Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic 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.

After the summer we will pick up the series with Vitamin D and minerals that are essential to our health.

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 C (ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid) is probably one of the best known of our nutrients. It is rightly so as it has so many important functions within the body including keeping our immune system fighting fit. The best way to take in Vitamin C is through our diet, in a form that our body recognises and can process to extract what it needs. For example a large orange a day will provide you with a wonderfully sweet way to obtain a good amount of vitamin C, but to your body that orange represents an essential element of over 3000 biological processes in the body!
Vitamin C is water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body. It therefore needs to be taken in through our food on a daily basis. It is in fact the body’s most powerful water-soluble antioxidant and plays a vital role in protecting the body against oxidative damage from free radicals. It works by neutralising potentially harmful reactions in the water- based parts of our body such as the blood and within the fluids surrounding every cell. It helps prevent harmful cholesterol (LDL) from free radical damage, which can lead to plaque forming on the inside of arteries, blocking them. The antioxidant action protects the health or the heart, the brain and many other bodily tissues.

Vitamin C is an effective agent when it comes to boosting our immune systems. It works by increasing the production of our white blood cells that make up our defence system, in particular B and T cells. It also increases levels of interferon and antibody responses improving antibacterial and antiviral effects. The overall effect is improved resistance to infection and it may also reduce the duration of the symptoms of colds for example. It may do this by decreasing the blood levels of histamine, which has triggered the tissue inflammation and caused a runny nose. It has not been proven but certainly taking vitamin C in the form of fruit and vegetable juices is not going to be harmful. Another affect may be protective as it prevents oxidative damage to the cells and tissues that occur when cells are fighting off infection.

This vitamin plays a role along with the B vitamins we have already covered in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps determine our emotional well being.

Other areas that Vitamin C is vital to our health.

Collagen is the protein that forms the basis of our connective tissue that is the most abundant tissue in the body. It glues cells together, supports and protects our organs, blood vessels, joints and muscles and also

Our hormones require Vitamin C for the synthesis of hormones by the adrenal glands.
The cardiovascular system relies on Vitamin C that plays a role in cholesterol production in the liver and in the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids for excretion from the body. The vitamin also promotes normal total blood cholesterol and LDL (lousy cholesterol levels) and raises the levels of the more beneficial HDL (Healthy cholesterol) It supports healthy circulation and blood pressure, which in turn supports the heart.

The other areas that Vitamin C has shown it might be helpful to the body is in the lungs reducing breathing difficulties and improving lung and white blood cell function. It is recommended that smokers take Vitamin C not just in their diet but also as

Many studies are showing that Vitamin C can protect the health of the eye by possibly reducing ultra violet damage. .

Research is ongoing with Vitamin C and certainly in the fight against cancer there are some interesting developments.

Vitamin C works as part of a team helping in various metabolic processes such as the absorption of iron, converting folic acid to an active state, protecting against the effects of toxic effects of cadmium, copper, cobalt and mercury (brain health).

One word of warning if you are on the contraceptive pill. Vitamin C in large supplemental doses can interfere with the absorption of the pill and reduce its effectiveness.

What are the symptoms of a deficiency of Vitamin C?

A total deficiency is extremely rare in the western World. A total lack of the vitamin leads to scurvy, which was responsible for thousands of deaths at sea from the middle ages well into the 19th century. Some voyages to the pacific resulted in a loss of as much as 75% of the crew.

The symptoms were due to the degeneration of collagen that lead to broken blood vessels, bleeding gums, loose teeth, joint pains and dry scaly skin.

Other symptoms were weakness, fluid retention, depression and anaemia.

You can link these symptoms back up to the benefits of vitamin C and understand how many parts and processes of the body this vitamin is involved in.

In a milder form a deficiency has also been linked to:

  • increased infections
  • male infertility
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • and gastrointestinal disorders.

Best Food Sources.

The best food source of vitamin C is all fresh, raw fruit and vegetables. Avoid buying prepared peeled and cut vegetables and fruit, as they will have lost the majority of their vitamin C. If you prepare juices at home, always drink within a few hours preferably immediately. Do not boil fruit and vegetables, it is better to eat raw whenever possible preserving all their nutrient content, but at the very least only steam lightly.

