Category Archives: Potato

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

The Australian Vegetable Cookbook (1972) – The Redemption

After harping on about the awful recipes contained in this book last time, it was only fair to showcase some of the better recipes.  Three of them will be included here (I actually made 4 however this week is all about being positive so we won’t mention the Asparagus Italienne.  Ever.)

I chose the Stuffed Celery Curls as my first course.  This was jam-packed with flavours I love – celery, walnuts, chives, cream cheese and Tabasco so there was everything to like.  I chose not to add the red food colouring.  I’m hyperactive enough without it and I could see no earthly reason why it should be there.  I think the “au naturel” version looks much prettier anyway!

Ingredients

Sadly, my celery did not curl as per the picture in the book.   I read the recipe as saying you needed 15 pieces of celery 5 cm long.  Which is what I did.  In retrospect, I think it may mean an unnamed number of pieces of celery 15 cm long by 5 cm wide.  Although that doesn’t seem quite right either – 5cm seems too wide.  If you really want your celery to curl, here is a link:

http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/articles/authored/how-to-make-fun-garnishes-from-vegetables

It didn’t really matter though because whilst mine did not look as fun, they tasted amazing!  We had these as our starter however they could just as easily be a lunch box snack or as finger food.  Blue cheese would be an amazing variation.

Original

Mine – with obligatory knife but no curls 

Next up, for our main dish I made a Farmhouse Potato Bake.  This dish contains potatoes, Hungarian sausage (I used salami), sour cream and paprika so I guess is Eastern European in tone.  It was damn good wherever it came from.  If you weren’t fond of salami you could make this with ham, bacon, or left over roast beef or chicken or for a spot of luxury some smoked salmon.  As you will see from the picture, I subbed in basil for the oregano.  I think it is one of those recipes that you could pretty much use whatever proteins and herbs as you wanted. You could layer in other vegetables as well.  Asparagus, green beans, spinach would all be great!

Ingredients

Salami and Onion Sauteing, Potatoes Par-Boiling in the background

Layering

Crumb Mixture

I made a Panama Radish Salad from the book to go with this.  Well, I sort of did.  There is no intended slur to the recipe for my changes,  I think you could follow it absolutely and the result would be delicious.  I just happened to have no red onions and a bucketload of chives and rocket that I needed to use.  So I swapped these in.  I also used my favourite Black Russian tomatoes so my salad is probably “greener” than it should be….it still looks pretty good though.

Ingredients

Panama Radish Salad

These worked really well together, the pepperiness of the rocket and the radish in the salad, the freshness of the mint and the lemon in the dressing cut through some of the creamy, potato, salami induced richness of the Farmhouse bake.  Two big ticks here, will definitely be making both of these again.

The Meal – Delicious!

Bon Appétit.