Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Life is short, Smile while you still have teeth! by Carol Taylor


Welcome to the next in the posts from Carol Taylor’s archive..This from 2015 is from Carol’s early days of blogging and now she is juggling two…. great at multi-tasking is our Carol. This week some really cute pictures from the GRP.( Gibbon Rehabilitation Project) in Thailand which is an update on an earlier post, a smile from Carol’s son and her mother.. and of course you always get a recipe. If this does not leave you smiling then you need to get out more!

Life is short, Smile while you still have teeth! by Carol Taylor

I have to start with an update on the tiny baby Gibbon…you can actually see how very tiny she is as she snuggles against the person who is feeding her.

Unfortunately she could not be left with her mother who was becoming increasingly tired and the baby weaker….she is now being hand reared……..GRP made.this decision for both the mother and the baby’s well being. Both parents are being allowed to come to terms with all the trauma before being released back into the wild…which in this case is the right decision for all I think…..This project does such wonderful work for the Gibbons here and are very successful at rehabilitating and returning as many as is possible back to their natural habit.

This little one is now doing much better I wish her well..awwww so cute.

First week of Blogging 101 over enjoyed it in the main especially the interaction on ” The Commons” with other bloggers…awesome.

Just received a picture of my mum with my big boy. taken on Christmas Day before Church.

I miss my mum…..although it’s lovely to chat on Skype when I have a signal…..But my boys over soon and can’t wait…..I might have sun,sea and sand but miss people ..but also it makes you appreciate people more…you don’t take things or people quite so much for granted………. where did that come from…sorry peeps getting maudlin…..

What’s next..thoughts all dried up …….well not really…….been trying all week to get a picture of the buffalo just down from my house…everytime I go by(without my camera) the heron is on her back and it makes such a lovely sight ( when I have ) said camera it’s nowhere in sight…but perseverance that’s my mission I will get that pic…….Sourced the celery ( or my friend did) so promise next blog I will show you how to make bacon without nitrates…..and it only takes 5 days……. and it’s ready! Can smell and taste it already………also found a great recipe on someone else’s blog for Fish Curry and it looks yummy so will be trying that………

But never fear I won’t leave you without a recipe ……. last nights dinner was:


Uncooked prawns with a blow your head off chilli dip.It consists of very finely chopped white cabbage,finely sliced and halved.khiewchanta.

Khiewchanta……arranged round the edge of plate……..Fresh prawns ,cleaned , deveined and soaked in Soda Water…..Fresh mint leaves and finely sliced garlic.

Eaten with steamed rice and very lightly cooked squid in a salad with tomatoes,spring onion,coriander,fish ,sauce and lime juice…… so that was dinner and very nice it was all fresh from the market about an hour before and that’s the great thing about living here everyday there is a fresh market and I love it at my local ones I am generally the only farang but they are getting to know me and love it when I sample the hottest of food sometimes and give it the thumbs up………..and if I speak a little Thai…as my vocabulary is limited at the moment the smiles all round… it really makes my day as it does theirs.

Well short and sweet this one…but it’s children’s day today so everywhere there is fun and games galore….until next time…happy reading x

Thanks for another snapshot of Carol’s day and clearly still feeling homesick…

©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!

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

Phuket Island Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

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

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc.  Please send one or two posts to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year.  Thanks Sally.

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


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

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

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

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

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT BROWN RICE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparation.

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

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

Nutritious and delicious Brown Rice.

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

Back into kitchen for Take Two.

How you should cook brown rice….

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

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

Mistake!

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

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

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

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

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

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

..Mushroom rice pilaf

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spicy Lamb and feta skewers…served with Brown rice…

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients:

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

To garnish:

  • 3 tbsp chopped spring onion
  • ½ cup chopped coriander

Let’s Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

Getting hot in the kitchen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am sure that you will discover a whole new world of taste by trying out Carol’s wonderful recipes and we look forward to hearing how you get on.

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

Phuket Island Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” by Eleanor Roosevelt. From Carol Taylor


I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc.  Please send one or two posts to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year.  Thanks Sally.

Today Carol shares a post from 2015 that explores the choices we make and where they might lead us.. In Carol’s case to Phuket, sunshine and a contributor to a short story anthology…

“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” by Eleanor Roosevelt. From Carol Taylor

Are we all happy with that?

I am, because if I hadn’t retired to Phuket I most certainly would not be blogging, I would not be warm( it’s so hot and sunny here), I would not be making my own ham and bacon, I would not be a published author the list is endless.

Why? I can hear you all saying.

Choices, circumstances, call it what you may….. sometimes we have to just be brave, go with the flow, listen to our hearts, be a little selfish…..yes why not…… years ago and I mean years ago I wanted to study Law…..I got these looks, comments…why Carol? you have a good job, you have a family why…all these puzzled looks…..why? for me, because I wanted to……so I enrolled…… time to study!

” Mum, Can I? Mum, can you? it didn’t stop….

Enter my friend Gilly…….My neighbour, confidant, shoulder to cry on, my independent career driven friend who had no children of her own…and my kids were her kids…..for sleep overs, cooking , story telling and she had plenty of those…..

In she came…..like a stern maiden aunt…..even I was a tad afraid…..” Now listen kids; your mum was herself before she was your mum…….when she is studying…because she wants to….YOU….do not disturb her…anything you want you ask before or after ”

To me she said ” you shut the door and you study, you do not answer any knocks, pleadings, wants ”

” Yes Ma’am ”

I miss you Gilly……. so much but your spirit is with me and your pictures ( the painting), The hot air balloons going up, up and away over Weston, my ” Crazy Dancing Cow “ is on my desk…yes she came with me……..you are in my heart, you are my inspiration and we all have so many memories of fun times shared R.I.P my friend.

