Month: April 2014

Retro Easter Part 3: The Eggs-travaganza

I solemnly promise that will be my only egg pun for this whole post.

But really, what is Easter about if it’s not about eggs? 

What? 

Well, yeah, ok sure  it’s about Jesus….but eggs are important too. 

This year I made my own chocolate eggs.

Home Made Easter Eggs
Home Made Easter Eggs

And ok, so Adriano Zumbo is not shaking in his shoes just yet but I get some points for trying right?  Can’t this be like Little League and I get a medal just for turning up?

For those of you who don’t know Adriano Zumbo, he is a mad-scientist genius baker (kind of like an Australian Heston Blumenthal but with more macaroons and  fewer snails).  He makes things like this gorgeous V8 cake.

 Zumbo3Think it looks simple?

Think again.

Because when you cut this baby open you get this:

 Layers in the V8Yeah…uh huh and OMG wow!!!

Maybe I’ll try to make that next Easter never.

For anyone brave enough to try, you can get  the recipe by clicking the link below:

Zumbo’s V8 Cake

 And send me photos.  And a piece.

However, ’nuff about  Zumbo, back to my eggs.  They weren’t just any plain old chocolate eggs.  Uh uh.  No way.  

They also had a peanut butter fudge filling:

 Peanut Butter Fudge Filling

 And in true retro style the peanut butter fudge mix has a secret ingredient.

Mashed potato.

Yes, I did just say mashed potato.

And it works surprisingly well.  You can’t taste it but it gives the peanut butter a firmer texture.  Actually the texture is very similar to that of my one of my all time favourite decadent little treats – a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  And when I say “a” Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I of course mean a four twin pack.  

I even had to check that there wasn’t mashed potato in a Reese’s PBC.  There isn’t but there are two things that don’t actually have names, just initials. And you have to love a list that contains non-fat milk and milk fat right next to each other.  So, that would be milk right?

You can check the full list out here.

I’m not going to come over all Michael Pollan about this (guess who finally finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma?) but you know what?  I’m really not sure about eating the stuff that is just initials.  However, whilst we’re on the subject of Mr Pollan, here is what he has to say about TBHQ, one of the ingredients in my possibly formerly beloved peanut butter cups:

But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.

Hmm…compared to lighter fluid, the mashed potato suddenly seems a bit more attractive does it not? And yes ok, you would probably have to eat your own weight in them to get that gram of TBHQ but it was enough to make me walk away from the rack of peanut butter cups today.  Damn you Pollan.

Peanut Butter Fudge Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs with a "secret" ingredient
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 cup peanut butter - I used super crunchy.
  3. 1/2 cup condensed milk
  4. 1 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
  5. 180 gram block of dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Melt 2/3 of the chocolate in a bowl over hot water and coat the moulds with the melted chocolate. You may need to do this more than once to get the desired thickness of chocolate shell.
  2. Place the chopped potato into a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender.
  3. Drain and mash.
  4. Add your condensed milk, just as you would add regular milk to normal mashed potatoes.
  5. Allow this mixture to cool.
  6. Mix in your peanut butter and confectioner's sugar. It should form a fairly thick paste.
  7. Add more condensed milk or confectioner's sugar if required.
  8. Spoon this mixture into the chocolate lined moulds.
  9. Melt the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate. Use this to seal the mixture into the moulds.
  10. Chill until the chocolate hardens then press your eggs out of the moulds.
Notes
  1. You will also need Easter Egg Moulds. I bought mine from a craft shop for around $4.
Adapted from A Bite From The Past
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

 Ox Eye Eggs

In my last post I assumed that everyone would know what Egg in a Hole was. I then further confused the issue by using the name we call these things in my family which is an Ox-Eye egg.

I actually managed to trace back the source of why we call it that. It comes from this book which I inherited from my…hmmm…I’m not sure of our exact relationship…maybe my second cousin? A great cousin? My nana’s sister’s daughter.

My Learn To Cook Book
My Learn To Cook Book

This was possibly my first cook book and the ox-eye eggs have become a family favourite. I will return to this book in due course because the illustrations are awesome but here is the recipe for the original ox-eye eggs:

OxEye Eggs

I prefer to do mine in a frying pan than in the oven as I think it gives you a little more control over your preferred degree of yolk runniness but the choice is yours!

