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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BOOK REVIEW: Dr. Linda Harper’s “Give”

Hi there, I am baking bread for the first time in my life today, and as I have a little break whilst waiting for my dough to rise, I thought I would share this.
A few weeks ago, the good folks at Book Hub put out a call for people wanting free books…who doesn’t was my response! Free books? That’s even better than free booze! You don’t get those nasty hangovers if you read a bit too much! The book I selected was Give by Linda R. Harper Ph.D. I really enjoyed the book and I wrote a little review for Book Hub which they posted on their blog the other day. Here is it, and if you read the book, I hope you find it as interesting and thought-provoking as I did!

Book Hub, Inc.

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Give: A Guide to Discovering the Joy of Everyday Giving
Linda R. Harper, Ph.D.

Review by Taryn Fryer

I wanted to read Give in order to learn how to give more authentically.  In many ways the book was what I expected in terms of learning to give according to your values and to give freely in every sense of the word.  Had that been all there was, I would have been satisfied with the book and then put it down and promptly forgotten about it. 

This book rose above my expectations for two main reasons.  The first of these was the importance of giving to oneself.   I think many people, myself included, tend to put self-nurturing last on their ever increasing to-do lists.  What Ms Harper does beautifully is to challenge this notion that “spoiling” ourselves is somehow wanton.  She reminds, or in some cases teaches, us that only when…

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Oh, Calcutta, Odessa, Oh Look, It’s Cocktail Hour!

I fully intended this week to be devoted to Eat your Way To Love and Beauty, but somehow I ended up drinking my way to oblivion and incoherence!

But you know what?  I can now honestly say that I didn’t spend the weekend getting tanked on cocktails. I spent the weekend doing research and development.  For you dear readers, I did it for you!  I’m selfless like that.

O Calcutta Cocktail

Oh Calcutta Cocktail

I found a version of the first cocktail I made, the Oh Calcutta, in Eat Your Way To Love and Beauty.  This combines pineapple, grapefruit, lime and…. curry powder!  Yep, a curry flavoured cocktail!

The Swami’s version of the Oh Calcutta suggests you mix the ingredients with spa water.  I assumed that was a euphemism for vodka when making my version.

O Calcutta Cocktail

O Calcutta – mixing pineapple and curry

Now, I normally like my cocktails pink and sweet so this was a bit of a shock to my system!  Initially I wasn’t too keen on it.  Gradually though, the Oh Calcutta won me over.  It’s actually has quite a complex flavour profile (whoo hoo, look at me using the foodie words!).  There was a slight bitterness from the grapefruit, sweetness of the pineapple, heat from the curry, sour from the lime…the more I drank it the more I liked it!

O Calcutta Cocktail

Oh Calcutta Cocktail

I was still thinking about it  the next day and I decided that, interesting as it was, it needed something  more and that something was a little salty kick.  So, I made it again but this time I edged the glass (badly) with some ginger salt.  I made the ginger salt by bashing some ginger to death in the mortar and pestle and then adding some salt to the mix.  I twirled the glass in this.  It doesn’t look great but it tasted amazing!

Oh Calcutta Cocktail recipe

In my first version I toppped the entire drink with grapefruit juice instead of using a mixer, in the second version I mixed grapefruit juice and sparkling water.  The result was slightly less bitter which I preferred. I also used ruby grapefruit juice so there was a pink tinge to my cocktail!

I’m now thinking ginger beer would be good in this too….version three may well happen next weekend!

O Calcutta Cocktail 4

O Calcutta Cocktail 4

Just in case this has piqued your interest in a curry cocktail, I found a few more versions to tantalise your taste buds bouncing round on the interwebs…

Tandoori Tequila Cocktail

Coconut Blurry Curry Cocktail

But the weekend of cocktails was not over because it’s feijoa season and thanks to a tree that is fully laden over at my mother’s house we are swimming with them…

Feijoas

Feijoas

For those of you unfamiliar with a feijoa (aka the pineapple guava), it is a fruit much beloved by New Zealanders, and apparently Russians and Californians.  It is:

“green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin”

Boo, Wikipedia boo!  That does nothing to convey the joy of the feijoa – huh…come to think of it from now on, I’m going to be calling them fe-joy-as.  I  once read in an aromatherapy book that you need to be careful when burning Clary Sage oil because the smell of it can make you feel as if you are drunk!  I feel a little bit the same about the scent of a feijoa, it is a kind of fruity, floral, heady smell that…it’s what I imagine heaven smells like.  Not that I’m likely to find out.  There is no doubt in my mind which way I’m heading.

