Category Archives: Down on the farm

Retired No one told me and Orienthailiving Weekly roundup…Chinese New year, Jackfruit, Fish Friday, Mr Peace…

 

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I have decided to do a weekly roundup of my posts both from here and my other blog on a Thursday as I know how busy you all are and it is easy to miss them in your reader isn’t it?

I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone who has subscribed to my blog usually I reply individually but I am busy writing and putting together my cookbook and of course my other writing commitments and there are so many new subscribers and for that I thank you..you are all awesome and I do read your blogs if you have one…My only little rant is some of you don’t have an avatar so I can’t thank you personally or sometimes find your blog or I would but thank you…

By now most of you know that I love tradition and Thailand is steeped in tradition… Chinese New Year will soon be upon us followed by the lantern festival… Already the preparations have begun and if you are travelling to Thailand or China and will be here on those dates you will be awed at the sight of the red and yellow lanterns and decorations which are hung everywhere…We have huge Thai/Chinese population here and last year Udon Thani was awash with all the banners, flags and decorations and we had street entertainment..lots of delicious street food and it is time for me to sample different dishes…The fireworks are impressive and the music loud…Oh Yes! I kid you not…

But it is fun and so much to see and do..dancing dragons and lions and stilt walkers and what they do on stilts..the mind boggles…How?

If you would like to pop over to my other blog then all will be revealed I am as you know more food orientated here with the occasional opinionated post…lol

My other blog is my travels and traditions …keeping it separate…The year of the Dog

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is followed by the Lantern Festival which is celebrated 15 days after Chinese New Year…and the little rice balls are foodies heaven…wonderful little morsels of food…

The Lantern Festival

Which is held 15 days after Chinese New Year…in the past there have been celebrations on each day after Chinese New Year up until the 15th making for one long celebration now you have the Chinese New Year and then The Lantern Festival on the 15th day afterwards.

Last Saturday saw me doing what I love best street food and markets.

Tessabaan fish man cutting fish

and last Thursday saw me talking about one of my favourite memories The Secret Garden which is also one of my favourite stories from my childhood…I loved that story…

Every Wednesday sees me over at Sally’s Place where she has graciously invited moi to write a weekly food column. Sally tirelessly promotes and helps everyone she can and what she doesn’t know about the medicinal benefits of food and nutrition you could write on a postage stamp. You can find Sally on the link below.

cropped-for-web Sally Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/

For my weekly food column …this week I wrote about the exotic Jackfruit and next week I will be back to something you can all get and love ???? No spoiler this week…lol

Annette Rochelle Aben…a fellow writer and blogger posted a very important message which I felt compelled to share when I was reading this I felt sad that these statistics are so high and hopeful that people like Mr Peace are getting that message out there…These kids are our future and we should be doing all we can as adults to help stop these terrible trends of bullying and peer pressure and protecting our children …So please read and share and let’s try to see if we can help change those statistics and kick them into touch…Tell me a story Mr Peace

Fish Fridays my last fishy post for a while ( I am writing) a recipe book on fish it will now be Fruity Fridays… Spoiler Alert!

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Book reviews… I don’t usually but I had seen a few for the same book and now I am going to be painfully honest… I have always mainly kept to myself my views on certain subjects and not because I didn’t agree but maybe that I didn’t know enough to feel I should air my views..lack of understanding…lack of knowledge… how certain sections of society reported or portrayed… how it was dealt with…as in what I call knee-jerk reactions and the politically correct part of society….Put that all into the pot and it makes a subject a no-go area or makes one against it without knowing why sometimes… I hope you understand that because I don’t…Maybe now I see the effects of people’s actions and I don’t like it…I want to know more about certain areas and have an understanding … I have purchased the book and it is my next read…Heavens Rage By Leslie Tate.

Proud parents… My Turkey babies

Proud mummy turkey with babies

It is really cold here at the moment 16 degrees and even colder in Sakon Nakon where the farm is and my turkey babies..but as pictured they are snuggling under mum for warmth so all is well.