And look at this for an amazing breakfast – seriously, if I’d thrown some cheese on this plate all my five favourite food groups would have been covered – eggs, bacon, avocado, and bread!

Ox Eye Eggs, Bacon and Loaded Guacamole
Ox Eye Eggs, Bacon and Loaded Guacamole

Loading up that toasted circle with a piece of bacon, some guac and some semi-runny yolk?  Probably about as close to heaven as I’m going to get!!!

The Perfect Bite!
The Perfect Bite!

 And that’s Easter 2014 done!

Next time, a double whammy, a retro treat from Salads from All Seasons and a Daring Kitchen Challenge.  I’m 3 months behind on my Daring Kitchen stuff and I’m really nervous about all of them – for very different reasons –  again which we will get to in due course. 

February’s challenge was Salad Dressing – and if you’re thinking that should be fairly impossible to fuck up, well, you haven’t seen the recipe I’m planning on using.

Hint – it too has a secret ingredient, which incidentally has been mentioned in this post. And it’s not mashed potato.  If only.  

I’m loving my extended Easter break.  Hope your week is fabulous whatever you are doing!

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Retro Easter Part 2: Easter Lily Sandwiches

Let’s start with a caveat.

I am perfectly aware that these sandwiches do not resemble Easter Lilies and would, based on their look, be far more appropriately called Calla Lily Sandwiches.  But it’s Easter ok?

And take a look at them.  How pretty are they?  Perfect for an afternoon tea with the girls….

Easter Lily Sandwiches2
Easter Lily sandwiches

And they taste pretty damn good too!!!

There are a few recipes for these lily sandwiches floating about the interwebs. However, most of them use green onions for the stem.  I actually made it that way the first time but was disappointed in the taste.

Chomping on that big stalk made the sandwich way too oniony – I’m pretty sure no one else wants to bite into a huge chunk of onion like that either.  Or suffer the onion breath afterwards. But to use them as decoration only and take them out when it came to eating the sandwich seemed like a waste.  My first thought was to replace the onions with beans but when I went to buy the beans, I was waylaid by some gorgeous baby asparagus spears.

Easter Lily Sandwiches Ingredients
Easter Lily Sandwiches Ingredients

And my version of the Lily Sandwich was born.

If you can only get thicker asparagus you could cut the spears in half down their length.  If asparagus is not available, use beans or celery matchsticks – all of which I think would be preferable to the onion!

Oh and a tip for the frugal.  When you cut the circles out of the bread, don’t throw the rest of the bread out.  Save them to use for what my family call Ox-Eye eggs but is, I believe more commonly called,  Egg in A Hole the next morning!  Any asparagus left over can also be dipped into a runny yolk for a breakfast made in heaven!!!

Leftovers

Oh and if you don’t happen to have a rolling-pin handy, a bottle of your favourite sauv blanc works equally as well.

Impromptu Rolling PinAnd would also be the perfect accompaniment to these sandwiches at your Easter afternoon tea!

Easter Lily Sandwiches3
Easter Lily Sandwiches3.

Easter Lily Sandwiches
Pretty asparagus sandwiches, perfect for a Spring afternoon tea!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch of asparagus
  2. Slices of white bread, as many as you have asparagus spears
  3. 1 tub of cream cheese or a herb and garlic flavoured cream cheese like a Boursin
  4. 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives (omit if using a flavoured cheese)
  5. 1 clove of garlic, crushed (omit if using a flavoured cheese)
  6. 1/2 cup pistachios finely chopped
  7. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  8. Carrots cut into matchsticks, the same number of matchsticks as asparagus spears
  9. Salt & Pepper to Taste
  10. Instructions
Instructions
  1. Tail the asparagus and steam until just tender.
  2. Mix the cream cheese, paprika, nuts, salt and pepper and herbs in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  3. Using a cookie cutter, cutter cut out rounds from bread.
  4. Then with a rolling pin, roll each round so it’s about 1/8 inch thick.
  5. Spread about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture over each bread circle.
  6. Place the carrot stick so it peeps out of the top, and the asparagus spear so it pokes out of the bottom. Fold the bread over to seal.
  7. Voila! You have a lily sandwich.
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
One more Easter Treat to go…stay tuned!

