Category Archives: Salad

Retro Food For Modern Times – Never Mind Eating For Beauty, This Week is All About the Love!

So last time we left off, I had been eating for love and beauty for 4 days and loving it.

However, through the week, I began to see a certain theme running through my dishes…

Day 5

I made two recipes from Eating for Love and Beauty.

The first was a delicious Egg Curry. 

Egg Curry

Egg Curry

This was very tasty, spicy and quick to make.  I will definitely make this again.  Also, I didn’t have fenugreek because…well who has?  However, I noticed my Garam Masala contained fenugreek, cumin and coriander so I used that in lieu of all individual spices.

Egg Curry

Egg Curry

I think we all know eggs are a symbol of fertility…I had my egg curry with a Rice Exotica – Saffron & Lime Casserole.
Rice Exotica huh?  I think the Swami might be getting a bit saucy!

Rice Exotica

Rice Exotica

Sadly, the Rice Exotica, was the least sexy dish of the week.  Probably because in my first mouthful of it, I bit directly into a clove which spoiled entire dish for me  Yes, it was my fault and I should have been more careful when I was counting them as I fished them out but still, not good.  I was also not happy with the texture and I only par boiled my rice initially!  I like my rice light and fluffy and this was a bit too mushy and stuck together for me.  I dread to think what it might have been like had I cooked it all the way through the first time as per the recipe.

If I was going to make the rice again, which is unlikely, I would probably not cook it at all before bunging it in the oven with the nuts and spices.  Hmmm…maybe I will try it that way.  Sans the cloves!

Next up was an Eggplant Dish….and lo and behold, the internet tells me that eggplants are a symbol of abundance or fertility, passion and devotion.  See what I mean about a theme beginning to develop?

Day 6 – Eggplant Gourmet

This was AWESOME!…

Earthy eggplant, sweet, sour..all sorts of deliciousness rolled into the one dish.  The flavours reminded me very much of a Sri Lankan Eggplant dish that sometimes contains cashew nuts…and maybe dates?

(Dear mother given you have started to chime in on here, maybe you could offer some insight into the constituents of an eggplant moju???)

Either way, I had some cashews left over from the Rice Exotica  so I dropped them in for extra flavour and crunch. I’m definitely making this again….

I also ate it more as a side dish than as a main.  It’s also pretty good cold on crackers or some tzatziki on pita bread.

Eggplant Gourmet

Eggplant Gourmet

Eggplant Gourmet Recipe

Day 6 – Lovers Dandelion Salad

If you’ve read my earlier post…(here)…you know I have a bit of a penchant for a bit of foraging.  So the Swami’s Lover’s Dandelion Salad was as good a reason as any to go comb the local environment for some dandelion leaves which, luckily, were plentiful.

I loved this salad.  There is something about bitter greens that makes me feel incredibly virtuous and just oozy with health! Again, I had no fenugreek sprouts so I just used a sprout combo.  I was becoming curious about why the Swami used fenugreek in so many dishes so I did a bit o’ research and hello…fenugreek is sometimes used to cure erectile dysfunction.

When the Swami wants you to eat for love, she doesn’t muck about!

She also says this salad is good for those suffering from mental or sexual debility.  I ate mine for lunch a the office and it kind of worked.  It certainly gave me a mental boost for the afternoon!

Lover's Dandelion Salad

Lovers Dandelion Salad

Lovers Dandelion Salad 0

Day 7 – 21 Essences of Kama Sutra

I followed the Lovers Dandelion Salad with the 21 Essences of Kama Sutra Salad although I guess I only had 19 Essences as I subbed a yellow pepper for the red and green peppers and could not find soy sprouts for love or money.  Then again, I used my handy sprout combo per the last recipe so maybe I had more than 21 Essences of Kama Sutra!   The Swami offers no comment on what the 21 Essences of Kama Sutra is good for.  I think she’s letting the name speak for itself.

