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.


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.


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.


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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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….


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


  • 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:

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

Phuket Island Anthology:


Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:


Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – ABBA, Constantine The Great and Brown Rice!

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week.. I was off on my travels this week to Belfast to celebrate our wedding anniversary and to visit the Titanic museum. We don’t get out much!  But, when we do we like to push the boat out. We stayed at the Culloden Estate and Spa with a suite overlooking the loch and only 3 miles from Belfast City Centre and 10 minutes from the Belfast City Airport. It is on 12 acres of wooded gardens and the food was superb. I think 37 years is worth celebrating in style. Here are a few photos to whet you appetite. In fact mid-week rates for two days are exceptionally good value and you can use the spa and swimming pool free during your stay.. and no…you do not get to see me in a bikini!  Not in this lifetime anyway.

Can definitely recommend the hotel and the food was delicious.

Titanic Belfast is an award winning exhibition and museum and you need to allow at least two hours to see all the various exhibits, interactive displays and the ride by suspended car through the bowels of the ship watching the animated images showing the work involved in building this mammoth ship.. no works comp in those days and over 250 accidents and several fatalities that need to be added to the loss of life over a few hours a short time after her launch.

You can find more details here:

Anyway, whilst I was off having fun for my three days, contributors were still working away in my absence and I am as always very grateful. This is what the week looked like.

William Price King began a new series of the all time favourites of millions.. ABBA… this week meeting the individual band members.

Writer in Residence. This week Paul Andruss continues with the story of Constantine the Great who was allegedly the first Roman Christian Emperor.

Carol Taylor spent time in her kitchen in Thailand to turn the raw brown rice grains into wonderful recipes for all the family.

Cook from Scratch with Robbie Cheadle and a cake you really would not want to cut into and eat.

The Ultimate Bucket List Interview

Robbie Cheadle joins us again for the last in the current series of Sunday Interview shows and shares her two top wishes on her Ultimate Bucket List.. Wedding Cakes and a very personal wish…

Personal Stuff

My review for Look the Other Way by Kristina Stanley a romantic thriller set in the warm coastal waters of Florida and the Caribbean.

Smorgasbord Reblogs

Last week I was the guest of Christy Birmingham on her eclectic blog, writing about elderly health care in the colder months and some ways to avoid colds and flu.

Jessica Norrie visited Lisbon last week and apart from a tour of the old part of the city, she also shares some of the books written or set in the city.

Contributors to the Posts from Your Archives series

We are today because of the choices we have made… Carol Taylor explores where those choices lead us.. and how we feel about that.

Allie Potts has an eventful walk with her beloved dog.. and comes a cropper….and shares the lesson learnt.

J. Hope Suis shares the most beautiful Japanese restoration process that turns broken china into works of art with gold and silver. Something that as humans we can learn too when putting ourselves back together after life’s experiences.

Do you wish that you had not selected your Twitter handle in the beginning?  Rosie Amber takes us through the simple steps to change it. I am @sgc58 and realise I should have gone with RedHotMama.. ah well.. if only I hadn’t just had 500 business cards printed!

Karen Ingalls shares a post in tribute to an elderly friend who passed away after a gracious life well-lived.

Can you remember your first kiss.. Patricia Salamone shares this experience with an interesting outcome!

Darlene Foster takes us on a tour of a medieval market in Orihuela in Spain.. food, colour and sunshine.. what else do you need?

Having almost given up showing my mother how to operate the DVD player with a different remote from the TV … I take my hat off to Jane Risdon who managed to get an 83 year old relative online and on Facebook… I think Jane was on herbal stress relief!

Annika Perry shares an atmospheric visit to Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire.

Adrienne Morris is on the subject of toxic criticism and how to handle it.

Marian Beaman shares her wonderful tradition of family dinners through the decades.

Lillian Csernica continues her tour through the gracious city of Kyoto

D.Wallace Peach with a post about what defines the characters that we write about, and the stereotyping that is applied to emotional character,  according to the gender of your protagonist.

Do you know what a Fidget Spinner is?  I didn’t but I do now courtesy of Cecilia Kennedy.

Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes join us with their archive posts this week. It would seem that children are discovering the joys of computing earlier and earlier. I was in my early 30s when I was introduced to one and I only really used it for word processing and loved the freedom it gave me from tipex! It was a while before I got into the programme side and that was a huge dent in my self-confidence… read on.. I am not alone.

Smorgasbord Poetry

A poem on the subject of Happiness by Balroop Singh

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Author Update

Air Your Reviews

Monday Night Quiz with Debra Russell author of Trivia Lover’s Ultimate Reference

Humour and afternoon videos

Thank you to all the contributors and to you for all your support by dropping in, liking posts, commenting and sharing..


Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Brown Rice – Nutritious and Delicious

Welcome to our weekly look at the nutritional value and health benefits of food that is usually included in our daily diet. This week one of my larder staples and a food that we eat several time a week… in moderate quantities since we are not as active as we used to be.

First a look at the nutritional content and the health benefits before I will hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating mouth watering dishes from this simple ingredient.

There is quite a bit in the press about how eating grains can be harmful to your health. I do agree that a ‘white’ diet of refined grains every day does not provide the body with any basic nutrients except for sugars. However, whilst I am on the fence when it comes to wheat which has undergone so many natural and man-made changes in the last ten years, I do feel very strongly that some grains do belong in our diet and for very good reason. Apart from the nutritional content, fibre plays an important role in our lives and to be honest, brown rice is a staple that I keep in my larder the whole time and I always have at least a couple of tablespoons a day even if I am watching my weight. Here is why…..