Researchers believe that taking in adequate amounts of Vitamin C is the best private health insurance that you can take out.

The best food sources is of course fresh fruit and vegetables but the highest concentrations are in:

Blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cherries, grapefruit, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, oranges parsley, peppers, rosehip, potatoes, tomatoes and watercress.

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

Vitamin C…To me it is the sunshine vitamin as all the fruit and vegetables which are high in this vitamin are the most glorious colours.

Eaten raw or cooked although lightly steam or roasted as this retains most of the vitamins… Of course depending on where you live there will be other fruits/veggies which are high in Vitamin C…For me here that includes Pineapple, Mango, Papaya and even my favourite, the chilli.

The easiest ways to get your vitamin C is of course to eat the fruit raw, you could also add some spinach to your cooked rice and just let the heat of the rice wilt the spinach, Raw peppers sliced and eating with hummus or which we love here just chop some peppers all three colours, shallot stir into some cooked rice add some sweet corn if liked and I just make this little Italian dressing.


• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
• ½ tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice
• 1 clove garlic finely chopped
• 1 tbsp dried basil crumbled
• Pinch oregano

Whisk together and chill until required and then add to rice and stir through this recipe is also easy to double up.

This rice salad is easy to make with leftover cooked rice and eaten with some grilled fish or meat. It is also lovely with all the colours of the peppers and if like me you want to up the garlic just chop some extra cloves of garlic and add…

Grapefruit is also high in vitamin C…Here the Pomelo is more common it is just like a bigger grapefruit…

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


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


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

Let’s Cook!

  1. Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add shrimp and boil for just a few minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and are plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and stir until coconut turns light golden brown and fragrant. Tip coconut into a small bowl to cool and set aside. Repeat with shallots frying in a little oil until golden and crispy tip into small bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare your grapefruit or pomelo, removing as much of the white peel as possible from the fruit. Break into bite-size pieces – 3 to 4 cups is a good amount. Set prepared fruit in a salad bowl.
  4. Add to the bowl: cucumber, basil/mint, coriander, and fresh chilli.
  5. Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.

To put the salad together: Add shrimp to the salad bowl, and then pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine. Add most of the toasted coconut, shallots and nuts, reserving a little for garnishing, then toss again. Taste-test the salad for a balance of sweet/sour/spicy/salty. Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar if too sour. For more depth of flavour, add a little Fish Sauce. Your salad is now ready to serve. Top with reserved coconut, nuts and shredded lime leaf.


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

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

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

Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables it can be lightly steamed and if you make a cheese sauce then it makes a lovely side dish sometimes I also mix the florets with broccoli florets and make a broccoli and cauliflower cheese…

You can turn the cauliflower into rice which is very popular now…

And all you need is a Cauliflower and an Onion. A little Coconut oil to cook or other oil of your choice. Sea Salt and a squeeze Lemon Juice.

Let’s Cook

  1. Either grate or blitz in a food processor (but not too fine) you want some texture.
  2. Heat pan and keep pan HOT as you don’t want Cauliflower to steam and go soggy.
  3. Use a tbsp of Coconut Oil and put in the desired amount of Cauliflower and onion mix.
  4. Cook quickly and then season and add lemon juice.

All in all, it only takes a few minutes to cook….. a bit longer if more than one portion but keep pan hot.

If you wish to vary the taste you can add 1 tsp of Cumin seeds to oil before adding Cauliflower if you are eating Indian Food.

If you require colour if eating Mexican……. then add 1/2 tsp turmeric to oil and tsp tomato puree.

This is very versatile and just use your imagination and add any herbs and spices that you like.

To store...I make a batch and keep in the fridge for during the week but keep in a glass jar or zip lock bag…I think plastic containers may make it sweat too much…..Enjoy…. and if you are cutting the carbs it is an ideal and yummy substitute for rice and I love rice…… eat it all the time but happily substitute this as I am also a cauliflower lover.

The cauliflower is truly versatile… I love it! X

How about making a cauliflower Pizza base?