21 Essences of Karma Sutra

21 Essences of Kama Sutra

This was also a very nice salad, although if I made this again, I wouldn’t bother with the Lotus Nuts. In the first pack I bought there were two dead moths.  That made me gag and I had to throw them out.  The second lot of lotus nuts was, thankfully, mothless but also largely tasteless.

I read on the internet Lotus Nuts are good for irritability.  Well guess what?  After the moths, and having to make two trips to the Asian food store to buy them, then finding they taste of sweet F.A. I guess they are.  I was certainly a lot more irritable after all that palaver than I was before I started!

And quelle surprise, also apparently good for impotence!

1 21 Essences Of  Kama Sutra

Day 8

It’s Plum Wonderful

I ended my week with the Swami’s recipe for an uncooked  Plum Pudding which is basically dried fruit held together with jello.    It’s really tasty, and has all the flavours of a plum pudding but is fruitier and not so heavy.  It would be a perfect alternative to a heavy pudding, particularly here when it is warm at Christmas.

Plum Wonderful 2

Plum Wonderful 2

Plum Wonderful 3

Plum Wonderful 3

Plum Wonderful Recipe

I recently read that a good maxim to use when trying to moderate your alcohol intake is to abstain one day a week, one week a month, one month a year.

It doesn’t work for me alcoholwise as I am aiming for far more than one AFD a week but it’s certainly a philosophy I can embrace when it comes to adopting the principles behind Eating For Love and Beauty.

That book, which also had a whole host of other good advice was:

Dangerous Women

Apart from the moths and the failure of the Rice Exotica, Eating For Love and Beauty has been fun and I feel really healthy.  It is winter here now and whilst people around me have been dropping like flies with all sorts of horrible lurgies, I  have never felt haler or heartier!

I really want to go to the Swami’s retreat now….

I’m going spend my week trying to find a yoga class I can do at lunchtime so I can exercise for health and beauty as well as eat for it. Enjoy your week whatever you do!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – 7 Days Of Eating For Love And Beauty… Part 1

I figured after the alcoholic debauchery of the last post, it was time for some restraint and a bit of  detoxification.  So, I spent the last week eating for Love and Beauty.  Not exclusively mind you but at least one dish per day…and, it was pretty good.  Actually, it was better than that – I felt great!  I was full of energy, more alert, I was focussed, I steamed through tasks at work, I lost about a kilo in weight, my skin looked great, a cute boy held a door open and winked at me…seriously this shit worked!  Imagine if I lived like this…I’d be invincible!

So, this is how the week went down.

Day 1 – Balinese Rice

I know this dish better as a Gado Gado and it is delicious.  Mind you, peanut sauce is a bit like bacon…or cheese for me….you could drizzle it over a stick and I would not only eat it but ask for seconds…

I chose to keep my vegies and rice separate because I liked the way it looked on the plate, but you could choose to mix them as suggested by the Swami.

The colours in this are so pretty and fresh as well!

Balinese Rice with Peanut Sauce

Balinese Rice with Peanut Sauce

Balinese Rice Recipe

Day 2 – Vitality Bread
I baked bread!

No wait…

I.  BAKED.   BREAD.

You have no idea how happy this made me.  It looked like bread, it tasted like bread, the entire house was filled with the delicious aroma of freshly baked..happy days!

Vitality bread

Vitality Bread

You also have no idea how my heart sank when Mark said  “Wow, this bread is great, you can bake a loaf every week.”  That won’t be happening anytime in the foreseeable, but I will bake more bread…I really want to do a walnut loaf.  But not every week. Life’s too short and yeast is a temperamental little fucker.

Vitality Bread 2

Vitality Bread 2

In the interests of full disclosure, there were two failed attempts before the loaf of success.

Here is how not to go wrong baking bread.

When they say mix the yeast with warm water…don’t use boiling.  Yeast doesn’t like heat.

