Month: July 2016

Cowboys, Caviar, Casseroles and Cocktails

Dear readers

I had such high hopes for this post.  Then they were totally dashed by a twist of fate that…well…I guess if I’d seen it coming it wouldn’t be a twist would it?  But I’m jumping ahead of myself.  First, I was totally delighted when Greg from Recipes4Rebels asked if I would join in a cookalong for Cowboy Day!  This event occurs on the fourth Saturday of July each year and is celebrated all over the world! 

Cowboy Caviar 1Obviously, this is not the fourth Saturday in July, however, as I will be sunning myself on the beach at Sanur in Bali that day, with Greg’s blessing I am posting my ventures into Cowboy Cookin’ early!  And it’s a three course meal y’all. (Because 1 that’s how cowboy’s talk and 2 cocktails are a course aren’t they?  This one is almost a meal!  But again, getting ahead of myself!)

So now onto my foiled grand plans.  My idea was that I would find a cocktail called a Bali Cowboy – possibly a more tropical version of this cowboy cocktail and I would make it for my post and then, on the day itself, I would tweet another picture of me in Bali with with my Bali Cowboy and it would in a glass as big as my head and it would be blue and loaded with umbrellas and pineapple wedges and all the other tropical cocktail paraphenalia. 

Cowboy Caviar 2A quick google soon showed me that there is such a thing as a Bali Cowboy.  It is NOT a cocktail.  Turns out that a Bali Cowboy is a male prostitute who hangs around Kuta Beach willing to sell his services to any rich (ie all) Western women who care to pay for them. So, whilst I’m not 100% ruling out a photo of me with a Bali Cowboy on Cowboy Day, the likelihood of it happening has dropped significantly!

So, new ideas had to be found.  Starting with some caviar.  Because we’re classy cowboys!  It’s Cowboy Caviar of courseCowboy Caviar 4Where has this salad / dip been all my life?  If this is what cowboys eat, then I want to be a cowboy.  It’s all kinds of beans and corn and tomatoes and avocado . Truly delicious!  I loved this! 

So, for the second course, I went straight to the top.  And by that I mean Mr John Wayne himself.

John wayne casserole recipeTurns out The Duke and I share a love of eggs, cheese and chillies.  Now, just one thing about the John Wayne casserole…. To my mind, when you combine egg yolks to beaten egg whites with other stuff, in this instance cheese and chilli and you them put that in an oven and cook until it’s all puffed up and golden, that’s not so much a casserole as a soufflé. 

You be the judge:

John wayne casserole1I’ll sit quietly over here and let my case speak for itself. 

By the way, cooking this for an hour would be way too much.  You are seeing about 35 minutes and I think it was over.  I would cook this…half an hour max.  Also, the tomato didn’t do much.  I would actually leave it out and cook this for 20 minutes total. 

John Wayne casserole2The soufflé casserole was good but I think I was so blown away by the Cowboy Caviar that it kind of paled by comparison.  I will definitely make it again though!

John Wayne casserole3And now for my grand Cowboy finale, I am turning to to person who started all of this, yep, Greg.  This cocktail /dessert  is A-MAZING!  So, so good.  Cowboys and cowgirls, can I present, the Giant Martini! 

Giant Martini2There is no other word for this but absolutely divine! The giant in the Giant Martini doesn’t refer t to it’s size (but you could scale it up very easily)  but to the fact that it was created on the set of Giant by Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson.

Git along little doggie, this cocktail is all mine!

Giant MartiniAnd you too!

Giant Martini3jpgAh yes, Greg’s site on the PC, a cocktail in front of me and The A-Z of Cooking behind it.  Just a regular day round these parts!

Many, many thanks to Greg, this was so much fun!  Thank you so much for including me!  I always say this but you hear so much about the internet being a a horrible vicious place, I am always delighted and totally honoured to make new friends, like Greg, on here. 

Ok, I’ve gotta go, 5:30am start tomorrow!  But I’m loving and leaving you with some some super rhinestone cowboy singing!

Find out all about the Cowboy Day Cook A Long here.  Hopefully my attempts will inspire you to bigger and better things on the day!

The recipe for Cowboy Caviar I used came from Cookie and Kate.

The Giant Martini recipe is here.

Kiss me and smile for me, I’ll be back here in a couple of weeks but if you can’t smile without me, I’ll be tweeting and instagramming from Bali throughout.

Loving you, leaving you, now!

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K is for Lasagne?

Hanging around?  Nothing to do but frown?  Rainy days and Mondays getting you down?

What you need to cheer you up body and soul my friends is some comfort food.  And the best comfort food in existence is home-made lasagne. It MUST be home-made!  The horrible facsimile that is food court  / take away lasagne ( you know the one – ten layers of pasta with only a layer of a thin tomato sauce separating them, with maybe a tablespoon of meat in the entire dish, no bechamel to speak of, a glut of cheap and nasty Parmesan on top and a pool of oil at the bottom – will only further deepen your despondency and ennui with the world). 

Lasagne al forno4jpg

No, what you need to soothe your soul is a  rich meat ragu, lots of cheese, oodles of bechamel and for a really retro kick, curly lasagne noodles.  Hallelujah and praise the angels.  THAT lasagne is heaven in a baking dish.  And if it doesn’t put a glint in your eye and a spring in your step, then you’re dead already!

