Category Archives: Icecream

Retro Food For Modern Times: Free On E #1. I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For…Muffins?

Just so we’re clear?  Free on E is not my memoir of rave and single life in the ’90’s but a new thing  I  thought would be fun – I could cast my eye over some of the cookbooks available for free as ebooks and…you know…do what I do.  Read. Cook.  Mock.  Eat.

And occasionally give a little “Eek” of delight when I find a hidden gem.

And because they’re readily available and free you can read, cook, mock and “Eek” right along with me!

Ice Cream Muffins

Ice Cream Muffins

Anyone actually wanting my memoir of rave life in the ’90’s?  Sorry, that’s a completely different e-book that will be available for purchase in the not too distant.  Just kidding.  Unless anyone would actually pay money for it.  In which case….hit the contact me button immediately.  I’ll start writing….

Anyway, my first venture into “free on e” was “Rapid Recipes for Writers And Other Busy People” By Marsha Ward.

Oh boy.

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha….

To put it nicely, the 31 recipes in here are mostly pretty ordinary.  I was seriously struggling to find one that I wanted to cook.  There’s a lot of ground beef, a lot of canned soup and frozen vegetables.  This is a typical example:

Boss Beef Dish

Make patties of:

2 lbs ground beef

4-5 grated potatoes

1 grated onion

1 tbsp garlic salt

2 eggs.

Brown both sides of patties in skillet.

Add mixture of:

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 cans water

1 lb frozen peas.

Simmer until warmed through.

Blecchhhh….

Then there’s

Garlic Baked Potatoes:

Cut a small triangle out of each potato; add 1/2 tsp garlic powder and replace triangle.  Put a pat of butter on or margarine on potato, wrap in foil then bake in over or on coals in barbecue or campfire.  Salt and pepper maybe added to margarine for extra flavour.

Hmmm…Enjoy that mouthful of burnt garlic powder. Why not just add the garlic powder to the margarine?  Whilst we’re on the subject of garlic powder?  It’s the devil’s work.  Second only to margarine.  Don’t even get me started on that particular rant…

I was just about to agree with the reviewer who said this book wasn’t worth free when I came across the recipe for:

Ice Cream Muffins

1 ½ cup self-raising flour

2 cups soft vanilla ice cream

Mix until dry particles are moist.  Grease muffin tins; bake 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees F.

“No way”  I thought.  “There’s no way that’s going to work.  That’s about the dumbest thing I ever heard”.

So, I made them.

Yeah,  I don’t get how my mind works either.

And…believe it or not, they worked!

Ice Cream Muffins

Ice Cream Muffins

Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t the best muffins I’ve ever eaten but they were recognizably muffins and they were made out of ice cream and flour!  That’s kind of awesome.  And the possibilities are only as limited as the flavours of ice cream available to you.  I didn’t have  vanilla and I wasn’t about to buy some for a recipe that I was sure wasn’t going to work so mine were actually rum and raisin muffins.

Ice Cream Muffins 2

Ice Cream Muffins

This exercise also reminded me that if you ever need a dose of kooky in your life, spend an hour or so reading Amazon reviews.  They’re hilarious!!!  This gem was in the review section for Rapid Recipes for Writers.

Review

Let’s break this baby down shall we?

I’m not a good judge here.  Didn’t stop you from writing a review though, did it!

This is an actual cookbook!   Yeah.  Uh huh.  What did you think it was?  A rubber chicken?

AND a lot of the recipes had MEAT.  Maybe they don’t tell you in NaNoWriMo circles that it’s bad form to start a sentence with “and”*?  Or that it’s kind of annoying when you capitalise RANDOM words.

I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t cook.  So why buy a cookbook then?  Oh, that’s right.  You didn’t realise it was a cookbook (sigh…facepalm).

When you’re reviewing a book, it might also be useful to tell people more about the book than yourself**.   I believe all we learned about “Rapid Recipes for Writers ” was that it was an actual cookbook!  That contained MEAT.

What do I know though?  Five out of seven people found that review helpful.  Which only serves to confirm my belief that five out of seven people are idiots.  Which I guess dear, smart, funny, cute, discerning reader leaves you and me!

We’ll head back to Vietnam next week….

Bye for now.

Signature 1*For the pedants, I’m perfectly aware I started at least 3 sentences with “and” in this post. Please refer to sentence 3 in **below.