So in I go, sat down..books open , pen at the ready….” Knock , Knock, mum”

From me…nada..no response…..it got a bit louder…..then went away……came back and tried again…..but after a few days of this ….they got the message…I got peace and quiet to study…….yehhhh…so I suppose what I have learnt through life is we all love our kids, we want to do our best for them but a door mat we ain’t and we all need our me time and everyone is happier for this and do you know?

35 plus years later.

When one of your children tells you that you are why they are what they are today and they are proud of YOU ……….you know you have done something right among all the things you got wrong…and no one is perfect..not me, not you..no one……….

So good luck with the choices you make..don’t beat yourself up if they don’t turn out quite as you wanted but a little bit of self belief goes along way…you tried…..everyday is a new day.

AND Saturday for me is a big day….I get to see, to hold, to turn the pages of our book for the first time…my very first offerings to the world in print ……… Now who would have thought…if I had written my future 20 years ago I would have got it totally wrong!

I would not be living here in sunny Phuket………..again..choices, some say ” lucky you,” You are so brave ( not sure I get that one), some may think very selfish …we cannot please all the people all of the time.

It all goes back to that opening line;

” I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”

©CarolTaylor 2015

Please share with us a choice that you made in the past that has led to where you are today.

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

Phuket Island Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

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

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc.  Please send one or two posts to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year.  Thanks Sally.

 

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


Welcome to the series where I provide the nutritional health benefits for a food and Carol Taylor works all week in the kitchen to provide delicious recipes to include in your regular diet. I hope you will go over to her new blog which she has just started: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/ and discover more about her beautiful home in Thailand.

Before we enjoy another wonderful selection of recipes from Carol Taylor it is time to look at the health benefits of this richly coloured vegetable.

Don’t forget to eat your purples! – The Augergine history and health benefits.

There are certain foods that on my shopping list regularly as daily or weekly additions to our diet and others that we might have a little less often.. One of these is aubergines which I love but only eat occasionally as I have a tendency towards gallstones. If you do not suffer from either gallstones or kidney stones then you can enjoy a couple of times a week at least.

We were all encouraged to eat our ‘greens’ when we were children, and we know that the brighter the food colour the more anti-oxidants they contain, but I cannot recollect being told to eat my ‘purples’. But it is this colour which gives this food its uniqueness.

When we are enjoying a moussaka or ratatouille made with this versatile food we don’t tend to dwell on its medicinal properties, but like the majority of fresh produce we eat, aubergines have some powerful health benefits.

The History of the aubergine.

The aubergine has its origins in ancient India and is mentioned by different names in Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindustani languages.  It was grown in China as well but only came to Europe around 1,500 years ago.  There is no Latin or Greek name for it but there are Arabic and North African names indicating that it came to this continent via that trade route.

Americans call it the eggplant, and in India it is known as Brinjal.  In Spain, aubergines are called berengenas or ‘apples of love’ for supposed aphrodisiac properties. Something that I take on faith!  In northern Europe they had a strange notion that eating the vegetable caused fevers and epileptic seizures and named it Mala Insana or ‘mad apple’. It is also known as melanzana, garden egg and patlican in other languages.

The aubergine belongs to the nightshade family that includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes.  It grows from a vine and will vary in size and colour although the flesh of all the different types tends to be slightly bitter and spongy in texture.

When you are selecting the aubergine go for the smaller, smooth skinned vegetable.  Gently push with your thumb and if the flesh gives slightly but springs back it is ripe.  If the indentation remains it is overripe and will be soggy inside.  If you knock on the fruit and it sounds hollow it will be too dry and inedible.

What are the medicinal properties of the aubergine.

As with all plants, the aubergine has a sophisticated defence system to ensure its survival.  When we eat it, we inherit some of these properties and our bodies process and use specific nutrients to benefit our own health. The aubergine has an abundance of nutrients including antioxidants, phenolic compounds including chlorogenic acid and flavonoids such as nasunin.

Nasunin is a potent antioxidant in the skin of the aubergine and has been studied for its ability to prevent free radical damage to cell membranes.  Lipids or fats are the main component of cell membranes and not only protect the cell from damage but also regulate the passage of nutrients and waste in and out of the cell.  The research is focusing on brain cell health and eating aubergines regularly may help protect us from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Nasunin may also help prevent oxidative damage to the LDL or the unhealthier cholesterol in our blood that leads to plaque in the bloodstream and blockages in the arteries.

Nasunin also assists with the regulation of iron in the body.  Iron is an essential nutrient required for the transportation of oxygen in the blood and our immune function. However, too much iron can increase free radical damage and is linked to heart disease, cancer and degenerative joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.  Nasunin is an iron chelator, which means that it binds with the iron processed from the food we eat and transports it safely in the blood stream preventing excess iron from causing damage to cells.

What are the benefits of Chlorogenic Acid.

Chlorogenic acid is a phenolic compound and one of the most potent free radical scavengers in plant tissues. It is very abundant in aubergines and very effective against free radical damage to LDL cholesterol. Additionally it may help prevent certain cancers and viral infections.  Like Brussel sprouts some varieties of aubergine can be very bitter and it is thought that this is due to very high levels of Chlorogenic acid, which is also responsible for the rapid browning of the flesh when it has been cut.

Other good reasons to include aubergines in your diet on a regular basis.

