Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Chinese Chicken/Pork with Water Chestnuts, Quick Pickling and Bread Rolls.


Good morning form sunny Thailand where the weather is either steaming hot or we have a fierce tropical storm with the loudest thunder I have ever heard in my life.

Well Wimbledon is done and dusted for another year with the men’s title going to Djokovic who was my favourite to win and a new ladies champion…Will she become one of the greats or will she be a one time winner? Nethertheless I will extend a well done and well deserved…

On the political front will the outcome be as predicted and Boris will be the New Prime Minister or will Jeremy pip him at the post? By the time this post is published we will know the answer to that one…

I think it is generally much safer in the kitchen…Don’t you?

Well unless it is me having one of my bad days…which has its upside as I wasn’t allowed to cook the chilli last night…Result…ha-ha…

Today as I know many of you are having some sunny days and some are having a heat wave which makes it very hard to know what to cook sometimes doesn’t it?

I like stir fry’s as once you have prepared your ingredients they are quick to cook…I love Water Chestnuts and sometimes ( not) often I am lucky enough to get fresh ones from the market…

Usually available in specialty groceries or supermarkets, they should be washed thoroughly and peeled with a sharp knife, especially if to be eaten raw. At this point, adding a few drops of lemon juice keeps them from turning brown when steamed or sautéed. Once peeled, they’ll only remain fresh in water that’s changed daily for two to three days.

Chinese Chicken/Pork with Water Chestnuts.

Ingredients

• ½ lb of chicken breasts or pork finely sliced.
• 1 tbsp dry sherry
• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp of corn flour or arrowroot
• 3 tbsp sesame oil
• 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
• 3 tbsp of spring onions
• 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated or julienned
• 2 cups of water chestnuts peeled and sliced (tinned are fine) and can be found in most Asian sections of supermarkets.
• 1 cup of bamboo sliced (optional) or bean sprouts.

N.B…I have started using arrowroot instead of corn flour it is tasteless and gives a glossy sauce and where corn flour has a slight taste and cloudy appearance arrowroot is glossy and clear. It is a great thickener and can easily replace corn flour.

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

Let’s Cook!

  1. Mix the sherry, soy sauce and arrowroot together, set to one side.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add chicken /pork and stir fry for 2 minutes add garlic, spring onions, ginger and bamboo and stir fry for a further 3 minutes or until meat is cooked.
  3. Add water chestnuts and stir fry I minute then add the arrowroot mix and stir fry for another minute or two until juice thickens slightly add beans sprouts if using.
  4. I always add my bean sprouts if using add the very end as I like mine crisp and just cooked.
  5. Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles…

Summer is also the time to make lovely crispy chicken or fish bites or goujons with an assorted salad and pickles maybe some lovely fresh rolls …There is nothing better than sitting in the garden or on your balcony with a nice cool drink and just pick and nibble and talk..Soft music in the background perfect…

Not so the batter I have had some disasters with batter in the past…Not sticking being the main one ….

Thai Style Batter for Chicken or Pork or fish

Traditionally Thais use rice flour for batter:

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups rice flour.
• 1 tsp salt.
• 1 Cup water + 2 tsp Baking Soda.( Or you can use a cup of soda water)
• For the dry coating, you will need 2 cups of rice flour.
• 1 tsp chicken stock granules (If you are coating chicken drums).

Let’s Cook!

  1. Coat your chicken or pork in the flour…I find it easier to put in a bag and roll it around until all the meat is coated.
  2. Dip your meat/fish in the wet batter.
  3. Heat oil but don’t overload the wok as it will cause the temperature of the oil to drop and you won’t get crispy batter…
  4. Sometimes on the street stalls, you will see the cook remove the chicken/pork and then put in another pan (double dipping) to make sure it is crispy.
  5. This is an authentic recipe given to me by our Thai chef when we had our restaurant as are all my Thai recipes.
  6. If you are cooking a large batch just double or triple the recipe.

If you love a whole chicken and this one is delicious….Then Beer Butt Chicken should fit the bill…A bit messy but well worth it as it is so tender and succulent just right for sunny days…

Beer Butt Chicken…

I have seen this recipe many times over the years but never tasted it until my son gave me a demo…It was lovely and moist and even the kids and they are good eaters demolished it like there was no tomorrow.

He tweaked the recipe as it would have been too hot for the little ones and served the sauce separate rather than basting the chicken at the end with it…But for all, you die-hard spicy food lovers go ahead…

You will love it!

Pickles always go down a treat and at one time I thought all pickles took weeks to mature …But now pickles can be made in 5 mins or just a day or two…

I used 4 cucumbers ( they are short) ones here not like the ones we used to get when in the UK although I have discovered Japanese cucumbers and they are nice, crispy and very similar to the cucumber I know and love.

The cucumbers here are much smaller with larger seeds in the centre and not quite as crispy and flavoursome. In fact, I think I prefer them pickled.

Lets Pickle!

• 1 peeled and sliced (quite thickly) 4 cucumbers.
• 1 large Onion peeled and sliced.
• 3 cups of vinegar.
• 1/4- 1/2 cup of sugar or sweetener of your choice. I only used a 1/4 cup of sugar and some salt to season as required.
• 1 cup of water.

Method

  1. Whisk vinegar, sugar and water together in a jug.
  2. Put alternative slices of cucumber and onion in pre-sterilised jars, and then pour the vinegar mix over the cucumber and onion making sure to cover completely.
  3. Screw the lid down tightly and refrigerate they will be ready to eat in 2 days in fact if you leave these too long they get too vinegary.

They are really a quick pickle recipe.

This second recipe is ready in about 5days

• 3 medium cucumber
• 1 large Onion thinly sliced.
• 85g sea salt flakes (essential- table salt will render your efforts inedible)
• 500ml cider vinegar
• 250g granulated sugar
• 1 tsp Coriander seeds
• 2 tsp yellow mustard seed
• 1 tsp peppercorn
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• Small bunch dill

Method

  1. Wash the cucumbers, split along their length and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Cut each half into finger-length chunks, and then cut into 5mm strips.
  3. Mix with the onion and salt in a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  4. Next day, drain the juices, rinse the vegetables in cold water and drain well.
  5. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a very large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 mins to let the flavours infuse.
  6. Add the vegetables and bring the pan to a rolling boil over a high heat, stirring now and again. Boil for 1 min, and then remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Tear in the dill, and then pack into sterilised jars making sure that no air bubbles are trapped.

Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use about 5 days.

Alternately if you want really quick pickles for a BBQ or buffet and don’t want to bother sterilising jars…

  1. In a freezer-weight re-sealable plastic bag, combine 3/4 cup distilled vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 4 tsps sugar, 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, and 1/2 tsp peppercorns.
  2. Then add 2 pounds cucumbers quartered lengthwise.
  3. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to a week.

As easy as 1, 2, 3…

Bread Rolls…I am having to resort to this as the only decent baker is still not open again… The bread here in Thailand is so sweet. I detest store bought cut bread it is sticky and claggy just horrible…so am resorting to doing my own at least the dough proves quickly here it is an ideal climate for bread making.

