Month: May 2015

Birthday Cocktail – The Rum 007

Well, hello there, 

So remiss of me, we’ve been celebrating a while now and I haven’t offered you a drink.  Well, my parched friends, this is worth the wait.  Meet the Rum 007!

Rum 007 2This may be my favourite cocktail EVER. 

It’s sooooo good. 

And to think, because of the apricot brandy,  I was a bit scared of making it.  A few years ago I needed to buy some cherry brandy for a cocktail and it was disgusting.  Like that revolting fake cherry cough syrup you had to drink when you were young.  I was a very sickly child and I must have drunk a ton and a half of that stuff and the thought of it still gives me the horrors.

Thankfully, Apricot Brandy is utterly delicious.  Almost too good if you know what  I mean. 

 Of course if anything is called 007, you automatically think of Bond.  I could find no links to this recipe and JB although a Rum Collins apparently features in Thunderball. 

So, when in doubt, make it up…that’s totally a thing isn’t it?

Rum 007

My explanation for the story behind the name has nothing to do with a certain spy.  It’s simply that when you take you first sip, thinking the Apricot Brandy will be disgusting and cloying and sickly sweet, you say “Oh”…then the nutty sweet, tangy pineapply, rummy wonderfulness hits you and you say “OH”.  Then you want six more.  Because it’s THAT good. 

I found this recipe in the Margaret Fulton Cookbook which happens to be the selection current selection over at The Cookbook Guru.  My edition of this book, which incidentally is STILL in print dates from 1977 which is the same year The Spy Who Loved Me was released.

For those of you not familiar with Margaret she is a complete cooking Australian legend. It says so right on the Margaret Fulton stamp.  And Australia Post does not lie. Or make stamps of just anyone.  This lady is the grande dame, the mec plus ultra of Australian cooking.

Margaret Fulton StampAnd, as a heads up, back in the day, she made the most amazing cake, which I will attempt to replicate for my own birthday later in the year. You’ll have to wait til August to see that but, if I can pull it off it will be worth the wait. 

There are many reasons to love Margaret Fulton, but in terms of inventing an awesome cocktail, possibly based on James Bond? 

Nobody does it better!

And because it’s my favorite Bond song, here it is  

 ‘Kay, I’m done here, I have another six  five 007’s to drink….I like to call it quality control.  I couldn’t possibly give you a recipe that I hadn’t personally tested multiple times.

Here’s the recipe.

Rum 007 recipe Enjoy and have a fabulous week! 

Eight days to Pieathalon 2….I can hardly wait!!!

Two weeks still to go in the win a vintage cookbook comp!  Sign up, tell your friends!

Rum 007

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Cucumber Candlestick Canapés

If you read my last post you would have already seen these amazing cucumber candlesticks…now you get to learn how to make them yourself! 

Cucumber Candlesticks
Cucumber Candlesticks

I found the original recipe in, yep, you guessed it, the delight that is Salads For All Seasons by Rosemary Mayne Wilson, because that book never gets old.  Well, technically yes it does but you know what I mean.

I fancy pantsed mine up a bit by adding a little bit of hot sauce into my crab and mayo mix but you could use wasabi or tomato paste or chilli sauce, chopped herbs, chopped up sun-dried tomatoes,  or pretty much any flavouring you liked.  You could also swap out the crab for canned tuna or salmon if that’s how you roll. 

I also added a strip of sun-dried tomato as a flame.

The only bit of making these that was even a little bit difficult was scooping out the flesh of the cucumbers and not having them break.  I don’t have a grapefruit knife as suggested by Rosemary Mayne Wilson so I ended up using a 1/4 teaspoon measure and scooping out a little bit at a time.

Cucumber Candlesticks
Cucumber Candlesticks

These were really tasty and pretty easy to make.  And a pretty cool retro canapé to kick off the celebrations. 

Cucumber Candlesticks2
Cucumber Candlesticks2

 To eat these you can slice them either across into rounds down the middle into half or quarter moons.

