Smorgasbord Food Column – Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen -April 2021 – #Pretzel Bread, #Onions, #TomatoKetchup, #Japanese Wood Production.


Good morning and welcome to April’s edition of my Green Kitchen… I cannot begin to tell you how delighted I am to be back with a brand- new column at Smorgasbord Magazine… and how welcome you are making me feel.

I am passionate about cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, the environment and ensuring that the food I make for my family is clean and as chemical free as it can possible be…I would also love to know that instead of counting calories and cost that more people counted chemicals as it is the chemicals in processed foods which affect our health and wellbeing.

Just to recap for those who are new here…This monthly post will cover sustainability, news on food production…changes for the better and maybe a villain or three…haha, a recipe or two including some plant- based recipes, hints and tips on making my household a little greener…aka recycling and composting.

It isn’t easy …in theory we know what we should do …THEREFORE I have looked at what I can do gradually…every small change is a bonus.

This Month’s Recipe…Pretzel Bread.

Started with a challenge…Never one to back down I accepted…I do love a challenge…

Pretzel Bread.

All I knew about pretzel dough was that like beigels the dough was boiled before baking and this gives it that characteristic deep brown crust and pretzel taste…

It was lovely a little sweet my tester said it tasted like currant bread sweetness not horrible he liked it and the salt was a foil for that methinks but with some ham and mustard in a sandwich it went down a treat…

I have however tweaked the original recipe and used less sugar…1 tbsp instead of 3 tbsp.

Ingredients:

• 2 and a quarter tsp of instant yeast.
• 1 cup of lukewarm water
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tbsp milk…I used full-fat milk
• 4 tbsp (2 oz) melted butter
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 3 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour

Baking Soda Bath:
• 4 quarts (8 pints) water
• Half cup Baking Soda

Pretzel Topping:
• 2 tbsp butter melted
• Coarse salt for topping.

A lined baking tray.
Preheated oven 200 degrees

Let’s bake!

  • Combine your yeast, water, and brown sugar in a bowl and stir to dissolve sugar.
  • Melt the butter and then add to the milk then stir into the yeast mixture to combine.
  • Add the salt and flour 1 cup at a time and stir to combine then once the dough has come together knead until it is a firm but slightly tacky dough. If you need to add more add a little at a time.
  • Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a cloth and allow to rise about an hour and it should have doubled in size.
  • Once the 60 mins are up put your 4 quarts of water in a large pan and bring to the boil then add your Baking Soda…DO NOT ADD IT ALL AT ONCE OR IT WILL ALLL FIZZ OVER …add a little at a time I added it a tsp at a time.
  • Then punch your dough down to remove the gas and divide it into two portions…Add one portion to the boiling water and turn after 60 seconds and give it 60 seconds on the other side remove with a slotted spoon to drain and make a small cross in the middle and sprinkle with salt.
  • Put on a lined baking tin…
  • Repeat with your second piece of dough…When cutting the cross, for the first time I made mine too big as this dough once boiled is easier than a normal risen dough to cut through.

Boiled Pretzel Dough

  • Sit both pieces of prepared dough on a lined baking tray and put it into your preheated oven…200 degrees.
  • Cook for 23-25 mins turning the tray around halfway through the cooking…

I was quite amazed at how it coloured up and just looked the colour of a pretzel that lovely deep brown…

Pretzel Bread

When you remove it from the oven brush with the melted butter and enjoy it!

Did you know?

It’s a given that processed foods can save you a little time. But what you gain in convenience, you lose in money, environmental impact and maybe even health.
That’s because processed foods require more labour to convert them from their natural state to something that fits in a box, bag or tub.

You’re also paying for the chemicals added to the processed food to keep them fresh.
You’re paying for the packaging, too, which is totally worthless once you get it home. Indeed, $1 out of every $11 you spend at the grocery store you spend on packaging you throw away.

I will give you a simple example…Tomato Ketchup.

