Smorgasbord Review 2017 – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Don’t forget to eat your Purples – The Aubergine


 

This was the most viewed post of the Cook from Scratch with myself and Carol Taylor… I hope many more people are including the wonderful aubergines in their diet after reading these recipes.

Welcome to the series where I provide the nutritional health benefits for a food and Carol Taylor works all week in the kitchen to provide delicious recipes to include in your regular diet. I hope you will go over to her new blog which she has just started: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/ and discover more about her beautiful home in Thailand.

Before we enjoy another wonderful selection of recipes from Carol Taylor it is time to look at the health benefits of this richly coloured vegetable.

Don’t forget to eat your purples! – The Augergine history and health benefits.

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 medicinal 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.

Now time to hand over to Carol, who despite a very busy week, has as always produced some amazing dishes for us.

Aubergines adding purple to your diet.

Aubergines or egg plants as I know them are eaten a lot here in Thailand…They are made into dips, sauces, stir fries, curries …I also had a beautiful Tian but that wasn’t Thai it was in a lovely restaurant on the beach.

It was very finely sliced egg plants layered with tomatoes and courgettes and cooked until the flavours mingled together …I had it with fish and it was very nice…

I am always being surprised at what I find tucked away when I least expect it.
Egg plant also makes a lovely vegetarian curry when they are roasted and paired with a coconut curry .

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Japanese eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Thai chili, sliced (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro, to garnish

How to prepare

  1. Make the curry using coconut milk cooked with fresh ginger, garlic, fish sauce and a little raw sugar and onions…
  2. Sear the aubergine over the BBQ FOR 3-5 minutes then add to the coconut mixture…
  3. Cook for a few minutes until the egg pant has absorbed some of the coconut curry and serve with rice or noodles…

Sally has told us how beneficial they are to our health so I am now going to give you some recipes which I hope you enjoy.

Starting with? Thai Green Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into cubes.
  • 6 Thai egg plant. cut into quarters……They are the larger ones in the pictures.
  • 2-4 tbsp green curry paste
  • Bunch small egg-plant (optional) Pea like size in Picture.
  • 10 straw mushrooms quartered or use button mushroom.
  • 5/6 stems of Thai sweet basil (pick of leaves1 large or 2 small cans of coconut milk

Let’s Cook!

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in your pan and add the curry paste I would start with 1/2 tbsp curry paste …You can always adjust the heat later in your cooking… I don’t know how hot you eat curry so would always suggest start small.
  2. Cook for 1-2 minutes to release the flavour, add tbsp fish sauce cook for a further 2 minutes then slowly add coconut milk and simmer gently.
  3. Add the chicken, cook on simmer for 20 mins then add vegetables and Thai basil cook for further 20 mins.
  4. Serve with Steamed or boiled rice.
  5. If you are making veggie curry just omit chicken and add carrots and broccoli or veg of your choice.
  6. When we had our restaurant, chef always put extra veg in mine as she knew I liked veg so can add to chicken curry as well if you like although that is not the norm just how she did mine.
  7. You can use beef or pork instead of chicken if you like but will req longer cooking.
  8. Garnish with sprig Thai basil and extra sliced chilli… if required.

N.B. You can get curry paste called Nam Ploy from supermarkets in the UK which is a good substitute unless you prefer to make your own paste. We buy ours from local markets which is freshly made and the curry is a lovely vibrant green colour.

Image Pinterest

Aubergines are also nice just sliced, seasoned and put on an oiled baking sheet in a hot oven for 5-7 minutes 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 yogurt
  • juice ½ lemon/lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • olive oil , to drizzle

How to prepare

  1. Char the aubergines over a flame or cook in the oven and remove skin.
  2. Tip into a food processor with the yogurt, 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 egg plant
  • 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 egg plant, 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 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.
    Serve with noodles or raw vegetables.

The Greek Moussaka is a beautiful dish with luscious layers of minced meat, tomato sauce, béchamel sauce and sweet eggplants.

Also they make a very nice au-gratin layered with potatoes and goats cheese.

Grilled and cubed with watermelon they make a lovely salad using sesame oil as a dressing.

Eggplants are also used in Indian cuisine and pair very nicely with cumin, garam masala and other Indian spices….

All in all a very versatile vegetable….

Quick and easy Aubergine and feta rolls.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, trimmed and sliced into 6 1/2-inch-thick lengthwise slices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled or cubed feta
  • 2 Tbs. chopped pitted Kalamata olives optional
  • 2 Tbs. chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, and basil); more for garnish

Let’s Cook!

  1. Cut aubergines into slices long ways; brush them with oil and season. Grill until the aubergine slices have griddle marks on one side about 3 minutes. In a small bowl combine either crumbled feta or feta cubes and mix with olive oil and herbs.
  2. Put the feta mix or cube of feta on the widest part of the aubergine and roll. Put on a serving dish and sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and herbs before serving.

Egg Plant sauce for pasta

Ingredients – Makes 7 pints or 4 quarts.

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2lbs egg plants peeled and cubed
  • 8 cups tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine

Let’s Cook!

  1. In a very large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic; cook until the onion is soft.
  3. Add tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato paste, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper, and wine; stir.
  4. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Put into hot sterilised jars and seal.
  6. Process the jars of sauce in a hot water bath for 40 minutes.
  7. This is a great sauce served over pasta with Mozzarella cheese.

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flat leaved parsley
  • ½ cup brine cured black olives optional

Let’s Cook!

  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.
  2. Preheat an oven to 375°F.
  3. Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire.
  4. Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin.
  7. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl.
  8. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste
  9. Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.
  10. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
  11. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well.
  12. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the parsley.
  13. Place the olives around the sides.
  14. Serve at room temperature.

Once again many thanks to Sally for sharing her wonderful knowledge on the benefits of the Aubergine and allowing me to share my recipes for the Aubergine which I hope you have enjoyed.

As you can see it has been a busy week in the kitchen, and so grateful to Carol for all the hard work that she has gone to again, to make recipes that do the ingredients justice.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Connect to Carol

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

 

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

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

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

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Smorgasbord Christmas Round Up – Songs, Stories, Poems, Books Galore and pets doing festive thangs……….


Image result for christmas gif pinterest

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun. Cannot believe how fast this year has gone but I only have to look back over the year’s posts, and particularly the contributions from so many to the blog, to appreciate the amount of effort and time so many of you have given to making my life amazing.

Today a look back at this week’s posts that you might have missed and also an update on the next week.

I am going to be in and out of the blog as I settle in to getting my next book up and running. However, I will be doing a review of 2017 with the top viewed posts under the various categories.. There will also be posts on the new promotions for authors and bloggers in the coming year, and some updated versions of existing ones.

Recently I posted about the new format for the blog, moving more towards a magazine style. I am delighted that we have some confirmed columnists who will focus on specific aspects of lifestyle and health.

William Price King will be our music columnist with not only more artists to showcase with their backgrounds and hits, but also posts on various aspects of music that will enhance our listening pleasure.

This week William shares some more of his favourite Christmas music with Natalie Cole singing Jingle Bells.

Paul Andruss will continue to contribute one of his unique and always fascinating posts each month, but he will also be sharing his gardening expertise in a monthly column.

This week Paul had written about the connections between Camelot, King Arthur and John F. Kennedy.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/smorgasbord-reblog-writer-in-residence-camelot-by-paul-andruss-jfk/

Carol Taylor will be our food columnist and will be sharing foods exotic and more everyday and include her wonderful recipes.

This week the ingredient in question had to be turkey of course.. and apart from the health benefits.. advice on how to buy, thaw and cook.. with delicious recipes for every part of the bird from Carol.

I will let you know about the other columns in due course and there will be some magazine favourites.. Including a monthly horoscope provided by a rather reclusive but talented astrologer.

Anyway time to get on with the show…..

My personal reviews and book recommendations from 2017

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/sally-cronins-book-reviews-2017-my-recommendations-for-christmas-mary-smith-judith-barrow-cynthia-reyes-kristina-stanley-and-jack-eason/

 

 

 

 

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/sally-cronins-book-reviews-2017-recommendations-for-christmas-d-g-kaye-john-w-howell-tony-riches-and-terry-tyler/

Christmas New Author on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-author-for-christmas-the-storyteller-speaks-by-annika-perry/

Christmas Book Fair specials

A selection of my books….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-extra-i-nearly-forgot-to-promote-my-own-books/

A selection of Children’s and YA books in the Cafe and Bookstore.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-childrens-and-ya-books-special/

Christmas Book Fair

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-cynthia-reyes-christy-birmingham-terry-tyler-sue-coletta-and-deborah-jay/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-yvonne-payne-linda-bethea-sacha-de-black-deborah-bowman/

Thom Hickey continues with the Christmas Cornucopia of Art, Music and Poetry

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-louis-armstrong-kay-starr-day-five-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-day-six-christina-rossetti-gothic-voices-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-day-seven-tintoretto-janet-baker-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-patrick-kavanagh-the-chieftains-day-eight-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archive-christmas-cornucopia-day-nine-rubens-chopin-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-day-ten-rublev-fats-waller-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-eleventh-day-emmylou-harris-lawrence-sail-by-thom-hickey/

There will be a special The Immortal Christmas Day post tomorrow at the same time. 