The aubergine is a good source of dietary fibre, which not only helps prevent constipation but also helps eliminate waste from the body and prevent the build-up of plaque in the bloodstream leading to arterial disease.  Recent research is identifying some very interesting properties in certain fibres including the ability to absorb and eliminate harmful bacteria from the body without the need for antibiotics.  Fibre in the diet has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and also regulate blood sugar levels

By eating aubergines regularly you will also be including healthy amounts of potassium, manganese, copper, vitamins B1, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, magnesium and tryptophan.  It is what I call a well-rounded food.

Are there any drawbacks to eating aubergines?

The majority of us can enjoy aubergines on a regular basis in our diet and obtain its full health benefits, but as I mentioned earlier, a small proportion of people should avoid eating it.

The aubergine contains relatively high concentrations of oxalates, which are found in all plants and humans. If oxalates are too concentrated they crystallise and form stones in the kidneys and the gallbladder.  If you already suffer from kidney or gallbladder problems then it would be best to avoid aubergines.  This also applies to rheumatoid arthritis and gout sufferers, as this vegetable is part of the nightshade family and could increase the symptoms of these diseases.  This applies to tomatoes as well.  I have found that cooked tomatoes cause me less problems and they are too nutritionally rich to avoid completely.  I suggest you try eating cooked tomatoes twice a week, three days apart and monitor your symptoms.

Now time to hand over to Carol, who despite a very busy week, has as always produced some amazing dishes for us.

Aubergines adding purple to your diet.

Aubergines or egg plants as I know them are eaten a lot here in Thailand…They are made into dips, sauces, stir fries, curries …I also had a beautiful Tian but that wasn’t Thai it was in a lovely restaurant on the beach.

It was very finely sliced egg plants layered with tomatoes and courgettes and cooked until the flavours mingled together …I had it with fish and it was very nice…

I am always being surprised at what I find tucked away when I least expect it.
Egg plant also makes a lovely vegetarian curry when they are roasted and paired with a coconut curry .

Image Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Japanese eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Thai chili, sliced (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro, to garnish

How to prepare

  1. Make the curry using coconut milk cooked with fresh ginger, garlic, fish sauce and a little raw sugar and onions…
  2. Sear the aubergine over the BBQ FOR 3-5 minutes then add to the coconut mixture…
  3. Cook for a few minutes until the egg pant has absorbed some of the coconut curry and serve with rice or noodles…

Sally has told us how beneficial they are to our health so I am now going to give you some recipes which I hope you enjoy.

Starting with? Thai Green Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into cubes.
  • 6 Thai egg plant. cut into quarters……They are the larger ones in the pictures.
  • 2-4 tbsp green curry paste
  • Bunch small egg-plant (optional) Pea like size in Picture.
  • 10 straw mushrooms quartered or use button mushroom.
  • 5/6 stems of Thai sweet basil (pick of leaves1 large or 2 small cans of coconut milk

Let’s Cook!

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in your pan and add the curry paste I would start with 1/2 tbsp curry paste …You can always adjust the heat later in your cooking… I don’t know how hot you eat curry so would always suggest start small.
  2. Cook for 1-2 minutes to release the flavour, add tbsp fish sauce cook for a further 2 minutes then slowly add coconut milk and simmer gently.
  3. Add the chicken, cook on simmer for 20 mins then add vegetables and Thai basil cook for further 20 mins.
  4. Serve with Steamed or boiled rice.
  5. If you are making veggie curry just omit chicken and add carrots and broccoli or veg of your choice.
  6. When we had our restaurant, chef always put extra veg in mine as she knew I liked veg so can add to chicken curry as well if you like although that is not the norm just how she did mine.
  7. You can use beef or pork instead of chicken if you like but will req longer cooking.
  8. Garnish with sprig Thai basil and extra sliced chilli… if required.

N.B. You can get curry paste called Nam Ploy from supermarkets in the UK which is a good substitute unless you prefer to make your own paste. We buy ours from local markets which is freshly made and the curry is a lovely vibrant green colour.

Image Pinterest

Aubergines are also nice just sliced, seasoned and put on an oiled baking sheet in a hot oven for 5-7 minutes then brushed with a mixture of herbs of your choice and popped under the grill for 30 seconds. Serve immediately. Nice as an accompaniment to chicken or fish with a nice salad on a summers evening.

Fancy a quick dip for unexpected guests

  • 2 aubergines
  • 100ml natural yogurt
  • juice ½ lemon/lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • olive oil , to drizzle

How to prepare

  1. Char the aubergines over a flame or cook in the oven and remove skin.
  2. Tip into a food processor with the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, chilli, coriander and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Blend until smooth tip into a bowl, and drizzle with more olive oil.
  4. For a chunkier dip, the aubergine, garlic and chilli can be chopped by hand and mixed with the other ingredients.

Enjoy!

Aubergine dip the Thai way.

  • 1 medium egg plant
  • 2-4 chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 med shallots
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Big handful coriander

Let’s cook

  1. BBQ your egg plant, shallots, chilli and garlic the chilli and garlic will be done first , pop the chillies into a sealed plastic bag to cool it makes it easier to remove seeds and skin.
  2. When eggplant is soft then scoop out flesh and add all the ingredients to your food processor or just a pestle and mortar like it is done here.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if required more fish sauce or lime juice.
    Serve with noodles or raw vegetables.

The Greek Moussaka is a beautiful dish with luscious layers of minced meat, tomato sauce, béchamel sauce and sweet eggplants.

Also they make a very nice au-gratin layered with potatoes and goats cheese.

Grilled and cubed with watermelon they make a lovely salad using sesame oil as a dressing.

