 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz,
  4. scrape down the sides,
  5. another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape,
  6. a  bit more oil and a quick whizz and voila your Tahini Paste is made.

How easy is that?

Tamarind

One of my favorite cooking ingredients I love tamarind either just eaten as a fruit or used in cooking. Available everywhere here it is very popular and healthy.  To learn more about the Tamarind tree and some recipes where Tamarind is used. Click Here

My favorite is the young tamarind pictured here only available for a very short period but a lovely way to eat the tamarind…

Tempura

 I prefer the lightness of tempura batter and it is used often in Asian recipes.  Specially formulated tempura flour is available in worldwide supermarkets. This is generally light (low-gluten) flour, and occasionally contains leaveners such as baking powder.  Tempura is very prevalent in Japanese cookery today most of the major changes to the tempura were In the early 17th century, around the Tokyo Bay area, tempura ingredients and preparation underwent a remarkable change as the Yatai (food cart) culture gained popularity.

Making the best use of fresh seafood while preserving its delicate taste, tempura used only flour, eggs, and water as ingredients and the batter was not flavored. As the batter was mixed minimally in cold water, it avoided the dough-like stickiness caused by the activation of wheat gluten, resulting in the crispy texture which is now characteristic of tempura. It became customary to dip tempura quickly in a sauce mixed with grated daikon just before eating it.

Tapenade

The name for a dish of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, and olive oil.it is a lovely dip served with beautiful bread or crackers and of course a lovely glass of wine on a lovely summers evening. Quick and simple to make it can also be used as a stuffing for poultry.

Elephants Ears

I had lived here for a while before I realized what these huge leaved plants were in the field near our house and the river that runs alongside had massive ones some of those leaves reached 3 feet long and 2 feet wide and the plants can grow 8 feet tall.

The elephant ears thirst for water is why they are so prolific in soggy areas and they are also popular here not only for landscaping but also near water features they are quite an impressive plant.

The corms or roots are also to be found on every market stall it’s Taro. Silly me!

Tasso

 Tasso ham is a specialty of south Louisiana cuisine. In this case, “ham” is a misnomer since tasso is not made from the hind leg of a pig, but rather the pig’s shoulder. This cut is typically fatty, and because the muscle is constantly used by the animal, it has a great deal of flavor.

Temper

As I make all my own Indian curries and spices I temper spices a lot.  It is also a term used in many custard and soup recipes when you are required to “temper” an egg which means that you need to raise the temperature of an egg gradually, essentially cooking it without scrambling it. A tempered egg will look basically like raw egg, but will be perfectly cooked, and used as a binding agent or thickener.

Truss

 Something I always leave to hubby as he knows his knots…It is however a way to tie a chicken…

Turmeric

 I think most of us have heard of Turmeric by now. It is most commonly used in Asian food and comes from the root of the Turmeric plant. Used in curries it has a warm, bitter taste and has many culinary uses apart from just flavoring or coloring curry powders. I use it when I make mustard which is where mustard gets its yellow color from also butter and cheeses. I also use the Turmeric leaf when I make the Indonesian dish of Beef Rendang. The root is widely used around the world to make medicines.

Last but not least one more entry on The Culinary Alphabet T

Tripe

Before we go any further I will tell you that I never have, never will, have no desire to eat tripe. My grandfather and father loved tripe. Tripe is for sale everywhere you look here and eaten and enjoyed by Thais. Tripe is a type of edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals. Most tripe is from cattle and sheep.  National tripe day (yes) it is true celebrated on 24th October. I may be writing about it, I most certainly will not be eating it.

I eat many things, Ant eggs, chicken feet, frogs and insects, crispy fried, No squidgy ones, Never tripe.  What are your thoughts on tripe, Do you love it? Or are in my camp of never tried it and never will?

That’s all for The Culinary Alphabet T, I hope it has been both enjoyable and informative and look forward to seeing you next time with the letter ‘U’.

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: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

My thanks to Carol for sharing this 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 – September 13th – 19th 2020 – Jazz, Ricotta Cheese, Risotto, Collies, books, reviews and funnies


Welcome to the weekly round up with posts you might have missed on Smorgasbord.

I hope that you are all well and thanks for dropping in today. I am taking full advantage of the sunshine this weekend as the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are already dropping. Still grateful for the quick blast and a good book.

As in most places our infections are on the rise which in not unexpected after the restrictions were lifted. Although here in Ireland the government has been very cautious about moving through the various stages. There are still clusters in the major cities such as Dublin and Cork. We are grateful for our rural location and without the influx of visitors this summer (despite the devastating effect on small businesses) we have been relatively free of infections.  All we can do is continue to be careful and stay positive.

