Month: December 2014

Nothing But Blue Skies…Happy 2015

Now it’s not often I get all immersive and Heston on you but I really think your experience of this post and the Blue Skies Cocktail would be best achieved if, before you kept on reading, you clicked on the link below and cranked up the volume….

Ok…are we there yet?

You know, it wouldn’t be Retro Foods for Modern Times if we didn’t have a luridly coloured cocktail to end the year so, here ’tis…The Blue Skies…and I defy anyone not to start humming along with The Chairman of The Board….

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see….

Blue Skies 1
Blue Skies 1

 It sure is blue.  And…dontcha think the ice cubes look a little bit like clouds?

If you said no to that.  Have one.   And look at the picture again.  Still no?  Have another.  REALLY crank the Frank up. And have another look.  Repeat. 

It will happen.

I can’t remember if I ever introduced you all to the third canine in our house.  F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Scotty as we like to call him, may be quiet, but much like his namesake, he knows how to sniff out a good cocktail.

Blue Skies 2
Blue Skies 2

 And when he sees one he likes? Oh boy, does he light up!

Bluebirds
Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

BlueSkies 3
BlueSkies 3

 From all of us at La Maison de la Retro Foods to you and all of yours, all the very best for a fantastic 2015…

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on…

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Blue Skies
It's a delicious blue cocktail..with maybe ice that looks like clouds
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Ingredients
  1. 15 ml Blue Curacao
  2. 30 ml gin
  3. juice of 1/2 a lemon
  4. chilled tonic water
  5. ice cubes
  6. 1/2 lemon circle for garnish
Instructions
  1. Fill a martini glass with ice.
  2. Pour over the Blue Curacao, gin and lemon juice.
  3. Top with tonic water.
  4. Garnish with a half moon lemon.
Adapted from Donna Hay
Adapted from Donna Hay
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
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Cranberry Party Salad

If Christmas has an official fruit, to my mind it would have to be the cranberry.  We smother our turkey in it, serve it up with some brie for an oh so yummy canapé and knock it back by the bucketful in Christmas inspired cocktails. 

If retro cooking had an official dish, it would have to be the jellied salad.

And if these two met at a party and got a little tipsy on a few too many festive sherries and had their very own love child?  It would look  a little like this:

Cranberry Party Salad
Cranberry Party Salad

 And you know what?  If there’s any rationale for hiding your love children in the attic?  The Cranberry Party Salad from Salads For All Seasons could well be it. 

I wasn’t the worst thing I made this year.  Oh, no, that is a dead heat tie between the Paleo Muesli and the Paleo bread…

Sprouted Seed Bread
Sprouted Seed Bread

 It wasn’t awful like these, it was just way too sweet for my taste to have as a savoury dish.  It’s a problem I have in general with Cranberry sauce.  Sometimes it feels as if someone snuck up whilst I wasn’t looking and smeared my turkey with jam. To me, the thing, the whole raison d’etre of the cran is the tang.

Cranberry Party Salad2
Cranberry Party Salad2

 I was also a little disappointed that the fruit and nuts and…yep ok…spoilers ahead…celery…floated to the top which became the bottom once I turned it out.  Then I looked at the picture in the book and it looks like her fruit is all chunked at the bottom too.

Original Cranberry Party Salad
Original Cranberry Party Salad

 Also, look at her terracotta water cooler in the background.  And look at my Kris Kringle present this year…we do the one where you can steal gifts and believe me, there was nothing coming between me and this baby.  Sadly, I stole it off one of the nicest people in the world.  And she really wanted it because she had stolen it from one of the boys.  Caitlin, if you read this, I’m sorrynotsorry. 

Kris Kringle 2014
Kris Kringle 2014

 I am seriously a couple of oddly placed copper moulds away from having that retro kitchen!!!  That woman also has weirdly large man hands like me too.  And that blue salad?  Will be made. I promise.  I have to see how that particular combination of ingredients becomes blue…we will find out together in 2015.   I may even wear a badly fitting blue dress and have my water cooler in the background for some happysnaps.

Cranberry Party Salad Crackers
Cranberry Party Salad Crackers

Rosemary says this is to be served with light meats and poultry.  But how?  You have to remember that this type of dish is most definitely not in any kind of ancestral memory I have.  Well, having said that, I did ask my mother WEEKS ago to give me the recipe for a salmon and jello type thing she used to make.  Which, I have STILL not got.  Someone’s game needs to be lifted….

Given the spread between chunky at the bottom and clear at the top, it seemed sensible to slice it.  To my mind that just looked way too weird on the plate.  In the end, I treated it like a cranberry sauce and ate it on crackers with ham and cheese.