Five Part Christmas Story – The Snowman by Gordon Le Pard

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-snowman-a-story-for-christmas-part-one-by-gordon-le-pard/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-snowman-part-two-by-gordon-le-pard/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-snowman-part-three-by-gordon-le-pard/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-snowman-by-gordon-le-pard-part-four/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-snowman-the-finale-by-gordon-le-pard/

Christmas Posts from Your Archives

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-more-christmas-at-the-house-of-1000-santas-by-marcia-meara/

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-my-welsh-christmases-by-joy-lennick/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-magic-of-gifts-by-balroop-singh/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-youre-fired-a-christmas-fable-by-frank-parker/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-poetry-as-snow-falls-by-pamela-s-wight/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-christmas-story-in-scripture-and-songby-bette-a-stevens/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-little-match-girl-by-karen-dowdall-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-how-to-be-one-of-santas-elves-by-lillian-csernica/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-greetings-and-music-from-john-howell/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-twas-the-night-before-christmas-with-presents-to-wrap-by-judy-e-martin/

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-morning-after-the-zoos-christmas-party-photographed-by-the-story-reading-ape/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-looking-for-entertainment-for-christmas-party/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-my-archives-opening-the-presents-canine-style/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/smorgasbord-christmas-party-laughter-the-best-medicine/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/smorgasbord-christmas-laughter-academy-time-to-get-the-party-started/

Some personal stuff

garden-in-snow

 

haiku-2

 

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All that is left to say is Happy Christmas, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Buon Natale, Sona Nollag and Geseënde Kersfees

Best wishes for a fun, laughter and love filled holidays.

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Meleagris Gallopavo (you can eat if you can catch it) Turkey


This is the last in the current series of Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor.. The good news is that next year Carol will be taking on the role of Food Columnist for the blog magazine.. that is very exciting as I know that we are going to be introduced to exotic foods from Thailand as well as recipes that elevate our everyday foods to delicious and nutritious meals for all the family..

This week… The Turkey.. a bird that was usually eaten mainly at Thanksgiving and Christmas but is available all year in supermarkets and butchers. Before handing over to Carol.. a look at all the health benefits this large bird brings to the table.

Meleagris Gallopavo (you can eat if you can catch it) Turkey

The wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo (something to do with difficulty in catching it I think) is native to North America. The bird was brought into Europe, in the early part of the 16th century, by the Spaniards. The English name “Turkey” arose because of a confusion with Guinea Fowl – which were imported through Turkey, from Africa. Both birds were originally known as “Turks”. Eventually, in the 18th century, it was given its Latin name but the original name stuck.

The Native American Indian used the turkey as a staple of their diet. They introduced it to starving pilgrims, along with their native plants and seeds including corn and squash. The pilgrims were so grateful they celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621 where their American Indian friends were guests of honour.

Why is turkey so good for you?

Turkey is first and foremost a lean source of protein – 4 oz. gives you 65% of your daily protein requirement and has about half the amount of saturated fat that red meat does.

We are made of protein and we need it to repair ourselves – a bit like the bionic man – we take animal and vegetable protein, add some amino acids and rearrange the nitrogen from the mix to repair or make parts of our body. Don’t forget we are meat – and still a savoury delicacy in certain parts of the world.

Turkey is very high in methionine, which is an essential amino acid that ensures that any protein that we eat is completely used. This means that we get the maximum benefit from the turkey and is particularly important if we find it difficult to digest food as we get older.

Turkey is very high in the amino acid tryptophan, so it stimulates the B3 vitamin, Niacin, into producing serotonin the neurotransmitter. This has a calming effect, and helps depression (particularly useful after a family festive lunch!) And also helps us sleep well and feel good (afternoon siesta). Niacin is involved in cell health. DNA requires Niacin to be healthy and a deficiency of this B-vitamin – and the other B’s like 6 and 12 – has been linked to DNA damage that can lead to Cancer.

Turkey is very high in Selenium, which is a trace mineral and is fundamental to our general health. It is involved in thyroid hormone metabolism – antioxidant defence systems and our entire immune system health – many studies into this mineral are revealing its positive effect on cancers. As an antioxidant, it encourages DNA to repair cells and damaged cells to self-destruct.

Turkey is richer in calcium than any other meat and has over twice the calcium of chicken or beef. It also contains B6, which is extremely important for blood cell health.

It is also high in phosphorus, which is a fundamental need for bone and teeth formation and the production of red blood cells. Phosphorus is also part of the chemical energy store in each cell and in DNA – so is vital for cell health. One of the things to watch for with phosphorus, however, is that it you eat a great many processed foods you will find that they are far too high in the mineral and can cause an imbalance with other minerals.

So, Turkey is low fat – half the fat of chicken – low in cholesterol, sodium and calories. Finally it is also called a short fibre meat which means that it is very easily digestible for any age group.

How to select the best Turkey

I am a carnivore at heart (apologies vegetarians) and even though I do not eat a lot of red meat, I do eat fish and poultry. However, I was put off for a couple of years from eating Turkey at Christmas or any other time of year following the advert for cigars in 1989. For those who missed it – a flock of turkeys are surveying the darkening skies and flakes of snow begin to fall. They look at each other resignedly and head off into the turkey house where they light up a Hamlet Cigar. It was heart wrenching and I think it was salmon for lunch that year.  Just so that you can all feel the emotion here it is….sorry…..

There is usually some debate around the table on Christmas day as to who is getting the white meat and who the dark. Usually you end up with a bit of both but it is the white meat that is the most prized.

I am reliably informed that in the United States, turkeys are often bred by artificial insemination because they have now grown too large to get close enough to mate, which seems very sad considering they are also destined for the table. You would have thought they might have been granted a little fun along the way. A turkey can grow up to 70 lbs. but the average for a male (tom) is 20 lbs. and for a female (hen) around 12 lbs.

Buying your Turkey

Although I eat poultry I always buy from guaranteed organic and free range sources.  I am also keen that any food that we eat is farmed humanely as possible.  The fact is we as humans have been carnivores from the outset but there is still a long way to go in many parts of the world as to the level of respect we afford the animals we consume.

As the turkey has become more popular all year round, smaller breeds have been developed that weigh around 5 to 8 lbs. and fresh and frozen turkeys are now available at any time.

If the turkey is fresh the meat should be smooth, creamy and soft. If the turkey is whole make sure there are no bruises or cuts in the skin as this can lead to bacterial infection.

If the turkey is frozen it is more difficult to judge the condition of the bird but make sure that the wrapping is still intact.

Now over to Carol to share her recipes for the festive season and as a regular on your dinner table throughout the year.

I am going to keep it simple this week…It is the last post of the year in this series but…
The great news is I will be back with my own column in Sally’s magazine in the New Year…I am beyond excited…

In the UK alone last year over 10 million turkeys were eaten at Christmas so I expect there are quite a few chefs/people stating they have the recipe on how to cook the perfect turkey and a few who will be cooking the not so perfect turkey aka Mr Bean…

To cook the best turkey you need some delicious stuffing…

Mushroom stuffing using porcini mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 25g pack dried porcini mushrooms
  • 425ml hot vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp shredded basil
  • 4-6 tbsp grated parmesan

Let’s Cook!

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Oil a non-stick 12-hole bun tin and line holes with two strips baking parchment, to form a cross. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and pour over the hot vegetable stock. Leave for 20 mins, then strain, reserve the stock and chop the mushrooms, if large.

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and fry for 5 mins until softened. Add the pine nuts and fry until lightly toasted. Add the garlic, rice and cook for 2 mins.

Tip in wine, let it bubble, then add the reserved stock, mushrooms and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins, until the rice is just cooked. Remove from heat and cool, then stir in the egg, basil, pepper, and salt, if using.

Fill the tins with stuffing, sprinkle over parmesan. Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden on top. Cool in the tins, or for 5 mins if serving straight away. Remove by pulling up the parchment crosses.

You can make these up to two days ahead. Then reheat on an oiled baking sheet, at 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 for 10 mins.

You will find several other recipes from a post Carol wrote for The Recipe Hunter: https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/christmas-recipes-homemade-stuffing/

I stuff the neck cavity and just put onion or a lemon with some cloves and butter in the main body cavity. You could use fresh herbs and butter in all honesty mine does vary from year to year.

A tip is to include a small handful of rice in the stuffing as it absorbs all the raw juices from the turkey creating the most delicious stuffing.

I also cook my turkey breast down as then the juices fall into the breast which keeps it moist and succulent…

The turkey must then be turned over 30 minutes before it is done to brown the top….delicious.

Some chefs also push butter under the skin of the turkey…..

It really is personal choice and I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to prepare your turkey as we all have our own way of cooking this bird and all delicious there is no right or wrong way it’s personal preference so I am just going to give you a few different options..

Cooking Times:

Take the turkey from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while the oven is heating up.

Here is the link to a handy website: http://www.britishturkey.co.uk/cooking/cooking-calculators.html

This recipe is the one I am going to use this year because I don’t trust my oven temperature and I think adding the hot water into the cavity of the turkey will help not only keep it moist but will ensure it cooks properly

The night before roasting, soften some butter and season with salt and pepper mixing well.

I used about 6 oz of butter.

Remove the giblets from the bird and wipe it inside and out with kitchen paper. Remove any feathers… if there are a lot of them you can singe them over a gas flame.

I remember my dad doing that but most of the turkeys now are fully plucked and dressed..ours may not be as it is fresh from the farm so I am guessing it will have a few feathers left to pluck out…

Open the cavity of the bird and season the inside with the remaining salt and pepper. Rub the seasoned butter over the turkey. Take a piece of greaseproof paper twice the size of the breast and fold to give a double layer. Lay this over the breasts (it will protect them during the cooking) and return the turkey to the fridge until morning.

Calculate your cooking times and pre heat your oven… A 5kg bird should take 3 hrs 10 minutes at 180C(fan) 375F/Gas mark 5 approx as it will depend on your oven…

Stuff the turkey neck with your desired stuffing.

