Category Archives: Retired! No one told me!

Healthy Eating! How to cure your own bacon.

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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 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 meat over.

Store in the fridge for 5 Days.

After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.

Cook in oven @ 100C 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 …

Next week I will give you the recipe for my home cured ham…

Until then stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot and as you know and if you don’t THEN you have not been reading my posts to the end ….Laughter is proven medically to be the best medicine and it is FREE!

 

 

 

 

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Have you made your Christmas pudding yet??

My oh, my is the time not flying now???

Time to make the puddings and mincemeat for Mince pies…

Christmas Pudding

This first recipe is gluten free..for all of my friends who have to eat gluten free for a diagnosed medical condition and it is delicious and quite frankly just as nice as my tried and tested recipe I always make..not much difference in taste.

So I am giving you both recipes one Gluten free and my tried and tested one which if you used gluten free breadcrumbs and flour would also be Gluten free..

Hopefully this year I will have proper rolls of wrapping paper as one’s son is in England and will be bringing some back for me…Yehhhh no juggling with those silly little rolls which are just enough to wrap a matchbox…I am not kidding!

 

 So 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…ha ha

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 pints.

To make:

In a large bowl put dried fruit, zest, and juice, spice, and 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 sit the pudding in a saucepan on an upturned plate and fill the pan with boiling water about half way up 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 in 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

So for all of you who want to get your Christmas Puddings made so they develop the lovely flavours then here is my tried and tested recipe….. 🙂

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..ha ha

2 tbsp black treacle

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:

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.

Happy Cooking and don’t forget to make wish 🙂

Just in case you missed it my turkey babies…  Down on the farm.…The turkeys are growing nicely so my Christmas dinner for the first time in two years will be ….Turkey!

The recipe for sweet mincemeat will follow maybe next week…lol…But you will get it ..If you can’t wait then it is here Sweet Mincemeat..the same recipe every year but tried and tested… family ones are the best…No nasties and made from scratch…

I hope by now you have forgiven me for using the dreaded C word…..But is creeping up and fast…. It is only 107 sleeps!!!

Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know what I am going to say it is Free and proven to be good for your health…..

Laughter aside ….My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who have been or will be affected by Hurrican Irma we are all thinking and praying for your safety and well-being…Much love and prayers…

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol – Carrots from Afghanistan

Edition 3…So whats the verdict guys and girls? ..Are you enjoying our collaboration??? It is great fun to do and paired with Sally’s great health tips and my recipes we hope you enjoy the read 🙂

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to Sally and Carol’s cook from scratch series, where we take everyday foods,  sharing their health benefits and some tasty recipes, so that you can incorporate them into your diet regularly.

Carol Taylor is a wonderful cook and uses fresh ingredients that she either grows herself of buys a the market in Thailand where she lives.

First a look at the carrot’s origins and its health benefits.

The humble carrot is a vegetable most of us take for granted. Carrots have an ancient history originating in Afghanistan.  The Greeks and the Romans ate carrots and in fact, the Greeks called the carrot ‘Philtron’ and used it as an aphrodisiac.  Don’t all rush to the supermarket!

In Asia, the carrot was an established root crop and was then introduced to Europe in the 13th century.  It was the Middle Ages before the carrot became better known and doctors…

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The Red Lotus Sea( Lake)

I have reblogged this post from a year ago as there was so much interest in the comments on the Lotus flower…We did return again and were very sad to see that the military had ..well trashed the tiny temple and forced the monks to leave it was such a sad sight to see forlorn and abandoned…Why? I don’t know..maybe they shouldn’t have been there…..So I treasure these photos of a lovely little oasis in the middle of the wetlands which is no more…..

Retired? No one told me!

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It was a lovely sunny morning and we decided to take a trip to The Red Lotus Lake( Sea) locally known as Talay Bua Daeng. It was the wrong time of year to see the Lotus in full bloom so will going back in December to see that sight.We still saw a few but not many but witnessed a lot of birds and Water Buffalo who didn’t look best pleased with being disturbed…look at that grumpy face. The Buffalo are brought over in the morning and taken back to terra firma in the evening.

and also the boatman took us to a little temple on a tiny, tiny island.

