Smorgasbord Food Column – Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – September 2021 – Banana Bread, Neem Oil, Homemade Beehive, Lemongrass, Snail Mail, Cider Vinegar and Reef Shampoo

Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen.
September 2021

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

This Month’s RecipeBanana Bread with Passionfruit Curd/Butter.


• 2/3 ripe bananas
• 1/3 cup melted butter
• ½-1 cup sugar I used half as we don’t like ours too sweet.
• 1 egg beaten
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 ½ cups of flour
• A handful of walnuts chopped(optional)

Pre-heat Oven to 350/175 degrees.
4×8 inch loaf tin lined or greased and floured.

Let’s Cook!

Peel and mash the bananas, stir in the melted butter. Mix in the baking soda, sugar, beaten egg and the vanilla extract…. This is the easiest cake on record and quite easy to double up on the ingredients if you have a bigger loaf tin just adjust the cooking time.

Then gently mix in the flour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake in the pre heated oven for 1hr-1hr 10 mins until a skewer comes out clean.

Let the banana bread cool slightly before removing from the tin.

Passionfruit Butter/ Curd:


• The pulp of 5 large passion fruit plus ½ cup of passionfruit pulp.
• 150 gm butter
• 100 gm of sugar
• Juice of half a lemon or lime
• ¼ tsp of salt
• 5 eggs beaten

Let’s Cook!

Melt the butter and the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Add the lemon/lime juice, salt and passion fruit pulp. Mix well.

In a separate bowl whisk the 5 eggs lightly then increase the heat to medium low and slowly add the eggs to the passionfruit mix whisking all the time.

Continue cooking for a few minutes whilst whisking once the mixture is smooth stir with a wooden spoon while cooking until the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of your spoon…A pouring cream consistency then remove the pan from the heat allow to cool slightly before putting in lidded jars. Once cool store in the fridge… it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks if it lasts that long…

Note. Because egg sizes may vary, if you find the mixture is too runny (slides of your spoon very easily) whisk in another egg and also add a tbsp of butter. The butter helps thicken the mixture to a lemon curd consistency.

Honey Bees:
I am so excited as my honey bees are still busy nest building, I am not sure how long it takes before I can remove the honeycomb or whether I should… I am beginning to feel guilty…. I am now looking at ways to make my garden more bee friendly.

I think by now most of us realise that the reduction and killing of bees will serve as a death knell for the ecosystem…What can we do? We can plant our gardens with plants and flowers which attract bees.

To attract honey bees, start by planting single-petal flowers with yellow, white, blue, and purple blooms in your yard. You can also plant bee-friendly herbs like rosemary, lavender, sage, and thyme.

Next, stop using pesticides on your lawn and let the foliage grow a little wild to provide shelter for the bees…

We have now changed to using Neem Oil for pest control...What is Neem Oil?

Neem Oil is a naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree…It is yellow to brown in colour, has a bitter taste and a garlic/sulphur smell.

What insects does neem oil kill?

Neem oil kills or repels many harmful insects and mites, including aphids, whiteflies, snails, nematodes, mealybugs, cabbage worms, gnats, moths, cockroaches, flies, termites, mosquitoes, and scale. It kills some bugs outright, attacks the larvae of others, and repels plant munchers with its bitter taste.

Back to the subject of bees…Did you know?

Beehives are disappearing at an alarmingly rapid pace, and this isn’t just affecting our honey supply. Without bees, a whole lot of the food we eat wouldn’t exist anymore; produce such as almonds and cherries, for instance, are dependent on bee pollination to grow. Bee disappearances are partially due to pesticides and mites, but climate change is also a big factor…

Read the article: Man invents home-made beehive to save Bees


Today let’s relook at waste in our own homes…

Textiles cause environmental problems those glittery tops and dresses when washed all go into the water system and those clothes you recycle often go to landfills and because they are sewed with plastic threads etc they don’t decompose very quickly…Thinking about tossing old clothes in the bin? Don’t. Not even if it’s shredded, stained or no longer on-trend.
You know those old nylon tights you used to wear to the gym back in the day? Chucking them in the bin for being smelly and stretched out of recognition involves taking 30 to 40 years to decompose.