I find most processed ketchup contains way too much sugar. You can reduce the sugar down and spice it just the way you like it if you make your own.

You can make it from canned tomatoes, but to avoid the packaging and avoid Bisphenol-A (BPA) which is a controversial chemical compound present in commercially available tin can plastic linings and transferred to canned food. The inside of the can is coated with an epoxy coating, in an attempt to prevent food or beverage from coming into contact with the metal.

Another reason why I use fresh plum tomatoes which you can get at the grocery store or your local farmer’s market unless of course you grow your own.

Another bonus is you can make as much or as little as you like and its easy…

Just peel, seed and dice the tomatoes, add a tablespoon or so of minced red onion, a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar, minced garlic and hot sauce like siracha if you want some spice. Process in a food processor.

If it’s not as thick as you’d like, simmer it on low until some of the liquid evaporates. You can also play with spices like ground ginger, cinnamon, honey and cloves.

The beauty of making it yourself is that you can make it exactly the way you like it and the amount that you want.

As my grandkids don’t eat ketchup or eat it very rarely, I make a small amount at a time maybe 3 large tomatoes, 2 tbsp minced red onions, a clove of garlic, 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, tbsp of siracha and some cinnamon and smoked paprika is our preferred recipe just don’t be afraid to experiment.

I was very recipe driven before I lived here and none of the Thais who have taught me to cook use recipe books…which has meant I have learnt to rely on my eye and my taste which means the food is far better…even my grandkids will say to me nan you need more lime juice, chilli or fish sauce they do the same which I think is great it develops a good palate…

Does it matter?

How you slice your onions?…actually yes it does.

If you slice an onion from end to end, it will have a milder flavour than if you slice it across the middle. That’s because cutting an onion releases flavour compounds, and how you slice with or against the grain releases more or fewer compounds.

When you cut your onion from end to end or with the grain, you cause less damage and release fewer compounds than when you slice through the middle.

Slicing through the middle, or against the grain, causes a greater disruption and leaves you with a stronger, more pungent taste.

So, the next time you go to slice rings for your burger and you love to taste your onions think before you slice…

Growing Your Own:

Egg Boxes and Egg Shells…

The seeds which I planted in egg shells have started to pop their heads above ground but did you know that when you transfer your seedlings to their permanent home or just a larger home that the egg shells you are planting with them provide calcium to the soil?

The calcium from eggshells is also welcome in garden soil, where it moderates soil acidity while providing nutrients for plants.

The shells also contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are most vital for healthy growth, calcium is also essential for building healthy “bones” aka the cell walls of a plant…win-win all round and no waste…

Conservation Corner…

I have long admired the Japanese for their foresight and their environmental knowledge and practises. Do you know how the Japanese make wood without cutting down trees? I didn’t until I came across this practise called Daisugiit… is both brilliant and fascinating.

How The Japanese Make Wood WITHOUT Cutting Down Trees!

Covid-19…has rampaged through the world…many have unfortunately died, many have lost their jobs, schools have had to close…BUT there have been positives…This is one of them…That it is a good news story about a species of cat makes me happy as I am a firm believer that the animal world is far better at conservation than we are …I also believe that the animal kingdom should be nurtured and cherish as they are vital to our survival…

This is an interesting article which highlights all the areas and causes of the lynx coming back from near extinction…

Sustainability is on the agenda…Food and jobs are on the agenda…a healthy world is on the agenda…

Are you ready to join me in making your kitchen and garden a little greener, are you ready to cook from scratch more often and to count chemicals instead of calories and cost? Love Carol xx

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 another fascinating post about how we can make a big difference to our health and that of the environment.. do head over to her blog to follow her and take your appetite… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up – 14th – 20th March 2021 – Tom Jones, Egg Boxes, Poetry, Stories, Reviews and Funnies