I hope the posts this week will have kept your spirits up and this week William Price King, Carol Taylor and Silvia Todesco provided us with great jazz entertainment and wonderful recipes to ensure we don’t waste away in isolation.

Colin Guest joined us last Sunday to share his life changing moment which resulted in him meeting his lovely wife and finding great happiness.

My thanks to you for all your support during the week….

William Price King with #Jazz Saxophonist and Composer Michael Brecker

R’ for Rice, Ras el Hanout, Rhubarb, Ricotta Cheese and Rice Noodles

#Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco – Butternut Squash and Porcini #risotto

A complete lifesaver by Colin Guest

Chapter Seven- Snow and Favourite Things

Newly wed Geoff gets some unwanted advice about how to cultivate his back garden of the house…neighbours and cabbabe plants.

#Waterford – 1940s – The Hundred Plants by Geoff Cronin

September 1985 – Curry Parties and Booze buys

Thriller – Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1) by Suzanne Burke

#Fantasy – Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1) by D. Wallace Peach

Past Book Reviews – #Children Cynthia S. Reyes, #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts

The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Herbal Medicine – A little health insurance with Echinacea

Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid Guidelines in 2020 ...

Cholesterol and Fat Myths Part Three, Vitamin K2 and Healthy Fats

New Author on the Shelves – 5 to 9 years – 6 Six Minute Bedtime Stories by Doug Parker

#Reviews #Travel #Adventure Darlene Foster, #Monarch #Butterfly Bette A. Stevens

Share your Children’s book reviews – #Nature #Humour The Earthkeepers by Shawn Underhill reviewed by Jemima Pett

#Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello

#Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke #Reviews #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #Italy Valentina Cirasola

#Photography – Lens-Artists Photo Challenge#99: Old and New by Miriam Hurdle

#BookReview – A Snowflake in July by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Friday Flash Fiction 575 – Bonfire by Janet Gogerty

September 15th 2020 Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Speed Limits, Yoga and the last Bad Dad Jokes

September 17th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Stress relief and Heaven and Hell.

Image may contain: 2 people, text that says "EVOLUTION 2019 2020 2021"

September 18th 2020 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp

 

Thank you for visiting and please stay safe…. hope to see you again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food ‘Q’ for Quince, Quail, Quenelles and Quesadillas


The Culinary Alphabet, The letter Q.

I haven’t found the letter Q as difficult as some of the other letters although I am guessing I am heading towards the section of the Alphabet which at some point quite soon will get more difficult. I hope you enjoy this tour around the letter Q.

Quince

The quince looks similar to the pear and is bright golden when it is ripe although that creamy white flesh turns into a deep, dusky red color when it is cooked.

The quince is high in pectin which makes it perfect for preserves and jellies and that is what I remember my mum making with quinces a lovely jam. Raw it has a tart, astringent taste and the smell is likened to that of a tropical fruit it is also packed with Vitamin C.

Quadriller

Is a term used for crosses cut on food for food presentation.

Queso

Queso Blanco is Spanish and is unaged fresh cheeses made from cows milk although sometimes goats milk is added to the mix it is also said that it is known in some cases to be the cause of food poisoning.

Quail

The Quail is a small ground resting game bird which is very popular in French cuisine and often seen on TV cooking shows looking very fancy. Part of the peasant family the Common Quail has been replaced by the domesticated Japanese Quail as the bones in a quail are small they are commonly eaten and not removed from the carcass.

The quail is very popular in Thailand and often found on the street markets here…Roasting away and very delicious.

Quail’s Eggs

Quails eggs are something of a delicacy and often made into small scotch eggs on posh menus. Here they are classed as street food and sold fried, served with fish sauce and are one of my favorite snacks.

Quatre

Means Four Spices. The four spices used are a pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or cloves and are used to season vegetables, soups or stews.

Quenelle

Ice cream is often a quenelle on a dessert it can also mean a mix of fish or meat bound together with an egg and formed into rounds. These are then cooked.

To quenelle ice cream you need two spoons and make a sort of rolling action to get an oval shape…

Quiche

My favorite quiche is cheeses and bacon or maybe it is smoked salmon.
I just love a nice quiche with some salad.

This one I didn’t add tomatoes as hubby doesn’t like them but generally, I would if I was making a larger one.

Ingredients

For the pastry

• 175g/6oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 75g/2¾oz butter
• salt

For the filling

• 250g/9oz Cheddar, grated
• 4 tomatoes, sliced (optional)
• 200g/7oz bacon, chopped
• 4 free-range eggs, beaten
• 1 med brown onion, chopped…sometimes I use spring onions.
• 200ml/3½fl oz milk
• 100ml/7fl oz double cream
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
• freshly ground black pepper

Let’s Bake!

