Category Archives: Bacon

Retro Food For Modern Times – You’re Gonna Have To Face It, You’re Addicted To…

I go through phases where I become utterly obsessed with a dish or an ingredient and have to buy it, cook it, eat it, ad nauseam.  Earlier this year it was tahini – I ate more hummus than some of the smaller Middle Eastern countries during that particular phase!  Prior to that, it was the Mary’s Gone Crackers Black Pepper Crackers – who knew that something so good for you could also taste so delish! Before that it was chipotle chillies….I quite obviously have an addictive personality.

You can relax mum. This is not when I confess to the crack/smack/cocaine/gambling addiction.  Sleep safe.  My newest and only…(well, as long as you don’t count things that are French and bubbly) addiction is my version of Mary Meredith’s Television Egg.

Breakfast Televison Eggs

Breakfast Television Eggs

Why Television Eggs?  Who knows.  Mary doesn’t explain her reasoning.  In my version she is bereft of ideas and just shouting out random bits of household furniture and food to see what sticks.  “Dishwasher Cheese.  Coffee-table bacon.  Couch potato…that one’s good. Let’s go with that.  What the fuck do you mean it’s been done?  Ok….Ermmm…..Television Eggs.”

(Oh, and in my mind Mary Meredith has a very strong Scottish Brogue.  I’m not going to go all Irvine Welsh on you…just saying that should be the accent in which she is read).

Whatever you call it.   It’s a baked egg with asparagus and tomato.  I love a baked egg.  What I don’t enjoy is scrubbing baking dishes to rid them of the residue of a baked egg, so I have added my twist.  Instead of serving it in a ramekin with toast soldiers as per MM’s suggestion, I’ve been baking them in a hollowed out bread roll.

I have now made three four versions of this and plan to make many more over the next few days.  But lets start with the original:

Television Eggs Recipe

I added some tarragon and a teeny drop of cream into mine, just because I had them in the fridge and neither was going to last much longer.  Waste not want not right? But it points to one of the strengths of this recipe, you can pretty much do what you like with it!

Television Eggs - Ingredients

Television Eggs – Ingredients

Televison Eggs for Lunch 2

Television Eggs for Lunch 2

You can, of course, cook your eggs longer for a harder yolk or less for a runnier one.

Whilst the original version was great, I then got the bug and started making television eggs out of everything we had on hand.

My variations thus far have been Rocket, Feta, Tomato and Smoked Paprika:

Televison Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

Television Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

Television Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

Television Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

When I made the rocket and feta version, I also made a breakfast egg to have after my workout at the gym the next morning.  This consisted of Ham, Swiss and Tomato:

Breakfast Televison Eggs

Breakfast Television Eggs

A handy hint I discovered was that, if you cook your television eggs on a rack, the bottom of the bread doesn’t burn.

A rack stops the bread from burning

A rack stops the bread from burning

More Variations to Try

  • Smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese, (maybe with a splash of hollandaise).
  • Mushrooms, chives and goats cheese
  • Spinach and feta, spring onions

Televison Eggs for Lunch 1

  • Leek and Gorgonzola (and yes, for those of you who know me, this is inspired by the best pizza ever!)
  • Baked Beans, cheddar cheese – another breakfast version
  • Chorizo, Potato and tomato – sauté this mixture first.
  • Creamed spinach
  • Sautéed potato cubes, green chilli, red onion and goats cheese
  • Hummus, Chipotle chillies and Mary’s Gone Crackers Black Pepper Cracker Crumbs Sprinkled on top
The Double Yolker

The Double Yolker

Ok, so that last one may be just for me but you get the drift. Cheap, cheerful, easy, healthy-ish and delicious! What more could you ask for?

r ides of march premiere 280911

Yes, ok, I want that too.

And I believe me, if I was in a position to give it to you, my dear and loyal readers….you’d have to step over my cold dead body to get it.  That would be mine.  All mine.

I’m sharing the eggs though…and they are pretty damn good.

I’m going to be spending my week working through versions of Television Eggs for my lunches.  Oh, and look at the totally awesome retro lunch box  I’m going to buy to put them in:

However you have your lunches, have a great week…and try these eggs!

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PS – Late breaking news – newest post gym version – ham, cheese, avocado, chilli sauce.  Put on very low heat before leaving home. By the time you get back (an hour?) this will be cooked to perfection!

Ham, Egg, Avocado, Cheese and Chilli Television Egg

Ham, Egg, Avocado, Cheese and Chilli Television Egg

Retro food For Modern Times – Yes, We Have No Bananas

Bananas are not my favourite fruit.  I put it down to an ill-advised visit to a…(please don’t let my mum be reading this)… “show” in Amsterdam when I was, younger and more prone to drunkenness peer pressure than I am now.  It took many a year before I could even look at a banana (or anyone dressed in a Batman costume) without an inward cringe and a slight sense of shame.

