Category Archives: Lifestyle

Down on The farm… Thai Potatoes…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food  and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

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It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be  however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the worlds largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

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It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed it is high  in proteins and contains tannins and is  valued as  a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next seasons crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

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Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

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Khanom  man sampalang is cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

2   cups of grated Cassava

6 tbsp of tapioca flour

1 tbsp of mung bean starch

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of coconut milk

1 cup of shredded coconut.

Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

 

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam..A thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.The rice has just been planted also and it is fingers crossed that this last down pour didn’t wash all the rice away…Time will tell.

I hope that you enjoyed this trip down on the farm. Some more posts on life in rural Thailand can be found on  my Niume posts.

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm. This weeks post was going to be about our new baby turkeys which we went to collect on Saturday . Unfortunately there was very high winds and very heavy torrentail rains during this last week and the chicks got too cold and died. I was so sad as we were looking forward to getting them and settling them in their new home. The plus side was we got to see the baby calves one which had only just been born which will be our next acquisition. He was so very cute and beautiful.

Down on the farm..Star Apple

Down on the farm Snake Gourd Raita

Down on the farm our 1st Passion Fruit

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 is here…..Ohhhh yehhhh!

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Yes it is!

Have I made lots of New Year resolutions.?….. No!

Am I going to?…..No!

I am just going to be happy and smile to at least one stranger a day..This is not new  it’s  a continuation as I started doing this a while ago and it works…..It really does.

Last year I moved to the North of Thailand and I like it here…It is different, not so much partying and everything that goes with it…Ladies who lunch etc etc…

Do I miss it? Mmmmmm yes and no….I miss my friends as there are not  any or many european women here…do I miss the lifestyle? Well, yes and no…

I don’t think I would want or could afford to keep  that lifestyle up indefinitely, all that partying takes its toll on your health.

So back to do I like it here?

I walk more, I enjoy it and I am fitter. I get post..yehhhhh

It is quieter and more relaxed…we have had a few visitors… which was nice..I get more time to write and cook…. and I walk…

I sort of missed the New Year celebrations on the beach..Briefly… when I saw the photos people posted on FB I thought ahhhh…but ours was spent in a Thai village.and to me it made a pleasant change…

First of all when we arrived I went for an afternoon stroll, heard music and then as the music was getting louder, all of sudden in front of us were the villagers coming out of their homes and joining the dancing /walking parade it was lovely all those happy faces..I was the only european there…and most look bemused as they probably wondered where I had sprung from so…  joining in with the dancing my little grandaughter.loved it…It was lovely….so unexpected.

We enjoyed an  hour just smiling and dancing and mingling.

Then back for some lovely Thai food and Laos whiskey…just opening that was revelation as I expected top off and pour but no…But underneath that was the most mellow of whiskys.

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At 100% proof I was not going to take many sips…ha ha

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In the evening it was dancing and fireworks to see in the NY…bed and early to rise. Well sleeping on a 2 inch thick mattress and square pillow for your head is  not conducive to a lovely lie in…lol… Taking my feather pillow next time.

So an early morning walk..everyone was slowly coming to life the little shop was just opening and the owner was unpacking his fresh veggies..people were lighting their fires as many still cook out side here…not many mod cons to be had here but a plethora of smiles…so many smiles…

Back to house and I was invited to visit the farm…I am getting quite used to perching on a side car thingy…Down a few bumpy tracks and there were the men standing talking around the fire and the bubbling pot

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….another was cooking some steak….Was that delicious? Oh yes..tasty , soft and a blow your head of chilli dip to die for….. I love my chilli.

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Next came the offal and I participated…next came something I could guess at….But as a man had walked by earlier carrying a bullocks willie….I guessed at his goolies….I passed on that one….

Had a shot of Hong Thong instead but it was a lovely start to my NY day ….most of it impromptu but I suppose that is village life and I had the best time…

 

I hope each and every one of you have a brilliant 2017 which sees you enjoy good health and much happiness.

Love to you all xxx

 

 

 

Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.

