Category Archives: Cheese

Let’s See How Far We’ve Come – Cheesy Meaty Goodness On a Stick – 1970’s vs 2010’s

My favorite thing to eat is finger food.  And it doesn’t have to be fancy – I’m just as happy with a mini-quiche or a party pie as with a teeny Peking duck pancake or a tempura prawn on a stick with a wasabi mayo.

If I was ever going to open a restaurant, all it would serve would be tiny bites.  And champagne.  Cocktails of course.  But the entire menu would be finger food.  It would be a cocktail party restaurant.  Anyone wishing to fund this establishment…you know where to find me.

Finger food has been on my mind recently as I have been drooling over the contents of Lydia France’s Party Bites which is like setting a child loose in a sweet shop – I want that one!  And that one!  And I REALLY want that one!

Party Bites

I was also not the only one who thought this book was looked delicious.  Oscar’s been suffering from a little bit of separation anxiety since I have gone back to work and I came home one day to find the book, which I had left on the couch was not exactly how I had left it….

No so much dog eared....

No so much dog eared….

I then had to go fess up to the library – the upside of which, after exchange of some financial compensation, the book, albeit slightly chewed now belongs to me!

There is a recipe in Party Bites which is a modern take on the old retro favourite of a cube of cheese on a stick with a bit of something.  This is often to be had with pineapple in the fabulously kitschy Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog:

Pineapple and Cheese Hedgehog

Then there is the equally retro but less whimsical Aussie Staple of kabana and cheese….

Kabana and Cheese

Kabana And Cheese

No Australian barbeque of the 1970’s or 80’s would have been complete without a tray of this.  Often,  the kabana and cheese was topped with  chunk of pineapple, a gaudily coloured cocktail onion or, if you were really classy, a stuffed olive.

The idea is actually sound.  Who doesn’t love a meaty cheesy snack?  And if topped with something sweet or sour or salty…well, so much the better.  We here at Retro Food For Modern Times are not subscribers to the minimalist maxim that less is more.  We believe that more is more.  With a cherry on top!

The main problems with kabana and cheese is that kabana is kind of gross and although this combination might be tasty, it is drop dead boring. So, how do you give the ubiquitous kabana and cheese a modern twist whilst still retaining some of the kookiness of the cheese and pineapple hedgehog?  Hello Lydia France’s Spanish Men…or should that be Hola los hombres españoles!

Here’s Lydia’s Version:

Spanish Men - Lydia France

Spanish Men – Lydia France

And here are mine…my Spanish men look a little drunk and definitely more chunkier.  I think my Spanish men may have been hitting the Rioja a little too hard….

Spanish Men - olives, quince paste, serrano ham and manchego cheese

My Spanish Men

Spanish Men Recipe

For all their wonkiness, I loved them.  These were sooooo good!  Serrano ham, where have you been all my life?  If you weren’t so damn expensive I would be feasting on you non-stop.

The salty olive, the sweet quince paste, the meaty deliciousness of the serrano and the creaminess of the cheese combine to create a little piece of heaven on a stick!

Spanish Men I love you!

Mario Casas

And you’re not bad either Mario Casas…

I’m going to be spending my week checking out Spanish cinema.  Enjoy your week whatever you do!

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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 – Liptauer: Lunch, Lunacy and Death By Cheese

Let’s face it, cottage cheese exists for one reason and one reason only.  I call it “The Posts” as in post-Christmas, post-New Year, post holidays, birthdays, Easter, you get my drift.   Pretty much post anything that is fun (i.e. involves large volumes of eating and drinking).  Mondays feature strongly.

The symptoms of The Posts are a glance in the mirror that is quickly averted, followed by a groan of “I really need to go on a diet”. The effect of The Posts is a lightening of the wallet as you race down to the supermarket and fill your trolley with carrots, celery and the aforementioned cottage cheese.  Which will be thrown into the rubbish about three months past its use by date.  Sometimes, it may have even been opened. It’s not so much the lack of taste it’s that curdy texture which is just…ewwww….And yet, I keep buying it.

I have, in the past, resorted to other methods of getting rid of The Posts. One such event saw me popping down to the local health food shop to pick up some magic thinness bullets a.k.a diet pills.  Of course, they were hidden so I had to ask the weightlifter type who was stacking shelves where I might find them.

He was one of those muscle-bound creatures with prominent veins, a shaved head and a tattoo on his neck.  I have nothing against tattoos in general.  I have one myself.  Neck tattoos, however, are generally skanky.  No one looks good with a neck tattoo.  Except maybe George Clooney in from Dusk til Dawn.  His was kind of hot.

Clooney

Most other people look like trailer trash or like they just got out of prison.

 “WHAT DO YOU WANT DIET PILLS FOR?” the possible ex-convict snarled back at me. And he didn’t ask it in a “Because you’re so svelte you don’t need them” tone either.  He started off belligerent.  And it went downhill from there.

Why do you think I want diet pills, idiot?  Because I read on the internet that if I shoved them up my arse the alien rectal probes couldn’t get me? What kind stupid question is that?  It’s the equivalent of asking an adolescent boy why he’s buying condoms.  There is pretty much only one reason.  To be asked to explain that reason out loud, in a crowded shop, is just humiliating.  Actually, I take that back.  It’s worse than questioning a boy buying condoms.  At least in that instance he could snap back “To fuck your mother.”  I had nothing.

Prisoner 845 had one volume.  Annoyingly loud.   “DIET PILLS DON”T WORK”

You really don’t understand the nature of retail do you Sunshine? It’s probably why you got sent to prison in the first place.  So, here’s how it should work:

  • I ask for diet pills.
  • You give them to me.
  • I give you money. (That bit’s important.  It’s probably the part you forgot last time)
  • I leave happy.
  • Your shop stays in business
Liptauer Lunch

Liptauer Lunch

YOU DONT NEED DIET PILLS. YOU NEED TO EXERCISE”

Really?  I never realised that steroids made you stupid as well as shrinking your penis.  If I was that way inclined I wouldn’t be here asking for diet pills would I?  I’d be out…skipping… or whatever it is that people do when they exercise.

I didn’t say that.

He was big. And mean looking.  And one of the veins in his neck was starting to throb alarmingly.  I started to back away from him because he was quite clearly suffering from some sort of ‘roid rage.  I didn‘t even understand why he was there.   Health food shops should be run by aging hippies not steroid abusing, serial killers.

Eventually I was backed into a shelf of herbal tea. He then leant over me and said in the most threatening voice I have ever heard. “YOU EAT DAIRY DON’T YOU?”

Yes I do and whilst we’re on the subject of dietary habits you should probably lay off the red meat.  There’s a box of Sleepytime Tea digging into my left shoulder.  Maybe you should try a cup.

I didn’t say that either.

Liptaur Ingredients

He then leant down so he was about a centimetre away from my face.  He was all red and his eyes were bulging out; he looked like he might be about to have some sort of apoplexy.  He was also one of those people who spit when they talk and he was so close it was getting all over my face which was….I give up…there are no words to describe how utterly, utterly repulsive that was.

And then, as I was trying to surreptitiously wipe my face he bellowed (and spat) at me:

“CHEESE… IS… DEATH.”

Nothing in my life had prepared me on how to deal with a spitting neck-tattooed lunatic in my face and screaming about how dairy products would kill me.  I was also slightly more concerned about my impending death at the hands of the psychopath in front of me than any damage a camembert could inflict.  So, I did what I usually do when I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.  I started to giggle.  Then I ran.  As fast as my chubby little legs could carry me.  All the way down the street to the next health food shop where a lovely aging hippy had absolutely no qualms about selling me some piece of crap, expensive diet pills that didn’t work.

Liptaur Recipe 001

An easier way to get rid of The Posts and to thus avoid health food shop sociopaths would be to make Mary Meredith’s recipe for Liptauer (or as she calls it Liptaur).

This was good.  Really good.  Both as a dip and as a healthy lunch.

However, I don’t understand the point of mixing cottage cheese and butter.  Next time I make it I’ll use a low-fat cream cheese instead.  This will also remove the cottage cheese curdiness which was the only downside of the recipe.

Mary Meredith mentions that the Liptauer is also really good with baked potatoes.  I wasn’t about to bake a potato as we were having bangers and mash for dinner.   Hang on…potato is potato right?  Should I?  Dare I?  I’ve put cheese, chives and mustard into mash before – maybe not all at the same time but they all worked.  Anchovies are mostly salt.  What could go wrong?

Liptaur Close Up

Yeah, ok, you can all stop facepalming.

The gherkin.  The gherkin could go wrong.  I know that….

Now.

I put it down to temporary insanity caused by finding a delicious use for cottage cheese.

Here is a picture of the Liptauer mash.  Don’t try this at home.  It was revolting.

Liptauer Mash

Liptauer Mash

So, I ask you.  Is cheese death?

And if so, outside of the Liptauer Mash debacle of 2013, could there be a better way to go?

Have a great week!
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