As the body releases waste and toxins from the cells and tissues it will pass through to the intestines. There are some normal side effects that might occur as this takes place but if you include fibre, particularly brown rice the toxins will be removed quickly and efficiently, speeding up the detox process.


Of all rice – any form of brown rice will contain more of the nutrients as it loses only the outer layer of the grain called the hull. During the process that turns brown rice to white rice it loses 67% of its vitamin B3 (niacin) 80% of B1, 90% of B6 – half of its manganese and phosphorus, 60% of its iron and all the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. Do you realise that to make white rice acceptable as a food it has to be artificially enriched with B1 B3 and iron? It is amazing the difference that processing a food can have on its nutritional content.

Brown rice is a very rich source of manganese –essential for blood health. It is also necessary for bone health and for it’s antioxidant capabilities in preventing damage to cells, particularly blood cells.

Brown rice is rich in fibre, which cleans the system of toxins and harmful deposits in the blood so helps keep your cholesterol down. Like oats it tends to release its energy slowly so maintaining stable blood sugar levels. The fibre is insoluble which means that it works through your system efficiently. This prevents some organs from getting into an overload situation like the liver and the bile duct – a speedy process through the system ensures that the bile duct does not secrete too much bile which can lead to gallstones.

Proteins like turkey are high in selenium but so is brown rice and it is very important for our immune systems and thyroid function – also to help prevent cancer as it encourages healthy DNA repair in the cells.

Magnesium is present in high quantities and this is associated with a number of systemic problems such as asthma – high blood pressure –migraine headaches and reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Magnesium does this because it helps to regulate nerve and muscle tone by balancing the action of calcium. You will see that very often calcium supplements are teamed with magnesium.

Calcium tends to rush around frantically and needs magnesium to curb its enthusiasm. For example if allowed to, calcium will overwhelm the nerve cells in the muscles and they become over activated. This causes the muscle to overwork and wear out faster. This occurs if you have insufficient magnesium in your diet. Another reason that magnesium is so important is for bone health and about two thirds of the magnesium is found in the bones of the human body. The rest is stored for when needed. Brown rice provides nearly a quarter of your daily requirement in one serving.

The human body is over 100,000 years old. In that time the body has developed an incredible defence mechanism called the survival instinct. In some cases it is miraculous. It is only in recent centuries that we have begun to refine our grains.

Recent researchers are maintaining that we ate few carbohydrates in the form of grain but I do dispute this. We would have eaten anything in our path that was in the least bit edible and certainly wild grains would have been a seasonal addition to the meat and fish that were hunted.

So our bodies spent the first 99,900 years eating whole-grains including rice. Wheat only came along about 10,000 years ago. During those many thousands of years our bodies evolved a very precise dietary support system that provided it with everything it needed to survive and be the fittest. It was essential for the survival of mankind that only the fittest made it through. This ensured that each generation was stronger.

If you go back to what I was saying about the loss of nutrients in the processing of brown rice to white rice you can perhaps understand why we are now facing the sort of medical problems that we are. We are depriving the body of not just a food group but the essential nutrients and energy that they provide.

You do not have to eat a plateful every day and for rice I would suggest two large tablespoons. I use wholegrain basmati which is fragrant and has much fluffier grain when cooked. You do not have to restrict your rice to savoury dishes as I eat cooked unsalted brown basmati rice with warm milk and a banana for breakfast from time to time. If you need to sweeten a little then add a teaspoon of honey.


Brown rice needs to be prepared a little carefully – don’t get the easy cook as this has been partly processed. I suggest the real stuff, but put in a large glass bowl before cooking with cold water to cover it and whisk as hard as you can – then drain and then repeat until the water is clear. This gets rid of dust etc.

Now time to hand the raw brown rice grains over to Carol Taylor to work her magic.

Nutritious and delicious Brown Rice.

Brown rice not something I cook with often my first foray into cooking Brown Rice some years ago now was a disaster and liken to just a plate of stodge and not one I repeated….

Back into kitchen for Take Two.

How you should cook brown rice….

For 1 cup of Brown rice use 1 ¼ cups of water slightly less than the 2 to 1 ratio you get on the packet of rice…

Like many cooks before me I used the standard ratio and the one I use for white rice…Big


Bring rice, water and coarse salt…1/4 tsp per cup of rice to the boil. Cover; reduce the heat to a slow, steady simmer for about 30 minutes…

Let the rice sit for 5-10 minutes and the fluff it up with a fork.

Result lovely, fluffy brown rice and not the sticky stodge that emerged from my kitchen all those years ago…Yeahh!

The thing I like about rice dishes as well is that they are quick and easy to do…less fuss
Sally’s part of the post is very interesting this week on the benefits of eating Brown rice and I have learnt a lot…I must admit when I cooked brown rice all years ago and it was such a disaster I have steered clear of it…I eat black rice or raspberry rice as some call it here and I believe it is equally as healthy… Do not confuse it with wild rice though they are two different rice’s… some fans of black rice say move over brown rice but brown rice is plentiful here and there are many different brands in the Royal Project shop here and I am going to have fun trying them all.

One thing I remember very clearly on my very first visit to Thailand was the many different colours of rice all in sacks in the markets such a wonderful site and one which stays with me…I suppose as rice is grown here you will get many, many varieties as it is a staple in the Thai diet.