Cranberry Party Salad and Cheese
Cranberry Party Salad and Cheese

 

Cranberry Party Salad and Ham
Cranberry Party Salad and Ham

 Huh…it doesn’t look too bad in the photos and, in all honesty, this wasn’t awful….just waaaaaayyyy to sweet for my taste.  And I tarted it up by adding fresh cranberries into the mix….

Leave this one with me.  I’m going to ponder it over the next 12 months and next year, I’m going to bring you the best cranberry party salad ever!!!

Cranberry Party Salad Recipe
Cranberry Party Salad Recipe

Any suggestions, you know where to send ’em.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

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Festive Duck Salad & Oscar’s Story

 A few of the recipes in Salads For All Seasons have odd names that have little bearing on the contents.  Take the Sportsman’s Saturday Salad I made a few weeks ago.  This one however is exactly what it says on the box.  With it’s gorgeous shades of green and red, it’s very festive.   It’s duck.  And it’s salad.

And it’s deeeelicious!!!

Festive Duck Salad2
Festive Duck Salad2

 I have a weird issue with duck.  I love to eat it.  Really love to eat it.  But I find it very hard to cook correctly.  I also have an issue in that we live very close to a lake.  The ducks there are so tame; when they see you coming they come racing all the way across the lake because you might have food for them.  Which we never do.  Because we already have two walking, barking dustbins that are more than ready to consume any scraps. But seeing them and particularly the ever so cute ducklings in Spring does make me feel a bit guilty about eating them.  Also I’m sure I heard somewhere that ducks mate for life and it always makes me sad that somewhere out there is a lonely duck who has lost the love of it’s life and will spend the rest of his or her life alone.

Ok, so now that I’ve put you off eating my yummy salad, let’s talk about something else for a while so we forget the lonely ducks.  

Oscar also has a complicated relationship with the birds on the lake.  The swans more than the ducks though. A swan at Williamstown beach had a go at Lulu when she was younger.  She keeps her distance.  He is just fascinated….
Oscar & The Swans 2 And now feels like a good time to tell you the Oscar  story because it is our personal Christmas miracle.

December 2012, I was working at a place that I hated and was day by day destroying my will to live.  Seriously.  One of the few days of joy in those last 6 months was that, as a team, we worked with the RSPCA on Santa Paws.  Santa Paws is a fabulous initiative where people bring in their pets for a photo with Santa that then gets printed onto Christmas cards, keyrings etc.  It’s pretty cool.  And not just dogs, people were bringing in goats and kittens and goldfish.  It was awesome. 

After our shift finished I asked if I could go have a look in the kennels. There was a very cute beagle but it was going to Beagle rescue the next day.  In the next cage was a big lolloping gangly boy who came running over and as soon as I patted him fell over for a belly rub.  And he was lovely and an incredibly weird combination of a Greyhound and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Which seems like a combination that doesn’t work however you play it.  

But there he was.

Oscar Sleeping
Oscar Sleeping

And then I read the sign on his cage.  It said something like “I have been here for nearly 100 days and lots of people have looked at me; then they leave with their new puppy.  I just want a home with a family who loves me as much as I will love them.” 

OMG, it makes me cry even now. 

The poor little fucker was two years old and it was his third time at the RSPCA.  He had been born there; the last owners had brought him back because they could no longer afford to feed him.  We also strongly suspect he has been massively ill-treated because even now, he will cringe at any loud noise, like a door slamming for the wind, he is pretty much scared of his own shadow.

So I went home and Mark was “So how was it,  did you have a great time?”

And I started to tell him.  And I got as far as  “There was a dog and he had a sign…” and then I cried.  For hours.  And when he could finally get the story out of me, he cried.  And then he sighed and said  “So, when do we go get him?” Bear in mind at this time, we were living in a one bedroom apartment, and we already had one dog.  A second dog was also going to be a stretch and a real life changer, and not in a good way,  for us. But we reasoned, it would only be a couple of months until we moved into the house we were building so we all had a bit more room to breathe.  That couple of months turned out  to be nearly a year….

OscarBut who could resist that face? 

The next morning we took Lulu and we went to get him.  Our get-out card was that if Lulu hated him he couldn’t  come.  She is so bossy that we couldn’t have another dog that challenged her authority and fought with her all the time. 

So we drove for an hour in a huge rainstorm where you couldn’t even see ten metres in front of the car and I was really scared driving in such bad weather but I did it because I was so happy that we could take him home.  When we got there he came running up but then he turned away.  He was really disinterested in us – as if he was sick of investing in people who weren’t going to take him.

Mark liked him and Lulu didn’t kill him.  So it was pretty much a done deal that we were taking him. 

Until they told us that we couldn’t. 