Very true, just sitting quietly and freeing your thoughts is remarkably calming. I need calm, having retired, I feel the need for calm and also solitude at times ..not because I am angry, or mad at someone but just because I value time and now I have time to do that…it energises me and gets my thoughts flowing.

Living in Thailand has taught me to meditate and there is no lovelier place to do so….it may be at the beach under the shade of a palm tree,or in my quiet space at home just like Colleen of Silver Threading  click here on her mindful Mondays posts .

In fact meditation is part of daily life here. Most homes and places of business feature a ” Spirit House” just outside the building. In fact if you have a new business Thai’s always get it blessed by monks before it opens and that includes large corporate companies  like Tesco Lotus, Makro they all have an opening ceremony around the Spirit House. A new house or car is always blessed by monks for good luck.

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This picture is typical of a Thai House being blessed. The monks come and food is provided for them, they sit and eat with family and bless the house… this is generally done before any furniture is bought into the house.

My garden also has a spirit house which was here when we moved in..I would have loved to touch the paint up but was advised that I should leave it as it was.

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Now back to the diet, while trying to be mindful of what I eat I am discovering that vegetables are one of the ways to go and being aware. I have thought for a while that grain fed beef was good for you however I am changing my views and in these days of Gm foods etc Grain fed doesn’t hold such an attraction for me. It seems like quick way to fatten the calf so to speak whereas grass  fed obviously take longer to mature without additives so that’s the route I am taking. Seriously looking at where my food is made and raised and eating a diet filled with lots of veggies and raw to boot or very, very lightly steamed in some cases..so I am following the Thai way of eating .

What way of eating are you following? because I do a little Paleo and have found some lovely recipes which I will share at one point and on occassion I love ice cream …..whats your passion?

 

Batu and veggies

The fish is called Batu and is very similar to mackerel for the size of the fish it had quite a big backbone. It is quite an oily fish, this fish is also used for a dip like the one in the middle of the dish it is pounded together with chillies, lime also Pla or crab is sometimes added which is a acquired taste…I am getting to not like but can eat in small amounts…lol

Vegetables are varied and include long beans, white cabbage,cucumber,cauliflower, Thai basil, Grapow,banana flower, these white flowers( like lily heads) I don’t know the proper name and they are collected before the sun comes up, the flowers drop off overnight, lightly streamed after having removed stamen and eaten. They seem to be a little bit of a delicacy as only available at certain times of the year. Various vegetables of which I don’t know the names and when I ask the Thais don’t know the English translation.

This is why Thai’s are always eating as  most although it is on the increase, eat very little diary or carbs except for rice, sweet potato,yams. The diet generally is a healthy one as MS is also not as widely used as it once was.

Well that’s it for now stay safe, laugh a lot and be mindful and it will be Songcram here soon so we will be getting very, very wet….ha ha can’t wait…

Pomelo Salad (Yum Som O)

It’s a lovely sunny day here..love being warm although yesterday we had a tropical down pour and it was still warm………my Pomelo tree in the garden is laden with fruit so this is an yummy and ideal way to use it..although segmented and frozen they make a  lovely addition to your

G & T or Vodka tipple…. this was a welcome tip from a Russian friend. I hope my friend Colleen blogger extraordinaire has had had a better week this week..this post is supporting her in her journey to eat healthier and be aware of what we are eating please click here to read all about soda’s on Mindfull Mondays. Great info once again Colleen.

Pomelo Salad .

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

Ingredients:

2 Pink Grapefruit or 1 Pomelo.

12-16 peeled shrimps.

Sm.cucumber diced.

1/4 cup finely sliced shallots.

1/4 cup fresh Thai Basil or Mint.

1/4 cup Fresh coriander.

1/4 cup unsalted peanuts/cashews.

2 tbsp shredded coconut.

1 Red Chilli finely sliced.

Dressing:

Half to 1 lime.

3 tbsp Fish Sauce.

1-2 tbsp palm sugar.

1 -2 red chillies finely sliced.

Kaffir Lime leaf very finely sliced for garnish.

