Category Archives: Vintage Cookbooks

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: Good Cooking for (Almost) Everyone (1981)

Hello there, time to take a look into a new book.

Welcome to Mary Meredith’s Good Cooking for Everyone.

Good Cooking For Everyone by Mary Meredith 002

Let me just start with a little quibble.  When i think of 1981, I think of this:

1981’s finest.

And not so much this:

Mary Meredith 001

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at Mary here.  This book was first published in 1970 and this was a probably a perfectly acceptable photo back then.  Eleven years later, you’d think that maybe the publishers could have forked out for a new publicity photo.  Maybe one using that new technology of  colour.

The 500 “specially selected recipes” in this book do address a wide audience, if not exactly everyone.

In keeping with the Livvie theme above, there are sandwiches that would suit people watching their weight:

Lettuce and Lemon Sandwiches 001

And recipes for those who are most definitely not.

Mary calls this  “California Stuffed Forehock.” I prefer to think of it as “The Reason Elvis (Permanently) Left the Building”. The prunes in the recipe could explain why he was found on the toilet.

Californian Stuffed Forehock 001

Enough for 4 people or one bacon lovin’ popstar!

From The King, to proper royalty, Mary Meredith also provides us with a dainty dish to set before a king. Four and twenty blackbirds anyone?

Cutlet Pie

In fairness to Mary, it’s not actually blackbirds but a mix of lamb kidneys and cutlets.  In fairness to modern sensibility, I was staring at this picture wondering how to describe the sheer awfulness of a pie with bones in little bootees sticking out of it.  Mark looked at it over my shoulder. “You’re not making that are you?” he asked, sounding a little shaky.  I assured him I was not.  “Good” he said. “Because it looks fucking horrible.”  Description problem solved.

Then, there are recipes for people who want their cakes to look like footwear.  (Why? WHY???)

Shoe cake - who doesn't want to eat an old boot on their birthday!

Shoe cake – who doesn’t want to eat an old boot on their birthday!

And recipes for people who want to traumatise their children.  Never mind the chocolate-roll cats at the front, what are those weird shiny pink things with faces ? Apart from the stuff of nightmares?

Children's Party Food

Children’s Party Food

I did however manage to find one group of people for who Mary was not catering for.  I was searching the index of this book when, in the B’s,  I came across:

  • Baked Lemon Potatoes
  • Batch of scones

It’s an odd way of listing these items but there were corresponding entries under L, P and S so whilst kooky, they weren’t entirely random. (But again, maybe something that should have been corrected in the 1981 edition.)

I also noticed under M:

  • Making a jug of cocoa

Using this logic surely every recipe should be listed under M?

  • Making Lettuce and lemon sandwiches
  • Making Elvis Has Left The Building, etc.

And just to be really irritating there is no corresponding entry under C listing:

  • Cocoa, Making a jug of

I’m sorry cocoa drinkers of the world, I guess if you were of a logical mind in 1981 and wanted to find out how to make a jug of your favourite drink (without having to scan through 499 other recipes), you were S.O.L.

I’m spending the weekend with a jug of margaritas… it was going to be cocoa but the recipe was too damn hard to find!

So much for an alcohol free April!

Whatever your tipple, have a great week.

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Retro Food For Modern Times Invites You To The Worst Cocktail Party Ever

I have a bone to pick with Louis Ferguson who wrote the Cocktail Party Section of the The Party Cookbook.

Let’s get one thing clear Louis.  A cocktail party is called a cocktail party for one reason, and one reason only.  And that is the presence of cocktails.  So, by rights, given that your chapter contains absolutely no recipe for, or indeed barely a reference to, these alcoholic delights, it hardly warrants the title.

Whilst I’m on the subject  – for any workplaces that happen to be reading?  Wine and beer are not cocktails.  Stop calling events where these beverages are served cocktail parties.  It’s annoying and pretentious.  Alternatively, keep the name and actually serve cocktails.

That I am even bothering to talking about Louis is because I wanted another chance to use this delight of 1970’s food photography.

Pinapple Prawn and Parsley Pot

Pineapple, Prawn and Parsley Pot

Unfortunately, Louis lets us down here too.  In addition to not having any cocktail recipes he also does not offer any details on how to construct the Zig Zag Pineapple, Prawn and Parsley Pot.

What we are given, ad nauseam are Louis’ instructions for canapés – some of which you can see in the photo.

These include:

  • Spread a slice of toast with softened cream cheese.  Cover the entire surface with drained sweet corn kernels.  Press well onto the cheese.  Cut into diamond shapes and garnish with small diamonds of red capsicum.
  • Spread a slice of toast with softened cream cheese.  Cover with finely chopped red and green capsicum.  Cut into diamonds with a wet knife.
  • Cut buttered toast into rounds with a one inch cutter.  Cut thin slices of salami the same size.  Place onto croûtes and garnish with three peas held in place by a dab of French mustard.
  • Cut buttered toast into rounds with a one inch cutter.  Cut thin slices of beetroot the same size.  Place onto croutes and garnish with halved cocktail onions

I’m sensing some trends here.. Oh, ok, here we go, something different…

  • Cut buttered bread into small crescents.  Cut crescents from slices of mortadella sausage and place them on the croûtes.  Garnish with “zig zags” of creamed butter.

Crescents and zig zags.  Just when you thought the canapé could not get any better Louis gives us crescents and zig zags.  Genius.

However this genius was short-lived.  I suspect that by the bottom of the second page of canapé suggestions, Louis was pretty much phoning it in vis a vis:

  • Spread a slice of toast with mustard butter.  Cut into rectangles and cover with several thin slices of cooked frankfurter sausage,

There’s no love in that suggestion. Cold frankfurters on cold toast is not the offering of a man passionate about his craft.  It’s the offering of a man who has lost the will to live.

Louis also suggests that once you have assembled your bread-in-a-shape + protein + garnish that you then coat the entire combination in either aspic or a mixture of gelatine and chicken stock.  He doesn’t actually explain why.  I suspect it has something to do with making his readers and their cocktail party guests as miserable and life-loathing as himself.

Apparently, no booze, cold frankfurters, peas cemented to salami with mustard and a beetroot and pickled onion combo weren’t bad enough. Chicken-flavoured gelatine also needed be added into the mix. Yecchh!

The lack of cocktails has given me a thirst, I’m off to hunt down a tipple (or two) and work on the party food for next week’s post.

Hint…it contains bacon.  Lots and lots of lovely bacon.

Have a great week!

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