Category Archives: Thailand

Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List with Carol Taylor

I am so honoured to be kicking off Sally’s wonderful new series and I am looking forward to seeing what is YOUR top two.

Thank you, Sally, for making me look so wonderful you are a star and if it wasn’t for that wonderful group of Phuket Writers I truly would not be writing today and would never have become friends with the lovely Anne O’Connor who is my friend and mentor…Love you, Annie… I am going to stop now as this is sounding like one of those longgggg Oscar’s speeches….Lolz…Kill me now!!!!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the new Sunday Interview and the theme is The Ultimate Bucket List.

In this interview series I would love to know what your top TWO items are on your bucket list and if you have not written one yet, then perhaps it is time to get your thinking caps on.

The readers will want to be convinced that these activities are worthy of putting on the ultimate bucket list, so please give full details of what it is, where if applicable and definitely the why and how.  As you can see not all wishes are physical and do not worry if you feel that your chosen item is everyday for others. This is your wish list and you can put anything you like in it.

Also it is taken for granted that you as an individual would do all you can to help others achieve their dreams…

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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.

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

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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….

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!

 

 

 

 

 

One year on! My way forward

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And what a year it has been!

Living in the north of Thailand is completely different to Phuket but I have also discovered much more about Thailand and its culture, traditions and discovered so many different fruits and vegetables.

So in some ways because of the move, it has taken me a while but I have decided now on my way forward.

The last post I wrote had a very good response with reblogs, shares and views/reads on a few of the different social media’s.

People are obviously interested in health both bodily and mentally and looking at food to help them achieve that and food which can work alongside any medications that is prescribed for you.

Like this one: Foods which may help lower your cholesterol

As those of you who know me know that none of my recipes are just a recipe but also contain other titbits of information.

I know I can waffle with best of them…lol

My recipes will now contain at least one and possibly more ingredients which will help you reach that goal of eating more healthily and also start to learn that it is important what we put in our mouths for our children’s health and our health.

We read a lot about buying organic foods and yes it is sometimes way out of some of our budgets but even if you only have a window box I hope I can help you learn what it is best to buy organically and what you can buy through your normal shopping channels knowing it is safe and also what you can grow.

 

A lot of the articles I read bombard me with information and sometimes I just switch off because I am either too busy or I just haven’t got a clue or just because I don’t like the sound of the foods which it is suggested are good for me. Who wants to eat boring unappetising food?

So my aim is to keep it simple and not bore you with jargon.

I want to give you recipes for the whole family that encourage those who are faddy eaters to try things. Give you alternatives for some ingredients that may be cheaper or more palatable to some and indeed a lot of the recipes I have come across I don’t really want to eat ….I may change my mind when I try them or make a few changes and that is also what food is about adapting it and of trying new ways of cooking and it makes food fun and enjoyable and that is what food should be about.

Whether you only have the weekends to cook or when you are on holiday but learning how to adapt your cooking to your lifestyle take one step at a time because it is no use running yourself ragged as that is not good for your health either.

For example, a lot of the food I cook is just for me. So I buy my meat or fish and cut it into portions and freeze it. If I cook a chilli I freeze individual portions it is all about planning.

No one has to spend hours in the kitchen if you plan and prepare. Put the slow cooker on before you go to work and when you come home a beautiful meal is ready to eat.

Put porridge in your slow cooker overnight and it will be ready and waiting for when you come down in a rush with no time to cook and just enough time to eat.

I plan to write some cookery e-books with my favourite recipes in for you.

So in a nutshell, I want to give you the information so that you can make your own decisions on how to feed your family for optimum health. Feed your family normal food. Food which encourages faddy/picky eaters because then you stick to it because you love what you are eating.

Feed your family normal food. Food which encourages faddy/picky eaters because then you stick to it because you love what you are eating.

I plan to self-host my blog very soon and I will be adding affiliate  links for products that I use and love not just a fancy product which costs an arm and a leg and doesn’t do what it says or is so difficult to clean that it puts you off using it or you just plain don’t have the cupboard space to store it.