Sit the turkey on a trivet inside the tin. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and carefully pour around 250ml of the hot water into the cavity of the bird. Seal with a skewer.

Pour another 500ml of hot water into the roasting tray with some onions and carrots and a few fresh herbs Thyme and Rosemary plus some garlic cloves.

Then cover the whole thing with foil (I use two layers) and make sure that it is well sealed around the edges.

Put the lot in the oven and cook for 20 minutes on 250 C, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/Gas 5 for the remaining cooking time. After 2½ hours, remove the foil and the greaseproof paper and close the door. Don’t open it again until the cooking time is up.

To test whether the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer or knife blade into the point where the thigh joins the breast. The juice should run clear. If it is pink, then roast the turkey for another 20 minutes and test again.

If you are using a meat thermometer then it should read 180F in thigh and 165F in breast or stuffing.

Take the bird from the oven and leave it to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.

Strain the juice from the bottom of the roasting tin into a large jug to settle. The fat will rise to the top, leaving the aromatic turkey and onion juice beneath. Skim off the fat and thicken the juices if you wish, or serve as it is…..

Enjoy!

The turkey Carcass…

I have many happy memories of the luscious soup my mum used to make with the left over turkey carcass…Do you????

Ingredients:

  • Turkey Carcass
  • 2 large Onions chopped
  • 4 carrots chopped and divided into 2 halves
  • 3 potatoes chopped
  • 1-2 cups rough chopped cabbage
  • 3 celery stalks 2 rough chopped and one cut into bite sized pieces
  • A Cup uncooked barley or mixed dried lentils
  • A sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • Worchestershire sauce ( optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Water to cover carcass .

N.B. You can use any vegetables which you have available sometimes I add some swede or turnip it depends what I have ….anything goes sweetcorn…just some examples ..What do you use?????

Let’s Cook!

In a large pot put the chicken carcass and cover with water add your roughly cut carrot, onion, a bay leaf and thyme sprig bring the water to the boil reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2 hours.

Take the turkey bones out of the pot and pick off any meat. If required chop the meat and reserve. Throw away the bones and strain the broth through a fine sieve reserving the liquid and discarding the cooked vegetable.

In a clean soup pot add the strained broth add the remaining raw chopped vegetables carrot, onion, celery, potato, cabbage) parsley, barley, and simmer for an hour until the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning and add worchestershire sauce if using.

My mum would sometimes add dumplings or we would eat with fresh crusty bread.

It is a lovely soup basically using leftovers and my kids still love this and remind me sometimes of their memories of eating this soup….

I think that is what makes turkey such a special meal..The memories we make…..

My Christmas this year is going to be mixed as my Thai family are coming so it will some of us up the table and some on traditional mats on the floor and I daresay some chilli dips…. I know they will eat the meat and vegetables, they love sausage…The sauces and potatoes maybe not and they tend to like the gravy but we will see …

I hope they will enjoy being sort of part of our traditional Christmas dinner mixed with a few chillies and raw veg…. It will fun and no doubt the traditional whiskey will be lurking around and I know they love my Baileys… well the ladies do…

So this is not so many recipes in this my last post but I hope you have enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy your Christmas….

As always Sally has provided an insight into the benefits of eating turkey and as a meat it is low fat….Her knowledge of the benefits and nutrition of foods is astounding and I wish to thank her for allowing me to complement her health knowledge with my recipes…

Merry Christmas one and all xxxx

And I am very grateful for the wonderful season of recipes that Carol has provided for us and delighted that she will be back next year in the role of Food Columnist… . More on the new columns that will be part of the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine after Christmas.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Connect to Carol

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

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

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

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

Smorgasbord Weekly Round up – Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Three Sisters and Walnuts.


Welcome to the weekly round up.. I have been at my last Christmas fair this afternoon so a little later than planned.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed archive posts, original articles and to all of you who have visited and shared those posts.. ♥

William Price King shared the last post in the Abba Series and the wonderful King Singers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with The Twelve Days of Christmas.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/william-price-king-meets-some-legends-abba-the-1980s/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/an-evening-with-william-price-king-christmas-music-the-twelve-days-of-christmas-the-kings-singers-and-the-mormon-tabernacle-choir/

Writer in residence Christmas Story Part One and Two – The Three Sisters

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/writer-in-residence-paul-andruss-christmas-story-the-three-sisters-part-one/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/writer-in-residence-paul-andruss-christmas-story-the-three-sisters-part-two/

And a detailed look at the birth of Jesus.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/smorgasbord-christmas-reblog-miss-a-word-in-your-ear-by-paul-andruss/

Carol Taylor Cook From Scratch and this week the lovely, crunchy walnuts.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/smorgasbord-health-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-taylor-walnuts-are-all-they-are-cracked-up-to-be/

Christmas Book Fair

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-bette-a-stevens-phillip-t-stephens-julie-lawford-john-maberry-and-annette-rochelle-aben/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-andrew-joyce-helen-jones-and-john-fioravanti/

Thomas the Rhymer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-paul-andruss-c-s-boyack-carmen-stefanescu-paul-cude-and-angie-dokos/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fairjaye-marie-anita-dawes-paulette-mahurin-ritu-bhathal-and-natalie-ducey/

New Author on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-author-on-the-shelves-ny-times-bestseller-identity-crisis-sam-mcrae-mystery-book-1-by-debbi-mack/

Thom Hickey – 12 posts daily until the big day. – Christmas Cornucopia – Art, Music and poetry.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-first-day-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-second-day-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-day-three-elvis-john-betjeman-by-thom-hickey/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-cornucopia-day-fourroger-miller-billy-eckstine-by-thom-hickey/

Posts from Christmas Archives

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-13-trolls-of-christmas-by-carol-taylor/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-holiday-wishes-my-christmas-wish-by-d-g-kaye/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-christmas-archives-planet-earth-from-space-at-night-by-the-story-reading-ape/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/smorgasbord-reblog-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-it-is-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-christmas-by-darlene-foster/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-merry-christmas-and-seasons-greeings-from-nicholas-rossis/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-past-by-jemima-pett/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-significance-of-christmas-by-chuck-jackson/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-my-fathers-a-goldfish-a-time-to-remember-by-mary-smith/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-girl-who-loved-christmas-by-micki-peluso/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/smorgasbord-reblog-christmas-posts-from-your-blog-to-reduce-visual-overwhelm-as-you-deck-your-halls-by-madelyn-griffith-haynie/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/smoregasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-christmas-past-by-sue-vincent/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-santas-workshop-open-for-business-by-lillian-csernica/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-jans-top-ten-best-books-for-2016-by-jan-sikes/

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-santas-elves-the-four-legged-variety/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-time-for-some-festive-fun-and-a-recipe-for-disaster/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/afternoon-video-something-to-put-you-into-the-christmas-spirit/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-more-festive-nonsense/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-elderly-road-trip-and-stuff-from-the-story-reading-ape/

Personal Stuff

val-thorens

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-my-archives-entice-the-daring-haiku/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-my-archives-some-christmas-music-from-star-trek-to-wham/

Thank you once again for contributing, liking, commenting and sharing.. you are all stars.. Sally

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – The magnificent humble potato


Welcome to the Carol Taylor cooking show… with a bit in the front end on the health benefits of the star ingredients from me.

This week a reminder of why potatoes are so good for us.

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 and I would like to introduce you to a common vegetable that is definitely on my shopping list.

potatoesThe not so common Potato

You cannot claim Irish ancestry and not be aware of the significance of the potato in our history. For my great-grandfather, as a child in Cork, in the 1830s, the potato would have been an essential and daily addition to his diet.  By 1845 by the start of the great famine in Ireland caused by the potato blight, over a third of Irish people were reliant on this humble vegetable to sustain their families.  My family were lucky in as much as they were close to the sea and had access to other foods but for millions inland it was the most devastating disaster in Irish history.  Apart from those that perished, it instigated a mass migration that was to impact countries around the world.  So why should the potato be considered so nutritionally important to us today?

Potatoes were the most common carbohydrate for most of us in the western world up until after the second world war.  Another ten years and we were starting to develop more exotic tastes and first the Indian restaurants and then the Chinese introduced us to rice in its various varieties. And, over the last 50 years or so they have been chucked in and out of our diet at the whim of “experts” who one minute want us to stop eating carbohydrates, then they are in, then they are out………….

In my mind they should definitely be in and I hope that when you have read all the history of this simple but essential vegetable and all that it offers you too will include in your weekly shop.

The history of the potato.

There are some legends regarding the introduction of the potato into Ireland, around 1600. Some believe that Sir Frances Drake brought specimens back from the West Indies and handed some over to Sir Walter Raleigh who cultivated them on his farm in Ireland. I prefer the far more quirky explanation that potatoes were washed up on the shore after the Armada was sunk and – with typical Irish ingenuity – were transformed into a national treasure and alcoholic beverage.

This humble root vegetable has travelled thousands of miles to adorn our dinner plates and there is archaeological evidence that they were first cultivated in Peru around 4,500 years ago although wild potatoes had been eaten as early as 10,000 years ago.  I would imagine that ancient civilisations would have also eaten them in one form or another.

Wheat and corn could not survive the cold of the mountains in the same way as the potato, and the Inca cultures actually developed frost-resistant varieties and a technique to freeze dry the mature root, providing flour that could be stored for a number of years. Like in Ireland, the potato became the staple food for South American’s living at high altitudes and they even produced alcohol in the form of a beer called chicha.

