Category Archives: A taste of old England

Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day…Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.

Who doesn’t like a nice thin, lacy pancake with sugar and lemon? Pancakes are eaten almost all over the world in one form or another so although plain and simple is my favourite I don’t mind some of the other versions on occasions.

I am also quite good at tossing them much to the surprise of the kids although not sure how I would fare in some of the pancake races which are held throughout the Uk and tossing them while running…lol….that would be a sight to behold…

The first recorded pancake race was way back in 1445 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England. Since 1950 Olney has competed against women of Liberal, Kansas, the USA in an international race.

Tradition declares that the race was first run in the year 1445, pancakes at the time being a popular dish, receiving royal favour. It was run on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, and the whole day was given over to a festival of celebration, pranks and pastimes. It is not known where the original start line was but the finish line was at the Church door. The winner has to bang on the door with her frying pan…

 

Did you know????

The largest pancake was created in Rochdale, Manchester, the UK in 1994, by the Co-Operative Union, Ltd. Measuring 15.01 m (49 ft 3 in) in diameter and 2.5 cm (1 in) thick, the pancake weighed 3 tonnes (6,614 lb) and took more than just a frying pan to flip over!

In total, Brits use an unbelievable 52 million eggs on Pancake Day. That’s 22 million more than any other day.

The most flips anyone has ever done with a pancake is 349 flips in two minutes. That’s ‘flipping’ good’!

We all have our preferences for pancake toppings but the weirdest pancake toppings have to be ketchup and mustard, please…Nooooo! peanut butter and ice cream, coco pops and cream…I just love maple syrup on mine or lemon..simples is best!

The Guinness World Record for the most pancakes served in eight hours is 34,818.

William Shakespeare was also a pancake lover! It is reflected in many of his plays. When Shakespeare was alive Shrove Tuesday is much as it is today – that is people ate plenty of pancakes!.  Dinner was a midday meal instead of evening, and the pancakes would follow their main meal. The Tudors enjoyed heavily spiced foods and regularly included ale or beer as ingredients instead of water. They ate very rich foods, and their pancakes could have been enriched with rose-water, sherry, eggs, ale or butter – or a mixture of them all

In France and the United States, Pancake day is called Mardi Gras which means ‘Fat’ or ‘Grease Tuesday’.

Simple Pancake batter recipe.

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100 gm flour

2 eggs

300 ml milk

Oil/ butter for frying

Lemon wedges to serve

Sugar to serve

Let’s Cook!

Put your flour, eggs, milk, pinch salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Using an omelette or crepe pan add a knob of butter and when melted add some of your mix to pan and roll about to cover the bottom…I like my pancake thin so don’t use too much mix others like theirs thicker but personal choice.

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Cook until nicely golden and flip over and cook the other side …keep warm in the oven while you are cooking all your pancakes.

Serve with a good squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar.

That is my way, plain and simple but it is your opportunity to use your favourite toppings…

What do you top your pancakes with??? Please tell me in comments…

Pancakes are made all over the world and vary somewhat… if you missed my post on how they are made here in Thailand then I have added the link for you to enjoy these were made down in one of the local homes here and they kindly let us take the photos…It is a family affair both young and old play their part…I found it fascinating…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/traditional-handmade-thai-pancakes-khao-gle-at/

Thank you for reading and have a lovely weekend xx

 

 

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Christmas Recipes…Prepare now..Freeze for later…

 

christmas-1695531_1920The time is just flying by now it’s 7th December already…

Have you finished shopping? Have you wrapped your presents yet?preparation done? Don’t know what to make? Well never fear Carol is here???

Today I am going to give you a few recipes and tips about what you can cook in advance to make life just that bit easier…

Sausage rolls and mince pies

Mince pies and Sausage Rolls

We have made our sweet mincemeat...haven’t we???

Pastry Recipe.

