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Month: November 2016

Potato Almond Balls

When a chapter called Nuts about Nourishment contains a recipe for Deep Fried Mashed Potato Balls, you know it has to be 1977.  And that we are about to delve into The A-Z of Cooking.  Potato Almond Balls.  I was so excited about these, I ate salad for a week to pre-compensate for the delicious calorific overload. 

And then they didn’t work.

The problem was that the egg and almond crust split in many places…and when it did, the mashed potato kind of disintegrated. So in a lot of instances I ended up with the almond crust and not much else.  Where they remained whole, they were totally delicious sprinkled with a bit of smoked paprika and dipped in some of my favorite green sauce.

I’m putting the failure of the balls down to the wrong temperatures.  Either the balls were too cold or too warm or the oil was.  Is it significant that The A-Z of Cooking has no pictures of this dish?  It is possible that their Potato Almond Balls also broke into bits? 

Here’s the recipe for anyone who wants it, I hope you have better luck than me!


To counteract the effect of deep fried potato balls (and because I had no other photos) I thought I would give you all an update on my attempts at the C25K running program.  Today I started week 7 of the program and ran for 25 minutes which was not only the longest time but also the furthest distance I have done so yay me!

Mind you, this is probably a very apt description of both my pace and my style:

Personally, given my new obsession with the ‘My Favorite Murder Podcast,, this might well become my mantra:

And this is probably closer to the truth:;

Next time in The A-Z we are moving onto O for some “Old Fashioned Favourites”.  I was hoping to be done with it by the end of the year but given it is nearly December (how the hell did that happen?) it seems unlikely.  I’m now aiming for end of summer.

Have a fabulous week everyone!

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Inspired by 1989 – Lavender and Sparkling Rosé Mustard

Strike a pose!   Today we are Vogue-ing back to 1989 with part two of our look into the October / November 1989 edition of Vogue Entertaining.  And taking inspiration from the cover, today’s recipes all come from an article called Lavender’s Coup which mostly features those flowers as a key ingredient.  In fact they all did except for one random recipe for strawberry sorbet. 

lavender-sparkling-rose-mustard2My front garden is full of lavender and at the moment it looks glorious!  We are also in no danger of colony collapse disorder here because the garden is also full of bees. Kinda dangerous for me because I am highly allergic to stings  but thus far we are respecting each others’ space. 

lavenderProvençal Leg Of Lamb

This is not so much a recipe as a suggestion by Vogue Entertaining:

“Instead of inserting the usual garlic or rosemary into your leg of lamb before roasting try lavender instead.  Pat about 1 small handful or 2 level tablespoons of dried English Lavender all over the roast.  Season and bake as usual. 

The lavender will not flavour the meat strongly but with a lovely subtle herby taste and the perfume of the lavender will permeate the kitchen from your oven.”

I added some lavender to my usual rosemary and garlic for a roast leg of lamb and the result was divine.  The flavour was exactly as promised however no I think Vogue Entertaining may have been waxing lyrical with the lavender scent permeating the kitchen.  There was precisely none of that.  There was however the equally delightful aroma of roasting lamb so no harm done!

lavender-lambI went slightly Middle Eastern with my sides which were a roasted pumpkin salad with, feta, walnuts and roasted red onion and some sautéed broad beans and mushrooms with a tahini yogurt dressing.  The broad beans were also home-grown just not by me – they came direct from my bosses garden.  

lavender-lamb3Lavender and Sparkling Rosé Mustard

The original recipe for this mustard contained white wine.  I had some sparkling rose in the fridge and decided to use that instead and the result was lovely.  The mustard is both sweet and spicy, the ginger and cloves add depth and warmth, it’s loaded with herbs to keep it light and fresh. 


Slather  this liberally all over your favourite ham sandwich, over a chicken before it goes in for roasting or whip up a Croque Monsieur or use where ever else you would use mustard!