I love this more than my family do but then I am not a huge pizza fan I don’t really like pizza bases so tend to just pick of the topping so this cauliflower base suits my taste and I can crisp it up a bit..and viola something I really like…


• 1 medium head cauliflower.
• 1 egg, large.
• 1 tsp Italian seasoning (dried oregano or basil)
• 1/8 tsp salt.
• 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.
• 1/2 cup Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded.
• Cooking spray, I make my own spray I don’t do bought oil in spray cans…I have a little stainless steel one for oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 C and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Rinse cauliflower, remove the outer leaves, separate into florets and chop into smaller pieces.
  3. Process the cauliflower in a food processor in 2 batches, until a “rice” texture forms.
  4. Transfer cauliflower rice on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 mins this just removes some of the moisture.
  5. Remove cooked cauliflower rice from the oven, transfer to a bowl lined with a double/triple layered cheesecloth or linen towel, and let cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Then squeeze the liquid out of the ball as hard as you can. Be patient and do this a few times until barely any liquid comes out.
  7. Increase oven temperature to 4 degrees F/200 C. Then in a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg with dried herbs, salt and pepper for 10 seconds.
  8. Add cheese and squeezed cauliflower mix very well with a spatula until combined.
  9. Line the same baking sheet with new parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  10. Transfer cauliflower dough to the middle and flatten with your hands until thin pizza crust forms.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, carefully flip with a spatula and bake for a few more minutes. Top with your favourite toppings and bake again until cheese on top turns golden brown.

Slice and enjoy!

This recipe was one that intrigued me because individually I loved the ingredients except for the egg plant and even though I eat egg plant it is not my favourite.

It is an Indian spiced egg plant salad with mango, tomatoes and lentils … It turned out to be one of the nicest salads ever and had a few ingredients which my hubby doesn’t eat ever like egg plant, tomatoes and lentils and he liked it…

Spiced Egg Plant Salad with tomatoes, mango and lentils.

• 4 tablespoons peanut oil or olive oil, divided
• 2½ teaspoons chilli powder, divided
• 2½ teaspoons curry powder, divided
• 2 medium eggplants ( ¾ pound each), trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
• ⅓ cup lemon or lime juice, plus more if desired
• ¼ cup prepared salsa
• ¼ cup honey
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
• 1½ cups cooked lentils or one 15-ounce can, rinsed
• 2 bunches spring (green) onions, coarsely chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)
• 4 cups torn romaine lettuce or white cabbage
• 2 large ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
• ¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts or cashews
• ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander

Let’s Cook!

  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Combine 1 tbsp oil with 2 tsp each chilli powder and curry powder in a large bowl. Add eggplant and toss well. Spread the eggplant on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring halfway through, until tender, for about 15 minutes.
  3. Thoroughly combine the remaining 3 tbsp oil, remaining ½ tsp each chilli powder and curry powder, ⅓ cup lemon (or lime) juice, salsa, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Add the roasted eggplant, lentils and spring onions; gently toss to combine. Taste and season with more pepper and/or lemon (or lime) juice, as required.
  5. Serve the salad on a bed of romaine, topped with mango, nuts, cilantro and the reserved 2 tbsp of spring onions.
  6. I used white cabbage and we ate by adding some salad to the cabbage and eating them both together…
  7. To cook the lentils: Put ½ cup red or brown lentils in a medium saucepan add 1 ½ cups water then bring to the boil over a medium heat, reduce the heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender…12-20 minutes( red lentils ) cook quicker. This makes 1 ½ cups lentils.

I actually think this would go equally as well with pineapple or even orange…It is a lovely recipe with your vitamin C coming from your fruit and tomatoes even egg plant contains some Vitamin C as do chillies and of course you are getting fibre from the egg plant and the lentils so overall a very healthy dish to which you could add some chicken or fish…

Our verdict… I made half the recipe which is what I always do when I am testing a recipe. I just made a small amount of fresh salsa but all together the flavours complemented each other nicely much better than I originally thought and the honey just brought it all together. I used japans egg plants the long purple variety as I don’t think they are so bitter as the Thai green egg plants.

I hope you have enjoyed these recipes showing how you can include fruit and vegetables into your diet to ensure you get adequate Vitamin C.