But before the recipe,  I thought I might do a quick “retro” spective. I spent some time the other day going through some old posts and one thing became clear.  If there was going to be a sub-sub title for this blog, it would surely have to be “I like round food.  And I really, really like small round food”

May 2012 – Cucumbers Stuffed with Cream Cheese

July 2012 – Moccha Mousse

 July 2012 – Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes

 February 2013 – Barbra Streisands Coffee Ice Cream

 April 2013 – Devilled Chestnuts

April 2013 – Rosé Wine Cup

 May 2013 – Television Eggs

 September 2013 – Ice Cream Muffins

 September 2013 – Vietnamese Inspired Aubergine

 Minh Mang-o Daiquiri

 November 2013 – Kale and Onion Pies, Smoked Salmon Frittata

 December 2013 – Pepperoni Pizza with Boccocini, Olives and Mint

 December 2013 – Cabbage Rolls with Meatballs

 January 2014 – Saffron Risotto Balls

 April 2014 – Ox Eye Eggs

 August 2014  – Autumn Rosti With Smoked Salmon

Autumn RostiAugust 2014- Meatball Sandwich

Umami Meatballs
Umami Meatballs

 November 2014 – Cheesy Eggplant Sandwiches

Eggplant Salami Sandwich 4
Eggplant Salami Sandwich 4

 November 2014 – Chargrilled Aubergines from Persiana

Chargrilled Aubergines
Chargrilled Aubergines

 November 2014 – Paleo Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast Muffins
Breakfast Muffins

December 2014 – Carrot Paprika BallsCucumber Boat 4January 2015 – Meringue Topped Nutella Cupcakes

Meringue Topped Nutella Cake
Meringue Topped Nutella Cake

March 2015  – Orange and Watercress Salad

Watercress and Orange Salad 5
Watercress and Orange Salad 5

 May 2015 – French Apple Tart

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

 And you know what else is round? 

Pie..and I like pie.

I’m not the only one.

Stay tuned, Pieathalon two is coming soon…..

And finally, here’s the recipe for the Cucumber Candlesticks:

Cucumber CandlesticksRemember, third birthday giveaway closes 14 June.  Enter now to win an amazing 1970’s cookbook, and have a fabulous week!

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My 3rd Birthday, Your Present!

3 years old

Remember last year when I forgot to celebrate my blog-irthday?  Not so for Year 3 my friends. This year, not only are we starting early but I bought you a present.  Well one of you…but more about that later.  I have quite the celebration planned, cakes, a cocktail, these lovely cucumber candlestick canapés and maybe even a Spanish take on the Potato Salad Roll…

But first  up, my mum and and I had a lovely Mother’s Day bonding experience last weekend by hitting up some of the local op shops and I got a huge swag of goodies, some of which will be jumping right to the top of the queue in the retro food stakes.

Here are some of the best of the best:

The Complete Avocado Cookbook by Christine Heaslip

I was utterly obsessed with this book as a child.   But until I saw this book in the oppy on the weekend, I had completely forgotten a very strange thing I used to do.  I must have had an idea that avocados were very sophisticated and I remember borrowing this book from the library about a billion times because I would get it home, then I would dress up all my dolls in their best clothes and put them in a circle and put the book in the middle and I would make up menus and they would have avocado based dinner parties where i would flick to a page in the book and tell them what we were eating, and they would each comment on the food. 

Sometimes they didn’t like what they were given in which case they either got put into the corner and missed the next dinner party or I’d twist their heads around 180° and say something like “Maybe you’ll like it better out of the back of head”


Complete Avocado Cookbook
Complete Avocado Cookbook

 I was particularly obsessed by this – The Crusty Stuffed Avocado.  Which is an avocado stuffed with camembert, crumbed, deep fried and served with an almond butter sauce.

Crusty Stuffed Avocado
Crusty Stuffed Avocado

 Maybe I should have used that as a threat for the dolls that didn’t like their meals.  “One more peep out of you Missy and you get the Crusty Stuffed Avocado.  And then we get to play Barbie gets a triple bypass”.