Olive Oil Bread Rolls with Rosemary… These rolls were nice, soft and had a good texture but I still haven’t mastered the crusty top type yet…lol they were also nice toasted.

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 lbs Unbleached Bread Flour
• 1 tbsp of instant yeast
• 3/4 cup of Olive oil
• 1 tbsp of coarse salt
• 2 cups of warm water
• 2/3 tbsp of chopped rosemary.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Combine water, flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and olive oil mix together you will now have sticky dough.
  2. If dough is really too sticky then add a bit more flour.
  3. Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and turn dough in a bowl to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise approx 60-90 minutes here it is more like 15-20 but it all depends on where you live and your heat and humidity.
  4. When the dough has risen turn it onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 16 pieces.
  5. Shape the pieces into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet lined with cooking parchment leaving a 2-inch gap between each roll.

Stage two.

  1.  Leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
  2. Heat your oven to 450F/230C
  3. Sprinkle the top of the rolls with a little sea salt.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops of rolls are golden brown.
  5. Cool on a wire rack, they are now ready to eat. So yummy slightly warm with proper butter.

Now that was easy, wasn’t it?

If sunny days are a little sporadic for you then I hope you enjoy them and find these recipes give you a little more time catching those rays…

Thanks to Carol for working away in her kitchen to share these delicious recipes with us…

©Carol Taylor 2019

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

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

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#PotLuck – Waste Not! Want Not! …Australia plans to dump one million tons of sludge on the Great Barrier Reef! by Carol Taylor


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Carol Taylor does an amazing job each week with the food column and healthy eating posts here on Smorgasbord, and she deserves a break to get on with her own writing projects for a few weeks. Time for the last of the posts from Carol’s archives and next week she will be back with recipes to ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamins B12 and E..

This week one of Carol’s very thought provoking posts on the environment, with an emphasis on waste and our responsibility to do what we can as individuals to make a difference.. In this post a look at how nations can undermine our efforts.

Waste Not! Want Not! …Australia plans to dump one million tons of sludge on the Great Barrier Reef! by Carol Taylor

Good morning from sunny Thailand although we have had the mother of storms this week and huge hailstones it has cooled the air down somewhat…

I am really heartened by the initiatives which I am discovering that are happening from all around the world…Your comments are also a revelation when I hear from you guys what is going on in your neck of the woods all good stuff…How you are reducing the carbon footprints and coming up with ideas to cut waste and protect the environment.

green foot prints eco system

Then just the other day I heard and read something which shocked me to the core…One of the biggest, most beautiful countries in my part of the world with breathtaking natural wonders is allowing an absolutely abhorrent action to take place…

Australia plans to dump one million tonnes of sludge in the Great Barrier Reef.

Great barrier Reef

Image by 127071 on Pixabay

Despite strict laws on dumping waste, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) gave the go-ahead.

A loophole was found – the laws don’t apply to materials generated from port maintenance work.

It comes one week after flood water from Queensland spread into the reef, which scientists say will “smother” the coral.

Dredged from the sea bed near Hay Point Port who are one of the worlds largest coal exporters and a substantial economic source for Australia this industrial residue is going to be dumped on that beautiful reef…

My thoughts on that statement..substantial economic source equals money/backhanders for someone…

The North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation have said the dump will have a minor environmental impact… Please, it should not be happening and then there would be no impact…Their investigations of course ( it is in their ) own interests ( profit) showed risk to be predominantly low with some temporary short-term impacts.

So let’s be clear the Bulk Ports Corp is paying for reports to justify their own dump and which probably also found the loophole which they now are now exploiting …

My question is WHY? When Australia has pledged A$500 million( 275) million to protect the reef… Are they allowing this dump?…

If this doesn’t smack of cronyism, blatant pocket lining and profiteering then I don’t know what does…

Read the full story here… When you have please if you feel the same as me share the hell out of it…

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/australia-greenlights-dumping-1-million-tons-of-sludge-in-great-barrier-reef-waters/

That beautiful coral home to lots of sea life which has already lost 30% due to bleaching… and now they plan to dump sludge they say well away from that but given the tide and weather conditions, no one can guarantee where the sludge will end up …

Whitsunday islands

Whitsunday islands Image by werner22brigitte on Pixabay

I myself cannot believe that government/ politicians can sanction this …It is their country for God’s sake and after pledging all that money to save the Barrier Reef they are allowing this? It is an abhorrent, cruel, wicked way to treat that beautiful place…

Humans are the worst perpetrators of harm to the environment…

The dredging is due to start in March and is set to last 40 days.

I defy anyone to try to justify such actions or to tell me it has nothing to do with pure unadulterated greed and profiteering.

I have lost heart and don’t feel I want to dim the importance of these actions unless anyone can stop it happening by telling of some of the wonderful efforts to save the environment …They are for another post on another day…

Thank you so much for reading this post …Please share your ideas on how we can save our carbon footprints and the environment and if you live in Oz please try to stop this happening…I love to hear from you in comments xxx

Thanks to Carol for allowing me to dive into her archives and she will be back next week with more recipes.

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

You can find Carol’s Food and Cookery column articles in this folder: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-2019/

Thank you for dropping in today and we would love your feedback thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Travel Thailand…Koh Samui…A Secret Garden by Carol Taylor


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Carol Taylor does an amazing job each week with the food column and healthy eating posts here on Smorgasbord, and she deserves a break to get on with her own writing projects for a few weeks. So I am going to share four posts from Carol’s archives instead and she will be back with us on June 12th.  This week one of Carol’s posts on travelling in Thailand.

Travel Thailand…Koh Samui…A Secret Garden by Carol Taylor

Koh Samui The Secret Garden

On our very first visit to Thailand in 2002 many years ago now with our two young grandsons, we visited this lovely Island of Koh Samui. A beautiful island where I first fell in love with Thailand. At that time, never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be living that dream.

Here I am in 2018 and living that dream…

Out exploring the island one day we saw a sign which said: ” Secret Garden” It piqued my curiosity as a few years ago while driving in England we saw a similar sign which said, ” Secret Bunker”… so seeing this made me smile at that memory as that also was a day to remember and not what we expected.

Would this ” Secret Garden” be the same?

An unexpected delight?…

At the sign, we took the turning and was it a steep hill…we slowly made our way upwards, the uneven road presented us with sheer drops either side and the road was barely one car wide…

Yikes if we meet anything coming the other way and thank goodness the only vehicle we did meet was a motorcycle and luckily it was able to edge its way past us and away it went.

My son was driving and does not like heights at the best of times and was a tad nervous. I think we were all relieved when we spied a restaurant and were able to pull into its small car park…we were presented with the most amazing views and then came the food which was awesome…just delicious.

Enquiring about the “Secret Garden” the restaurant staff pointed upwards with a big smile… Really?…at that point, it was unanimous to leave the truck and walk!

We walked and walked and all we saw was the occasional bike which passed us going the other way…Down!

