Month: February 2015

Crespéou (70’s Style Retro Picnic Bling)

In his introduction to the Crespéou in Plenty More, Yotam Ottolenghi says

If I was going to sum up my cooking style in five words, 70’s-style-retro-picnic-bling would not be them”

Huh…Weirdly enough that’s exactly the style of cooking I aspire to. 

Still, with an introduction like that, there was no way I was not making a Crespéou!  I was already thinking about  having a month of  food I have no idea how to pronounce (Kouign Amman anyone?).  Google tells me this is Cresp-ay-oo. And also that it’s from Provence and so-called because the layers look like crepes.  Never say I don’t do the research hard yards for you…

Crespeou5So what is this unpronounceable piece of 70’s style crepe like Retro Picnic Bling?

Well, it’s layers of three differently flavoured omelettes stacked on each other and baked.  One red, one yellow, one green.  Which just goes to show the difference between those classy people of Provence and around here.  We’d be calling it something dumb arse like “Traffic Light” Special. 

Crespéou – Red Layer

Yotam suggests red peppers for this layer.   I used sun-dried-tomatoes because red peppers and I have a love-hate relationship.  Without the love.

Hmm, I have realised in looking at this picture of the red layer that I may have put in fresh coriander rather than ground.  Oops.

Crespeou Red Layer
Crespeou Red Layer

 Still, I think that is one of the benefits of a dish like this.  You can mix up the flavours. I have seen other recipes where people have used, zucchinis, mushrooms, olives, all sorts of things. It could really become a “clean-out-your-fridge” type dish. 

Crespeou Red Layer2Crespéou -Yellow Layer

The yellow layer was intriguing.  I have never used turmeric in an omelette before.  It really works!!!  If I was going to mix this layer up a bit thin crispy discs of pan sautéed potato would be great!

Crespeou Yellow LayerThe trick with this dish is to leave the top of your omelettes much more runny than you would any other omelette.  The idea of this is that when you stack them and bake them the egg will solidify and the layers will stick together.

Crespeou Yellow Layer2
Crespeou Yellow Layer2

Crespéou – Green Layer

Another genius combination – green onions, green chilli, basil, tarragon and cumin!!! Wow!!!  This layer was really perky and fresh!!!

Once you have cooked all your omelettes, stack them up as neatly as possible.  And into the oven they go to cook up that last bit of runny egg.

 Crespeou - Stacked

 Once cooked through, you can eat your Crespéou as is or trim the edges with a sharp knife to be able to see the layers.  I used a small square pan so I cut mine into four cubes…

Crespeou
Crespeou

 These were superb. I had it for lunch I think 3 days running and looked forward to it on day three as much as I did  on day one. 

And I know what you’re all thinking.  Which layer tasted best?  I did separate one of my cubes and ate each later alone.  And they were all really good.  But the combination was a-may-zing!!!!

Yotam Ottolenghi also says of the Crespéou that:

“If there is one recipe that might make me cringe in years to come, it will, for sure be this one”

I say “I love you.  Can you not be so happily gay and be my boyfriend? You could cook me Crespéou and we could go on a picnic in a field in Provence and I could dance around listening to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on a vintage Walkman.  Or…hold your head up high and embrace the Crespéou for the lunchbox saviour that it is.  And I’m sure even better on picnics. Especially picnics in Provence.  With heaps of rosé wine and 1970’s disco music on your vintage Walkman.

Which is fairly redundant –  I  can’t think of ANYTHING that wouldn’t be better on a picnic in Provence with heaps of rosé wine and 1970’s music on your Walkman.  Can you?

Speaking of which…before she was Totally Eclipsed in the Heart Bonnie Tyler was Lost in France which would actually be the perfect musical accompaniment to the Crespéou…

 The full recipe can be found in Plenty More or online here

GlitterPhoto
  Bonnie Tyler being Lost in France is here:

 

 

 

 

Make.  Listen.  Drink lots of rosé and imagine yourself lost in France.

 This week, I’m cooking up some more 70’s Style Retro Picnic Bling courtesy of Jane Grigson!  Have a tres fantastique week what ever you get up to. 

And turn around bright eyes.

And P.S. – I’m totally contemplating the name of this blog to Retro Picnic Bling.  Loving it madly!!!

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Locket’s Savoury & Pimped Up Locket’s Savoury (GF)

Pimped Up Locket's Savoury

One of the best things about 2014  was connecting with other cooks and bloggers and cooking from the same books. I love doing it in person at the Tasty Reads bookclub but it was also so much fun doing the Joan Crawford inspired dinner for Jenny’s book launch.

Locket's Savoury 1
Locket’s Savoury 1

So, I was super excited to find this blog:

https://thecookbookguru.wordpress.com/what-is-the-cookbook-guru/

Which is pretty much all cook-a-longs.  They choose a new book every two months and anyone can cook from the book and post on their own site.  Then, Leah shares what everyone posts on The Cookbook Guru.  What a great idea!!!

The book for January and February is Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.    First published in 1978, this has become a classic.  And very auspicious that I get to start with a book full of retro recipes. 

I was even more excited that there were a whole heap of artichoke recipes because the local continental deli had been having a sale and I bought about a ton of artichokes because they were something insane like 50 cents a can.

Then I read Jane’s advice on

How to choose canned artichokes.

“Don’t”

Huh….Jane apparently doesn’t mince words.  I like her already. But anyway I hightailed it out of artichokes and landed at the very other end of the book at watercress and found this lovely recipe for a very fancy grilled cheese called Locket’s Savoury. 

Locket's Savoury 2
Locket’s Savoury 2

I did have a little giggle when I read the name of this dish.  Back in the day, we used to have a footballer by the name of Lockett nicknamed Plugger because….I have no idea why and have sufficient lack of interest in football to be arsed to Google it.  Anyway, some time before the Grand Final one year (the equiv of the Super Bowl or the FA Cup Final),   Plugger hurt his groin.  And I swear for an inordinately long amount of time,  it seemed like if you picked up a newspaper, turned on the radio or the tv, all you heard about, all people seemed to care about was Plugger’s Groin.  Strangers would approach you on the street and say “So, do you think it will be good for the Granny?”

“What?”

“Plugger’s groin.”

Not since David Beckham made those underwear ads has an entire nation been so obsessed by the state of a football player’s nether regions.  And yes, by the way…we do nickname our Super Bowl/FA Cup etc The Granny. As in a little old lady.  That’s Australia for you. 

So, all that was Lockett’s Unsavoury, let’s turn to the matter at hand – Locket’s Savoury

So simple. So delicious, and just 4 ingredients.

Bread

The original recipe called for white bread.  I used this beautiful seeded ciabatta. Jane’s recipe called for the crusts to be cut off.  I left mine on because I love the taste of the toasted seeds!

Locket's Savoury  - Bread
Locket’s Savoury – Bread

 Watercress

One of my favourite  greens.  I love the peppery taste of it!

Locket's Savoury - Watercress
Locket’s Savoury – Watercress

 Pears

Are probably my least favourite fruit.  Will this recipe redeem them in my mind?

Locket's Savoury - Pear
Locket’s Savoury – Pear

 Stilton.

Mmmmmm…blue cheese. Happy days….

Locket's Savoury - Stilton
Locket’s Savoury – Stilton

 Stilton is apparently the king of cheeses.  Who knew cheese had a royalty.  Who’s the queen?  And more importantly who is the red headed reprobate prince flashing it’s arse and donning a swastika for high jinks? 

I’m betting it’s goats cheese. 

Locket's Savoury3
Locket’s Savoury3

 This was awesome.  It actually made me like pears.  And that’s saying something!
There’s a few more totally awesome watercress recipes in this same book and I have a ton of it left so you may get a few more o’ these before the month is through.  There is definitely one more I have to do. 

Locket's Savoury 4
Locket’s Savoury 4

Here is Jane Grigson’s recipe:

Locket's Savoury RecipeThis was really good. Super tasty, super easy and I wouldn’t change a thing in Jane’s recipe.

Or would I?

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed very unfair that my gluten-free friends missed out on this delight.  

So without further ado, meet the pimped up, gluten-free Locket’s Savoury

Pimped Up Locket's Savoury
Pimped Up Locket’s Savoury

 Basically, scrap the bread, use a slice of pear as the base.  Add your watercress and Stilton.  Throw in some chopped walnuts.  Once done, sprinkle with some chives. 

In some ways this was almost better.  Those pears got all caramelised and…dare I say it, delicious!!! 

I’m so looking forward to doing the Cookbook Guru Cook-a-longs.  And you know what would be even better?  If you all did it too…

If you did want to, you already know the book for the rest of Feb.  March and April is The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert.  My local library has a copy of this. Yours probably does too.  I also got the Jane Grigson book from the library.

But PS..The Locket’s Savoury is the gift that keeps on giving.  Those little bits of blue cheese that slide off as you grill the cheese and go kind of crunchy.  So good to eat later!!!

DSC02463

Have a fabulous week! 

And I would love to know your royal family of cheese!!!

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Pimped Up Locket's Savoury (Gluten Free)
Serves 1
A gluten free version of a delicious watercress, pear and blue cheese recipe from Jane Grigson
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pear
  2. 2 - 4 sprigs of watercress, depending on size
  3. 2-3 slices of Stilton
  4. 4 walnuts chopped
  5. 1 chive, chopped
  6. Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice the pears into six slices, discarding the core. You will have some rounder pieces as well as some more "pear" shaped pieces.
  2. Remove the leaves from the watercress sprigs and place over the pears.
  3. Cover with stilton
  4. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts
  5. Place under a hot grill until cheese is melted and walnuts are toasted.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped chive and black pepper.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can easily increase the quantities for this, I made mine for one because I only had one pear and minimal watercress left.
Adapted from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book
Adapted from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

 

Favourite Tomato Salad

Best Tomato Salad

 

As we approach the day of sickening oversentimentality love, it seems fitting to devote a post to the love apple aka the tomato.  And just to further add to my bah humbug disdain of the day, I thought I would share another one of my dating disasters from the good old days when I was single (and dinosaurs ruled the Earth).  The first which I posted last Valentine’s day can be found here.

 But first, tomatoes…..have to be one of my favorite foods.  And as much as I love the fancy stuff – if you give me two slices of white bread, spread liberally with butter, some slices of tomato, preferably fresh from the garden some salt and pepper….right there you have a little bit of my idea of heaven. 

And speaking of tomato heaven, this salad is one of the best things I have ever eaten. And it’s not just my favourite tomato salad, it is also a mash up of Rosemary Mayne Wilson’s Favourite Tomato Salad and her Superb Blue Cheese Dressing.

Just look at this and tell me it’s not one of the prettiest things you have ever seen? And just to gild that lily?  The dressing contains a hefty dose of blue cheese.  And a liberal splash of sherry for those of you who, much like myself, like to have a little bit o’ booze with….well pretty much anything.

Best Tomato Salad
Best Tomato Salad

So tasty and full of yummy deliciousness.  But as we celebrate the love apple, let’s also take a step back into my dark, deep dating history for another disaster story. 

So, a few years ago, I was dating a  someone  who…seemed pretty normal.  Until.

STRIKE ONE

Best Tomato Salad2
Favourite Tomato Salad2

We were due to meet my mum and her partner for dinner one night.  And we had to park a little bit away from the restaurant. As  we started walking through the car park, he went to spit on the ground.

Favourite Tomato Salad
Favourite Tomato Salad

Which, is pretty disgusting in, and of, itself.  But then came

STRIKE TWO.

Best Tomato Salad3
Best Tomato Salad3

So. He goes to spit on the ground.

Only thing is…he misses.

Misses the ground that is  How you ask?  How can he miss the ground?  Do you live in a land of anti-gravity?

No,  He missed the ground because he spat all over his own shoe.

Feel free to insert massive eyeroll at will.

Bad enough, you’re going to spit on the ground.  That’s uncouth.  Do you need to add uncoordinated onto that as well?

So now we’re half way across the car park. He has a big gob of spit on his right shoe.  Which needs to be gotten rid of pronto because we’re about to meet my parents.

And here comes

STRIKE THREE

Best Tomato Salad4

He chose to get rid of that big gob of spit by lifting up his right leg and wiping it on the back of his jeans on his left leg.

Appalling, I know.  But you haven’t even heard the worst. 

Because  even though I  know that technically there’s no such thing as a

STRIKE FOUR

The worst thing?

Let’s just suppose I had accidentally spat on my own foot…it would never happen but you know…in the realms of  absolute fantasy….

I would have hopped about shrieking like a banshee for….I don’t know, at least a good ten minutes…

“OMG, I’ve spat on my own shoe…what am I going to do?  I need to get it off, how am I going to get it off…where’s the nearest shoe shop? I need to buy new shoes…” etc.

HE did not even break stride. It was like spit, shoe, wipe…all in one fluid motion.  Which only meant one thing….

It wasn’t the first time he had done it.

He was a serial spitter and misser. 

That relationship didn’t last the carpark….

 This tomato salad should become an immediate part of your summer repertoire.  It’s so  damn good!!!

Favorite Tomato Salad

Favorite Tomato Salad 8
Favorite Tomato Salad 8

 Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!  Hope it’s fabulous whatever you do!

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Favourite Tomato Salad
The name says it all. This will become your favorite tomato salad too!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 punnet cherry tomatoes - a mix of colours and shapes adds to the prettiness of this dish
  2. 1 avocado, flesh diced
  3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  4. 1 tbsp chopped herbs - parsley, basil, mint, coriander, chives or celery leaves are all lovely
  5. 50g blue cheese
  6. 2 tbsp hot water
  7. 2 tbsp dry sherry
  8. 1 clove garlic crushed
  9. 3/4 cup sour cream
  10. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Toss the avocado cubes in lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
  2. Halve the cherry tomatoes
  3. Combine the tomatoes and avocado in a bowl.
For the dressing
  1. Mix cheese and hot water, mash to a smooth liquid. Add the other ingredients and blend well.
  2. Chill for at least an hour.
  3. When ready to serve, pour over the tomatoes and avocados.
  4. Sprinkle with the herbs.
Notes
  1. This salad is also great loaded onto thick slices of a crusty toasted bread.
  2. Any leftover dressing can be loaded onto baked potatoes, poured over wedges of lettuce or used as a delicious dip.
Adapted from Salads For All Seasons - Rosemary Maybe Wilson
Adapted from Salads For All Seasons - Rosemary Maybe Wilson
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

 

 

Duck Duck Curry

January may be over but I had to post one last quirky but delicious recipe. And this is a beauty.  You wouldn’t think to look at it that this duck curry is one of my Spice Peddler “Oh no, let’s go crazy” recipes.  But it is. So please join me on a Hop, Step and a Jump around the world as we take a look at this yummy duck curry.

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

 

The Hop – Reunion Island

 So guess what makes this duck curry so kooky?

Well, it’s got duck….duh!!!  And sweet potatoes.  So nothing odd there.  It’s got some sun-dried tomatoes which I have never used in a curry before but a tomato is a tomato right? But you know what else it’s got?  Wait for it…..vanilla beans!

 Who puts vanilla beans in a curry?

Well apparently the people of the island of Reunion do. 

And you know what? 

It works!!!!

The Step – Tahiti

So from the Indian Ocean, we’re going to fasten our seatbelts and stow our tray tables because we’re now off to another tiny island but this time in the French Polynesian part of the Pacific Ocean.

Simon, Tahiti….

 I guess the original recipe would use Madagascan vanilla beans but the Tahitian Vanilla beans which I got from the  team at the Spice Peddlers has a rich fruity, floral, slightly aniseedy flavour which I think combined really well with the vegetables and the ginger in the curry. 

Vanilla Duck Curry - Vegetables
Vanilla Duck Curry – Vegetables

The vanilla flavour here is not overpowering, it is an undertone.  Unless you were told there was vanilla in it you would know there was something there but probably not automatically guess it was vanilla. . As the people of Reunion and Tahiti  may say, it just adds that certain “je ne sais quoi”  to what would otherwise be a pretty standard curry.

Duck and Vanilla Curry2
Duck and Vanilla Curry2

 The Jump – Iran

 I served this with one of the recipes from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour – the Chelo or Persian Basmati Rice. I was a bit disappointed by this as one of my favourite things from Vietnamese cooking is when you have claypot rice and you get those lovely chewy almost burnt bits of rice.  I really wanted my chelo to turn out like that.  Sadly that was not to be.

Mine looked like this:

Persian Basmati Rice2
Persian Basmati Rice2

You can see what it should have looked like here.

Still, I think I’m taking the failure pretty well….

Have a great week! 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Duck and Vanilla Curry
A delicious, slightly spicy duck curry with an unexpected ingredient
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, bean cut into pieces about 1 cm long
  2. 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 4 duck breasts
  5. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 3 medium onion, chopped (4 cups)
  7. 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 cup)
  8. 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
  9. 2 to 3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  10. 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  11. 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  12. 1 whole clove
  13. To garnish (optional)
  14. Chopped peanuts
  15. Chopped coriander
Instructions
  1. Combine the vanilla seeds, curry powder and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Score the duck breasts on the skin side (ie run the knife over the duck skin to create a cross hatch pattern. Do not go through the skin to the actual meat.
  3. Rub the spice mixture on the duck breasts both skin and meat side.
  4. Lay the duck breasts, skin side down, in a dry heavy-based large frying pan and gradually turn up the heat. Fry for five to 10 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown.
  5. Turn the duck breasts over and lightly brown the other side for a couple of minutes, or until they feel slightly springy when pressed.
  6. Remove the duck from the pan.
  7. Add the butter and allow it to melt.
  8. Add the onion; cook for 5 minutes, until it has softened, then add the garlic and ginger. Add the tomato, sweet potato, sun-dried tomatoes and the clove; cook uncovered until sweet potato is just tender then add the duck back to the pan and allow to warm through.
  9. Discard the clove and the pieces of vanilla bean before serving.
  10. Garnish with chopped peanuts and coriander.
Adapted from Traditional Réunionnais recipe via the Washington Post
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
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