But, even a banana-phobe like me could not resist trying out the recipe for Rhubarb and Banana Pie in Good Cooking For Everyone.  Here is a sneak peek at how that turned out before we turn to some less appetising uses.

Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Rhubarb and Banana Pie

OMG that pie was good!!!

I’m conquering my fears in more ways than one this week – bananas and homemade pastry!  If only Christian Bale would drop by we could go for the hat trick. Anyway, I had a little flick through Good Cooking for Everyone whilst I was waiting for my pastry to  chill and there seemed to be a lot fewer recipes containing bananas than I remembered.

Here is what was listed:

Listed Banana Recipes

The Listed Banana Recipes…

However, my eagle eye soon discovered out the recipes Mary Meredith tried to hide.  So, today, allow me to present the Banana File of Shame (and a really, really, good pie recipe)!

Mary Meredith seems to have had quite the predilection for bananas and bacon as they feature in three recipes.  I had no idea this was a thing but Niki Sengit gives the combination a stamp of approval in her Flavour Thesaurus (one of my favourite food books) so I guess it must be.  Like Mary, Niki also gives a recipe for Bacon Wrapped Bananas.  However it is the cheese sauce in Mary Meredith’s recipe that moves it from what Niki calls “fun”  to what I call “Ewww”!

Bacon and Banana Corkscrews

Then there are Bacon, Kidney and Banana Kebabs.  I have never cooked with, or even knowingly eaten, kidneys.  And after reading the second sentence in this recipe which made me gag, it will probably stay that way!  The faint of stomach may want to skip recipe.

Bacon, Banana and Kidney Kebabs 001

Bacon, Banana and Kidney Kebabs

Kidney, Bacon and Banana Kebabs

There is also a sneaky use of bananas in the Sunrise Breakfast.  I initially thought the things on the serving platter with the tomatoes were sausages.  But who ever heard of people eating sausages for breakfast?  Crumbed bananas make far more sense.  If you’re insane.

Sunrise Breakfast

Sunrise Breakfast

Mind you, I’m obviously a bit slow because I made the same mistake with the Sunday Chicken which also features bananas cunningly disguised as sausages.

Sunday Chicken

Sunday Chicken

Another combination I would never have thought of but Niki assures me that breaded chicken with banana was served on the Titanic  and features in F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel Tender is the Night!  Mary Meredith also features chicken and bananas in her recipe for Stuffed Boned Chicken.

I would have included the pages on how to bone a chicken.  Unfortunately, the 13-year-old boy whose sense of humour I stole was snickering so hard at the phrase “boning a chicken” that I had to let it go.

Stuffed Boned Chicken

Stuffed Boned Chicken

Mary is also not afraid to take food from other climes and destroy them with the inappropriate inclusion of the banana.

A recipe called Flamenco Rice should invoke Spain. It should bring up images  of a glamorous Spanish woman, holding the edge of her brightly coloured ruffled dress and twirling, or clicking her castanets to the tune of a classical guitar.  Or, at the very least,  Paella.

Fried eggs and fried bananas  on a bed of rice served with tomato sauce is not flamenco.  It’s not even the Macarena.

flamenco 001

France also does not fair well.  Bananas as an accompaniment to Fondue?  No thanks.

Fabulous copper fondue pot though!

Fondue Bourguignonne

Fondue Bourguignonne

Finally, the hidden gem in the shape of a Rhubarb and Banana Pie.  This was awesome!

I made a few small changes to the recipe as given.  I wanted a really short, almost a shortbread, crust so I used the Almond Sweetcrust Pastry in Alan Campion and Michelle Curtis’ In The Kitchen instead of that suggested by Mary. If you are scared of large quantities of butter look away now.

Pastry ingredients

Pastry ingredients

I mastered the pastry only to discover my pie dish had disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle that hovers over my house.  But, in the spirit of keep calm and carry on, I crossed my fingers and rolled the pastry into a soufflé dish.

Souffle Dish Pie!

Souffle Dish Pie!

Rhubarb and Banana Pie Ingredients

Rhubarb and Banana Pie Ingredients

I added 1 teaspoon of Orange Flower Water into the mix before I loaded it into the Pie Crust.  I love the mix of rhubarb and orange!