The Egg Cookbook By Peter Russell Clarke.

Back in the day, he was a celebrity chef in the 80’s whose catchcry (is that a word? it looks weird) was “Where’s the cheese?”  To which the answer presumably was “In the hardened arteries of the people who ate the Crusty Stuffed Avocado”. 

Peter Russel Clarke

 Eggs are one of the favourite ingredients here at maison de la retro food so this one was a certainty, despite it contains such dubious delights as a banana and chicken omelette and eggs in oranges.  That one is so dodgy that even Peter Russell Clarke admits his friends don’t like the sound of it.

If you you tube PRC you will see that, instead of his good natured tv personal is he actually a bit of a foul mouthed curmudgeon.  As one myself, it only made me like him more!

The Beautiful Breakfast Book by Judy Willing

Proof that you can judge a book by it’s cover.  And Judy looks more than willing on the cover!  This is going to be GOLD!

The Beautiful Breakfast Book

 International Mixed Drinks

This isn’t strictly vintage but who could resist a book that offers over 300 cocktails by country? Not me that’s for sure.  Mind you, I think they might be drawing a long bow in some of their allocations.  Yeah, we all totally get that the Long Island Ice Tea and the Louisiana Lullaby are from the U.S.A.  However, I searched for cocktails containing Parfait Amour, because I still have a buttload of it left and I found the Purple People Eater and the Love Bite.  These apparently hail from The Seychelles and Mauritius respectively.  Which smacks of allocating sucky cocktails to countries who are too small to declare war on you.

International Mixed DrinksStill, this got me all sorts of excited.  I was thinking we might do a round the world in a cocktail glass feature over the next year…52 countries in 52 weeks?  Or at least until either incipient bankruptcy or alcoholism make their presence felt…..

And finally, this is it folks, over the top

Australian Cooking For Today by Anne Marshall

If today was 1977.

This is a MONSTER of a book, 900 recipes, 450 colour photos.  If you were hit over the head with this book, you would wind up in hospital faster than someone who had eaten a Crusty Stuffed Avocado.

Australian Cooking For Today

And this can be yours!

(Basically because when I got it home, I realised I already had a copy.)

And just in case the cover is not enough to convince you, opening Australian Cooking For Today at a random page reveals this – Giant Gingerbreadmen apparently reenacting the Great Train Robbery and a big ball of sausage and cheese:

Australian Cooking For Today 2You know you want it…

How You Can Win Australian Cooking For Today

There are three ways to win:

  1. If you already follow the blog, follow me on twitter or facebook  or viceversa, drop me a note and I will pop your name into a hat.
  2. If you know of someone who you think would enjoy reading this, send them my way – all new followers will get a chance to win and if they leave me a message giving me your name, you get 5 chances.
  3. Finally, if you already follow me on all media as do all of your friends, neighbours, co-workers, etc or you have none of the above, leave a comment below, answering the very simple question “Where’s the cheese?”  and you will get a number of entries commensurate with how funny I think your entry is.

The T’s, The C’s, The Boring Bits

  • The actual birthday of the blog is 25 May, however  it’s going to take me a bit longer than that to post all the posts on the celebrations so let’s say you have 4 weeks from now to enter.  Entries will close midnight 14 June 2015.
  • You can enter as many times as you like.
  • If you are outside of Australia, I will have to send the book by cheapest mail possible as postage from here is terribly expensive. So you might get it by Christmas.

Maybe once you get it we can do a combined cook or something.  Then again, it’s your present, you can do what you want with it!

Good luck!!!

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Ooh La La – French Apple Flan

Bonjour mes amis!

This French Apple Flan straight from the buffet section of the A-Z of Cooking is délicieux!  I know what you’re thinking.  Two pastry dishes in two weeks?  Why, it’s almost like you’re practicing for something. 

Nudge nudge, wink, wink, say no more.  