Sally’s idea about eating brown rice with banana and honey for breakfast is a great one and as I have plenty of bananas at the moment a welcome change and one which I think the kids will like…Thank you Sally x

..Mushroom rice pilaf


  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms of your choice or mix them which is lovely.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 2 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

Start by browning the chopped onions and garlic in a large saucepan with the olive oil, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the brown rice and stir to coat in the oil then add your chicken stock.

Bring to a slow boil then reduce heat and cook for 35-45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Keep an eye on it as I find with brown rice it can easily turn from cooked perfectly to something you don’t want to eat….

At this point you could also add a handful of spinach and what was really nice was my grandson requested a poached egg on his (he has) poached eggs on everything…lol

I like Indian spices so I cooked mine with some cumin, cloves and touch of turmeric….Play with the flavours these dishes are so very versatile and you can add almost anything…
Red peppers or any colour peppers, a handful of nuts, pineapple… as I said play with it…get the kids to join in they love experimenting and like the poached egg suggestion it was actually very nice..

One of my favourite things is Feta cheese (and spice) so these little spicy lamb kebabs went down a treat…

Spicy Lamb and feta skewers…served with Brown rice…


  • 500 gm lamb mince
  • 1 large red onion, half of it thinly sliced and the other half grated or finely chopped.
  • 1 tbsp Harissa
  • 50 gm Feta cheese
  • Large handful of parsley chopped
  • Large handful of mint chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon/ lime
  • 300 gm cooked brown basmati rice
  • 85 gm black kalamata olives quartered
  • 1 cucumber diced…I use the small Japanese cucumbers
  • 300 gm cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil.

Let’s Cook!

Firstly soak you wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes…saves burning them…

Cook the rice then rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly.

Heat your grill or fire up your BBQ…we can because it’s hot here…lol our summer to your winter…

Now it’s time to get those in the bowl mix that mince with the Harissa, feta, grated onion and seasoning and combine thoroughly…Now shape into little sausage shapes around your pre soaked skewers.

Lay on a baking tray and grill for 6-8 mins until slightly browned and the mince is just cooked.

Mix the remaining ingredients to your brown rice and serve and enjoy…

Nasi Goreng…Is a lovely Indonesian stir fried rice dish…


  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 8 oz boneless chicken thighs cut into ½ inch strips
  • 6 oz raw prawns peeled
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce or 1-2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

To garnish:

  • 3 tbsp chopped spring onion
  • ½ cup chopped coriander

Let’s Cook!

Cook rice, then rinse and drain and let cool for at least 2 hours or overnight…The best rice stir fries are made with rice cooked the day before or well cooled which is something I have learnt since living here.

Add sesame oil and salt to eggs and put to one side.

Heat your wok and let’s cook…. Add the oil and wait until it very hot and slightly smoky…this will heat you up on a cold day…

Add the onions, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste, black pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes squashing down the shrimp paste as you cook as it is quite firm..

Now add your chicken strips and prawns and cook for 2 minutes then add rice and cook for a further 3 minutes…

Getting hot in the kitchen?

Now add the sambal oelek or chilli bean sauce, oyster sauce and dark soy and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes….Finally add egg mixture and stir fry fry another minute.

As Nasi Goreng has many versions this is where one of them kicks in and instead of adding the egg mix to the rice a small omelette is made and then finely cut in strips and add to the top of the rice dish alongside the spring onion and coriander.

I hope you enjoy… Are you thinking you cannot get the ingredients? Most Asian stores carry these around the world as do many of the major supermarkets also on my new blog I have links to Amazon and they can take the pain out of sourcing the ingredients and deliver it to your door…

Brown rice is also a lovely vegan meal with broccoli, spring onions and cauliflower…How vibrant does that look…don’t you just want to eat it whatever your diet?

Like any stir fried rice dish you really can add any meat or vegetable of your choice and it makes a little go a long way so all those leftovers and little bits of this and that …just have a look in your fridge or garden and ENJOY!

Thank you once again to Sally your health benefit tips and advice on the food I am using for my cooking add so much to a recipe and helps us all eat the right foods for our optimum health…

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:

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

Phuket Island Anthology:


Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

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

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: 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 .

Image Pinterest


  • 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


  • 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.


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.


  • 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


  • 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:

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.


Phuket Island Anthology:


Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine -Weekly Round Up – Dionne Warwick, Thomas Crapper and Pumpkin Seeds

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. I want to thank all of you who have contributed amazing posts from your archives. I am now scheduling for the end of November and the beginning of December so I will be asking for festive posts to bring some sparkle to the blog to the end of the year.

Festive posts.

This is not for new posts but for those you have written about Christmas and New Year or if not Christmas your own end of year festivities. I use the word Christmas as this is something I have celebrated for my entire life, but I know that some of you might observe the holiday in different ways.

I would love to see stories about family reunions, recipes, mishaps with cooking or the family Christmas dinner, humour, fictional short stories. Check out your December posts for every year you have blogged and send over up to two links. I will top and tail with an introduction and also promote you, your blog and any books at the end.

Email as soon as you can to… Look forward to hearing from you.

On with this week’s contributors and posts..

William Price King shares the life and music of the legendary Dionne Warwick up to the present day.

Writer in Residence – Paul Adruss with a look at our toiletry origins…..

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Pumpkin Seeds

My thanks as always to Carol Taylor for her efforts in the kitchen to produce these amazing recipes.

The Ultimate Bucket List

This week delighted to welcome children’s author Darlene Foster as the guest for the interview. You may be able to help her out with her wishes.

Personal stuff

A short story for Halloween – Halloween Sunset, Let the party begin.