Method:

Pomelo salad

  1. Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add shrimp and boil just a few minutes, until shrimp turns pink and plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan or wok over medium-high heat and stir until coconut turns light golden brown and fragrant. Tip coconut into a small bowl to cool and set aside.Repeat with shallots frying in a little oil until  golden and crispy tip into small bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare your grapefruit or pomelo, removing as much of the white peel as possible from the fruit. Break into bite-size pieces – 3 to 4 cups is a good amount. Set prepared fruit in a salad bowl.
  4. Add to the bowl: cucumber, basil/mint, coriander, and fresh chilli.
  5. Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.
  6. To put salad together: Add shrimp to the salad bowl, then pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine. Add most of the toasted coconut ,shallots and nuts, reserving a little for garnishing, then toss again. Taste-test the salad for a balance of sweet/sour/spicy/salty. Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar if too sour. For more depth of flavor, add a little Fish Sauce . Your salad is now ready to serve.  Top with reserved coconut,nuts and shredded lime leaf, and ENJOY!
  7. Tip: Like most Thai salad dressings, this is an oil-free dressing, so it doesn’t appear to ‘cling’ as well as oil-based dressings, naturally collecting at the bottom of your salad bowl. This isn’t a problem – just be sure to toss a little more than you would for a regular salad in order to saturate ingredients with the dressing.

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

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

Enjoy, Love you all xx

Christmas Recipes.

Well it’s that time of year so I thought I would post a few of our Christmas family favorites: Christmas pudding should be made now really and it’s something the kids can help with they like to stir and it’s supposed to be lucky.

Christmas Pudding:

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Ingredients:

  • 300g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
  • 350g raisins
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 250g suet
  • 225g Demerara sugar
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated
  • (sh)Wet ingredients
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small wine glass of brandy and a tad more..ha ha
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

 

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 brandy using a long match and tip over the pudding and enjoy!

What do we eat with our Christmas Turkey? Bread Sauce…living here in Phuket we were surprised how few of our friends even knew what this was so I am assuming it is an old English country recipe it was one my mum handed down to me. I always save any spare bits of bread in a bag in the freezer ( It is better to use stale bread).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.

Method:

Pour milk into 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.

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Chicken Pate:

Ingredients:

  • 220g/8oz  butter.

  • 4 shallots chopped.

  • 2  cloves, crushed or finely chopped.

  • 450g/1lb chicken Livers, trimmed and cut in half.

  • 1 tbsp Brandy.

    1 tsp mustard powder.

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • 1 bay leaf, to garnish.

  • 2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.

Method:

  1. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured.
  2. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Transfer the pâté into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf….. I use lime leaves as cannot always get fresh bay leaves.
  5. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.

Pickled  Onions.  There is nothing like your own crispy pickled onions… I use shallots…

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

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2 lb Pickling Onions, peeled.

11/2 pints pickling vinegar..I use white vinegar or a mix of apple cider and white vinegar.

2tbls Pickling spices or your mix…again I mix black, white peppercorns , coriander seeds.

Method…2 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 over vinegar making sure onions 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 now …next time it will be a family favorite Prawn Cocktail which I have to make on pain of death, my son will not let me away with it..” you always make it mum” so mum does…ha ha and Mince Pies of which it wouldn’t be Christmas without a mince-pie or two and Sausage Rolls which my mum always makes but here I have to make own…. and my big son…teases me over Skype with nans sausage rolls and I must admit no one makes them like my mummy…

 

Saang Chai….week 6.

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Good Morning everyone and what a lovely sunny Monday morning it is ………..I have just came back from my morning walk with my master and it was fun..lots of things to smell and chase and now I have got my bone, doesn’t it look good? I am very good with my bones. My mistress just takes them a way from me sometimes and tells my little master to but they give it back me and tell me I am a good …I don’t mind if they touch my food because ..they give it back….it is fun here…

Well  not so fun the other day… my master got really angry with me ….I just licked his flip-flops and they fell apart…well …maybe I chewed them but he said that is the second pair this week..now that was not true ..it was last week…I only chew one pair a week….He smacked me one time on my bottom with the flip-flop and it hurt..ouch!