Banana and Rhubarb Pie ingredients loaded into crust

Banana and Rhubarb Pie ingredients loaded into crust

The pie was fabulous, the flavours worked beautifully together and the pastry was light and crisp. I kept my rhubarb and my banana relatively chunky which made for an interesting mix – one mouthful would be heavily rhubarb in flavour, the next would be almost entirely banana.  If you wanted less sharply defined flavours, you could cook the rhubarb to soften it, then mash be bananas in.

I may be biased but I think mine looks pretty good, despite the use of a soufflé dish!!!

Mary's Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Mary’s Rhubarb and Banana Pie

My Rhubarb and Banana Pie

My Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Rhubarb and Banana Pie Recipe

Almond Sweetcrust Pastry

Slice of Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Slice of Rhubarb and Banana Pie

They say the best way to get rid of your phobias it to face them.  So, this week I’m going to be spending a lot of time looking at pictures of Christian Bale on the internet.

Bale /Batman

Bale /Batman

And no, it’s not pervy.  It’s therapy!

Enjoy whatever catches your eye this week.

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Retro Food For Modern Times: Good Cooking for (Almost) Everyone (1981)

Hello there, time to take a look into a new book.

Welcome to Mary Meredith’s Good Cooking for Everyone.

Good Cooking For Everyone by Mary Meredith 002

Let me just start with a little quibble.  When i think of 1981, I think of this:

1981’s finest.

And not so much this:

Mary Meredith 001

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at Mary here.  This book was first published in 1970 and this was a probably a perfectly acceptable photo back then.  Eleven years later, you’d think that maybe the publishers could have forked out for a new publicity photo.  Maybe one using that new technology of  colour.

The 500 “specially selected recipes” in this book do address a wide audience, if not exactly everyone.

In keeping with the Livvie theme above, there are sandwiches that would suit people watching their weight:

Lettuce and Lemon Sandwiches 001

And recipes for those who are most definitely not.

Mary calls this  “California Stuffed Forehock.” I prefer to think of it as “The Reason Elvis (Permanently) Left the Building”. The prunes in the recipe could explain why he was found on the toilet.

Californian Stuffed Forehock 001

Enough for 4 people or one bacon lovin’ popstar!

From The King, to proper royalty, Mary Meredith also provides us with a dainty dish to set before a king. Four and twenty blackbirds anyone?

Cutlet Pie

In fairness to Mary, it’s not actually blackbirds but a mix of lamb kidneys and cutlets.  In fairness to modern sensibility, I was staring at this picture wondering how to describe the sheer awfulness of a pie with bones in little bootees sticking out of it.  Mark looked at it over my shoulder. “You’re not making that are you?” he asked, sounding a little shaky.  I assured him I was not.  “Good” he said. “Because it looks fucking horrible.”  Description problem solved.

Then, there are recipes for people who want their cakes to look like footwear.  (Why? WHY???)

Shoe cake - who doesn't want to eat an old boot on their birthday!

Shoe cake – who doesn’t want to eat an old boot on their birthday!

And recipes for people who want to traumatise their children.  Never mind the chocolate-roll cats at the front, what are those weird shiny pink things with faces ? Apart from the stuff of nightmares?

Children's Party Food

Children’s Party Food

I did however manage to find one group of people for who Mary was not catering for.  I was searching the index of this book when, in the B’s,  I came across:

  • Baked Lemon Potatoes
  • Batch of scones

It’s an odd way of listing these items but there were corresponding entries under L, P and S so whilst kooky, they weren’t entirely random. (But again, maybe something that should have been corrected in the 1981 edition.)

I also noticed under M:

  • Making a jug of cocoa

Using this logic surely every recipe should be listed under M?

  • Making Lettuce and lemon sandwiches
  • Making Elvis Has Left The Building, etc.

And just to be really irritating there is no corresponding entry under C listing:

  • Cocoa, Making a jug of

I’m sorry cocoa drinkers of the world, I guess if you were of a logical mind in 1981 and wanted to find out how to make a jug of your favourite drink (without having to scan through 499 other recipes), you were S.O.L.

I’m spending the weekend with a jug of margaritas… it was going to be cocoa but the recipe was too damn hard to find!

So much for an alcohol free April!

Whatever your tipple, have a great week.

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Retro Food For Modern Times: Angels, Devils and Cheesy Devils on Horseback

No, it’s not my review of the new Dan Brown blockbuster, it’s bacon! Lovely, crispy, salty bacon wrapped around…stuff that isn’t bacon.

Angels, Devils and Cheesy Devils on Horseback

Angels, Devils and Cheesy Devils on Horseback

I love bacon even though it was my undoing.  I was a very happy vegetarian for two years in high school.  If my mother is reading this, right about now, she will be having a little snicker to herself and muttering “Huh…The only vegetarian in the world who didn’t eat vegetables.”  And there is a grain of truth in that.  I did spend two years eating not much more than tomato and cheese sandwiches and the occasional omelette.

