Category: A-Zof Cooking

This Paté is a Turkey!

Welcome to the end of the world.  Or at the very least the end of The A-Z of Cooking (1977). 

Prepare to feel robbed.  

Turkey Pate2

Dear A-Z of Cooking, 

Look…listen…over the past few years we’ve had joy, we’ve had fun, we’ve had seasons in the sun. 

There’ve been many good times.

Remember the Mushroom Cakes?

And the Brioche?

The Profiteroles?  They were awesome!

Okay, so it wasn’t always smooth sailing.  There were downs with those ups.

There was this:

Still one of the scariest pictures I have ever seen in the pages of a cookbook.

And lets not forget this delightful looking salad:

 

 

Or this suggestion for punishing people who drop in without notice:

 

But on the whole, it’s been good times.  

And this is how you end it?  With a Turkey Paté that looked like cat food until I slapped a few sage leaves and pomegranate seeds on top?  And, I might add, tasted of nothing?

And whilst we’re at it…right from the start you promised me an A-Z

So…ummm…why are we done after Yesterday’s Leftovers? 

Where’s my Z, you dick?

A-z

And a really bad turkey paté. 

And no Z.

Hopefully some better tips for using your Christmas leftovers can be found in the links below!

 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

Moules Marinieres

Today we are heading back into The A-Z of Cooking to the chapter called Wine For a Change.  And on the menu is the classic French dish of Moules Marinieres.  This is one of my favourite dishes.  I probably make this around once a month – it ticks all my boxes – it’s healthy, it’s quick and it’s cheap and so, so, tasty!  Over the years my recipe has evolved so now I have my favourite version of Moules Marinieres which I will list below alongside a more pared back version from The A-Z.  
Moules Marinieres
Before we get into the Moules lets talk about this chapter.  Wine for a Change.  Not around here it isn’t. Around here it’s a basic food group.  So there goes that title.  There are some good recipes in this section.  The Moules, Coq au vin, Peaches in Wine….oh and veal kidneys with Marsala. 

You can’t win ’em all. (Sigh)

If the thought of veal kidneys with anything isn’t off-putting enough on its own, the picture is truly unsettling (It’s also at the very bottom of this post if you are brave enough). 

Moules Marinieres loosely translates as Sailor’s Mussels.  Be careful of your spelling if googling this.  You could end up with this: 

Hot damn! Ladies (and possibly gentlemen), don’t ever say I don’t give you anything.  Merry Christmas.  Happy Birthday and Goodnight Irene!

Where were we?  I seem to have lost my entire train of thought.  

Oh yeah, mussels.  The thing that takes the longest with the Moules Marinieres is all your prep work.  First you have to debeard and scrub all of your mussels.

Then cut up your veggies for your mirepoix  I use carrot, celery, fennel and onion in mine.  And for seasoning salt (I used the Port infused salt I bought in Portugal) peppercorns, a pinch of chilli flakes and a smashed garlic clove.

Mirepoix2

 

Cook these down then add some white wine and a splash of Pernod (optional but goes really well with the fennel and the mussels).  Cook these down a bit – the longer the better! Then add wine, Pernod if using and stock and bring to the boil.  Add the mussels.  Add a lid.  Shake the pan occasionally and in all of about 5 minutes you will have a piping hot bowl of mussels with a deliciously tasty broth.  

Moules Marinieres are great with bread to soak up all that broth.  And if that bread happens to be a tasty warm loaf of crusty garlic bread?  Heaven…I”m in heaven….

This time though I made mussels other best friend…frites.  With aioli.  Hard to tell from the pictures but there were three types of frites – potato, sweet potato and parsnip. 

Frites

 

The great thing about this recipe is that it is amenable to all sorts of changes.  Don’t like cream?  Don’t add it.  I quite often will throw in a can of tinned tomatoes.  Also, (and this is where i am sure I will have the purists tutting at me) if you can’t be arsed debearding and scrubbing the mussels, most supermarkets now sell frozen mussel meat.  I  always have a pack of this in my freezer so can whip this up at any time.  One codicil on that though.  The shells on fresh mussels do seem to add some extra flavour.  If using mussel meat alone be sure to use a really good fish stock in your broth!