When they say leave for one and a half hours, don’t think “Well overnight will be even better” and go off to bed.  Particularly, in winter.  Yeast also doesn’t like cold.

See what I mean? Yeast.  It’s the Goldilocks of food.

Vitality Bread & Butter

Vitality Bread & Butter

Vitality Bread Recipe

Day 3 – Chive Relish Sauce

Chive Relish Sauce

Chive Relish Sauce

I’m not sure what the original recipe for this would be like…minus any pictures from Eating for Love and Beauty, I didn’t really have a guide.  Mine turned out like an Egg Salad.  It tasted great with the Vitality Bread so I’m not complaining  but I suspect it might have been meant to be a bit more mayonnaise-ish.

Chives Relish Sauce

Excuse the plastic wrap, I took this to work for lunch and took the picture at my desk whilst eating on the fly!

Chive Relish Sauce with Vitality Bread

Chive Relish Sauce with Vitality Bread

Day 4 – Lover’s Blush

It’s Rhubarb, fool!

Maiden's Blush - A Rhubarb Fool

Maiden’s Blush – A Rhubarb Fool

So much for my (bad) Mr T.  impersonation…this is super delicious!

Mind you, in my mind, rhubarb belongs in the Pantheon of Foods That Can Do No Wrong (Bacon, Cheese, Peanut Sauce…) so there was more than likely not going to be a downside with this recipe.  I did substitute some Amaretti’s for the wheaten biscuits though and added some orange zest for extra zing!

This was just lovely  – tangy, sweet, creamy…and (relatively) healthy.  And just look at that gorgeous colour!

Lover's Blush

I’m going to be spending the week doing more eating for Love and Beauty, I have some salads, an eggplant dish and another (jello) dessert! on the menu.  In my spare time I’ll be planning how to use my newly bestowed Eating for Love and Beauty super powers to take over the world, for good, not evil.  Enjoy your 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.

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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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

Strawberry Fields Forever Part 2 aka Strawberries Gangland Style

I have some weird little strips of paper in my “recipes to be made” folder.  They are not so much recipes as hints, maybe even whispers of things to make.  I have no idea where they came from – they are numbered and printed so I presume from a list of some sort.   Anyway, each of these is an absolute gem, if a little vague.

Take for instance, strip #58.

“Hull and quarter some strawberries; at the last minute, combine with a little chopped tarragon, black pepper and balsamic vinegar.  Goat’s cheese is good too”

That’s all folks.

I had strawberries galore (huh, sounds a bit like the name of a Bond girl), I had tarragon, black pepper and balsamic…

Ingredients for Strawberry Tarragon Salad

Ingredients for Strawberry Tarragon Salad

I know it’s only just over a week into the year but I strongly believe this salad will be one of my top ten finds of the year.

This was soooooo good.  The sweet strawberries, the aniseedy tarragon, the sticky sweet sour balsamic and the warming zing of pepper are…mindblowingly awesome!

I neither hulled nor quartered my strawberries…who can be bothered following so many steps in a recipe…

Strawberry, Tarragon, Black Pepper, Balsamic Salad

Strawberry, Tarragon, Black Pepper, Balsamic Salad

The recipe suggests that goat’s cheese would not go astray here.  I didn’t have any (why would I? I didn’t have sugar.  Why on earth would I have goat’s cheese?) but I mixed up some sour cream and mascarpone and dobbed that on and it was delicious.  Goat’s cheese would be amazing.  I also would like to try blue cheese.

Strawberry Tarragon Salad with Mascapone

The vinegar that the strawberries soaked in went all thick and syrupy and took on a pinkish tinge from the strawberry juice.  I siphoned this back into a small bottle for later use as it seemed too good to throw out.

Strawberry Balsamic

Strawberry Balsamic

And speaking of awesome, my White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Semifreddo for Mark’s birthday?  Amazing!!! Another good contender for top ten for the year.  I hope I haven’t peaked early!

