Category Archives: Tomatoes

Retro Food For Modern Times – My Super Power…and a Tomato Consomme

I had a bit of a shock last week when I published the Pimms Post and a little message came up saying “You have published 50 Posts”  Wow!  Really?  I completely forgot!  Good thing it was a cocktail post, we can take as a celebration had. BTW, just between us, I discovered later in the week that if instead of ginger ale or lemonade, you happen to mix  Pimms with some elderflower cordial and soda water the result is like heaven in a glass!  So, so good.

Oh and less than a week after I posted about all things British and tennis, Andy Murray finally won Wimbledon….coincidence?  I like to think not.

Tomato Consomme

Tomato Consomme

My ability to influence major sporting events is not actually my super power.   No, mine is a lot spookier.  I’m telling you this just so, when things happen over the next few weeks, you won’t be surprised.  And here it is…whenever I go on holiday…famous people die.  Seriously.  Here are just some people who have shuffled off this mortal coil when I have been elsewhere:

Princess Diana (long weekend in Warnambool)

Kurt Cobain (Sydney)

Michael Jackson/ Farah Fawcett (Surfer’s Paradise)

Amy Winehouse (Malaysia)

There have been others, I just can’t remember them off the top of my head but really…that’s 4 of the big ones right there. Weird right?

I was also in Barcelona the day Lehman Brothers went down, signalling the start of the GFC….

Tomato Consomme 2

Tomato Consomme 2

I’m just about to go on holiday so I thought I would love and leave you with a classic retro recipe, the tomato consommé.

I was an unadventurous eater as a child.  I took a vegemite sandwich to school every day for 4 years running.  Mum still laughs that I was the only vegetarian who didn’t actually eat vegetables.  So, last week when I not only whipped up a concoction made of tomato juice, chicken stock and gelatine but ate it without a second thought, it was a bit of a victory for me over my old habits.

So…if my life was a Hollywood movie this would be the bit where I bring  a spoonful of the consommé  to my lips…maybe I hesitate just to build some dramatic tension….then I would slurp that sucker down, give a sexy little wink to the camera and mouth the word “Delicious.” Next up there would be a montage of me finding new appreciation of all the other food I don’t like – boiled peas, boiled carrots, beetroot, pork chops, any mix of chocolate and orange, the list goes on.  And on.  And on.

Tomato Consomme 3

Tomato Consomme 3

To be honest though.  It wasn’t that good.

It tasted like slightly chickeny tomato juice.  It wasn’t disgusting.  Just not awesome.  It LOOKED gorgeous.  Which I guess is like saying that someone you’ve been on date with had a great personality.  No, I’ll tell you exactly what it was like.  I once read somewhere (let’s face this, this next…ahem…”fact” more than likely came from Cosmo or the Huff Post or another source of dubious reliability) that men fall in love with women because of who they are. And women fall in love with men for who they could be.  That’s how I felt about this consommé.  It was kind of a loser in its current state but given a little time and patience it could probably become something awesome.

As I ate my way through the massive amount of consommé the recipe produced, I found myself thinking…huh..what if I also made a basil jelly and made little cubes of the consommé and little cubes of basil jelly and made a really cute caprese?  Or what if instead of the bitters (which added nothing) I subbed in some Worchestershire and Tabasco and made a Bloody Mary Consomme?  What if I piped that jelly onto celery sticks?  Or teeny cubes on oysters?  What if I added more gelatine and spices and made it into something akin to a quince paste to have with cheese?

Tomato Consomme Recipe  taken from Woman's Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)

Taken from Woman’s Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)

Tomato Consomme. Taken from Woman's Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)

Tomato Consomme.
Taken from Woman’s Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)

For the right girl (or boy) there is some real potential here to take this and turn it into something truly awesome. Not me though.  I’ve been eating consommé for about a week.  I’m consomméed out….and…I’m going on holiday!

I’m going to be spending the next 4 weeks in Vietnam and Thailand, two fab food hangouts.  I  booked a Street Food tour in Hanoi today and I am so excited about it! And there was a little Banh Xeo place I didn’t around to visiting last time we were in Saigon that I’m dying to try. I can’t wait to revisit the wonderful Morning Glory in Hoi An…and I’ll going to try to do a cooking class in Phuket…in between lounging by the pool sipping cocktails! So food will be high on my agenda and, when I get back, I’m sure I’ll have some stories to tell!

Enjoy your month whatever you get up to!  I’ll be back mid August.  And stay safe, even if you’re not a celebrity or an investment bank.

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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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Retro Food For Modern Times – You’re Gonna Have To Face It, You’re Addicted To…

I go through phases where I become utterly obsessed with a dish or an ingredient and have to buy it, cook it, eat it, ad nauseam.  Earlier this year it was tahini – I ate more hummus than some of the smaller Middle Eastern countries during that particular phase!  Prior to that, it was the Mary’s Gone Crackers Black Pepper Crackers – who knew that something so good for you could also taste so delish! Before that it was chipotle chillies….I quite obviously have an addictive personality.

