Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food ‘N’ is for Nicoise, Nori, Nuts, Noodles, Nettles and Naan Bread.

Welcome to my A-Z of the Culinary Alphabet today it is the letter N bought to you by moi @CarolCooks2. It seems to me that the time is just flying by we are midway through the year already.


In French, “a la nage” means “in the swim”. The classic definition of nage is a stock typically used to poach seafood, especially fish. Traditionally, nage is a broth flavored with vegetables, white wine as well as herbs. However, nage is also the cooking technique of simmering something gently in a flavourful broth. This broth can be served as a light sauce at the same time to accompany the main dish.

Nicoise Salad

A descriptive term for dishes served with particular foods used by the chefs of the City of Nice, France. This garnish usually includes garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, black olive, capers, and lemon juice. Salad Nicoise is the most famous of all these dishes, consisting of potatoes, olives, green beans, and vinaigrette dressing.

Nori Seaweed

Image by F_A on Pixabay

Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed (a “sea vegetable”) As a sea vegetable, nori is naturally rich in iodine, which converts to iodide in your body. Iodine also is essential to maintaining healthy hair, skin, teeth, and nails. Nori is also a great source of micronutrients, containing more vitamins and minerals than most vegetables and fruit.

Nut Butters

Nut butter is easy to make and free from additives, saves money and you can create your own blends…Homemade peanut butter is so easy and quick to do …

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

Stores in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks. It is easy and delicious.

Noisette (Butter)

Noisette Butter (meaning “nut butter” in French) is a simple sauce that is made solely from butter. It is butter that has been melted and cooked until it starts to turn light brown, but not as dark brown as for brown butter. It is called “nut butter” because the browning gives it a tawny, nut color, and also gives it a bit of a nutty taste. It is used as a sauce for brains (calves’ or lambs’), eggs, poached skate or boiled vegetables. Also good with crêpes.

A noisette is also a term in the French language for hazelnut. or In French, noisette is a small version of noix, which means a “walnut.” The noix of a leg of lamb or ham means a “small walnut-shaped” which is a juicy morsel. It is a small, round, or oval slice of lamb or mutton, which is cut from the leg, rib, or fillet. It is cut to provide an individual portion.


Noodles come in all shapes, sizes, and colors…Some are good for you and others not so much. However, if you make your own or buy fresh noodles colored with vegetable dye they are better than most store-bought noodles.

Here is my recipe for a lovely Thai noodle soup… You can use chicken or pork…

Thai pork noodle soup – Gaeng Jeud Woon Sen

Nettles (Stinging)

Who hasn’t gotten stung as a child particularly when it was time to pick blackberries or if your ball went into the bushes and there happened to be stinging nettles and did they sting and itch…Well, they can also be eaten they are in actual fact a very versatile plant and used as a medicine by herbalists.

How to cook the little blighters…

Napa Cabbage

Is a sweet, crunchy, flavourful Chinese cabbage which can be eaten raw, added to salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Napa can be used to prepare coleslaw. Napa cabbage is also popular as “pe-tsai,” one of the popular vegetables employed in Korean fermented dish-kimchi.

Just recently during National vinegar month I not only discovered the beautiful taste of black vinegar but also as I am very into wasting nothing when I am cooking and made a lovely vegetable dish using nappa cabbage stalk..yes the bits that are often thrown away and made a lovely stir fry with nappa cabbage.

Most days I start my day with a bowl of vegetable stir fry with rice…we all love veggies and on my plate, my veggies far outweigh the amount of meat I eat…

Who throws this away?

It is the stalk of the napa cabbage cut on the diagonal and stir fried…with some chopped garlic, dried chillies and chopped green onion. A sauce made from black vinegar, oyster sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.

  1. Start by heating a little oil in your pan and adding the chillies, garlic and onion and cook for 1 min.
  2. Then add your Nappa cabbage stalks and stir fry for a further 2-3 mins.
  3. Add your sauces I always mix mine beforehand so they are ready.
  4. Cook for another minute…

This can either be served with rice/noodles or as a side to your main dish…we liked it but next time I will add some chopped ginger.