Robbie Cheadle challenged me to post in the Quote a Day Challenge…

At this time of year I like to share the posts that tell the story of some of the brave young  poets who used their poetry to reveal the real truth of war. The War Poets.

Posts from your Archives

Carol Taylor uses the analogy of a box of crayons to encourage us all to get along.

Allie Potts joins us with the first of her four posts.. Are you being held back?

In his next post in John Rieber’s selection he explores the culinary phenomenon that is Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain.

Rosie Amber introduces a feature on her review site that twins up books that have a similar plot for double the reading pleasure.

Micki Peluso shares a Halloween themed poem.

Karen Ingalls shares a heartwarming story about the power of a smile and kindness to someone in need.

Yecheilyah Ysrayl shares an important development in the educational system for young Black Americans in Washington D.C.

Jane Risdon takes us on a tour of the wonderful Sissinghurst Castle Gardens.

A tribute to grandparents – a poem by Robbie Cheadle

Another post from the archives from Urban Liaisons. This week bird watching and an introduction to the red-necked phalarope and some Norse mythology.

A tribute to Tomorrow’s World and to some of the future predictions that did or did not make it from Pete Johnson.

Bob shares a story that demonstrates how sometimes people and events all fall into place, but also that when you make a difference to one person… you could be saving another.

In the second of David V. Pearson’s posts from his archives, he explores the misconception that Buddhism is one of the only ‘religions’ that has never started a war or engaged in violence…

Lillian Csernica continues her tour of Kyoto in Japan with some stunning photographs.

Tina gives us a good talking to about allowing negativity from others and our own words to hold us back.

Cecilia Kennedy takes us on a hike up to Bridal Veil Falls in Washington D.C and also shares and essential guide to safety in the mountains and trails.

Earlier in the week Debby Gies (D.G. Kaye) wrote a thought provoking post on the subject of Writing as a Therapy.

Smorgasbord Book Promotions.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the shelves

Author Update

Air your reviews


Thank you very much for your support this week and every week. I hope that you have enjoyed the posts and look forward to seeing you again next week.



Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Olive Oil not Popeye

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 know.. I have the easiest part of this deal… And cannot thank Carol enough for all the hard work and effort she puts into her section of the post.

This week the food in question is Olive Oil. It stands in the shade next to my hob and is used a number of times a day on our breakfast (blitzed fresh tomato, red pepper, garlic and pimiento with a drizzle of olive oil), over my cooked vegetables and salad and also to prepare cooked meals.

Here are the health benefits of this versatile and very healthy fat.

For many years fats were considered to be the baddy in the diet and recently it was interesting to see that for the vast majority of the population the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats was still a mystery despite all the health campaigns.

The right fats are essential for nearly all our bodily functions and they provide a massive amount of nutrients that play a vital role in the processes going on in our body 24 hours a day.

Lo and behold the ‘experts’ have now retracted their ill founded advice about dropping all fats and replacing with carbohydrates and low fat options in favour of a higher fat diet.. provided those fats are not trans fats in industrially produced foods.

Having said that, you cannot eat pounds of any fats, however healthy, without combining it with a balanced diet of vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, protein and exercise…

My favourite fat is olive oil and it is amazing how many health benefits there are in a tablespoon. Including this healthy fat in your diet on a daily basis in moderation provides the right fats needed by your body to function healthily and efficiently.


Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesise and must be obtained through diet. There are two families of EFAs Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-9 is necessary but non- essential as the body can make it if the other two fatty acids are present.

EFAs are essential because they support our cardiovascular, reproductive, immune and nervous systems. We need these fats to manufacture and repair cells, maintain hormone levels and expel waste from the body. They are part of the process that regulates blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility and conception – and they also help regulate inflammation and stimulate the body to fight infection.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. A deficiency can lead to decreased immune system function; elevated levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.

Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) is the primary Omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 can improve rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.

There is growing evidence that the non-essential Oleic acid, Omega‑9, may help to lower cholesterol by decreasing the unhealthy cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), while at the same time raising the level of healthy cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein).

Oleic acid is also emerging as a regulator of blood-sugar levels and as a possible protection against breast and prostate cancer. So, including half an avocado in your diet every day may well protect you from the harmful long-term effects of a number of diseases.

Olive oil is also an excellent source of Vitamin E and phenols.

VITAMIN E: TOCOPHEROL; As an antioxidant it protects cell membranes and other fat-soluble parts of the body such as LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage and blood vessels. It can be used topically for skin health and is involved in the reproductive system. It may help prevent circulatory problems that lead to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease by preventing clots from forming. It improves the pulmonary function of the lungs and enhances the white blood cells ability to resist infection.

PHENOLS: are a large group of compounds that include flavonoids such as anthocyanin and quercetin, phenolic acids like ellagic acid, fibres such as lignans and vitamins. Many of these have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties, all of which are known to benefit cardiovascular health.


Extra virgin olive oil which is from the first pressing of the olives is the best oil to use as it contains higher levels of nutrients, particularly Vitamin E and phenols above. Recent research into the reasons why Olive oil extensively used in Mediterranean diets is so healthy has thrown up some interesting results.