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Retro Easter Part 1 – Cocktail: When Doves Cry

I got a mention on a Christian website the other day. And no, they weren’t damning me to hell for my potty mouth and occasional smutty innuendo.  Far from it.  They actually described this as:

 “the cutest Australian retro site”

And just in case you think I’m fibbing, you can link here.

And shame on you!!!  As if I’m going to lie about the Christians!!!   Let’s just say I’m taking Pascal’s wager on that one. If nothing else.

And…

YES!!!!

I believe for only the second time ever that Philosophy major I undertook at university has come in handy.  I knew all that time and money would be worth it someday.

And consider yourselves lucky I’m not doing a Paleo blog – otherwise the references  to Plato and his cave would be coming thick and fast.

BOOM! – That would be three.

Happy Easter
Happy Easter

But given it is Easter, how about a quote from the modern-day philosopher Bill Hicks:

“A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he ever wants to see a fucking cross? It’s like going up to Jackie Onassis wearing a rifle pendant.”

And farewell to the readers I picked up from the Christian website, it was nice knowing you.

So let’s talk about how I celebrated Easter….

First there were cocktails.  Then sandwiches. Then home made Easter Eggs.

Not one of them normal….because what would be the fun in that?

We’ll get to the others in due course but today is all about the cocktail.

Remember back in February when I did the post with the Parfait Amour?  At the time, I said:

If I was to make this again,  I would add some zing, maybe with some lime juice and also maybe a kick of a flavoursome gin like Hendricks – I think the floral notes in the Hendricks would combine well with the floral notes in the Parfait Amour.”

Well guess what I found?

Simply Divine Ingredients

A cocktail recipe called the Simply Divine which uses Parfair Armour, Gin and Citrus.  And it is AWESOME!!!!  So, so tasty…sweet and tangy and floral and delicious….except for one thing….

JuiceSimply DivineThe citrus mix was a very pretty peachy colour.

The Parfait Amour and gin was purple.

So the result should have been a pretty pinky purple as per the original recipe.

That didn’t happen.

If you were looking for some sexed up paintchart name for the colour this went, you’d probably call it Dove Wing Grey.  Technically, I think the weird browny purple grey colour it turned is called puce.  Unofficially, it prompted the so-called-beloved to ask if I was drinking bong-water.  After I explained that I had no idea of what he spoke of,  we decided that  this is not so much Dove Wing Grey but that this is what it looks like when doves cry.

When Doves Cry

As long as you don’t mind drinking something that looks like the water you washed your socks in, this is a super drink – the citrus and gin really do cut through the sweetness of the Parfait Armour to create a drink that has a really nice balance and is very refreshing.

Simply Divine3

And because I changed the ingredients slightly from the recipe and nothing that colour can be truly called Simply Divine, ladies and gentlemen meet the:

WHEN DOVES CRY

Ingredients

  • 30ml gin – I used Hendricks
  • 30ml Parfait Amour
  • 1 red or pink grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tangerine, juiced

Instructions

  • Fill a glass with ice
  • Add the gin and Parfait Amour
  • Top with the mixed citrus juice
  • Stir.
  • Wince at the colour.
  • Enjoy!

You can mix up the citrus too – lime would be great, as would orange!!!!

I’m going to try to redeem myself in the next post which will feature some of the cutest sandwiches you ever did see.

Oh and I’m now on instagram. You can follow  my feed by clicking on the icon at the top o’ the page.

Hope you had a fabulous Easter!!!!

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Feeling Fruity – Strawberry Habanero Sauce

It’s that time of year where there seems to be a glut of strawberries on the market.  I believe it’s also called super delicious happy yum time – or is that just me?  Whatever you want to call it, my greengrocer was selling five punnets of strawberries for $5 so after doing a little dance of joy (which looks scarily like this):

Snoopy’s Happy Dance

I loaded up my cart.  So,  get out your maraccas and pile some fruit high on your head, today we are channelling our inner Carmen Miranda’s and getting a little bit fruity!

Strawberry Habanero Sauce
Strawberry Habanero Sauce

Speaking of whom, I had always just thought of her as the lady with the fruit on her head.

But wow!!!!!  Who knew she was so amazingly, stunningly gorgeous?

Carmen MirandaSo…how about you all keep channelling the inner.  And I give the outer a shot?

