Month: April 2016

Cherry Beer Margarita – My Way

Dear readers…you have no idea of the indignities I sometimes have to suffer to bring you this. 

But first, let me tell you how my recipe for Cherry Beer Margaritas recipe came about.  A little while ago, I was pottering around on Pinterest and I found several recipes for Cherry Beer Margaritas. Happy Days, I thought and began a clicking frenzy.  Only, not one of these recipes was what I expected.  I thought that these would be Cherry Beer Margaritas….i.e. margaritas made from Belgian Cherry Beer.  Instead, they were all beer margaritas with some sort of cherry flavouring. 

I could not find a Cherry Beer Margarita the way I envisaged it for love or money. And so I decided to make one.

Cherry Beer Margaritas

First problem.  I thought I would just run down to my local bottle shop and pick up some cherry beer and make me some margaritas.  Uh uh.  Not so speedy there, Gonzales. 

Cherry Beer Margaritas3

They had Ginger Beer, Mango Beer, Lychee Beer, Chilli Beer, about a billion flavours of Cider and Perry but no Cherry Beer.  This was repeated everywhere.  I actually shelved the idea for several months simply because I could not find Cherry Beer anywhere. 

That changed on the weekend.  But not without a cost.

Cherry Beer Margaritas5

I finally tracked down the one bottle shop in Melbourne that sells Belgian Cherry Beer. 

I asked for two bottles but they were on a very high shelf so the shopkeeper needed to climb up a ladder to get them.  Whilst he was climbing he started telling me that they were getting more, different cherry beers in a few weeks.  He rattled off some names. 

Cherry Beer

“I used to drink a Cherry Beer…but it wasn’t either of those”

“Was it Belle Vue?”

“Yes!  That’s the one”.

He said “That was a while ago”. 

I had totally lost interest by then and was looking round the shop to see what else I could buy.  “Yeah, I guess”

Cherry Beer Margaritas2

“Wow….was a REALLY long time ago”  The dude was giving me a look that quite clearly said “Would you like a pension card and a zimmer frame to go with your two beers, Granny?”

 “I beg your pardon what?” I asked him, giving him my best death stare and resisting the urge to kick that ladder right out from under him. 

“Erm…nothing.  Would you like anything else with that?”

How about one of these?

Giant Cup

The Cherry Beer Margaritas were everything I wanted them to be. A gorgeous deep red, a great cherry and citrus taste, a good kick of salt and a pleasant hit of booze.  Perfect drinking for a sunny afternoon! 

I used a  mix of vintage merlot salt I bought at Gewurzhaus and sea salt for the glass.  The merlot salt is such a gorgeous colour and looked really pretty on the glass  but any salt would do. 

It’s almost a shame these tasted so good because I won’t be going back to that shop in a hurry. Anyway, I doubt these ancient bones would make the trip! 

Anyone up for a lychee beer margarita?

Cherry Beer Margarita
A delicious cherry beer margarita with a twist - it contains Belgian Cherry Beer!
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Ingredients
  1. 30ml tequila
  2. 30ml lime juice
  3. 30ml triple sec
  4. 250ml Belgian Cherry Beer, I used Floris
To Garnish
  1. Salt, I used a Vintage Merlot Salt but any salt will be fine
  2. Lime circle
  3. Maraschino Cherry
Instructions
  1. Fill your cocktail glass with ice and place in the freezer to chill.
  2. Mix the tequila, lime, triple sec together in a large measuring cup.
  3. Remove the glass from the fridge, tip out the ice.
  4. Rub the rim of the glass with lime and roll in the salt.
  5. Pour the tequila mix into the glass and top with the beer.
  6. Garnish with the lime and cherry.
  7. Enjoy!
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Have a fabulous week!

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Spaghetti Eggcetera – 1977 vs 2016

Imagine a room lit only by an overhead light.  Facing each other off across a dining table are 1977’s The A-Z of Cooking and me.  With a flourish worthy of a hot stepping disco move straight out of Saturday Night Fever, the A-Z of Cooking, looking like a young and studly John Travolta  places a dish of pasta onto the table, right into the beam of light. 

“I’m calling it Spaghetti Etcetera” It says, with a sneer worthy of a Sex Pistol flipping the bird to the Queen.

Spaghetti Etcetera

I stare at the pasta.  “Looks good”

“Good it tastes too” says the A-Z of Cooking which has now transformed into Yoda.

