The Sherry Cobbler – A Crazy Gold Rush Cocktail

The Sherry Cobbler is an American cocktail probably first made in the 1830’s.  It was hugely popular in its native land but was, also incredibly popular in Melbourne during the Gold rush years, between 1851 and through to the end of the 1860’s .  Gold brought both a vast increase in the population and in the wealth of the population. And where there are miners and money?  There will be booze.

Sherry Cobbler2.jpg (2)

Nowadays, sherry is seen as an old lady’s drink.  However, this was not always the case.  Back in the 1960’s all the cool kids were drinking it. 

Vintage advert in 1960s magazine dated 1964 for DRY SACK Spanish sherry. Image shot 1964. Exact date unknown.And 100 years before them it was the turn of these boys.

MinersDry Sack sounds more like a painful affliction than something I would want to drink so I used a Fino Sherry for my Cobbler but you can use but you can use whatever you have. The Sherry Cobbler consists of Sherry, sugar, fruit and a little sprinkle of nutmeg.

Sherry Cobbler4Now, I can quite easily imagine our 1960’s poolside pleasure seekers enjoying a Sherry Cobbler or two.  But the miners?  Surely not.  Least of all because you would think all the fruit would get stuck in their beards.  But apparently back in the 1850’s it was the most popular mixed drink in the world.

However, those miners were pretty wily.  Is it a pure coincidence that the Sherry Cobbler, according to this article, was the drink that popularised the use of the straw. Or was it just a solution to fruit in beard syndrome?

Sherry Cobbler3But right from the start I promised you crazy and miners sipping sherry through straws is not crazy.  It’s adorable but not crazy. 

So let’s get crazy.  The Sherry Cobbler is poured over crushed ice.  Except back in the day there was no ice in Melbourne.  We are a temperate climate and Melbourne’s first iceplant didn’t open until 1860.  But dammit if those miners didn’t want their Sherry Cobblers served as the Good Lord intended them.  So, ice was imported from America.  Specifically, huge ice cubes were cut from the frozen lakes in Massachusetts, packed in sawdust and shipped to Melbourne to satisfy the Sherry Cobbler yearnings of the miners.

Not crazy enough?  In a land where there was no ice, how common do you think those new fangled devices called straws were?  Pretty damn non-existent apparently.  So how did those quick witted miners get around that little dilemma?

They used pieces of macaroni as straws.

Yep. For real. 

For serious.

Sherry Cobbler5 (2)

Macaroni.

Can you imagine anything more delightful than the five gentlemen above out on a night on the tiles sipping their Sherry Cobblers through macaroni straws?

The Sherry Cobbler is a lovely tipple too.  It would be a great day drink as it’s not too boozy.   And certainly not a drink just for your maiden aunt

Ditch the macaroni straw though.  It was useless. 

Sherry Party (2)

Sherry Cobbler
A classic American cocktail took a turn for the crazy in Mebourne's gold rush years.
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Ingredients
  1. 100g Sherry - I used Fino
  2. Crushed ice - about half a tray of ice blocks
  3. 1 tbsp caster sugar
  4. 3 strawberries, 2 chopped, one left whole for garnish
  5. 1 orange
  6. Nutmeg, to sprinkle
  7. Macaroni (optional)
Instructions
  1. Slice the end off the orange, then slice a round from it to form the garnish. Segment the rest of the orange, removing the pith.
  2. Stir the sherry with the caster sugar until the sugar melts. Add the chopped strawberries and orange segments.
  3. Fill your cup with crushed ice, pour the sherry and fruit mixture over the top.
  4. Garnish with the whole strawberry and orange slice.
  5. Sprinkle some ground nutmeg over the top.
  6. For authenticity, drink through a macaroni straw.
  7. Enjoy!
Adapted from Flavours of Melbourne - Charmaine O'Brien, Wakefield Press, 2008
Adapted from Flavours of Melbourne - Charmaine O'Brien, Wakefield Press, 2008
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Unless otherwise indicated, all the facts in the above about Melbourne, ice, straws and macaroni come from a wonderful book called Flavours of Melbourne by Charmaine O’Brien (Wakefield Press, 2008).  This book is awesome.  There will be more recipes from it for sure.