My thanks to Carol for preparing these delicious dishes to ensure you and your family are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamin C..

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

Connect to Carol via her blog:

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.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – A Thai Cookery Lesson – #FriedRice

Welcome to Carol Cooks over at Sally’s… Before I came to live in Thailand I had been on a few holidays here and liked to cook Thai food at home… Mainly it was a disaster I just couldn’t cook a nice fried rice …It was absolutely awful…

Since living here I have had a few lessons from my daughter in law as to the error of my ways and now I can make a stir fry and hold my head up amongst most Thai cooks.

I will now show you how to make the perfect fried rice.

Rice must be cooked and cold so generally if you have had rice the night before and have leftovers then it is a way to use it up.

That was my first big mistake and why I had clumpy rice which stuck to the pan and why I didn’t ever get that nice dry fried rice.

However if you must use freshly steamed rice, just try to make sure your bowl of rice has cooled off and that it’s somewhat dried out before you get started.

Fried rice can be anything any vegetables or little bits of leftover chicken or shrimp (prawns) and you can have a lovely fried rice to go with many a meal…Traditionally served here with sliced cucumber, spring (green) onions and a chilli dip it is a dish many young children eat or may be something eaten for a quick lunch or as an accompaniment to other dishes.

Fried Rice.


• 1.5 cups cooked cold rice
• 3/4 Spring Onions
• ¼ of white onion chopped
• 2/3 cloves of garlic chopped
• ½ leaves of Chinese cabbage or other cabbage ( optional)
• 1 Egg
• ½ tbsp Oyster Sauce
• ½ tbsp Soy Sauce
• For chilli Sauce
• 5 Thai chillies finely sliced
• 3 tbsp Fish Sauce
• ½ a fresh lime

If you are using shrimp( prawns) then start with the whole fresh shrimp, pinch of the head and de-shell the body leaving the tail on ( Thai style) at the same time try to retain that lovely shrimp oil from inside the head this is what gives your fried rice a wonderful red colour and a nice rich flavour.

Let’s Cook!

Chilli and fish sauce aka prik nam pla

This little dish is always served alongside your Fried rice whenever you eat it in a restaurant…

Just finely chop the chillies and add the fish sauce and a squeeze of lime…That’s it …

Making fried rice only takes about 15 minutes or less to make and this recipe serves 1…All you need is a wok and a spatula… Serving more than 1 person just double up…The more you make this dish you will get a feel for it and will instinctively know how much of this and that you need just by taste.

  1. Firstly peel and finely chop your garlic.
  2. Slice about a quarter of your white onion
  3. Finely slice 3-4 green onions
  4. If you are using Chinese cabbage slice in half along the spine and then slice into 1 cm strips.
  5. Heat your wok or suitable pan and add about a tbsp of oil once your oil is hot add your garlic and stir fry continuously for about 15 seconds we don’t want burnt garlic do we?
  6. Throw in the shrimp and fry for about 30 seconds…Your shrimp should just start to turn pink then add just about less than half of your rice which will soak up all those lovely juices stir fry for about 10 seconds push all the rice to one side and crack the egg into the empty side swirl the egg and let it cook for a few seconds and then start to mix with the rice and shrimp…
  7. This was my second big mistake I used to just pour the egg straight over the rice hence a claggy, clumpy mess which no one wanted to eat.
  8. Then stir in the remainder of your rice and you should have a lovely dry fried rice with separate grains…
  9. Now add your soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir, some people add a little sugar at this point…I don’t…
  10. Now add your chopped Chinese cabbage and white onions and stir fry for about 30 seconds and then toss in your spring onions and stir for a few seconds a little longer if you like your vegetables a little softer.

Place on a plate with a slice of lime and spring onion and your little bowl of chilli dip. If you want it to look extra special put it in a little bowl and turn out on the plate as pictured.

A little sprinkle of fish sauce and some fresh chillies on top of your fried rice with and extra squeeze of lime just elevates your fried rice to another level.

Younger children here are generally given just fried rice with egg and a little spring onion and maybe some very finely diced carrot…Fried rice is one of those dishes where anything goes … As little or as much as you like.