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

I hope you are doing well.. lots going on in the world as usual, and Europe in particular appears to be struggling to contain Covid with many countries seeing a new wave forming. Unfortunately, as in the case of Paris.. giving the population even a few hours notice means that millions pack up and leave for rural areas.. but if it is a hotbed of infection that   increases the spread of the disease further across the country. I know it sounds draconian but I don’t think you should announce there is going to be a lockdown in 12hours or three days. You just do it and stop anyone leaving. It would also stop the idiots who decide to throw a massive party the night before lockdown because of the restrictions coming in to force the next morning… The virus is not going to wait until the next morning to infect you.. it is an opportunist and will be very happy to join the party…Sounds like a recipe for disaster…

Ignore me I am just being a grumpy old woman this morning.

We have had a few days of sunshine and I have been sitting in the garden in the afternoons with my reader and enjoying living in another world.. that is the great thing about fantasy of all kinds, although kind of disturbing when you prefer the fantasy world to the one you currently live in!  Apparently it will be a little cloudier in coming days but I hope to be able to sneak out for an hour or two.

And, I am so much luckier than many by having a garden to sit in and for us both to be in good health.. More or less as my knee dislocated two weeks ago.. it does that when it gets tetchy as I am missing a ligament.. however it pops back nicely.  This time I was over compensating as I hobbled around using a stick, and this irritated my other hip and then my back went out in sympathy. I was pretty much immobile for the last 10 days but improving daily.This is not the first time and won’t be the last and it is mainly due to me not being able to swim everyday in a weightless environment, which keeps the necessary muscles tight and supportive.

Once the swimming pools reopen I will get back to it, despite my reluctance to be seen in public in a bathing suit and the necessity to wear a bathing cap that is dreadfully unflattering, and to my mind pretty useless at stopping hair clogging the outlets or spreading unsavoury particles. Especially when you think some men are extremely hairy all over including beards etc, and have far more follicles that I do on my head… perhaps they should be wearing an all in one rubber suit in the pool or clingfilm….now there’s a vision!

As always I am hugely grateful to William Price King, Debby Gies and Carol Taylor for sharing their love of music, humour and the environment with us.

I know that many of you already know that Debby’s husband has been diagnosed with advanced cancer and is now home with her. Whilst her focus in on G’s care and well-being, Debby is still visiting blogs, share posts and connecting with her friends in the writing community when she has some time to spare. Very important to have that small window of outside interaction when you are a full-time carer. You can read her latest update and I know she would welcome your comments – Update blogging, health and wellness 

Debby would like the funnies that we collaborate on to continue, so I will be raiding the archives here and on her Facebook for upcoming posts and they will go out as usual on Tuesday and Thursdays.

Debby is working on her next Realm of Relationship Column  but rather than have the pressure of a deadline, we thought we might share the first posts of the series which began in January 2020 every Monday to bring new readers to the blog up to speed. They start on March 29th.

I think that is us up to date… so on with the week’s posts.

– The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1965 Part One

Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – #Crumpets, #Baking Soda, #Minced Garlic and Egg Boxes uses. 

– A return to Tales from the Irish Garden – Winter: Chapter Five – The Dapperman 

Chesebro’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge No 216 – #shadorma – Mother Earth 

#Fantasy – Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1) by D.Wallace Peach 

Past Book Reviews 2020 – The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War by Marina Osipova 

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Thriller – The Reckoning Squad by S. Burke 

Sunday 14th March 2021 – #Interview D.Wallace Peach, #Reading Robbie Cheadle, #RoundUp Carol Taylor 

#ReaderPeeves Anner R. Allen, #Reviewing The Story Reading Ape,#Bookoffer Andrew Joyce.. 