The noises which we heard coming from the jungle as we walked up the steep track were quite magnified and sounded like a chainsaw…well that was the story I told my open-mouthed grandsons it did make them walk a little quicker though …haha. It was only later that I discovered they were Cicadas and due to the acoustics on the mountain when they rubbed their wings together in unison they did sound like a chainsaw.

Suddenly the road plateaued out…We were at the top…

A group of children thailand-471700_1280

Thirsty and worn out…Our first view was a small shop selling water and a group of bemused local children were watching us and laughing probably thinking ” mad Farangs” walking in this heat up the mountain. At that point, I was happy to agree with them…

Looking around we spied a lone kiosk…

No secret garden?…

I had this mental picture of pretty flowers…orchids and a statue or two… There was nothing like that in sight!

Walking over to the kiosk we paid for our tickets…well, we were here so we may as well have a look…

Where is this garden? The smiling woman pointed to some steps…from where I was standing they looked wooden and slightly rickety…Oh No! My legs could not take any more…

Down and down we went… That first glimpse of this “Secret Garden” was amazing..statues carved out of stone, a tiny house, little streams and miniature waterfalls trickling and running through the middle of this garden, a small amphitheatre, all among the trees which were growing on the mountainside…Not a flower in sight…

Did it matter? Not at all…This was magical and a memory which has stayed with me over the years…

My research since then has told me that an old Durian Fruit Farmer in 1976 at the grand old age of 77 started to fulfil his life’s ambition and carved all these wonderful statues which he had seen in his dreams and he created them to honour Buddha.

The statues depict a number of animals, deities and humans in various poses, including one of the man himself Khun Nim in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. Khun Nim continued to work developing his garden until his death at the age of 91.

The garden is now cared for by his relatives.

This also reinforces to me that…

“You can dare to dream” and that dreams do come true…albeit you have to work hard and you must have that will and determination to make it happen just like this old Durian farmer called Uncle(Khun) Nim did.

We visited this magical place which was way off the beaten track back in 2002 so a few years ago now and the road is no longer open to the public but only to experienced 4 x 4 drivers. But, local tour firms offer day trips up the mountain.

The new road lies directly opposite the temple Wat Khunaram near Lamai and the road leads you through some very steep hills to the Secret Garden. It is also now known locally as the Magic or Buddha garden and magical it certainly was for me.

A beautiful magical garden which I hope to revisit one day… I have never forgotten my visit to the Secret Garden and it has been the subject of a presentation I did for work. A short story I wrote in the Phuket Writers Anthology and a lovely memory for me which I am now sharing with you… If you ever get the chance to visit I am sure it will not disappoint. I hope you are left with that same magical feeling which I experienced.

©Carol Taylor 2018

Thanks to Carol for allowing me to dive into her archives and I am sure you enjoyed this post as much as I did.

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

You can find Carol’s Food and Cookery column articles in this folder: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-2019/

Thank you for dropping in today and we would love your feedback thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #PotLuck – Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole by Carol Taylor


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Carol Taylor does an amazing job each week with the food column and healthy eating posts here on Smorgasbord, and she deserves a break to get on with her own writing projects for a few weeks. So I am going to share four posts from Carol’s archives instead and she will be back with us on June 12th..  The second post shares the story of Saangchai, the little rescue pup that Carol and her family adopted who also shares his thoughts.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole by Carol Taylor

Day 6 of the life of a Soi Dog called Saang chai who is now our forever friend and companion.

Well the first few days were okay we were just doing a lot of sniffing around and getting to know every nook and cranny. It was strange as I had never lived in a house.

I spent my first 4 months on the streets and the man who I belonged to said he would do something nasty to me if someone didn’t take me and my sister away……. so a nice lady took us to Soi Dogs who were very kind to us and we lived with other street puppies in a big run. They fed us, gave us injections and an operation..woof not sure about that…lots of people came to see us and my sister went with one of them which made me sad but…..then one day a boy and some grownups came to see us….I liked the boy and he liked me so they came back and took me to their forever home.

My first night I was a bit sad so my mum put my new bed in her room, it was lovely I got spoken too and stroked and felt very safe and I was soon asleep and dreaming about a forever home with lots of love.

After breakfast the next morning……woof

My mum took me shopping for a new bed and a collar and some toys.

SAM_7022

It was very nice of her but I much prefer the little humans toys in the box for when she visits.. I mean who wants the latest squeaky ” Kong”

The gates my new master made for me are very nice and even nicer to chew…..I can even put my paws on the ledge and if I really tried I could even get over.

But my mistress…clever lady…she reads my mind and they came home from shopping with this silver stuff which made a funny noise and it’s now too high for me…at the moment..woof…do you think she knows that? I heard them talking and they reckon that by the time I can do that …I will be allowed out there anyway and I will come back and not run away..mmmmm now that’s a thought…just look at all that nice room I have to run and play in…so maybe, just maybe… what do you reckon.?

SAM_7029

I get lots of nice food , treats , lots of pats and cuddles and the boy they call Aston he runs around and plays with me a lot…I quite like him and he stops me from getting told off sometimes too…now that’s a good friend…woof..

But when they took me in the truck to the playing field that was scary I didn’t like it, so they bought me home but when my master took me for a walk up the road in my ” New Harness” yes I have a new collar and harness it is a pretty blue colour…. I liked that and I was joined by a mummy dog and her 2 puppies so we had fun.

SAM_7021

My forever family keep telling everyone what a lovely boy I am and that I am sooooo good….well it is a nice house but I have now found some labels at the bottom of the sofa that I can chew…my mistress didn’t tell me I was good boy for taking them off she told to go to my bed. Now that’s not fair is it?..she thought when I had taken the label of that I would then chew the sofa…now would I ? She didn’t give a boy a chance ..woof….

And this morning one of her pots just fell of the top and she sent me to my bed again! I was just lucky that it didn’t have a plant in that one cos she keeps calling them her babies and saying how well they are growing…strange these humans…talking to plants…

SAM_7030

Well that bin in the corner of the lounge looked as if it might be worth a sniff..nothing in that ….she had emptied it! But she caught me nose in bin and quite nicely said no you must NOT do that..so before she toldme, I thought quick get in the bed….but my paw caught the fan lead

SAM_7028

…woof ..did I scoot…. it made a loud noise when it crashed to the floor and I think it’s broken woof…..but my nice mistress did say it was her fault and I didn’t get sent to bed.

I did hear her saying that it was only 10am and I was just looking for something to do….. so I thought….. I know…… join the master in the garden……..Lets keep out of her way for a while and then she came and gave me a big cuddle woof, woof ……..I think I will like it here….

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Saangchai… and next week Carol will be taking us on a tour of a magic garden in Thailand.

©Carol Taylor 2015

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://carolcooks2.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

You can find Carol’s Food and Cookery column articles in this folder: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-2019/

Thank you for dropping in today and we would love your feedback thanks Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Are you getting enough Vitamin B6? – Chicken and Prune Tagine, Tofu and Honey Bites, Spicy Sweet Potato Balls – Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor


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

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

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

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

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that exists in three major chemical forms: Pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine.

Being water soluble it is necessary to replace this vitamin every day from your diet and B6 plays such a crucial role in so many functions of the body that a deficiency can have a huge impact on your health.

What is B6 necessary for?

It is required for over 100 enzymes that metabolise the protein that you eat. Along with the mineral Iron, it is essential for healthy blood. The nervous and immune systems also require vitamin B6 to function efficiently. It is also necessary for our overall feeling of well-being as it converts the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin in the brain.

Without B6 you would not be able to manufacture haemoglobin to carry oxygen around the body. Once the haemoglobin is produced the vitamin also helps increase the amount of oxygen it can carry. A deficiency therefore is one of the leading causes of anaemia.

Without a healthy immune system we are at the mercy of any bacteria or virus that takes a fancy to us. A complicated biochemical interaction is required to ensure we can fight off infections; the food that we eat plays a vital role in producing the white blood cells that form the defence system. B6 ensures that the food that eat is metabolised efficiently thus producing enough of these cells.

Additionally B6 helps keep your lymph system healthy by maintaining the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes. The lymph system runs parallel to your circulatory system and is the battleground for the white blood cells and the viruses.

Blood sugar levels can fluctuate depending on the types of food that we eat particularly carbohydrates. If you are not eating sufficient calories your body uses B6 to convert stored carbohydrate or other nutrients to glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels. This is one of the reasons that people on crash diets can suffer dizziness and fatigue. Without sufficient intake of food they are not replenishing their B6 on a regular basis. Because they are taking in too little calories for their body to function and they do not have B6 to convert any stored energy, they become weakened.

The balance of chemicals in our brain affects our feeling of well-being. Neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin and dopamine are required for normal cell communication. In research lower levels of serotonin have been found in people suffering from varying degrees of depression and also migraine headaches. The research is not conclusive but at B6 is needed for the manufacture of these neurotransmitters it makes sense to ensure that there are adequate amounts being taken in through diet.

What are the signs of B6 deficiency?

With a balanced diet, which includes wholegrains and fruit and vegetables, it is unusual to find a B6 deficiency in a healthy adult.

• The elderly are more at risk due to reduced intakes of food resulting from lack of appetite and a general wearing down of internal systems and functions such as food metabolism.
• People who are perpetual dieters and in particular those who follow restricted food type diets are at risk as well, although unfortunately it is usually only when the deficiency has become critical that the symptoms might appear.
• One of the early signs will be changes to the skin with inflammations such as dermatitis.
• Another affected area is the mouth and Glossitis is a condition where the tongue becomes swollen and sore.
• Because of the role of B6 in our chemical balance within the brain, depression is not unusual.
• A lack of B6 may have an impact on PMS symptoms and also regularity of periods.
• In severe cases a person might suffer convulsions and as you will see from the post later in the week on anaemia, the quality of our lifeblood is compromised.
• Alcoholics tend to eat poorly which will restrict both their intake of B6 and its availability but alcohol also causes the destruction and loss of any B6 that is consumed.
• If you have an asthmatic child and they are on the prescribed medication theophylline they may require supplementation with B6 as the drug destroys B6 in a similar way to alcohol. You must talk to your doctor first however before taking or giving anyone B6 if they are already taking a prescription drug.
• Taking too much vitamin B6 in supplementation form can lead to some nerve damage particularly in the arms and legs. This might result in tingling sensations or numbness. Usually the symptoms disappear when the supplementation is stopped. Do talk to your doctor before stopping the supplement if you are taking it on his advice.

These foods include:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna,
  • lean chicken breast
  • lean pork
  • lamb
  • fortified tofu
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • porridge oats
  • brown rice
  • walnuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • dried prunes and raisins
  • eggs
  • wheatgerm
  • pistachios.

Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are great sources of this vitamin.

B6 is one of the water soluble vitamins thus they need to be in our everyday meals and of course if we are eating a healthy balanced diet then for most of us a deficiency of B6 is not a problem.

I have also been looking closer at the food I prepare and have noticed and also think that most of us have favourite foods which we love to eat and prepare but my favourite foods may not be yours so I have stepped outside my comfort zone and had a look at some of the foods which are rich in B6 which I haven’t or don’t cook so often…But foods which maybe you cook and prepare more often than I do… I do hope you enjoy the recipes…

I started with Prunes…Prunes are dried Plums and that is it…They can be used in many dishes sweet or savoury such as tagines, stews and compotes although I am not a fan of them in compote I prefer mixed red berries.

Semi-dried prunes are good for fast-cooked savoury dishes, almond tarts, rich fruit cakes, muesli and breads. They can also be stuffed, wrapped in bacon and served as a savoury snack, or stuffed with marzipan or dipped in chocolate and served as a sweetmeat.

Wrapped in bacon sounds good to me…

Now prunes are something that as kids we used to have with custard as a pudding my mum didn’t use the word dessert…I also remember we used to line the pips around the side of our bowl and say Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man , poor man ,beggar man or thief…

I also didn’t exactly tell the whole truth when asked what I was making…I said oh just a different dish using chicken for my blog it has a sauce a bit like a stew and I don’t have a proper Tagine …then I quickly changed the subject…The main reason is hubby as he sees prunes with custard and as a pudding as that is the only way he has eaten them…

Chicken and prune Tagine/Stew…

Ingredients:

• 4 large Chicken breasts, skinned and cut into cubes
• 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil I used coconut oil
• 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
• 1/2 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
• 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
• 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
• 1/2 sp Ground Nutmeg
• 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
• 200g/7oz pitted Prunes
• 2 large Onions, sliced
• 1 tbsp freshly grated Ginger
• 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
• Salt to taste
• 14fl.oz fresh Chicken Stock

Let’s Cook!

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan then add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
  • Add the spices, garlic, ginger and onions and cook stirring over a medium heat until the onions have softened.
  • Add the stock and season with salt then bring to a slow rolling boil and reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook for about one hour stirring occasionally.
  • At the end of the cooking remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce.
  • Serve with rice or couscous… The other concession I made was to use white rice instead of brown less for them to object to…haha..Told you I was sneaky…

The verdict: Everyone including little Lily loved it… After they had expressed their delight and hubby said he thought the black things were mushrooms(shitake) and grandson asked for more I confessed the dish contained prunes… a dish I will definitely make again even I was pleasantly surprised given the lack of chilli and some of the spices used…The biggest plus is now the grandkids will try dishes with prunes…

Changes next time: I would use chicken thighs and legs and maybe add a little chilli but it was very nice but would definitely use prunes in a savoury dish with no hesitation.

Next on the menu is tofu…Tofu is eaten a lot here by Thais in soups, grilled on BBQ’S and in stir fries …I know I should it and I did like this dish when I made it as I used a firm tofu I am still not a fan when it is soft…

Tofu and honey bites.

Ingredients:

• 1 block Extra Firm tofu (14 oz)
• 4 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp lemon juice…I used lime Juice
• 1 inch (2.5 cm) ginger, grated
• Sesame seeds to sprinkle

Let’s Cook!

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly mist the pan with oil cube your tofu, press and drain off the liquid…I didn’t realise the first time I did this just how much liquid there was.
  • Bake the tofu, uncovered for 10 minutes then remove from the oven press and drain the liquid again…yes..
  • Bake again Uncovered for a further 10 minutes…If there is no more liquid then pour the sauce over the tofu and bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes…
  • To make the sauce combine the soy, honey, lemon/lime juice and ginger…Then sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
  • Serve hot and enjoy either as a snack or a main course…

Lastly Sweet Potatoes…Something I like very much however no one else does although when I made these delicious little bites and mentioned cream cheeses and bacon…Their little ears pricked up and I was on to a winner…Did I not tell you I was sneaky…

Sweet Potatoes are lovely roasted in their skins and mashed with butter, I also sneak them into a curry but these little balls went down a treat and without a murmur except to ask for another one.

Spicy sweet potato balls with cream cheese and bacon

Ingredients:

• 2 sweet potatoes
• 2 spring onions finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
• 1-2 tsp red curry paste
• 3 rashers of bacon cooked until crispy
• Cream cheese
• Breadcrumbs to coat
• Oil to cook

Let’s Cook!

  • Wash and cook the sweet potatoes in the oven until soft…
  • When cooked allow to call a little and then remove the skins and mash with a little oil or butter then add the garlic, spring onions and red curry paste.
  • Combine well and season to taste.
  • Chop your cooked bacon and add to the cream cheese.
  • Take a good spoonful of the sweet potato mix form into a ball and make an indent then push the cream cheese and bacon into the whole and then make into a ball again. Repeat until all your potato is used.

  • Roll the balls into some breadcrumbs you may need to use some milk or egg to get them to stick.
  • Heat your oil and cook in batches just be careful as sweet potatoes have a tendency to brown quicker than ordinary potatoes.
  • Serve as a starter or snack with a sweet chilli sauce …Enjoy!

These balls were a bit of an experiment with the kids and we all agreed that next time we would either use jalapenos finely chopped or more red curry paste…

I hope you enjoy these recipes they are a bit of a departure from my normal choice of ingredients but were all well received by hubby and the kids…

My thanks to Carol for her creative way to ensure we all get sufficient Vitamin B6 in our diet, and thanks to her family for being the guinea pigs!! 

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

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

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

Carol and I are both in a group on MeWe, where you can share your blog posts https://mewe.com/join/authorsbloggerscircleabcgroup

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid


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

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

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

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

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid gets its name from the Greek word pantos, meaning everywhere; because it is available in such a wide variety of foods. The problem is that much of a foods content of B5 is lost through cooking; which in another reason for eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible in the raw state.

B5 is one of the eight water-soluble B vitamins which cannot be stored by the body and have to be replenished in your daily diet. We have already covered B1, B2, and B3 and B5 like the others plays an important role in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, which is burned to produce energy. They are also needed to breakdown fats and proteins as well as promoting the health of the nervous system, skin, hair, eyes and importantly this month, the liver.

Vitamin B5 has a number of roles in the body some more critical than others. One job that is vitally important is assisting in the manufacture of red blood cells as well as sex and stress related hormones. Without B5 our digestive tract would become unhealthy and we would be unable to use other vitamins as effectively. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘anti-stress’ vitamin because it is believed to enhance the activity of the immune system and help the body overcome stressful conditions.

Currently research is looking into the benefits of B5 and treatment for elevated cholesterol but there are other areas where the vitamin may be beneficial.

Some studies are indicating that B5 may speed up wound healing especially following surgery and as part of a B-complex supplement it may help recovery from major burns.

Arthritis has also come under the microscope as blood tests taken from arthritis sufferers’ show that they were suffering from a deficiency of pantothenic acid, but more study will be needed to confirm this.

There are rumours that taking B5 can help with wrinkles and stop your hair greying but this is not proven.

What are the symptoms of deficiency?

If you are following a healthy eating plan with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains you will be unlikely to be suffering from B5 deficiency.

If you were suffering from a mild to moderate deficiency you might suffer from:

  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • tingling in the hands
  • depression
  • abdominal pains
  • insomnia
  • burning feet
  • muscle weakness
  • cramps.

In extreme cases personality changes can take place as well as heart problems.

What are the best food sources for Vitamin B5

Although offal has gone out of fashion, they are great sources of Vitamin Bs.. including B5.

  • Chicken and beef liver
  • Avocados
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shitake Mushooms but all mushrooms have good amounts
  • Dairy including Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • beef and poultry
  • shellfish
  • Salmon and other oily fish
  • Trout
  • Peanuts
  • Lentils
  • Strawberries.

Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are great sources of this vitamin.

B5… As Sally has explained is one of the water soluble vitamins thus much of it is lost through cooking hence why we should eat as many vegetables as possible in their raw state…

Also as it is water soluble the vitamin will be lost if the food is boiled…

These spring rolls are very popular here in Thailand both with the children and adults and are found on street food stalls everywhere.

Ingredients for the peanut dipping sauce.

• 1 garlic clove
• 1 thumb-sized piece of organic ginger
• 2 tbsp gluten-free tamari or regular soy sauce
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
• ⅓ (85 g) cup peanut butter( to make your own)which is so easy https://carolcooks2.com/2017/08/09/healthy-eating-peanuts/
• ¼ (60 ml) cup water (more or less as needed)

Ingredients for the Spring Rolls.

• 1 cup cooked rice noodles
• 5-8 rice paper sheets
• 1 carrot
• 1 avocado
• ½ cucumber
• ½ red pepper
• 5-8 lettuce leaves or salad greens of your choice
• 1 handful fresh basil
• 1 handful fresh cilantro

Let’s Cook!

To make the peanut sauce: blend or mix together all the ingredients until smooth.

To make the wraps: cut all the veggies into thin strips which is an art I have learnt here or use a spiraliser if you have one.

Put the rice paper sheets, one at a time, in warm water so they soften. Then place them on a large plate and carefully dry them with a kitchen towel.

Arrange your fillings in the middle of the paper and sprinkle 1 tsp of the peanut sauce over the veggies. Fold over two ends then wrap it up like a burrito, making it as tight as possible.

It took me a while to get a hang of it, so keep trying it is not easy and watching the Thais it is second nature even the kids are better than me…ha-ha Don’t worry if you get a little hole it happens as you can see…Practice makes perfect.

N.B…I often add prawns to ours which takes the taste up a notch…One of our favourites.

Chicken Livers are one of the best sources of vitamin B5 and something many people don’t like…Chicken livers are the favoured livers here and more often cooked with spices.

I also make pate which the Thais love but is not something they usually make with the livers.  I have introduced that to the Thais I know, as well as Christmas pudding which they have come to love…

SAM_7988

Chicken Liver Red Curry with Green Beans Recipe

Alternatively, I just quickly fry the chicken livers in some butter and olive oil, salt and pepper and serve with onions and mashed potatoes a dish that hubby loves…He is not usually a spicy person but I think his love of liver overcomes the spiciness…haha.

This lovely Avocado and mango salsa is fresh and vibrant and can be paired with chicken, salmon, tuna it is packed full of fresh, B5 vitamins and tastes amazing…

Ingredients

• 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced medium. …
• 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced medium.
• 1 small red onion, diced small.
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves.
• 1/2 to 1 red chilli finely chopped remove seeds if required
• 2 tbsp fresh lime juice.
• 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.
• A pinch of sea salt to taste

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

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and chill until required…An easy healthy accompaniment to your food…

Salmon one of my favourite fish and packed with B5 I always wrap mine in foil and cook in the oven to help retain the vitamins…

Cajun Salmon with Salted Lime Butter…

Ingredients for the Salted Lime Butter.

• 4 tbsp butter unsalted
• ½ Lime zested
• A pinch of sea salt

Method

Mix the lime zest and salt into the butter, then keep in the fridge until required either in a ramekin or make a roll and slice of as required.

Ingredients for the Cajun Spice Topping…

• 2 tbsp of dried oregano
• 2 tbsp garlic powder…
• 2 tbsp paprika
• 2 tbsp mineral or sea salt
• 1 tbsp black pepper
• 1 tbsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tsp chilli flakes ( optional)

To Prepare

  • Mix all the dried ingredients together …I always add fresh garlic and chopped onion to mine so I make my mix excluding the onion and garlic and then when required I add the fresh ingredients…
  • Place the salmon on foil and add the amount of  Cajun topping you require
  • seal the foil and cook in oven at 180 for 10-15 mins until cooked
  • I open the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking and add my lime butter…
  • Serve with rice or noodles and freshly steamed vegetables or a nice avocado and mango salsa as above which helps cut through the Cajun spices.

Another way to eat your salmon is in this lovely soup…

A take on Tom Yum Soup… This is one of my favourite Thai soups and so easy to make from scratch. It also brings back memories of a certain lady…Keeleigh who when she visited us could not get enough of this fabulous soup…I am sure she would also love this version…

Ingredients

• 2 litres of water
• 4 stalks of lemon grass
• 1-inch chunk of galangal
• 10 kaffir lime leaves
• 10 Thai chillies
• 5 cloves of garlic
• 85 gm salmon per person
• 100 gm noodles of your choice per person
• 300 grams of oyster mushrooms
• 2 medium tomatoes cut into quarters.
• 5-6 shallots halved if really small if a little bigger quartered
• 1 and a half tsp of sugar
• 7 – 10 tbsp of fish sauce (depending on your taste)
• Juice of 5 -8 limes.
• A handful of cilantro ( Coriander)
• Half hardboiled egg per person…optional

N.B I recommend using the lowest amount of limes and fish sauce and Taste! Adjust if necessary as everyone’s taste varies.

Let’s Cook!

  • The first thing to do is put about 2 litres of water in a large pot to boil.
  • Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.
  • Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling-pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1-inch strips or so.
  • Take about 1 thumb-sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.
  • Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.
  • Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.
  • I used about 10 Thai birds eye chillies for this recipe, but you can use however many you’d like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.
  • Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.
  • You can put the lid on just so it starts to boil which releases the herb flavours quicker.
  • Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes.
  • Then add your mushrooms, which you should pre-rinse beforehand.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and onions. Cook for further 6-8 minutes.
  • Now add your noodles and after 2 mins add your salmon and cook for a further 5 mins until salmon is just poached…
  • Remove from heat and gently stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.
    Taste and adjust if necessary.
  • This delicious soup is now ready to serve. Garnish with half a boiled egg and some coriander…

Enjoy!

If you are doing an original Tom Yum with prawns, only add your 500 gm of prepared prawns and cook for 2-3 mins max ( if overcooked the prawns will sink to the bottom of the pan. If you get any scum on the surface of soup it’s from the prawns then just skim off with a spoon. Then remove from heat and gently stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

Taste and adjust if necessary.

Enjoy!

I hope these recipes have given you some ideas how to maximise your B5 intake…

Until next time have a lovely Easter and have some chocolate for me as we can’t get Easter eggs here…xx

My thanks to Carol for preparing these delicious dishes to ensure you and your family are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamins such as B5 in your diet. 

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

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

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

You will find me with some other blogging friends on a relatively new, and friendlier site called MeWe…. mewe.com/i/sallycronin

And Carol and I are both in the group where you can share your blog posts https://mewe.com/join/authorsbloggerscircleabcgroup

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – How to Cook the Perfect Sunday Roast


How to cook the perfect Sunday Roast.

Sunday Roast…They range from the best to the worst they also strike fear into the heart of many people…Some people thing it is the easiest meal in the world to cook and then find out it isn’t…

Why?

Meat…Depending on what meat you are cooking it could take anything from an hour to three plus hours…

Potatoes…Who doesn’t love a nice golden, crispy potato with a soft fluffy inside?

Vegetables… Most are cooked in a flash…

But they all have different cooking times and methods …Getting them all perfect and ready at the same time is no mean feat.

If Yorkshire (puddings) come into the equation then…That can throw a spanner in the works…They should be well risen and golden… Flat and stodgy doesn’t cut it!

We used to cook one of the best roast dinners in the area when we had our restaurant and even the other night we met up with an old friend from where we used to live and he mentioned my roast dinner and promptly invited himself to dinner…

The questions I get on how to cook the potatoes, Yorkshires, crackling and gravy are the most common…

Let’s break it down…

Roast potatoes…

  1. Peel your potatoes, although I like them roasted in their skins, but traditionally in an English roast they are not.
  2. Bring to the boil in lightly salted water and cook until they are just tender when you test with a knife.
  3. Drain and I keep the water sometimes to thin my gravy.
  4. Then shake the pan so the edges of the potatoes just break a little this gives you a nice crisp.
  5. Then cover the pan with a clean tea towel until you are ready to put in the oven.
  6. You now have two choices you can either cook in a separate pan or cook in the meat juices.
  7. We like ours cooked in the meat juices as you don’t get that firm crisp outside it is broken if that makes sense crispy but a softer crisp…
  8. Either way the fat must be hot…

I normally cook the potatoes around my meat and then when they are ready to turn over after about 20 minutes, I then remove the meat to rest turn up the oven and cook the potatoes until they are nicely crisped and golden about another 15-20 minutes depending on how many roasties you are doing…If you are cooking for two then they don’t take long.

Fat you can cook in the meat fat or use goose or duck fat which make really crispy roast potatoes…I tend to use those fats at Christmas as a general rule I use a good cooking oil or coconut oil.

Yorkshire puddings…

I could debate the merits of a good Yorkshire pudding as depending on which part of England you come from “Ours is the best”

I will not enter into that conversation but will impart to you how I cook my version.