This island when the water is high is virtually submerged hence the big and I mean big steps leading up to the Buddha’s. The name of the temple is Wat Don Leung on the Nong Harn Lake. One of the monks…

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Papaya Salad…. one of Thailands iconic dishes.

Papaya Salad Som Tam

Papaya Salad or as it is known here, Som Tam.

One of my favorite dishes which is eaten with nearly every meal and sold everywhere on markets, by the roadside with lovely chicken or fish and a dish that I would say every visitor to Thailand will sample and remember.

You will see the trees growing everywhere in gardens, by the roadside and waste land we have at least  6 in our garden alone and not sure how many on the farm and have planted one outside our house so that anyone passing can help themselves.

The papaya tree laden with fruit:

Papaya on tree

 

For those of you who are not lucky enough to be able to buy green Papaya then here is the recipe for you and some alternatives if you can’t buy green papaya.

Ingredients:

A Green Papaya…1 papaya unless you are making a huge dish full will make at least 3 two serving portions. If you keep it covered or put in a plastic bag it keeps very well in the fridge and doesn’t go brown like some fruits and vegetables once peeled.

1 Carrot

Handful cherry Tomatoes or 2/3 med sized tomatoes.

2 long green beans.

Dried shrimp (optional)

1 Lime

4/5 birds eye chillies

Fish Sauce.

Sm amount of palm sugar about a half teaspoon.

Method:

Shred green Papaya and Carrot.

Cut tomatoes up roughly in smallish pieces or cherry tomatoes in half.

Put the chilli, sugar and little fish sauce in pestle and mortar and pound away.

Add papaya, carrots, tomatoes and dried shrimps ( a bit at a time) and keep pounding.

Add lime juice and the lime cheeks, peel ..all of it….. a little more pounding, stir and serve.

Tip 1: TASTE, Taste and taste again because it is about balancing those hot, salty, sweet, sour tastes of Thai Food and your personal taste.

I find that in papaya salad the heat of the chilli is more pronounced so if you only like a little heat start with half a chilli or 1….and TASTE……lime juice and fish sauce the same… taste……..Thai food is all about balancing of the sweet, sour, spicy, salty flavours so once again TASTE as it’s very personal and individual…

I love fish sauce so I am probably..well… nought probable about it… I am….bit free and easy with it…..but that’s my taste and maybe not yours ……I am now becoming in danger of overusing a word…but TASTE…….

Tip 2: If you cannot get Green Papaya where you live then you can use shredded Cucumber or Swede as a substitute. Both are good and particularly with the swede unless you are a connoisseur of Papaya Salad then it would be hard to call.

Another variation on the Papaya is substituting shredded  Green Bananas ..I have not seen it made everywhere… it seems to be more regional but it was good, very good.

I hope you enjoy my little recipes they are not all precisely measured but just how we do it here ….whatever we have goes in the pot or pestle i.e the addition of crab ( in its shell) and yes you do get mucky fingers because again it’s eating with what you were born with.

Som Tam with Phla

Oh, and you serve Papaya Salad with Khao Neow (sticky rice), Chicken or fish..fresh veggies of your choice….

Whatever you fancy and this is one of my favorites and so many variations..but I have found me a little man who makes it just the way I like it…. Sometimes I just want to eat and the beauty of Thai street food is it is just like it has come from your own kitchen…. How fresh does that  Papaya look? Freshly shredded…

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So when I am on my morning walk …I tell my favourite papaya man I will be 30 mins or however long I think I may be..pick up my fresh coconut juice and then my Som Tam and maybe some freshly cooked chicken on the way back home …

I am so blessed that I have such lovely food on my doorstep.