#Interview D.G.Kaye and M.J. Mallon, #IOW Stevie Turner, #Funnies Marcia Meara 

Thursday March 18th 2021 #Audiobook Annie Chiappetta, #Reblogging Hugh Roberts, #Indiancookery Sowmya’s Spicy Corner 

#FREE Book Marketing Opportunities 2021 – Making the most of your promotion  

Recent reviews – #Wolves Elizabeth Jade, #Bees Paul Noel 

New Authors on the Shelves – #Poetry – Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku by Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis 

#Memoir – Arranging a Dream by J.Q. Rose 

#Poetry – Midnight Haiku: : A Year in Contemplation by Sue Vincent 

#Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Supernatural Adele Marie Park, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll. 

-#SocialMedia – The Importance of Rules and Regulations and Why We Should Follow Them by Patty L. Fletcher 

-#Grief: Collective Underpinnings In Sudden Loss and Importance of One’s Personal Journey. LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW 

– #Life #1960s A Birthday Reflection by Gwen M. Plano 

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Ten – Anti-Aging- Keeping the Brain Young  

What causes your Cravings? – Part One – Dehydration 

March 16th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Hippos and Doctor one liners 

March 18th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Pants and Chimp Wisdom 

Mid-week boost – More humour from the family….Ketchup and Catfish 

March 19th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Marriage Alphabet and Anesthesiology 

 

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your support.. I hope you will join me again next week..Sally.

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – February 14th – 20th 2021 – Romance, Songs 1960s, Chilled soups, book reviews, videos and funnies


Welcome to the update of posts that you might have missed from the week here on Smorgasbord.

I hope all is well with you. Quiet here except for the noise of the wind howling around the house and the six inch puddle stretching across the front of the house. I know I wished I had a swimming pool but clearly the genie was having an off day.

The garden birds have been having a tough time of it with the winds and driving rain making it difficult to fly, particularly for the small birds such as the sparrows and tits. I usually buy my birdseed and fat balls at the garden centre or at a push smaller packs as the supermarket but of course the centres have been shut since the New Year and the supermarket shelves are bare of both seed and other products. One store has at least got some sunflower hearts and I have mixed that with sultanas and cooked brown rice.. They can at least digest that easily and it has nutrients for them.. The sunflower hearts provide the good fats and protein.

I have taken to put some on the ground as well as on our platform feeder and hanging baskets and hopefully they will get enough nourishment.

They are staying in the thick hedge in our back garden but when I got out (dressed in full wet gear) there is a sudden chorus of song and I can feel hundreds of eyes on me… as soon as the back door closes they are in the feeders and on the ground which is encouraging.

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week and as always my gratitude to William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Carol Taylor for their terrific contributions and to you for visiting, sharing and commenting.. it keeps me motivated..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1963 – Part One

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – February 2021 – Online Dating – Staying Safe

Bread, Homemade Peanut Butter and Home Grown Vegetables and Herbs.

St. Valentine’s Day – The Meaning of Romance to Me by Sally Cronin

Charlie the Junkyard Dog

 

 

Barbados and the last letter home 1986. Sally Cronin

#WWI – #Family Saga – The Heart Stone by Judith Barrow

#Children’s – A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-Book (too) by Frank Prem

– Past Book Reviews 2020 -My Name is Danny – #Doglovers – Tales from Danny the Dog assisted by Andrew Joyce.

Butterfly Cinquain – Fate’s Voice by Sally Cronin

Your Own Opinions And Feelings #selfaware by Toni Pike

#Finance – Working with a Financial Planner by Sharon Marchisello

– #Spying – The Story about House Hunting While Being Watched by D.G. Kaye

#Q&A D.G. Kaye, #Valentines Carol Taylor, #Interview as guest of Amy Reade

#Swearing The Story Reading Ape, #Deserts Cindy Knoke, #Speedreading Robbie Cheadle

-#JulesVerne Carol Seidl, #Waves Melanie Stewart, #Medication D.G.Kaye

#Reviews by V.M.Sang, #Cookbook Marian Beaman, #IrishMyths I.E. Kneverday

#Teaching Pete Springer, #Betrayal Abigail Johnston, #Hitching Andrew Joyce

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Six – Anti-Aging and Oxygen

Salads are not just for Summer

New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy Dead of Winter: Journey 2, Penllyn by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

#Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Thriller Alex Craigie,

#Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #WIIDrama Marina Osipova, #Paranormal John W. Howell

February 16th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

February 18th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Vows and Good Deeds

February 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Flying first class and Shakespeare insults

 

Thank you for all your support and I hope you will drop in again next week… enjoy your weekend.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Food Column – Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – Bread, Homemade Peanut Butter and Home Grown Vegetables and Herbs.