Any errors or omissions and all the hyperbole are mine alone. 

The weekend’s coming – what are you up to?

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A Not So Speedy Omelette – A RFFMT Recipe Revamp

The  original recipe for a Speedy Omelette comes from the “Unexpected Guest” Chapter of The A-Z of Cooking. Two things, first I’m not a fan of the unexpected guest and would more than likely not feed them at all.  It would be Deliveroo at best. Second, we, me, all of us are up to U…the end of the A-Z is nigh.  Not long to go now….let’s celebrate with an omelette.

In many ways, the chapter on how to feed your  Unexpected Guest is actually a primer on how to punish your unexpected guest because the recipes are almost singularly yecchhhh!!!!  The speedy omelette is by far the best recipe in the chapter but then again the chapter contains these delightful titbits so that’s not saying much.

Appetizer – Chilled Ten Minute Potato Soup

Made from dehydrated onions and Smash.  Served chilled.  Did someone say runny, cold fake mashed potatoes?

Talk about revenge being a dish best served cold.  This is quite clearly a dish for the passive aggressive host.  “Oh, I do so like surprises.  And I hope you do too.  Have some soup”.

I always find ads where something is encouraging you to eat itself kind of  creepy.  Is anthrophomorphic-cannibalism-phobia a thing?  Because I think I have it.  As off-putting as this is, I would still much rather eat Potato Pete’s soup than the ten minute chilled variety.

Main – Storecupboard Casserole

Yippee – more Smash! This time a revolting combination of spaghetti sauce mix, tinned tomatoes, canned ham, canned corn and green pepper. So the only fresh thing is the worst vegetable ever.

The recipe also contains the following sentences:

“Add the ham with some of the jelly from the can.  Don’t add too much jelly or the sauce will be too thin”.

No shit don’t add too much.  You know how much canned ham jelly is too much? 

Any. 

Those three words should not even exist together.  Urgghhhhhh!!!! 

This lady advertising this canned ham looks as miserable as hell. Probably because she’s’ thinking “Not only is “If it were a tomato you could squeeze it” about the dumbest advertising slogan in the entire  world but that can better be sealed correctly.  Because they are not paying me enough to get leaked on with canned ham jelly”.

Then there is:

Make up the mashed potato according to the directions on the packet, but add a little milk so that it will be soft enough to spread.

What texture is it normally?  Rock?  I honestly don’t know.  I had a proper mother who only ever made mashed potatoes out of potatoes.  Let’s just be thankful they didn’t tell you to thin out your fake mashed potatoes with some canned ham jelly.

Wow right?  That’s casserole is not even passive aggressive. It’s had a few too Stellas and is just flat out SCREAMING in the street,  “Don’t ever fucking come to my house without an invitation again.  Because I have canned ham jelly and I’m not afraid to use it”.

 

Dessert – Ice Cream with Jam Sauce.

The first time I typed this I wrote Ice cream with ham sauce.  That is how traumatised I am by the preceding recipe. 

This is actually ok.  Hot jam with a bit of oj.  On ice cream. 

Boring.

But not disgusting. 

Which given the rest of the meal is a huge bonus.

The Original Speedy Omelette

Speedy Omelette recipe

Admittedly, even in it’s original state, this is not as vile as the above recipes.  It probably won’t send your unexpected guests screaming from the building and unfriending you on Facebook.  On the downside, it may also not teach them that turning up unannounced is totally obnoxious. 

he Speedy Omelette Revamp

However, let’s drift into the realm of fantasy and suppose that your uninvited guest is actually someone that doesn’t have you gritting your teeth and wondering if you can put ground glass into their drink.  Maybe it’s that cute guy, you know the one from the bar / cafe / work / gym.  The one with the eyes / smile / butt / six pack.  And you want to do a bit better than the speedy omelette?  Why not try my non-speedy omelette?