Lavender and Sparkling Rosé Mustard
A delicious and versatile mustard
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  1. 50g yellow mustard seeds
  2. 50g black mustard seeds
  3. 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  4. 1/2 tbsp fresh tarragon
  5. 1//2 tbsp fresh thyme
  6. 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  7. 2 cloves garlic
  8. 2 tsp chopped ginger
  9. 11/2 tbsp honey
  10. 1 tbsp salt
  11. 3/4 cup sparkling rose
  12. 1/3 cup olive oil
  13. 1 tbsp dried English Lavender flowers
  1. Combine the mustard seeds, cloves, tarragon, thyme, parsley, ginger, garlic, honey and salt in a blender.
  2. Process until all the ingredients are finely chopped.
  3. With the motor running, add the sparkling rose and oil.
  4. Remove to a bowl, cover and stand at least 8 hours.
  5. Add the lavender and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  6. If you prefer a smoother mustard, blend a second time.
Adapted from Vogue Entertaining October / November 1989
Adapted from Vogue Entertaining October / November 1989
Retro Food For Modern Times




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Rosy Old Maid

Hey, hey – it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world, which means it’s cocktail time!  And today I am taking a twist on the cucumber and mint gin cocktail called the Old Maid and adding some floral notes to make a gorgeous Rosy Old Maid!

rosy-old-maid1Pretty huh? 

And taking that as our cue, how about we kill this beast of a myth of the Old Maid?

Bachelor has the connotation of someone being footloose and fancy free, a playboy, a man about town.  Old Maid and it’s sister word, spinster have no such positive associations.  Take for instance, this discussion I had with my beloved mother some time before I met the fussiest eater in the world.  I had to pick her up from some function –  church group, art group, book club, some place where I knew not one of her cronies.  And this happened:

 “So when you get there, come in and you meet everyone.  But don’t worry; I’ve told them you’re not a lesbian.”

rosy-old-maid3“Ooooooookayyyyyyyyyy……eeeeeerrrrrmmmmmm…..I guess I’m not a lot of things….any particular reason you chose to share that one?”

“Well.  You’re thirty years old and not married.  I thought they would think there was something wrong with you”.

“Well, they probably still think that.  But now they know I’m not getting any girl action as well as any boy action….you actually made it worse”

“So what should I tell them?”

“Either that I have a genetically inherited obnoxious personality disorder or to mind their own business”.


So, the Rosy Old Maid is pretty as a picture, sexy, sassy, sweet to look at but also with a powerful kick!  This Old Maid is bold and confident This is a drink that knows it’s worth and is comfortable with its place in the world. And that’s the image we want to take with us when we talk about Old Maids in future. 

I used Hendricks in this because it totally matched the rose and cucumber flavours in the cocktail.  If not using Hendricks, I would suggest using an extra drop of rosewater.

Here’s the recipe:

Rosy Old Maid
A delightful rosy pink take on the Old Maid Cocktail
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  1. 2 oz. gin
  2. 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  3. 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  4. 3 cucumber wheels (cut 1/4-inch thick)
  5. 6-7 mint leaves
  6. 2-3 drops rosewater
  7. splash of Grenadine
  8. Sprig of mint and slice of cucumber to garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients (except garnish) into a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake.
  3. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.
Adapted from Imbibe Magazine
Adapted from Imbibe Magazine
Retro Food For Modern Times
 So, come on people, embrace your inner (or outer) Old Maid and have one (or two ) of these in celebration of the wonderful single women in your life!  

rosy-old-maid1Have a great week!

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Turning Japanese – 1989 Japanese Snack Plate

Konichiwa dear people o’ the Internet. 

Today we are exploring the first part of a two-part series taken from the pages of Vogue Entertaining October / November 1989 with a gorgeous Japanese snack plate.


On the plate today we have Japanese Fried Chicken, Prawn Canapé’s, Radish Canapés, edamame beans, wasabi and mayo!  This is so pretty, perfect for a Spring brunch! 

The magazine comes from a time when ingenious recipes and inventive ideas may have involved giving your guests a bowl of roses to munch on.  Yummy!