Then he said “Bed” in his I’m not happy with you voice …I rolled over on my back…. …but he didn’t rub my tummy  this time…..  Oh Dear……my mum just said “don’t leave them there” I’m sure she’s on my side, I can tell….I love my mum…she makes me lovely chicken to eat… for a special treat she gives me a little piece of cheese…I like cheese, it’s yummy…woof

Oh I forgot…You know I mustn’t bark and growl when people come into the house,…..well I am getting better  and my mistress tells me I am a good boy. I just like to let them know that’s it’s my home now…..

Oh and please don’t forget if you  can help or adopt a little Soi Dog like me… it’s very easy and it doesn’t matter where you live…I know I have lots of readers from that big country the USA and Soi Dogs can ship your forever dog to you …it’s very easy ….they take care of all the paperwork…woof…and you could have a lovely puppy just like me or one of the older dogs who just want a forever home….and you might lucky and it won’t chew your flip flops…woof….http://www.soidog.org/en/about-soi-dog/

sdf-post-idk-campaign-feed-dogs-content-1-0My mistress gets really upset when she sees these pictures and how people can hurt us like they do……..Please Help…woof

Yum..woof …I have got chicken..freshly cooked…..I better sit down and wait hadn’t I because unless I sit, I don’t get my chicken ..my mistress just holds the bowl and looks at me…I know she loves me and when she looks at me like that I just sit down and give her  the big , brown-eyed soulful look and I get my dinner…yummy……

Can’t talk any more a boys got to eat …laters…next Monday……Woof

I won’t be impressed with technology until I can download FOOD!

Wow…. what a thought that is…just imagine trawling through your food blogs and coming upon this recipe that jumps out at you and ” You want it now” …….that just screams….  Eat Me !

You look in the cupboards and you have everything bar one item to make that dish, it’s chucking it down with rain, rush hour or the gas man is coming…..awwww damm and blast!

Just imagine if you could press a button and voila…it’s there ..right in front of you…

Come on ladies and gents it ain’t happening yet but I can tickle your taste buds with these delicious recipes. A lovely Thai Green Curry and Chocolate brownies although as I couldn’t get proper chocolate here..cos I don’t know if you are aware but to stop chocolate melting they add something and it’s nasty..yuk

So what I have done is made brownies normally…. no coconut flour and will try to get proper chocolate and make a batch for my next food blog….. we can then compare…good idea or what ..a double lot of brownies to sample…..mmmmmmm can’t be bad in my book….

Chocolate Brownies:

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup oil…I used Coconut Oil but can use vegetable or other oil of your choice.

1 cup sugar.

1/2 Cup flour.

1/3 cup cocoa ( unsweetened)

1/4  tsp baking powder.

1/4 tsp salt.

1 tsp vanilla extract.

2 Eggs.

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Method:

Put all ingredients except for eggs in food processor and blitz.

Beat eggs together and add to mixture, combine well.

Stir in walnuts if using.

Pour batter into 9 x 9 greased and floured pan.

Put in pre heated oven on 350( 175) and cook for 20/30 mins until shrinks away from sides of pan.

Remove from oven, cool and cut in squares. I sieved icing sugar on the top of mine.

Taste test: These are the first Brownies I have made for ages… the sponge is quite light but was more brownie like the following day. I prefer a more gooey, chewy brownie but they were ok.

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.
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sm bunch small egg-plant ( optional) Pea like size in Picture.
5/6 stems of Thai sweet basil (pick of leaves)
Large can or two sm cartons of coconut milk.
10 straw mushrooms quartered or use button mushroom.
Method:
2/3 tbsp curry paste( maybe start with 11/2) I don’t know how hot you eat curry.
Cook with tiny amount of oil to release flavour, add tbsp fish sauce cook for 2 mins slowly add coconut milk and simmer gently.
Add chicken, cook on simmer for 20 mins then add vegetables and Thai basil cook for further 20 mins serve with Steamed or boiled rice.
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If you are making veggie curry just omit chicken and add carrots and broccoli or veg of your choice.
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.
You can use beef or pork instead of chicken if you like but will req longer cooking.
Garnish with sprig Thai basil and extra sliced  chilli… if req.