Lulu and Oscar Front Door
Lulu and Oscar Front Door

Their  dog psychologist had deemed he was food possessive and could not be in a house with another dog. 

We argued and argued the point.  We said Lulu is such a dominant dog she would NEVER let anyone come between her and her food but they stood firm.  We could not take him. 

I cried all the way home. 

Oscar Lulu 2
Oscar Lulu 2

 About four days later, I got a call from the RSPCA.  “Are you the girl who wanted to buy Thor?” Oh, yeh, his former name was Thor….we didn’t want a dog called Thor so we renamed him.    Anyway, yes that was me.  “Well the psychologist has reevaluated him.  He’s  all yours.”

Two years on,  I can’t imagine life without him.  He is the sweetest, most gentle, most affectionate boy in the world.  With an increasing cheekiness as his confidence grows. He knows this is his home and I hope he knows we will never abandon him.  I am confident we have given him the best life he has ever had.  We love him to death and, yes, the sign was true, he absolutely loves us in return. 

If you’re wondering why so many of the photos show Osky sleeping or in some type of bed, it’s because greyhounds are surprisingly, incredibly lazy.  He and Lulu get walked for about an hour every day and we are lucky enough to have an off leash park close by where, ideally, he can run with another dog. Ten minutes of flat out running during the walk and that’s him done for the day.  He’ll snooze for most of the rest of the day, waking up only to eat.  And there’s always time for a cuddle…

Oscar Cuddles

And then, it’s time for a bit more snoozing….

Oscar in his PJ's
Oscar in his PJ’s

We might be good to get back to the salad now.  The original recipe is here if you want it. I wasn’t taken by the idea of orange and egg so I omitted the egg and added some cranberries to my version.  Also, I used homemade mayo, also from Salads from All Seasons but you can use store bought if you wish.  Having said that, this one is super easy and tasty! 

I cooked my duck according to the Gordon Ramsay recipe here and it worked pretty well.  It was certainly the most successful I have been with duck. 

 

Festive Duck Salad RecipeMayonnaise

Festive Duck Salad
Festive Duck Salad

You could also make this with some leftover turkey post-Christmas.  It will lack some of the richness of the duck but will still be pretty good!  

I”m going to try to get one more post in before the big day but just in case life gets in the way, Merry Christmas to you all from me and a special Christmas Angel. 

We both hope it’s fabulous.

Oscar Christmas
Oscar Christmas

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Festive Duck Salad
It's a festive duck salad!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup diced cooked duck
  2. 1/2 cup sliced celery
  3. zest from one orange
  4. 1 orange, peeled and cut into segments, all pith removed
  5. 1 cup rocket (arugula)
  6. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  7. 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  8. 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  9. handful of black olives
  10. handful of cranberries
Instructions
  1. Mix the mayonnaise, orange zest, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Mix the duck, rocket, celery and orange.
  3. When ready to serve sprinkle with olives and cranberries and top with mayonnaise.
Adapted from Salad for All Seasons - Rosemary Mayne Wilson
Adapted from Salad for All Seasons - Rosemary Mayne Wilson
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

 

 

 

 

Christmas Comes Early

Onion  LotusYou might be wondering what the flipping heck that monstrosity in  the photo above is.  Don’t worry, we’re not eating it.  You may also be wondering why the flipping heck I’ve suddenly gone all British.  No idea gov, lawksamercy, love a duck, what’s all this then? 

And, I’m done.  This is what happens when I watch My Fair Lady and Oliver in the same day.  It’s the same reason I can’t watch medical shows.  I get symptoms.  Seriously.  A few years ago we were watching, I can’t even remember the show, maybe RPA, maybe Grey’s, whatever.  The topic was the teenage basketball player who got bone cancer in his leg.  During the ad break I got up to go the bathroom.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m going for a pee,” Because I’m classy like that.

“Why are you limping?”

Well duh….in my  mind at that moment I was a 17 year old athlete with leg cancer. Of course I was limping.  

 Huh?  How on earth did I get there? 

We were meant to be talking about the hideous thing in the photo above.  And below just to refresh your memory.

Onion  LotusThis is a coloured onion waterlily.  And it is my  early Christmas gift to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere. Because Rosemary Mayne Wilson says that these :

Look exotic for parties and are useful in wintertime if flowers are unavailable.

They are also useful if you want your whole dining room to smell of raw onions .  As I know so many of you do.  Merry Christmas  north of the Equator.  Don’t even bother to thank me.  You’re more than welcome.

And seeing as we are in the Christmas spirit, I thought I might give some special Salads For All Seasons gifts to a few of my favourite people.

First up is Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts. Earlier this year, Erica made this:

http://retrorecipe.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/bacon-tomato-soup-sandwich/

So she is not averse to awful soup recipes.  So, Erica, Buzz, kids.  Merry Christmas and please accept my gift to you of New Year’s Eve Dressing.  I really hope you make this.  And I hope you don’t hunt me down and kill me later.  Enjoy!

New Year's Eve Dressing

Next up, my favourite and yours, the fantastic,  fantabulous, Yinzerella.  Now you all know that The Yinz is fond of both some lamb curry and a lot of jello.  So, to the lovely and adorable Yinzerella I give the Curried Lamb Mould:

 Curried Lamb Mould

And just because I can’t imagine anyone else ever being ballsy enough to cook and eat this, I also give her this Quick Tuna Salad.  May the road rise with you Yinz, hopefully not as quickly as your stomach will after making this….

Quick Tuna SaladMy next gift is for anyone who wants to take up the challenge.  Your Christmas present will be my forever esteem because, you have gone where angels fear to tread.  Please someone make this and let me know if it truly is as disgusting as it reads….

moulded baked bean salad

 

There will be some good  festive recipes from Salad for All Seasons coming up…stay tuned and have a fab week!

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Sportsman’s Saturday Salad

Sportsman's Saturday Salad1

Great name huh? It just kinda rolls off the tongue.  Sportsman’s Saturday Salad. I have no idea why it is called that; but the name instils visions of mad hungry footballers coming home after a match demanding to be fed.  This is a relatively hearty salad with beans providing the bulk and salami and eggs providing the protein. I guess it is kind of a man salad….even though I tried to make it as pretty as poss.

Sportsman's Saturday Salad1
Sportsman’s Saturday Salad1

This gem comes from…huh…where else?  Rosemary Mayne Wilson’s Salad’s for All Seasons.  And it’s good.  Really good! 

He had a couple of mates coming over to do….things…in the garden pertaining to retaining walls and welding and digging post holes. Maybe.  I’m pretty sure it was something like that.  Whenever they started talking my brain did that thing they do in the Snoopy cartoons when the teachers talk….

I may have even started snoring at a few points. But anyway, there were, if not exactly sportsmen in my house at least some semblance of burly-ish men and they not only ate this salad, they wolfed it. I also pretty much ate my own weight of it so it is by no means limited to sportsmen. 

I did make it on a Saturday but believe me, this would be good any day of the week!

Sportsman's Saturday Salad2
Sportsman’s Saturday Salad2

Here is the original recipe and below you will find my tweaked version.

 Sportsman's Saturday Salad recipejpgCapsicums repeat on me so I always sub something else into recipes containing them. In this instance it was chopped cherry tomatoes.
I also subbed in 5 bean mix for the kidney beans because that’s what I had in my cupboard.
And I happened to have some of the saffron yoghurt left over from when I made the super delicious eggplant dish from Perisana so I used that instead of mayo. You have to waste not, want not with the saffron, that stuff’s exxy!

Sportsmans Saturday Salad
Sportsmans Saturday Salad

Because I am obsessed with finger food, I made mine into bite size portions but you could also make a big salad as per the original.

This is great, quick, easy tasty and I thought it looked pretty as well.

And remember, it’s not just for Sportsmen.  Or Saturdays.  It’s barely even salad.  It is really badly named.  But delicious!

Try it!

And have a fabulous week.

And let me know if you have any food you think is incorrectly named!

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Sportsman's Saturday Salad
A delicious and hearty salad but definitely not just for sportsmen or Saturdays!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 450g salami (I used hot Hungarian) cut into cubes about the size of your little fingernail.
  2. 2 cans of 5 bean mix
  3. 3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
  4. 1 cup diced celery
  5. 20 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  6. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  7. 20 baby cos (romaine) leaves
  8. Chopped Parsley to garnish
Saffron Yogurt
  1. 1 pinch of saffron, ground to a powder in a mortar and pestle
  2. 1 tbsp boiling water
  3. 125ml (4.5oz) Greek Yogurt
  4. 1 tbsp garlic oil
  5. Salt and Pepper
For the Saffron Yogurt
  1. Pour the boiling water over the ground saffron.
  2. Leave to infuse for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Then, pour the cooled saffron water into the yoghurt.
  4. Add the garlic oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.
For the Salad
  1. Mix together the salami, 5 bean mix, eggs, celery tomatoes and mayo.
  2. Chill for an hour.
  3. When ready to serve, pile a large spoonful of salad mix onto each lettuce leaf.
  4. Drizzle with the saffron yogurt.
  5. Sprinkle with the parsley
  6. Enjoy!
Adapted from Salads For All Seasons by Rosemary Mayne-Wilson / Persiana Sabrina Ghayour
Adapted from Salads For All Seasons by Rosemary Mayne-Wilson / Persiana Sabrina Ghayour
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
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