Feijoa Marketing Board…don’t even think about it stealing this, I’m slapping a ™ on “Fei-joy-as…what heaven smells like” ASAP. Happy to negotiate with you on the licensing of my intellectual property for your commercial gain though.  Call me.  I’m easily bought.

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail

Mind you, someone at the FMB is doing their job.  These babies are currently selling in the supermarket for $2 each!

When I told mum I was going to do some feijoa cooking for this she wanted to know if I was going to make jam.  It’s that kind of comment that makes me wonder if I’m actually adopted….Jam.  Pffft…why make jam when you can make cocktails?

I found a wonderful blog called Feijoa, Feijoa which is bursting with recipes for feijoas and has an whole section devoted to cocktail recipes.

I made the Odessa Cocktail purely because I had all the necessary but each one of the cocktails sound delicious.  And as for the recipes…this may well become one of my favourite sites!  There are also several jam recipes for my mother to make.

The recipe for the Odessa Cocktail can be found here:

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail 2

If you’re wondering why my simple syrup looks like Coke or coffee , it’s because I only had brown sugar in the house. I think it worked though, it added a treacly depth to the syrup.  (coincidentally, Treacly Depth would be the name of my indie band…)

The Odessa is a lovely cocktail, it’s sweet but with a little tang from the lime and exactly the kind of cocktail I normally love! Coming after the Oh Calcutta, it seemed a little simple but it was still delicious! My advice to anyone making it would be to strain it really well.  I put mine through a tea strainer and it was a little gritty.  I would use a finer strainer next time.

Odessa Cocktail

Odessa Cocktail 3

I’m going to be spending my week sidling up to people outside the supermarket and asking “Psst…want a feijoa? ..One fifty each or three for three…and they smell like heaven”

Have a great 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

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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 – Not Eating My Way To Love and Beauty

Can you believe I’ve been doing this for nearly a year?

And as the anniversary approaches, I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate.  Somehow my normal process of pulling one of the many vintage cookbooks from the pile under my bed at random doesn’t seem quite joyful enough.  Primarily because this invariably involves me knocking the pile over, uttering some sustained invective as I pile it all back up then muttering “I really should Hoover under there one day”.  That is not the stuff of celebration!

I had planned to sift through the pile to find something special.  However, when I found “Eat your Way To Love and Beauty” by Swami Sarasvati in my local charity shop I thought I had found my birthday book!  Who doesn’t want to be loved and beautiful?  Especially on their birthday? And, why not eat my way there?  It beats getting there by the other “e” word.  You know, the one we try very hard not to mention here.  Hint:  it rhymes with…mexercising.  Yes, I know that’s not a word.  If you’re so smart, you try coming up with a word that rhymes with exercising.  Anyway, it’s obviously working for The Swami.  She’s cute.  And limber!

Eat For Love and Beauty 001

The caption to this photo says

“Swami Sarasvati, her youth and vitality living proof of her cooking, exercises among her health dishes”

Please note: Retro Food For Modern Times in no way condones its readers exercising among their health dishes.  Nor will I bear any responsibility for damages incurred if you decide to do so.  To put it bluntly, if you end up with a pineapple up your clacker by engaging in this you’re on your own.  And be aware that hospital staff will mock you behind your back.  “Of course you slipped over whilst exercising among your health dishes… that’s what all the deviants say.”  You have been warned.