The final part of my plan is that when I have this in place I will have the time to finish my novel which is a long time coming…lol

Oh, and I haven’t started on the chooks and farming but that is also on track.  We are the proud parents of some baby turkeys …..Why Turkeys? Because I haven’t been able to buy one for Christmas dinner for the last two years and so I thought I would grow my own…They are adorable, so friendly and make lovely soft, happy noises…They seem to love their new home although they are having to stay in the smaller bit for another few days..just so they get used to their surroundings and where their food is…

 

But I am focused and ready to move forward.

Thank for reading this post I do hope you enjoyed it.and our new adventures in Northern Thailand…If you did ..please share it or reblog it….

And lastly, if I can do it so can you…cos I am not a spring chicken anymore but having so much fun and feel I have a new lease of life….

Please feel free to give me any advice, suggestions anything at all. That is what comments are for.

Any photos I use are by myself( Carol) or are from Pixabay and free to use.

The Coconut….Is it a fruit, a nut or a seed?

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I am sometimes flummoxed by what is a fruit, a nut or a seed or indeed a tree …Take the Papaya tree which grows in abundance here and also I will add grows very quickly …It has fruit with the same name as the tree but it is a PLANT …It has no branches and a soft stem with all the very large leaves at the top and can grow up to 10 metres high.  It is, in fact, a herbaceous plant as the stem bears little wood and stays green and soft until it dies. But ask anyone here and they will call it a Papaya tree….

Which brings me back to the Coconut nut well it has a hard outer shell-like a nut. Don’t you think my tree looks magnificent?

Botanically it is known as a one-seeded drupe otherwise known as a dry drupe. 

Where does that leave us? With a fruit, a nut and a seed?

The name itself infers it is a nut….afterall a nut can be defined as a one-seeded fruit. But true nuts do not open on maturity and release their seeds the nut has to decay and then it releases its seeds and is dispersed by an animal either in its faeces or just by being dropped on the ground.

The coconut we buy in the shops or market has no resemblance to the coconut on my tree and until I moved here I thought there was only one type of coconut…

There are so many here coconuts for drinking, eating the soft flesh, hard like the ones I knew…I am certainly furthering my education in leaps and bounds although I have always been inquisitive…Yeh Yeh…Ok..plain nosey…I like to know things…

coconut

It has 3 layers the first is typically green …This layer is called exocarp then you get the fibrous husk( mesocarp) this surrounds the woody layer ( endocarp) which surrounds the seed…. which is what you get in the supermarkets.

But did you know???

The coconut palm is not a tree as it has no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. It is a woody perennial known as monocotyledons as the trunk is the stem.

The coconut is known as the Tree of Life as every bit of the tree is used for drinks, fibre, food, fuel, musical instruments,  cooking utensils and so much more.

it is also claimed although not formally recorded that during World War 11  and the Vietnam war when intravenous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors used coconut water as a  substitute for  IV solutions.

If the shell of the coconut has not been cracked, the coconut water inside is usually sterile – that is, free of bacteria and the like. So technically it could  be injected safely into people, to replace fluid loss? It might, however, be said it might just be better just to drink it to replace blood plasma.

 

So do we now know what the coconut is? A fruit, nut or seed?

Mangoes, peaches and almonds are in the same drupe family as the coconut. Although the coconut is a dry drupe and peaches and mango are fleshy drupes.  Well, I clearly am not a botanical expert but in my world but I have always thought of those as fruits so the coconut to me is a cross between a fruit and a nut which we eat the flesh off and drink the lovely juice of a huge seed.

There you have it!

Just in case you missed it…Here is my post on how to make your own coconut oil...   Which would make a lovely present.

Thank you for reading this I hope you enjoyed if you did please feel free to share…Sharing is caring…

 

 

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.

Toddy Palm    https://niume.com/post/313107

Takhop Tree https://niume.com/post/308167

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

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

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 world’s 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 season’s 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 a 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 downpour 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 week’s 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 torrential 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

 

ntil next time stay safe and laugh a lot …