Month: March 2015

New (Old) Book – The A-Z of Cooking (1976)

As much as I have loved Salad’s For All Seasons and there are many, many recipes still to cook from there I felt I was due for a change.  There are only so many salads a girl can take.

A little dig through my pile of vintage cook books revealed this gem – The A-Z of Cooking from Octopus Books, 1976. 

Image (50)Just the cover sent my retro food antenna twitching that this was going to be gold.  Because right from the get-go, there were some mad quirks.  It’s called the A-Z of cooking.  And yet….only Appetizers to Wine are listed.   What, no zucchini, zabaglione or…wait for it, my new favourite food name….zuurkoolstamppot. ( I don’t care what’s in Z…trust me, we’re eating zuurkoolstampot that week!).

The inside cover of The A-Z of cooking tells me:

This is the compulsive “look up and learn’ book, where every cook, because of the original approach of the book, will find something new.  More helpful than a standard cookery book, more enjoyable than a cookery encyclopedia, the book is packed with 190 recipes which have been specially grouped  to give the ideas and situations when you are needing them”

Does anyone else think English may not have been that writer’s first language? 

I’m not going to go into the special groupings yet.  We’ll get to them in due course.

I did however just want to spend this post pointing out a few of the maddest bits of The  A-Z of Cooking right from the get go. 

Let’s start with page 13.  I have never actually screamed with fright when viewing a retro food photo before. 

Until this. 

Welcome To My Nightmare

Oh. My. God.  This thing looks like it wants to kill you.  Don’t be fooled by its supposedly fun little parsley toupé.  This nasty little fucker has got a backbone of prawns and it wants you, and your family, dead.  In the most painful way possible. 

 Image (2)Mango Mousse…Or Is It?

Moving very swiftly away from the psycho-killer trout, we come to page 30 of The A-Z of cooking and a Mango Mousse. 


Anyone care to address the elephant in the room?

 Mango Mousse

Who knew that back in 1976 mangoes and passionfruit were actually the same thing?

Little known fact* for you all.  It was only in 1977, as his first piece of business as newly elected President, that Jimmy Carter deemed that henceforth they would be distinct pieces of tropical fruit. 

*I swear on a stack of wikipedias that this  so-called fact is not something I just made up. 

Good Health…Good Grief!!!

Who remembers the great cucumber shortage of 1976?   No, me either but it is surely the only explanation for this picture of Burghul Salad on p 31. Even worse when you read the recipe and it says it feeds 8. I’m sure everyone enjoyed their half a piece of cucumber. I just hope that fisticuffs didn’t break out over which half of the family got a black olive.

Burghul SaladAnd also….I hate to bring things down to the level of the toilet.  But are little black ovoid shapes really the best garnish for a salad that already looks like kitty litter?

 Expecting The Unexpected

I’ll  leave you with possibly the worse recipe in the book. Filed under U for  “Unexpected Guest” this Chilled Ten Minute Potato Soup sounds utterly revolting.  Although, maybe there is a method to this madness.  Maybe it’s actually a warning. Do not turn up unexpected to the anonymous writer’s house and want a meal.  Because you’ll be given some disgusting concoction made from instant mash and dehydrated onions.  And it will be cold to boot.

Kind of makes the kitty litter salad seem not so bad. 

Chilled Potato Soup

 I think the A-Z of Cooking is going to be a hoot!  Coming soon…Adventurous Appetizers!

Have a great week!


Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2 Related articles


Book Club Update – Slow

It’s been a while so I thought I would give you a little update on how I am getting on with the Tasty Reads Books. 

Slow: Valli Little: August 2014 pick

Slow - Valli Little
Slow – Valli Little

Recipes in book: 60

Recipes marked to cook: 34 38

Cooked to date 12 22

Newly Cooked

p50 Fresh Piccalilli

I did not make the Ham Hock Terrine that this was supposed to accompany but this was one super pickle!!!  So fresh and tasty and zingy.  Piccalilli 2


p60 Roast Chicken With Pan Roasted Romesco

This was delicious!

Roast Chicken With Romesco

 p64 Oven Baked Thai Chicken Curry

Meh…take it or leave it…a solid chicken curry but nothing to write home about.