Hello and welcome to Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen I cannot begin to tell you how delighted I am to be back with a brand- new column at Smorgasbord Magazine… and how welcome you made me feel last month for my first post of the year you are all stars as is Sally for inviting me back x

I am passionate about cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, the environment and ensuring that the food I make for my family is clean and as chemical free as it can possible be…I would also love to know that instead of counting calories that more people counted chemicals as it is the chemicals in processed foods which affect our health and wellbeing.

Just to recap for those who missed the first post…This monthly post will cover sustainability, news on food production…changes for the better and maybe a villain or three…haha, a recipe or two including some plant- based recipes, hints and tips on making my household a little greener…aka recycling and composting.

It isn’t easy …in theory we know what we should do …THEREFORE I have looked at what I can do gradually…every small change is a bonus.

Positive signs from 2020 are it seems we are becoming a nation of cooks again we are baking bread, cooking from scratch, making small changes to how we live our live…A reset…
I now bake bread every other day… Sandwich Loaf…an update… (The original recipe was in last month’s post)

The only change I have made so far is to substitute stone ground wholewheat flour for some of the white bread flour…everything else is exactly the same…

The original recipe used 500 gm Bread Flour…

I now use 300gm stone ground wholewheat flour and 200gm Bread Flour.

As different brands of flour do vary it can affect the liquid used up until now, I have not had to change the volume of my liquid. Personally, my family prefer this percentage and is how I will make this sandwich loaf in future it has a nice texture and a nuttier taste.

Did you know?

It’s a given that processed foods can save you a little time. But what you gain in convenience, you lose in money, environmental impact and maybe even health.
That’s because processed foods require more labour to convert them from their natural state to something that fits in a box, bag or tub.

You’re also paying for the chemicals added to the processed food to keep them fresh.
You’re paying for the packaging, too, which is totally worthless once you get it home. Indeed, $1 out of every $11 you spend at the grocery store you spend on packaging you throw away.

I will give you a simple example…Peanut Butter…

One of the quickest and simplest, things to make…

Today I was making a hot homemade protein drink and needed peanut butter…it took a little under 15 mins of my time…

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

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

Let’s Cook!

  1. Take 500 gm raw peanuts. Put in oven on a tray and cook on high for 10 mins.
  2. Take out of oven and reserve a few (if you like crunchy peanut butter) like me.
  3. Put the remainder of nuts in a food processor and blitz at 1 min intervals scraping down the sides. Do this for 4 mins or until smooth.
  4. Add 1tsp of salt,1 tbsp oil and remainder of reserved nuts if using. If you want to add honey, Nutella or other flavouring, of your choice then add now.
  5. Blitz again for 1 min and put it in a suitable container. Stores in fridge for 3/4 weeks.

IT’S DELISH!

How many of you grow your own vegetables and or herbs?

When you are growing your own food, you are in control of every step of the growing process — from selecting your seeds and deciding on how you will manage the soil and the pests which may appear all the way to harvesting and composting …it was my grandfather and my father who taught us about rotating fruits and vegetables and which parts of the garden needed the soil to rest once the crops had been picked.

Plus, a garden can provide a relaxing way to connect with nature and work with your hands.

I know all this can sound intimidating; however, gardening can be done on any scale, from a windowsill of kitchen herbs to a backyard vegetable plot.