As I mentioned, in recent years carbohydrates have found disfavour with the diet industry and unfortunately this includes the potato. In fact the potato  has far fewer calories than rice, pasta and bread; provided it is not laden with cheese and butter. It is a highly nutritious, low fat and healthy accompaniment to any meal.

There are over 100 different types of cultivated potatoes available today, and some of the more familiar to us are the King Edward, Maris Piper, Kerr Pink and Rooster varieties. Some older varieties were reflective of the time they were cultivated, such as Irish Peace.

What Are The Health Benefits Of The Potato?

There is a very good reason why the potato has been regarded as a staple food in so many cultures. When conditions are tough, and nothing else will grow, the potato will thrive and provide many essential nutrients the body needs to survive.

Provided you do not eat a pound of saturated fat with your potatoes (a bit of real butter however is delicious!), including them as part of your diet may prevent a number of potentially serious illnesses. Research into elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, poor immune system function, cancer and hormonal imbalance show that the properties in the potato could well help prevent these conditions from developing in the first place. If you need to lose weight, eating potatoes will provide you with a great many nutrients and energy without adding excess calories or fats to your daily diet.

Despite being around for thousands of years this vegetable still holds surprises and recently scientists have isolated kukoamines in potatoes. Previously, these were only found in some Chinese herbal remedies. The main property of this chemical is its ability to reduce blood pressure levels. As elevated blood pressure is becoming increasingly more common, for both men and women, eating potatoes regularly in the diet could be very beneficial.

Potatoes are also high in Vitamin C, B6, Copper, Potassium, manganese and fibre. They also contain phytonutrients called flavonoids and carotenoids that are extremely important anti-oxidants.

Most of us are familiar with the health benefits of Vitamin C especially in relation to our immune system, but this vitamin also protects the harmful cholesterol LDL from oxidative damage, which leads to plaque forming and blocking our arteries.

Vitamin B6 is involved in nearly every major process in the body and is necessary for the health of each cell in our bodies. It also assists in the formation of several neurotransmitters in the brain and helps regulate our mood.

High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease and B6 has been shown to lower homocysteine levels in the blood.

B6 is necessary for the formation of haemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrying pigment in our blood, and is therefore linked to our energy levels. B6 also helps balance female hormones so eating potatoes regularly as part of a balanced diet is useful for PMS and other hormonal imbalances.

Copper is an essential trace element needed to absorb and utilise iron. It is needed to make ATP, which is the fuel that we run on, and some hormones and blood cells.

Potassium 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 correct fluid balance in the body. Without the correct amount of potassium our heartbeats can become irregular.

Manganese is needed for healthy skin, bone and cartilage formation as well as ensuring glucose tolerance. It is also part of our antioxidant defence system.

It is important that you eat the skin of the potato as this contains a concentrated source of fibre, which our bodies need to remove waste and toxins efficiently. If you buy pre-washed potatoes, remember to clean them before eating as the potato will have become susceptible to fungus and bacterial contamination. Scrub the potato under running water and remove any eyes or bruises before cooking. You can boil, bake, dry roast, mash and dice potatoes. If you want to mash or roast with a little fat, use olive oil and herbs rather than butter or margarine.

Next time you pass the display of potatoes in a supermarket don’t think “fattening”, think “mashed with a little olive oil and garlic” or “roasted with rosemary and Mediterranean vegetables with a little lamb on the side”!

Now I am going to hand over to Carol who is elevating this ‘not so common’ potato to even greater heights.

One of the world’s favourite vegetables… The Potato.

The shape and colour of potatoes vary from brown to red and most that I buy have the light brown skins some are suitable for use in salads like the Charlotte potato which is waxy while floury potatoes like the Maris Piper are ideal for mash and baking. The red skinned potato which is also lower in starch than its brown cousin can be boiled, fried, steamed it has so many uses and also it is down to individual preference we all have our favourites…

My favourite, which I can’t get here, are the Jersey Royals available for a very short period April to July and are delicious just boiled or steamed with a sprig of mint and a bit of butter.

For many years potatoes have been vilified and banned on many diets however common sense is now prevailing in most camps and as it has only about 110 calories and is naturally fat free, has zero sodium or cholesterol and more potassium than a banana it is now encouraged to be part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

That is the potato with nothing on it!

It becomes unhealthy when you load it up with all your favourite things.

The recipes I have chosen to share with you today are potatoes cooked with healthy, fresh ingredients which I hope you enjoy!

My first recipe is a very simple recipe using my favourite new potatoes.New potato Skewers.

Ingredients

  • New potatoes
  • Bay leaves
  • Shallots or salad onions peeled and halved
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil

Let’s Cook!

Gently clean the new potatoes and par-boil for 5 minutes. Thread onto the skewers with the salad onions and bay leaves…I sometimes add a few peeled cloves of garlic. Brush with Olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and BBQ or grill for about 10 minutes turning occasionally until nicely browned.

Serve with a fresh salsa or Greek yoghurt dip or dip of your choice or as I do just enjoy on their own with a little additional salt.

They can also be eaten with fish or meat as a side dish.

Jacket Potatoes

Can be served every which way, some microwave them (yuk) I prefer mine crispy skinned….They can be loaded with coleslaw, cheese, butter and this is where they become very unhealthy…As a treat maybe but I find that now I can’t take the taste and it reaks havoc with the tum..I am not used to so much fat……

I love mine topped with a home made chilli con carne, some prawns with a light dressing, bacon, avocado,salsa and a little cheese, sour cream mixed with horseradish and a couple of prawns or cottage cheese and a roasted tomato…What is your favourite topping???? Answers in the comments please.

Next we have Boulangere Potatoes….

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2km of floury potatoes
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 onions thinly slices
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil.
  • 425ml vegetable stock.

Let’s Cook

Pre-heat oven to 200C/180Cfan/Gas 6.

Slice the potatoes thinly by hand or use the food processor or if you are apt with a mandolin then be careful. Put in cold water while you prepare the onions.

Fry the onions until soft and lightly coloured with the sprigs of thyme this takes about 5 minutes.

Using a 1.5 litre oiled gratin dish or other oven proof dish start by spreading a layer of potatoes over the base of the dish, sprinkle with a few onions then continue layering… finishing with a layer of potatoes.

Pour the stock over the potatoes and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and the top is golden brown and crispy.

Serve with meat or fish and a salad or steamed vegetables of your choice.
Then tell me that you didn’t miss the addition of cream and cheese.

Chicken and Potato Parcels.

Ingredients

4 large skinless boneless chicken thighs

    • 4 medium potatoes thinly sliced
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper to season
    • 4tbsp melted butter or olive oil
    • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
    • Lemon slices
    • 4 squares of foil.

Let’s Cook

On each of the foil sheets arrange the potato slices overlapping them slightly, season with a pinch of salt. Top with the chicken thigh and drizzle with melted butter or olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top each parcel with lemon slices and fresh rosemary. Seal each little parcel.

Cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. I always undo the foil for the last 5/10 mins just to give the top a little colour.

A nice quick meal when you don’t have time or are just tired after a day’s work…Serve with a salad or some steamed vegetables and a nice glass of wine.

Now let’s not forget about the sweet potato.

A root vegetable that resembles a potato, although it is quite different in both taste and texture. The skin is a pinkish orange and the flesh can be deep orange or we have purplish skinned ones here with a purple flesh. They have a slightly sweet flavour and I know my American cousins top them with marshmallows and bake them for Thanksgiving…This I have not tried….

I eat mine baked or mashed and prefer them to what I call normal potatoes although the men folk in my house disagree with me on this…

They are also lovely in a curry…..For the prawn, sweet potato and lime curry

Ingredients.

  • 2 tsp freshly grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp medium or hot curry paste
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4cm piece fresh root ginger peeled, cut into long thin strips
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed (optional), finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g can coconut milk
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 75g sugar snap peas
  • 75g baby corn, halved lengthways
  • 225g raw, peeled jumbo king prawns (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1 bunch spring onions trimmed and sliced
  • 1 lime juice only

Lets Cook!

Put a large pan over a medium heat and toast the coconut for a few minutes stirring all the time so it doesn’t burn. Put in a dish and set to one side.

Using the same pan on a medium heat add the curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring.

Add the sweet potato, ginger and chilli and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk and the stock and stir until it comes to a gentle rolling boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the sweet potato is almost tender.

Add the sugar snaps and baby corn and cook for 4/5 minutes or until tender stirring occasionally… Mix in the prawns and cook 2 minutes until they are just pink…remove from the heat. Add the spring onions and squeeze in the lime juice and season to taste.

Ladle in to serving bowls and scatter with the coconut serve with warm flat breads.

For a more substantial meal serve with steamed rice.

One of my favourite Curries is the Thai Massaman curry eaten more in the south of Thailand and not seen as often here in the North so it is just as well that I have the recipe and make my own it is a milder curry and always includes the potato which not many Thai dishes do.

Thai Massaman Curry

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm chicken or 2 chicken breasts cubed. You can also use thighs or the leg which is often used in the authentic rustic Thai Massaman.
  • 3- 4 tbsp massaman curry paste
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • Half cup good chicken stock
  • 1-2 med potatoes cubed
  • 1-2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 100 gm mushrooms quartered
  • 4-6 baby corn halved
  • 50 gm sugar snap peas
  • Chopped coriander
  • Peanuts (optional)

Let’s Cook!

Put a little coconut oil in a pan to heat add your curry paste and a tbsp fish sauce and cook stirring for about a minute.

Add your cubed chicken and stir to coat with the paste then add the coconut milk and stock stirring to combine properly bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for 10 minutes and then add your potatoes cook until potatoes cook for a further 15 minutes and add mushrooms, sweet corn and peas. Cook for a further 10 minutes.

Add some peanuts if using and stir in some chopped coriander. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve with steamed rice.

All the way through cooking taste and adjust your seasoning I add more fish sauce generally and quite a lot of coriander…

But it is personal taste and that is what cooking is all about.

N.B Please note that on my sons recent visit to the UK he was asked to make this curry….His brother said my coconut milk always separates can you tell me why what am I doing wrong???

The coconut milk he was using was not 100% coconut milk which was why…All of ours is here and I was under the impression that the same brands were also in the UK…Not so!

Please check that what you are using is 100% and if it isn’t be very careful that you don’t allow it to boil as it will separate.

Lastly one of my favourites….

Aloo Gobi …Indian potato and cauliflower curry.

Ingredients:

  • 400g floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper or King Edward), cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 1 large cauliflower , cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 small green chillies, pierced a few times
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 lime , juiced
  • small pack coriander, chopped

Let’s Cook!

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Tip the potatoes into a large pan, fill with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-6 mins until starting to soften but still holding their shape. Drain well.

On a large baking tray, toss the potatoes and cauliflower with the spices and 2 tbsp oil. Season well and roast for 45 mins, stirring halfway through cooking, until the veg is soft and starting to brown.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large pan. Fry the curry leaves and garlic for 1 min, making sure the garlic doesn’t brown. Add the tomatoes, chillies, sugar, lime juice and some seasoning. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins until the tomatoes have broken down.

Add the roasted veg to the tomatoes. Simmer for 5 mins, adding a splash of water if the curry gets too thick.

Stir through the coriander and serve with rice, warm naan bread and yogurt.

This is one of my favourites quite a dry dish and I usually use it as a side and if it just us halve the recipe.

I hope you have enjoyed these potato dishes and again thank you to Sally for letting me add my recipes to her very good advice on the benefits of the humble potato.

Just a bit of Trivia it is called Man Farang here…

And my thanks to Carol for another outstanding collection of recipes that are so easy to follow and we love to hear from you when you try them out.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Connect to Carol

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

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

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

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

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Smorgasbord Weekly Round up – Christmas Fairs, ABBA, Stuff and Apricots


Welcome to the first December round up and the start of the Christmas posts here on Smorgasbord. Off to a great start and there are still one or two slots open for Christmas posts from your past. Please flick through your posts from the last couple of years 2015 and 2016 and see if you have a short story, anecdote about Christmas, something about the traditions, a favourite family recipe..and send me the link. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I have been busy this weekend at a two day Christmas fair.. delighted to say that Sam’s memoir that I was privileged to be ghost writer for (he found it awkward to type) went down very well and if you missed this post yesterday with recipes for your fur family for Christmas you can find out how to get a FREE ebook of his story. Suitable for all ages.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/christmas-dinner-for-the-four-legged-guests-in-the-family-make-their-day-and-have-something-for-your-own-supper/

Of course I must thank everyone who has contributed this week including William Price King with two fantastic music posts, Carol Taylor with an archive post and a Christmas Cook from Scratch using beautifully healthy apricots.  And Paul Andruss with a reblog of his post ‘Stuff’  you know that ‘stuff’ that we have buried in cupboards and we add to each year with more ‘stuff’ wrapped in festive paper.

This is the third week of the Quiz night.. answers tomorrow night.  You still have time to enter to win a copy of Debra Russell’s Trivia Lover’s Ultimate Reference and one of my ebooks.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/smorgasbord-quiz-night-trivia-lovers-ultimate-reference-questions-by-debra-russell-winner-receives-two-free-books-week-three/

And of course everyone who has contributed posts from their archives… what a fascinating cross section of subjects.

Personal Stuff

I have reviewed Tipping Point: Project Renova Book One by Terry Tyler.. and can highly recommend.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/smorgasbord-sallys-book-reviews-tipping-point-tipping-point-project-renova-book-one-by-terry-tyler/

Anyway… time to get on with the rest of the posts from this week…

Moyhill Publishing was delighted to sponsor the first prize in Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Contest and the winner was Heather Kindt. This week saw the release of her debut novel. Ruby Slips and Poker chips and it would be fantastic if you would pop in and share if you have not already done so.. most of us know what it is like to be a first time author and a boost is always encouraging. We were so pleased to play a part in its production.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-author-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-ruby-slips-and-poker-chips-by-heather-kindt-wordweavercontest-winner/

And on that note…

We are so pleased to have received three new testimonials for Moyhill and if you are interested in what David is up to…..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/moyhill-publishing-working-with-indie-authors-established-2004/

William Price King meets some Legends.

Part two of the ABBA story with plenty of hits to get you up dancing.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/william-price-king-meets-some-legends-abba-mid-1970s/

An Evening with William Price King.. Ella Fitzgerald sings Sleigh Ride.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/an-evening-with-william-price-king-christmas-music-sleigh-ride-2/

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss

A wry look at the ‘stuff’ we will be accumulating this Christmas.. to add to our other ‘stuff’

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/smorgasbord-reblog-writer-in-residence-stuff-by-paul-andruss/

Carol Taylor

Two posts this week for Christmas – the first a very refreshing Pomelo salad that would be great between some of the festive meals you are bound to be eating in the next few weeks.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archive-pomelo-salad-moment-is-to-enjoy-it-by-carol-taylor/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/smorgasbord-health-christmas-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-taylor-the-amazing-apricot/

Contributors

J.Hope Suis looks at the main issues that hold us back… and the keys to unlocking the barriers we erect.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-the-keys-by-j-hope-suis/

Thom Hickey shares a poem that he wrote in tribute to his father.. and his memories of listening to radio broadcasts during key games of hurling.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-once-in-a-blue-moon-a-poem-static-by-thom-hickey/

Christoph Fischer explores are depiction of the superhero and whether we are forgetting the ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-do-characters-all-have-to-be-super-heroes-brave-unfallible-and-larger-than-life-honouring-realism-and-the-right-to-be-human-by-christoph-fischer/

Allan Hudson shares five of his favourite books from his lifetime of reading.. definitely worth checking out.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-my-five-favourite-books-by-allan-hudson/

William Spivey shares his thoughts on having a reliable sounding board when it comes to matters of the heart.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-most-of-us-need-a-love-sounding-board-by-william-spivey/

Frank Parker shares the story of Henry II and his rather two-faced approach to monogamy..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-henry-ii-a-right-royal-hypocrite-by-frank-parker/

Darlene Foster shares the sights and sounds of Malta which brought back wonderful memories for me from my childhood.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/smorgasbord-reblog-posts-from-your-archives-return-to-malta-by-darlene-foster/

Annika Perry with a very emotive story about fading dreams.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-short-story-the-bike-by-annika-perry/

Marian Beaman shares the secret treasures found in her mother’s dresser that are family heirlooms.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-moments-of-discovery-8-whats-inside-moms-buffet-by-marian-beaman/

 

Norah Colvin shares her efforts to establish an alternative school to the state provided ones in her area and also the time spent home schooling her children.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/the-accidental-home-schooler-by-norah-colvin/

What is your definition of success and are you setting the bar too high without appreciating what it takes and what you have achieved to get there? Susan Toy explores…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-at-which-point-do-you-consider-yourself-to-be-successful-by-susan-m-toy/

Kevin Cooper shares the first part of his posts on life in Kentucky in the 1980s.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-kentucky-days-by-kevin-cooper/

D. Wallace Peach with a wonderful short story about love across the years.. get the tissues ready!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-the-snow-globe-by-d-wallace-peach/

Mike of A Bit About Britain shares the history of the Christmas Card… from humble beginnings to a billion dollar business.. perhaps we should all be writing the verses inside them!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-a-bit-about-christmas-cards-by-mike-of-a-bit-about-britain/

Christmas book fair.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-tina-frisco-hugh-w-roberts-and-darlene-foster/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-judy-martin-charles-e-yallowitz-and-terri-webster-schrandt/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-vashti-quiroz-vega-dan-alatorre-and-mary-smithJessica Norrie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-christmas-book-fair-jessica-norrie-brigid-gallagher-and-gigi-sedlmayer/

New Book for Christmas

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-author-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-against-the-tide-by-john-f-hanley/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/smorgasbord-new-book-for-christmas-a-tanka-picture-book-by-annette-rochelle-aben/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-author-on-shelves-for-christmas-poetry-chicken-shift-by-d-avery/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-author-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-sea-of-dreams-the-power-of-four-volume-1-by-d-a-henneman/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-for-christmas-life-in-a-flash-by-geoff-le-pard/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-for-christmas-on-the-edge-of-a-raindrop-by-sarah-brentyn/comment-page-1/#comment-118463

 

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/smorgasbor-afternoon-video-who-let-the-dog-out-please-let-him-in-again/

This dog reverses the roles on his master….he has a great sense of humour.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-lets-play-with-the-hose-he-said/

These workmen are taking their lives in their hands… or feet….What were they thinking?

25461-H&S

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/what-were-they-thinking-dont-try-this-at-home/

Thank you so much for all your kind likes, comments and shares this week.. You are a huge part of making this blog work and I am very grateful..

Smorgasbord Health – Christmas Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – The Amazing Apricot


Welcome to this week’s post on the wonderful foods available to us that are not only nutrient packed but also delicious when handed over to Carol Taylor to prepare.  This week the little yellow fruit that has an interesting history and next time you are going to a wedding take a bag with you!

Dried apricots are in season all year around and as you will read in Carol’s part of the post they are important nutritionally too. Since we are now in the run up to Christmas, Carol will also be adding in some suggestions of how to add apricots into your festive cooking.