** For the most part people reading Amazon reviews are not remotely interested in what you eat or anything else about you.  If you are that self-obsessed, maybe you should try blogging. The added benefit of which is, that when it’s your blog, you can start sentences with whatever the hell you want.

Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Retro Food For Modern Times – Singers and Swingers – Roberta Ashley (1967): Ladies Night

Last week I mentioned how much I loved the tv show Get Smart.  Thinking back, the main attraction probably wasn’t the humour, the wacky contraptions, the escapades or the resolution where good always triumphed over evil.  The main reason I loved this show was Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon

She was my first inspirational role model.  She was smart, sassy, and gorgeous; she wore great clothes and had fabulous hair.  More importantly, not only was she  a woman forging a career  in a male dominated arena, but she would often get the better of the boys (and look glamorous as she did so).  Plus, she was a secret agent!  What a woman!  I so wanted to be her!

Who am I kidding – I still want to be her!

But, having been very disappointed in the recipe offerings from Don Adams, the worst of which is mentioned in the last post, I was a little wary about looking at the recipe from Barbara Feldon. 

Barbara Feldon's California Triumph Salad 001

No fear needed, this is a super salad recipe.  I have never understood why cauliflower isn’t used raw more often.  I think it has a lovely, nutty flavour.  I also love radishes and cucumber and the other ingredients in this salad.  I happened to have some celery and some cherry tomatoes in the fridge so I threw them into my mix but this would be delightful as is!  I also did not let the ingredients sit in the dressing for half an hour as suggested but dressed the salad and ate it immediately.  The addition of the egg is a nice touch and makes this more of a “meal” than a “side”.

California Triumph Salad Ingredients

California Triumph Salad Ingredients

If you are looking for a salad dressing to have with this, Sybil Burton Christopher’s Salad Dressing  from Singers and Swingers perfectly fits the bill.

She was also quite the female role model. Ms Ashley has this to say:

“When Richard Burton took up with Elizabeth Taylor, everyone felt sorry for Sybil.  But not for long.  She packed up and moved from England to Manhattan, where she was instantly one of the most popular girls in town.  She opened Arthur, a fabulously successful discotheque, and married the lead singer of group she booked into the club”

 Talk about living well being the best revenge!

I made a minor change to this recipe, as I am not a fan of raw garlic in a salad, so I smashed up a clove of garlic and let it sit in the other ingredients for about an hour so the flavour would infuse the mixture but I fished it out before I dressed the salad.

Sybil Burton Christopher's Salad Dressing 001

Sybil's Salad Dressing

Sybil’s Salad Dressing

Salad + Dessing  = Delicious!

Salad + Dessing = Delicious!

Finally, after feeling very virtuous about eating the salad, you can splurge on dessert by making Barbra Streisand’s Instant Coffee Ice Cream.  A word of warning though, the mix tastes overly sweet before freezing.  This is lessened, once it is frozen but you might want to reduce the marshmallow content from the original recipe depending on your sensitivity to sweetness. 

Barbra Streisand's Coffee Ice Cream 001

The pretzels work really well, adding some crunch, some toastiness and some saltiness which further reduces the impact of the sugar.  Given the current predilection for salted everything, Babs may have been displaying some  culinary prescience in this combination!
Not only is she a singer, actor, film producer and director, she’s got some cooking nous as well!!! If I didn’t admire her so much, she’d be kind of irritating!

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand's Instant Coffee Ice Cream

Barbra Streisand’s Instant Coffee Ice Cream

So let’s hear it for this trio of  fabulous women of 1967, not only for their fabulous food offerings but for acting as role models to generations of young women who have been inspired to forge their own careers as hard-working, independent, successful and glamorous women!

I’ll leave you today with a little gem I found on the youttubes of Barbara Feldon singing a song called “99”.  I have been listening to it obsessively all week.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an original video – everything I found was stills or clips from the show.  This does have a good selection of great hair and clothes and also some goofy dancing from my favourite ever Get Smart Episode, the Groovy Guru.

Enjoy!

Signature x

Retro Food For Modern Times: The Knickerbocker Glory Years – Martin Lampen

“The Knickerbocker Glory Years” is Martin Lampen’s hilarious homage to all that is awful in British food.  From A – All You Can Eat £5.99 to Z – Zest, the book lays out the dark side of British cooking.

I really liked this book.  Lampen’s humour is of the very dry British style.  If you do not like my excerpts you will probably not like the rest of the book.  If you do like them, try to hunt down this book as you will thoroughly enjoy the rest of it.  Also, the same book is called “Sausage in A Basket” in some parts of the world.