Roses aside,  we are putting some Spring flavours in full bloom on today’s Japanese snack plate. Just as an aside though, guess which day the J key on my laptop decided to break, meaning  it had to be hit about four times harder than all the other keys.  The sound track for the writing of this post was tap, tap, tap THUMP tap, tap, tap THUMP.

Minor typing difficulties aside, lets turn our attention to some hors d’œuvres for our Japanese snack plate.

Japanese Stuffed Radishes

Could not be simpler and the crunchy peppery radish is delicious with the salty punch of the caviar. Simply slice your radish down the middle of the stem, then scoop out a small hollow in your radish and fill with caviar.  I think nowadays if you were making this you would use tobiko instead of normal caviar but maybe that was readily available in 1989.  Come to think of it, I have no idea if it is readily available now!

japanese-snack-plate2Stuffed Prawns

Pardon me for having two things stuffed with caviar in this post but seeing as I had to buy it specially, I wanted to get some bang for my buck.  Also, if it was good enough for Vogue Entertaining in 1989 its good enough for me!

japanese-snack-plate3This is also very tasty with this time a contrast between the sweet prawn meat and the salty caviar.  Add a dob of pungent wasabi and some creamy mayo and you have perfection!  The original recipe had the prawn heads left on.  I took mine off.  I just think it is easier to eat with head and shells gone.

It is important to skewer the prawns so they stay straight.

japanese-snack-plate4To make these you will need:

  • 12 medium green king prawns
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 25g black caviar

Place a satay stick through the body of each prawn to keep it straight.  Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the prawns in and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the water and leave to cool. 

Remove the satay sticks and remove the heads and shells, leaving the tail.  Split the prawns down the back with a sharp knife and remove the digestive tracts.  Fill the tract cavity with a little caviar.  Repeat.

Soy and Ginger Edamame (loosely adapted from A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder)

These are not from Vogue Entertaining Oct /November 1989 but make a tasty and colourful addition to the snack plate. 

  • 200g edamame in pods
  • 1/2 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • pinch of sugar

Cook the edamame in boiling water  for 2 minutes.  Drain and refresh under cold water.  Pop the beans from their pods.  Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.  Pour over the edamame and sit for at least an hour to let the flavours absorb.  Strain and add to the plate.


Japanese Fried Chicken

I did not make this for the snack plate.  We had it for dinner the night before but I made extra so we could have it on the plate.  This is so good.  Huh…it’s fried chicken, like it was ever going to be bad!  This was great hot from the fryer in the evening and also super eaten cold  the next day – it was not too greasy like a lot of fried chicken as leftovers and still quite crispy, although it is not a thick southern style coating.

japanese-snack-plate6Here’s the recipe!


Japanese Fried Chicken
A delicious Japanese take on fried chicken
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  1. 500g chicken breast meat, skin on
  2. 3 tsp freshly grated ginger
  3. 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
  4. 1 spring onion chopped finely
  5. 2 tsp sesame oil
  6. 2 tsp Japanese soy sauce
  7. 1 tbsp mirin
  8. 1 tsp wasabi paste
  9. 1 small dried chilli, chopped
  10. pinch of black pepper
  11. 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  12. 2/3 cup cornflour
  13. vegetable oil for deep frying
  14. Mayonnaise, wasabi to serve
  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
  2. Make a marinade of the ginger, garlic, spring onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, pepper and chilli.
  3. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Mix eggwhite and cornflour well.
  5. Add the chicken and marinate.
  6. Heat the oil.
  7. Deep-fry spoonfuls of the chicken mixture until golden brown.
  8. Drain onto crushed kitchen paper and keep hot whilst the rest of the mixture is cooked.
  9. To serve, spread on platter with dobs of mayo and wasabi
Adapted from slightly from Vogue Entertaining October / November 1989
Adapted from slightly from Vogue Entertaining October / November 1989
Retro Food For Modern Times
 That’s it from me, have a great week! 

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