Oven Baked Chicken Curry
Oven Baked Chicken Curry

 p66 Moroccan Chicken with Olives

 Sorry, I took this photo on the fly during a dinner party.  Not the best quality but this dish was great.  Very tasty and you can pop it in the oven and pretty much forget about it until serving time! Oh,  and in the background you can see the fennel and apple salad from Persiana.

Slow - Moroccan Chicken With Olives
Slow – Moroccan Chicken With Olives

 p70 Massaman Roast Chicken

 I really wanted to cook this in style of the cover (above) but we had a heap of chicken breasts…this was delicious!

Slow - Massaman Curry Roast chicken
Slow – Massaman Curry Roast chicken

  p74 Fish Pie

 OMG.  So good. 

Slow - Fish Pie
Slow – Fish Pie


Slow - Fish Pie2
Slow – Fish Pie2

p76 Green Curry With Smoked Salmon

This was ok.  I  probably would not make it again.  It was a bit too salty with the smoked salmon and the soy and the fish sauce.

Slow - Hot Smoked Salmon Green Curry

 p84 Fish Tagine


Slow - Fish Tagine
Slow – Fish Tagine

 p102 Baked Mushrooms with Pine Nuts & Feta

Absolutely delicous!!!

Slow - Baked Mushrooms with Pine Nuts & Feta

 p124 Deep Fried Brie with Sweet Chilli Sauce

 Slow - Deep Fried Brie

 Of this lot, my top three were the mushrooms, the fish pie and the tagine.  And you know…fried cheese is never  wrong!!! The piccalilli was really good too.

The worst was the smoked salmon curry.  Funny thing was, I don’t think I had it marked as something to cook, however we bought some hot smoked salmon which was on sale so I thought I would give it a go.  I should have stuck to my initial instincts.

 Still To Go

p6 Braised Beef Cheeks With Salsa Verde

p8 Braciola  (you’ll notice I’ve added a few in)

p10 Steak with Wild Mushroom Sauce

 p22 Lamb & Apricot Tagine

p24 Massaman Curry Lamb Shanks

p28 Lamb En Croute

p36 Macaroni Cheese with Truffle Oil

p44 Meatballs with Heavenly Mash

p62 Roast Quail with Split Pea Dhal

p88 Mushroom Soup with Garlic Bread

p92 Cauliflower Cheese Soup

p104 Pumpkin, Goat’s Cheese and Onion Marmalade Jalousie

p106 Twice Baked Souffles

p110 Mushroom & Potato Tarts

p116 Bagna Cauda with Baby Vegetables

p118 Instant Fondue with Roast Vegetables

Sixteen to go.

I’d like to cook them all before this August which will be the 12 month mark.  Technically, that should be easy.  Then again, I also have retro books, Persiana, Healthy Every Day and two Tasty Reads selections I have not even told you about yet!!!  Plus at least one other bloggy project I am keen to get off the ground.  We’ll see…

 Have a great week!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2






Whiskey in The Jar – The Emerald Presse

I was so disappointed with my attempt at an Irish Potato Salad Roll that it drove me to drink. 

Quite luckily as it happened because that particular cab on the road to rack and ruin drove me right up to the Emerald Presse.  And you know, if there’s one other thing the Irish are famous for outside of potatoes, corned beef and cabbage, it’s drinking. And the Emerald Presse  will tickle the tastebuds of even the most fastidious of Fassnidges.

 Emerald Presse1

Emerald Presse1

I’m not normally a whiskey drinker so I was not sure how this would taste.  I liked the idea of the mint, apple and lime even though they seemed a weirdly light combination for what I always think of as being a heavy drink. 

Anyhoo….Put  ’em together and have you got? Not bibbidi-bobbidi-boo but…My new favourite drink!!!!  

Emerald Presse2
Emerald Presse2

The flavours worked really well together.  That little frizzante from the sparkling apple juice also added some lightness to it. In my best Irish accent this was the fooking craic!!!! I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious this is.  You need to make it immediately and come back to me.

Go  on

I’ll still be here when you get back.

Now, take that first sip and “Ohhhhh…..Yeah, sooooooo good” 

Then we’ll have a sneaky second.  Just because that sparkling apple juice isn’t going to sparkle forever.

Emerald Presse3
Emerald Presse3

 The original recipe for this called for 45 ml of Jameson’s.  When I measured this out, it looked like a huge amount of whiskey.  I scaled mine back to around 30mls and found it about right for my taste.  You can scale up or down according to your preference. 