Here is the original recipe from The A-Z of Cooking and the original picture.  I cannot tell you how much I  love and covet that terracotta mussel pot.  Straight to the top of my list of kitchen must haves!!!  

Moules Recipe

Moules A-Z

And here is my slightly fancier version:

Moules Marinieres (With Frites)
A classic French seafood dish
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For The Mussels
  1. 4 dozen mussels
  2. 125 ml dry white wine (I used a semillon sauvignon blanc)
  3. 250ml fish or vegetable stock
  4. 1 bouquet garni
  5. 1 carrot finely diced
  6. 1/2 fennel finey diced
  7. 2 stalks celery finety diced
  8. 1 snall red onion finely diced
  9. 1 garlic clove, crushe
  10. 6 black peppercorns
  11. 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  12. salt
  13. 3 tbsp cream
  14. 1 tbsp chopped parsley
For the Frites
  1. 2 potatoes julienned
  2. 1 large sweet potato, julienned
  3. 3 parsnips, julienned
  4. Olive oil
  5. Salt
For the Aioli
  1. 3 cloves of garlic, roasted with the frites for 15 minutes
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  4. 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 cup olive oil or a blend of olive and vegetable oil
  6. Salt and Pepper
For The Frites
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Toss the julienned veggies and 3 cloves of unpeeled garlic (for the aioli) into a bowl with a glug of olive oil, and some salt.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for 15 – 30 minutes (depending on size of the fries) or until golden brown, flipping halfway through. At the half way mark, remove the garlic cloves and make the aioli.
For The Aioli
  1. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins and add to a foo processor with the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard until combined and smooth.
  2. With the food processor running add the oil in a thin stream until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
For the Mussels
  1. Scrub and debeard the mussels, discarding any that are open or have holes in them. Run cold water over them and drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, fennel, onion and celery, salt, pepper and chilli if using and stir occasionally until softened (around 5 minutes).
  3. Add the wine, stock pernod and boquet garni. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for around 5 minutes.
  4. Add the mussels to the pan. Close the lid and cook for around 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan every now and again.
  5. Remove the mussels from the pan and keep warm.
  6. Turn up the heat on the liquid left in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about a third.
  7. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  8. Swirl in the cream.
  9. Pour the sauce over the mussels, sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the frites and aioli.
  10. Bon Appetit!
Notes
  1. This dish originates from the Normandy region of France. Another variation that is true to the region is to sub out the white wine and pernod and to use cider instead!
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
So, there is only ONE Chapter left in The A-Z!  Will I be able to get it out before Christmas? 

Absolutely not because one of the key ingredients will be a Christmas leftover.  And yes, I will be slapping people’s hands away from the plate if there is even the remotest chance of there not being enough leftovers to make it!

Will there be another post of any sort before the big day?

Almost definitely! 

See you in a couple of days!  

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
  Oh and for the bravest o the brave?   Here are those veal kidneys:

Eggs With Spinach and Fashion Tips From Dinah Shore

Eggs and Spinach are a classic combo. Think Eggs Florentine, Spinach Quiche or Spinach Soufflé.  Well today we are using eggs and spinach to create a twist on the dish The A -Z of Cooking calls Eggs With Spinach.  Uh huh.  What it lacks in imagination, it makes up for in precision.  But it’s also from a chapter called Watching Your Weight and, to be honest, the original recipe was a little meh….So, whilst staying in the spirit of Eggs with Spinach here’s my version.  What it lacks in weight watching, it makes up for in flavour. 

Given that choice, always make flavour the winner.  Just go for a run the next day!

Eggs withspinach6My eggs and spinach recipe contains spinach lightly sauteed in garlic, mixed with a little cream, sprinkled with nutmeg, topped with cheese and baked with an egg until the white is set and the yolk is runny perfection!

Eggs with Spinach1Did anyone say brunch?  These eggs with spinach scale up really well for a group at brunch or make a great quick and easy supper for one!

Eggs with Spinach2

I used fresh baby spinach in my Eggs with Spinach, however you could use frozen.  Below is a great vintage ad for frozen spinach.  Note the awesome striped t-shirt being worn by Dinah Shore and the perfectly coordinated polka dot apron.  She’s rocking my favourite patterns and showing that the rule of “blue and green should never be seen” is as dumb AF.   Go Dinah. Vintage Spinach2OMG, I only just noticed her gorgeous green shoes with the bows.  I want that entire outfit!  I wonder if  back in the day women everywhere were also exclaiming “Glory be….fuck the spinach, get me that t-shirt and those shoes…” 

Does anyone say “Glory be” anymore? 