With the right plan in hand, a home garden can easily fit the demands of busy lives and tight budgets.

You just need a plan…for those of you who are experiencing snow and winter weather it’s the ideal time especially if you have been in your home for a while you know where the sunny spots are…If you have time and reasonable weather now is the time to prepare your soil just dig it over and let the elements do the rest and you will have nice soft soil come the spring and early summer…

Of course, think about your goals do you want fruit and veggies or just happy to grow some herbs all this of course depends on space…in our early days we just relied on window sills, pots, hanging baskets and planting a few veggies among the flowers and then I luckily managed to get an allotment and we could grow a bit more but so much depends on the space and time you have to allocate to this…

Then comes fun part choosing your seeds…drawing a little plan…sorting out your shed for pots or anything which may hold soil and veggies…Get Creative and sort out some junk…

If anyone has some hints and tips on how you grow your own please share…we are in this together…

Are you ready to join me in making your kitchen and garden a little greener, are you ready to cook from scratch more often and to count chemicals instead of calories?
Love Carol xx

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 another wonderful post about how small changes can make a big difference to our health and that of the environment.. do head over to her blog to follow her and take your appetite… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – January 17th – 23rd 2021 – 1960’s music, Online Scammers, Green Kitchens, Book Reviews, Anti-aging and Laughter


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

Despite being a momentous week in many ways around the world,very little has been going on in our neck of the woods as our lockdown continues until February 1st. The children here in Ireland are meant to go back to school on 31st of January but I expect that might change as the numbers are still very concerning. They were over 8000 two weeks ago and still at 2,000 + a day.. for a population of just under 5 million it is not good. Still not sure what is happening with vaccines for our age group yet but no doubt they will filter through eventually.

It is however a cold, frosty but sunny day which cheers things up and I have spent some time in the garden repairing our homemade bird feeder. Designed to limit access by the crows (I don’t mind them having a mouthful but they tend to descend as a mob, scaring off the other birds and eating the lot).. Anyway, the crows spend a great deal of time thwarting my efforts and had removed some of the sticks on the outside of the pyramid by undoing the string holding them… If I didn’t find them so amusing….

I also had to break the ice on the two watering holes.. one is a meter square former seed box which is a favourite with the starlings who dive in and have a bath whatever the weather and sometimes there are up to 15 or 16 carrying out the ablutions with much joy.

There are often four or five in the smaller bath which requires constant fill ups in the summer as they splash around having fun.

Not having a dog at the moment, these and the sparrows, tits and the doves are my babies and they have certainly given us much pleasure during lockdown…

Anyway, I hope your week has been good and thank you for visiting today… also my thanks to William Price King (The Breakfast Show), Debby Gies (first relationship column 2021) and Carol Taylor (brand new column, Carol’s Green Kitchen) for their ongoing contributions and I hope you will pop into their posts to enjoy..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1961 – Part One

January 2021 – Online Connections–Vetting on the Internet, Email and Social Media for Scammers and Trolls

Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – Homemade Bread, Plastic Alternatives, Grated Cheese

#History #Reference – A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays by Mike Biles

#Mystery – Mistaken Identity: Death On The Cable Car ( Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 4) by James J. Cudney

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Poetry and #Prose Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon

What’s in a Name? – Xenia – Beloved by Sally Cronin

What’s in a Name? – Vanessa – In a Dilemma

What’s in a Name? – Jack – The VIP Visitor

Houston – June 1986 – South Padre Island and Getting Fit.. Sally Cronin

Health and energy and long life all begin with a correct pH balance. The pH balance refers to the acidity or alkalinity of every living organism. The scale for measuring this balance is called Potential for Hydrogen or pH balance and each system or organ has its optimum balance for health.

Turning Back the Clock 2021 -Anti-Aging and the correct pH balance

Recipes that Pack a Punch – Breakfasts/Brunch – Frittata and Tostada

#Teaching Pete Springer, #Review Alison Williams, #Scams Stevie Turner

Cathy Ryan

#BookReviews D.G. Kaye, Jessica Norrie, #Writers Cathy Ryan

Friday 22nd January 2021 – #Review by Jessica Bakkers, #Co-authors by Gwen Plano, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape

New Author on the Shelves – #Dystopian #Science Fiction -The Outlands by Tyler Edwards

– New Releases – #Scifi Richard Dee, #Fantasy Teagan Riordain Geneviene, Review – #Humour Sue Vincent

Thriller Chuck Bowie, Reviews – #Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #Shortstories Allan Hudson

#Contemporary Sian Turner, #Blogging #Authors Anne R. Allen, #History Mike Biles

#Bullying Eloise de Sousa, #Adventure D.L. Finn, #Butterflies Bette A. Stevens

January 19th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Quotes and a letter to friends

January 21st Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin -Wizards and Squirrels

January 22nd 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Selfies and Jigsaws

 

Thank you very much for visiting and your support.. it is much appreciated.. I hope you will join me again next week…enjoy your weekend.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Food Column – Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – Homemade Bread, Plastic Alternatives, Grated Cheese


I am delighted to be back with a brand- new column at Smorgasbord Magazine. Thank you, Sally for inviting me back x

Those of you who know me well know how passionate I am about cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, the environment and ensuring that the food I make for my family is clean and as chemical free as it can possible be.

I am also of an age where I need to keep myself as healthy as I can by eating a varied diet which will also keep me at a healthy weight as long as I continue to exercise which in my case is walking daily…

This monthly post will cover sustainability, news on food production…changes for the better and maybe a villain or three…haha, a recipe or two including some plant- based recipes, hints and tips on making my household a little greener…aka recycling and composting.

I will make mistakes of course … there is so much we could do just not all at once, some changes depend on our own lifestyles as above all… we want a happy household not one which is fanatical about going green at the expense of being frankly… miserable …what works for one does not work for another we have to find our own happy medium based on our circumstances and budgets.

It isn’t easy …in theory we know what we should do …ditch the plastic…grow our own vegetables…install solar panels…there is so much…we could empty all our cupboards, our fridges and freezers, throw out all the plastic, the bottles of household cleaners, shampoos etc etc …Start from scratch…

The reality is it wouldn’t work …our recycling bins could fill a skip all on its own, veggies take time to grow and imagine all that shopping you would have to do to replace everything.

THEREFORE I have looked at what I can do gradually…every small change is a bonus.

You knew that sooner or later Covid 19 would come into the conversation…many of us have been confined to our homes and immediate neighbourhoods for nearly a year now…
The upside is that it seems we are becoming a nation of cooks again we are baking bread, cooking from scratch, hearing how the environment is changing for the better …wildlife is returning so many good things have come out of this maybe it is what was needed to make us focus on change…A reset…

I now bake bread every other day…Sandwich Loaf…a Nigella Recipe…

Ingredients

• 500 gm Bread Flour
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp caster sugar
• 7gms instant yeast
• 125ml milk
• 150 ml of cold water
• 100 ml of boiling water
• 3 tbsp butter melted

Let’s Bake!

Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and whisk to combine then add liquids and butter and draw the mix together cover and leave for 10 mins…I now use a shower cap which is brilliant as plastic wrap never stuck to the bowl and the cap stays put…Leave for 10 minutes then knead for 10 seconds(yes) and leave for 10 mins and repeat this 3 times…

On the last one shape and put in a bowl cover and leave to prove for about an hour…Knead and shape and put in a 2lb loaf tin for the final prove of about 1 hour sprinkle a little flour on the top of the loaf…

Once proved put into a preheated oven on 180/200 and bake for 45 minutes…remove from the oven if you like a softer crust I cover the loaf once I removed it from the oven with a clean t/towel for about 5/10 mins just to soften the crust slightly.