More about the apricot

The apricot season opens at the beginning of May and goes through to the end of August or early September, which gives us five months to enjoy this highly nutritious and healing food.   This week some friends of us dropped around with a large bag of the fruit straight from the tree in their garden and we are slowly working our way through this delicious bounty.

First though a little history about this luscious golden yellow fruit. In China over 4000 years ago a bride will have not only had something borrowed and something blue but would have also been nibbling on an apricot. It was prized for its ability to increase fertility, which is not surprising, as it is high in nutrients necessary for the production of sex hormones.

The Latin name for the apricot is “praecocia” which means precocious or early ripening. It is part of the rose family and is a cousin to the peach, plum, cherry and the almond. In China it first grew wild in the mountains before being introduced to Arab traders who took it with them along the trade routes to Babylon and Persia where they were called the “eggs of the sun”. Over the following centuries the fruit continued its travels reaching Greece where the juice was known as “nectar of the Gods, then onto Spain, Mexico and North America. It is now cultivated in all warm climates around the world and used as a sweet and savoury addition to a healthy diet.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE APRICOT?

As with any fresh fruit the apricot is packed with fibre and nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, Vitamin E, Potassium and Iron. Of particular interest from a therapeutic viewpoint are its high levels of carotenoids.

Carotenoids are responsible for the wonderfully rich reds, oranges and yellow colouring of plant leaves, fruits, flowers and some birds, insects and fish such as salmon. There are around 600 carotenoids that occur naturally and the apricot has two in particular that benefit us, Beta-carotene and lycopene.

Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy sight especially at night. As with any part of the body the sensitive components of the eye are as vulnerable to oxidative damage as any other and Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to degenerative eye disease in many research programmes. It has also shown that eating just three portions a day of yellow and orange fruit and vegetables such as apricots and carrots would lower the risk of poor eyesight as we age.

As an anti-oxidant, beta-carotene protects the LDL or harmful cholesterol from free radical damage that can cause plaque to form in the arteries. A build up of plaque can lead to both heart disease and a higher risk of stroke.

Lycopene is usually associated with bright red fruits such as tomatoes but it is also present in apricots. As well as helping protect the eyes from degenerative disease, lycopene is associated with a reduction in damage to LDL cholesterol and a much lower risk of developing a number of cancers including bladder, breast, cervix, prostate and skin.

There has been considerable interest in the medicinal properties of the apricot kernel for the last 40 years. There has been some controversial claims made about cancer curing abilities that has not been well received by the medical profession or pharmaceutical companies. Hopefully ongoing research will prove that this is a natural alternative to the highly invasive treatments currently available such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Modern scientists are not the first researchers in history to explore the possibilities of the apricot kernel.

WHAT ARE THE MEDICINAL USES OF APRICOTS?

In ancient China over 4,000 years ago, healers used a medicine made from the kernels to prolong life. Additionally the oils from the kernels were used as a sedative, muscle relaxant, in wound healing and as an anti-parasitic.

The apricot’s fibre makes it a gentle laxative; aids weight loss and reduces cholesterol in the blood. Its alkaline properties aid digestion if eaten before a meal and due to the high content of iron it is excellent for anyone suffering from anaemia. Apricots also contain a small but essential amount of copper, which may increase the production of haemoglobin in the blood providing more oxygen and therefore energy for the body.

Over the centuries the juice of apricots mixed with honey has been used to treat fevers and the juice from the leaves appears to reduce the inflammation caused by eczema and sunburn.

So this small fruit has a large reputation and certainly in the fight against the most common modern diseases such as elevated cholesterol, heart disease and cancers it would definitely be worth including in your diet on a daily basis.

BUYING APRICOTS.

Apricots are best eaten when still a little firm. If they are not fully ripe when you buy them keep them in a fruit bowl for two to three days and then store in paper or plastic bag in the fridge for up to three days.

Apart from eating them fresh you can use them in cooking by stewing, grilling, baking or roasting and they are delicious as an accompaniment to meat and poultry dishes or in desserts. As a pre dinner snack they are delicious halved and stuffed with a cream cheese and chopped nuts. For a main course serve in a fresh spinach and walnut salad with roast salmon.

If you want to use dried apricots out of season then do buy guaranteed sulphite free brands as there are many people who react to this preservative. Asthma sufferers in particular should avoid any food containing sulphites including inexpensive wine, baked goods, soup mixes, jams, snacks and most dried fruit.

Now it is time to hand over a bag of apricots to Carol Taylor to turn into fabulous recipes for you to indulge in.

I call it the amazing Apricot as it virtually alongside the doctors saved my life…No kidding about 20 years ago I was very, very anaemic so much so that I was whisked into hospital at a moment’s notice and operated on…Amongst other factors my iron levels were practically nonexistent and apart from medical intervention I was advised to eat dried apricots…They have always been one of my favourite fruits so although I had little appetite I was happy to nibble on those little golden pieces of heaven.

It took a few weeks before I was even close to being human again but I do credit those little apricots with contributing to helping to increase my iron levels.

Anyway, enough about me and…..

Let’s Cook!

Apricots are a versatile little fruit which make a lovely jam and the recipe which I am going to start with as it is the basis for much more than just putting on your toast…

Apricot and Orange Blossom Jam.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg apricots stoned and halved….If the apricots are large then cut into quarters.
  • 750 gm preserving sugar
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp of Orange blossom water
  • A few knobs of butter (optional). The butter helps dissolve the scum on the top of the jam if there is any.

Let’s Cook!

Mix the apricots and the sugar together, cover and leave to stand overnight. I have to stand mine in a tray of water otherwise the pesky ants get into the sugar they don’t like swimming the moat however.

Put a saucer in the freezer.

When ready to cook put the apricots into a preserving pan which is flatter, wider and better for cooking preserves, add the lemon juice and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar had dissolved then bring the apricots to a rolling boil for about 15 minutes.

Remove the saucer from the freezer and the pan from the heat and spoon a little jam on to the cold saucer, if the mixture wrinkles when it cools then the jam has reached its setting point.

If it is too runny then return the pan to the heat and bring to a rolling boil for 2-3 minutes then add another spoonful of jam to the saucer, repeat until the jam reaches its setting point.

Then skim the surface of the jam to remove any scum which has formed and stir in the orange blossom and the butter if using. The butter helps dissolve any remaining scum.

Leave the jam to cool for 15 minutes before transferring to sterilised jars.

This jam will keep in the fridge for about 6 weeks.

Apricots wrapped in bacon make a lovely accompaniment to your Christmas turkey instead of sausages.

A lovely apricot glaze for your Christmas ham.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Apricot jam
  • 1 tsp of mustard powder.

Mix the ingredients together then brush your ham before you bake it with the glaze and then brush with the remainder of the glaze about 20 minutes from the end of the cooking time.

It makes a lovely ham taste even better.

Dipping sauce for coconut prawns or chicken.

  • ½ cup of apricot jam
  • 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp horseradish

Just combine the ingredients and you have a lovely dipping sauce.

Pork Loin is a wonderful thing stuffed with a beautiful homemade stuffing.

Ingredients for Apricot stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp of minced or finely chopped garlic
  • 16 whole cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of minced fresh rosemary or snip with scissors
  • 16 dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • Oil to cook garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to season

Let’s cook

Cook the garlic cloves in oil until soft and lightly coloured, remove from the oil and retain the oil.

Take your piece of pork loin and slit through the middle length wise so making a long pocket do not take it right to the end.

With a brush coat the insides of the pocket with oil from the cooked garlic. Now the original recipe stated add everything in layers I found this humanely impossible so on my second attempt I mixed all the ingredients together using only 1 tbsp of the rosemary and stuffed the loin..my piece was about 1.5 kilos and I used the end of a plastic sauce bottle to push the stuffing to the end of the pork.

Hubby then tied the pork loin together with kitchen string. I then brushed the outside with the remaining garlic oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper before roasting.

Enjoy!

Apricot Dumplings

My mum used to make apple dumplings and they were really lovely and I have happy thoughts when I think of those ….These Apricot ones now take first place as they are awesome… A recipe given to me by my Swiss friend who calls them Wachauer Aprikosennodel and they truly are delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of cold cooked potatoes
  • 3 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
  • 3/8ths cup of butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 12 whole apricots
  • 12 lumps of sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups of bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup castor sugar
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt

Sauce ingredients:

  • 10 apricot halves
  • ¼ cup of apricot juice
  • ¼ cup of brandy

Let’s Cook!

Grate the potatoes. Measure and sift flour. Measure the butter. Soak sugar lumps in brandy.

Remove stone of whole apricots. Measure the breadcrumbs, sugar and brandy. Measure the ingredients for sauce. Mix flour with grated potato, add salt and egg yolk. Rub in butter and then turn dough out onto a floured board and knead.

Press out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Place a lump of brandied sugar in each half apricot, cover with another apricot half. Cut dough into 4-inch squares. Place apricot in the centre and wrap dough around, squeezing edges of dough together.

Trim off outside. Roll dumpling between palms of hands. Drop dumplings into a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Boil gently for 12 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Fry the bread crumbs with the sugar and 3 tablespoons fresh butter until crisp. Roll the dumplings in the bread crumbs and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place onto a heated serving dish.

To make the sauce:

Place apricot halves with brandy and apricot juice into a blender and puree. Heat the sauce gently in a saucepan.

Coat the dumplings with the apricot sauce. Serve the remaining sauce separately.

Enjoy!

Lastly some little Christmas macaroons…

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup of apricot jam

Let’s Cook!

Pre heat oven to 350 F.