Soapbox time Healthy Eating..the right way.

What is the right ??? Well for me it is not to diet, to eat what food I like and moderation…

Fads, tablets, drinks, celebrity endorsed money gobbling diets to NOT work… I believe if we eat the right things and in moderation and do some exercise be it going to the gym, swimming, walking…It is your body, YOUR HEALTH, Your choices!

I will be giving you some choices, telling you what I eat, what has made me healthier, what has helped me lose weight, what I eat, why I eat it…I eat because I love food…

There will be no right way or wrong way…BUT Your way…

So together we can find your way… Are you ready???

I hope you have enjoyed this weekly roundup…xxx  Seeing it all together I am realising how much I write in a week… Phew…

Now off to make some prawn toasts…Which I have named Rustic Prawn Toasts as that is what they were..Tasty but rustic xxx

Until next time…Tomorrow… Stay safe, haveFun and laugh a lot as laughter is the best medicine and it is FREE XXX

 

 

 

 

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Down on the Farm…Proud parents.

The first pictures of our new turkey babies:

 

 

If you look closely you can see they are just making an appearance…we didn’t want to disturb them or frighten them by getting too close.

They are now a bit bigger and mum is taking them outside for daily walks…However, we have a young puppy and he has very quickly learnt to keep his distance he got too inquisitive and mum got quite angry with him ..apparently jumped on him and made him squeal and sent him on his way… Natures way of giving a clip around the ear… Methinks!

Our black baby chicks are getting quite big now…They are quite beautiful and hand tame…

One of the turkey mums has opted to lay on her eggs outside she didn’t like the new home we have made for them so we will leave her in peace to hatch her babies where she wants…Sometimes nature knows best…

On the fruit and vegetable side….the kale is looking very nice and much better than the markets and lasts a good few days when it is picked.

The young coconut trees are doing well but it will be a few more years before they fruit. The Papaya tree has many fruits so lots of Som Tam(Papaya Salad)…A LOVELY yummy recipe for you 🙂 Just click the link 🙂

Papaya on tree

The Jackfruit trees are full of fruit so it looks like a bumper crop this year… To read all about the Jack Fruit on WEDNESDAY on my food column on Smorgasbord… Click here to read last weeks post 🙂

Bananas as always are plentiful…

Our babies are now growing well… A little bigger and venturing out for a walk with mum keeping a watchful eye on them.

 

That’s all for now Down on the Farm my timer has just gone off…The ham is ready..there is nothing better than home-cured ham is there??

Until next time..enjoy your weekend and laugh a lot xx

 

 

 

Barking Deers Mango

Of course, you all know exactly what that is …Don’t you????

It is all here in another edition of Down on the Farm!

A busy time of year as the rice has just been harvested, The Goose aka Turkeys are getting fat and the Wild almond tree aka Barking Deers Mango, nuts are ready to eat…

The name Barking deer’s mango is a strange name I can only surmise that it originated from the Indian Muntjac also named barking deer as it was often hunted around the outskirts of agricultural areas as they are considered a nuisance for damaging crops and ripping bark from trees.

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This wild evergreen tree can grow as tall as 50 metres high the wood which is of low quality is used for general construction or fuel but is also very sought after and popular here for making charcoal.

The seeds of the tree are a source of a non-drying oil called cay-cay fat which is used in the manufacture of candles and soap making.

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The nut is eaten raw or is dry roasted and sold on the local markets as a snack this time of the year. The outer shell is really hard and no mod cons or nutcrackers used here just a very sharp knife and it was wielded very ably if I tried cracking a nut that way I would definitely be minus a couple of fingers…

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Our Turkeys are no longer babies and the girls have just started laying eggs so we are hoping they will produce some lovely little turkey chicks when they hatch.