French Apple Tart1

French Apple Flan

Truth is, I made this before I knew anything about Pieathalon 2…which is not only a reality but  I have purchased my ingredients and will be baking on the weekend. 

But back to the French Apple Flan.  I was actually a bit wary about making a second pastry dish from the A-Z of Cooking because, lets face it, I was not overly impressed with the pastry from the Date Crunchies. 

But, the buffet section left a LOT to be desired.  There was an Egg Mousse.  But there is also an Egg Mousse in Salads for All Seasons, which quite frankly reads better.  Then there is a Cold Loin of Pork Orientale….except I don’t eat pork.  There is the trout of nightmares:

Image (2)And there is the French Apple Flan:

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

 So, despite that picture not being overly appealing, this was kind of a no-brainer.

And let me say right now,  I can’t imagine any of the other dishes being this good because this was AWESOME.  The pastry was crisp and light and delicious, the filling was lovely – and again not too sweet.  There was only a 50g of sugar for a kilo of apples.  The butter and the lemon and the wine hummed along quietly in the background without taking over.   The filling really just tastes of apples.  But nicer.  Like supercharged apples.  But really, please, despite what the recipe says use butter not that horrible other stuff. 

French Apple Tart 8
French Apple Flan 8

A friend of mine recently made some gorgeous apple roses that she found here and they kind of inspired my topping. 

French Apple Tart 9
French Apple Flan 9

 I also used a blackberry jam for my glaze because that’s what I had and smoke em if you got ’em is how I roll.  It made my glaze quite dark but I kind of liked that ombre effect it created. 

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

And again, the French Apple Flan  was just lovely.  And it was totally delicious on it’s own but if you really want to ramp it up, try it, slightly warm with some dulce de leche ice cream.  And then just float away on a little cloud because you will seriously think you have died and gone to heaven.

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

 So, good.

In my mind this is an apple tart.  So much so that I had to keep going back when writing and changing the word tart to flan.    I am not precisely sure of the difference between a tart and a flan although some albeit rather lazy research leads me to think a flan contains a custard filling.  Which this doesn’t. 

So it’s a tart right?

Whatever you call it. it’s super delicious and made from things you already probably have in your house or can get pretty easily.  I promise you will not regret making this…so go on, do it now!

French Apple Flan1
French Apple Flan1

Au revoir!


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Nova Scotia Eggs, A Confession, Pompeii & Doctor Who

Breakfasts and Brunches start the “B” section of the A-Z of Cooking.  I chose a smoked salmon and egg combo called Nova Scotia Eggs which was, not surprisingly, delicious.  You’d have to go a long way to go wrong with those ingredients. 

Nova Scotia Eggs 1
Nova Scotia Eggs 1

Having said that, the recipe did it’s best to bamboozle me.  Coat the eggs in mayonnaise it says.  It actually had me questioning the word “coat”. Because to cover the eggs completely, which would be the normal translation, seems like a LOT of mayo. Then again it also calls for 8 tablespoon of mayonnaise to cover 4 eggs.  I’ll say it again.  That’s a shit ton of mayo. 

Nova Scotia Eggs - Recipe
Nova Scotia Eggs – Recipe

Who knows, maybe Canadians really, really  like mayo.  Although having said that, I have no idea if the Nova Scotia eggs have any actual connection to Canada. 

I also feel that unless I get something off my chest, I will probably never get to find out.  You see, I am carrying a deep dark secret in relation to Canada.  Well, in relation to two Canadians specifically but I get the feeling they are very community spirited.  Do ill by two of them and the whole country takes against you. Anyhow, I feel that until I publicly right this wrong, I may never be welcome in the land where pines and maples grow, great prairies spread and Lordly rivers flow!

It happened like this.