Swami Sarasvati was a tv icon on Australia in the 1970’s, where she taught a generation of early morning tv watchers the art of yoga and the delights of a vegetarian lifestyle.  I wish she was on the telly now.  I would totally watch her.  Well, I probably wouldn’t get up that early but  I would record her shows, meaning to get around to doing some sun salutations one day…right after I vacuum under that bed!  She also still runs a yoga retreat in New South Wales.  It is currently ranked the number one hotel in Kenthurst on Trip Advisor.  That it is the only hotel in town is by the by.

http://www.swami.com.au/

Speaking as someone who has been on a yoga retreat, the Swami’s looks pretty good.  I had a miserable time the last one I was on.  It was freezing and in lieu of heating, my room came equipped with a massive spider.  I thought it would be not in keeping with the yoga/vegan/hippie vibe of the place to beat the ugly fucker to death with my shoe.  This meant I was too scared to sleep for the entire time I was there in case, during my slumber, the spider decided to break our unspoken entente cordiale to crawl into my hair or lay eggs in my face.

You will be disappointed, though if you click through the link.  Eat Your Way To Love and Beauty is no longer on the list of the Swami’s books available for purchase.  We’re about to find out why.

Some of the sensibilities of the book feel very modern.  Take for instance the Swami’s response to the question:

“What is healthy food?”

“It is food as fresh as possible and eaten as soon as possible.  Refining, preserving, canning or colouring food should be avoided wherever possible”

That doesn’t last long…we descend into the land of the loony almost immediately.

Q – “How can food make me more loving?”

“A well nourished woman will have the strength to be patient and understanding and loving even when life seems impossible.  Your children won’t turn to drugs”.

Q  – “My Husband won’t eat health foods”

“Girls, to keep your marriage fresh and exciting, you must keep yourself and your husband youthful and vital….there are enough tangy gourmet health dishes in this book to tempt your husband.  Before long he will be better at business and sport.

You know what Swami?   You had me at love and beauty…let’s not bring my husband and non-existent children into it.

But despite all this…despite dooming Mark to bankruptcy and failure on the sporting field (by which I mean his PS3 breaking) and the poor dogs to having to sell themselves to strangers for Schmackos…I will not be celebrating this birthday by eating my way to love and beauty.  Eating for hatred and ugliness has got me thus far, I guess I can continue for another week or so!

I  have made a few recipes from “Eat Your Way To Love And Beauty” being  a celery soup, an eggplant bhurta and a carrot halva.

Here they are:

Celery Soup

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Celery Soup 001

Eggplant Bhurta

Eggplant Bhurta

Eggplant Bhurta

eggplant bhurta 001

Carrot Halva

Carrot Halva

Carrot Halva

Carrot Halva recipe 001

These all tasted ok.  Actually, the carrot halva was really good once I added a bucketload of brown sugar – kind of like carrot cake without the cake.  And the eggplant was also pretty good.  The celery soup was average.  There was nothing wrong with any of them. They were just a bit drab.  Look at them.  They’re not screaming party are they?  They look, earnest, well-meaning, brown.  The food version of Coldplay. Worthy but kind of boring…

Which brings me to the second reason, we will not be celebrating Retro Food For Modern Times first birthday by eating our way to love and beauty.

Here is a the Swami’s recipe for a Gimlet:

Lime Gimlet

Now, for those of you who are not au fait with the gimlet, it is defined by the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, as:

“A cocktail made of gin and lime juice”

Two ingredients.  One of which is missing from the Swami’s recipe.

Never mind, I thought, the next recipe is called Singapore Gin.  Maybe I’ll make that as my birthday cocktail.

Singapore Gin

Or maybe I wont…we like our booze here at Retro Food For Modern Times, celebrating anything without booze is anathema.

No wonder this book isn’t for sale anymore, it was probably banned for false advertising.  I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to call a cocktail Singapore “Gin” when it contains not the slightest whiff of a juniper berry!

Next week we’ll party like it’s 1969. I won’t give too much away but there will be gin and there will be gelatine; if I can get sufficiently organised there maybe something else starting with a “g” to make up a full three course meal…cocktail and dessert count as 2 courses don’t they?

I’ll be spending my week frantically trying to think of that third course…

Grapes?

Grapefruit?

Gorgonzola?

Have a fabulous week whatever you do!

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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?

r ides of march premiere 280911

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

Retro Food For Modern Times: A Retro Rosy Rosé Punch

I had a strange week this week which was topped off by an amazing punch inspired by Mary Meredith’s Good Cooking For Everyone.

Her Rosé Wine Cup is by far the prettiest picture in Good Cooking For Everyone.  Here is my version:

Retro Rose Punch

Retro Rosy Rose Punch

This was lovely – light, refreshing and delicious.