Mail…Do you get a lot of unwanted mail? Check subscription lists and unsubscribe…Save trees… More importantly, if your letterbox can take that much mail could someone get an arm through and access your home?

Image by bluebudgie from Pixabay

Now for a recap on projects I started a while ago and the results starting with my Apple Cider Vinegar:

I filled my glass jar ¾ full with apple scraps and then covered them with water… 1 cup of water to 1 tbsp of sugar I used raw sugar.

This needs to be left on a dark shelf, on top of the fridge is where I left mine for two weeks make sure the apples are submerged at all times…I stirred it daily.

After the 2 weeks strain the apple scraps and compost them or feed the chooks and then recover the jar and leave for another 2-4 weeks…fizz or bubbles is good as you know the ferment is working.

You will know when it is ready as it will have that unmistakable vinegary taste and smell…

The result: Not quite as astringent as ACV which I have previously purchased but I like it…Iam going to use different apples next time to see if it makes a difference the home made one is not as clear as the manufactured ones but it does look similar to the Cornwall’s one which I used to be able to buy here…cloudy is good and if it grows a Scoby(mother) that is even better as you can use it for your next batch.

Some recipes recommend starting with a cup of ACV to kick start the process a little quicker.

Reef Shampoo Bar...I have been using it for a good 4 weeks plus now and I like it…my hair is soft without using conditioner I find it easier to rub the soap bar directly onto my hair rather than my hands and I get a little more foam…

The only downside is that the bar is quite soft it may be the coconut oil but I have to keep it in the fridge but then it is hot and humid here and my coconut oil is always liquid where I know for some of you it is white and a soft solid.

I will definitely continue to use it knowing it doesn’t hurt the little fishes.

What’s New?

Hair Conditioning Bar…

Lily will be my tester for this as she has quite fine hair which knots easily so needs a conditioner…This one is called Foamie…
• 0% parabens, silicones, sulphates, microplastics, nano particles
• 100% plastic free, vegan and cruelty free.
• Dermatologically tested.
• Ergonomic design for easy use.

They do two one for normal hair which contains coconut oil and one for damaged with Hibiscus.

I am still waiting for this to arrive so will update you next month.

I use a washing detergent which is eco-friendly, thus I have decided to make my own fabric conditioner(another) plastic bottle banished…

As I had a surplus of Lemongrass, I decided to make my own essential oil…


• 10 stalks of lemongrass
• Olive oil to cover the lemongrass.

Cut the lemon grass into small pieces about an inch long. You may have noticed I didn’t use the green leaves only because when they picked them from the farm they kindly prepared them for me however there is oil in the leaves which when I make again I will use. Pound your lemon grass in a pestle and mortar to release the oils.

Cover the lemongrass with Olive oil or carrier oil of your choice.

Heat a saucepan with water you will be heating this over water bit make sure no water gets into the oil. I used my rice steamer basket which just held my glass dish nicely but heated it without the lid as the lid produce water droplets and we don’t want water in our oil.

Gently steam for about an hour stirring occasionally. The smell of lemon grass filled the house such a lovely smell.

Allow to cool a little then strain through a fine sieve with a muslin cloth then pour into a bottle and keep in a dark corner…I also lightly crushed 2 stalks of lemon grass and added to my bottle.

This link has three recipes for fabric conditioner I made the liquid one (number)3…which combines warm water, baking soda, vinegar and my essential oil…

Results next month.

I am sure my in-house testers will have something to say if it’s not doing the job…

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

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

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor


My thanks to Carol for another wonderful column and I so appreciate the work that goes into creating them each month. do head over to her blog to follow her informative and entertaining posts every week…. thanks Sally.