Month: March 2014

Raising the (Salad) Bar Part 1: Cuban Aguacate Salad and Dressing

One of the reasons I love old cookbooks is sometimes you get a little insight in to the lives of the people who owned them previously.  My latest favourite vintage find, Salads For All Seasons is no exception.

S4AS CoverThere is an inscription on the front inner cover that reads “To Ann, Happy Christmas 1985. Love Aunty Ev & Uncle Bill.

S4AS Inscription

Thing is…the book was published in 1971.  I don’t want to judge but I dunno….unless it’s an absolute classic, giving someone a 14 year old cookbook makes me think that some regifting may have been at play here.

I suspect Ann may not have been the favourite niece.

Avocado and Aguacate Dressing
Avocado and Aguacate Dressing

In the foreward Elizabeth Durack Clancy O.B.E. says:

“I commend this book because it is so useful and practical.  “The wilful extravagant maid” can learn some fresh devilment from these pages but the “housewife that’s thrifty” is equally catered for.”

Hmmm…I’m thinking Aunty Ev may have been one of those “thrifty housewives”. And good old Ann, a maid of will and extravagance.  It’s all starting to come together….it certainly explains the parsimony of the Christmas present. And the lack of a term of endearment in the greeting.

Next up, the introduction where author Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us:

“Salad used to something served on Sunday evenings.  It consisted of neatly shredded lettuce, tomato wedges, hard boiled eggs and a slice of cheese.  It was served with the sliced leftovers of the Sunday roast.  Generally it was put straight on the plate, but when there were visitors it was served in a crystal salad bowl.  To make it daring, a blob of mayonnaise was added, but this ‘extra’ was confined to adults”

Personally, I’d be quite happy eating that salad.  But more importantly, who knew mayo was a rite of passage?

Wasabi Leaves
Wasabi Leaves

Then again, have you heard of those Menarche Parties that people are throwing their daughters these days?  I swear, if my parents had ever done anything like that to me, I would still be locked in the bathroom, listening to The Smiths on repeat and  sobbing “You hate me don’t you? You really fucking hate me.”

You can view the full horror by clicking on the link below but just to whet your appetite, included in the party pack provided by…

wait for it…

Menarche Parties R Us…

(I swear you couldn’t make this shit up if you tried)

…are 2 games.  One of these is called “Pin the Ovaries”  and the other is called the   “Puberty Marshmallow Game”.

Pinning ovaries sounds like something a serial killer would do.  And I never want to know what a puberty marshmallow game entails.

For the love of God, bring back the dob of mayo on the Sunday Night Salad. “You’re a woman now Ann, have some Hellman’s”.

“Gee thanks Aunty Ev.  Any chance of some tips on frugality?”

Wow,that was a spectacular digression.  Where we we?  Salad.  Yes.  Right. Ok. Sorry, I’m still  being gobsmacked by the puberty marshmallow game.

Salad.  We’re here to talk about salad.

Cuban Aguacate Salad 2
Cuban Aguacate Salad 2

Back to the Introduction of Salads For All Seasons – after dropping in the comment about the mayo, in a lovely piece of randomness, Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us:

“Of course this has all changed and now nearly everyone owns a wooden salad bowl”

Bear with me while I nip across to Ebay because I am one of the few who own nothing of the sort.  And now I desperately want one.  I really want one that looks like this:

Super 1970's Salad Bowl

But I’m guessing I might have to make do with something a little more mundane.

And it will come in handy because I’m thinking that this could be a long haul.  There is so much that is both amazing and godawful in Salads for All Seasons, that  I think it’s worth spending some time here.

I was going to work through it from start to finish…until I read some of the recipes and paused for a moment of sanity.  So we’ll be kind of working our way through in a fairly random order but skipping some of the truly awful and the just plain boring.

But just to get us off to a to an extravagant and devilish start, put your hot pink dancin’ shoes on, because your tastebuds are going to be doing the Rhumba with this awesome Cuban inspired salad.


Cuban Aguacate Salad and Dressing

Cuban Aguacate Salad and Dressing


  • Salad:
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucmber
  • Handful of leafy Greens (I used Wasabi Leaves just because I found them at the greengrocer and was dying to use them in something - you can use any variety of lettuce, baby kale, spinach, rocket (arugula) etc.
  • Small block of Feta Cheese
  • Chives to garnish
  • Chilli (optional)
  • Toast (optional)
  • Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
  • 1 tsp rum
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  • Make the Dressing:
  • Mix Ingredients in a jar and chill.
  • Salad:
  • Stone the avocado and slice. Place in a bowl and pour the chilled dressing over.
  • Slice the cucmber. I like mine peeled but you can leave the peel on as you prefer.
  • Wash and spin the leaves.
  • Place the leaves into your bowl, add the cucumber and avocado. Toss well.
  • Sprinkle some feta over the top.
  • Garnish with chopped chives and some finely sliced chilli if you like it hot!

Cuban Aguacate Salad
Cuban Aguacate Salad

Who knew you could put rum into salad dressing? It’s certainly efficient – you can toxify and detoxify at the same time!!! And it tastes great!

I”m going to be spending my week, trying not to think about marshmallows! Hopefully Salad dressing liberally dosed with Bacardi will help that  act of forgetting.

Have a fabulous one whatever you do!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Thursday Night Noodles (Spice Peddler)

For me, Thursday is that day….

You know the day…its when all the vegetables that you bought on the weekend start to look a little drab and tired.

Plus you’re starting to run a bit low and really just have bits and pieces left over from the things you have made in the week.  A few beans, a small wedge of cabbage, a measly carrot….

Well here is my new standby which not only gets rid of all of those oddment vegetables  but looks pretty, smells great, takes no time to prepare and tastes fab.u.lous.

World, meet my Thursday Night Noodles.

Thursday Night Noodles With Duck
Thursday Night Noodles With Duck

We had our first taste of these with some delicious confit duck breast but you could equally have a salmon filet, a chicken breast, some prawns, some steak or marinated tofu or you know what?  The noodles are super tasty just as is.

The recipe is one that you can flex as you want.  I had cabbage, carrots, red onion, coriander and snow peas and mushrooms.  But you can throw in any veg you have.

Thursday Night Noodles Ingredients
Thursday Night Noodles Ingredients

I used the super yum Spice Peddler Balinese Spice Rub as my spice blend – the mix of white and black peppercorns, nutmeg, lemongrass, garlic, sugar, turmeric, sesame, onion, chilli,ea sea salt, galangal, ginger and mace is the perfect match for the South East Asian flavours I wanted this dish to have.

Balinese Spice Rub
Balinese Spice Rub

As in all great standby’s you can vary this in as many ways as you have imagination – the mix of veg, the spice blend, the type of noodles, the protein…use what you have; smoke ’em if you got ’em!

Speaking of which…am I ever going to be over this song?  Apparently not.

So summer, so fun!

I’m going to be spending my week shakin’  it like a bad girl; have a great week whatever you do!

Oh I’ve started using the Ziplist recipe software.  It should make it much easier for you to print, save and shop for the tasty delights you find on here.  Use it now and make the noodles tonight…whatever night it is!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Thursday Night Noodles (Spice Peddler)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves 2

Thursday Night Noodles (Spice Peddler)


  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped vegetables. I used cabbage, carrot, snowpeas, onion, mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 heaped tsp Spice Peddler Balinese Spice Rub (or other South East Asian Curry paste or powder.
  • 2 tsp Chilli Jam (optional)
  • 1 packet Hokkien noodles
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • Coriander, lime, chopped peanuts, chopped chilli to garnish
  • 2 Confit duck breast or protein or your choice (optional)


  • Cook your protein of choice. About 10 minutes before that is done begin the noodles.
  • Heat the oil in a wok. Add the spice mix and stir for a minute until fragrant.
  • Add the chilli jam and the vegetables and stir until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Pour boiling water over the noodles to soften.
  • Drain after 5 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk to the vegetables and heat through.
  • Add the noodles and stir through.
  • Place the noodles on the plate, top with your protein.
  • Garnish with coriander, lime peanuts and chilli as desired.

You Know You’re Obsessed by Food When…

You spend 2 days in  Sydney and would rather spend your small amount of free time buying the most  amazing truffled pecorino instead of snapping up pics of Opera Houses, Harbour Bridges etc….

Meet my new best friend….

Truffled Pecorino
Truffled Pecorino

But in the spirit of all  good cooking media…Here’s some pics of our lovely Harbour city I prepared earlier….

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

My cheese and I are about to enjoy a fantabby long weekend.  I’ll keep you posted as to what we get up to!

Have a great week!

I say that,  but given that most of you don’t have a long weekend or truffled pecorino…what I really mean is sucks you be you  do the best you can.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2



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