You can relax mum. This is not when I confess to the crack/smack/cocaine/gambling addiction.  Sleep safe.  My newest and only…(well, as long as you don’t count things that are French and bubbly) addiction is my version of Mary Meredith’s Television Egg.

Breakfast Televison Eggs

Breakfast Television Eggs

Why Television Eggs?  Who knows.  Mary doesn’t explain her reasoning.  In my version she is bereft of ideas and just shouting out random bits of household furniture and food to see what sticks.  “Dishwasher Cheese.  Coffee-table bacon.  Couch potato…that one’s good. Let’s go with that.  What the fuck do you mean it’s been done?  Ok….Ermmm…..Television Eggs.”

(Oh, and in my mind Mary Meredith has a very strong Scottish Brogue.  I’m not going to go all Irvine Welsh on you…just saying that should be the accent in which she is read).

Whatever you call it.   It’s a baked egg with asparagus and tomato.  I love a baked egg.  What I don’t enjoy is scrubbing baking dishes to rid them of the residue of a baked egg, so I have added my twist.  Instead of serving it in a ramekin with toast soldiers as per MM’s suggestion, I’ve been baking them in a hollowed out bread roll.

I have now made three four versions of this and plan to make many more over the next few days.  But lets start with the original:

Television Eggs Recipe

I added some tarragon and a teeny drop of cream into mine, just because I had them in the fridge and neither was going to last much longer.  Waste not want not right? But it points to one of the strengths of this recipe, you can pretty much do what you like with it!

Television Eggs - Ingredients

Television Eggs – Ingredients

Televison Eggs for Lunch 2

Television Eggs for Lunch 2

You can, of course, cook your eggs longer for a harder yolk or less for a runnier one.

Whilst the original version was great, I then got the bug and started making television eggs out of everything we had on hand.

My variations thus far have been Rocket, Feta, Tomato and Smoked Paprika:

Televison Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

Television Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

Television Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

Television Eggs With Rocket, Feta and Tomato

When I made the rocket and feta version, I also made a breakfast egg to have after my workout at the gym the next morning.  This consisted of Ham, Swiss and Tomato:

Breakfast Televison Eggs

Breakfast Television Eggs

A handy hint I discovered was that, if you cook your television eggs on a rack, the bottom of the bread doesn’t burn.

A rack stops the bread from burning

A rack stops the bread from burning

More Variations to Try

  • Smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese, (maybe with a splash of hollandaise).
  • Mushrooms, chives and goats cheese
  • Spinach and feta, spring onions

Televison Eggs for Lunch 1

  • Leek and Gorgonzola (and yes, for those of you who know me, this is inspired by the best pizza ever!)
  • Baked Beans, cheddar cheese – another breakfast version
  • Chorizo, Potato and tomato – sauté this mixture first.
  • Creamed spinach
  • Sautéed potato cubes, green chilli, red onion and goats cheese
  • Hummus, Chipotle chillies and Mary’s Gone Crackers Black Pepper Cracker Crumbs Sprinkled on top
The Double Yolker

The Double Yolker

Ok, so that last one may be just for me but you get the drift. Cheap, cheerful, easy, healthy-ish and delicious! What more could you ask for?

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Yes, ok, I want that too.

And I believe me, if I was in a position to give it to you, my dear and loyal readers….you’d have to step over my cold dead body to get it.  That would be mine.  All mine.

I’m sharing the eggs though…and they are pretty damn good.

I’m going to be spending my week working through versions of Television Eggs for my lunches.  Oh, and look at the totally awesome retro lunch box  I’m going to buy to put them in:

However you have your lunches, have a great week…and try these eggs!

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PS – Late breaking news – newest post gym version – ham, cheese, avocado, chilli sauce.  Put on very low heat before leaving home. By the time you get back (an hour?) this will be cooked to perfection!

Ham, Egg, Avocado, Cheese and Chilli Television Egg

Ham, Egg, Avocado, Cheese and Chilli Television Egg

The Italian Cuisine I Love – Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes

Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes 

These would be great for lunch or a light summer supper.  They are perfect for a hot day as there is no cooking!!!!

They would also be really cute if you made them for a tea party or as a finger food using cherry tomatoes and piping the mixture in.


4 firm ripe tomatoes
1 cup canned tuna
3/4 cup pimento stuffed olives, chopped
2 tbsp grated onion’
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1 tsp capers, chopped
2 anchovy fillets, mashed
1 tsp lemon juice
mayonnaise
1 tbsp chives

Cut the top off the tomatoes, hollow out carefully.

Mash tuna  and combine with all oth er ingredients except mayonnaise and chives.

Mix well.

Add enough mayonnaise to bind the mixture.

Fill the tomato shells and sprinkle with chives.

Chill before serving.