Needling is the process of injecting fat or flavors into an ingredient to enhance the flavour…my first experience of this was when on a visit to my American cousins they injected a turkey with spices and after doing this over a two day period they then deep fried the turkey…It was lovely spicy and delicious.


One of my favorite spices which is great as a topping for rice pudding or an egg custard tart…A little known fact about the nutmeg is that it is technically a hallucinogenic drug.

Consuming .2 ounces can cause convulsions while eating .3 ounces can cause hallucinations. … If you eat a whole nutmeg be warned, you’ll enter what’s called “nutmeg psychosis,” which can lead to death. However, the small amount used in cooking literally a pinch is unlikely to cause any of those.


Again is a French term and it means to completely coat food with a thin layer of sauce or jelly.

Naan Bread

Great with an Indian Curry it is easily made at home and can be plain, stiffed or with garlic…there are many recipes for naan bread some with yeast and some without I prefer to use natural yogurt.


• 4 cups of flour
• 1 tsp of baking powder
• 1 tsp of salt
• 2 cups of natural yogurt.

To prepare

  1. First, mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the yogurt if the dough too wet then add more flour.
  2. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic then form into a round and put in an oiled bowl cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for about an hour.
  3. Then cut into 8/10 equal sized pieces and form into a ball. then press flat with your hand and roll into an 8-10 circle about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Heat your griddle and cook for 3-5 mins there will be as pictured some brown spots underneath transfer to the oven for 1-2 minutes until they puff up and slightly brown on the top remove from the oven and brush with melted butter or ghee if required.
  5. Wrap in a cloth to keep warm while you are cooking the other pieces of bread


Thank you once again to Sally for rerunning this series and to everyone who is following this series …Stay safe and well and see you next time with the letter ‘O’…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 sharing this series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

The Cholesterol Myth – Carbohydrates – Not all are demons….

So far I hope that I have established that cholesterol is important for many areas of our health and that it is the LDL (low density lipoprotein) with its smaller particles, particularly when those particles are oxidized, that causes plaque build-up in the arteries.

This oxidation occurs when we have a diet high in white fat and white carbohydrates, sugar and indulge in activities such as smoking. Since the white fat diet is the most popular today – flavoured latte’s with muffins – cookies, high sugar white cereals, etc etc, the LDL levels of a great many people is going to cause health problems eventually.



Carbohydrates are a component of food that supplies us with energy in the form of calories to the body. Along with proteins and fats they provide the human body with the main elements required to be healthy. Carbohydrates are made up of sugars (simple carbohydrates), starches (complex carbohydrates) and fibre. If you take the fibre out of the formula through over processing you are just left with the sugars.. These are intense and result in blood glucose fluctuations. You may have experienced this for yourself after a heavy lunch with lots of white rice followed by a rich and sugary dessert. You become light headed and feel faint requiring a top up around 4pm in the afternoon!

To lower cholesterol levels naturally you need to eat carbohydrates that have retained the fibre element as this helps absorb some of the sugars and prevent blood glucose fluctuations.

Carbohydrates are not the demons that some would make out. They have essential elements that are required to make the perfect fuel mix for our bodies.

However,our requirement for carbohydrates will change as we get older. When we are children and young adults our growing bodies require a supercharged fuel – carbohydrates are also needed in higher concentration during periods of high activity as you get older but should be allied to that particular period of exercise. When men and women pass through the mid-life change the requirement certainly drops but levels again depend on how active your life style is.

If someone is a total couch potato drifting from bed to table, table to car, car to desk, desk to car, car to sofa – then putting a high octane fuel into the body will simply be converted to fat. However, stopping all carbohydrates is wrong – there are certain nutrients and fibre within wholegrain carbohydrates that the body needs so that the chemical balance is maintained. Here is the link to Food Pharmacy – Brown Rice and this will show you what is actually removed from the grain.