  1. Firstly make up your pastry and leave to rest for at least 15 mins in the fridge.
  2. While your pastry is resting cook your bacon and cut into inch pieces or you can cut it before cooking whatever is easier
  3. Chop your onion finely and crack the eggs into a bowl, and beat them well, Season.
  4. Grate your cheese(s)
  5. Roll out your chilled pastry to fit your oven proof dish.
  6. Line the dish and prebake on 180C for about 15 mins.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the pastry to cool a little then add the chopped onion, bacon and cheese and pour over the liquids.
  8. Pop the quiche back into the oven for about 5 mins and then add the sliced tomatoes around the edges of the dish.
  9. Then back into the oven on 160 C for a further 25-30 mins until the eggs are set and the top is brown if it cooks too quickly then reduce the heat or cover the top of the dish with some greaseproof paper.

Quinoa

A highly nutritious grain which many of my friends love. It is gluten-free and high in protein. A popular grain in vegan cookery.

Quark

Said to have originated as far back as the 14th century in Central Europe, Quark is low in calories and fat, and makes a great healthy baking substitute if you’re trying to keep on top of eating a little bit better.

A type of fresh dairy product made by warming soured milk until the desired amount of curdling is met, and then straining it. It can be classified as fresh acid-set cheese…It is quite easy to make at home.

Quahog

Is a large clam found on the Atlantic coast of North American and often used in clam chowder…

Q Texture

To test awareness i.e soft, springy, elastic it is what umani is to the Japanese or al-dente is to the Italians.

Quetsche

A sweet plum with green flesh and purple skin.

Quesadillas

If I say, Tortilla with lots of cheeses then I think you would have guessed correctly.

Quinine

Is the flavoring for the tonic which goes with your Gin. Cheers! It is a bitter compound that comes from the bark of the cinchona tree. The tree is most commonly found in South America, Central America, the islands of the Caribbean, and parts of the western coast of Africa. Quinine was originally developed as a medicine to fight malaria. I think I prefer it as a tonic to go with my gin.

Thank you so much for reading my posts. I do hope you have enjoyed them and will join us again in a couple of weeks for the letter ‘R’.

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: @CarolCooksTwo
Facebook: Carol Taylor

My thanks to Carol for sharing this 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 – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food ‘P’ for Pancakes, Paella, Pomelo, Pate, Pease Pudding and A Poke Bowl.


Welcome to this month’s post it is the letter P in my tour of the Culinary Alphabet. I had quite a few culinary terms and ingredients to pick from. It is funny how some letters of the alphabet have very few and others you are spoilt for choice.

Pancakes

I think every country in the world has a different version of the pancake or is it a Bellini or a scotch pancake or a hotcake or Khao-Gle-at Traditional handmade Thai pancakes does it come with lemon and sugar or in a stack or with kimchi. I could go on and on, A pancake comes in so many different ways, made with different flours, fillings and toppings or dips. The list is endless.

Peas

I love fresh garden peas and have many fond memories of pea picking on my grandads farm and also sitting at my grandma’s feet and shucking the peas and eating a few as well. Peas come frozen now and also in their pods as sugar snap peas or flat pods called mange tout, all of which I love.

I also remember the processed peas which have a soft, mealy texture which I used to love as a child but no longer and of course if you are eating Fish & Chips in the North of England they would not be eaten without mushy peas. Even the poshest of restaurants now when they serve fish & chips, you can also have a portion of mushy peas. As the price of fish has risen, it is no longer a poor man’s meal.

Fridays in our house, were always Fish & Chips, and something I will be having as soon as I step off the plane onto British soil again. The best way to eat them is straight from the fryer wrapped in newspaper and eaten with salt and malt vinegar, a truly British tradition.

Paella

Ingredients:

• 2 cups of Aribo Rice
• 1 Litre of chicken stock with a few strands of saffron added.
• 2 Chicken Breasts cubed.
• A piece of Chorizo about 150 gm sliced and quartered.
• I onion.
• 3 cloves garlic.
• 1 chili
• 1 red Pepper.
• ½ kg of Prawns.
• 1 kg of Mussels.
• 5 baby squid.
• Half Lemon.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Cook Chorizo in tbsp Olive Oil until lightly browned add chopped onion and cook for 2 mins. Put in a dish and leave on one side.
  2. Lightly Brown Chicken in remaining oil and put on one side.
  3. Cook cubed red pepper, chili, garlic until softened. and put in a dish on one side.
  4. Add rice to the pan and stir to cover with remaining oil (can add peas at this point) and add stock cook on rolling simmer 5-10mins or until the rice has nearly absorbed all liquid.
  5. Add chicken and either continue to cook on the hob or put in the oven on 180 degrees.
  6. Check and top up with water or stock if required if rice is too dry for 20 mins.
  7. Add Chorizo and Pepper mix cook for further 10 mins checking and stirring or topping up stock if required.
  8. Add Prawns and cook for further 10 mins.
  9. Add Mussels and cook another 8-10 mins until open.
  10. Add squid for the last 3 mins of cooking.
  11. Squeeze over lemon and garnish with lemon slices or quarters and if you have parsley in the fridge add some chopped as a garnish. If the rice still has not absorbed all the stock I cook-off on top of stove until absorbed.