This recipe is my mums she makes the best pastry ever and I try really hard to match hers but she once told me that no two batches of pastry are ever alike and that the only person who realises that is moi….and I think she is right..mums usually are 🙂

I use half fat to flour so for example 8 oz  Flour and 4 oz fat.

Ice cold water added 1 tbsp at a time( the amount depends on flour used)

1 egg beaten for the glaze.

I know that fat varies depending on where you live, in the Uk ..well spoilt for choice because we invented pastry…well from as far back as the Romans when it was crude flour and water wrapped around meat and game before cooking and no way would you eat it…it was to retain meat juices.

Over time pastry was enriched with fat and milk and began to vaguely resemble today’s shortcrust.But living here in Thailand my choice is restricted…..I have a choice of pastry fat or Crispo…sometimes I mix the two when making meat pies but I digress.

For mince pies, I use the pastry fat. When making pastry it must be kept cool which here is never easy ..so fat from the fridge, iced water from the fridge and fan madly whirring to keep the air cool..and me folks…I touch the pastry mix as little as possible, I quickly rub the fat into flour to resemble breadcrumbs, add iced water gradually, draw together with your fingers to make a ball, if too dry add more water, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 mins in the fridge.

When I roll I use the heel of my hand to start to flatten pastry and roll gently out to desired thickness…I handle as little as possible to keep cool.

Using a pastry cutter, cut circles and line patty tins, add filling and top with a pastry lid. Brush tops with beaten egg. Cook in the oven on 200c/gas7 for 15-20 mins until golden. Remove from oven, cool slightly and dust with icing sugar.

Note: Some of you may have noticed I don’t add sugar to my shortcrust pastry…With the sweetness of the filling and the icing dusting  I /we all feel it is sugar overload but personal preference if you like to add 1 tbsp sugar to breadcrumbs before adding water.

I also use the same pastry for my sausage rolls…

Now….if you make them now omit the cooking stage and freeze uncooked in a sealed container separate the layers with greaseproof paper and just take out however many you want as needed and cook…Simples!

For sausage rolls, I use the same pastry. I add finely chopped onions, garlic and a little sage to my sausage meat or I did in the UK….i can’t get it here so I make my own very finely chop my pork making sure I add a little of the fat and then add the seasoning as above.

Cranberry Sauce.

  • 3  cups or 12oz of cranberries.
  • The juice of 2 large Oranges.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.

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Allow mixture to cool and put in an airtight container and refrigerate.

 Stuffing Mix:

Now stuffing mix is hard to get here and because it is imported also expensive. I have tried various stuffings in the past with limited success…we didn’t like them!

I found this recipe on a blog the other week and it sounded great…It had bacon in it…

Picture this…. I thought I had all the ingredients .. wrong!….no bacon and nearest shop was a way away so I put my thinking cap on and tweaked the recipe and it turned out brilliant…..Replaced the bacon with Minced Pork, The stuffing mix( which) I had not heard of became just breadcrumbs. Chestnuts I didn’t have but they were optional.

The celery became Thai celery which is much smaller more the size of coriander…

Ingredients:

  • 200 gm of Minced Pork
  • 6 oz  of breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz finely chopped chestnuts( optional)
  • 5 shallots finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of Thai celery chopped finely. Which when chopped did take on more of a celery smell.
  • Freshly made chicken stock.
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper.
  • Tbsp dried Sage
  • Fresh rosemary.
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme.

Heat pan with a glug of olive oil and 1oz butter. Add shallots and garlic cook 2/3 mins until soft but not coloured add mince and celery and chestnuts if using cook for a further 4/5 mins. Add breadcrumbs gradually moistening mix with spoonfuls of stock as required.

The mix should be fairly thick but soft so you are able to form balls.

stuffing-mix

Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cool slightly and then form into balls.

If you want to freeze them then do it at this stage. Pack into a freezer box and all ready for Christmas day.

If not then cook in oven until lightly browned and crispy approx 20/30 mins on 180 degrees. I didn’t need to add any additional fat as the oil and butter already incorporated in the stuffing mix kept them moist and not too dry but if required add more oil.