As far as LDL cholesterol is concerned there is some evidence that a lower carbohydrate intake can decrease the numbers.  I think that this is likely to be because of the reduction of sugars when the carbohydrates usually consumed are white without the fibre and B-vitamins element. However, a certain amount of wholegrain carbohydrate with the fibre attached should still be eaten in certain quantities.

Going back to the last post on the liver – the organ that is vital in converting the carbohydrates into energy – keeping the liver healthy is extremely important and if it is working efficiently your carbohydrate uptake can be less but still effective.

I am afraid I do not class white carbohydrates as a food group – they are sugars pure and simple and most have little or no nutritional value. By the time the wholegrain has been stripped of its fibre, vitamin B and other nutrients to suit today’s palate you have nothing but white stodge on a plate. There are exceptions – those of an Italian origin have been eating white pasta made with a specific flour for generations but it is offset too by their love of olive oil, lots of tomatoes, onions and garlic etc which is actual the predominant part of their diet not the pasta.

It is important that the grain carbohydrates should be wholegrain – rice, wheat and oats. However, wheat is one of the newer grains and does not suit everybody’s digestion –


Gluten is a protein present in grains such as wheat, barley and rye and it can be very difficult for some people to digest. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease that can ultimately badly damage the intestines. Having one parent or close relative with celiac disease your chances of being affected are around 1 in 25. An interesting study in China where the grain of choice is rice, has noted an increase in celiac disease and also the less severe gluten intolerance. There is some evidence to suggest that as more people adopt a western diet with industrially produced bread products they are developing this rarely reported reaction.

If you are reading this and you are an adult, have eaten wheat products all your life, have never suffered from prolonged bloating, stomach upsets and fatigue, then the chances are that you are not sensitive to gluten. If on the other hand you are suffering from these symptoms look at your food for the last few weeks and circle all items that contain wheat, especially industrially  processed.

I am personally better with home-made bread made from good quality organic flour than I am with commercial sliced bread of any kind which tends to have many more additives.

Back to carbohydrates.

Whatever age you are, if you are very active you can eat a diet of wholegrain carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats and plenty of vegetables with some fruit to obtain the nutrition needed for optimal fuel.

Breakfast – Porridge oats (buy guaranteed gluten free – they may be contaminated if milled in the same place as wheat) – or homemade muesli with nuts, seeds and a small amount of fruits – go easy on the dried fruit as it has higher concentration of sugars.

Oats contain soluble fibre and this works on your cholesterol in a couple of ways – If both your HDL and LDL are on the high side – the fibre will reduce the total absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream but it will also reduce the LDL cholesterol which is what you should be aiming for.   You need about 10 grams of soluble fibre a day and by having a bowl of porridge (6grams) and a banana (4 grams) you will have started the day well.

If you enjoy a cooked breakfast then one slice of wholegrain toast with a scrape of butter and a poached egg and perhaps a tomato…


Lunch – I medium potato with lots of green vegetables and some carrots or perhaps two tablespoons of brown rice with lean protein is all that is needed. If you enjoy pasta than buy a high quality italian variety or better still wholegrain.  Limit yourself to around 75gm and eat with lots of tomato sauce and onions. Avoid pies and other pastries unless you have made yourself with wholegrain flour and real butter (not margerine).

Supper -A bowl of homemade vegetable soup. A large salad with roast chicken. Salmon and green vegetables.  If you are going to be enjoying a night on the sofa and television the carbohydrate is not going anywhere except your waistline.

If you are working out three times a week then add another spoonful of wholegrain rice to your dinner the night before – eat a banana before your workout.

Other carbohydrates

nuts and seeds

Other foods to include with your carbohydrates are nuts and seeds – walnuts are great, beans, but only a handful, certain fruits such as apples (contain pectin which helps keep your bile ducts healthy) and prunes, and my favourite, banana, again not huge amounts but the fibre from all of these will not only help keep the LDL numbers in balance but also keep the bowels working and healthy.

Next time the greatest myth about cholesterol… that all fats are bad for you..

Here is part one and two in the cholesterol series.

©sallygeorginacronin Just Food for Health 2008