In a food processor grind almond, sugar and salt (I leave mine a little coarse) add egg whites and vanilla then pulse until the mixture forms a ball.

With wet hands as the mix is very sticky shape a level tbsp of the mix into balls and then make an indent in the centre of each ball with a moist finger.

Bake until crackly and light golden approx 15 – 20 mins depending on your oven.

Cool for 5 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Warm the jam over a low heat and then put a tsp of jam in the centre of each cookie. Leave to cool.

Enjoy!

Thank you once again to Sally for her marvellous information on the health benefits of the humble apricot and I hope you all enjoyed the recipes…If you have a favourite recipe then please let us know.

As you can see in the hands of an expert, even the humble apricot acheives great things.. thank to Carol for all her efforts.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Connect to Carol

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

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

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

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

 

Smorgasbord Christmas posts from Your Archive – Pomelo Salad by Carol Taylor


This is from the archives of Carol Taylor. Although not official a Christmas post, as we approach the richness of the food in the run up to the holidays you might think about adding in a few dishes that are light and fresh.

 The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it!  Carol Taylor

Pomelo Salad

Pomelo Salad or as it is known here Yum Som O is a wonderful light refreshing salad made with Thai Grapefruit( Pink Grapefruit) can be substituted and there is very little difference in flavour.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pink Grapefruit or 1 Pomelo.
  • 12-16 peeled shrimps.
  • Sm.cucumber diced.
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced shallots.
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thai Basil or Mint.
  • 1/4 cup Fresh coriander.
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts/cashews.
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut.
  • 1 Red Chilli finely sliced.

Dressing:

  • Half to 1 lime.
  • 3 tbsp Fish Sauce.
  • 1-2 tbsp palm sugar.
  • 1 -2 red chillies finely sliced.
  • Kaffir Lime leaf very finely sliced for garnish.

Method:

Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add shrimp and boil just a few minutes, until shrimp turn pink and plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.

Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and stir until coconut turns light golden brown and fragrant. Tip coconut into a small bowl to cool and set aside.Repeat with shallots frying in a little oil until golden and crispy tip into a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Prepare your grapefruit or pomelo, removing as much of the white peel as possible from the fruit. Break into bite-size pieces – 3 to 4 cups is a good amount. Set prepared fruit in a salad bowl.

Add to the bowl: cucumber, basil/mint, coriander, and fresh chilli.

Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.

To put the salad together: Add shrimp to the salad bowl, then pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine. Add most of the toasted coconut, shallots and nuts, reserving a little for garnishing, then toss again. Taste-test the salad for a balance of sweet/sour/spicy/salty.

Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar if too sour. For more depth of flavour, add a little Fish

Sauce. Your salad is now ready to serve. Top with reserved coconut, nuts and shredded lime leaf, and ENJOY!

Tip: Like most Thai salad dressings, this is an oil-free dressing, so it doesn’t appear to ‘cling’ as well as oil-based dressings, naturally collecting at the bottom of your salad bowl. This isn’t a problem – just be sure to toss a little more than you would for a regular salad in order to saturate ingredients with the dressing.

This salad is better served and eaten immediately, the fresher the better. If preparing for a party, keep the dressing apart from the salad until you’re ready to eat, then toss them together just before serving.

I do hope you enjoy as this is one of my favourite salads, I do shred my Pomelo much finer though rather than having too chunky. But as with anything, it is personal preference.

©Carol Taylor 2015

My thanks to Carol for sharing this deliciously refreshing salad that would be a welcome change to the sweet and sometimes stodgy foods at Christmas.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Connect to Carol

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

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

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

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

I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc.  Please send one or two posts to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year.  Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Onions and Garlic.. keep the doctor away!


Welcome to this week’s post where Carol Taylor and I hope to give you reasons and recipes to include some of nature’s medicine cabinet in your daily diet. Today some really basic vegetables that add taste and nutrition that can help boost your immune system and have been utilised for 1000’s of years by ancient cultures for the treatment of disease.

ONIONS

Despite the current emphasis on healthy eating and weight, not many of us look at a plate of food and separate the ingredients out according to their nutritional or therapeutic benefits.  However, many foods have a long and distinguished history in natural medicine and the inclusion on a regular basis in your diet can bring many benefits.

One of the enormous benefits of living in Spain was the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables available in supermarkets, most of which is sourced from within Spain and the Islands.  Despite my concerns about our modern diet, there is a positive, and that is with vastly improved transport links and methods, the same foods can be enjoyed in most countries in Europe.

Although the French may lay claim to being the ‘Onion Kings’, Spanish onions are well known for their pungent and flavourful addition to cooking around the world.

Onions and garlic fit well into the category of ‘Superfood’ as they are both nutritional and can influence health in a very positive way.

Despite any claims to the contrary, onions (Allium cepa) originated from Asia and the Middle East and have been grown for over 5,000 years.  They were even used by the Egyptians as a weekly wage for the workers who built the pyramids, not something they would get away with today.  They were sent into the afterlife with Pharaohs and used in this life by many different cultures to prevent a premature passage to the other side.  The Israelites apparently wandered the wilderness longing for the onions, leeks and garlic that they had left behind in Egypt, something to think about when you next pass them in the grocery section of the supermarket.

The onion is part of the Lily family, which includes garlic, leeks, welsh onions and chives.  The word onion comes from the old English word unyun derived from the French word oignon, which in turn came from the Latin unio.  There are words for the vegetable in ancient languages but none seems to be related to each other indicating how widespread the use of the vegetable was.

Onions have been used for thousands of years as a seasoning for otherwise bland food and today we can buy them all year round and use them raw or cooked in a wide variety of dishes.

onionsHEALTH BENEFITS OF ONIONS.

The onion has a powerful sulphur-containing compound, which is responsible for the pungent odour and for the health benefits.  Onions contain allyl propyl disulphide, chromium, Vitamin C and flavonoids, the most beneficial being Quercitin.

Allyl propyl disulphide lowers blood sugar levels by competing with insulin, which is also a disulphide for space in the liver where insulin is normally deactivated.  This results in an increase in the amount of insulin available to move glucose into cells causing a lowering of blood sugar.

Chromium is a mineral that also helps cells respond efficiently to insulin, which in turn decreases blood sugar levels.  These two properties in the onion make it a vegetable worth including in our daily diet as we get older to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Chromium has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels, and decrease total cholesterol levels whilst increasing levels of the healthy cholesterol (HDL).

The reduction in unhealthy cholesterol levels leads to reductions in blood pressure levels, which is of course a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Eating onions with other foods with high levels of Bioflavonoids (tea, apples, broccoli, cranberry juice etc.) has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease

Quercitin combined with Vitamin C work together to kill bacteria, which is why they are so valuable added to soups and stews during the cold and flu season.

There are other areas where eating onions regularly can reduce your risk on developing degenerative and sometimes life threatening diseases.  These include Colon cancer, Osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory diseases.

An exciting area of research into bone health has identified that a compound in onions with a mile long name but GPCS for short, may inhibit the activity of osteoclasts, which are the cells that break down bone.

Onions also contain healthy amounts of other nutrients such as manganese, Vitamin B6, tryptophan, Folate, potassium, phosphorus and copper making onions a well-rounded nutrient source.

GARLIC

garlicThe garlic is a multi-bulb cousin to the onion.  Again originating in Asia it has been used for thousands of years as a pungent additive to food but also as a healing agent.  In recent years, its reputation has been validated by hundreds of research studies and like the onion; it is worth including in your diet very regularly.

Garlic contains many helpful compounds including thiosulfinates such as allicin, sulphates including alliin and dithins the most researched being ajoene.

Research has identified that garlic lowers blood pressure, decreases the ability of platelets to clump together forming clots, reduces blood levels of lousy cholesterol (LDL) whilst increasing levels of healthy cholesterol (HDL).  It also helps our blood vessels relax which prevents atherosclerosis, heart disease and the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

Garlic, like the onion is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. With the current concerns that we have about potential ‘Super bugs’ it is interesting that garlic appears to be an effective antibiotic, even against some of these resistant strains.

Cancer protection is essential for all of us.  The compound ajoene might be effective in the treatment of skin cancer and eating two or more servings a week of garlic may help prevent colon cancer.

Allicin has also been researched in regard to weight loss, as there is some indications that in the laboratory at least, that this compound may inhibit weight gain.

As in the case of most spicy and pungent foods ‘less is more’ with this particular flavouring especially if you wish to maintain close relationships with family and friends.

Now it is time to hand over to Carol Taylor, who as usual, has been working very hard this week to turn these two nutritious ingredients into wonderful recipes.

Onions and Garlic every day.. keep the doctor away!

Onions and garlic…Not as easy as it first seems as I use onions and or garlic in practically every dish I make on a daily basis….

But making the Onion or the garlic the hero of the dish as all these cookery programmes like to say…Is much harder than first thought…

Cooking head on and into the kitchen…first job though is to get my ham on…There is nothing like Home cured ham but after teasing you with the thought that recipe unless you trawl through my archives is for another day….lol.

Onions…. Do you know your onions???? Sally has given us the low down at the beginning of this post and the health benefits of the onion…I would say most people use the onion every day as part of their cooking whether it is shallots, red onion, brown onions, spring onions( green onions) so many varieties.

They can be eaten cooked, raw or pickled.

Lovely with some fresh bread, cheese and either pickled or raw they make a lovely Ploughman’s lunch.

Raw in a cheese and onion sandwich….

Spring onions are lovely in an omelette or quiche… A cheese and onion turnover which is a pastry eaten as a snack.

Who hasn’t has Onion Bhaji with your Indian meal?