Cut a potato into a small dice, heat some oil in a pan and panfry until golden. 

Speedy Omelette2Meantime, lightly steam some asparagus and grate some cheese.

Make your omelette and pile in your filings, reserving the asparagus spears for the garnish.  Warm through so the cheese goes melty, flip and serve!

Speedy Omelette5This will take a little longer to make than the Speedy Omelette above but hey, if he’s that cute why would you not want him hanging around for as long as poss?  Hell, crack open a bottle of wine, Elizabeth David style and make a night of it!

Speedy Omelette6

Not So Speedy Omelette with Potatoes and Asparagus
A delicious modern spin on a 1970's recipe
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large potato peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  2. 1 bunch asparagus
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1 tbsp water
  5. 50g Cheddar cheese, grated
  6. butter or oil for pan
Instructions
  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Drain in a colander and allow to dry completely.
  3. Heat oil or butter in a non-stick pan.
  4. Add the potatoes.
  5. Stir and toss occasionally as they cook.
  6. When they are golden brown on all sides, place on kitchen paper to drain.
  7. Chop the tips of the asparagus off and then slice lengthwise.
  8. Steam over boiling water for 2 minutes
  9. Plunge into cold water and then place on kitchen paper to drain.
  10. Whisk the eggs with the water,salt and pepper.
  11. Melt more butter into the pan the potatoes were cooked in. Cook until it sizzles.
  12. Pour in the egg mixture and tilt the pan so the mixture covers the base.
  13. As the omelette starts to set, loosen the mixture from around the edges and tilt the pan so the liquid egg flows underneath.
  14. Spoon the filling onto the omelette whilst the top is still a bit runny (it will continue to cook after you fold it).
  15. Fold and serve garnished with the asparagus tips.
Notes
  1. If you don't have or don’t like asparagus, sub in mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, ham, rocket or crabmeat. You can also swap out the Cheddar for Gruyere, feta, goat's cheese, mozzarella or your favourite cheese!
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking (1977)
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking (1977)
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

Have a fabulous week.

And remember, if this blog was a tomato, you could squeeze it. 

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Bangers Bolognese – Recipe Remedy

The original recipe for Bangers Bolognese comes from the Time Saving Tips Chapter of The A-Z of Food (1977).  I  wanted to make it purely for the name alone. The British habit of calling sausages bangers is adorable even if the origin  of the name is kind of unsavoury.  According to the ever reliable (ahem) Wikipedia, meat shortages during World War One lead to sausages being made with such a low meat content and such a high water content that they would sometimes explode when cooked.  They were literally bangers!   Best not to ask what actually went into them…..

The A-Z recipe for Bangers Bolognese was kind of gross though.  Chopped up sausages…oops, bangers in a sauce made out of tinned tomato soup. I have an aversion to tinned tomato soup stemming back from school days.  One time (not at band camp)  my school tuck shop ran out of ketchup and instead of buying more, used tinned tomato soup as the condiment for the day.  It was disgusting!  And put me off tinned tomato soup for life!

Bangers Bolognese2

So, I thought, what would happen if I took the idea of Bangers Bolognese but omitted the awful tomato soup component for something a bit more amenable to the modern palate? The result is a recipe remedy which is absolutely delicious!

Bangers Bolognese1I used chorizo for my bangers but feel free to use your favorite sausage.  Without wanting to sound too snooty about it, this is really a recipe where using the highest quality of sausage you can afford will result in a better tasting dish. 

Here’s the original for anyone that cares to eat sausages cooked in tomato soup:

Bangers Bolognese OriginalBefore we get to my tweaked version of Bangers Bolognese, lets take a trip in the way back machine to 1968 when Margaret Fulton had to show the unworldly Australian public how to twirl spaghetti like an urbane Italian.  Beware though, the next set of photos contain both werewolfy hairy arms and super pointy 1960’s nails. 