I used this recipe from a Delicious Magazine:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/6801/strawberry+cheesecake+semifreddo

with the addition of White Chocolate into both the base and the filling.

Why white chocolate?

I was leafing through one of my favourite food books, Niki Sengit’s Flavour Thesaurus to see if she had anything to say about strawberries and tarragon (she doesn’t, although there is a section on strawberries and anise).  This book is a must have for any serious foodie and even the not so serious ones as some of the entires are hilarious!

Flavour Thesaurus

Flavour Thesaurus

Niki has the following to say about strawberries and white chocolate:

“In fancy chocolate shops, I sometimes see slabs of white chocolate spattered with clots of freeze dried strawberry, like stucco after a shoot out.  White chocolate makes for a better combination with strawberry than milk or dark because, like strawberry and gangland comparisons, it’s a little cheesy”

I couldn’t resist.  So I bought a family block of white chocolate and melted half into the biscuit base and half into the filling.  It was sensational.  And just right for a birthday celebration on a hot night.  We had dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant then came home for some bubbly and the semifreddo.  It was a delightful way to end a lovely day!

And in honour of Niki, and with a slight nod to the K-pops, but mostly because  White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Semifreddo is too much of a mouthful, from now on, in this house at least, it will be known as Semifreddo Gangland Style.

White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Semifreddo aka Semifreddo Gangland Style
Happy birthday darling!
Signature x

Retro Food for Modern Times – (Not) The Hot Weather Cookbook – Middle East Inspired Feast

Last week  I mocked some of the food styling in The Hot Weather Cookbook, so in the interest of fair and unbiased reporting  I thought it was only fair to show what I think is easily the best photo in the book.  Not only that, I was so inspired by the photo I had plans to cook the exact meal as shown for a barbecue dinner we were having.

Lamb Sosaties, Carrot Salad, Cucumber Salad

Lamb Sosaties, Carrot Salad, Cucumber Salad

Why do I love this so much?  First, I think it has a clean modern look to it.  This would not look out-of-place in a current issue of Bon Appetit or Delicious magazine.  Second, I love gingham.  One of the reasons is that it evokes memories of summer, picnics by a river in the shade of a tree, the gingham table-cloth spread on the ground absolutely loaded with super tasty picnic food, the sound of birds and crickets chirping lazily in the background, the sun dappling through the leaves…In my mind picnics look like this. Thanks to the lovely  Amber Clery from the Vintage Home blog for her permission to use these gorgeous photos.

Vintage Home Picnic 1

Vintage Home Picnic 2

Vintage Home Picnic 3

In reality, I remember having a picnic with my parents by a river.  I went for a swim and got a leech on my leg.  The sounds of that picnic weren’t so much the gentle noises of nature or the hushed sounds of silence but hysterical screaming and uncontrollable sobbing.  I vastly prefer Amber’s version. If you would like to see more of Amber’s lovely work (and I honestly think you should), you can link to it from here:

http://thevintagehome.net/author/ambervintagehome/

Apart from the gingham, the other things I liked in the photo from “The Hot Weather Cookbook”  were those amazing looking kebabs and the saffron rice with juicy raisins that they are lying on top of.  The legend for the picture told me that were Barbecued Lamb Sosaties accompanied by Carrot Salad and Cucumber Salad.  No mention of the rice.  I had never heard of a Sosatie before so I flipped to the glossary which told me that Sosaties were a:

“Cape Malay (South African) dish of curried meat, cooked in small pieces on a skewer”

So now, not only do these kebabs look delicious, they sound delicious. I was salivating in anticipation of finding out how to cook these delights because I thought they would reconfirm my position as queen of the barbecue.  One of the first things I ever cooked for my family was a “Spicy Feta Burger”.  I must have been eight.  I didn’t even know what feta was but begged my mum to buy some so I could make these burgers.  Some decades later we still make them.  People invited to family barbecues demand them.  In my family and circle of friends, they are legend.  However, all empires fall and it had been quite some time since I had come up with some delectable barbecue goodness.  I’ve rested on my feta burger laurels for far too long.  The time was ripe to launch a new taste sensation.