Sometimes if I have a few shrimp (prawns) or half a breast of chicken or a thigh left over I bag them and they are ideal for 1 serving of fried rice. We all have left over vegetables chop them and put in your fried rice. For one all you need is a small piece of carrot maybe a couple of peas or a floret of broccoli cut small and bobs your uncle and you have fried rice.

Truly anything goes it is one of those dishes where you really can add almost anything I suppose a bit like you would do when topping your pizza …


If you were like me and just couldn’t make fried rice then I hope that now I have cleared up the mystery of how to make good fried rice… The bonus is that you will never have leftover rice, bits of meat, fish or vegetables again…

It is those little bits which I just hate to throw away and you end up with a fridge or freezer with small pots of this and that… Don’t you?


I love rice dishes and it is a staple in our house at the end of the week with left overs from various meals… thanks to Carol for the tips on how to perfect this very tasty dish…

©Carol Taylor 2018

The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory:

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:

Connect to Carol


My thanks to Carol as always for the time and effort that goes into these posts.

Thank you for dropping in today and Carol would be delighted to answer any of your questions and we always enjoy your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Delicious Warming Soup.

Delicious Warming Soup.

Soup can be eaten whatever the weather as a starter or as a snack and even as a main meal if it is a substantial one served with lots of fresh crusty bread.

I know that many of you are experiencing icy cold temperatures and even snow still so I thought that a few soups would be nice to help warm those tummies and hopefully help to keep away those nasty bugs and which are also easy to make.

For those of you who are experiencing warmer weather some soups as well as no matter what the weather I enjoy a bowl of soup…Don’t you???

Soup has gone through many revivals over the years I remember my mother making soup from chicken or turkey carcasses or as a treat we had Heinz tomato soup…

This saw an increase of packets and cans of soups of many varieties and tastes some memorable and some best forgotten…

Then came the gourmet soups along with of course a higher cost to the consumer….Some very tasty…

But I think this also prompted a revival amongst cooks to recreate these in their own kitchens and we have been treated to some marvellous soups from around the world…Ingredients we have never tried or thought to add to our soups but it has opened up a whole new world of soups.

Firstly though a soup for which I have many happy memories of the luscious soup my mum used to make with the leftover turkey carcass…Do you????

Chicken/ Turkey Carcass Soup.


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

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

Let’s Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

Pumpkins or Squash is available everywhere and makes a lovely soup… This is one of my favourite recipes and I know that ingredients like shrimp paste can now be bought in Asian stores around the world or purchased online…

This Pumpkin soup can be served in small individual pumpkins for a special occasion. The soup will be then sure to bring some Oohhs and ahhs from your guests. You can also use crab meat instead of prawns or use them both for a pumpkin seafood soup. Recipe will serve 4 persons.


• 1 tsp white peppercorns
• 2 coriander roots
• 400 gm pumpkin, peeled and cut in 2 cm cubes
• 2 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced
• 2 small onions, diced
• 1 tsp fermented shrimp paste
• 300 ml shrimp stock
• 700 ml coconut cream
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 2 tbsp roasted chilli paste
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 1 tsp coconut sugar
• 16 prawns or shrimps, peeled and deveined, or crab meat
• A handful of fresh basil leaves (reserve some to garnish)
• 2 tbsp coconut oil/ or oil of your choice, to stir-fry

Let’s Cook!

Pound the peppercorns and coriander roots to a smooth paste.

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, stir fry peppercorn/coriander paste, pumpkin, lemongrass, onions and shrimp paste for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend with shrimp stock until smooth. Pour it into the saucepan, add coconut cream and bring to a slow boil. Then, on low heat, add the seasoning: lime, chilli paste, fish sauce, sugar. Mix well, add prawns, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Taste to see if any extra seasoning is required, and then remove the pan from the heat.

Just before serving, stir in basil leaves. Garnish with a sprinkle of extra basil leaves.

N.B. On a recent trip to the UK my son found coconut milk was not 100% as it is here where I live…If you can only get a coconut milk which is not 100% then do not boil as it will separate just slowly bring it to a soft boil.