Eggplants are also used in Indian cuisine and pair very nicely with cumin, garam masala and other Indian spices….

All in all a very versatile vegetable….

Quick and easy Aubergine and feta rolls.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, trimmed and sliced into 6 1/2-inch-thick lengthwise slices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled or cubed feta
  • 2 Tbs. chopped pitted Kalamata olives optional
  • 2 Tbs. chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, and basil); more for garnish

Let’s Cook!

  1. Cut aubergines into slices long ways; brush them with oil and season. Grill until the aubergine slices have griddle marks on one side about 3 minutes. In a small bowl combine either crumbled feta or feta cubes and mix with olive oil and herbs.
  2. Put the feta mix or cube of feta on the widest part of the aubergine and roll. Put on a serving dish and sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and herbs before serving.

Egg Plant sauce for pasta

Ingredients – Makes 7 pints or 4 quarts.

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2lbs egg plants peeled and cubed
  • 8 cups tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine

Let’s Cook!

  1. In a very large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic; cook until the onion is soft.
  3. Add tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato paste, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper, and wine; stir.
  4. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Put into hot sterilised jars and seal.
  6. Process the jars of sauce in a hot water bath for 40 minutes.
  7. This is a great sauce served over pasta with Mozzarella cheese.

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flat leaved parsley
  • ½ cup brine cured black olives optional

Let’s Cook!

  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.
  2. Preheat an oven to 375°F.
  3. Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire.
  4. Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin.
  7. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl.
  8. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste
  9. Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.
  10. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
  11. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well.
  12. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the parsley.
  13. Place the olives around the sides.
  14. Serve at room temperature.

Once again many thanks to Sally for sharing her wonderful knowledge on the benefits of the Aubergine and allowing me to share my recipes for the Aubergine which I hope you have enjoyed.

As you can see it has been a busy week in the kitchen, and so grateful to Carol for all the hard work that she has gone to again, to make recipes that do the ingredients justice.

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology.

 

Phuket Island Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Do you know where Loofah’s come from? by Carol Taylor


Welcome to the series where you can share four of your links from your archives here on my blog to a new audience. Perhaps posts that you wrote at the beginning of your blogging experience that deserve another showcase. If you have book promotion posts then please contact me separately for other options. Details of how to get in touch with me at the end of the post.

The next time you are in the bath and about to massage your back with a loofah… give some thought as to the process it has been through to give you a good scrub… Carol Taylor reveals all (well about the loofah anyway).

Do you know where Loofah’s come from? by Carol Taylor

We visited our granddaughters village yesterday in Sakon Nakong which is in Northern Thailand. I was given these brown crispy long things!

Which when shaken sounded like a baby’s rattle. I asked what it was and due to language misinterpretation thought it was one of the long bitter gourds you can buy and which are used for soup.

Another conversation ensued and my grandson was shaking it and banging it and asking what is this for? For me to plant I said.

The conversation then turned to how big was it and these low growing plants were pointed out to me…Oh I said ..they grow like Pumpkins….Yes mum( all the Thai Girls) call me mum.

Some time later …the kids were playing sword fights with them and one of the uncles started to peel this ” thing” and I was amazed at what was revealed

.A loofah…

I have bought many loofahs over the years and always assumed that like sponges they originated from the sea.

How ” wrong” can you be…they are from a plant which is a member of the cucumber family and they grow on vines.

With their skins on, they look like zucchini sized cukes. They’re quite attractive and fast growing. The vines can reach 20 feet if they’re happy, and the fruits form on big yellow flowers.

The luffa, also spelled loofah, usually means the fruit of the two species L. aegyptiaca and L. acutangula. The fruit of these species is cultivated and eaten as a vegetable.

When grown, it doesn’t look like a loofah found in stores. It’s usually a foot long and has a yellow flower that grows with it. The plant produces male flowers first, so the first season does not produce fruit and like a cucumber, gourd or pumpkin, it’s edible,” .It is only edible when young, as when it matures, the fibers dry out, causing the insides to fall out. The hard shell left over can then be used as a sponge. While loofah can be found in stores, it can be fun to grow one. A loofah needs about 100 to 180 days to mature and it grows best if the soil temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

I have lots of seeds as when dry you can bang and the seeds come a tumbling out…so tomorrow I will be planting some and see how they grow.

In the meantime I have my own loofah to use.

Fresh and new from Sakon Nakon, Thailand.

©CarolTaylor 2016

My thanks to Carol for sharing one of her earlier posts and that loofah looks a lot more organic than those sold in the shops… not quite as hard and unforgiving. 

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

Phuket Island Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

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

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

If you would like to share some of your archive posts from when you began blogging, then please send up to four links to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Please do not send self-promotional book posts as there are several other ways to promote your books here and I will feature your books and most recent review in the post. I am looking for posts on life, relationships, health, creative writing, food, music and travel.. If you have a short story to share that is great too.

Posts from Your Archives – Life is like a Carousel by Carol Taylor


Welcome to the series where you can share four of your links from your archives here on my blog to a new audience. Perhaps posts that you wrote at the beginning of your blogging experience that deserve another showcase. If you have book promotion posts then please contact me separately for other options. Details of how to get in touch with me at the end of the post.

The monday midnight spot is for Carol Taylor until Christmas. Carol has a wealth of posts about Thailand, food and live in general which she is sharing from her archives.. along with of course her wonderful recipes on Wednesday’s Cook from Scratch with Carol and Sally.

This was actually Carol’s very first post and of course there was food.. some of it still hopping about… (not fair really as it was released safely back into the wild)

Where to start…help…

The watery sun was just rising. Already warm, time to water my seedlings. The tomatoes are about 2 inches high and the lettuces have just broken through the sandy soil. Collecting my can I wandered into the kitchen half in a dream wondering what the day would bring. Turning on the tap the water came out with a stop start, stop, start….. immediately something flew out of the watering can, you can imagine I screamed, dropped the can..hubby come running probably imagining that I had chopped off a limb.

Looking up I spied a little tree frog clinging for dear life on my utensil rack..well a pair of tongs is more accurate and that little frog was probably more scared than me. Hubby giving me the look that said it’s only a frog…. gently removed the tongs from the rack and carried it gently outside and over to a tree…poor frog was probably sooo petrified that it didn’t move a muscle.

“Carol come here I think there is frog spawn on the tree.”

I thought frogs laid eggs in water ..but it was a tree frog. Looking I spied mummy frog with her baby clinging for dear life to her back and daddy frog slightly apart but watching warily – Camera quick….

Wow.. first camera shoot of the day over, my thoughts turned to those boxes.
Yes… boxes, the kind you pack when you move and then when you unpack you wonder why on earth you packed some of it. A productive morning spent unpacking, repacking for

A productive morning spent unpacking, repacking for storage, some to go into the bin and some put out by the bin. We have a little man who comes by every day to see what we have for recycling. Most days he just gets bottles but today he got a treat, bags, a job lot of colourful unwanted Xmas hats…from when we had our bar. Handbags.”don’t know why you have so many bags “that was him indoors. So for once……I listened and I acted..well threw two out.

Time to eat…..A first for me winged beans otherwise known as (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), also known as the Goa bean, asparagus pea, four-angled bean, four-cornered bean, Manila bean, Mauritius bean, and winged pea.

This is one of the most unusual beans; it produces delicious pods with four winged edges. Sliced and cooked with garlic, oyster sauce and a little maggi they were delicious.

Winged bean is nutrient rich, and all parts of the plant are edible. Leaves can be eaten like spinach, flowers can be used in salads, tubers can be eaten raw or cooked, seeds can be used in similar ways as the soybean.
Well, that’s it for my first blog.

Cos it’s back to the drawing board.

I am still trying to wrestle with this super, easy to do web site/blog but I think super easy means if you are a bright young thing who was born with their fingers attached to a keypad then it may be, but for me …well good job I don’t need any more grey hairs cos mmmmmm…it sure ain’t.

©Carol Taylor 2014


About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

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

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

If you would like to share some of your archive posts from when you began blogging, then please send up to four links to sally.cronin@moyhill.com..Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List with Carol Taylor


Welcome to the new Sunday Interview and the theme is The Ultimate Bucket List.

In this interview series I would love to know what your top TWO items are on your bucket list and if you have not written one yet, then perhaps it is time to get your thinking caps on.

The readers will want to be convinced that these activities are worthy of putting on the ultimate bucket list, so please give full details of what it is, where if applicable and definitely the why and how.  As you can see not all wishes are physical and do not worry if you feel that your chosen item is everyday for others. This is your wish list and you can put anything you like in it.

Also it is taken for granted that you as an individual would do all you can to help others achieve their dreams, help animals in dire trouble and love and support your family. This particular list is about YOU.  The top two wishes that you have reserved just for yourself.

Here is more about how you can participate here:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/new-sunday-show-interview-series-the-ultimate-bucket-list-a-test-run-with-sally-cronin/

I am delighted to say that my first victim guest is the lovely Carol Taylor who for the last few weeks has been encouraging us to become more adventurous with the foods in our diets. We put our heads together and I provide the food and its health benefits and Carol provides delicious recipes that are easy and quick to prepare. Carol lives in Thailand and you will love her blog as it shares the non-tourist locations that she loves and the fresh food that is abundantly available in the markets.

You can find our latest post showcasing that tiny package we all love or hate.. Brussels Sprouts.  If prepared following Carol’s recipes you will have no problem getting the whole family to eat them. Sally and Carol’s Cook from Scratch – Brussel Sprouts

You can find out more about Carol at the end of the post and I hope you will follow this wonderfully generous blogger and friend across her social media and blog.  Now time to hand this over to find out what Carol considers her two top wishes on her Ultimate Bucket List.

Well…the header had to be fancy didn’t it?

I mean my bucket or F****** it list now that would cause ructions …lol

For at least two weeks I have been racking my brains….and I came up with some weird and wonderful ideas…Like being Prime minister for a week and would everyone needs tin hats …Oh yes! Indeedy…

To meet Michael O’Hare would be amazing and for him to teach me how to create a masterpiece…Wow! and the pinnacle would be to cook it for Michel Roux and have him to go into raptions over the creativity of my food would be the icing on the cake….

Cakes!!! Oh! for a proper oven……

So I opted for boring, the one everyone wants to do….

Ta Da!

Numero 1…Top of the List…

To publish my own cookbook…

How to achieve that???

I am working very hard on recipes and it would not be any old cook book it would be healthy eating with a difference…It would be very much on the theme of mine and Sally’s collaboration. Great easy to understand benefits of a healthy diet, proper recipes, using day to day ingredients, recipes which don’t mean spending hours in the kitchen. Recipes, which you can feed to your family knowing that it is healthy for them.

I am passionate about healthy eating but not passionate about supplements and tablets..but healthy proper food.. Let food be thy medicine.

How to grow your own herbs from seeds, pips and cuttings…I have lots of pots some successful and others not so…The parsnips did not work …after my chat with my friend Mr Google…I knew why…

In a nutshell, a book which encompasses the real, achievable deal. I want to inspire and show how it can be done…

Work in progress and going well….

Numero 2.

Finish my first novel….

Something like this Carol? Just trying to be helpful!

 

I came late to writing…very late and I believe I would not be doing it at all if …..

1. I hadn’t moved here.

2. I hadn’t started blogging which I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t moved here.

Rewind 20 years ago…I wish I had written this then it would be so totally different . Life certainly takes you down many paths and you meet so many people who help shape your life in ways that you just don’t imagine when you are young. Life certainly is a rich tapestry…

Writers are among the most wonderful, inspiring bunch…helpful beyond bounds and I have so many thankyou’s to give out for the help, advice, opportunities I have been given.
Short stories in two Anthologies’ and a novel on the way… “ Oh, my Buddha what have we released?” was said of me a few years ago.

The saying “You are the author of your own life” is also very apt for me.

My ultimate wish is to make my children and grandchildren proud of me and my achievements and hopefully to inspire them to take that leap of faith into the unknown and make a difference…

Posts which reflect moi…

 

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/a-fifties-child/

Here is a little more about our anthologies.

What do you get when you mix multiple nationalities and personalities with an island paradise and a boatload of creative ideas? For one eclectic (and some may say eccentric) band of scribes, it was the Phuket Writers’ Group. Our monthly collaboration over the course of several months culminated in this collection. The pages of our anthology contain the musings of a group of writers who come together each month to collaborate, encourage, and inspire each other. The stories inside span the globe, delving into deep issues of loss and spiritual growth, uplifting stories of love, and new discoveries. You’ll be transported back in time to the days of gold rush fever; drawn into tales of ghostly apparitions and eye-opening explorations (both geographic and personal); and get a unique peek into the life of a UN diplomat.

Each story is filled with emotion and introspection that will keep readers turning the pages.

Check out the stories and buy the anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Based in locations as varied as the origins of the authors, “All Over The Map” – The Phuket Island Writers second anthology of short stories, encompasses tales of: a scarf that can kill, a wife with revenge on her mind, childhood recollections from China and America, yachts caught in a hurricane, a disillusioned war veteran, an economist’s journeys in the Pacific, bureaucratic dilemmas, the departure of a young girl’s beloved pet, a father’s love, listening to your inner voice, escape from death, cultural differences, writer’s inspirations and a short collection of poems.

An underlying current of emotion runs throughout the different stories reflecting exasperation, conflict, drama, love, fury and release that is sure to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Read an extract and buy the anthology: https://www.amazon.com/All-Over-Map-Stories-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01M11PNXL

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

Connect to Carol

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

My thanks to Carol for being the first to share her Ultimate Bucket List.. I have more guests lined up for the next three weeks and then it is over to you.. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your dreams and to promote your blog and books.. Check out the full post and get in touch.

Here is more about how you can participate :https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/new-sunday-show-interview-series-the-ultimate-bucket-list-a-test-run-with-sally-cronin/

Thank you for dropping by and both Carol and I look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Authors in the Sun – Shortening the Odds by Marilyn Brouwer


Welcome to Authors in the Sun and today a story that has a sunshine connection but is thriller that I enjoyed reading the first time around. Marilyn Brouwer and I first came into contact back in 2004 when I was putting together the first Authors in the Sun.  When I read this story on radio in Spain it was a huge hit. Domestic violence is a global issue and this story whilst poignant has a sting in the tail….

Marilyn is very well travelled. She was born in Newcastle has lived in Paris, Ibiza, Mallorca and Oman before moving to Dubai. She now lives on the Isle of Wight just eight miles across the Solent to my own home town of Portsmouth. She is wonderful story teller and I will be featuring several of her stories in the series in weeks to come.

Not all stories in the sun are about holidays and romance….

 index

Shortening the Odds by Marilyn Brouwer

The first time he hit her, they were on their honeymoon. It was more of a shove really, just enough to cause Rachel to stumble but not to fall. In the time it took for Rachel to regain her balance Timothy had gone. She had watched his receding back in open mouthed amazement as he walked briskly away from her towards their hotel. Rachel had sat down on the stone wall surrounding one of the many themed gardens the hotel boasted. She could hardly believe what had just happened. It had been over in seconds, brief and incredible enough for Rachel to half wonder if she had imagined it. But it had.

Rachel cast her mind back to what had been happening before the shove. They’d been discussing the two gay men in the next room to theirs who Rachel had grown very fond of in the past two weeks. They were so happy and laughed so much Rachel had proposed that they too must be on their honeymoon. Now what had Timothy replied? That was it! That he couldn’t understand why men chose to go with other men rather than with women. Rachel had laughed, assuming Timothy was joking. Don’t be silly she’d said to him, you don’t really believe that! And then the shove…There had to be something else…Rachel must have missed something…

Timothy met her at the door of their hotel room and gathered her into his arms. “Oh, Rachel, I’m so sorry,” he whispered into her hair. “I don’t know what came over me. I love you so much and when you called me silly…I thought you were already tiring of me, didn’t think I was clever enough for you.”

Rachel pulled back, “Timothy I didn’t mean that you were silly, I hadn’t realised that you were so…” Rachel paused on the word ‘sensitive’ sensing that Timothy might not be receptive to so emotive a word. “I didn’t realise that you would take me so literally,” she amended.

Looking back, Rachel always remembered that day as the first day of her life. The first day that Rachel began to choose her words with care. The first day that Rachel discovered that egg shells really were for walking on.

Over the years the shove inevitably progressed to a slap, the slap to a punch, the punch to a kick. The abuse was not constant; months could pass without Timothy laying a finger on her. It wasn’t alcohol that caused Timothy to lose control, or bad news or stress at work. In some perverse way Timothy revelled in a challenge, welcomed adversity, it brought out the best in him. No, Rachel could never have said that the abuse was constant.

Just that the fear of it was.

Rachel was not stupid, knew she was making excuses for herself, knew that she should have walked out of his life after the first shove, certainly the first slap and without any doubt the first time his fist collided with her body. She thought it would have been much easier if Timothy HAD abused her constantly, then she most certainly would have left, of course she would have! She tried to convince herself that the sporadic violence was much harder to deal with, evaluate, because there was always the possibility that it would never happen again. That she, Rachel, was not the kind of weak, downtrodden, spineless woman to put up with physical abuse. She had an education, good friends, supportive parents, she, Rachel was not the kind of woman who ended up in a battered woman’s refuge.

But at two in the morning, quietly nursing a bruised rib whilst Timothy snored softly beside her, Rachel wondered, with deep self-loathing, then just what kind of woman was she? Why was she so afraid of walking out? Why was she so afraid of admitting to her friends and family that she had allowed Timothy to slap and punch and kick her, like a stray mongrel, not because he was drunk, not because he was in a temper, not because she nagged him, but simply because he could. Simply because he felt like it. That he hit her where it never showed, that after the first few times he didn’t even bother to apologise. Two minutes after a punch Timothy would behave as if it had never happened.

Rachel often wondered which one of them it was who was insane? Him or her?

They had two children in quick succession. Two wonderful children and Timothy was a wonderful father. More excuses. Rachel tormented herself mercilessly. The lovely house, the great friends, the idyllic family holidays, more excuses, more excuses. Rachel’s head ached constantly, trying not to think about it. But thinking about it all the time.

Because what made it so inexplicable to Rachel was that it was only her who saw this side of Timothy. Only Rachel who Timothy eyed with cold derision, only Rachel he raised his fists to, swung back his foot for.

Her parents adored him; she suspected her mother was more than a little in love with him and her father considered Timothy the son that he’d never had. She knew that her friends envied her, her children loved him unconditionally and her children’s friends found Timothy, ‘cool’. Was Rachel frightened no-one would believe her? Or frightened that if they did they would think that somehow Rachel was doing something to provoke him?

That somehow even, Rachel deserved it?

And Rachel, hating herself far more than Timothy ever could, wondered too in the dead of night and the harsh glare of morning, if she somehow deserved it…

Just as the first honeymoon shove had been a turning point in Rachel’s life, a second, equally significant turning point occurred when her daughter Cathy celebrated her eighteenth birthday. It was to set in motion a chain of events which would change Rachel’s life forever.

Rebecca Samson, one of Rachel’s closest friends, (how they’d laughed at this irony later) was unable to attend Cathy’s party due to having been rushed to Weyford General Hospital the previous evening with a punctured lung and a ruptured spleen. Stuart Samson, all round good egg and Rachel’s doubles partner at Weyford Tennis club had been less than satisfied with Rebecca’s Beef Wellington; most of which was found later on the dining room wall along with a smear of Rebecca’s blood where Stuart had banged her head for good measure.

The scandal was huge. Rebecca refused to keep quiet and brought charges against Stuart before suing him for divorce citing extreme and prolonged, mental and physical cruelty.

Rachel visited Rebecca in hospital.

“I had no idea.” She said helplessly. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

Rebecca had reached across the bed for Rachel’s hand.

“For the same reason as you don’t” she answered softly.

Rachel disarmed, and embarrassed that Rebecca had been able to read the signs that she had been too stupid to, covered her face with her hands. Rebecca pulled them away with surprising firmness.

“Listen to me Rachel, only you can stop this, no-one else. Don’t wait until it’s too late. I almost did. The next time Stuart would probably have killed me.”

“Oh, Timothy’s not that bad…!” Rachel began to protest automatically, to lie automatically…To excuse Timothy? Herself? She was suddenly overcome with self-disgust…

Rachel took a deep breath and looked Rebecca straight in the eyes.

“Yes, he is. Yes he is that bad.”

And the words once said, could never be unsaid.

“We need to talk Timothy.” Rachel had waited until Cathy and Joe were out for the evening.

Timothy put down the evening paper with a tiny smile.

“Aaah Rachel,” he said softly, “believe me, that’s the last thing we need to do.”

Rachel had flinched involuntarily as Timothy folded up the paper neatly, placed it carefully on the seat of his chair and walked towards her. She forced herself to sit still, her mouth dry with fear. Timothy walked around the back of Rachel’s chair and bent his head to her ear.

“If you think darling Rachel,” he whispered, “that I am going to be as stupid as Stuart Samson and allow you to divorce me on grounds of physical cruelty…even mouth the words…” Timothy suddenly and violently pulled her head back by the hair until Rachel was looking up into his face. “Well then Rachel,” Timothy stroked her cheek with the back of his hand, “you’d better know that I would kill you first.” Timothy let go of her head as suddenly as he had grabbed it and calmly walked back to his armchair.

“Did you see this about Marshalls closing down Rachel?” Timothy pointed to a headline on page four. “Terrible business, Gregory Tate could lose his job, poor bloke. Get me a scotch, there’s a love.”

On their twentieth wedding anniversary, Rachel organised a surprise party for Timothy inviting all their friends and Timothy’s work colleagues. At the end of a boisterously good humoured evening, Timothy offered an impromptu speech and Rachel presented him with his present.

Timothy opened the envelope with a quizzical smile. “What’s this then? Tickets to the opera?” Everyone laughed, everyone knew that Timothy hated opera. Timothy unfolded the stiff sheets of paper in astonishment.

“A round trip to Thailand?”

“Oh, it’s more than that Timothy.” Rachel smiled. “We’re back packing. They’ve given us a great itinerary. We only have to walk about twelve miles a day. Each village is marked, there’s simple but clean accommodation waiting for us as well as food. We can really explore Thailand, and…”Rachel turned to Cathy and grinned, “we’ll beat Cathy to it.”

“Oh mum, dad!”

Cathy moved across the room and hugged them both. “That is SO cool.”

Everyone began to clap and cheer spontaneously. “You lucky bugger” Rachel heard Jason Fry say to Timothy, “my old woman can’t think any further than the Dordogne.”

Timothy sat on the edge of the bed and watched Rachel undress.

“Helluva present.” He said quietly.

“Don’t you want to go?” Rachel began brushing her hair calmly.

“I didn’t say that.” Timothy regarded Rachel carefully. “I’m just surprised that you’d want to?”

Rachel took a deep breath and turned to face Timothy. “We seem to be stuck with each other,” she said gently, “perhaps it’s time I accepted it, and perhaps it’s time for us to have a whole new start. Pretend we’re young again. A second honeymoon?” Rachel waited.

“And leave Jason to run the betting shops?” Timothy was half talking to himself.

“He’s done it before.” Rachel said mildly. “You always said you’d taught him all you knew.”

Timothy looked once more at the itinerary and gave a small nod.

Rachel felt the first touch of excitement lurch in her stomach.

“It stinks!” Timothy protested as Rachel rubbed the anti-mosquito lotion onto Timothy’s arms and legs as she’d done three times a day since they’d first arrived in Thailand.

“Better than getting malaria!” Rachel replied with a touch of asperity. It was their fifth day of walking and Rachel’s turn for map reading. Timothy did not like Thailand. Did not like the heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes, the jungle paths, the village accommodation and especially did not like the food.

“Look, we can go back.” Rachel offered. “There’s no point in continuing if you aren’t enjoying it. We can fly back to Bangkok and book into a luxury hotel for the last two weeks.”

Timothy’s face had darkened. “What give up!” He said scornfully. “Oh yes you’d love that wouldn’t you? I’d be a laughing stock. I’m finishing this bloody trek if it kills me.” Timothy pushed Rachel aside impatiently and as she watched his retreating back she thought of another time twenty years ago but this time she felt no astonishment, experienced no surprise.

By mid-afternoon they were hopelessly lost.

“I can’t believe I let you touch that map let alone try and follow it.” Timothy had sat down in a small clearing and had spread the map on the ground in front of him. Rachel kept her distance. Now was not the time for a spiteful kick, a debilitating punch. It was while Timothy was quietly cursing that the dog appeared. It was a muddy brown colour, rib thin and had a long slightly flattened looking head. Its nose twitched ceaselessly as it sidled up to Timothy.

“Timothy, look out!”

The dog snarled and as Timothy kicked out it leapt forward and grazed Timothy’s leg with its teeth. Timothy jumped up and yelled and the dog took off and disappeared into the undergrowth.

“Are you alright?” Rachel rushed towards Timothy, “Let me look at that!”

Timothy pushed Rachel violently. “Get away, you stupid woman. This is all your fault.

All your ridiculous idea. Back packing in bloody Thailand. Second honeymoon! And I was stupid enough to go along with it…By God Rachel I’ll make you sorry for this!”

The first flu symptoms appeared two weeks after their return. Timothy came home from work with a high fever and a splitting headache. The small graze on his leg was red and swollen and angry looking. Rachel put Timothy to bed and called the doctor. At first he was not too concerned until Rachel pointed out the wound on Timothy’s leg.

“It was alright at first.” Rachel said.“ The dog hardly touched him…”

“Dog?” Dr Taylor had looked up in alarm. “Where was this?”

”In Thailand,” Rachel replied. “We were back packing there a few weeks ago, Timothy hated it.”

“Did your husband have a tetanus injection before you left?”

“Good God, no!” Rachel shook her head. “Timothy is terrified of injections. That is one of the reasons he keeps so fit, he’s terrified of getting diabetes and having to inject himself every day like his father had to.”

Eight days later, after Timothy’s disease had progressed through every classic symptom of anxiety, encephalopathy, partial paralysis and hydrophobia, Timothy Baldwin died of rabies.

Rachel stood at his graveside when all the other mourners had left.

“I could never have killed you in cold blood Timothy, you know that.” She said, the damp earth staining her shoes. “And I could never have bet with odds on certainty that you would be bitten by a rabid dog, although…” Rachel paused, “Thailand does, of course, have more rabid dogs than most other normal holiday destinations…….And then of course there was Trappers Choice Prairie Dog Lure…..” Rachel shook her head in wonder. “Ah Timothy, the internet is a truly marvellous thing, look up dog bait and there it is…A teaspoon is almost guaranteed to get the attention of any foraging dog…”Rachel sighed. “Although I must admit that mixing it into the anti-mosquito lotion was a lot smellier and messier than I’d anticipated …” Rachel kicked some earth carelessly into the grave.

“And really Timothy, if you think about it, as a bookie, you should appreciate my tactics.

After all, as you’ve told me many times before, there’s never any harm in shortening the odds.”

©MarilynBrouwer 2004

If you have a short story that has ‘sunshine’ somewhere in the tale then please let me know..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/authors-in-the-sun-short-stories-wanted/