“But I will take your Spaghetti Etcetera and top it with an egg.  And I will call it Spaghetti Eggcetera”.

Spaghetti Eggcetera“I’m not  finished with you” says The A_Z of Cooking and slinks away with all the dignity of the King of Rock and Roll, Mr Elvis Presley dying on a toilet.

And that my friends, is how I defeated 1977 in the battle of “Let’s Give a Plate of Pasta The Most Stupid Name Ever”.

Spaghetti Etcetera2

Spaghetti Etcetera is from the Informal Suppers Chapter of The A-Z.  Which is maybe why they chose such a lackadaisical name.  Then again, the other recipes in the chapter aren’t called Pizza with Stuff on it, Pork Whatever or Who Gives A Toss Potato Salad so who knows what the thought behind this name was. 

Regardless of the silly name it is delicious.!

The Etcetera is bacon, black olives, mushrooms, anchovies, onions,garlic and parsley.  Otherwise known as the Magnificent Seven of good things to have with pasta.   This was a really quick and easy weeknight supper- you can make the topping whilst the pasta cooks so you can go from fridge to table in around 20 minutes!   Top with a mix of Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and some chilli flakes, you have a delicious  dish! 

It’s so good –  salty crispy bacon, salty and briny olives, earthy, silky mushrooms, sweet caramelised onions and garlic, fresh and bright parsley with  some umami depth from the anchovies.  Add some bite from the chilli, some more umami and a touch of creaminess from the  Parmesan and you have a dish jam packed full of flavour!

Spaghetti Etcetera3But if you want to take to an entirely new level, why not add an egg and turn it into a Spaghetti Eggcetera?

I used a fried egg but a poached egg would work just as well.  I am also about to experiment with steaming eggs which I think would work really well here too.  Alternatively, if you are runny yolk phobic, you could crack the entire egg into the hot, drained spaghetti, a la Carbonara, so the heat from the spaghetti cooks the egg. It will taste delicious, but will not look as pretty.  Also don’t read the next sentence.  Come back after the photo for the recipe.

Okay,  now those weirdo’s scared of runny eggs are gone,  can I tell the rest of you that breaking into that yolk and then mixing it through the cheese and bacon and mushrooms is a thing of beauty and has an almost addictive joy to it. 

Spaghetti Eggcetera2

 

Spaghetti Eggcetera
Serves 4
A super tasty, super speedy pasta dish, perfect for a weeknight supper.
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Ingredients
  1. 200g spaghetti
  2. 200g mushrooms, sliced
  3. 2 onions, thinly sliced
  4. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  6. 6 bacon rashers, chopped
  7. 16 black olives, stoned
  8. 4 tbsp parsley, chopped plus more for garnish
  9. 4 eggs
  10. 3 tbsp olive oil,
  11. Parmesan cheese to garnish
  12. Chilli flakes to garnish
Instructions
  1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon, anchovy fillets and onions in the oil until caramelised around ten minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms and parsley, cover and cook for another five minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  4. Whilst the mushrooms are cooking poach or fry your eggs, leaving the egg yolk runny.
  5. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it well, return to the pan and stir through the bacon and mushroom.
  6. Serve onto four plates, top with the egg
  7. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, chilli flakes and fresh parsley.
  8. Enjoy.
Notes
  1. Don't worry if you do not like anchovies, they break down leaving absolutely no fishy taste at all.
  2. Runny egg phobics - break your eggs into the drained spaghetti at step 5, just before adding the bacon and mushrooms. The heat from the spaghetti will cook the eggs as you stir the ingredients through.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
I’m skipping the next chapter because it’s Jam and I am not much of a jam eater let alone maker.  Never fear though, I’m not completely ignoring the letter J.  Because coming up sometime in the not too distant future will be a meal – Just For Two.  The selections here are all pretty good – there’s a pepper steak, hamburgers, tuna provencal, sesame chicken and gammon with pineapple and corn sauce.  Who knows where we will land on that.  Stay tuned and have a lovely weekend!

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History Happy Hour – April 15, 1912 – Punch Romaine

“Everyone knows what rockets at sea mean,” said the portly Boston Harbor pilot.

“They mean distress…It means, please come to me because I am  in trouble.  Simple as that.”

“But you see, that’s just my problem. If it is that simple, I’m trying to understand why the ship that The Titanic saw did not come….Is there any reason why the captain would not go to the aid of the distressed ship?”