Many of the entries are short.  For instance, the entry for Wood Fired Pizza  is:

“Big Fucking Deal”

The longest entry is 13 pages and documents Lampen’s first dinner party in all it’s excruciating awkwardness. This is the type of book you can dip in and dip out of as you require, it doesn’t have to be read from cover to cover.

Given that I touched on the 1970’s fondness for Ham Steak and Pineapple in the last post, Lampen’s take on Gammon is:

“The pig is slaughtered, its hind legs are removed, cured, glazed in honey and sliced into steaks.  If this isn’t indignity enough, the steaks are then topped with a single wet pineapple ring from a dented tin and a waxy maraschino cherry.

Yes, gammon steak when topped with egg or pineapple is a peculiarly British dish: a bloated pink slab of fatty meat, topped with a garish fruit hat. Rather like a ‘Nikita’-era Elton John”

On the subject of pineapple, the entry for Tropical is:

“In Britain, any food or drink – be it a concentrated juice, cordial or sugary carbonated fizz – containing lemon, lime, pineapple or mango is tagged as ‘tropical’.

It’s important to note that other items included in the taxonomy ‘tropical’ are tuberculosis, typhoid, tularemia, (and) tropical storm Arlene”

Or, this for Guacamole:

“A filthy Soylent Green-style dip, guacamole is usually served with stale Doritos,  a mountain of melted Cheddar cheese and mayonnaise on  chain-pub’s nacho platter . It’s made from dead people.”

As for the eponymous Knickerbocker Glory Lampen has this to say:

“The knickerbocker glory, a layered dessert served in a tall glass and made with ice cream, tinned peaches, chocolate or fruit sauce and strawberry puree was the first post war dessert to be made in Britain that did not contain suet.

For a young male aged between eight and fourteen in the 1980’s, the knickerbocker glory was the greatest sensual experience one could imagine.  Greater even than being interfered with by Bananarama”

For those of you who have no idea what Bananarama is, firstly it was a they and they were an immensely popular girl band of the 1980’s.

In homage to this book I made my own Knickerbocker Glory and it was about the funnest thing I have eaten all year!!!  And I know full well funnest isn’t a word, but it was so much fun I lost all thoughts about grammar.

My version of Knickerbocker Glory differs from Lampen’s in that I always thought Knickerbocker Glory should contain jelly.  My version contained the following layers:

  • Strawberry jelly (Jello)
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate cookie crumbs
  • Sliced Banana
  • Strawberry Jelly
  • Strawberry Ice-cream
  • Frangelico Fudge Sauce (Recipe follows or you could just use your preferred chocolate sauce)
  • Chopped nuts
  • Rosewater & Almond Tuile (Recipe follows or you could use a bought wafer)
  • Strawberry Garnish

For something that is largely put together from bits and pieces, this looks spectacular! And tastes even better!!!

Enjoy!

Recipes:

Frangelico Fudge Sauce

This makes 6 cups, you can obviously adjust quantities down if you do not want this much. This is so easy to make and absolutely delicious!

1 litre cream

250g dark chocolate

200g marshmallows

Frangelico to taste

  1. Heat the cream, chocolate and marshmallows slowly until melted and well combined.
  2. Stir in Frangelico to taste.

Almond and Rosewater Tuiles

These are a little troublesome to make but are worth it in the end!

50g caster sugar

30g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing

1 egg-white

1/4 tsp rosewater

Finely grated rind of 1/2 an orange

35g plain flower

30g flaked almonds

pinch of salt

  1. Make a template by drawing a triangle, circle or any shape you want on a plastic lid or a sheet of firm plastic, then cut the shape out.  The shape should be no larger than 5cm in diameter.  Set the template aside.
  2. Beat sugar and butter with an electric beater until pale and creamy. Add eggwhite and beat on lowest speed until incorporated.
  3. Add rosewater, orange rind, flour and a pinch of salt.  Mix lightly until combined, then refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.  (The batter will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  4. Preheat oven to 180°.  Place template on a baking paper lined tray, add a teaspoon of the batter into the template and spread the mixture with an offset palette knife so that it fills the template in a thin even layer.
  5. Repeat until the baking tray is full.  Scatter almond flakes over each until tuiles are golden brown on the edges (8-10) minutes. While still warm you can shape around a rolling-pin if desired or cool on tray and carefully remove.
  6. Repeat with remaining batter.
  7. Tuiles will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.