Then serve, this is very much a recipe where the amount of stock depends on rice absorption and also what meat or fish you have. If I have some to use or in the freezer then I might add or use chicken thighs instead of breast. The mussels we got yesterday were quite big so we steamed before adding to Paella or if I have just shelled Mussels I stir through.

So really anything goes just you and your imagination, as you make more you will learn how to adjust to your own taste and once the initial prep is done it is quite easy to make, enjoy experimenting. It can also be cooked on a BBQ and then you get that lovely crust the Spanish call socarrat, on the bottom of the pan, lovely.

Paillard

Is a piece of meat or fish which is pounded until it is very thin and then grilled or sauteed in a pan.

Pancetta

Pancetta is a piece of Italian bacon made of pork belly meat that is salt cured. Pancetta in Italy is typically cooked to add depth to soups and pasta. Wrapped around a chicken breast it keeps the meat lovely and moist and imparts a beautiful smoky flavor.

Perilla

Photo credit: ashitaka-f studio k2 on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

A Japanese Herb, it is a dark russet dentale, which has a complex sweetness and which is wonderful in meat sauces or used to flavor vinegar.

Pate – Chicken Liver Pate

 

Ingredients:

• 220g/8oz butter.
• 4 shallots chopped.
• 2 cloves, crushed or finely chopped.
• 450g/1lb chicken Livers, trimmed and cut in half.
• 1 tbsp Brandy.
• 1 tsp mustard powder.
• salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• 1 bay leaf, to garnish.
• 2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.

Method:

  1. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not colored.
  2. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through.
  3. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Transfer the pâté into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf. I use lime leaves as cannot always get fresh bay leaves.
  6. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.

Panada

A thick paste used as a binding agent for forcemeat stuffing. Flour panadas are made similar to a choux pastry. They can also be made from breadcrumbs or potato.

Pesto

Now, who doesn’t like a dish of pasta with some lovely fresh pesto drizzled over it so it coats the pasta?

A quick herb pesto made by whizzing coriander, mint or parsley with olive oil, a handful of chopped walnuts and nice hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino takes 3/4 minutes to make.

Much more basil than you can use then make a lovely pesto it will keep in the fridge for at least a week. To make a red pesto just add some lovely skinned ripe tomatoes with the basil.

If you haven’t tried a beetroot pesto then it’s a must if you love beets. It is awesome on toast as a crostini it is to die for.

Ingredients

• Roast two medium beetroots and then skin and chop them.
• 1/2 cup of roasted almonds
• 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Let’s Cook!:

Blitz all the ingredients together.

If you don’t use all your pesto within the week then freeze in ice-cube trays. They can then be popped in a pasta sauce as required.

Pomelo

Similar to the grapefruit but not quite so tart it grows here and is very popular one of my favorite salads is made with Pomelo and called Yum Som O here in Thailand.

Pease Pudding

My mum used to make pease pudding with boiled bacon a childhood memory and something I haven’t eaten in a long time. Pease pudding, also known as pease pottage or pease porridge, is a savory pudding dish made of boiled legumes, typically split yellow, with water, salt, and spices, and often cooked with a piece of bacon or ham joint. I can also remember the song we used to sing…Pease pudding hot, Pease pudding cold, Pease pudding 9 days old…Can you?

Poke Bowl

Originating in Hawai the modern day version is the Buddha Bowl. Traditionally made with raw ahi tuna some rice was spooned into a bowl some fresh local fruit and vegetables were added then it was topped with marinated ahi tuna sometimes now tofu is substituted or salmon is often used.

Photo credit: monkeyc.net on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Thank you so much for reading this and please as always let me have your thoughts as I love your comments…Next time the letter ‘Q’…..Have a great week xxx

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: @CarolCooksTwo
Facebook: Carol Taylor

My thanks to Carol for sharing this 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 Health Column – Food Therapy – Salmon – Omega 3 on a Plate


As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE – If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor. If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Much of the salmon available today comes from fisheries and conditions and feed of these farmed fish have improved through regulation in recent years. However, I am not convinced by the publicity and prefer to eat fish that has been caught in the ocean and to me there is definitely a difference in the taste of this salmon. You can buy ocean caught fish frozen or fresh depending on where you live and for me the freshest is fish that has been caught and frozen whilst the trawlers are still at sea.