But first, I’ve been obsessed, not only with real fruit but things that look like fruit for some months now.

First came my little Daiso fruit dishes:

Daiso Fruit Dishes
Daiso Fruit Dishes

Then the Mozi Measuring Cups:

Mozi Measuring CupsI am so not using these for measuring!!!  Imagine serving a dip in the Big Pineapple? Awesome!!!!

I’m easily amused aren’t I?

But it does pretty good loaded up with stuff does it not?

StrawberriesPut ’em together and what have you got?

Unfortunately we were all out of bibbidi-bobbidi-boo’s

Strawberry Habanero Sauce IngredientsBut I did manage to make an absolutely knock your socks off Strawberry Habenero Sauce.

Ok, Mum, I know you read this and I know, in your world, a fairy dies every time I swear…

You might want to skip the next few paragraphs.  Come back at the next photo, we’ll be good by then.

Ok – she’s gone now hasn’t she?

For the rest of us.  When I say this sauce is the motherfucking bomb, I honestly mean that you could probably use it to detonate explosives.

This won’t just knock your socks off, it could possibly take your ankles with it. And having said all that, it’s also sweet and herby and so, so, good you’ll be wanting more even whilst you are calling for a fire extinguisher for your taste buds,

It may well be the most fucking hot thing I have ever eaten.  In my life.  And let’s bear in mind my Sri Lankan background.  I’m not alien to hot and spicy.

But, seeing as she’ll be dying to come back…here’s that next photo:

Habaneros

The original recipe called for 12 habaneros and a cup of strawberries.  As you can see, I had 5 habeneros and thought I might have to top it up with a few little scud chillies (totally unnecessary).  I also ended up using nearly 4 punnets of strawberries – that would be 4 times the cup required in the original recipe.

I also had some rosemary, which as you will see, was not at it’s prime.  So I threw a couple of springs of that in too. Waste not, want not right?

Sauce Ingredients with RosemaryAfter about an hour it looked like this:

Strawberry Habanero Sauce
Strawberry Habanero Sauce

Then I threw in a couple of sprigs of tarragon, took it off the heat and let it sit until it cooled.

You can choose to puree this as you see fit.  I put half in the blender and left the other half chunky.

The resulting sauce is capital A awesome even if I do say so myself.  One of the best things is that it actually has a visible three step taste process.

The first taste is the strawberry sweet which is accompanied by a sound of “I thought you said this was..?”

This is followed by a “Mmmm” as the herby notes of the rosemary and tarragon kick in.

The final is a gasp for air and a kind of popping of the eyes as the chili kick hits.

This is when you can act like an absolute arse and say “Oh…you began to say something earlier…..?”

Or just pass the person a glass of water.

Your choice.

I’m going to be spending my week working on special Easter treats for all of you. Stay tuned….these are going to be…I don’t even know the word…retro awesome /possibly revolting

Time will tell.

Hope your week is fabulous.

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Strawberry Habanero Sauce

Strawberry Habanero Sauce

Ingredients

  • 5-12 Habanero Chillies (I used 5, the original recipe called for 12)
  • 4 x 250 punnets strawberries
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Lemon (juice only)
  • 2 Shallots
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of tarragon

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients except tarragon in a pan and cook for or 1 hour.
  • Add tarragon and turn heat off. Leave on hob for 1 hour.
  • Puree in a blender.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/04/13/feeling-fruity-strawberry-habanero-sauce/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First up,

 

 

Raising The Salad Bar Part 2 – Melon Surprise x 2

Shortly after you start reading vintage recipe books, you start becoming attuned to certain words as being signifiers of something truly awful.

Any recipe with the word “Surprise” in it usually falls slam bang into this description.  Believe me, nine times out of ten, the surprise isn’t one of the happy, happy, joy, joy variety.

For instance, my mum used to make something we used to call tuna surprise.  I found this recipe for something very similar in an old magazine.

Tuna & Almond SurpriseIt is sans the potato chip topping which was always the best bit of mum’s tuna surprise but I guess I can forgive that when the Shaun referred to was none other than my main man Shaun Micallef.

What?