Our big boy turkey

The rice harvest has just finished for us…..It is hard work producing the rice and harvesting it and for little money, as rice prices are quite low at the moment but at the very least it will provide rice for eating until the next harvest is due…

rice farming

Lily and Oi picking rice

A food break is always welcome…

lunch time picking rice

That’s about it at the moment we have plenty of morning-glory, lemongrass and galangal so I will be making Tom Yum Goong (Prawns) Soup which is one of my favourites and breakfast most days this week has been morning-glory with rice a simple vegetable dish but very spicy and tasty…

Jackfruit is nicely ripened at the moment and it’s banana time of the year again so they are very plentiful…It is all or nothing with bananas as they are either all unripe or all ripe at the same time….although I will be making more of those raw green banana Kofta’s the recipe courtesy of my blogging friend Reena they are very nice indeed…It was the first time I had made anything using raw, green bananas and well worth it ..very nice they were…I would recommend you try them…

Until next time..stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot 🙂

 

 

 

Down on the farm….

My turkey babies are not babies anymore….

 

He is just such a handsome boy, isn’t he? They love just love wandering about the farm and eating the greens and picking bits here and there….They are a joy to keep and have really lovely natures…..One got attacked by a dog a while ago but let himself be picked up and his leg cleaned so placidly he is lovely….The dog..banished we cannot have an animal which attacks the other animals…The turkey he is alive and well after his little skirmish and none the worse for wear thank goodness. Our chook who thinks he is a turkey is still living with the turkeys he doesn’t want to be with the chooks…

He even speaks like a turkey now…

The banana trees are bearing fruit how is this for a bunch of bananas…..

It is a shame they all ripen at once so if anyone has some nice green banana recipes please let me know…I have shared with the neighbours..even the tuk-tuk driver but know we will be having lots of smoothies and banana bread and chutney and Banana splits have been mentioned…lol

Watermelon

Watermelons are now to be found in abundance and if you need any recipes then Carol and Sally have a treat for you Health Benefits and recipes just in case you missed it!

Today I am busy pickling some more Watermelon Rinds which are a lovely thing…Try them you will be so pleased you did…

Harvesting the rice.

Rice feilds down farm

The early rice is now being harvested and I tell you such hard work and for 200B ( 6 US) DOLLARS a day such long hours  8-5 and back-breaking work.

The main rice harvest is not until November but some people plant a bit earlier and can also harvest it cheaper as in November as it is busy the rate goes up to 300 baht a day…. still a pittance for the work as if the farmers have not weeded the rice regularly then it is harder to harvest…Our rice is always weeded regularly which makes the harvest a little easier…

That’s all for Down on the farm for today I hope you enjoyed the updates and below are links to previous down on the farm posts in case you missed them.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/down-on-the-farm-sesame-plantngaa/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/down-on-the-farm-thai-potatoes/

I can also now be found over on my new site please pop over and say hello …I have called it Orienthailiving I hope you like my choice of  name    http://myhealthyretirement.com

Thank you for reading and if you loved anything you read please share as sharing is caring…xx

 

 

 

 

Why I love Thailand…

Thailand …..The Land of Smiles 🙂 and temples… and so much more…

Golden budha in the forest

 

Many years ago when we first visited Thailand it stole a corner of my heart and although it is a country of many contradictions to me it is home.

Why? I don’t know…I have family in many different countries and have loved my visits..have I wanted to put down roots there ?…No!

Thailand just does it for me…

Whether its beautiful unspoiled beaches and there are many.

beach and chairs nice pic

 

Sunsets which are so amazing, diving, rock climbing or just living among the people.

Sunset (2)

Where we have experienced the real Thailand, the amazing food..which we have tasted which is not cooked purely for the tourists.

For my dear friend Annie I have amended this post..how I could forget our favourite Thai curry…I don’t know..but I did…One of my all time favorite Northern Thai Curries is Khao Soi. I was introduced to it by my dear friend Annie and we would do our research once a month to find the best Khao Soi and have a bit of a girlie chat and maybe a vino or two….as you do!

Khao Soi is a beautiful yellow curry with chicken( Gai) or pork(Moo) with soft yellow noodles and topped with crispy noodles.

Khao Soi

Served with a side of pickled cabbage, lime, shallots and if it isn’t hot enough then some lovely hot, fried chilli mix.

The beautiful countryside and it really is the land of smiles.

We have stayed in villages where the children by our standards have nothing by comparison but they are happy, they have carefree childhoods bought up with love.

Thai boys in tree

Yes there is the seedy side…but so is there in all countries.

Bangkok…..I love it..so vibrant and alive….I have wandered down at midnight to get something to eat at one of the street stalls…do I feel unsafe…never ever. I am given a seat to sit on while I wait..hastily they rub the seat over with a not so clean cloth…do I care…No! They treat madam as they call me like a special visitor and when I say Thai hot …the smile I get and they tell everyone who will listen….”Oh Madam she eat spicy”

What they prepare and cook the food in is spotless..the vegetables so fresh…the food amazing…

China Town and the markets….. I love Bangers as I call it but only for a few days and then I am back to the peace and calm which is home.

 

Pageantry the Thais love it..every procession is so joyous…..The Vegetarian Festival…..Songkram… Loy Krathong…

 

..if you love being part of festivals make sure you come at the right time ..you will not be disappointed.

Aston Songcram my favorite photo

The noise, the street food and partying is amazing and to be part of it so special.

Have you visited Thailand…If not ..you will not be disappointed…

I hope you enjoyed this post and you can see why I love this country…Over the next few months, I will be taking you to some of the beautiful places I have visited, places which are off the beaten track…The real Thailand and the one I love.

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot and if you fancy a boogie then pop over to Sally’s  from Smorgasbord Health 2017 …I will be there as will many others ..lots of fun and frolics….. See you there….

Down on the Farm…Sesame Plant(Ngaa)

 

The Sesame plant or Ngaa as it is known here is another plant which has popped up…I am loving this year as I am constantly being surprised at what plants and fruits are appearing  Down on the  Farm...next year I will know and can plan a little it will also help as I will know what and where so we can transplant and not build and destroy.

It is a beautiful and quite delicate looking plant with pretty white flowers.

Sesame seed plant

Of course, I now wanted to know what uses this plant had if any apart from producing seeds which are used mainly in desserts in Thailand. Here on the farm they are dried and used for just that really and to make that lovely sesame biscuit.

The oil from the seeds is not really used in Thai cuisine like it is in Chinese cookery.

The sesame seed is one of the most ancient seeds on earth there have been remains of Sesame seeds found and dated as far back as 3500BC. It was also widely traded in parts of Mesopotamia and the Indian sub continent around 2000BC.  Always highly valued in Eastern, African and Mediterranean culture it has been used for thousands of years in cooking to flavour foods. Sesame oil has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and a rich nutty flavour. Across the continent’s world-wide sesame oil, tahini and the seeds are widely used.

It is a good source of vitamins and minerals that boost nutrient absorption, it is beneficial to the human metabolism and the bodies fat burning ability.

Sesame oil is a strong antihypertensive and can also help normalize blood pressure levels.

Sesame butter or Tahini is a pretty calorific dense food with 89 calories plus 8 gm of fat per tablespoon BUT the majority of that fat comes from healthy unsaturated fat as Omega 3 oils which help lower inflammation thus lower the risk of heart attacks. However, as always I advise moderation.

How to make your very own Tahini paste/butter..it is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of  a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties….

Let’s Cook! 

Into the kitchen, a quick toasting of the Sesame Seeds, then into the mini blender, 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz, scrape down the sides, another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape, a  bit more oil and a quick whizz and viola your  Tahini Paste is made.

How easy is that?

Tahini Paste

 

Sesame seeds come in white or black, the white seeds having the highest iron content thus are used in food or as oil.

Black seeds are stronger, more flavorful and have 60% more calcium than white seeds and are used in medicines.

There has been some exciting news on a breakthrough in the research conducted at the Thailand Excellence Center for Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells at the Chiang Mai University  where  it was discovered that “Sesamin” extracted from black sesame seeds contains properties that hinder cancer cell growth as well as stimulate antibodies in the human body to fight cancer.

Dr. Prachya stated that patents for the medical breakthrough have been filed and received for the research both in Thailand and internationally.

This is great news.

As I have said before I am always being amazed by the extraordinary benefits that so many plants and seeds are being proved to provide… so much better in many cases than prescribed medicines and supplements although if you are already on prescribed medicines PLEASE speak to your doctor and discuss what alternatives you are looking at taking and remember with plants and seeds …No one size fits all…. All of our bodies are different and react differently…..But ask! Talk to your doctor, do your own research from reputable research bodies.

More news from down on the farm..we have 3 more turkey babies ..2 female and one male and a baby chook who thinks it is a turkey…Yes, it does and any attempts to put it back with the chooks results in it crying and making turkey noises….So we have left it with the turkeys….

The bananas are ripe for picking very soon.

That’s all for now DOWN ON THE FARM…I hope you enjoy these posts of our life and adventures in rural Thailand if you do please share or reblog.

I have also left some links below of previous posts just in case you missed them.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/down-on-the-farm-introducing-our-new-turkey-babies/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/down-on-the-farm-making-charcoal/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/down-on-the-farm-thai-potatoes/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/down-on-the-farm-jambulan-plum/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/down-on-the-farm-snake-gourd-raita/

Until next time stay safe, have fun, laugh a lot as laughter as you should know by now is the best medicine known to man…..

 

 

Down on the farm making charcoal.

A mud charcoal making house.

This is the mud charcoal house where the charcoal is made primarily for fuel to cook…no mod cons here at all. Well not yet pretty much everything is done how it has always been done through the generations. The skills passed down and that is what I like here so much tradition still and in the main so much happiness.

But the lifestyle is hard there are some concessions to this and progress is slowly coming but much is still done the old way and by getting your hands dirty.

Making charcoal is an art…me I just said do you just throw the wood in and light it?….The look this crazy English lady got was a look of I suppose bemusement.

Of course you don’t, for a start the charcoal house cannot be built on or close to the water table or where the drainage is poor.

The wood must be properly stacked so that when it burning the air can circulate correctly but the beauty of it being on your land is that you can stack over a period time as you come across the wood.The wood must of course be dry and the time needed to complete the burn does depend on the moisture content of the wood and also the evenness of the stacking of the wood so this is all very important.

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WOOD DRYING PRIOR TO BEING STACKED.

Once it is correctly stacked it must be stacked vertically into the charcoal house then a fire is started or burning coals are put through the air vent at the top of the charcoal house once this has taken then the door must be sealed effectively to ensure proper air circulation.

The initial smoke which comes out through the top air vent and the air holes around the base is dense white smoke  which after a few days turns to a blueish colour finally it becomes practically clear smoke.

Once the burn is complete then the opening at the top of the charcoal house is sealed as are the bottom vents.

This then takes 2-3 days to cool down, when the earth kiln is cool it can be opened but there must be a supply of water available in case there are any  red fires still burning as they need to be extinguished.

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Once the charcoal is completely cold then it is bagged or put in baskets for home use or sale.

A typical fire for cooking on.

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Cooking the steak

This is a time-consuming and back-breaking task no one has an easy life here as I am finding out but kudos to them I am often just amazed and it has made me realise what an easy life I have had. With my running water, gas, electric all the mod cons and it has changed me and I hope for the better. When the house is built here yes there will be some luxuries but you know what I am not so bothered anymore.

 

I won’t be cooking over a small charcoal fire unless it is a BBQ but lots of things I used to have no longer hold the same allure for me it is definitely an eye opener and maybe not the life for everyone. Just for  this crazy, whimsical English lady  it is the life I have adopted and I love it!

If you missed my previous posts on Down on the farm I have added the links below. I hope you enjoy these posts please let me have your thoughts.

Down on the farm Jambulan Plum

How to make traditional Thai Pancakes

How to make your own Coconut Oil

Thank you for reading about my life in Thailand I do hope you enjoy it 🙂