Category Archives: Cocktail

Is Hoi An The Ryan Gosling Of Vietnam?

I’ve struggled to write about Hoi An and I only just realised why  – I like it just a little bit too much for my normal snarky tone to be used.  There’s nothing funny about Hoi An.  It’s lovely to look at, a great place to spend time…in fact the only downside is that because everyone else loves it too, it’s in danger of becoming overpublicised and losing everything that made it charming in the first place…Huh…it’s kind of like the Ryan Gosling of Vietnam.  (Shut up, I haven’t mentioned him for MONTHS…)

One awesome thing about Hoi An, is that the old town is car free.  You still need to beware of crazy bike riders but the old town really is  a haven after the hustle and bustle of a city like Saigon.  The other lovely thing about Hoi An is that it’s small enough to walk around and see everything on foot.  Alternatively most hotels have bikes either, push bikes or motor bikes, either included in the room rate or that you can hire to explore the local countryside (which I recommend – rice paddies, great beaches, it’s really pretty and flat so easy to ride even if, like me you’re not an avid bike rider).

Map of Hoi An

We stayed at the Vinh Hung resort, marked by the number 1 in the above map.  This was a great resort and has a boat that takes you into town.  Who needs a bike?

Vinh Hung Resort Boat

Vinh Hung Resort Boat

If you ask nicely they even let you drive…

Vinh Hung Resort Boat2

Vinh Hung Resort Boat2

The town itself is famed for its silk, and gorgeous coloured lanterns are a popular souvenir.

Silk Lantern Shop - Hoi An

Silk Lantern Shop – Hoi An

And if you think this looks pretty during the day, look at it at night!

Silk Lanterns Hoi An

Silk Lanterns Hoi An

Cafe at Night - Hoi An

Cafe at Night – Hoi An

By day the mustardy coloured buildings and the purple flowers are a striking combination…

Hoi An Cafe

Hoi An Cafe

Hoi An is a great town for tailors.  They are everywhere although there is a mass of them along Hoang Dieu, across the road from the cloth market.  Also on Hoang Dieu are shoe makers who will hand make shoes for you for fraction of what you would pay for something mass-produced.  And you wonder why I love this place!

My favourite tailor and shoe maker below:

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Hoi An is also a great place for food and a great way to learn more about Vietnamese food is to do a cooking course.  I’ve done two, one at the Park Hyatt in Saigon and also one at the Morning Glory Restaurant in Hoi An.  Both were excellent.  The format for both was similar, a trip to the market to familiarise yourself with the raw ingredients….

Noodles At Hoi An Market

Noodles At Hoi An Market

Chicken At Hoi An Market

Chicken At Hoi An Market

Crabs At Hoi An Market

Crabs At Hoi An Market

Tropical Fruit @ Hoi An Market

Tropical Fruit @ Hoi An Market

Then on to the school for some learning and, better yet, some eating.  At the Morning Glory class we made a number of standards of Vietnamese food including:

Rice Paper Rolls:

Rice Paper Rolls

Rice Paper Rolls

Bahn Xeo

Bahn Xeo

Bahn Xeo

My favourite – Green Mango Salad

Green Mango Salad

Green Mango Salad

Turmeric Chicken Skewers

Turmeric Chicken Skewers

Turmeric Chicken Skewers

And yes, all of this tasted as good as it looks. Maybe even better.

You can find the Yotam Ottolenghi version of Bahn Xeo here.

And Luke Nguyen’s Green Mango Salad with Tiger Prawns here

For the Turmeric Chicken, which was awesome, you’ll need to go to Hoi An.

After some hefty shopping and your cooking class, or just because it’s hot, hot hot, you might be in need of an afternoon libation.  And you can do a lot worse than the Q Bar for this..

Q Bar Hoi An

Q Bar Hoi An

One of the specialties of the Q bar is a Tamarind  and Ginger Martini which is awesome!!!

Here is my version:

Tamarind Martini 1

Tamarind Martini 1

I based my recipe on the Tamarind Ginger Fizz recipe from Food 52 which you can find here.

Spicy Tamarind Ginger Martini (makes 2)

Spicy Ginger Sugar Syrup

1 knob of ginger about as big as your thumb, sliced

2 small birdseye chillies

1 length of lemongrass about 10cm long, chopped

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

Combine in a saucepan. Boil until the sugar has dissolved then take off heat and allow to steep.  Transfer to a container and refrigerate.  Can be kept in the fridge for 3 weeks.