There is always some concern about the levels of mercury in fish and studies indicate that ocean caught salmon from the northern seas and rivers have levels that are considered to be low and safe for more regular consumption.

Salmon has been on my ‘must eat’ list for a long time and in this day and age, when obesity and heart disease are becoming the top causes of premature death, then including it in your diet regularly is very important.

There are a number of health issues apart from heart function that eating salmon benefits including weight loss, bone health, a healthy immune system and brain health. The nutrients in this important source of protein are also helpful in preventing cancer and diabetes.

salmonI will begin with Omega 3, which is abundant in fatty fish such as Salmon.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. It is important that your overall cholesterol is kept to a normal level but it is equally important to ensure that the balance between the LDL (lousy cholesterol) and the HDL (healthy cholesterol) is maintained with a lower LDL to HDL ratio.

Omega 3 appears to maintain that correct balance. LDL (low density lipoprotein) has smaller particles than the higher density lipoprotein and when oxidised becomes dangerous. Because it is smaller it is able to clump and attach to the walls of the arteries and cause a dangerous narrowing. Pieces can also break off and travel in the bloodstream to major organs like the brain and the heart. An added bonus in eating salmon muscle is that it contains peptides that may also lower blood pressure.

One trial in New Zealand measured adults with a high cholesterol level over a 4-week period. They consumed 3g of salmon oil per day and after the 4 weeks they showed an increase of HDL and a decrease in LDL levels. Lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure levels certainly contributes to a healthy heart.

Omega 3 is linked to brain health in a number of ways. The brain contains a large amount of fat especially Omega 3 fatty acids in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). In studies DHA levels determined levels of brain activity and cognitive function and is thought to be essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in babies. This ability is not limited to young humans as it is vital that this brain activity and function is maintained into old age. Including Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet therefore may well decrease our risk of developing degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Carrying additional weight can certainly contribute to strain on the heart muscle and the salmon has a rather unusual property that whilst yet unproven may help in weight loss.

There is a protein that is released when we begin to eat called amylin. This protein travels to the brain where it is measured and the brain then decides when we have eaten sufficient food and should stop eating. Unfortunately we have got very adept at overriding this message from the brain and consequently we tend to eat more than we actually need leading to weight gain.

The salmon produces a hormone called calcitonin, which has the same effect on animals as amylin does in humans. There is no conclusive proof but it is felt that this hormone when eaten might result in us consuming less food.

The other possible weight loss property of salmon is Chondroiton sulphate. Chondroiton is often used in conjunction with Glucosamine as a joint repair preparation but in this case the Chondroiton which is found in the nose of the salmon appears to have fat blocking capabilities. It appears to work in two ways by reducing the amount of fat absorbed into the intestines and then preventing any fat that has been absorbed from being stored in the cells. This will require a great deal more research but could be an interesting property in the fight against obesity.

As we get older the risk of bone fractures increases with many women particularly suffering from hip joint disease after menopause. Omega 3 may be instrumental in decreasing bone loss and therefore osteoporosis.

Our immune system is working ceaselessly against the constant onslaught of bacteria and viruses and on the whole if we have a healthy diet containing plenty of antioxidant rich foods our defence system keeps us safe. However, from time to time something slips through and then we need to know that all the complex mechanisms of the immune system are functioning perfectly.

Salmon is high in selenium,which is avery important trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. It is vital for immune system function and may help prevent prostate cancerin particular.

Overall, the salmon contains many nutrients in the flesh and also in parts of the fish such as bone that is often included in canned fish. It is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, manganese, copper, phosphorus and zinc, some of which are of particular benefit for the cardiovascular system and the heart.

Apart from its role in the formation of teeth and bones, calcium is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells and muscle contractions. There is some indication that higher calcium intake protects against cardiovascular disease particularly in women.

The main function of iron is in haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. When someone is iron deficient, they suffer extreme fatigue because they are being starved of oxygen and the major organs of the body such as the heart become deprived of this life essential element.

Salmon is very versatile and provided it is from a healthy source and not from poorly maintained fish farms it can be eaten two to three times a week served hot or cold with plenty of fresh vegetables and salads. It is particularly delicious served chilled with a spinach salad and new potatoes.

You can also eat canned ocean caught salmon and this is particular good if you eat the soften bones that tend to come with it – if you find this unappealing simply mash the salmon and bone together with a fork and use on salads.

For some delicious recipes that will encourage you to include more salmon in your diet.. please head over to an earlier post where Carol Taylor shares some of her favourite dishes: Cook from Scratch – Salmon

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – Watermelon – A quick way to hydrate by Sally Cronin


As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE – If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor. If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Watermelon – A quick way to hydrate

Before returning to Ireland four years ago we lived in Spain for 17 years with temperatures in the summer approaching 40 C…over 100 F which meant that keeping hydrated was very important. Particularly as it was a dry heat. Apart from drinking extra water, salads and other water dense foods were important as part of our daily diet.  However, when it was really hot there was nothing like ice-cold watermelon.

It took me a while to get around the pips in watermelon and learn the knack of spitting them out delicately rather than shooting them at the dog by accident. Once you master this quite simple dexterity, you will have access to not only one of the most thirst quenching melons around, but also a storehouse of health benefits.

Watermelons are obviously sweetest during the summer months but we were lucky enough that Spain has summer somewhere within its boundaries all year round and they are just as accessible at Christmas as in August. Here in Ireland we do get them in season although at the moment that may not be the case with closed borders and a focus on homegrown fruit and vegetables.

However, if you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on some fresh watermelons, please do so.

Watermelons and health claims.

If you are an asthma or arthritis sufferer, eating this fruit year round may help improve the symptoms of your condition. Watermelon also has gained some recognition with regard to other medical problems too such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and colon cancer.

The history of watermelons.

Watermelons first originated south of us in Africa and were first used medicinally by the Egyptians but obviously the fruit was most prized for its water content in countries where rain was in short supply. Watermelons are now found in Asia, particularly in China and also in Russia where the fruit is a major crop for export. The United States is a major grower but you will find it growing in many desert countries or islands that have water shortages such as Iran and Turkey.

The health benefits of watermelon

Apart from being a wonderful fruit packed with vitamin C, watermelon has something in common with the tomato and that is it’s very high concentration of Lycopene.

Lycopene not only gives fruit that vibrant red colour but it also acts as an incredibly powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect us against the free radicals that cause oxidative damage to our cells, often resulting in serious illness such as cancer. It would also seem that healthy levels of lycopene in our fat tissues are also associated with reduced risk of heart attacks. This is due to the prevention of oxidation of cholesterol that so often leads to atherosclerosis and heart attacks.

Vitamin C and Vitamin A work on free radicals as well and are particularly linked to those that cause an increase in the severity of certain inflammatory diseases such as asthma and arthritis.

Vitamin A is essential for our healthy eyesight, especially at night. It helps cells produce normally which is why it is important in the first few months of pregnancy. It is also necessary for the health of our skin, the mucus membranes in our respiratory system (hence its benefits for asthma sufferers), bones, soft tissues and digestive and urinary tracts.

Other nutrients in watermelon that are beneficial.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is a water- soluble vitamin, which means that it cannot be stored in the body. Any excess is excreted in our urine so it is essential that we obtain sufficient from our diet. Vitamin B1 helps to fuel our bodies by converting blood sugar into energy and also keeps our mucus membranes healthy. It is also needed to work with other B vitamins in maintaining a healthy nervous system

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is 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.

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for bone, protein and fatty acid formation, forming new cells, activating the B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood and forming ATP the fuel the body runs on. The secretion and action of insulin also needs magnesium. It is needed to balance calcium in the body and too much can result in very low levels of calcium.

Potassium is the main cation (positively charged electrolyte). It reacts with sodium and chloride to maintain a perfect working environment in and around each cell. It allows the transmission of nerve impulses and helps maintain the correct fluid balance in the body. It also regulates levels of acidity and alkalinity in the body. It is also required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It is connected to normal heart rhythms.

Buying the best watermelons

There are about 1200 different varieties of watermelon and when you are picking one in the supermarket make sure the melon is symmetrical and firm with no cuts or bruises. The heavier it feels the better, as it is 92% water. If it feels a little light then it may be dry inside. If you are buying cut watermelon make sure the skin is bright red as pink flesh with white pith means it is past its sell by date. Eat within a couple of days. You can store at room temperature but it is best served chilled.

Some of my tried and trusted watermelon recipes over the years.

You can use chopped watermelon in salads and in desserts but I have a couple of recipes that are slightly different.

Watermelon Lemonade. A lovely refreshing drink at any time of day

Ingredients

  • 1 large watermelon seeds removed and cubed
  • I peeled cucumber.
  • 6oz of fresh raspberries
  • 8oz of water
  • 4oz of lemon juice.

Blend all the melon, raspberries and water until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a large jug that will fit in the fridge. Stir in the sugar and the lemon juice and mix well. Put into the fridge for about an hour. You can add more water if needed.

Watermelon and strawberry salsa. Wonderful with chicken dishes.