In my mind, my spicy feta burgers were already singing that Coldplay song about “that was when I ruled the world”.  My Barbecued Lamb Sosaties were running up and down flights of stairs and humming “The Eye of The Tiger.”

We’ll pause there and I’ll tell you about the rice with raisins.  Remember how I said they weren’t mentioned in the picture tag?  I searched for the recipe in index.  Under R there are two entries:

  • Radish Salad, Cool
  • Rice Salad

I didn’t really know where else I  might find the recipe for the rice with raisins (it was not the rice salad recipe listed).  So I flicked through the entire book and found the recipe on page 64…well I found something on page 64 called Yellow Rice With Raisins.  As it’s not name checked in the photo, I can’t be entirely sure it is the same recipe but given that what is pictured is  yellow and it’s rice and it contains raisins I used my best Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction and decided they were one and the same.  I then went back and checked the recipe index.  This time, I not only checked under R in case I had missed something in the vast number of recipes beginning with that letter.  (I hadn’t.)  I then checked Y…just in case.  Not there either.  I then checked every recipe in the index to see what exactly was listed for page 64.  There’s a Barbecue Sauce which is actually on page 64.  There is no mention of the Yellow Raisin Rice in the index at all.  Grrr….

That annoyed me.   It’s slapdash  and surely someone in the editing process should have picked it up before the book went to print.  Never mind, at least I could make it.  After all, I had the recipe, even if it appeared to have been inserted into the book by stealth.

Ok, so the last time we saw the Barbecued Lamb Sosaties, they were fist pumping the air and claiming global victory in the barbecue stakes.  I looked up Barbecued Lamb Sosaties in the index. 

I started with L…not there.

S…not there either.

I tried B…I may was well not bothered.

I tried a lateral approach and looked under K for kebab and, harking back to the glossary definition, I looked under C (Curry and Cape Malay).  I then looked through every other letter. There was no mention to the Barbecued Lamb Sosaties in the index. Double Grrr!

But the rice recipe wasn’t in the index either.  No point in getting upset.  So, in the spirit of keeping calm and carrying on, I flicked through “The Main Course” section of the book.

Nothing.

I flipped back to the picture.  Those kebabs look hearty but I thought that maybe they are meant to be a first course, like satay sticks in an Asian restaurant. 

They weren’t in the first course section either.

I then looked through the entire book.

Zippedy doo dah.

I then looked through the entire book again, this time focussing on the page numbers.  (This was a second-hand book and, given the awesomeness of the Barbecued Lamb Sosatie, someone may have ripped the page out to keep it for posterity).

Every page was accounted for.

THE RECIPE FOR WHAT LOOKED LIKE THE MOST AWESOME DISH IN THE BOOK….WAS NOT IN THE BOOK.

If that looks like I am yelling, it’s because I am.  It’s actually a lot nicer than what came out of my mouth when I initially made this discovery. I probably wouldn’t  be allowed to print exactly what I said.  It’s more than likely illegal in some countries and frowned upon in most others.

I could give you a recipe for Barbecued Lamb Sosaties.  I (eventually) found a number of them on Google.  Instead, I was so annoyed with the Hot Weather Cookbook, I am going to give you the original recipe for the spicy feta burgers.  This recipe is so old now, it comes from a time where they didn’t quite know how to spell spicy.  These are awesome and you should all make them immediately. (Sorry it’s a bit crooked, that is literally the way it is stuck to the page in the family recipe compendium). 

Just to top off a few days where recipes from the past have really let me down, it is also wrong.

I defy anyone to make 12 burgers out of 50g of minced steak.  Unless of course they happen to be pixies. (To anyone not familiar with the metric system, as a point of comparison, I just weighed an egg from my fridge.  It came in at 64g. )

I used 500g of mince when I made the burgers this time and made 12 decent sized burgers.  I left all other amounts as stated.