Today I braved the rain…dodged the spots as it was time for our 90 day report at immigration but it was a 2 minute job which was lucky and then to market and I got some lovely fresh coconut milk freshly squeezed and some lovely fresh green curry paste it is such a vibrant green when freshly made I am also guessing not for the faint-hearted I am sure it will pack a punch but just nice for out green curry tonight.

I am chatting away again and forgetting that I am writing recipes out for you…

The next one is a lovely Thai chicken soup with coconut milk and of course chillies, lemongrass, galangal and all the other spices which make up the delicious Thai flavours.

I know that young D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies  loves this soup and I am sure given the weather she is getting a nice bowl would be very warming and welcome.

Tom Kha Gai Soup (especially) for Debby.



• 2 stalks lemongrass
• 3 inch section of fresh Thai galangal or you can use dried galangal pieces, 6-8 dried galangal pieces, thinly cut, no need to peel
• 3 cups chicken stock
• 3 cups coconut milk
• 3 chicken breasts, cut into small bite-size pieces
• 2 cups mushrooms quartered
• 1 small onion quartered and sliced 1/4 in. thick
• 4-8 Thai chillies
• 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
• 4-6 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
• Juice of 4-5 limes, to taste
• 1-2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar, to taste
• handful of coriander leaves

Let’s Cook!

Cut off the bottom of your lemongrass stalks and discard. Remove the loose outer layer of leaves. Slice lemongrass at an angle, about an inch apart up to where the grass blade starts. Smash the lemongrass and chillies, in order to release the flavours, with the side of your knife or in a mortar and pestle.

Place lemongrass, thinly sliced galangal, and finely sliced Kaffir lime leaves and chillies in soup pot with coconut milk and chicken broth.

Bring to a slow rolling boil then add onion, mushrooms and chicken.

Keep at a slow rolling boil, until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar to taste.

Sprinkle coriander leaves on top.

N.B. I f you don’t like your soup too spicy then add chillies near the end of the cooking as the longer they are in the soup the hotter it will be.

Serve with jasmine rice.


Brussel Sprouts soup.

Who would have thought that Brussel sprouts would make such a lovely soup. It can be served with some crispy garlic bread or some lovely Stilton wafers…Stilton is one of the cheeses I can get here and for some reason doesn’t cost an arm and and a leg… So… Stilton wafers it was and they were yummy.


• 300 gm Brussel sprouts trimmed and roughly chopped.
• 850 ml vegetable stock.
• 1 onion finely chopped.
• 1 large potato cut into dices.
• 1/2 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds crushed
• A pinch of grated nutmeg
• 2tbsp Olive oil
• 4 tbsp of double cream.

For Stilton wafers:

• 14gm stilton cheese
• 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
• 10 oz walnuts finely chopped
• A pinch grated nutmeg

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in the pan and fry the onions, garlic and potato for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the fennel seeds, then fry for 30 seconds.

Add the sprouts and fry for 2 minutes add stock and bring to the boil. Season, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile Heat the grill to high crumble the stilton in a bowl and stir I the breadcrumbs and walnuts. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place 8 piles of the mixture onto it.

Grill for 1-2 minutes until the mix has melted. Cool and transfer to a cooling rack to cool and harden….I love these…

Remove the soup from the heat and blitz in the food processor. Return to the pan and add the nutmeg, reheat gently.

Ladle into 4 serving bowls and swirl/drizzle with the cream. Sprinkle with extra fennel seeds and serve with your stilton wafers.


That’s all for this week and I do hope that those of you who are experiencing really cold and snowy weather soon get some sun…You will however be pleased to know that we are now in our rainy season and are getting some glorious tropical storms…but it is not sunbathing weather… yesterday the whole Soi was flooded and looking out it was just like I lived in Venice on the waterways we needed a boat to get anywhere and today is not much better it is now leaky ceiling time of year…

Until next week …Thank you for reading this… I hope you enjoy the soups…What is your favourite soup???

The other posts in the series can be found in this directory:

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:

Connect to Carol

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

My thanks to Carol for another fantastic food and cookery post, and I shall be trying all the soups, including the Brussel sprouts, as one of my favourite vegetables.  I am sure that you will agree that Carol’s Cookbook that she is currently working on is going to be filled with amazing recipes.