You have been warned.

Okay, so now you know how to twirl pasta like a pro lets update this beast.  No tomato soup in sight!

Bangers Bolognese
A delicious and time saving take on a traditional spaghetti bolognese, using sausages
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Ingredients
  1. 4 high quality sausages of your choice, the spicier the better
  2. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  5. 1 sprigs of thyme
  6. 1 sprig of rosemary
  7. 1/2 cup red wine
  8. 400g can tomatoes
  9. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  10. 400g spaghetti
  11. Cheese - parmesan is traditional however for extra creaminess, Donna Hay suggests using Buffalo Mozzarella
  12. Parsley and additional chilli flakes to garnish.
Instructions
  1. Remove the casings from the sausages.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the sausages, chilli, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions and garlic are softened.
  3. Add the wine, tomatoes, sugar and herbs.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook for 1/2 and hour or longer until the sauce is reduced.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
  7. Drain well.
  8. Toss the pasta with the bolognese mixture, top with cheese, parsley and chilli flakes.
Adapted from The A-Z of Food & Donna Hay
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Bangers Bolognese 7Have a wonderful week . I’ll be back next time with another recipe remedy from The A-Z of Cooking.

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Tiny Waldorf Salads

Is there a salad both more famous (and more mangled) than the Waldorf Salad?  I doubt it.  And because, pretty much since it’s inception, people have been mucking around with it, I thought I would put my stamp on it.  As I have a predilection for little food, I shrank my Waldorf Salad into individual serving sizes.

Waldorf Salad1Waldorf Salad – History

The Waldorf Salad was first made at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 and was, a huge success.  The original recipe only contained apples, celery and mayonnaise  The grapes and walnuts came later but are now considered integral ingredients.

The Waldorf precedes the other classic “American” salad, the Caesar, by 28 years. 

The Waldorf Salad was also immortalised in an episode of Fawlty Towers.  I wonder if this is the only salad to ever have a sit com episode named after it.  If you have not seen this you must.  It is hilarious.  But here’s a taste!

So, celery, apples, walnuts grapes…in a mayonnaise sauce.  Which is pretty much what mine consisted of. 

Waldorf Salad2So how did they manage to get it so wrong in the ’60’s? 

Well, the top three reasons of what went wrong in the 60’s in general are:

  1. Charlie Manson
  2. Massive amounts of drug taking
  3. Gelatine

Now,Manson may be all kinds of crazy but I don’t think we can blame him for this:

Retro Waldorf via Bon AppetitOr this (even though this is kind of pretty)

california-waldorf-salad-gelatin-mold via bon appetitOr, Good Lord, even this:

Retro Waldorf SaladNope, the blame for that lies squarely with 3).  Possibly with a large dose of 2) thrown in

After those horrors i totally understand why the poor old Waldorf Salad is not nearly as popular today as the Caesar salad. The graphs below show internet interest in the words as search terms. 


Kind of makes me wonder why I am bothering to post on Waldorf when it’s so unpopular.  Next week – Caesar Salad! And hit city!

The thing is, Caesar salad  is often awful and the Waldorf salad tasted good.  It’s crunchy and crisp and sweet and nutty.  Nothing wrong there.  The buttermilk dressing I used adds a little tang without being too cloying.  It’s delicious.  And easy to make.  And healthy.  And it’s fun to wrap up the main ingredients in a lettuce leaf like a salady sang choy bau.

What more do you need?

Go and make one now.  You already know how….it’s celery, apples, walnuts grapes…in a mayonnaise sauce.

Pop it all into a lettuce leaf, wrap it up and enjoy!