In a human trial it was found that polyphenol- rich olive oil included in the diet improved the health of blood vessels which was not the case for another group of volunteers that included oil in their diet with the phenols removed. Obviously the healthier the blood vessels the more effective the entire circulatory system. It appears that the particular part of the blood vessel that is affected is the endothelium or inner lining of the blood vessels. The endothelium determines the interactions between the blood vessels and the immune, coagulation and endocrine systems. If the endothelium is not functioning correctly it can lead to calcification within the arteries and increased risk of heart disease and strokes. Another function of the endothelium is the release of vasodilators (increasing size of blood vessel) such as Nitric Oxide and vasoconstrictors (decreasing size of blood vessels) such as thromboxane and prostaglandin. Like any system in the body balance or homeostasis is required to ensure that blood pressure is regulated and the phenols in olive oil ensure that sufficient nitric oxide is produced to keep the arteries open and blood flowing.


Until now it has been difficult to isolate which component of this very nutrient rich oil was responsible for the health of Mediterranean populations. Recently however in America they have identified a previously unknown chemical that they have called oleocanthal that appears to have an extremely effective anti-inflammatory action. They have compared it favourably with over the counter pain relievers for inflammatory conditions such as ibuprofen. This is great news for sufferers of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.


Olive oil is very well tolerated by the digestive system and is therefore beneficial for stomach ulcers and gastritis. The oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more effectively than prescribed medication and therefore lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

Two tablespoons of a day has been shown to lower oxidation of LDL (lousy cholesterol) in the blood whilst raising antioxidant levels such as Vitamin E.

It is suggested that including olive oil in your diet may also help prevent colon cancer and this provides an alternative to patients who are vegetarian and do not wish to include fish oils in their diet.

Including extra virgin olive oil every day in your diet is likely to protect you from diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, asthma, breast cancer and arthritis.


As I have always said the less processed a food is the better and olive oil is no exception. On the shelf you will find at least four different grades of oil.

Extra Virgin which is the best, least processed and most nutritional and comes from the first pressing. This should be your first choice and used for all cooking and dressings during your detox period.

Virgin is from the second pressing and should be your second choice.

Pure undergoes some processing such as filtering and refining and is a lesser grade oil.

Extra Light – has undergone considerable processing and only retains a small amount of nutrients or even olive taste. It is not officially classified as an olive oil and it was produced more for the “diet” culture than for taste or nutrition.


Olive oil degrades in light and should be kept cook and tightly sealed. If it is exposed to air oxygen will turn it rancid. It is also better kept in a cupboard away from natural light and the best containers are ceramic jugs rather than glass or plastic bottles.

Now it is time to turn you over to Carol Taylor who is going to expand your Olive Oil recipe folder delicously.

Olive Oil not Popeye by Carol Taylor

Olive oil is a beautiful thing and when I am not using coconut oil for cooking I use olive oil and it most suited to Mediterranean type recipes as well…But be careful when you buy it as is the case with everything now some oils are a blend of many oils or so highly processed and are not classed as proper Olive oil….

There are so many different disjhes which are all better for the addition of olive oil and as Sally has told us in her part of our collaboration it is extremely good for you..

One of my favourite tapas dishes is made with chorizo sausage….

Chorizo cooked in olive oil makes a lovely little snack or tapas with some lovely bread to mop up the juices. Just take some sliced chorizo and cook it in Olive oil until it is browned and the lovely orange colour from the chorizo leaks into the olive oil….Just beautiful and so easy to make at home.

Beautiful dips made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some beautiful bread or olive oil with lime and coriander make a lovely dip.

Roasted aubergines with olive oil, a lovely tapande with lovely fresh bread and a glass of wine…

Drizzle some olive oil and fresh rosemary over your roasted vegetables or potatoes and it takes the taste to a whole different level.

My all time favourite dish and one which we have eaten many, many times when we holidayed in Spain is Gambas Pil Pil….

Succulent prawns bought out sizzling in the olive oil with lovely fresh bread…heavenly…
It took me a few goes of trial and error before I got as close as I could to the original that we had in sunny Malaga.

Gambas Pil Pil
Serves 4


  • 1 kg medium sized uncooked prawns or shrimps
  • 100ml good olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼- 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
  • Few sprigs of chopped coriander to garnish.

4 individual terracotta serving dishes or heatproof dishes.

Let’s Cook!

Peel the prawns but leave the tails on…

At this point I put my little terracotta dishes in the oven to heat up and then you get the authentic sizzle.Heat the oil and butter together in a large pan over a medium heat. When foaming add the chilli and garlic. Stir and cook the garlic and chilli for 1 minute until golden brown.Add the shrimps or prawns and cook for around 2-3 minutes, or until they just change colour. Sprinkle with the paprika and coriander and serve in the dish. Serve with a good chunk of foccia to dip into the sauce.

The Spanish would tend to cook and serve Gambas Pil Pil in individual terracotta dishes, one dish per person rather than in one dish.

What better to go with Gambas Pil Pil are my home- made Olive oil rolls with Rosemary.

These rolls have a lovely texture, are easy to make and are very nice when toasted…

Olive Oil and rosemary bread rolls:


  • One and half lbs Bread flour
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tbsp rapid yeast
  • ¾ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Let’s Cook!

Combine the flour, water, yeast, olive oil, salt and rosemary mix to combine it will be sticky dough and knead for 5-7 minutes.

If the dough is too sticky then add a little more flour.

Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and turn the tough into the bowl and rotate to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 60-90 minutes…Here as it is very warm it only took about 15 minutes to rise.

When risen turn dough onto a floured surface and divide the dough into 16. Form into a smooth round and put on a baking sheet which is lined with baling parchment leaving about 2 inches between the rolls and leave to rise about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 450F.

Sprinkle the top of the rolls with some coarse salt if desired.

Bake for 20-30 minutes turning the tray halfway through baking. Mine took the 30 minutes (my oven) is not the best temperature wise and it always depends on your oven as to cooking times as ovens do vary somewhat.


Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Hubby rustled me up a lovely little frame to dry my tomatoes in under the sun….

Just a sprinkling of fresh Rosemary and put the tomatoes in the frame and let the sun work it’s magic.

Once dried then put them in a sterilized jar topped up with lovely olive oil and viola the best sundried tomatoes you have ever tried.

I am so lucky here that I can sun dry my own tomatoes and they are to die for so much nicer than some of the tasteless sundried tomatoes I have bought here.

Clams with cherry tomatoes and spaghetti.


  • 1lb cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper or 1Thai chilli finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine.
  • 48 clams scrubbed and cleaned well.
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil.

Let’s Cook!

Pre-heat oven to 350

Combine the tomatoes with 1 tbsp of olive oil, tossing to coat thoroughly. On a baking tray arrange tomatoes cut side upwards. Thinly slice 1 clove of garlic and sprinkle over tomatoes. Bake the tomatoes at 300F Gas mark 2 for 1 and a half hours or until slightly shrivelled. Set to one side.

Or alternatively use sun dried tomatoes which I do if I have any.

Finely chop the remaining two cloves of garlic and heat the remaining tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook until the garlic sizzles but take care not to burn the garlic… increase the heat and add the white wine, add the clams, cover the pan and cook for 6- 7 minutes or until the clams have opened.

Remove the clams and keep the cooking juice…make sure you discard any open shells.

Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl and discard any bits.

Wipe the pan clean and return the liquid to the pan, add the tomatoes, parsley, basil and salt to taste bring to a slow simmer. Reserving 24 clams remove the remainder from their shells add all the clams to the pan.

Cook the pasta as per the cooking instructions on the packet, when cooked drain well and add the clam mixture. Combine.

Serve immediately.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Purée roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and extra virgin olive oil together to make exceptionally delicious garlic mashed potatoes. Season, to taste.

How simple is that?

Enhance your vegetables with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and a little olive oil….Just beautiful…

Cooking Indian food? Did you know that Extra Virgin Olive Oil. contrary to popular belief, remains stable and gives best results with Indian foods?

Finally… Boquerones a while ago I was experimenting once again and trying to replicate the taste of this fish we used to have in a little café on the beach in Spain called boquerones.

I managed to get a sort of recipe as in garlic, olive oil, and vinegar no proportions, so it was trial and error.. they came out great and who did I get to sample them but a Polish friend who like all Poles love anything pickled he gave them the definite thumbs up and went home a very happy bunny with his goody bag of fish and pickled cucumber. Very easy to make once you have filleted the little fish.

Ingredients: For boquerones ( as they are called in Spain)

  • 2Ib.( 1 kilo) Anchovies or other small fish.
  • 250-500ml white vinegar.
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic.
  • 25 ml virgin olive oil.
  • 4 Sprigs Italian parsley.
  • Salt to taste.

Let’s Cook!

Firstly remove the heads from the fish and using your thumb remove the innards and spine. Easy, once you get the hang of it….


Rinse the fish and lay them flat in a glass dish and freeze for 3 hrs.(Freezing the anchovies to -20C or -4F can prevent illness from parasites found in raw fish.)

Remove from the freezer pour in the vinegar to cover the fish.

Finely chop garlic, add parsley. Sprinkle over the fish.

Pour Olive Oil in dish and salt if required.

Cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

They are now ready to eat.


I hope you have enjoyed these recipes using Olive oil as much as I enjoyed experimenting….Again Sally and I hope that you enjoy our Health and Recipes collaboration….

My thanks again to Carol for her wonderful recipes that she has tried and tested so you don’t need to!

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


Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – New Magazine, Dionne Warwick, Glastonbury and Watermelon

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you may have missed. After a stormy start to the week we are ending in the same way with heavy winds and lots of rain the last two days. But not as bad as Ophelia, but for those who have not still had power or water for the week it is hampering the repairs.  Interestingly people here were saying that following the last hurricane in Ireland in 1961 there was a ferocious winter of snow and very cold temperatures, and the weather forecasters are saying the same thing now for the UK and Ireland.

I have been catching up this week and also putting in place some of the new features for the new look blog. As you will see if you read the post below, I am aiming for a more magazine theme, with contributions from other bloggers to provide a wider spread of content. Posts from Your Archives has been a wonderful start to this with posts on travel to La Palma and Kyoto, relationship issues such as rejection, education, mental health and food. I am scheduling posts for November and there are some slots still available. Please read the post and see if you have some posts gathering dust from your first days of blogging that might like to be given some TLC over here.

As always my thanks to my regular contributors, William Price King, Paul Andruss and Carol Taylor.. their hard work and talent brings a great deal to the blog and I am very grateful for their efforts.

And thank you too, for all your support with likes, shares and comments. I really do appreciate it.

Time to get on with the round up… I hope you enjoy.

The new look Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

With even more opportunities to promote blogs and books. With more to come in the New Year.

Weekly contributors

William Price King with part two of the Dionne Warwick story.

Paul Andruss explores the Zodiac map made from landscape features close to the legendary Glastonbury Tor.

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

Carol Taylor turns the very healthy watermelon into delicious recipes that make it easy to include in your diet.

The Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List

This week it is the turn of Paul Andruss to express his wishes for the top two items on his Ultimate Bucket List… I think you will love his response.

Posts from Your Archives

These are some of the contributors to this new series with posts on food, life, relationships, education, mental health, Personal challenges and travel.. Check you archives since you began blogging to see if you have any posts that would benefit from being shared to a new audience. Mine. Details are in the posts.