“No, if he saw them, he must go.  It’s the oldest tradition of the sea.”

The Californian was the closest ship to The Titanic on the night it sank, possibly only 8 miles away.  It was close enough for crew members to see the lights on the sinking ship and the eight distress rockets sent up by The Titanic.  They alerted the Captain.  And, yet, they did not go to help.

This is the story of The Midnight Watch.

Punch Romaine2

The Midnight Watch is a super read. I loved it and I’m sure it is going to rank high in my books of the year. Even though, it is also soooooo frustrating.  Right from the start you know that The Californian did not go to help The Titanic.  And of course, you want to know why.  And at times you want to reach into the book and shake one of the people and yell “Why?  Why didn’t you do something?” WHY?”   Or, as one of the reporters in the book says to Captain Lord of The Californian

“If you’re the only one who can speak, then you must speak more!”

First Class Food on the Titanic
Chocolate Eclairs were served to the First Class Passengers on The Titanic.

The writing is beautiful.  From tales of heroism and gallantry to cowardice and inaction, The Midnight Watch covers the best and worst of human behaviour both in the face of, and following momentous events:

“Because by now we knew the numbers.  Fifty-eight first-class men has found their way into the lifeboats but fifty-three third-class children had not.  It was an almost perfect correlation.  For almost every rich man who lived a poor child had died”

American IceCream
American Ice Cream was on the menu for Second Class Passengers on The Titanic. Passengers in First Class were served French Ice Cream

“What Franklin (Head of The White Star Line) thought of the Captain I couldn’t know, but I did know that if he, Franklin, had been accused of abandoning so many people, the weight of shame would have broken him.  And yet, Lord’s head was upright, he seemed to bear no weight at all”

So, so good.  The Midnight Watch not only brought the story of The Californian but the entire period  to life.  This is the kind of historical fiction that I love; writing that truly transports you to another time and place.  Oh and, if you wiki Captain Lord, he looks EXACTLY how I imagined he would!  

When I read I  see the words as a movie in my head and I think that this would make a fabulous film.  The journalist searching for justice, the proud, flinty Captain; the second officer torn between loyalty and a desire to tell the truth.  It would be amazing. 

Titanic Third Class Food
Third Class passengers on The Titanic were fed hearty, no frills fare. Fresh bread and butter, cold meat, cheese and pickles were part of their menu.

I was initially disappointed with the “answer”  posited by David Dunn as to why Lord and The Californian did not go to the aid of The Titanic.  Although perfectly plausible, It felt to me like an anti-climax; such a little reason for such an appalling consequence.  But then I realised – pretty much any answer would have been disappointing.  Because the only acceptable answer to the question of “Why didn’t you save the 1500 people who died that night?”  would have been “Because we were too busy saving 1501 people elsewhere”.  

Nonetheless a totally brilliant read.

Punch Romaine3Punch Romaine was served To First Class passengers on The Titanic as a palate cleanser between the first and second courses on the fateful night of April 14th.  It is a white wine, rum and champagne cocktail served over…wait for it…. a mound of crushed ice.  Which is surely worth it’s own line in Alanis Morisette’s Ironic.  Don’tcha think?  

On a total tangent, Romaine was one of the names my parents had picked out for me before I was born.  Can you imagine a more foodie name than Romaine Fryer?  Then again, Taryn was bad enough growing up, can you imagine going through life with the same name as a lettuce?

You know what else is a lettuce? 

Iceberg. 

Which brings us back to…..doh, oh, oh, oh….or Punch Romaine. 

Punch Romaine

Punch Romaine
Yields 1
A white wine, rum and champagne cocktail that was served to First Class Passengers on the Titanic on the night it sank.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 oz. white rum
  3. 1 oz. white wine
  4. 1⁄2 oz. simple syrup
  5. 1⁄2 oz. lemon juice
  6. 1 oz. fresh orange juice
  7. 2 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
  8. Twist of orange peel, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine egg white, rum, wine, simple syrup, lemon and orange juice.
  2. Shake vigorously until well mixed and frothy.
  3. Mound crushed ice in a large coupe glass, and pour drink around it.
  4. Top with champagne, and garnish with orange peel.
  5. Enjoy
Adapted from http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Punch-Romaine-Cocktail
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Have a wonderful week!