Originally the Yorkshire was served as a first course and traditionally only with beef. It was served as a first course as a filler, and then not so much of the expensive meat would be required, or in the poorer households the Yorkshire pudding was served with the meat drippings as the only course.

The Yorkshire pudding is meant to rise…In 2008 the Royal Society of Chemistry suggested that “A Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than 4 inches tall”

The debate lingers on and I am sure it will for many more years to come…

Ingredients: To make 6 Yorkshire puddings.

• 70 gm flour
• 2 eggs
• 100 ml milk
• Oil to cook.

Let’s Cook

  1. Oven to 230C (fan 210) Gas 8.
  2. Make your batter by adding the eggs to the flour and gradually adding the milk to make a smooth batter. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. When you are ready to cook your Yorkshires make sure you have cranked the oven up add a little oil to your 6 hole tin and put in the oven.
  4. When the oil is hot 3-4 mins add the chilled batter and put straight back in the oven you will hear the sizzle as the cold batter hits the hot fat.
  5. Cook for 20-25 minutes until nicely risen and golden…

Tip: Do not open the oven door or they will go flat…

Gravy…

Should be smooth, lump free and tasty.

Again the gravy train rumbles on and it all depends on your preference…Ours is for a gravy which has a bit of body but one that you can’t stand your spoon up in …an old saying if gravy was too thick however in some parts of England thick gravy is a must…

A British tradition is to make the gravy in the meat pan using some of the juices…No posh jus and sauces just good tasty gravy.

  1. Remove the meat from the pan and if you have too much fat drain some of the fat off you need about 1 to 1 ½ tbsp.
  2. Put the pan on the hob, and on a medium heat, let it bubble and scrape the pan to get the drippings; now you need to put a bit of speed behind this or you will end up with lumpy gravy so no gentle scrapings
  3. Add a tbsp of plain flour keep stirring add gradually
  4. Add about 570 ml of hot stock or a combo of potato water and vegetable water and keep stirring, allow to simmer to infuse all the flavours, and reduce a little if it is too runny for you, or add a little more stock if it is too thick.
  5. Season as required I normally add black pepper and a dash of Worchester sauce.

Pork Crackling…

If you are having pork roast you need that crackling to be crispy and crunchy don’t we?
Nothing is better than perfectly crisp Pork Crackling.

How to achieve it, well,

It’s easy! When you know how!

I have lost count of the number of times that I have been screaming at the screen when watching my favourite cooking programs…Turn it up and leave the door shut…

When you buy your Pork look for pork which has a layer of fat underneath the skin (this) produces the best crackling.

It has to be thinly scored, for this, I actually use a Stanley Knife and woe betides anyone who uses it for D.I.Y. The piece of Pork I have pictured is a piece of Pork loin approx 2 kilos which I scored and rolled then tied with kitchen string.

  1. Right, let’s go, Heat oven and set to 250C.
  2. Next, take a small amount of oil and rub into the skin.
  3. Then generously salt the skin making sure you rub it well into the fat.
  4. (The specs) you notice on mine is sage as we like added herbs on ours.
  5. But just salt is fine.
  6. Put in very hot oven until skin starts to blister up.
  7. If you tap with a knife you can hear it or once you get used to it you can see it blistering up.
  8. But keep an eye on it (as my pic) below shows I took my eye off the ball and burnt the edges. Even I have little lapses and disasters in the kitchen but I caught it in time and all was well…
  9. Reduce heat of the oven to about 170 degrees for the remainder of cooking time which depends on the size and cut off your pork. Pork loin cooks quicker.
  10. You should now have a lovely piece of Pork with crispy crackling and a lovely melt in your mouth pork.

Serve with lovely roast potatoes and an assortment of vegetables…Thank you for reading and for those of you who haven’t cooked or struggled to cook a Sunday Roast I hope this has helped…Any questions please ask…If it about coming to Sunday dinner I can only seat 12 x

©Recipes Carol Taylor

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

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

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

#New Series -Smorgasbord #Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency.


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

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

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

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

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods... Cooked from Scratch.

Before we cover the first vitamin today…. a little bit about the difference between fat soluble and water soluble vitamins.

WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS.

These include all the B vitamins, vitamin C as well as Folic Acid. They are not easily stored in the body and are often lost in cooking or by being eliminated from the body. This means that they must be consumed in constant daily amounts to prevent deficiencies. In the case of Vitamin C this could lead to poor immune system function and if you are deficient in the B vitamins you will not be able to metabolise the fat, protein and carbohydrates that you eat.

FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS.

These vitamins include A, D, E and K. Because they are soluble in fat they tend to be stored in the body’s fat tissues, fat cells and liver. This means that they should be supplemented with care if you are already taking in plenty on a daily basis in your diet. In excess even supposedly beneficial nutrients can be toxic and this is why you always should adjust your diet first before taking in additional supplements.

A good place to start is with Vitamin A – Beta Carotene.

What is Vitamin A – Beta Carotene is essential for?

Vitamin A is essential for our healthy eyesight, especially at night, hence the name retinal from retina. The retina contains rod cells and these contain pigments that can detect small amounts of light and therefore adapt the eye to low-light or night vision or are responsible for our day time vision. Vitamin A is particularly necessary for the synthesis of rhodopsin the photo-pigment involved in night vision.

Vitamin A also helps ensure that our cells reproduce normally. It is necessary for the health of our skin, the mucus membranes in our respiratory system, digestive and urinary tracts. Our bones and our soft tissues require Vitamin A as part of the complex nutrient cocktail that keeps them from disease.

For younger people, Vitamin A has a direct influence on their reproductive capabilities. It has been shown to have an effect on the function and development of sperm, ovaries and the placenta. The growth and normal development of the embryo and then the foetus depends on a good level of the vitamin in the diet.

Our immune system is our first line of defence and it requires a combination of anti-oxidants and nutrients to be robust enough to cope with the stress of modern life and disease. Vitamin A is vital for this protection system as it stimulates the function of white blood cells within the immune system, encourages the production of antibodies to fight infection as well as increase our antiviral abilities.

It is rare to find a lack of the nutrient in someone with a varied and balanced diet but here are some of the of the symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency.

1. Dry flaky skin and related conditions such as eczema.
2. Dry eyes and difficulty in producing tears and cornea damage in certain countries where deficiency is common it can lead to night blindness and also total blindness.
3. Infertility problems for both men and women and a possible link to miscarriages.
4. A vitamin A deficiency in pregnancy can lead to developmental issues for the fetus.
5. Children who have a deficiency usually exhibit stunted growth but need to take with other nutrients to benefit from supplementation.
6. Frequent infections, particularly of the throat and chest are a sign that there is a Vitamin A deficiency.
7. The elderly or those with a compromised immune system, may be deficient in several nutrients, but Vitamin A deficiency is likely to lead to more severe respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.

If you feel that you are exhibiting the above symptoms moderately to severely then I do suggest you talk to your doctor and have a blood test.

As always it is better to consume foods that contain nutrients in a form that the body can process and use. However, where there is a severe deficiency, a supplement can also be taken to help restore the correct balance in the body.

Best food sources for Vitamin A – The most abundant source of the vitamin is found:

  • liver,
  • fish liver oils,
  • grass fed dairy butter,(cattle’s natural food is grass not grain or corn)
  • cheese,
  • free range eggs
  • oily fish.

Beta carotene is the substance from plants that the body converts to Vitamin A and the best sources are:

  • carrots,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • green leafy vegetables,
  • orange and red coloured vegetables,
  • apricots,
  • asparagus,
  • broccoli,
  • cantaloupe melon,
  • cashews,
  • nectarines,
  • peaches,
  • peppers
  • spinach.

I am now handing over to Carol Taylor who has devised some easy to prepare recipes to ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamin A – Beta Carotene.

A new series on Smorgasbord Health and one which I am looking forward to providing the recipes for I hope you enjoy them. Not all meals need to be made from ingredients straight out of the shopping basket. Most of us have leftovers in the fridge or freezer, such as pasta, cooked vegetables, scraps of meat etc. And they can be utilised to make delicious meals that are just as nutritious.

Let’s make a Frittata.

Ingredients:

• 4 Organic free range eggs
• 1 tbsp Olive oil
• 3 small cold potatoes sliced
• 1 small onion sliced
• A handful of spinach
• 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/4 cup of milk
• Few mushrooms sliced
• Few slices salami or chorizo
• Grated cheddar cheese

Let’s Cook!

  1. Add oil to heavy bottomed pan /skillet and add cooked sliced potatoes cover with lid or foil and cook until golden. If you are using uncooked potatoes then cook for about 10 minutes until tender but firm.
  2. Meanwhile cook the salami/ chorizo…I like mine a little crispy.
  3. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until onion softens.
  4. Add any other vegetables you are using I added sliced tomato and Thai spinach which has finer leaves than the spinach I used in the UK but you could add anything else finely sliced peppers, asparagus leftover cooked vegetables anything you fancy.
  5. Beat the eggs with milk and season well.
  6. Pour over your potatoes and vegetables and lower the heat.
  7. Add the grated cheese.
  8. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the eggs are set.

Turn out onto a plate and cut into portions. Serve with stir fried greens or red peppers, some sweet potato wedges or crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Stir Fried Vegetables.

Before I came to Thailand I was absolutely the worst at making any stir-fry and they tasted awful…Learning how to cook the Thai way has been a revolution for me and taught me so much about cooking and tasting…

Stir fries are not as easy as they look… Thais eat a lot of stir fried vegetables and this is one such dish.

Stir-fried Morning Glory or Pad Pak Boon Fai Daeng is also known as water spinach…It is a very popular vegetable dish in Thailand. A very quick dish to cook once you have all your ingredients prepared…5 mins at the most.

Ingredients:

• 1 bunch of Morning Glory (spinach)
• 4-6 cloves of garlic
• 3 or more Thai Chillies
• 2 tbsp of Oyster Sauce
• 1 tbsp of Thai Fish Sauce
• 1 tbsp of fermented soybean paste or oil with soya beans( Optional)
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil
• 1/4 cup fresh vegetable or pork stock

Let’s Cook!

  1. Wash and cut your morning-glory/spinach into 4-6 inch pieces.
  2. Bash the chillies and garlic in a pestle and mortar
  3. Heat the oil in a pan until very hot.
  4. Add the garlic and chillies and stir-fry (stirring) for 15-20 seconds be careful not to let garlic burn.
  5. Add morning-glory/spinach and all other ingredients except for the vegetable stock.
  6. Stir-fry for 40 seconds and add vegetable stock and stir-fry for another 10 seconds.

N.B. Experiment with your own stir fries using any of the vegetables listed as good sources of Vitamin A.

Fish is another source of vitamin A.

Salmon is a fish that is packed with Omega 3 oils and Vitamin A as well as other vitamins…

It can be cooked in foil which is my preferred way and easy to do. Quick and easy to do and cooks while the rice is cooking…

Salmon Trout.

Ingredients:

• 180 gm Trout or Salmon fillet.

For the topping:

• 1 spring Onion finely chopped.
• 2/3 stems Coriander chopped finely… I use the stem as well.
• 1 red birds eye chilli finely chopped.
• 1 tbsp Fish Sauce.
• A cheek of lime.

Let’s Cook

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Put fish on foil and spoon the topping on. I reserve some of the topping to add when serving.
  3. Seal foil and put in the oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.

This is lovely eaten with rice and some stir fried morning glory or spinach.

Enjoy!

Sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin A and one of my favourite sweet potato recipes is this one…

Sweet Potato with feta, honey and roasted grapes.

Ingredients:

• 4 baked sweet potatoes
• 2 cups of seedless red grapes
• 1 tsp of coconut oil or olive oil
• ¼ tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
• 4 oz of feta, goats cheese or ricotta
• Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
• 2 tbsp honey plus more to drizzle.

Let’s Cook

  1. Put the 2 cups of grapes on a baking tray and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper then roast at 350F for about 20 mins or until the skins start to burst…Make sure to check them as we don’t want them to burn.
  2. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. Take your cooked cooled sweet potato and gently remove the flesh as the skins are softer than normal white potatoes. I normally leave some of the flesh attached as it is easier and just scoop out the middle.
  4. In a bowl mash the potato with 3 oz of the goat’s cheese, honey, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste then put the potato back in the skins and crumble some more goats cheese on top …

To serve: add the grapes and drizzle more honey if desired…

Enjoy!

Some tips on how to enhance your dishes with Vitamin A.

When layering your lasagne, pop some spinach between the layers. If you have some picky eaters in the family who don’t normally eat green vegetables, they will hardly notice the spinach mixed with the cheese and tomatoes.

Stuffed peppers (and other vegetables) are another way to get your Vitamin A and easy to do…

Peaches in season are another good source of Vitamin A, and again there is nothing better than a lovely stuffed peach. Just mix some oats with brown sugar, cinnamon and diced butter fill the middle and bake until soft…To die for…

One of the best sources of Vitamin A… liver.

If your family are not keen on eating fried liver which is a great source of Vitamin A, make it into a lovely pate with some crispy melba toast or chopped red, green and yellow peppers…and just don’t mention it is liver.

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

  1. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured.
  2. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through.
  3. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To Serve

1. Transfer the pâté into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf….. I use lime leaves as I cannot always get fresh bay leaves.

2. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.

Mackerel and salmon also makes a lovely pates.

©Recipes Carol Taylor

However busy your lifestyle, your health has to come first. You can prepare many dishes in bulk, freezing a portion for the following week. And is eating the same meal two nights in a row really such a bad thing?

As Carol has demonstrated, including sufficient Vitamin A in your diet is very tasty, and all these foods do not just have Vitamin A but a combination of others that will contribute to your overall requirement.

Please join us again in two weeks for the next post in the series when we will be looking at all the ways you can introduce Vitamin B1 into your regular diet.

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

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Additional images – Pixabay.com