Category Archives: Recipes,Lifestyle

This is a general blog charting my life with the addition of a recipe or two.

Parenting and Food: It’s OK if Your Kids Aren’t Eating the Perfect Diet Everyday

A great post and my sentiments exactly…We should enjoy our food ….and if we eat a Macedo’s occasionally…So What! ..Enjoy this post and Eat happy!

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Every parent wants to do what’s best for the kids. Whether that be feeding them healthy foods or setting the right example by eating well ourselves, it can be tough to keep to our own standards all the time. And don’t even get me talking about expert recommendations or trying to keep up with the supermom down the block who grows her own vegetables, raises her own chickens and bees, grinds her own ancient grains, and bakes healthy Paleo breakfast treats for her kids while running between hot yoga and spin class, and still never has a single hair out of place!

We need to be kind with ourselves. Not only that, but we need to understand that it isn’t reasonable to expect perfection from ourselves. We wouldn’t put that on anyone else, so why do we always think we need to be perfect? Same goes for our parenting, and…

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Some of Thailand’s most unusual foods.

I got to thinking…….Ha Ha….Yes, you are right every last one of you, when I do that it’s dangerous!

On a weekend boat trip to the Red Lotus Lake, I was amazed when I learnt what you can make with the Lotus flower. It was so beautiful here just miles and miles of water covered in these lovely lotus flowers. Little did I know until our friendly boatman told us that these wetlands not only had fish but flora which was edible.

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A long time ago the petals were used basically as fag papers..just like my dad used Rizzlas I used to sit and watch him with a child’s fascination as he rolled his tobacco into cigarettes.

The flowers are also edible and make lettuce cups look positively boring. The seed pods are lovely to eat just pop those little circles out..take off the outside and eat.

and some say they taste like popcorn. I now knew what all those lovely green pods we saw being sold on the roadside were and how to eat them. The local people are allowed to harvest these for free.

Even with the stems, you can make a lovely soup. This beautiful lily is not only a beautiful decoration but also a source of food……I never cease to be amazed at what I learn here…

This got me thinking..shhhhhh that word again! Of the things I have eaten since I have been here in Thailand and the things I haven’t ..yuk!

I have eaten different types of veg and things like the banana pod and the lily flowers which can only be harvested at dawn both of which are steamed and eaten with a dip…..Now we come to the more unusual…

Insects of all sorts ..deep-fried and crispy…

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I quite like, well except for the ones which look like the witchety grubs they eat on I’m a Celebrity get me out of here..Not for me! Yuk!Frogs fried

Frogs..I like crispy fried they taste like chicken which brings me on to the Chicken Feet sold by the kilo in Makro and Tesco Lotus are a staple here.

Chicken feet salad.

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Lizards…not tried them yet…but I love ants eggs, they make a lovely salad..it tastes lemony and it is actually very nice. So if you are in Thailand and see anyone hopping about and brushing themselves down quite frantically  under a tree…They are collecting Ants Eggs…..A dangerous game and why they are by Thai standards a delicacy and quite expensive to buy.

Ant egg salad.

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Ingredients:

3 tbsp Ant Eggs.

1 tbsp Fish sauce

1 tbsp Roasted rice

1/2 tsp chilli flakes.

2 Spring onion finely sliced.

Handful chopped coriander

7-10 Mint leaves

2 tsp. Grounded pepper

1/2 tbsp. Lime juice

3 shallots finely sliced.

Stir all ingredients together gently. Add the seasoning. Serve with fresh vegetables.

Enjoy!

If you get over any initial reticence to try it most people like it….really….I do.

Well, I will be honest.with you…I shut my eyes…How THAT helps I don’t know…ha ha

The fermented eggs and fish called Phla which is fermented fish which a lot of Thais add to Papaya salad and soups….. Is an acquired taste and one which in the main I give a miss but on some occasions I have eaten and can now tolerate it although I prefer my food without.

So when you think no one should ever go hungry here...There is always something to eat……. You are moreorless correct but I guess if you really think about it and be creative wherever you are there is always something to eat. I often think that when we say we have nothing to eat what we mean is nothing we fancy we probably have a store cupboard full of jars and packets. A fridge with at least the basics in and maybe a few veggies…. Am I right?

You know I am…..

I see it here all the time ..nothing to eat means nothing to eat…Truly…

Most of us don’t know the meaning of nothing to eat…..

Well, I guess you didn’t expect that little sermon at the end of this post…ha ha….Just occasionally I  get carried away with my thoughts…which those who know me are well aware of and I hope you just accept that as one of my little foibles…ha ha…I am a writer after all ….so have fun and laugh a lot as laughter is just the best medicine we can all take 🙂

If you enjoyed reading this then please share or rebog so a few more people will get to know this whimsical English lady and the weird and wonderful things she brings to you….