Odd Jobs and Characters series – Shoplifters in Liverpool hosted by Jane Sturgeon

My thanks to Jane Sturgeon for featuring the most recent episode of Odd Jobs and Characters.

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Author Update

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Cook from Scratch

Robbie Cheadle has shared a very simple but delicious recipe for brown yoghurt bread.

Smorgasbord Health


Thanks very much for dropping in this week and your support.

Smorgasbord Health in the News – Aspirin can trigger teeth to self-repair

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Aspirin has been credited with many benefits other than when used for pain or relieving the symptoms of colds and flu, sore throats and neuralgia. Millions take a preventative dose of 75mg or slightly more in some cases in relation to heart disease.

Scientists in Belfast have discovered that aspirin can trigger teeth to self-repair.

By Claudia Tanner For Mailonline

Aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay – resulting in a reduction in the need for fillings, scientists have found.

The common pain relief medication can do this by triggering teeth to self-repair, they say.

The cheap drug is able to help form new dentine, the hard tooth structure that is usually damaged by decay, according to researchers at Queen’s University Belfast.

Tooth decay is the most common dental disease worldwide – affecting a third of adults, figures suggest.

Around seven million fillings are provided in the NHS each year in England alone and the experts say the findings could reduce the crippling £3.4 billion a year cost of dental care.

Principal investigator Dr El Karim said: ‘There is huge potential to change our approach to one of the biggest dental challenges we face.

‘Our initial research findings in the laboratory suggest that the use of aspirin, a drug already licensed for human use, could offer an immediate innovative solution enabling our teeth to repair themselves.

This novel approach could not only increase the long-term survival of teeth but could also result in huge savings for the NHS and other healthcare systems worldwide.’

Over four-fifths of the UK population have at least one filling and seven is the average number – but the research team hope this could be decreased.

Find out how aspirin can self-repair teeth? :

Smorgasbord Health – Cook From Scratch – Delicious and easy brown yoghurt bread by Robbie Cheadle

Delighted that baker and confectioner, Robbie Cheadle is going to be sharing some recipes with us in the coming weeks. Get the butter ready as today Robbie is sharing an easy bread recipe that will need lashings of it.

Delicious and easy brown yoghurt bread by Robbie Cheadle


Sir Chocolate lives in a land where you can eat everything, even the trees, flowers and houses. There are healthy foods in Chocolate Land, you can’t live on sweet treats!
In each of his recipe books, Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet include one savoury recipe to teach children how to bake delicious and healthy foods as well as the lovely, yummy goodies.

One of the bread recipes that Sir Chocolate likes to make is a brown yoghurt bread. This is his recipe for how to make it:


  • 500 ml self-raising white flour;
  • 500 ml nutty wheat flour;
  • 15 ml sticky brown sugar;
  • 5 ml salt;
  • 500 ml plain yoghurt;
  • 5 ml baking soda (bicarbonate of soda).


Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the white flour, nutty wheat flour, brown sugar and salt together. Mix in half of the yoghurt. Add the baking soda to the remaining yoghurt and mix until it is frothy. Add the frothy yoghurt to the mixture and knead with your hands until all of the dry ingredients have been fully absorbed into the mixture.

Scoop the mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

This bread is delicious when eaten fresh with butter.

©Robbie Cheadle 2017 and all images

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The most recent review for Silly Willy Goes to Capetown

Every so often I dip into the world of children’s fiction and I’ve yet to be disappointed! Ms Cheadle has delivered a tale that is funny and real and simply a delight to read.

Cautious Craig tells the story of his holiday in Cape Town – all the fun things they did and experienced and how his younger brother Silly Willy causes chaos along the way.

The recipes and fondant art creations round out a delicious book! Recommended for children able to read chapter books and anyone who enjoys an amusing tale.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Connect to Robbie and Michael at their blog:

My thanks to Robbie for sharing this recipe and please head over to her blog to catch up on some wonderful posts. With Halloween coming up, if you have any reasonably healthy recipes to share that are a little wicked.. let me know

Smorgasbord Health – Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Wonderful Watermelon.

Welcome to Sally and Carol Taylor Cook from Scratch.. Actually Carol Taylor does the cooking and I get to tell you about the health benefits of our featured foods. This week it is the turn of the Watermelon to get the Sally and Carol Treatment. We would eat regularly as watermelons were sold both on the side of the road and in supermarkets very inexpensively. We would eat, but I also used to blitz the flesh as a base for smoothies and also cocktails… it lasted longer with a touch of vodka!!  Without alcohol it is a refreshing and hydrating treat for the whole family.

naughty-mischievous-baby-boys-01It took me a while to get around the pips in watermelon and learn the knack of spitting them out delicately rather than shooting them at the dog by accident. Once you master this quite simple dexterity you will have access to not only one of the most thirst quenching melons around but also a storehouse of health benefits.

Watermelons are obviously sweetest during the summer months but we were lucky enough that Spain has summer somewhere within its boundaries all year round and they are just as accessible at Christmas as in August.

Watermelons and health claims.

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Now it is time to hand over to the expertise of Carol Taylor to transform this wonderful watermelon into delicious dishes.

Watermelon is a virtual powerhouse of nutrients, packed with Vitamin C and very readily available here in Thailand. It is used in smoothies, fruit shakes, restaurants always give a plate of watermelon after a meal.

I generally buy it ready sliced as I have a little lady just round the corner to me who sells the fruit freshly cut and bagged I also like to support local businesses.