Did anyone ever?

Before we travel down that etymological rabbit hole here’s the recipe:

Eggs with Spinach
Serves 2
A delicious quick and easy dish for brunch, lunch or supper!
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Ingredients
  1. 500g baby spinach
  2. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  3. 25g butter
  4. salt and pepper
  5. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  6. 2 tbsp cream
  7. 4 tbsp grated cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.
  2. Lightly grease four 3/4 cup-capacity ovenproof dishes.
  3. Wash the baby spinach.
  4. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add the garlic.
  5. Saute for a minute or two until the garlic softens but does not change colour.
  6. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
  7. Take off the heat and stir in the cream and nutmeg.
  8. Divide the spinach into two and place in two ramekin dishes.
  9. Make an indent in the middle and break and egg into each.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Bake for around 15 minutes or until the egg white is just set but yolk is still runny.
  13. Remove from oven. Stand for 2 minutes.
  14. Serve with toast.
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
If you would also like to rock Dinah’s look here is my take on it:

The Dinah CollectionTop:

Scarf (Replaces Apron)   or add a bit of green with something like this

Skirt

Shoes     And more shoes

That was awesome fun!  Now I gotta go do it in real life.  Have a good one!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

 

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Profiteroles For Very Special Occasions

You might think that five and a bit years into this that I would cease to be surprised.  Both when things go awry and when by some stroke of mad luck things work out just as they should.  Such was the case with the Profiteroles I made on the weekend from the Very Special Occasions Chapter of The A- Z of Cooking (1977).  When the profiteroles came out of the oven looking like, well, profiteroles, there were whoops of joy, squeals of excitement and a bit of spontaneous kitchen dancing!

Yep, in this house, this:

Equals This:

http://www.laughinggif.com/view/ew0vxmklkk/56.htmlBut let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.  First.  Hello V.  And whilst we’re on the subject let’s’ all note the name of the chapter.  Not just Special Occasions.  Very Special Occasions.  Requiring very special dancing apparently.  And also requiring several goes at making something that was worthy of posting. After all, it’s a very special occasion. 

First up there was a go at Carpetbag Steak.  Now, if you lookup Carpetbag Steak anywhere on the interwebs, you will more than likely read that it is a famous  Australian recipe.  I’ve lived here virtually all my life and I have never head of it.  However, I really liked the idea of steak and oysters.  I made the recipe and it looked and tasted meh. 

Then I made a Beef Stroganoff.  Tasted good.  Looked terrible in all the photos.  I think it’s that thing that Jenny from Silver Screen Suppers told me about where brown food just doesn’t photo well.  This was about the best…

So then I made Carpetbag Steak v2.  A modern recipe this time.  Still looked and tasted meh.

I was left with a choice.  Champagne and Orange Juice.  Or Profiteroles.  And believe me . You came so close to having Champagne and Orange juice as your very special occasion meal.  Because this is what happens inside my head whenever pastry is mentioned:

https://giphy.com/gifs/bored-room-clean-clWd5ft31I23KThe profiteroles only happened because the very special occasion was a long weekend due to the Football Grand Final being the next day.  I know right.  Who has a holiday BEFORE the big day?

“It’s the dumbest reason for a holiday ever” I said.

“Come to work then” said my boss.

“It’s the best holiday ever.  Better even than Jesus being born.  Or dying.”

So anyway, on the holiday for best/ worst reason ever I got a little bored in the evening and thought that I would have a flick through The A-Z of Cooking, to plan V-Z.  The profiterole recipe caught my eye and  I realised that I had every ingredient.  And a whole heap of bravado due to being about 3/4 of a bottle of a wine in. 

Don’t judge.  That produced these.  Light as air, melt in the mouth, boozy cream filled and shiny chocolately pastry balls of deliciousness, 

The basis for profiteroles, and the reason for my hissy fit is pastry.  Choux pastry to be exact.  I have made choux pastry exactly once before.  For a recipe called Cherry Fritters from The A-Z of Cooking.  Don’t bother searching the archives for them.  They were a total disaster and I didn’t post them.