I hope you enjoyed this post if you did please share or reblog as I am sure at least one of your friends would also love the recipe for an authentic Papaya salad and sharing is caring…

It is simple food at it’s best…

Until next time stay safe, have fun AND laugh a lot as laughter is the best medicine and IT’S FREE so please also do me a favour..ASK a question because as you know….I love it when I hear someone question something, please don’t be a follower be a questioner and ask!

And don’t forget if you haven’t already read it…Please look at my new weekly collaboration with Sally from Smogasbord.Health…Healthy recipes made from scratch ( from moi) and great health information on the ingredients from Sally  and how they benefit you and your families health and well being…All in one post…How good is that????

Please click here    It is fun and informative…HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND!

 

 

 

 

 

A crab sandwich!

She has that look and she has baguettes and I have heard her say….It’s the letter “C”  THIS WEEK.

I thought she was sticking to chillies?????

Surely she is not putting me between that baguette and with a Chilli!

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EEEEEEEEK!

She so is….

Ingredients:

6 individual sized baguettes or wholemeal bread or your own choice of bread/roll.

300gm of fresh picked white crab meat…..yikes that’s me!

I red chilli finely chopped, you can remove seeds….she so is and in bed with a chilli!  I can’t even scuttle away she has taped my claws together.

5tbsp mayo.

1 tsp fresh lime juice.

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley finely chopped.

50gm rocket

Butter to spread on rolls.

Salt.

Lets’s Cook!

Butter your rolls or bread of choice…..I sometimes use cream cheese.

Mix the chilli and lime juice into the mayo.

Gently fold in the parsley and the white crab meat.

Taste and season with a little salt..the salt brings out the flavour of the crab.

Put the crab mixture on the baguette and top with rocket.

Enjoy!

Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.

Hello from sunny Phuket where some will say I am living my dream ..well never wearing stiletto’s again is one of them realised..Long live bare feet and flip-flops!

Anyway I digress by popular demand especially for Susan and Ian ( and lets see how close mine is to an Aussie staple.

 

Ta Daa!

Beetroot Chutney:

Ingredients:

1.5k Beetroot.

3 Brown Onions.

3 Apples (Granny Smiths)

450ml Balsamic vinegar.

80ml Fresh Orange Juice.

350gm raw sugar.

1/2 tsp ground cloves.

2 large sprigs Rosemary.

Method:

Set oven at 200c. Wrap Beetroot in foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Chop Onions and Apples finely, chop cooled Beetroot and put in large pan.

Add remainder of ingredients. Except for Rosemary.

Stir until sugar dissolves, add Rosemary, reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hr or until mixture thickens slightly. When ready , remove Rosemary and spoon into sterilised Jars.

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This can be enjoyed in Burgers or with cold cuts meat.

My next recipe for those of you who love fish is a Thai Squid Salad. This is one of the very first Thai dishes I was shown how to make  and a favorite with my grandson and for me wh had only ever had the dreaded rubbery battered squid a revelation and a converted eater os squid wether it be in a salad or curried which is also very yum and to follow in another blog.

Ingredients:

6 small baby squid, cleaned and sliced in 1/4 in strips.

2 birds eye chillies, sliced.

3 shallots sliced.

10 cherry Tomatoes, quartered.

Bunch coriander chopped, I use stalks as well as love the taste of coriander.

1-2 tbsp Fish Sauce.

Juice of half Lime.

Method:

Cook squid in boiling water for 1 to 1 half mins (too long and it will be rubbery)

Remove from water. Add chopped tomatoes, chillies, shallots and coriander.

Mix gently to combine.

Add fish sauce and Lime juice and Taste and taste again..if more fish sauce or lime juice required then add a little at a time and taste. I use quite a lot od fish sauce and lime but this is not to everyone’s taste so I can’t say it often enough “taste” and if more is req add.

thai squid salad

This is a lovely refreshing salad, serve with steamed  or Thai sticky rice and enjoy.

Have a lovely relaxing Sunday until next time ..Enjoy..Love you all x