It was a gorgeous pale blush colour and looked and tasted like summer in a glass! And, it had the most amazing rose scent!

But first, here is a brief summary of my week.

#1 Surprise!

The surprise in Mary Meredith’s Apricot Meringue Surprise is macaroni. Yecchhh!

Apricot Meringue Surprise 001

I like to think she got confused.  I think she meant to make mac and cheese and apricot meringue pie but had a few too many swigs of the cooking sherry.  And you know when you’re a bit tipsy and feeling no pain?  “Leave it in, it’ll be alright…”

#2 World Gone Mad

Dear Beauty Parlour

No, I do not want to tweet or post on Facebook the appointment I just made with you.

No one else is remotely interested in my beauty treatments. I’m only barely interested myself.  Please find some other way of advertising your services…I suggest you try advertising.

Rosy Rose Punch 2

Rosy Rose Punch 2

#3 Pity The Apricot

Mary Meredith continues to use apricots in bizarre ways.  If the macaroni meringue surprise wasn’t enough, look at her salad platter.

You may think, given her fondness for them (as previously discussed here) that the items on the platter between the apricots are grilled bananas.  It would possibly be an improvement if they were.  Those babies?  Kippers

Yes, kippers.  As in smoked herrings that will make your house reek for a week if you ever cook them.   And if that combination wasn’t had enough on its own, you could smear your kipper and apricot delight with some apricot jam mayo.

Apricots, what did you do to Mary Meredith to make her hate you so?

Salad Platter à la Mary Meredith

Salad Platter à la Mary Meredith

#4 The Place Beyond The Bus Stop

Dear State Government

If you truly want to reduce the road toll, you might want to reconsider allowing people to put posters like this on bus stops without warning local residents. It’s nigh on impossible to keep your eyes focussed on the road ahead with this looming up on your left. (Believe me, I have tested this many, many times over the last few days and I’m pretty sure it can’t be done.)

P.S.  I am by no means suggesting you remove the poster.  A strategically placed traffic light would suffice.  One that stays red for a while.

Traffic Hazard

Local Traffic Hazard 😉

#5 I’m on a mission

A search of my cupboards revealed I don’t own a punch bowl.   Look out Ebay, I’m coming for you!

Here is Mary Meredith’s version of the Rosé Wine Cup.  So pretty!

Rosé Wine Cup by Mary Meredith

Rosé Wine Cup by Mary Meredith

#6 Bubbles

We celebrated my new job with some lovely bubbles.

Good thing really, to fill my time I’d started writing crackpot letters to local businesses.

#7 Rose Petal Ice Cubes: Trickier Than You Would Think

One of the things that made the Rosé Wine Cup recipe so appealing to me was the rose petal ice cubes.  However, there were no instructions on how to make them.

I tried to make these three times.

The first time I used rose petals from my garden but they were too big to fit into my teeny ice-cube trays.

I then stole commandeered some smaller roses from my neighbour…I don’t think he’ll miss them….

Neighbour's roses

The problem, even with the smaller petals, is that rose petals float.

You may think these photos look lovely and serene.  The reality was me poking petals back into the water shrieking “Sink, you utter bastards, damn you sink” at them.

Rose Petals For Icecubes

Rose Petals for ice-cubes

DSC02271

The only way I found to do it was to put the rose petals into the ice-cube trays and fill half way with water. Once that was frozen and the floaty little fuckers were anchored in a block of ice, I could then fill to completely cover them.

Who knew ice-cubes could be so tricky?

I used boiling water to fill my ice-cube trays and some of the colour leached from the already pale petals.  I would probably use a darker coloured petal next time to have more contrast. Or just not use boiling water!  Bu then again, maybe the hot water released the oils that gave this the glorious scent….

Rose Petal Icecubes

Rose Petal Icecubes

#8 The Devil Was Missing Some Details

I was very much looking forward to sipping my punch whilst nibbling on some Devilled Chestnuts, recipe courtesy of Mary Meredith’s Good Cooking For Everyone.

I was totally disappointed with these.  Even though they looked super cute both in the teeny cases and stabbed onto brightly coloured cocktail sticks the recipe didn’t work.  I might experiment a bit and redo them but in the meantime here is a picture of how fun they looked!  The big petalled rose is from my garden.

Devilled Chestnuts

Devilled Chestnuts

#9 The Retro Rosy Rosé Punch

I did not follow the recipe for the Rosé Wine Cup as per the recipe exactly.  I was a sickly child and Cherry Brandy reminds me of the vile cough medicine I was constantly given.  Proust had Madeleines.  My overwhelming scent memory from childhood is Brondecon.

We’d also recently bought a bargain case of some French Passionfruit Lemonade and given that we have bottles of it lying around, I used that instead of plain lemonade.

I used a cheap and cheerful cleanskin rosé and cassis to replace the Cherry Brandy.

???????????????????????????????

Retro Rosy Rosé Punch 2

Retro Rosy Rosé Punch 2

Rose Wine cup recipe 001

This was really lovely and something I will definitely make again, it was also light on alcohol so something you could drink all afternoon without getting too messy.

I’m going to spend the week hanging out at the bus stop, have a great one, wherever you spend yours!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Liptauer: Lunch, Lunacy and Death By Cheese

Let’s face it, cottage cheese exists for one reason and one reason only.  I call it “The Posts” as in post-Christmas, post-New Year, post holidays, birthdays, Easter, you get my drift.   Pretty much post anything that is fun (i.e. involves large volumes of eating and drinking).  Mondays feature strongly.

The symptoms of The Posts are a glance in the mirror that is quickly averted, followed by a groan of “I really need to go on a diet”. The effect of The Posts is a lightening of the wallet as you race down to the supermarket and fill your trolley with carrots, celery and the aforementioned cottage cheese.  Which will be thrown into the rubbish about three months past its use by date.  Sometimes, it may have even been opened. It’s not so much the lack of taste it’s that curdy texture which is just…ewwww….And yet, I keep buying it.

I have, in the past, resorted to other methods of getting rid of The Posts. One such event saw me popping down to the local health food shop to pick up some magic thinness bullets a.k.a diet pills.  Of course, they were hidden so I had to ask the weightlifter type who was stacking shelves where I might find them.

He was one of those muscle-bound creatures with prominent veins, a shaved head and a tattoo on his neck.  I have nothing against tattoos in general.  I have one myself.  Neck tattoos, however, are generally skanky.  No one looks good with a neck tattoo.  Except maybe George Clooney in from Dusk til Dawn.  His was kind of hot.

Clooney

Most other people look like trailer trash or like they just got out of prison.

 “WHAT DO YOU WANT DIET PILLS FOR?” the possible ex-convict snarled back at me. And he didn’t ask it in a “Because you’re so svelte you don’t need them” tone either.  He started off belligerent.  And it went downhill from there.

Why do you think I want diet pills, idiot?  Because I read on the internet that if I shoved them up my arse the alien rectal probes couldn’t get me? What kind stupid question is that?  It’s the equivalent of asking an adolescent boy why he’s buying condoms.  There is pretty much only one reason.  To be asked to explain that reason out loud, in a crowded shop, is just humiliating.  Actually, I take that back.  It’s worse than questioning a boy buying condoms.  At least in that instance he could snap back “To fuck your mother.”  I had nothing.

Prisoner 845 had one volume.  Annoyingly loud.   “DIET PILLS DON”T WORK”

You really don’t understand the nature of retail do you Sunshine? It’s probably why you got sent to prison in the first place.  So, here’s how it should work:

  • I ask for diet pills.
  • You give them to me.
  • I give you money. (That bit’s important.  It’s probably the part you forgot last time)
  • I leave happy.
  • Your shop stays in business
Liptauer Lunch

Liptauer Lunch

YOU DONT NEED DIET PILLS. YOU NEED TO EXERCISE”

Really?  I never realised that steroids made you stupid as well as shrinking your penis.  If I was that way inclined I wouldn’t be here asking for diet pills would I?  I’d be out…skipping… or whatever it is that people do when they exercise.

I didn’t say that.

He was big. And mean looking.  And one of the veins in his neck was starting to throb alarmingly.  I started to back away from him because he was quite clearly suffering from some sort of ‘roid rage.  I didn‘t even understand why he was there.   Health food shops should be run by aging hippies not steroid abusing, serial killers.

Eventually I was backed into a shelf of herbal tea. He then leant over me and said in the most threatening voice I have ever heard. “YOU EAT DAIRY DON’T YOU?”

Yes I do and whilst we’re on the subject of dietary habits you should probably lay off the red meat.  There’s a box of Sleepytime Tea digging into my left shoulder.  Maybe you should try a cup.

I didn’t say that either.

Liptaur Ingredients

He then leant down so he was about a centimetre away from my face.  He was all red and his eyes were bulging out; he looked like he might be about to have some sort of apoplexy.  He was also one of those people who spit when they talk and he was so close it was getting all over my face which was….I give up…there are no words to describe how utterly, utterly repulsive that was.

And then, as I was trying to surreptitiously wipe my face he bellowed (and spat) at me:

“CHEESE… IS… DEATH.”

Nothing in my life had prepared me on how to deal with a spitting neck-tattooed lunatic in my face and screaming about how dairy products would kill me.  I was also slightly more concerned about my impending death at the hands of the psychopath in front of me than any damage a camembert could inflict.  So, I did what I usually do when I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.  I started to giggle.  Then I ran.  As fast as my chubby little legs could carry me.  All the way down the street to the next health food shop where a lovely aging hippy had absolutely no qualms about selling me some piece of crap, expensive diet pills that didn’t work.

Liptaur Recipe 001

An easier way to get rid of The Posts and to thus avoid health food shop sociopaths would be to make Mary Meredith’s recipe for Liptauer (or as she calls it Liptaur).

This was good.  Really good.  Both as a dip and as a healthy lunch.

However, I don’t understand the point of mixing cottage cheese and butter.  Next time I make it I’ll use a low-fat cream cheese instead.  This will also remove the cottage cheese curdiness which was the only downside of the recipe.

Mary Meredith mentions that the Liptauer is also really good with baked potatoes.  I wasn’t about to bake a potato as we were having bangers and mash for dinner.   Hang on…potato is potato right?  Should I?  Dare I?  I’ve put cheese, chives and mustard into mash before – maybe not all at the same time but they all worked.  Anchovies are mostly salt.  What could go wrong?

Liptaur Close Up

Yeah, ok, you can all stop facepalming.

The gherkin.  The gherkin could go wrong.  I know that….

Now.

I put it down to temporary insanity caused by finding a delicious use for cottage cheese.

Here is a picture of the Liptauer mash.  Don’t try this at home.  It was revolting.

Liptauer Mash

Liptauer Mash

So, I ask you.  Is cheese death?

And if so, outside of the Liptauer Mash debacle of 2013, could there be a better way to go?

Have a great week!
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Retro food For Modern Times – Yes, We Have No Bananas

Bananas are not my favourite fruit.  I put it down to an ill-advised visit to a…(please don’t let my mum be reading this)… “show” in Amsterdam when I was, younger and more prone to drunkenness peer pressure than I am now.  It took many a year before I could even look at a banana (or anyone dressed in a Batman costume) without an inward cringe and a slight sense of shame.

But, even a banana-phobe like me could not resist trying out the recipe for Rhubarb and Banana Pie in Good Cooking For Everyone.  Here is a sneak peek at how that turned out before we turn to some less appetising uses.

Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Rhubarb and Banana Pie

OMG that pie was good!!!

I’m conquering my fears in more ways than one this week – bananas and homemade pastry!  If only Christian Bale would drop by we could go for the hat trick. Anyway, I had a little flick through Good Cooking for Everyone whilst I was waiting for my pastry to  chill and there seemed to be a lot fewer recipes containing bananas than I remembered.

Here is what was listed:

Listed Banana Recipes

The Listed Banana Recipes…

However, my eagle eye soon discovered out the recipes Mary Meredith tried to hide.  So, today, allow me to present the Banana File of Shame (and a really, really, good pie recipe)!

Mary Meredith seems to have had quite the predilection for bananas and bacon as they feature in three recipes.  I had no idea this was a thing but Niki Sengit gives the combination a stamp of approval in her Flavour Thesaurus (one of my favourite food books) so I guess it must be.  Like Mary, Niki also gives a recipe for Bacon Wrapped Bananas.  However it is the cheese sauce in Mary Meredith’s recipe that moves it from what Niki calls “fun”  to what I call “Ewww”!

Bacon and Banana Corkscrews

Then there are Bacon, Kidney and Banana Kebabs.  I have never cooked with, or even knowingly eaten, kidneys.  And after reading the second sentence in this recipe which made me gag, it will probably stay that way!  The faint of stomach may want to skip recipe.

Bacon, Banana and Kidney Kebabs 001

Bacon, Banana and Kidney Kebabs

Kidney, Bacon and Banana Kebabs

There is also a sneaky use of bananas in the Sunrise Breakfast.  I initially thought the things on the serving platter with the tomatoes were sausages.  But who ever heard of people eating sausages for breakfast?  Crumbed bananas make far more sense.  If you’re insane.

Sunrise Breakfast

Sunrise Breakfast

Mind you, I’m obviously a bit slow because I made the same mistake with the Sunday Chicken which also features bananas cunningly disguised as sausages.

Sunday Chicken

Sunday Chicken

Another combination I would never have thought of but Niki assures me that breaded chicken with banana was served on the Titanic  and features in F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel Tender is the Night!  Mary Meredith also features chicken and bananas in her recipe for Stuffed Boned Chicken.

I would have included the pages on how to bone a chicken.  Unfortunately, the 13-year-old boy whose sense of humour I stole was snickering so hard at the phrase “boning a chicken” that I had to let it go.

Stuffed Boned Chicken

Stuffed Boned Chicken

Mary is also not afraid to take food from other climes and destroy them with the inappropriate inclusion of the banana.

A recipe called Flamenco Rice should invoke Spain. It should bring up images  of a glamorous Spanish woman, holding the edge of her brightly coloured ruffled dress and twirling, or clicking her castanets to the tune of a classical guitar.  Or, at the very least,  Paella.

Fried eggs and fried bananas  on a bed of rice served with tomato sauce is not flamenco.  It’s not even the Macarena.

flamenco 001

France also does not fair well.  Bananas as an accompaniment to Fondue?  No thanks.

Fabulous copper fondue pot though!

Fondue Bourguignonne

Fondue Bourguignonne

Finally, the hidden gem in the shape of a Rhubarb and Banana Pie.  This was awesome!

I made a few small changes to the recipe as given.  I wanted a really short, almost a shortbread, crust so I used the Almond Sweetcrust Pastry in Alan Campion and Michelle Curtis’ In The Kitchen instead of that suggested by Mary. If you are scared of large quantities of butter look away now.

Pastry ingredients

Pastry ingredients

I mastered the pastry only to discover my pie dish had disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle that hovers over my house.  But, in the spirit of keep calm and carry on, I crossed my fingers and rolled the pastry into a soufflé dish.

Souffle Dish Pie!

Souffle Dish Pie!

Rhubarb and Banana Pie Ingredients

Rhubarb and Banana Pie Ingredients

I added 1 teaspoon of Orange Flower Water into the mix before I loaded it into the Pie Crust.  I love the mix of rhubarb and orange!

Banana and Rhubarb Pie ingredients loaded into crust

Banana and Rhubarb Pie ingredients loaded into crust

The pie was fabulous, the flavours worked beautifully together and the pastry was light and crisp. I kept my rhubarb and my banana relatively chunky which made for an interesting mix – one mouthful would be heavily rhubarb in flavour, the next would be almost entirely banana.  If you wanted less sharply defined flavours, you could cook the rhubarb to soften it, then mash be bananas in.

I may be biased but I think mine looks pretty good, despite the use of a soufflé dish!!!

Mary's Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Mary’s Rhubarb and Banana Pie

My Rhubarb and Banana Pie

My Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Rhubarb and Banana Pie Recipe

Almond Sweetcrust Pastry

Slice of Rhubarb and Banana Pie

Slice of Rhubarb and Banana Pie

They say the best way to get rid of your phobias it to face them.  So, this week I’m going to be spending a lot of time looking at pictures of Christian Bale on the internet.

Bale /Batman

Bale /Batman

And no, it’s not pervy.  It’s therapy!

Enjoy whatever catches your eye this week.

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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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