But choux starts with a roux…actually no. According to The A-Z of Cooking choux pastry starts with 63g of flour.  Yep.  63.  Not 60.  Not 65.  63.  And seeing as this was a very special occasion, 63g of flour it was.

Profiteroles5This became this:

Which became these.  I couldn’t find a piping bag and my piping skills are non-existent so I just blobbed spoonfuls of the pastry onto the tray.  Also, I wasn’t really expecting this to  work.  And need I remind you about that bottle of wine that was now 5/6’s gone?

Well, slap my arse and call me Charlie if those funny looking blobs didn’t turn into these.  They’re shall we say  “rustic” but on a scale of one to ten of  being recognizable as profiteroles, they have to be at least an eight.

Profiteroles 10So then fill and ice and sprinkle and you get these: (even more profiteroley).

Profiteroles 11

Here’s the recipe direct from The A-Z of Cooking:

Profiteroles 12I tweaked the recipe by swapping out the rum for Amaretto and adding some sprinkles.

Make, eat, enjoy, do a little dance of sheer pleasure. 

http://www.laughinggif.com/view/ew0vxmklkk/56.html

And have a great week!

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Bangers Bolognese – Recipe Remedy

The original recipe for Bangers Bolognese comes from the Time Saving Tips Chapter of The A-Z of Food (1977).  I  wanted to make it purely for the name alone. The British habit of calling sausages bangers is adorable even if the origin  of the name is kind of unsavoury.  According to the ever reliable (ahem) Wikipedia, meat shortages during World War One lead to sausages being made with such a low meat content and such a high water content that they would sometimes explode when cooked.  They were literally bangers!   Best not to ask what actually went into them…..

The A-Z recipe for Bangers Bolognese was kind of gross though.  Chopped up sausages…oops, bangers in a sauce made out of tinned tomato soup. I have an aversion to tinned tomato soup stemming back from school days.  One time (not at band camp)  my school tuck shop ran out of ketchup and instead of buying more, used tinned tomato soup as the condiment for the day.  It was disgusting!  And put me off tinned tomato soup for life!

Bangers Bolognese2

So, I thought, what would happen if I took the idea of Bangers Bolognese but omitted the awful tomato soup component for something a bit more amenable to the modern palate? The result is a recipe remedy which is absolutely delicious!

Bangers Bolognese1I used chorizo for my bangers but feel free to use your favorite sausage.  Without wanting to sound too snooty about it, this is really a recipe where using the highest quality of sausage you can afford will result in a better tasting dish. 

Here’s the original for anyone that cares to eat sausages cooked in tomato soup:

Bangers Bolognese OriginalBefore we get to my tweaked version of Bangers Bolognese, lets take a trip in the way back machine to 1968 when Margaret Fulton had to show the unworldly Australian public how to twirl spaghetti like an urbane Italian.  Beware though, the next set of photos contain both werewolfy hairy arms and super pointy 1960’s nails. 

You have been warned.

Okay, so now you know how to twirl pasta like a pro lets update this beast.  No tomato soup in sight!

Bangers Bolognese
A delicious and time saving take on a traditional spaghetti bolognese, using sausages
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Ingredients
  1. 4 high quality sausages of your choice, the spicier the better
  2. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  5. 1 sprigs of thyme
  6. 1 sprig of rosemary
  7. 1/2 cup red wine
  8. 400g can tomatoes
  9. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  10. 400g spaghetti
  11. Cheese - parmesan is traditional however for extra creaminess, Donna Hay suggests using Buffalo Mozzarella
  12. Parsley and additional chilli flakes to garnish.
Instructions
  1. Remove the casings from the sausages.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the sausages, chilli, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions and garlic are softened.
  3. Add the wine, tomatoes, sugar and herbs.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook for 1/2 and hour or longer until the sauce is reduced.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
  7. Drain well.
  8. Toss the pasta with the bolognese mixture, top with cheese, parsley and chilli flakes.
Adapted from The A-Z of Food & Donna Hay
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Bangers Bolognese 7Have a wonderful week . I’ll be back next time with another recipe remedy from The A-Z of Cooking.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

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