A few years ago we holidayed on the Amalfi Coast.  Whilst we were there we did a half day tour of Pompeii.  The problem was that we booked ourselves onto a triple language tour.  This meant that for each point of interest the tour guide stopped and spoke about it in Italian, English and Russian.  Then there was time for questions. Of which the Italians and Russians had plenty.  And she would duly translate the answers into the other two languages.  Kudos to the tour guide for being fluent in three languages when sometimes I feel like I struggle with just one, but it meant the  going was SLOW.  So slow that, had there been glaciers in the vicinity, we could have watched them moving and marvelled at their speed compared to our progess through Pompeii.

 Nova Scotia Eggs2

An hour in, and we weren’t even inside the walls.  He was starting to get antsy.  “Come on, this is crap, we’re never going to see anything at this rate.  And don’t you know about it?”  

 I may have slightly bigged up my knowledge of Pompeii.  I had studied it in art class in high school for what seemed like an eternity however, high school was OMG, 20 years ago. 

Excuse me while I have a minor major flip out about that.

OK. I’m back.  I’m centred and TWENTY YEARS?  

Holy Crap. 

Nova Scotia Eggs3
Nova Scotia Eggs3

 Back to Pompeii…anything to blank out the horror….During the next few Russian and Italian sessions we started a muttered debate.  He wanted to leave the group and strike out on our own, armed with our purchased tour book and my…ahem…vast knowledge.  I was equally adamant that we had paid for a guided tour and dammit, a guided tour we would have. 

“Are you guys thinking about ditching this ?” Our conversation was interrupted by a whisper coming from a guy standing beside us.  (We were all being very quiet so as not to disrupt the relentless Italian / Russian chatter).

“Yes” Him.

“No” Me.

“Cos we are too”.   They were a Canadian couple on honeymoon and after a few more murmered exchanges we decided to very quietly leave the group and explore on our own. 

“And we don’t need a guide.  Taryn knows all about it.”

Why is there never a bottomless volcanic crater around when you need to push someone into one?

Nova Scotia Eggs4
Nova Scotia Eggs4

 In retrospect, it was the best thing to do.  The four of us covered an amazing amount of ground and had a great time doing it.  They had a different book to us so we were all sharing what we had and we all got on really well.  Then we reached a point where apparently, back in the day, you could look across and see the cave of the oracle of Cumae.  And something in my brain clicked.

“You know that in the days before Vesuvius erupted the Oracle of Cumae told them to get out of Pompeii.  Twice. But the people were so hedonistic and so consumed by their material possessions that they refused to go”.  All of a sudden, I was Simon Schama.  I knew all about the Oracle and the prophecies and I was not afraid to tell the world.  The lovely Canadian couple were quite impressed.  They even took notes.  And He was impressed.  Dammit, I  was impressing myself.  Who knew I paid that much attention in art history classes?

Nova Scotia Eggs5
Nova Scotia Eggs5

 Much later in the day, when we were on the bus back to where we were staying in Positano, he asked if he could see the guidebooks.  I handed them over and he started pouring over them with an intensity I have rarely seen.

“Whatcha looking for?”

“All that stuff about the Oracle…did you read that in here?”

“I dunno.Maybe…or maybe in the book at the hotel.  Or maybe from memory.  Why are you so interested?”

“I want to see if they say if that’s where they got the idea for the episode of Doctor Who”

Oh. OH. 

 “The w…w…what?”

“You know, the episode of Doctor Who where they go to Pompeii.  And the oracle tells the people to leave.  Twice”.

“I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”

Nova Scotia Eggs5
Nova Scotia Eggs5

Except I kinda, sorta, maybe did.  So, lovely Canadian honeymoon couple from Pompeii, whose names I have completely forgotten specifically and people of Canada in general.  I’m really sorry.  I have a very, very bad feeling that instead of telling you some amazing actual factual history, that I may have just given you the summary of the plot line of an episode of Doctor Who.

In terms of accuracy, it might have been better if I’d just sung that Bastille song to you.

Feel free to update the Canadian Wikipedia entry on Pompeii any day now folks.

And enjoy the Nova Scotia eggs, they are delicious.  I made them for you!

And please let me in if I ever come visit, I really want to try some poutine. 


 Have a great week!  Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2  



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