Styling Tip

 If you really wanted your whiskey in a jar, this would look really cute served in mason jars – in which case you probably could use the full  45ml of Jameson’s.


Emerald Presse
Serves 1
A delicious refreshing cocktail to celebrate St Patrick's Day
Write a review
  1. 30ml Jameson Irish Whiskey
  2. Sparkling Apple Juice
  3. 2 sprigs of mint
  4. Half a lime, quartered
  5. Ice
  1. Muddle the mint leaves and the lime quarters in a whiskey glass
  2. Half fill the glass with ice.
  3. Add 30ml of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
  4. Add 90ml of sparkling apple juice.
  5. Top with ice and garnish with another sprig of mint.
  6. Sláinte
  1. Feel free to adjust the quantities of whiskey and apple juice to suit your taste.
  2. *Also, I think this recipe came from Australian Gourmet Traveller, however as it was just a cut out piece of paper, I am not 100% sure. If anyone knows, please let me know and I will attribute authorship accordingly.
Adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller*
Adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller*
Retro Food For Modern Times
 Happy St Patrick’s Day, may the road rise to meet you!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2    

When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling

 I wanted to make something really amazing for St Patrick’s Day and when I say something really amazing what I mean is an Irish Potato Salad Roll. And you all thought I was joking when I said I was going to make the PSR into a thing!!!

So, I found this recipe for an Irish Potato Salad – this baby has potatoes, cabbage and corned beef.  Faith and Begorrah, could you get more stereotypically Irish?

I was so excited I played some Mumford and Sons and did a little impromptu Riverdance around the dining room. 

Irish Potato Salad Roll here I come!!!!

Irish Potato Salad Roll
Irish Potato Salad Roll

 The Luck of The Irish Part 1

 The first problem arrived when I could not find celery seed in either of my two local supermarkets.  Minor Detail.  I have celery salt.  And celery.  How much flavour is the seed going to add anyway? 

 The Luck of The Irish Part 2

 I”m just going to come out and say it.  Corned beef is disgusting.  Maybe I bought the wrong sort of stuff but it said Corned Beef on the tin:

Corned Beef 1The recipe said to cube it, so I assumed it was going to be kind of like Spam i.e. able to be cubed. What I did not expect was this disgusting gelatinous fatty mush which almost made me gag.  There were also big chunks of fat left in the bottom of the can. 

DSC02545And it smelt really bad.

My original plan was to cook the corned beef, onion and cabbage together, then make a kind of chunky mash with the potatoes, mayo and pickle and swiss roll them together and serve it cold. 

Having seen the corned beef cold put me right off though so that plan went out the window. Mine was going to be a warm salad.

The Luck of The Irish Part 3

So, I started cooking my corned beef and onion and….oh, god, this bit did actually make me gag.  There was something weird in the meat.  Initially I thought it was one of those lumps of fat.  Except it didn’t melt. 

It looked like a piece of skin.  This picture does not even convey the disgustingness of this lump of….whatever the fuck it was…

 So, whilst I was dry heaving, the corned beef started to stick to the pan.  So I thought it might be a good idea to throw a glass of wine in there to deglaze the plan. Because wine makes anything better right?

Wrong.  This is how doomed this dish was,  Adding the wine just made a very fatty, milky, winey, even more stinky liquid rise to the top.  This was so incredibly gross it’s kind of making me throw up a little in my mouth just thinking about it.

The Luck of The Irish Part 4

In the end I plated it up by making some chips with the potatoes and making a stack.  Potato, corned beef, potato, mayo and chives, potato, corned beef, mayo and pickles.

Irish Potato Salad Roll2
Irish Potato Salad Roll2

 The Luck of The Irish Part 5

If this was a Hollywood version or even a reality tv show, right about now, I’d saying something along the lines of “You know, when I plated this up, despite all the set backs, despite all the trials and tribulations, this tasted fantastic….best thing I’ve ever eaten”.

Irish Potato Salad Roll 4
Irish Potato Salad Roll 4

 It was nothing like that.