This can also be very much treated as a base recipe.  For instance, this time round I added some dried chilli flakes and some chopped up coriander.  You could use mint or parsley or basil.  Pinenuts in the mix are fabulous! You can also use lamb mince instead of steak for another variation in flavour.

Spciy Feta Burgers

Spicy Feta Burgers

Out of sheer spite I also didn’t make the rice or either of the salads from The Hot Weather Cookbook.  I made a gorgeous carrot salad inspired by a recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen.  This recipe is amazing…quite possibly the most vibrant delicious taste sensation I have had all year.  The orange flower water in the dressing is a stroke of genius! The original recipe required watercress.  I tried three local green grocers and was advised that due to the hot weather, we are suffering watercress drought.  I used rocket and it was lovely.  I will definitely also try it with watercress as soon as I can get my hands on some!

Carrot Salad with Orange Flower Water and Cumin Dressing

The cumin and the orange flower water actually go very nicely with the lamb and feta to create a lovely Middle Eastern vibe to this meal.

I made a really quick cucumber salad to go with this, just sliced cucumber, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and chives, and a squeeze of lemon.  I had a  small bowl of pomegranate molasses as a condiment for the burgers. 

Et voila! Here is my Not The Hot Weather Cookbook Middle East Feast!

Feta Burgers, Carrot and Orange Flower Water Salad, Cucumber Salad and Pomegranate Molasses

Feta Burgers, Carrot and Orange Flower Water Salad, Cucumber Salad and Pomegranate Molasses

This will more than likely be my last post before the New Year as I need to focus on cooking and other things related to the season for the next few days.

Best wishes to all for a safe and happy Christmas and a joyous New Year.

 

Signature x

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.

Retro Food For Modern Times: The Floral Foraged Feast

What we’re going to do right here is go back, way back, back into time…

Today we are leaving behind those heady patchouli scented days of the ’70’s to take a step back to some really retro food and talk about my experience as a food forager! Food foraging has been around for as long as people have been around and basically involves making lots of deliciousness out of stuff that is growing wild around you…well, that’s my definition…if you want to get more technical, try google!   When most people think about foraging, they probably imagine it being done in the country however urban foraging is becoming increasingly popular.

Part of my birthday resolutions this year was to do something new each month –  which is why a few Sundays ago, I found myself sipping a Cleavers smoothie with a group of strangers.  I was taking part in an Edible Weeds Walk run by Very Edible Gardens (www.VeryEdibleGardens.com).  The smoothie was really good and set the tone for what was a very pleasant and informative few hours.  During that time we were taught to identify a number of so-called weeds and learned how these could be used both as medicine and as food.

The setting was amazing, an urban farm, virtually under the domes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Brunswick. And  a glorious day to boot….one of the first real signs that Spring was on its way.

It was also just a short stroll away from the CERES environmental park and the Merri Creek Bike Track.

Mind, you, the setting did have some drawbacks, on my way back to my car, I was quite happily strolling along, enjoying the lovely view, the sunshine and my solitude, when I came across this sign, and suddenly the fact that I was alone in this large  parkland became a little bit frightening!

However, I made it home safely and was able to use my new-found knowledge to make this lovely floral foraged salad!  For my salad I used:

Angled Onion – stalks and flowers:

There are literally thousands of these plants growing by our local creek and whilst I had previously noticed the strong smell of onions around them, I had no idea they were edible. They have an onion flavour, much like chives.

Wild Brassica – leaves and flowers:

This too is prolific in my local area. The leaves taste like supercharged cabbage It can give you that nose tickle you get when you eat mustard.  The flowers are much milder and added some colour to the salad.

Nasturtium – leaves and flowers

These were growing in my garden but the flowers are pretty and added some colour.  The leaves have a peppery flavour.  Since then, I have seen nasturtiums growing in the wild so this wasn’t too cheaty!

Dandelion leaves. 

These are quite bitter.  Adam,  our guide on the walk, said that even if you do not like these the first time you have them, to persevere with them as the taste really does grow on you.  Also, the bitterness is very cleansing.  I didn’t mind them in my salad but I was light handed, not only due to Adam’s caution but also because the park I was foraging in had just been mown and the leaves were not that easy to come by! 

Along with these foraged ingredients, to make my salad, I added some lettuce and some avocado, some thinly sliced radish and a few cherry tomatoes.  I also made a very simple lemon and oil dressing as I really wanted to be able to taste the different leaves and flowers.  Here are the ingredients:

This was a very tasty salad which, I will definitely be making again.  I think I was right to err on the side of caution with the dandelion leaves.  I chopped these up quite finely so whilst there was a slight underlying bitterness in some bites it was certainly not unpleasant and added a depth to the salad.  How pretty and fresh does this look?  I also took advantage of one of first really warm days and ate this outside….Voila!

The foraging itself was great fun, I really enjoyed walking through the park and identifying and choosing the weeds for my salad.  There is also something incredibly gratifying about picking and eating your own produce, whether you have grown it or foraged it.  In fact, foraging is a little bit more fun because it feels like you’re doing something a little bit naughty!

But really, cooking with things I have grown (or foraged) makes me feel connected to the earth and the environment in a way that shop brought produce can never do. Who knew I was such a hippy?  And now for my inner risk manager – if this post inspires you to commence your own adventures in foraging, I would really suggest doing a group exercise like I did – not all plants are good for you and many can actually cause you harm.  Having advice from a knowledgeable person like Adam could be the difference between a totally fun and enriching experience and one that leaves you very ill indeed!

Sorry Oscar, none left for you!

Adam, who lead our walk, has also written a  fab book:

This can be purchased at the following

http://www.eatthatweed.com/edible-weeds-book/

There are a number of other books and other resources on foraging you could use as well.  Here is a link to an article from Gourmet Traveller but most libraries and book shops will have something on the topic plus there is an abundance of info on the internet.

http://gourmettraveller.com.au/how-to-forage.html

I will be experimenting with more foraged finds over the next few months. I would like to try a cooked option next.  I don’t think the ngled onions will be in season much longer so before they disappear I’m thinking a stir fry with some of the wild brassica, some  chilli, ginger and garlic may be in order.  This would be delicious as a side dish or tossed through some noodles as a lovely vegetarian main meal.

In the meantime if you make something lovely out of  foraged foods, please let me know and….enjoy!

Retro Food for Modern Times: The Busy Woman’s Curried Chicken Salad Revamp

Who doesn’t love a chicken salad?  Shut up vegans and vegetarians.  I heard you.  Ok…what normal person doesn’t love a chicken salad?

Busy women of the 1970’s loved a chicken salad.  They also loved curly parsley.  I have never seen so much curly parsley in my life as in these old cookbooks.  They also loved scales.  Scales feature heavily in vintage cookbooks.  I have no idea why.  Some sneaky physics lesson maybe.  Which weighs more – parsley or a lead weight?  Garlic or clams?  Maybe these pictures were the precursor to the BrainTraining games of today where you are shown a kitten and an elephant sitting on some scales and you have to say which one weighs the most (it’s usually the kitten).

The Busy Woman’s Curried Chicken Salad  is a  a pretty good  recipe, all it needs is a few little tweaks to adapt it to modern taste.  I suggest the following:

  • Toast your curry powder before adding to the dressing. It smooths the flavour out.
  • Use fresh mushrooms – I kept mine raw
  • Use fresh asparagus – I steamed mine.
  • I didn’t  put red pepper in my version  because I don’t like it.  I added some tomato for colour and celery for crunch.  Other things you could add into ths would be carrots, avocado, steamed green beans, nuts….pretty much whatever you have or you like!

Enjoy!