Lasagne al forno2I have a Garfield like love of lasagne but an equally strong aversion to making it. Here’s why

  • Usually, by the time I have made the ragu, I’m either tired or hungry (or both) so I turn it into a Bolognese.
  • Lasagne is  a mofo of a thing to make – half a day at least, and that’s if you multitask!
  • The fussiest eater in the world does not eat anything with white sauce so no bechamel for him
  • You cannot make lasagne for one.  Or two.  It’s a four person dish at an absolute minimum.
  • Even my love of lasagne does not equal eating it everyday for a week. 

Lasagne al forno3So I don’t feel I am wrong in saying that the last time I made lasagne was probably in the early noughties.  So I  was excited to see that the very first recipe in the K section of The A-Z of Cooking (1977) was for lasagne. The time had certainly come for me to make it again and even more, I was delighted to discover why it was listed under K and not L of Lasagne or P for Pasta.  Are you ready?

  • K is for Kitchen Aids
  • A freezer is a kitchen aid
  • Lasagne freezes like a dream!  Who knew?

Lasagne al fornoSo, without further ado, here’s the recipe.  I made some minor changes, instead of water in the ragu I added equal parts of beef stock and red wine. And also cooked the lasagne, then cut it into individual servings, wrapped them up and froze them.  They can then be heated in an oven or microwave for lunch or a no fuss supper.

Lasagne RecipeNow you have the recipe, why no make and freeze some lasagne –  because you know that a rainy day or Monday will come around all too soon!

Hope you are having a great week!

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Rothko Rarebit

This is a Rothko:

Yellow-and-Gold-Mark-Rothko-1956-e1404491464866And this is the Rothko Rarebit:

Rothko RarebitLooking for something quick and delish for breakfast, a lunch or a light supper or any of those meals in between? (I’m eyeballing you brinner.)

Have only one piece of bread in the house and can’t decide if you want egg on toast or grilled cheese?

Have only ten minutes to make it?

Well, with the Rothko Rarebit you can it all!  And with  – crispy toast, melty cheese, runny yolk….you might not be able to hang it on your wall but it is a work of culinary art!

And it comes with it’s very own round of toast for dunking!

Rothko Rarebit2I found the  recipe for Rothko Rarebit in Posh Eggs by Louise Hagger and it is has quickly become one of my go to meals for…well just about any time of day really!

Posh Eggs

The  hardest thing about cooking the Rothko Rarebit is getting the timing right.  Too long and your yolk is solid – not a bad thing in itself but that oozy egg yolk is A-MAZING!  Too short and your white is uncooked which, in my opinion is gross!  I had a play around with the timings to suit my oven and grill but start with what is given below and see how you go!

Also, if you can’t be bothered making the rarebit, potted cheese is a lovely substitute.  There is some beer in the original recipe – it’s only a tiny bit so should not cause any ill effects if you are having this for breakfast.  However, if you are at all worried by this, sub in some cream. 

Rothko Rarebit
A quick and delicious combination of grilled cheese and egg on toast which is a work of art on a plate.
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For The Garlic Toast
  1. 2 thick slices of bread
  2. 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  3. 10g butter, softened plus an additional 5 grams
For The Rarebit
  1. 1 egg yolk
  2. 1 tsp Hot English Mustard
  3. 70g finely grated mature Cheddar
  4. 1 tbsp beer
  5. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  6. dash of Tabasco
For The Rarebit
  1. Mix the egg yolk, mustard, cheese, beer, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce together in a bowl. Set aside.
For The Toast
  1. Preheat your grill to high.
  2. Mix the crushed garlic with 10g of butter
  3. Butter both sides of the bread with the garlic butter mixture.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat, place the bread in the pan and cook for a minute until the butter down side is golden-brown.
  5. Flip the bread over and toast the other side.
  6. Remove the bread slices from the pan and, using a 5cm round cookie cutter, cut a hole in the centre of each piece of bread.
  7. Set aside the toast holes
  8. Place the bread slices back into the frying pan and place a dab of butter into the centre of each hole.
  9. Allow the butter to melt then crack an egg into each hole.
  10. Leave for 1-2 minutes or until the whites look as if they are halfway set.
  11. Using a fish slice, carefully flip the slices over.
  12. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the white has set.
  13. Transfer to a baking sheet.
  14. Spread the rarebit mixture onto each of the toasts and place under the grill.
  15. Check every 30 seconds.
  16. After the first 30 seconds, add the toast rounds.
  17. After the second 30 seconds flip the toast rounds over if necessary.
  18. Keep checking every 30 seconds until the rarebit is golden, melted and bubbly.
  19. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Posh Eggs by Louise Hagger
Adapted from Posh Eggs by Louise Hagger
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Eeeek.. This time next week I will be in Bali!  I just had a quick sneaky peek at the weather and it’s 29°C there at the moment.  In comparison here, it’s 8°C. I cannot wait to feel the sun on my skin. 

But so  much to do before I go!  I’ve got at least two posts that are screaming to be posted before I leave. I also have a HUGE personal decision to make between now and then, which is kind of taking over all my waking…and sleeping…thoughts. I always feel when bloggers say this, it either means a baby or a book.  Well, it’s neither, just some work decisions.

But this is the level of my distraction.  Last night I made the most delicious meal which was bound for these pages, took all my photos, ate every last crumb and nearly licked the plate it was so good.  A couple of hours later, I went to the pantry for a snack and realised I had left THE most important ingredient totally out of the dish!

Doh!!!!  Facepalm!!!!

Good thing it was delicious, now I have really good reason to make it again!

Rothko Rarebit4Hope your week isn’t too distracting.  Have a good one.  I’ll be back in a couple of days with the next instalment from The A-Z of Cooking!

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