Until I was brought down by bacon.

(Cue dramatic music…wow, this could be turning into a Dan Brown novel).

Angels on Horseback

Angels on Horseback (picture from The Party Cookbook).

I used to have tennis lessons, very early, every Sunday morning.  The family that lived next door to the tennis courts would, without fail, have a fry up for breakfast every week.  The smell of bacon would drift out over the tennis court in a haze of mouth-watering deliciousness.  “Eat me, eat me, ” it taunted.

Over weeks of this, bacon came to represent so much more than a tasty breakfast dish, it became a symbol of a better life.  The kind of life where, on Sunday mornings, people had leisurely cooked breakfasts and listened to Mozart and spoke French whilst doing the Sunday crossword in less than twenty minutes.  It represented a glamour and sophistication utterly removed from my reality of huffing and puffing around a glorified field, still half asleep, wearing a polyester track suit that did not so much keep the cold out as keep the sweat in and having someone repeatedly yelling at me to hit a damn ball over a stupid net.  I began to yearn for bacon in the same way I yearned for Paris and champagne and pink Sobranie cigarettes in one of those long cigarette holders like Audrey Hepburn’s in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I was a weird child.

Angels on Horseback - Ingredients

Angels on Horseback – Ingredients

I have no idea whether the neighbours were the glamorous types I imagined them to be or a bunch of suburban lard-arses who are now appearing on The Biggest Loser so that their fat-clogged arteries can be given a second lease of life. I suspect the latter.  If so, can I suggest that the producers of the show make them play tennis.  At seven.  On a Sunday morning.  In winter.  I’ll be lurking somewhere near by with a portable grill and a couple of rashers.  Let’s see how they like it.

Anyway, I lasted about three months before I caved.  One cold wintry morning I came home from said lesson.  Mum asked if I would like my tomato and cheese sandwich plain or toasted.

“I want bacon” I snapped in the snotty way only a 16-year-old can.  Then I stomped upstairs to my room and listened to The Smiths until mum called me back downstairs for a plate of lovely, lovely life-affirming B & E.

History lesson over.  And that’s about all the history I can give you because the reasons oysters are linked with angels, prunes with devils and either wrapped in bacon is termed “on horseback” are lost in time.  Maybe that could be the subject of the next Dan Brown… an obscure culinary term could lead Robert Langdon on a search that reveals the long hidden conspiracy behind whether Elvis really did die on his toilet. (If you’re reading this Brown, back off now.  I know what you’re like.   The Fried-Peanut-Butter and Bacon-Sandwich Code is mine.)

Angels on Horseback

Angels on Horseback

Inspired by the Angels on Horseback recipe in The Party Cookbook I recently went on a bacon rampage and made three versions of this classic hors d’œuvre.

Angels on horseback recipe 001

If you like it spicy, adding a dash of tabasco sauce to the Angels only makes them more delicious!

For Devils on Horseback, substitute Prunes for the Oysters above and leave out the paprika.

Devils on Horseback and Cheesy Devils on Horseback - Ingredients

Devils on Horseback and Cheesy Devils on Horseback – Ingredients

For Cheesy Devils, stuff the prunes with Goat’s Cheese before wrapping in the bacon.

Devils and Cheesy Devils

Devils and Cheesy Devils

Some people like to serve their Devils on Horseback with Mango Chutney.  I’m not a big fan but I did have some Kashmiri Date Chutney in the fridge and this was quite nice as a dip for the Cheesy Devils.

Devils on Horseback with Chutney

Devils on Horseback with Chutney

These were all delicious and I would make them all again.  In order my preference was  Angels on Horseback, Cheesy Devils, then Devils on Horseback but I would not discount any of them.

I no longer desire the Sobranies, but Angels on Horseback with a Glass of champagne and the Sunday Cryptic crossword?  C’est parfait!

Have a great week!
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The Italian Cuisine I Love – Cavolo Nero with Chickpeas and Bacon

The original recipe for this used escarole.  I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely sure what that is.  Cook’s Thesaurus said that spinach or rocket could be substituted, so of course I used something completely different.  Cavolo Nero, or Tuscan Black Cabbage is an ingredient I love.  It is at the peak of its season at the moment so I substituted it for the green in this.  As the leaves are a lot tougher than spinach or rocket (or possibly escarole)  I adjusted the cooking times accordingly.

The other change I made to the original recipe, with full apologies to Jules J, was that it originally was a soup.  I wanted it as a side dish so I decreased the amount of stock I  added back in my version.  If you want it as a soup, you will need to add 2-4 cups of stock where I have placed the asterisk in the recipe below.

This was, awesome.  I have a very fussy easter for  a husband, and it is not often he asks for second helpings of sides, particularly ones that are vegetable heavy.  Maybe it was the bacon in this but he not only had seconds, he took the last little bit into work for his lunch the next day!

500 grams eacarole / cavolo nero / greens of your choice

2 cups chicken stock

1 medium onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 spring onions, chopped

1/3 cup lean bacon, diced

1  can chickpeas

1 tbsp parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp basil

2 tbsp grated parmesan

Trim cavolo nero.  Discard tough ends.  Chop into slices about 1 cm thick.

Put chicken stock in a saucepan.  Heat  to boiling.  Add cavolo nero.   If there is not enough stock, top up with water until leaves are just covered.

Cover and cook until crisp/tender.

Drain and reserve cooking liquid.

Saute bacon in a heavy saucepan, add onion, garlic, spring onions, and saute until soft but not browned.  Add the chickpeas and cavolo nero and a few spoonfuls* of the cooking liquid.

Warm through.

Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve.

Delicious!


Food For Lovers – The Three Course Love Feast

As a concept, Kelly Brodsky’s Food For Lovers falls on the kooky side of the spectrum.  Is this echoed in the food?

Well, sort of…

There are a number of odd recipes.  Many of which rely on inappropriate uses of pineapple:

  • Pineapple isn’t automatically an ingredient I would expect to see in a recipe entitled Braised Wine Steeped Beef. And yet, Kelly Brodsky takes it there.
  • The stuffing mix for the Veal with Cashew Nut Stuffing recipe on p65, contains bacon, cashew nuts, calves liver and pineapple.  If mixing offal and pineapple was a good idea, surely it would be pizza by now.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the veal scallopine sandwich:

Ok. Pineapple is the least of  the problems in that recipe which actually sounds frighteningly modern.    I”m sure something similar is being served in a fast food restaurant somewhere even as I write this.

Monosodium glutamate also features prominently in the recipe ingredients.  As does canned asparagus.

However,  Food For Lovers also contains a lot of good as well.   I  marked up over 30 that I would be prepared to make and I have made four, all of which were delicious!

So now, here is my Food For Lovers Three Course Love Feast.

Cucumber Stuffed With Cream Cheese

These were great!

2 large cucumbers, leave the skin on1 cup cream cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
10 chopped anchovies
1 tbsp chopped chives
Ground black pepper

Scoop out the centres of the cucumbers.

Combine the cream cheese, lemon juice and anchovies and stuff this mixture into the cucumbers.

Place in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Serve sliced very thin sprinkled with the chives and black pepper on crackers or buttered crusty bread.

(Brodsky suggests serving with a dab of mayonnaise, I tried both with and without mayo and preferred it without)

 Sautéed Cabbage and Bacon

            1/2 head of cabbage
            3 bacon rashers, chopped
            1 clove or garlic chopped
          Dash of lemon juice

Finely shred the cabbage and steep it for 5 minutes in boiling salted water.  Whislt this is steeping, sauté the bacon.  Add the cabbage and garlic.  Sauté Lightly.  Sprinkle with a dash of lemon juice and serve.

(Broiled) Chicken With Corn Stuffing

I always thought that broiling was what Americans call grilling.  The original recipe for this cooks it in water.  Maybe she meant boiled?  Either way, I roasted my chicken and it was super!

4 lb chicken
1 1/2 cups dry whole wheat breacrumbs
1 cup whole corn kernels
2 tbsp  butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 finely chopped green pepper (I”m not a fan of this, I used a red onion in mine)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
Chicken Stock
I also added a clove of garlic, crushed, 1/2  a chilli and some thmye and sage leaves)

In a large pan, heat the butter and saute the celery, pepper (onion), corn, mushrooms and garlic.

Take off the heat, add the herbs and breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Moisten with chicken stock.  Cool. Then spoon into the chicken.

(I actually prefer to cook my stuffing in a separate dish).

Roast as per your preferred method.  If unsure, Jamie Oliver has a solid method.

Gingered Dutch Apple Cake

This was very yummy!

3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup sifted self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup stewed apples
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sultanas
1 tbsp chopped preserved ginger

Cream butter and sugar.  Add the egg and beat well.  Then stir in the flour a few spoonfuls at a time, alternating with the milk. Pour into an 8 inch tin.

Combine the apples, cinnamon, lemon juice, brown sugar, walnuts, sultanas and ginger.  Spoon on top of the cake mixture.  Bake in a 190°C oven for around 45 minutes.

Slice and serve still warm with cream.