I’ve been doing this a couple of years now and I’ve never spoken about my huge girly love crush on this man?  For those of you who do haven’t  had the pleasure, imagine the wit of John Stewart combined with the silver foxiness of George Clooney and you’re in the ball park…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoz6kZsjc3s

Anyway, enough about my obsessions…ok, no, just one more.  It’s my blog, I guess I can do what I want….

Ok, so before this turns into the gushy, girly Shaun Micallef hour…lets talk about Melon Surprise.

Melon Surprise
Melon Surprise

But before we go there can we just stop for a moment and look at my ever so cute pins? Bought at Daiso…how adorable are they?

Melon Surprise2
Melon Surprise2

So the melon had pins in it because…surprise….this ain’t no normal melon!!!!

Because  when you cut it open….look what’s inside!

Melon Surprise 3
Melon Surprise 3

Grapes in Jello folks, grapes in jello!

Hands up who was expecting something really disgusting?  Wait a few minutes….it’s coming.

But in a real surprise, the Melon Surprise turned out to be pretty damn super.  To my taste, more of a dessert than a salad but  still pretty damn good all the same.

Melon Surprise 4
Melon Surprise 4

Ok…so  by the way, both of these recipes come from the “Elegant First Courses” section of Salads For All Seasons in which  Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us that

“The recipes in this section are designed to excite the eye, delight the palate and stimulate the appetite”

And sure, the Melon Surprise does all of these things.  As you can see I tool some liberties with the flavour of jelly and the colour of the grapes.

Melon SurpriseTime did not permit me to peel the grapes.  There is not enough time in the universe to induce me to do that.

Next up, we have Surfer’s Paradise Melon.

Let’s take the ingredients for this individually shall we?

Rockmelons – sure.

Celery – why not?

Grapes…worked in the Melon Surprise.

Apples – I’m getting a bit excited, this is looking Waldorfy…

Mayo…yep, its a Waldorf with Melons.  That sounds great!

But wait…there’s more?

Oh yeah, Walnuts right?  Waldorf with Melons.  Awesome.

What?  What do you mean the final ingredient isn’t walnuts?  How can we have Waldorf with Melons without Walnuts?

Oh, I see the quirky bit, the RMW spin is that it’s not walnuts.  So what is it?  Almonds?  Cashews?  Pistachios?

It’s what?

Yeah…that’s what I thought you said…..

Ok…look, I just want to doublecheck.

You said tuna right?

Like in the fish?

Oh for the love of God….why?

Incidentally, the tuna and fruit combo must be vibing in some retro space because recently the lovely Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts was guesting on Mid Century Menu and made some Tuna Apple Sandwiches. (which you can find here).

In the blurb for this salad RMW says:

“When Australians are overseas, few requests are made for them to contribute to food stalls and fairs…it is assumed that our cuisine is either too dull to be considered or just an offshoot of English cooking…However, if there is a request for an Australian dish, one friend always serves this grand melon appetizer”

I suspect she’s confusing cause and effect…

If anyone turned up to my food stall or fair with a mix of canned tuna and rockmelon, I’d probably ban their whole nation too.

However, here it is….

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad

It looks pretty good doesn’t it?

And truth be told, it was not disgusting.  It had a nice crunch and it was…palatable. I might have actually liked it without the rockmelon…

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad2
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad2

One thing?  If you ever plan on making this, when you mix the rockmelon and tuna together, it looks huge.  There is a mountain of Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad such that you think you’ll  never be able to eat it all.

I had for lunch at around 12:30.  And, believe me, by 5:00pm I was ready to gnaw the leg off my chair.  Because when you think about it, this is what it is:

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad IngredientsThanks company I am not going to name (but hint, their name is pretty clearly displayed in the photo) for only putting half a can of tuna into a can of tuna.  I guess that’s why it’s called light….And the rest of it is just fruit and celery so I guess you know, from a weight loss perspective this is win-win.  You won’t want to eat it but when you do, it probably has all of about 3 calories.

Surfer's Paradise MelonAnd just so I’m not deterring tourism to our lovely Gold Coast, I can almost guarantee that no one in Surfer’s Paradise is eating this…do not let this dissuade you from coming.

By the way, I just signed up for 100 Happy Days and will be regularly tweeting my happy snaps.  You can follow my progress on Twitter or join up.  To find out more, click the link:

http://100happydays.com/

I”m going to spending my week finding things that make me happy. Make yours fabulous whatever you do!

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