Waldorf Salad5

Tiny Waldorf Salads
My take on the classic Waldorf Salad
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Salad Ingredients
  1. 2 red apples cored and thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  3. 16 small butter lettuce or cos leaves
  4. 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  5. 45 g(¼ cup) seedless grapes, halved
  6. 45 g(¼ cup) walnuts, toasted and chopped
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  2. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  4. Salt and pepper
For The Salad
  1. Sprinkle the apple with lemon juice to stop it from browning.
  2. Place the lettuce leaves on a serving platter and top with the apples, celery, grapes and walnuts.
For The Dressing
  1. Mix the buttermilk, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  2. Season to taste.
To Serve
  1. Roll up the lettuce leaves to enclose the filling.
  2. Drizzle with, or dip into the dressing.
  3. Enjoy!
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Have a wonderful week!

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Cheery Cherry Sangria

This post’s name came from the fact that I totally read the name of this recipe incorrectly.  More than once.  I swear, the first four times looked at it I  thought it was called Cheery Sangria.  I even wrote it that way on my “meal” planner.  Cheery Sangria.  It was only when I was writing the ingredients on my shopping list that I paused.  “Oh.  It has cherries in it.  That’s cute, they made a pun.”  Well, it turns out, they didn’t.  But I did.  And we all know how much I love that!  So, technically what we’re drinking today is CHERRY sangria.  But you know what?  It brought a touch of the sun and warmth of Portugal into a totally cold, wet and grey Melbourne winter day so I think Cheery Sangria works just as well!!

Yes, I’m back from holiday.  And determined to make Sangria my drink of choice for this summer. It’s just so good!!! Wine and fruit and a little bit o the hard stuff….it really doesn’t get much better.  Mind you, summer has to come first.  And at the moment, it seems a long time away. 

The best Sangria I had overseas was in Portugal – a teeny cafe in Faro.  Here I am drinking one….

SangriaThe Portuguese,they are a people after my own heart. They have a cherry liqueur called Ginja which is commonly drunk for breakfast.  Speaking of which…when the breakfast buffet contains both Portuguese egg tarts and sparkling wine, I know I have found my people!

Sangria 5

Cheery times!  And cheersy times!!!  But now onto some cherry times.

The cherry sangria I made is pretty hearty.  It has loads of strong, spicy flavours which made it suitable for a cold winter’s day.  I also totally forgot to add the cinnamon stick but that would have only made it even better!  The gorgeous deep red colour is also so pretty and warming.  I also used cherries and sparkling wine to remind me of the Portuguese breakfast drinks of Ginja and cava!

But let’s start with some fruit.  Limes, blood oranges and, of course cherries make for a tasty and colourful combination!

Cherry Sangria2Then add some tequila for a kick, grenadine for sweetness and a teeny taste of Tabasco for spice and muddle the fruit to get some juicy, fruity flavours.  (Pre-muddle is also when the cinnamon should have been added).

Sangria3Top with orange juice and some sparkling red wine…and voila…cherry sangria!

Sangria4Salud!

 

Cherry Sangria
A hearty sangria, perfect for bringing the warmth of Portugal into the coldest winter's day.
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Ingredients
  1. 500ml chilled sparkling shiraz (you can also use non-sparkling shiraz)
  2. 500ml chilled orange juice
  3. 2 tbsp tequila
  4. 2 tbsp grenadine
  5. splash of Tabasco sauce
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 500g cherries
  8. 2 limes, cut into eigths
  9. 2 blood oranges, sliced
  10. Mint leaves to garnish
Instructions
  1. Place the lime wedges and the slices from one of the oranges into your jug. Add half the cherries. Halve the remaning cherries and add them to the rest of the fruit.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick, grenadine, tequila and tabasco
  3. Muddle the fruit to express some of the juices.
  4. Add the orange juice and sparkling shiraz and stir well.
  5. Place a slice of orange and a few mint leaves in each glass and pour the sangria over.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Olé!
Adapted from Australian Table Magazine, December 2001 edition
Adapted from Australian Table Magazine, December 2001 edition
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Sangria6

 

Have a great week! 

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