Ingredients

  • 8oz of cubed watermelon with the seeds removed
  • 6 oz of chopped strawberries
  • 3oz of chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1-tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon of honey.

Mix all the ingredients together and put into the fridge to chill for about an hour before serving with your chicken or even pork dish.

I have edited the 2017 Cook from Scratch where you will find many more recipes for watermelon shared by Carol Taylor: Cook From Scratch – Watermelon

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – April 5th – 11th Easter Parade, Art Deco Roses, Life on the Ocean Wave, #Waterford 1920s.


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

Happy Easter every one.….Not one that we expected to be spending in isolation from the rest of the world when we made our plans for 2020, but it is still a time for family and friends. I know for those who are living on their own, it is far more difficult, especially if separated from children and grandchildren, but we have to recognise that until there is a vaccine and the virus has gone back under whichever rock it crawled out from…. these measures are saving our lives.

We have had our lock down extended to May 7th and hopefully that will be sufficient to decrease the number of infected and deaths. We are very lucky in Ireland in as much as the population is small enough to put restrictions in place and maintain them. I do feel sorry for those who are living in the cities, especially in apartments without access to the outside and it has certainly impacted our position on our next move. That is on hold now indefinitely and we realise that we have everything that we need here, even if it is a little bit too big for the two of us. So we are going to enjoy the renovations inside and in the garden and be grateful that we have the outside to enjoy.

I hope that despite the separation from those you love that you are taking full advantage of the technology and being able to talk face to face. I speak to my two sisters by Skype during the week and they talk to each other everyday too. It does make such a difference seeing someone’s face rather than on the telephone, and if you have not got one of the video applications on your computer or phone here are some links.

Skype Online

Facetime for Apple

Whatsapp video

Anyway… on with the posts from the week.

My thanks as always to regular contributors and guests who provide interesting and entertaining posts for the blog, offering me a chance to enjoy their hard work as well. And also to you for coming by, sharing and for commenting.

The first of the Easter parades this weekend with guests who share photographs from the 1960s through to the 1980s and select a song that brings back memories of that era…such as this one, In My Life by The Beatles.. chosen by Diana Wallace Peach.  I hope you will pop in and leave your links in the comments… thanks Sally.

The first of the Easter Parades with guests Annette Rochelle Aben, Darlene Foster, Toni Pike, D. Wallace Peach and Elizabeth Gauffreau

Guest Writer – Robbie Cheadle – How to make Art Deco Fondant Roses

The first chapter of my father’s memoirs about his time in the Royal Navy

Life on the Ocean Wave by Eric Coleman

The first chapter of my father-in-law’s memoir The Colour of Life published in 2005.

The Colour of Life – Waterford 1920s by Geoff Cronin

Letters from America 1985-1987 – Adventures in the USA – Birthday, New Car, Galverston and Houston Zo

I’ve Had the Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing

Butterfly Cinquain – Springtime

#GreatDanes Joyful Trouble by Patrica Furstenberg

Thriller – Deep Cover by John L. DeBoer

#Childrens Island Spide by Paul Noel

#Fantasy A.J. Alexander, #Family Judith Barrow, #Romance Ritu Bhathal

#Thriller John W. Howell, #Shortstories Karen Ingalls, #Thriller Iain Kelly

#Supernatural Mae Clair, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Children’s Janice Spina

Sunday Sayings – #Differences and Reality TV by Amanda -Something to Ponder About

#Caribbean – Directionally Challenged! by Apple Gidley

Orthodox #Easter Eggs, folktales, symbolism, traditions #culture #history by Patricia Furstenberg

DSC_1207aw

Food Therapy – Brown Rice so much more than just a grain

Tom and Jasper with love

#Family and #Friends – Brotherly Love by Jane Sturgeon

Family and Friends – Chess by Stevie Turner

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More funnies from D.G. Kaye and a joke or two from Sally.

More seclusion humour from the senior team and some ABBA

Thank you so much for all your support and I hope to see you again next week.. Happy Easter, stay safe and hugs Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy -Aubergines -Don’t forget to eat your purples! by Sally Cronin


As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to  prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor.  If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Food Therapy -Aubergines -Don’t forget to eat your purples!

There are certain foods that on my shopping list regularly as daily or weekly additions to our diet and others that we might have a little less often.. One of these is aubergines which I love but only eat occasionally as I have a tendency towards gallstones. If you do not suffer from either gallstones or kidney stones then you can enjoy a couple of times a week at least.

We were all encouraged to eat our ‘greens’ when we were children, and we know that the brighter the food colour the more anti-oxidants they contain, but I cannot recollect being told to eat my ‘purples’. But it is this colour which gives this food its uniqueness.

When we are enjoying a moussaka or ratatouille made with this versatile food we don’t tend to dwell on its medicinal properties, but like the majority of fresh produce we eat, aubergines have some powerful health benefits.

The History of the aubergine.

The aubergine has its origins in ancient India and is mentioned by different names in Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindustani languages.  It was grown in China as well but only came to Europe around 1,500 years ago.  There is no Latin or Greek name for it but there are Arabic and North African names indicating that it came to this continent via that trade route.

Americans call it the eggplant, and in India it is known as Brinjal.  In Spain, aubergines are called berengenas or ‘apples of love’ for supposed aphrodisiac properties. Something that I take on faith!  In northern Europe they had a strange notion that eating the vegetable caused fevers and epileptic seizures and named it Mala Insana or ‘mad apple’. It is also known as melanzana, garden egg and patlican in other languages.

The aubergine belongs to the nightshade family that includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes.  It grows from a vine and will vary in size and colour although the flesh of all the different types tends to be slightly bitter and spongy in texture.

When you are selecting the aubergine go for the smaller, smooth skinned vegetable.  Gently push with your thumb and if the flesh gives slightly but springs back it is ripe.  If the indentation remains it is overripe and will be soggy inside.  If you knock on the fruit and it sounds hollow it will be too dry and inedible.

What are the therapeutic properties of the aubergine.

As with all plants, the aubergine has a sophisticated defence system to ensure its survival.  When we eat it, we inherit some of these properties and our bodies process and use specific nutrients to benefit our own health. The aubergine has an abundance of nutrients including antioxidants, phenolic compounds including chlorogenic acid and flavonoids such as nasunin.

Nasunin is a potent antioxidant in the skin of the aubergine and has been studied for its ability to prevent free radical damage to cell membranes.  Lipids or fats are the main component of cell membranes and not only protect the cell from damage but also regulate the passage of nutrients and waste in and out of the cell.  The research is focusing on brain cell health and eating aubergines regularly may help protect us from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Nasunin may also help prevent oxidative damage to the LDL or the unhealthier cholesterol in our blood that leads to plaque in the bloodstream and blockages in the arteries.

Nasunin also assists with the regulation of iron in the body.  Iron is an essential nutrient required for the transportation of oxygen in the blood and our immune function. However, too much iron can increase free radical damage and is linked to heart disease, cancer and degenerative joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.  Nasunin is an iron chelator, which means that it binds with the iron processed from the food we eat and transports it safely in the blood stream preventing excess iron from causing damage to cells.

What are the benefits of Chlorogenic Acid.

Chlorogenic acid is a phenolic compound and one of the most potent free radical scavengers in plant tissues. It is very abundant in aubergines and very effective against free radical damage to LDL cholesterol. Additionally it may help prevent certain cancers and viral infections.  Like Brussel sprouts some varieties of aubergine can be very bitter and it is thought that this is due to very high levels of Chlorogenic acid, which is also responsible for the rapid browning of the flesh when it has been cut.

Other good reasons to include aubergines in your diet on a regular basis.

The aubergine is a good source of dietary fibre, which not only helps prevent constipation but also helps eliminate waste from the body and prevent the build-up of plaque in the bloodstream leading to arterial disease.  Recent research is identifying some very interesting properties in certain fibres including the ability to absorb and eliminate harmful bacteria from the body without the need for antibiotics.  Fibre in the diet has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and also regulate blood sugar levels

By eating aubergines regularly you will also be including healthy amounts of potassium, manganese, copper, vitamins B1, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, magnesium and tryptophan.  It is what I call a well-rounded food.

Are there any drawbacks to eating aubergines?

The majority of us can enjoy aubergines on a regular basis in our diet and obtain its full health benefits, but as I mentioned earlier, a small proportion of people should avoid eating it.

The aubergine contains relatively high concentrations of oxalates, which are found in all plants and humans. If oxalates are too concentrated they crystallise and form stones in the kidneys and the gallbladder.  If you already suffer from kidney or gallbladder problems then it would be best to avoid aubergines.  This also applies to rheumatoid arthritis and gout sufferers, as this vegetable is part of the nightshade family and could increase the symptoms of these diseases.  This applies to tomatoes as well.  I have found that cooked tomatoes cause me less problems and they are too nutritionally rich to avoid completely.  I suggest you try eating cooked tomatoes twice a week, three days apart and monitor your symptoms.

You will find many great recipes online for the preparation of aubergines and if you have one that you particular enjoy then please let us all know.

For a wonderful range of recipes featuring aubergines/eggplants, I have edited the original cook from scratch post where Carol Taylor makes it easy and delicious for you to include in your diet: Cook from scratch – Aubergines

 ©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019-2020/

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

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.