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

The health benefits of Mustard seeds.

You are what you eat…The benefits of Mustard Seeds.

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Those tiny little seeds belong to the Brassica family and do they contain a bounty of benefits to your health and beauty.

I am loving what I am discovering about all these seeds and herbs we have so much at our fingers tips or growing naturally in our environment which benefit us for little or no money…Some effort? Yes, but some of that is minimal.

How long does it take to mix some mustard seeds with lavender or rose oil and you have a completely natural scrub and skin exfoliator?

Mix mustard powder with Aloe Vera and it is a natural skin hydrator…I am lucky that I have some growing in my garden…Do you or could you grow some?

I do think that more and more of us are becoming aware of just what we can make or grow and that is good…

Better for our health and easier on our pockets…

Mustard seeds have been found to have been mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit writings which go back 5,000years. They have been mentioned at least 5 times in the Bible and in the New Testament, The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a grain of mustard seed.

There are about 40 varieties of Mustard seed but generally, they are divided into  3 principal categories of black, white and brown.

Black is the most pungent and is found growing in the Middle East.

White mustard seeds are actually yellow in colour and come from the Mediterranean region, the mildest in flavour and American yellow mustard is made from these.

Brown mustard seeds are actually dark yellow and grown in the foothills of the Himalayas and are what Dijon mustard is made from.

There have and are currently many studies in the health benefits of mustard seeds and they are known to contain plentiful amounts of phytonutrients called Glucosinolates. They are also an excellent source of Selenium and Magnesium which is proven to help reduce inflammation in this case particularly beneficial in the gastrointestinal tract and colectoral cancers.

They have also been found to be an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, copper and Vit B1.

The powder can be used as an effective muscle soak.

Also due to containing sulphur mustard has excellent antifungal properties.

It can be used in your diet in many ways, it can be used to baste meat or fish, a dip for vegetables or add the seeds to cabbage at the end of cooking.

Once my new blog is up and running I will be giving you recipes to help you integrate some of these seeds and herbs into your daily diet.

In the meantime, you can always message me and ask …I am happy to help.

Have fun and enjoy!

Here is my recipe for homemade mustard

Until next time enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt of the earth…

 

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Salt seems to be a topic of conversation around here at the moment so I have decided to resurrect this post from aunt juju which I reblogged over a year ago.

Since then I have purchased a salt block as a present for my daughter and am awaiting feedback as she has had it for a good few months now.

This article by aunt juju is a very good comprehensive view of salt block cooking backed up by some wonderful recipes. So please take a look you will love it as much as I do… I just know you will.

Once I self-host this blog I will be offering these amongst other things for sale…..I will not have loads of ads all over the place but the sale items will be relevant to my posts. Which means folks you will still get recipes and hopefully some good advice to get you thinking about your health alongside them.

Young Sally also penned a very good post on salt and our health and I discovered salt farming as some of you know on my proverbial doorstep.   So much to do and discover in this little corner of Thailand.

Salt is definitely being featured in our corner of the world of WP and is worth a look as that and so many other things which we were advised to steer clear of consuming don’t seem to be really as bad for us….What are your thoughts on all this backtracking?

A short post to read as you drink your morning coffee…well depending on where you live…ha ha ….coupled with some interesting links for when you put feet up later.

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I hope you enjoy all of this and it links everything together for you….Do you have any What are your thoughts on Salt and your health?

We would love to know so please comment and if you have used salt blocks ..tell me your experience did you love it or hate it?….Good or bad…. I would love to know.

Thank you for reading I hope it gave you food for thought? Stay safe and laugh a lot..it’s free and it releases all those good endorphins which are responsible for our feeling of wellbeing…. it is the biochemical of the substrate aka ” The Spice of Life”

Until next time……..

 

 

 

 

Salt Farming in Northern Thailand.

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Driving to Nong Khai towards the Mekong we suddenly started to see lots of roadside stalls selling salt and then I remembered nothing grew here because the land was so salty …No rice…Nothing!

Proud of their salt producing heritage there is now a 3 day Salt Festival with talks, educational displays and the most beautiful sculptures crafted from salt.

Before I show and tell you about the salt I will show you how I use salt …Which produces the most succulent fish you have every tasted and eaten with Som Tam Green Papaya) Salad and Sticky Rice ( Kow Neow) is one of the most amazing meals you could wish to eat.