Popped into cold water they curl up and look so pretty decorating a green salad.

This stuffed Onion is one I have made many times and it is lovely for a vegetarian and quite special so looks like you have made an effort to cook something nice and tasty. But equally as nice for a light meal with a glass of vino…

Stuffed Onion with goat’s cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large onions.
  • 150 gm goats cheese
  • 50 gm fresh breadcrumbs ( I use olive oil breadcrumbs)
  • 8 sun dried tomatoes in oil chopped and drained. I am lucky that I live somewhere nice and sunny so I can sundry my own tomatoes please click  HERE to see how.
  • 2 tbsp oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 Tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Just reading that list of ingredients makes my mouth water….I am salivating.

Let’s cook

Add the onions in their skins to lightly salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the boiling water, drain and cool. When they are cool enough to handle cut in half and remove skin.

Using a small dessert spoon scoop out the centre leaving a thick outer layer… 3 layers are sufficient.

Reserve the flesh for later.

Pre-heat your oven to 190C/375F

Place the onion shells in an oiled oven proof dish.

Add all the other ingredients except for the tomato oil and pine nuts to the scooped out onion flesh and season well. Stir in the pine nuts.

Divide the mix between the 4 scooped out onion shells and cover the dish with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and drizzle with the sun-dried tomato oil cook uncovered for a further 25-35 minutes until bubbling and cooked.

Baste occasionally during cooking.

And smell…. your kitchen will be filled with such a lovely aroma and even those who are not onion lovers will be salivating…I have had many a convert to this dish.

It is lovely just served with warm bread or as a side to some lovely grilled sardines.

Now all of those ingredients have amazing health benefits.

Some lovely variations to this recipe include using Feta cheese instead of goat’s cheese and substitute mint and pitted green/black olives instead of the other ingredients for a real Mediterranean taste. Just stir into the scooped onion mix; you could also add some currants or sultanas.

If you don’t want sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts use 75 gm chopped walnuts add them to the scooped out onion mix add 115 gm chopped celery and cook in a tbsp oil until the celery is soft and put in the onion shell.

Experiment by substituting your own favourite ingredients that is what cooking is all about.
Onions and garlic are also lovely pickled.

Pickled Garlic

Ingredients

  • 8-10 garlic bulbs
  • 500 mls white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 90 gm sugar
  • 1 tsp salt…I always use salt mined here locally or Himalayan salt.
  • 1 tsp per jar of either mustard seed or fennel seeds (optional)
  • 2 x 250-300 ml jars with good lids

Let’s Cook!

Separate the bulbs of garlic into cloves and peel.

In a saucepan bring the vinegar, salt and sugar to the boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the garlic cloves to the pickling liquid. Bring it back to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

Transfer the garlic cloves to sterilised jars. Add the mustard or fennel seeds if using. We actually couldn’t decide Fennel or mustard seeds so I normally do some of both they are equal in taste to us. Carefully fill the jars with the hot pickling liquid. Seal.
The garlic will be ready to use in about a week but improves over time.

Pickled onions I have tried many ways and this way seems to produce the crispiest onions and we love a crispy pickled onion…Don’t you?

Pickled Onions. There is nothing like your own crispy pickled onions… I use shallots…But pickling onions are fine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.
  • 11/2 pints pickling vinegar…I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.
  • 2tbls Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, white peppercorns, coriander seeds.

Method…2 days before mix 2pts water with 4 oz salt pour over onions, cover and keep in cool place. I keep in the fridge due to the heat here.

Then drain onions and pat dry. Pack into sterilised jars layering pickling spices as you go then pour over vinegar making sure onions are completely covered. Store for 4-6 weeks and they ready…They are the crispest onions I have eaten, far better than shop bought and generally don’t get to 4 weeks let alone 6 weeks as they get dipped into …men!

Pork Belly in Onion Sauce.

This recipe has been handed down through the generations.

I just roast belly pork until it is nearly cooked, then scatter with 2 onions sliced then pour over some white sauce and then pour over some gravy.

I then cook for a further ¾ of an hour until the onions and the white sauce are all bubbling with the gravy. This is very tasty and again my 20% comes into play…lol

Fried Onions.

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions , sliced
  • Milk to soak
  • Flour to dredge onions
  • Oil to fry.

There is nothing like lovely, crispy fried onion with a hot dog or a steak sandwich… Top a lovely Biryani or Indian curry and it is then to die for…That’s healthy gone right out of the window but hey ho….That’s why I follow a 80%/20% diet (not every day)

Just slice those onions and soak them in milk for 5 mins them lightly take them through the flour with a fork and pop into a pan of hot oil…Stirring to brown evenly….

Enjoy!

Baked garlic and shallots with sherry.

This to me is perfection…. Lovely young garlic cloves and beautiful banana shallots… Serve on grilled bread, with a spoonful or two of goat’s curd, or as an accompaniment to a simple roast chicken. Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic bulbs
  • 8 banana shallots
  • 5 lemon thyme sprigs (or ordinary thyme)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 600 ml fresh chicken stock
  • 180 ml sherry
  • 50g unsalted butter, in pieces
  • 50g parmesan, freshly grated
  • Salt and black pepper

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Slice the garlic bulbs in half horizontally and place in a roasting tray. Halve the shallots, slip off their outer skins and add to the garlic. Season, with salt and pepper, and then scatter the lemon thyme and bay leaves over the garlic and shallots…

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a small pan; pour over the garlic and shallots. Drizzle over the sherry.

Cover the tray tightly with foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, until the shallots and garlic are golden brown and the stock has reduced down and thickened. Add the butter and parmesan and stir to combine. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and then serve.

Garlic is also a lovely thing infused in Olive oil and is a base for many dishes, a lovely garlic aioli or roasted garlic puree alleviates a dish to new heights. It is such a versatile little bulb as well as being packed with health benefits.

That’s all for now on Onions and garlic…I could go on and on….but I won’t… I hope you have enjoyed reading about the health benefits of these bulbs of goodness and if you have any favourite recipes for onions or garlic then please share with us….

My thanks to Carol for all the amazing ideas on how to bring these two powerful immune boosting foods into our daily diet.

We eat spring onions, red onions and garlic everyday.. It keeps the doctor away and probably the neighbours..

I am sure that you will discover a whole new world of taste by trying out Carol’s wonderful recipes and we look forward to hearing how you get on.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Connect to Carol

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

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

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

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

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Life is short, Smile while you still have teeth! by Carol Taylor


Welcome to the next in the posts from Carol Taylor’s archive..This from 2015 is from Carol’s early days of blogging and now she is juggling two…. great at multi-tasking is our Carol. This week some really cute pictures from the GRP.( Gibbon Rehabilitation Project) in Thailand which is an update on an earlier post, a smile from Carol’s son and her mother.. and of course you always get a recipe. If this does not leave you smiling then you need to get out more!

Life is short, Smile while you still have teeth! by Carol Taylor

I have to start with an update on the tiny baby Gibbon…you can actually see how very tiny she is as she snuggles against the person who is feeding her.

Unfortunately she could not be left with her mother who was becoming increasingly tired and the baby weaker….she is now being hand reared……..GRP made.this decision for both the mother and the baby’s well being. Both parents are being allowed to come to terms with all the trauma before being released back into the wild…which in this case is the right decision for all I think…..This project does such wonderful work for the Gibbons here and are very successful at rehabilitating and returning as many as is possible back to their natural habit.

This little one is now doing much better I wish her well..awwww so cute.

First week of Blogging 101 over enjoyed it in the main especially the interaction on ” The Commons” with other bloggers…awesome.

Just received a picture of my mum with my big boy. taken on Christmas Day before Church.

I miss my mum…..although it’s lovely to chat on Skype when I have a signal…..But my boys over soon and can’t wait…..I might have sun,sea and sand but miss people ..but also it makes you appreciate people more…you don’t take things or people quite so much for granted………. where did that come from…sorry peeps getting maudlin…..

What’s next..thoughts all dried up …….well not really…….been trying all week to get a picture of the buffalo just down from my house…everytime I go by(without my camera) the heron is on her back and it makes such a lovely sight ( when I have ) said camera it’s nowhere in sight…but perseverance that’s my mission I will get that pic…….Sourced the celery ( or my friend did) so promise next blog I will show you how to make bacon without nitrates…..and it only takes 5 days……. and it’s ready! Can smell and taste it already………also found a great recipe on someone else’s blog for Fish Curry and it looks yummy so will be trying that………

But never fear I won’t leave you without a recipe ……. last nights dinner was:


Uncooked prawns with a blow your head off chilli dip.It consists of very finely chopped white cabbage,finely sliced and halved.khiewchanta.

Khiewchanta……arranged round the edge of plate……..Fresh prawns ,cleaned , deveined and soaked in Soda Water…..Fresh mint leaves and finely sliced garlic.

Eaten with steamed rice and very lightly cooked squid in a salad with tomatoes,spring onion,coriander,fish ,sauce and lime juice…… so that was dinner and very nice it was all fresh from the market about an hour before and that’s the great thing about living here everyday there is a fresh market and I love it at my local ones I am generally the only farang but they are getting to know me and love it when I sample the hottest of food sometimes and give it the thumbs up………..and if I speak a little Thai…as my vocabulary is limited at the moment the smiles all round… it really makes my day as it does theirs.

Well short and sweet this one…but it’s children’s day today so everywhere there is fun and games galore….until next time…happy reading x

Thanks for another snapshot of Carol’s day and clearly still feeling homesick…

©Carol Taylor

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Connect to Carol

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

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

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

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

I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc.  Please send one or two posts to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year.  Thanks Sally.