When you are buying watermelon always pick the heaviest one as if they are light it means they are older and drying out.

Now how often have you bought water melon and thrown away the rind?? Hands up! I have or I did until I discovered a lovely recipe for Pickled Watermelon rind.

Now I make a lot of pickles and this one thing I hadn’t thought of pickling… you live and learn don’t you?


  • 4lb of Watermelon
  • 1 chilli thinly sliced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger finely sliced or diced
  • 2 star Anise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp salt I use fresh mineral salt dried here
  • 1 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar

Let’s Cook!

Using a vegetable peeler remove the outer green rind and slice the watermelon into I inch slices. Cut away all but 1/4 inch of the flesh (it is) the white part we are pickling. The red flesh keep for smoothies or ice cream or a nice salad with feta cheese.

Then cut the rind into 1 inch pieces.

Add the chilli, ginger, star anise, salt, pepper, rice vinegar and sugar plus ½ cup of water together in a pan, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the watermelon rind and bring back to a rolling boil and then again reducing the heat to a simmer for 5 mins or until the rinds are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave the liquid to cool down. You may need to weigh the watermelon down with a plate or lid, as it needs to stay submerged in the liquid until cool.

Once cooled then transfer to a container with a well fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before you eat…This will keep refrigerated for about 2/3 weeks if it lasts that long…lol

Enjoy with cold meats and cheese or just on its own from the container…

I just love watermelon any which way and sometimes I just cut them into rectangles and thread onto bamboo skewers. Then just sprinkle over some taco or fajita seasoning or I have a chilli and sugar mix which we eat with fruit and viola a fruit kebab with a bit of spice..

Watermelon and Gremolata

Another great way to eat watermelon is to cut it into triangles. Marinate these thick-cut “steak” fruit slices in a mixture of white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and rosemary. Grill watermelon slices and top them with a gremolata of walnuts, lemon zest and fresh parsley and wait for your taste buds to do a dance…

For the marinade:

  • ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  •  1/2 tsp Black pepper

For the gremalata:

  • ¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts.
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel

Let’s Cook!

Mix vinegar, oil, lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tbsp for drizzling the grilled watermelon. Put the watermelon steaks in a dish add the remaining marinade and put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes turning the steaks half way through.
Remove watermelon steaks from marinade. Reserve leftover marinade for brushing watermelon during grilling.

Grill watermelon steaks over a high heat for 2-4 minutes per side or until the grill marks appear, brushing with the leftover marinade.

To serve, cut watermelon steaks in half and drizzle with the reserved marinade. Then sprinkle with the walnut gremolata.


Watermelon smoothies are a lovely thing….

I am really getting into this smoothie making and I think this is one of my favourite smoothies.

I am learning to get the right amount and what I do is take the glass I am going to drink it from and fill the glass with my fruit that way I make just enough and if I am making more than one glass then I double up but it eliminates the guesswork.

Today’s smoothie was a mixture of fruit and vegetables.

I used a large chunk of Pineapple, Watermelon, yellow melon and dragon fruit, a slice or two of tomato, a slice of beetroot, a piece of carrot and a little ice.

Then put all the fruit into the liquidiser and a blitz for a minute or two and voila a lovely smoothie which makes your taste buds just dance in your mouth.


Or if your fancy is for iced tea then:- Watermelon and Basil Iced tea is amazing…


  • 1/8th of a medium watermelon cut into small triangles
  • 8 tea bags
  • 8 cups of boiling water
  • A sm bunch of basil
  • Sugar to taste if required.

Just pour the boiling water over the tea bags in a heat proof jug, steep for 10 minutes and remove the tea bags.

Allow the tea to cool down and refrigerate until cold.

Before serving add watermelon and basil to an individual glass with crushed ice and pour tea over the ice.

Serve and enjoy!

Prawn Salad with Watermelon.


  • 1lb of cooked peeled prawns
  • 4 cups of watermelon chopped
  • 2 avocados chopped
  • 1 medium red onion sliced
  • 2 jalapenos seeded and chopped
  • Juice of a lime
  • 1 tsp of raw honey
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp mineral salt
  • A generous twist of black pepper
  • A generous handful of coriander

Let’s Cook!

In a large salad bowl combine the prawns, avocado, onion, jalapenos, and watermelon.

Whisk together lime juice, honey, salt, pepper and oil.

If you are not serving immediately, then refrigerate separately.

10 minutes before serving pour the dressing over the salad and sprinkle with coriander. This gives the flavours time to blend and develop.


Watermelon Sherbet.

  • 4 cups (600 grams) seedless watermelon, diced
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) FULL FAT coconut milk, shaken well
  • Juice from 1 lemon…I use lime
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (optional)

Let’s Cook!

In blender, combine watermelon, coconut milk lemon/lime juice, and pure maple syrup (if using for additional sweetness). I find watermelon sweet enough for me so I don’t use additional sweetener.

Blend until smooth.

Pour watermelon coconut puree into a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid (about 4 hours).

Remove from baking dish and with a sharp knife, cut frozen puree into ice cube sized pieces. Place fruit cubes in a food processor and process until the texture is silky smooth.

Transfer to container for freezing until firm (about 4 hours).

That’s all for now I hope you enjoyed these recipes and reading about the health benefits of the watermelon….

Again my thanks to Sally for allowing me to add my recipes to her wonderful informative post on the health benefits of the lovely watermelon.

As always I am so grateful to Carol for the time and effort that she puts into preparing these recipes and sharing them with us. A wonderful collaborator.

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


Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: