Category Archives: Cucumber

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.

May 060

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

May 065

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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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.