I followed this recipe to a T and it came out perfectly it slices very well for sandwiches and makes lovely toast or just bread and butter…

It is the first time I have followed Nigella’s recipe and it is one of my top 5 bread recipes now…The whole family loved it!

N.BNow I am confident making this bread yesterday I swapped 100gms of the flour for a stoneground whole wheat flour it was perfect. Next time I will use 150gm the reason I am doing this gradually is that it is such a nice recipe that by doing gradually I can see if I need to make changes to the liquid so far no… maybe today I will need a little more liquid we shall see.

I have also learnt about how different flours affect the texture and rise of my bread…I have had some disasters I have learnt how salt can halt the rising of the bread if it comes into contact with the yeast, now I am using the shower cap to cover the dough it means plastic wrap has been taken off the shopping list… I no longer use it.

When I looked at what I really used it for …I didn’t want to buy it anymore …The cost to the environment is stunning…

My First change: This is an easy one…

  • Today, consumers around the world have plastic wrap brands at their disposal made of PVDC, PVC, and polyethylene.
  • Plastic infiltrates the environment
  • Thin, flimsy, plastic-like bags are difficult to recycle; without specialized equipment they clog machines. And even when plastic wrap is recycled, it’s costlier than using virgin materials.
  • When it ends up in landfills or incinerators, both PVC and PVDC can release a highly toxic chemical called Dioxin, says the World Health Organization.

Did you know?

Americans buy enough plastic wrap to shrink wrap Texas?

Yes, I use a shower cap but it can be reused over and over it in no way reflects the amount of cussing and plastic wrap I use trying to get it attached to the dang bowl…

My bread making is now stress free… plastic wrap begone…Two birds with one stone!

But I hear you how can I keep my sandwiches fresh…

Everything you need to know is here…Here’s one I prepared earlier…smile x

Latest Recycling News September 2019 – Carol Cooks 2

Clean food and chemical free is another passion which means all my recipes will portray that…

“There are too many people who count calories and not enough counting chemicals”

I truly believe this and now we are spending more time at home …can we not take 5 and start looking at the foods we eat and use so we know what they really contain? Any highly processed food will contain preservatives and chemicals…That’s a given..

All these chemicals do affect our health…I am not saying don’t ever buy processed foods I buy some things maybe products I can’t replicate at home but there is much I can and frankly most of it is so easy I ask myself why have I not done this before…

I do not spend every waking minute in my kitchen…its too hot for one thing but I do spend time researching recipes and the content of some foods and whether or not I can replicate them at home…For me time well spent…

If you have any favourite food and would like me to do the research on whether or not it will be easy to replicate in your kitchen please let me know.

Did you know?

  • It’s a given that processed foods can save you a little time. But what you gain in convenience, you lose in money, environmental impact and maybe even health.
  • That’s because processed foods require more labour to convert them from their natural state to something that fits in a box, bag or tub.
  • You’re also paying for the chemicals added to the processed food to keep them fresh.
  • You’re paying for the packaging, too, which is totally worthless once you get it home. Indeed, $1 out of every $11 you spend at the grocery store you spend on packaging you throw away.

I will give you a simple example…Shredded Cheese.

Pre-shredded cheese always comes in a plastic bag or tub along with chemicals to prevent mould growth and even the dust from wood pulp…yes, that is correct it is added to prevent the cheese from clumping.

Why not grate your own cheese instead?

It will be fresher, cheaper and you can minimize packaging if you buy a chunk of cheese from your deli counter rather than in the dairy aisle.

To me so many of these changes are minute…Take minutes to do and tick all the boxes pun not intended…lol

Are you ready to join me in making your kitchen a little greener, are you ready to cook from scratch more often and to count chemicals instead of calories?
Love Carol xx

©Carol Taylor 2021

Delighted to have Carol back again for another year with her new column which I am sure will give us plenty of food for thought about our own food, preparation and storage practices.

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

Thanks for dropping by today and I know Carol would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.