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Just take 3/4 stems of lemon grass and tie in a knot, stuff it in the cavity of the fish and then roll the fish in sea salt do not descale the fish as it will not stick. Put on a BBQ and cook until fish is just cooked, nice and juicy turning the fish a few times this takes about 30/40 mins and you will have the most succulent fish you have ever tasted.

How is the salt produced:

Thailand’s unique cuisine with its sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty tastes which combined make a Thai meal so memorable. Salty eggs, fish, salt are used in many dishes and the almost iconic Thai fish sauce takes pride of place on every table. A meal would not be complete without salt or fish sauce being used in every dish or as a condiment.

Do not try to put salt in a traditional western salt grinder or shaker as due to the humidity here it will just clog or cause the grinders cogs to rust.

Used firstly as a preservative before there were fridges salt has become as essential as breathing.

Here in Thailand it is not only used in food but in the spa industry. Now, who hasn’t been to Thailand and hasn’t had a traditional Thai massage?

From popular skin exfoliating, scrub massages it has great anti-bacterial properties and helps to prevent itching and provides relief from insect bites and stings.

Add lemon grass to your salt and a massage will let all your stress and jet lag just fade away.

How is salt made? 

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The ponds are flooded with salt water and left for about 10 days until the sun has evaporated the water leaving the salt, which is then collected and carried away in shoulder baskets to be bagged ready for sale.

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There is very little if any shade on these salt flats to protect the workers from the sun and it is hard heavy work.

 

Health Benefits of Salt.

For years  I have been warned about the use of too much salt whereas here because of the heat and humidity I have used more salt in my cooking and diet.

I have changed the salt I use and either use Pink Himalayan Salt or more recently as we live close to the above salt flats I use the mineral salt fresh from there.

The taste is vastly different from the salt I used to buy and I use less as it is saltier but since living here my Blood pressure is now normal…and for those who know me I have never been normal…lol..but it is.

Asians have for many years believed that we have an energy body as well as a physical body. All of our glands, organs, blood and skin consist of cells. They believe that our health depends on the health of those cells. Different cells require more or less of cell salts e.g nerve cells require larger amounts of cell salts but blood cells carry a higher amount of certain cell salts.

Hence salt plays a larger role in the diet in  Asian countries as they believe cell salts provide a rebalancing of the body to enable its natural disease function which controls the bodies mechanism to function fully.

I am finding northern Thailand such a lovely place to live the people are friendly and I am discovering so many fruits, vegetables and ancient crafts which are still being used and passed down to generation after generation.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share or reblog.

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All images are from my own private photo collection I have no problem if anyone uses them as long as you just ask my permission.

 

 

Wat Baan Waeng or Heaven and Hell.

50 km’s north of Udon Thani where we now live is Wat Baan Waeng or Pho Chai Sri as it is also known.

It is home to larger than life statues and sculptures which depict the heaven and hell side of Buddhism. So in other words if you stray from the path of the five precepts of Buddhism then “Hell” is what awaits you.

It shows the fate or karma of these individuals and the gory fates that await them for their sins.

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Initially when we pulled into the temple we were met with the scene of monks sitting, children playing and stalls selling trinkets, spiritual items and a well. The water level of which is always very high so if you do want to peer down into the blackness then first remove your shoes before you step onto the plinth. The well according to local folktales just appeared!

Such tranquility that we  thought we had chanced upon the wrong temple(wat).

But no, if you follow the path lined with Buddhas statues you will be led through beautiful gardens, music playing, good food and drink everything that heaven is meant to be.

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Happy smiles and music playing.

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All plaques and writing are in Thai so it will enhance your visit if you have someone with you who can read Thai.

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The tree of life depicting the man or king at the top surrounded by ladies. Showing as flowers hanging from the tree of life.

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Do not be fooled!

You are now entering hell.

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You will then come upon statues showing the horrific torture that you would suffer if you went to hell. Depending on your sin your punishment would fit the crime. A liar would have his tongue removed and a thief his hands.

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Forced to climb the thorny tree or be eaten by the waiting dogs. It looks like he wasn’t quite quick enough.

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A liar…Off with your tongue!

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Boiling liquid!

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Cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.

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Karma reigns!  What goes around comes around as the saying goes.

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A fruitless gesture, begging for mercy I don’t think any mercy was going to be granted here.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through heaven and hell, it will be on my to visit again list as there is a temple being built in the middle of the lake there which promises to be a lovely tranquil place to sit and read or write.

If you enjoy my travels around Thailand I can also be found on Niume and Mytrendingstories where I share my travels and recipes, fruits of Thailand and much more.

 

  https://mytrendingstories.com/article/authentic-thai-herbal-soup/

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

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 🙂