I generally don’t like meat in stuffing mixes but the amount I added was small and gave a nice texture and flavour but wasn’t the overriding taste.

This is now going to be my Christmas stuffing.

Pigs in Blankets:

  • 8 thin slices smoked bacon
  • 16 chipolata sausages
  • I tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp clear honey.

Mix honey, thyme and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl, add sausages and make sure they are coated in the mix. Cut bacon down the middle long ways. Wrap bacon around sausages.

To freeze now put in a container and separate the layers with greaseproof then remove  from the freezer on Christmas morning and cook as below

Put sausages on a baking sheet well spaced apart.

Cook on 180 for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and bacon is crispy.

Bread Sauce.

Bread Sauce

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use( I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…

Ingredients:

About half loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.

  • I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • Salt & Pepper.
  • About half pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves.This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

 

What do make in advance???

Yesterday I pickled some more onions and just hope I don’t have to pickle more before Christmas I made 4 jars so even the one who shall be nameless doesn’t eat a jar full a week.

pickled onions Dec 2017

  • 2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.
  • 11/2 pints pickling vinegar…I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.
  • 2tbsp Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, white peppercorns, coriander seeds.

Method2 days before mix 2pts water with 4 oz salt pour over onions, cover and keep in cool place. I keep in the fridge due to the heat here.

Then drain onions and pat dry. Pack into sterilised jars layering pickling spices as you go then pour vinegar over the onions making sure they are completely covered. Store for 4-6 weeks and they ready…They are the crispest onions I have eaten, far better than shop bought and generally don’t get to 4 weeks let alone 6 weeks as they get dipped into …men!

That’s all for today…..

If you still have some shopping to do then I have some ideas over on my other blog it would be nice to see you there Orienthailiving

Take care and have fun x

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Recipes…Home Cured Ham

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I have cured my own ham/ bacon for a long time now…

Those of you who know me are well aware of my aversion to anything processed and ham/ bacon is no exception to that rule. The ham you purchase from the shops is just slimy, and not nice at all….The bacon of doubtful origins at best especially where I live now…In the Uk you could get some lovely home cured kinds of bacon and hams not so here or if there is I have not found them….I have also been experimenting with various different ways which may be more healthy…

Bacon contains nitrates which some have an aversion to using or it causes headaches and other adverse symptoms.

Today I am using celery juice..just put the celery in the juicer and out the other side and viola this lovely vibrant green juice.

Now celery also contains nitrates but they are naturally occurring although for some may still cause headaches if your aversion is to chemicals then celery may be a better way to cure your bacon.

I used 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.

For every Kilo of Pork use I used:

  • 2 parts rock salt to 1 part sugar.
  • 4 cloves garlic.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A bunch of Lemon Thyme.
  • 20/30 Mustard Seeds,
  • 12 Pepper Corns,
  • Celery Juice as required to make the mix damp.

Method:

Finely slice bay Leaves and lightly crush with other spices in Pestle & Mortar.

Combine with Sugar and Salt and mix with liberal amounts of celery juice until damp.

Rub into Pork.Belly pork rubbed with garlic and lemon thyme

Place Pork in a sealed container or bag ( I used a brining bag). Turn halfway through the week. That is why I like using brining bags as it is much easier to turn the pork belly over.

Store in the fridge for 5 Days.

After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.

Cook in oven @ 100 C for 2 hours. Cool and slice.Home cured belly Streaky bacon

It also looks lovely and pink ( no grey) which means the natural nitrates in the celery juice had worked their magic.

All I need now is a home-made smoker and some lovely flavoured woods. Maybe use some maple syrup, honey, someone suggested coffee..some nice tea springs to my mind so many options…A different blend of herbs or cut of meat…

Have you made your own bacon and if you did what did you use?

Now the tester…How will it taste?

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It smells like bacon, looks like bacon and made a lovely sandwich….  Before you say yes I cut it thinly and no not everyone in the household likes it like that but the beauty of making your own is everyone can have their bacon sliced to their own requirements …How cool is that?

If you start experimenting now you can have some lovely home-cured bacon for Christmas or as a lovely present for someone you love …

Christmas Ham Recipe.

A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.

Suitable plastic( not metal) container to brine meat in.

Ingredients for Rub:

  • 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre)

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 5 litres water
  • 900 gm salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

  1. Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch.
  2. Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.
  3. Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two:

  1. Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.
  2. Store the ham cold.
  3. Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.
  4. Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.

IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.

Tip: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing.

Ham home cured

When ham cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, a star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

Cooked ham with cloves in skin

I have also once it has finished cooking scored the fat and studded with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Loin Ham sliced

My third way which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg and scored the fat….when I got to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat wacked it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…awesome!

I hope you are enjoying my Christmas recipes please let me know in comments and also what are your favourite maybe you cook something I haven’t tried or heard of…Please let me know…

I have also now published a small gift guide to kitchen utensils over on Orienthailiving please pop over and have a look it would be lovely to see you there x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made the conscious decision that for the amount used and the dilution per litre of liquid that as the body can cope and disperse with the nitrate I would use that rather than get botulism which the body generally doesn’t cope with

Christmas Recipes…Christmas Pudding

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Day 4 of the Christmas Countdown…..I am sure I am not alone in thinking I have plenty of time Christmas is a couple of months away and then like a bolt of lightning …I realise I am running out of time and I must get a wiggle on….those of you who are super organised have probably already made your puds, cakes and sweet mincemeat…here as I live in hotter climes it is not advisable as it ferments so I make mine at the beginning of December and there is so much lovely fruit ( and booze) that they taste just as good as those either kept over from last year or made earlier…

I always used to save a Christmas pudding and a jar or two of mincemeat from one year to the next a tradition passed down through the generations…

I am maudling…I know…Get on with it Carol……

But before I do I must tell you…My lady turkeys are sitting on their eggs…..  in about 28 days time I will fingers crossed have little turkey babies running around…Maybe a Christmas baby or a New Year baby…..Excited or what…That’s me!

Christmas Pudding Recipes… One is gluten-free and the second one is my one passed down through the generations of my family..well tried and tested.

Christmas Pudding

Here is the first recipe for a… Gluten FREE Christmas pudding… Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 100gm currants.
  • 100gm sultanas.
  • 100gm sour cherries.
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Grated zest and juice of half an Orange.
  • 1tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.
  • 100ml of brandy..this is where my hand slipped…haha
  • 180gm dark brown sugar
  • 1 granny smith Apple( I can’t these) so used a new Zealand apple which is quite tart.
  • 1 large carrot, grated.
  • 250gm ground almonds.
  • 50gm gluten-free cornflour.
  • 1tsp gluten-free baking powder.
  • 2 med-free range eggs.
  • 50ml vegetable oil( I use coconut oil)
  • plus extra for greasing.
  • 2 tbsp black treacle.

This makes enough for a 2-pint pudding basin or two 1 pint puddings.

Let’s Cook!

In a large bowl put dried fruit, zest, and juice, spice, and the brandy stir to combine, cover and leave for 24hrs.

Then mix in sugar, apple, and carrot, add beaten eggs then stir in oil and treacle.

Lastly,  stir in dry ingredients with a pinch of salt.

Put mixture into a greased pudding basin it should be two-thirds full. Cover the top with a round of greaseproof paper the cover with pleated tin foil and secure with string.

You can now either set the pudding in a saucepan on an upturned plate and fill the pan with boiling water about halfway up the side of the basin. Put the lid on and steam for 4 hours remembering to top up water as necessary.

I always use a steamer and in this case, it was my wicker rice steamer which the bowl sits nicely over the pot of water.

If you have made a lot of puddings over the years like me  I think you find your own preferred method of steaming your puds.

Once steamed, cool and rewrap pudding and store in a cool, dry place. It is the fridge for me as too humid…I do miss my cool pantry…

To serve simmer or steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs, then invert onto a plate and flame the pud or serve with sauce, brandy butter or cream…

It’s cream all the way for me …and lots of it!

My second recipe is slightly different but adaptable to make gluten-free and the one I make year after year….I could do it blindfold now…lol

Ingredients:

  • 300gm fresh white breadcrumbs ( I use brown)
  • 100gm self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
  • 350gm raisins
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 50gm flaked almonds
  • 250gm suet
  • 225gm Demerara sugar
  • 225gm sultanas
  • 225gm currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated

(shhhh)Wet ingredients

  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small wine glass of brandy  shhhhh and a tad more..haha
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Let’s Cook!

Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.

Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.

When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the match and viola a flaming pud 🙂

N.B. As I live in sunny climes then I store mine in the fridge as they ferment very quickly here and that’s not quite what we want.

I am also aware that some don’t like the richness of Christmas pudding…my hubby is one such person ( he eats mice pies) though..Work that one out! Or you may live alone so I would halve the recipe and steam in little pudding moulds for 1 hour and there you have 4 lovely little individual puddings. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking and don’t forget to make wish 🙂

Tomorrow is day 5 of my Christmas Recipe countdown and I will give some lovely alternatives to a rich pudding…

 

 

Fish Friday…….British Fish and Chips.

What better dish for my Fish Friday dish……I miss Fish & Chips not that it was something we ate often when in the UK but as we haven’t had it for at least 7 years;……..Sometimes you just get that hankering for it…Don’t you?

So I give you Fish & Chips….UK style with mushy peas.

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For 4 servings.

800 gm potatoes scrubbed and cut into chips or peeled and cut into chips.

Olive oil to cook and to coat. I more often than not also add some fresh rosemary sprigs.

For the mushy peas:

300 gm frozen peas

1 tsp Olive oil.

2 tsp lemon juice

Fresh pepper to season.

For the Fish:

650 gm approx of your favourite fish. Cut into 4.

50 gm flour plus 1 tsp

50 gm cornflour

1 egg white

125 ml ice-cold sparkling water

600 ml oil for frying

Lemon wedges for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Cut your chips and parboil. Drain, shake lightly and I put a tea towel over the pan to absorb the steam.

Heat your oven to 220 fan/ 200, gas mark 7

Put baking tin with Olive oil in the oven and heat for 8-10 mins.

Meanwhile, put the chips into a bowl and coat with some more olive oil using your hands to turn and coat the potatoes. At this point add Rosemary or Sage if using.

When the oil is hot add the chips in a single layer. Bake 10 mins and turn, bake 5 mins and turn, repeat this process until the chips are nice and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

Meanwhile, cook the peas for 4 mins. Drain and lightly crush with a fork. Mix in the oil and lemon juice. Some freshly grated pepper and set to one side.

Fish...Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel. Put 1 tsp flour on a plate and coat the fish with the flour.

Heat your oil to 200C.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, cornflour, salt and pepper. whisk the egg white. Pour the sparkling water into the flours whisking all the time. Lastly, add the egg white still whisking but being careful not to whisk out all the bubbles…Bubbles make nice light, crispy batter. A balloon whisk is good to use to keep the bubbles. You want a bubbly batter, not a smooth batter.

Dip your floured fillets into the batter. Dip and drain and with a slotted spoon and carefully put into the hot oil. Fry 2 fillets at a time making sure you get your oil back up to the required heat or you will have soggy batter.

The heat must stay a constant 200 C.

Fry for 5-6 minutes, turn fish and cook until the batter is crisp and golden, drain and repeat with your other 2 fillets.

Serve on plates with the chips and mushy peas.

Garnish with lemon wedges.

Serve with mayo or my favourite tartare( caper) sauce.

Enjoy!

If you love my posts please pop over to my blog and say hello…It would be lovely to see you  I can be found on  orienthailiving

 

 

One a penny, Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns!

It will soon be Easter once again so I have revived my Hot Cross Bun recipe for you

Retired? No one told me!

Yes it’s that time of the year when we celebrate Easter with Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday followed by Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday and Simmel Cake on Easter Monday.

So without further ado here is your recipe so you can have them tomorrow hot from the oven.

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Ingredients:

For the dough

  • 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
  • 50g caster sugar …I use natural golden sugar.
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g  butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • oil, for greasing
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Salt…ordinary salt is ok.

The spices and dried fruit

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100g currants
  • Optional: Orange or lemon zest.

To decorate

  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

Method:

Put the flour, yeast, castor sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the…

View original post 476 more words

All I want for christmas is??????

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Look at those happy smiles…Happy to have a tree to climb, a pond to fish in…and if they had a bike well…Instead they ride the tuk-tuk bike with my grandson riding the bike and all of them in the side car…would that allowed anywhere else???? probably not….we say don’t drive too fast…he comes back..hair standing on end so we know the foot was floored…ha ha…but it’s country roads/ tracks, not a lot of traffic..a few cows meandering along and they have fun….christmas to them is some small token…

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Christmas is not fully celebrated here unlike New Year. It is only the more westernised Thai’s and obviously those of us who live here from other parts of the world.

Christmas is much lower key and not commercialised like in western countries. The children if asked would think awhile and ask for one thing.

I asked a little lad the other week ( when) I was in the village where my grandson’s Nannie and family live. He thought long and hard and said anything as long as it’s ” Green.” At his age(5) I don’t think he was thinking environmentally..lol

Another time when I was enquiring if a child would like ????? the answer I got was basically No! we can’t eat toys!

So we compromise here to a point…I get given freshly picked rice and veggies and sometimes a lovely Thai Massage.

I buy ” The fluffy Bits” a saying that evolved many years ago by my dear departed friend and I think it applies here…so I buy the little girls pretty dresses or shoes, the boys a car or a comic with a free gift…You would think they had been given the moon…..

It is so refreshing and the kids are a joy to be around….sometimes I cook spaghetti or carbonara.. it will be this time as they like to try our food..some like it..some don’t and out come the chillies ..but we are always, always met with smiles and more smiles…

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So I will be shopping for things that they don’t get often or certainly not new as hand me downs are a regular occurrence here…I cannot throw anything away…I just take to the village or leave outside my gate and it’s gone within seconds.

I may get left a bunch of fresh herbs and that is lovely…or bought a bunch of bananas or some limes…

It is definitely the ” Land of Smiles ” and I love it here… I am accepted and included in their festivities… I even keep my own wine glass in the village…

on-the-farm-with-my-wine-glass

 

It is a simple life but a happy one…

0ver the next few days I will be shopping for those little guys as I just love those smiley faces( which) hide a lot because I have seen where they really live and what they really have…But they really do have genuine smiles for me…

For some, I will be posting a gift ( my sons) idea as they don’t receive parcels through the post so I am sure it will be a lovely surprise for them a small toy and an item of clothing so mum will be pleased and the child will get a small toy and I won’t be told they can’t eat that so everyone will be happy…

This year on our Christmas day some are coming from the village to our home on Christmas day…I wonder what they will think of our traditional Christmas? Although I will be adding a few chillies and some rice and fish to the table as Iknow they will eat the turkey and vegetable but not potatoes and some other foods…But they like pigs in blankets and funnily enough Christmas pudding so it will be a mixed table but I am sure a happy one…I hope… a joining of two cultures…

So all I really want for Christmas is Peace on earth and Goodwill to all men..for wars to stop, for all children to be safe, have a bed to sleep in and a full tummy…A cure not only for the Big C but other debilitating diseases…Oh, my list is endless…For me, I am happy with a glass of vino x

When you are buying all these expensive toys and clothes for your kids please spare a thought for those less fortunate at Christmas and maybe buy a toy or other small gift for a charity. It will make you feel all warm inside and surely that is what Christmas is about love and goodwill to all men…