Orange Chilli Salt

Zest of 1 orange

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp dried chilli, ground to same size as the salt (I kept mine a bit chunky)

Mix ingredients together and place on a plate.

Tamarind Ginger Martini

1/4 cup Tamarind pulp

1/4 cup Vodka

1/4 cup lime juice

6 springs of mint, preferably Vietnamese mint, plus more for garnish

Soda / Seltzer water to top up

Strain ginger syrup and reserve the chillies.

Combine tamarind pulp, ginger syrup, vodka, lime mint and vodka in a shaker with some ice.

Shake.

Slide an orange or lime wedge around the rim of the glass and dip in the chilli salt.

Pour the vodka mix into the glasses about 3 /4 of the way, topping with the soda water.

Garnish

Orange & Lime Wedges

Chilli from Syrup mix

Piece of Crystallised Ginger

Mint Sprigs

Garnish the drink with the orange and wine wedges, the chillies, the sprigs of mint and a piece of crystallised ginger.

Enjoy!

Tamarind Martini 2

Tamarind Martini 2

There’s so much more to say about Hoi An…but you know what?  I’m not going to…just go there, you won’t be disappointed.

Actually, I’ve changed my mind, whatever you do, don’t go there.  It’s awful.  And while you’re at it, leave Gosling alone too.  There are some things in this world that should be just for me!

I’ll be spending my week absolutely, definitely, 100% not booking my next trip to Hoi An…have a fab one whatever you get up to.

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Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

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Vietnam Part 2 – “Is that cats? Or the band?”

Next stop on our trip was the old Imperial capital of Hue (pronounced Hway). There is an airport at Hüê but it was closed so we caught a bus from Da Nang airport, a journey of around three hours. The bus ride was an event.  Vietnamese roads aren’t great and, as mentioned, the driving is terrible.  It’s sometimes best not to look – seeing a fully laden tourist coach or truck heading straight towards you on the wrong side of the road is both scarily common and just plain scary!

The bus driver had no teeth.  Which I’m sure is an occupational hazard of driving up and down those potholey roads all your life.  After a while, I guess your teeth just jolt out.  I’m surprised he had bones! The only solace from the bumping and the impending doom was that I had a Buddhist monk sitting next to me.  Surely nothing bad would happen to us with a man of God on board.  After one particularly scary near miss he took out an Ipad and began typing away.  I took a peek over his shoulder to see if he was maybe sending a terse email to the guy upstairs but he was just on Facebook.

Minh Mang Tomb - Hue

Minh Mang Tomb – Hue

Hue is a great place to soak up some of the culture and history of Vietnam and the ideal way to do this is via a Monuments Tour.  First stop was the tomb of the Emporer Minh Mang.  This was pretty sensational, consisting of three main areas – the main gate, the temple and the tomb.  The Minh Mang tomb was very elegantly laid out, very orderly and symmetrical. When we were there, these ponds were filled with lotus flowers which was gorgeous.

Minh Mang Tomb - Hue

Minh Mang Tomb – Hue

Minh Mang was  quite the lad; fathering a total of 151 children from his 40 wives. Not so Khai Dihn, whose tomb we visited next.  On his death, one of his concubines  said that Khai was “not interested in sex” and “physically weak”.  This, along with his love of fashion design has  lead to speculation that he may well have been the gay prince of Vietnam.

Emperor Khai Dinh

If the Minh Mang tomb is a model of restraint and orderly design, then the interior designer of the Khai Dinh tomb, was to steal a phrase from the Luxe Guide’s description of the Cao Dai Temple “clearly Liberace or on drugs or possibly both”.  It’s awesome!!!!!  An absolute riot of gold and the most lovely intricate mosaics!

The Khai Dihn Tomb: Hue

The Khai Dinh Tomb: Hue

Mosaics - the Khai Dinh Tomb Hue

Mosaics – the Khai Dinh Tomb Hue

There was also a third tomb but you know, after you’ve seen the Khai Dinh, there’s only one way to go…and it’s not up.  Also, the open air café next to where the bus stopped was selling freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and who doesn’t want a bit of that?

Me actually, it wasn’t great.  Freshly squeezed sugar cane juice tastes, quelle surprise,  like sugary water.  Still, the prevalence of the fresh stuff could explain why the mojito’s in Hüê were the best I had.

Mojito's in the rain

Mojito’s in the rain

In the afternoon we went to the Thien Mu Pagoda which was beautiful – we reached this via a boat ride.  The Pagoda is situated on the banks of the river in some very pretty gardens.  The complex does have a dark heart though.  In one of the outbuildings is a car from the 1960’s one of those ones with the fins you always see in the movies.  “Cool” you think.  “Even the monks in the ‘60’s had wicked style.”

Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda

Car - Thien Mu Pagoda

Car – Thien Mu Pagoda

Then you read the plaque on the side and find out that this was the exact car that a monk, Thich Quang, drove to Saigon in 1963.  When he got there, he stopped the car, sat down in the middle of an intersection, poured petrol over himself and set himself alight in a protest against religious persecution.  Those monks from the ‘60’s were hardcore.  No arseing about on Facebook for them.

The actual act is on You Tube for anyone who wants to see it – I haven’t watched it (and won’t be watching it) because it’s a person burning themselves to death and hence the type of thing that is likely to  give me the screaming heebie-jeebies for months.  But the link is here.

If you’re so inclined, knock yourself out.  For those of a not so psychopathic more sensitive disposition, you can learn more about Thich Quang and this fascinating piece of history via a BBC podcast here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01blrbl

There was a detour on the way to the pagoda.  We were ushered off the boat into a garden and I guess, like me, a few of the others assumed we were at our destination.   We were greeted in the garden by an old lady who told us to follow her.  Which we did because she was going to lead us to the pagoda right?  Not so much.  We start walking through the garden.  Then she pauses and points at a tree.  “Mango” she says, pointing at it.  “Nice” we say, nodding.

We walk on.  She points out other trees.  “Apricot…lychee…banana” and we continue to nod.  “Yes…I see…interesting”.  We keep walking.  She keeps pointing out trees.  We keep nodding and agreeing.  This went on for a while – possibly too long – there  was  a moment towards the end where I think both sides were just phoning it in.  She gave us a bit of “Mango….mango….mango,”  and we gave back some “Yeah…right…whatever.”  It might been more interesting if there had been fruit on any of those trees.  As it was, she could have told us pretty much anything and we would have nodded and agreed like a bunch of dummies.

Anyway, shortly after the mango, mango, mango episode, we ended up at the front gate (exactly where we started) and she asked us all for money for touring her garden.  Huh?  Where’s the pagoda?  There were rumblings….the Germans and the Dutch were not happy about this development but she was not letting anyone go without them paying up.  One of the Dutch tried to sneak past her – I’ve never seen someone so old move so fast.  She was spry!!!  Must be all the fruit.  No one ever explained why we went there.   I suspect  she was the tour guide’s grandma.

Given that the actual tropical garden was kind of underwhelming, it was ironic that our favourite  restaurant in Hue was a place called the Tropical Garden.  This was really cute with tables set in the garden with little thatched rooves over the top.  Very Gilligan’s Island!  I so wish I’d worn my gold lame dress just like Ginger’s.  Until I remembered I only own one in my dreams…

Huh… I just realised my whole sense of fashion, hair and makeup is pretty much derived from Gilligan’s Island and Get Smart….who says tv doesn’t influence young minds?

Mary Ann

Mary Ann

The food at The Tropical Garden was super tasty but the best thing about it is the absolutely terrible band.  I guess Vietnamese folk music is an acquired taste because, our first time there, Mark had his back to them and shortly after they began to play frowned and asked.  “What’s that noise?  Is that cats?  Or the band?”  Mind you, they also set the local dogs to howling so I guess that, much like us canines can also not appreciate the nuances of the Vietnamese folk scene.

By no means should you let this put you off though, in fact I”m only telling you this to encourage you to go and hear it for yourself….we went three nights in a row….

The Tropical Garden Band

The Tropical Garden Band

Our other favourite place was a restaurant / art gallery called Confetti.  This had great food at great prices and nice art.  But you know what?  After the quirkiness of The Tropical Garden, it all seemed a little normal….

So, I have a new camera and have been cooking up some Hüê inspired delights.  Aubergine was a popular vegetable there so first up I have a very simple grilled aubergine / eggplant based on the recipe in Simple Good Food by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman called Grilled Aubergine with Nam Pla and Basil.

My version is called “Hey, Hüê, It’s Vietnamese Inspired Aubergine”

1 Eggplant / Aubergine, sliced into rounds about 1/2 centimetre thick

1 tsp tumeric

1 -2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp lemon or lime juice

1 tbsp Nam Pla (Fish Sauce)

1 tsp sugar

1 birdseye chilli, finely chopped

Chives, finely chopped

Basil leaves, finely chopped

Mix the tumeric and the olive oil and dip your eggplant slices into the mixture then place them under a hot grill.  Turn them once they start to brown – you may also have to redip them if they get too dry.

Whilst your eggplant is cooking, mix up your lemon juice and fish sauce.  Add the chopped chilli and chives. Once the eggplant is cooked,  place on a plate and dress with the fish sauce mixture. Scatter the basil leaves over the top.

This is a great side dish or, I quite like it just on crackers.  You can also mess with the mix as much as you like.  Add some ginger or garlic or your choice of flavourings!

tnamese Inspired Eggplant

Hey Hue, It’s Vietnamese Inspired Aubergine

And here is my “Minh Mang-o” Daiquiri.

Minh Mango Daiquiri

Minh Mango Daiquiri 1

I large mango, chopped

1/2 cup white rum

1/4 cup lemongrass, ginger and chilli simple syrup (I used the recipe here)

Juice of 1 large lemon

2 dashes Agnostura Bitters

8 Ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Makes 2

Minh Mango Daiquri 2

Minh Mango Daiquri 2

 

Enjoy!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – The Pimms Cup – Anyone for Tennis?

It is safe to say that if was a Spice Girl, I would almost definitely not be Sporty Spice.

I am a) too lazy, b) too uncoordinated and c) not enough of a team player for most sports.  Back in the day though, I was a fairly nifty tennis player.  My secret weapon was a killer backhand drive that no one ever saw coming – primarily because the rest of my game was fairly weak.  I would lull my opponents into a false sense of security then unleash the beast!

Pimms Cup

Pimms Cup

I still have a soft spot for tennis though and with Wimbledon starting last week, my thoughts turned to all things tennis related.  Turns out, my fondness for tennis goes beyond the merely athletic though. So, here are my top three tennis related things that don’t actually involve a racket or ball.

Fred Perry Sportswear, particularly the Amy Winehouse Collection:

AmyWinehouse for Fred Perry

 Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry

Fred Perry: Amy Winehouse Collection

Fred Perry: Amy Winehouse Collection

2.  The Poem, A Subalterns’s Love Song by Sir John Betjeman

Subaltern's Love Song

3. The Pimms Cup

Pimms is a herbal liqueur and the official drink of Wimbledon.  The Pimms Cup, as with Fred Perry Sportswear and John Betjeman poetry is as British as British can be. It was first made in an oyster bar owned by James Pimm in London in 1840 and has pretty much been made ever since.

The recipe is as easy as pie – Pimms, lemonade or gingerale or both, plenty of ice and garnished with cucumber, lemon and borage flowers if you can find them. I couldn’t so I used mint instead.

It is light, summery and a perfect drink for whiling away a summer afternoon whilst reading some Betjeman or watching a few sets!

Pimms Cup

Pimms Cup

Pimms Cup 4

Pimms Cup 4

Pimms Cup 5

Pimms Cup 5

I’m going to be spending my week staying up late to watch Wimbledon, enjoy your week, whatever you do! And let me know which Spice Girl you’d be!

 

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Oh, Calcutta, Odessa, Oh Look, It’s Cocktail Hour!

I fully intended this week to be devoted to Eat your Way To Love and Beauty, but somehow I ended up drinking my way to oblivion and incoherence!

But you know what?  I can now honestly say that I didn’t spend the weekend getting tanked on cocktails. I spent the weekend doing research and development.  For you dear readers, I did it for you!  I’m selfless like that.

O Calcutta Cocktail

Oh Calcutta Cocktail

I found a version of the first cocktail I made, the Oh Calcutta, in Eat Your Way To Love and Beauty.  This combines pineapple, grapefruit, lime and…. curry powder!  Yep, a curry flavoured cocktail!

The Swami’s version of the Oh Calcutta suggests you mix the ingredients with spa water.  I assumed that was a euphemism for vodka when making my version.

O Calcutta Cocktail

O Calcutta – mixing pineapple and curry

Now, I normally like my cocktails pink and sweet so this was a bit of a shock to my system!  Initially I wasn’t too keen on it.  Gradually though, the Oh Calcutta won me over.  It’s actually has quite a complex flavour profile (whoo hoo, look at me using the foodie words!).  There was a slight bitterness from the grapefruit, sweetness of the pineapple, heat from the curry, sour from the lime…the more I drank it the more I liked it!

O Calcutta Cocktail

Oh Calcutta Cocktail

I was still thinking about it  the next day and I decided that, interesting as it was, it needed something  more and that something was a little salty kick.  So, I made it again but this time I edged the glass (badly) with some ginger salt.  I made the ginger salt by bashing some ginger to death in the mortar and pestle and then adding some salt to the mix.  I twirled the glass in this.  It doesn’t look great but it tasted amazing!

Oh Calcutta Cocktail recipe

In my first version I toppped the entire drink with grapefruit juice instead of using a mixer, in the second version I mixed grapefruit juice and sparkling water.  The result was slightly less bitter which I preferred. I also used ruby grapefruit juice so there was a pink tinge to my cocktail!

I’m now thinking ginger beer would be good in this too….version three may well happen next weekend!

O Calcutta Cocktail 4

O Calcutta Cocktail 4

Just in case this has piqued your interest in a curry cocktail, I found a few more versions to tantalise your taste buds bouncing round on the interwebs…

Tandoori Tequila Cocktail

Coconut Blurry Curry Cocktail

But the weekend of cocktails was not over because it’s feijoa season and thanks to a tree that is fully laden over at my mother’s house we are swimming with them…

Feijoas

Feijoas

For those of you unfamiliar with a feijoa (aka the pineapple guava), it is a fruit much beloved by New Zealanders, and apparently Russians and Californians.  It is:

“green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin”

Boo, Wikipedia boo!  That does nothing to convey the joy of the feijoa – huh…come to think of it from now on, I’m going to be calling them fe-joy-as.  I  once read in an aromatherapy book that you need to be careful when burning Clary Sage oil because the smell of it can make you feel as if you are drunk!  I feel a little bit the same about the scent of a feijoa, it is a kind of fruity, floral, heady smell that…it’s what I imagine heaven smells like.  Not that I’m likely to find out.  There is no doubt in my mind which way I’m heading.

Feijoa Marketing Board…don’t even think about it stealing this, I’m slapping a ™ on “Fei-joy-as…what heaven smells like” ASAP. Happy to negotiate with you on the licensing of my intellectual property for your commercial gain though.  Call me.  I’m easily bought.

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail

Mind you, someone at the FMB is doing their job.  These babies are currently selling in the supermarket for $2 each!

When I told mum I was going to do some feijoa cooking for this she wanted to know if I was going to make jam.  It’s that kind of comment that makes me wonder if I’m actually adopted….Jam.  Pffft…why make jam when you can make cocktails?

I found a wonderful blog called Feijoa, Feijoa which is bursting with recipes for feijoas and has an whole section devoted to cocktail recipes.

I made the Odessa Cocktail purely because I had all the necessary but each one of the cocktails sound delicious.  And as for the recipes…this may well become one of my favourite sites!  There are also several jam recipes for my mother to make.

The recipe for the Odessa Cocktail can be found here:

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail 2

If you’re wondering why my simple syrup looks like Coke or coffee , it’s because I only had brown sugar in the house. I think it worked though, it added a treacly depth to the syrup.  (coincidentally, Treacly Depth would be the name of my indie band…)

The Odessa is a lovely cocktail, it’s sweet but with a little tang from the lime and exactly the kind of cocktail I normally love! Coming after the Oh Calcutta, it seemed a little simple but it was still delicious! My advice to anyone making it would be to strain it really well.  I put mine through a tea strainer and it was a little gritty.  I would use a finer strainer next time.

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail 3

I’m going to be spending my week sidling up to people outside the supermarket and asking “Psst…want a feijoa? ..One fifty each or three for three…and they smell like heaven”

Have a great week whatever you do!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Happy Healthy, Sparkly Birthday to Me!

We had a little birthday celebration at Retro food For Modern Times last week.  I also spent the week reading a bit more of Swami Sarasvati’s Eat Your Way to Love and Beauty.   Whilst none of the recipes here are from that book there is certainly more than a hint of nourishing my inner goddess about the recipes I made as part of the celebrations. And yes, I did just write the words “nourishing my inner goddess”.  Feel free to vomit.

I kicked off the celebrations with a hefty dose of booze.  No lame Swami Sarasvati mocktails here.   When this blog celebrates we turn straight to the Goddess of entertaining Martha Stewart for inspiration (and alcohol content).  And her cucumber and lime gimlet got the festivities off to a fine start.

Cucumber and Lime Gimlet

Cucumber and Lime Gimlet

Now, you may be wondering how I can justify the whole nourishing the inner goddess thing (Ok, I’ll stop saying that now) whilst guzzling gin?  Well, it turns out my inner Goddess is a bit of a booze hound.  Who knew?

Secondly, I figure the health affirming properties of the cucumber must go some way to counteracting the negative effects of the alcohol.  Yin and yang right?

The recipe is here:

Martha Stewart’s Cucumber and Lime Gimlet

There is a bit of pfaffing around with this recipe in that you need to make up a mint simple syrup and steep some cucumbers in gin beforehand but it is worth the effort.  It is delicious and an amazing colour!  And we had sparklers!

Next up…was my Green Gazpacho.  Now, I don’t think I have banged on about my love of this Spanish delight yet but believe me, summer without gazpacho is, in my opinion, not summer at all.  It is no longer summer here but luckily all the ingredients were still readily available.  I also really wanted to try this with some of the super tasty Black Russian tomatoes I love so much!

Green Gazpacho ingredients

Green Gazpacho ingredients

If you are planning on making a gazpacho, green or otherwise, please do not go all Atkins and leave out the bread – it really is integral to the texture of the dish.  Gazpacho without bread is glorified tomato juice.  And no one wants that.

The basic gazpacho recipe follows but you can play with the quantities of ingredients as much as you want.  It’s pretty forgiving.  And sometimes you need to play around with it.  Strangely enough, I wanted my green gazpacho to be green.  So, imagine my utter dismay when I blitzed the above  and the result was a horrible looking baby pooh brown.  It tasted good but looked atrocious!

Classic Gazpacho

I had some watercress in the fridge and I kept adding sprigs of it into the mix until it became greener.  The watercress also added to the flavour!

Green Gazpacho with an Avocado Garnish

Green Gazpacho with an Avocado Garnish

That, along with my dessert was going to be it.  Three dishes and done.  However, my greengrocer was selling tarragon this week which is a rarity in itself.  I love tarragon but it seems to be fairly scarce so I buy it whenever I see it, then figure out what to do with it.

And what better use for tarragon on a week when we are nourish…(I can’t bring myself to repeat it but you know what I mean) than making a Green Goddess Dressing.  This is an awesome dressing zingy with tarragon, lemon, chives, yoghurt…lots of my favourite flavours….

Green Goddess Dressing Ingredients

Green Goddess Dressing Ingredients

And it looks like this:

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing

It’s a gorgeous pale green and it looked super cute in the jug my friend Ali gave me for a birthday present last year.

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To go with the dressing  I made a salad of steamed asparagus, broccoli and beans with some raw zucchini, mixed sprouts, avocado and some toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seed kernels and I also made a rice and quinoa mix.

Healthy lunches here I come!

Veggies, Seeds and Sprouts with mixed rices and quinoa

Veggies, Seeds and Sprouts with mixed rice and quinoa

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This salad is amazing, you can almost feel the health bursting out of you as you eat it.  And again, just use whatever vegetables you have.  The Green Goddess recipe is here:

Green Goddess Dressing

Finally, I wanted a retro style dessert.  I recently bought Wobble by Rachael Lane which is filled with delicious sounding recipes for lovely jellies.  I love the old-fashioned look of these jellies so they seemed a perfect finale to the celebrations.

I made a version of Rachael’s Persian Delight (below) but with a straight jelly, not a blancmange for the rose layer and a third layer of pomegranate.  I would have liked to top mine with the candy floss as per the picture in Wobble but the only place I could find it was a high-end department store who wanted an arm and a leg for it.

Seriously, where is a fun fair when you need one?  Although I always find those places a little creepy.  I’ve read way too many books where bad things happen in places like that to be entirely comfortable.  And don’t even get me started on clowns…. Thanks Stephen King et al, for another innocent pleasure ruined…

The rose layer got a little lost but all in all this was a very pretty dessert and it tasted amazing!

Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly

Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly

In lieu of candy floss we had more sparklers…

Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly 2

Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly 2

The recipe for the Persian Delight is found here.

Persian Delight Jelly from Wobble

Finally, I thought we might have a little look at what we might  expect over the next 12 months. This is what PBS has to say on the subject of one year olds:

“One-year-olds are just discovering their creative abilities”

And

“They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated.”

And

(They) have no understanding of true “writing,” but many enjoy experimenting with marks and scribbles on a surface.

Hmm…sounds suspiciously like the next 12 months may be quite similar to the first 12!

Thanks to everyone who reads this for a fabulous year!  It has been heaps of fun at this end and incredibly satisfying to watch this grow from an idea into actuality.

I’ll be spending the week marking and scribbling on surfaces and some of it might even end up in here.

Thanks again, I hope you continue to enjoy this for the next 12 months and beyond!

Have a great week!

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