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Safavid Style Beef Pastries

Hey, lovely people of retro food world.  I feel like I have been totally neglecting you recently but believe me, you are not alone.  Top o’ the list of neglect as been myself.  There was a night last week when my dinner consisted of 1 cronut and  2…ok…3 glasses of red wine.  Oh and tears. Which I figure counts for grains, fruit and salt.  That’s three of the food groups isn’t it?  

I have been working all the hours and even though it has been crazy busy, I have also been loving it. 

The tears were because that night I realised I had not only missed a book club meeting but I had missed the emails advising of the book club meeting so I was basically a no show which I hate.  Because that’s just rude. 

Safavid Style Beef Pastries

So, there has not been much cooking done at all.  One of the few things I have made was the Safavid Style Beef Pastries from Persiana.  My plan was to get home by 7, maybe 7:30 and then  make a yoghurt sauce and some salad and the pastries – I had already made the beef mixture –  and we would eat, drink and be merry and marvel over the elaborate pastry swirls and curlicues I had formed.  Except I didn’t get home til closer to 8:30 and those pastries were thrown together with the love and attention that you would normally give a a not very interesting advertisement for something you have no intention of buying.  There was no yoghurt sauce.  There was no salad.  There were some badly formed pastries on a plate with a blob of ketchup mixed with tabasco sauce (me) and HP sauce (him).

BTW, these should have looked like this:

Safavid Style Beef Pastries3

I felt I had done really badly on this meal. So when I asked a very tentative “So what do you think?” I was pretty much bracing myself for critique that contained all the things I was berating myself for, being all the missing parts of the meal I had planned in my head.  And that the pastries looked like they had been made with someone with no opposable thumbs.

“These are great.  I really like them”

“What?”

“Are there more?  Can I have some more?”

Sabrina Ghayour, this is why I love you. 

Speakin’ of which

The Persiana Project

Last time we spoke I had 32 recipes left to cook from Persiana.  Somehow, and I don’t even know how I managed to do this, we are now down to 26. 

I made the Safavid Beef Pastries, the Cod with Relish, the marinated feta, the feta cigars from the marinated feta and….two other things  that I have no recollection of making.  Such is the fugue state of my brain. On the other hand, this challenge is going really well.  And OMG…the marinated feta and the feta cigars?  Delightful, delicious, delovely! 

 

Persiana Marinated Feta

Turkish Feta Pastry CigarsNext on the list to cook is the Chicken and Artichoke salad which I am planning to make tomorrow night.  Then again, I was also planning to make it tonight and ended up having a jaffle made with some leftover curry instead.  This is actually one of the very best ways to eat leftover curry – and a special little trick – instead of just plain butter on the bread, make a little garlic butter.  Leftover heaven!

Curry JaffleInbox Zero

Because I have been so busy my personal inbox is out of control. At last count I had about 2700 unread emails.  My challenge for April is to get this under control i.e. no more than one page of unread.  I have found in the past, the best way to do this is to pick the latest email, search for all from that sender and work through them in a batch.  This is particularly good for anyone who is selling anything as you can do a mass delete and voila that’s 30 emails gone in 10 seconds.  But if anyone has any tips on how to control a crazy inbox, please let me know!

 Watching

I reinstated our Netflix subscription over Easter so I am finally watching Making A Murderer.

I am also binge watching The Librarians…this is almost like someone make a show EXACTLY for me.  It’s set in a library and its about really smart people solving supernatural stuff. Who even knew I had that many buttons that could be hit? 

Reading

The Midnight Watch

Loved it, loved it, loved it.  Best book I have read thus far this year.  And I feel like I have read a lot of good stuff already. Stay tuned.  There will be more. Soon.

The Method

I loved this too.  How is this for a premise?

“Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped . . . Alone . . . Terrified.

Now forget her . . .

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical – calculating – scientific in her plotting. Leaving nothing to chance, she waits . . . for the perfect moment to strike. The Method is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors.”

This week I am hoping for a bit more time away from work to get my life back under control.  I am planning to cook the salad from Persiana as mentioned but also Anthony Bourdain’s Onion Soup Les Halles, and a mixed mushroom strudel. 

Your turn now.  What are you cooking, reading, watching doing this week?  I love to hear from you so let me know.  Also., please send clearing email tips.

Oh and if anyone out there is a jam maker?  I have an A-Z of Cooking Project just for you – get your  1970’s jam on!  Just let me know.

Have a super week!

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