It definitely wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever eaten.  Then again, I ate bugs in Cambodia.  It was the definitely worst thing I’ve eaten this year.  And this is the gift that keeps on giving, not only did it leave a layer of grease in my mouth that survived at least two tooth brushings  but even though I had the extractor fan on for the longest time, the day after I made this, there was still a fug of corned beef and cabbage through my entire house.

Hmm…maybe this really did need the celery seed.

Epic fail.

Sorry people of Ireland. I tried.

And my head told my heart
“Let love grow”
But my heart told my head
“This time no, This time no

 But never fear…just like a benevolent Colin Fassnidge on My Kitchen Rules, I’m giving myself a redemption round. 

 And this time, it’s something not even I can fuck up.   Roll out the barrel of Jameson’s…next up…we’re having an Irish inspired cocktail.  Please let it be fabulous…or you know…just better than this.  Otherwise, I might have to strategically vote myself out….

How do you plan to celebrate St Patrick’s Day? If at all? 

What’s the worst thing you’ve eaten this year? Ever?

What are your thoughts on strategic voting – MKR or anywhere

Have a great week! 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2    

Stuff and Nonsense – March 2015

No retro food today just a random collection of what I’m doing and loving at the moment. I love it when other bloggers do this so I thought I might give it a go. The title for this is inspired by this gorgeous song by Missy Higgins, covering an old Split Enz song which I have just rediscovered on my ipod.

Stuff I’m Listening To

A work mate suggested  the Welcome To Night Vale podcast to me. And I am loving it!!!  Quirky kooky at it’s best!!!


Stuff I’m Reading

I joined a book club!!!  Our book of the month is Us by David Nicholls. I am so excited to read this.  I loved his last book, One Day.  Also a bit scared about the whole book club thing.  First meeting next Monday!

 I have just finished reading this which I loved.  This was one of those books where I just wished I had had the idea to do it.  This was so funny although it did get a bit repetitive at times but this may have been because I read it in pretty much a day.  And like most diets, it left me wanting more!


 I’m loving Flawless Visions take on MKR. Hilarious

So sad that Yinzerella is taking March off. 

Stuff I’m Watching

MKR as mentioned.

I’m loving season 2 of Broadchurch

Stuff I’m Cooking   

I  took a fairly ordinary baked vanilla cheesecake and fancied it up with the addition of some Chambord and a take on Sabrina Ghayour’s Strawberries with Basil Sugar. This was delicious!!!

 Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

Vanilla White Chocolate Cheesecake With Chambord Raspberries and Basil Sugar
Serves 10
Take your next baked cheesecake to the next level by adding some of these Chambord soaked raspberries. Then crank that up even further with Sabrina's basil sugar!
Write a review
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
For The Cheesecake
  1. 125g plain sweet biscuits
  2. 125g gingernut biscuits
  3. 125g melted butter
  4. 60ml cream
  5. 100g white chocolate
  6. 110g castor sugar
  7. 250g mascarpone cheese
  8. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  9. 1 tbsp cornflour
  10. 1 tbsp vanilla
For the Topping
  1. 2 tbsp Chambord
  2. 400g raspberries
  3. 1 1/2 tbsp castor sugar
  4. Good handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
For the Topping
  1. Pour the Chambord over raspberries and leave to macerate.
  2. Put the chopped basil in a mortar with the castor sugar and, using the pestle, grind down the sugar with the mint until the sugar turns green.
For the Cheesecake
  1. Crush the plain biscuits and the gingernuts in your food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the melted butter.
  3. Press biscuit mixture evenly over the base of a 24cm springform pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to slow - 150C.
  5. Place cream and chocolate into a small heavy bottomed pan, stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Beat the cream cheese and caster sugar in a medium bowl until just smooth.
  8. Add the mascarpone.
  9. Beat until combined.
  10. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the chocolate mixture, the vanilla and the cornflour.
  11. Pour this mixture onto the crumb mix.
  12. Bake in a slow oven for about 55 minutes or until just set.
  13. Cool in the oven with the door ajar.
  14. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
  15. When ready to serve, place the Chambord marinated raspberries on top of the cake.
  16. Sprinkle with the basil sugar
  17. Enjoy!
Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour's Strawberry Carpaccio With Basil Sugar
Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour's Strawberry Carpaccio With Basil Sugar
Retro Food For Modern Times
Have a great week.  And beware the hooded figures in the dog park!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2    

Related articles

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
%d bloggers like this: