Category: A-Zof Cooking

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!

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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.

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Walnut Spice Sandwich Cookies

Oh boy, the A-Z of Cooking is not being kind to me lately! As we near the Z end of the alphabet there seem to have been a lot more fails.  Today we arrived at “S for Spicing it Up” and a Walnut Spice Sandwich Cake which was so dry that I made it into cookies.  The Walnut Spice Sandwich cookies were a big step up from the cake but let’s just say that I won’t be in a great hurry to make them again.  At least they look kind of pretty…in a totally lopsided way!

Walnut Spice Cookies2And oh yeah, I made it back from the city of serial killers intact!  Adelaide was heaps of fun….and it was great to be away with these girls!

AdelaideAh, but I digress.  Where were we?  Oh yeah….Walnut Spice Sandwich cookies not cake.  Walnuts, spice.  Kind of meh…let’s not speak of them again…

Walnut Spice Cookies3Except for this.  Just in case you think it’s me, here is the picture of the so-called cake from The A-Z of Cooking.  I feel the dry texture of the that prompted me to turn my “cake” into cookies is as well represented here as it is in my efforts. 

Walnut Spice Sandwich CakeAm I right?  You might be wondering why i chose to make something that looks quite so unappetising. Well, so am I.  The main reason was that there were only three recipes in this section.  The cake, a beef curry and a rice casserole.  Given I posted a curry not so long ago that  was out. And the rice casserole was loaded with green pepper which I don’t really get along with.  The cake seemed like the best option.  In retrospect the rice casserole sans the green pepper  might have been a better choice. 

The second reason was that the method of making it was somewhat weird.  I’ve made a LOT of cakes in my life and this was the first where I had to beat the eggs and sugar in a double boiler.  And you know what?  As the results prove there’s probably a very good reason why this doesn’t happen more often!  If you would like to make a cake via an odd method here’s the recipe:

Walnut Spice Sandwich Cake RecipeComing up next time, another “souper” pick from  The A-Z of Cooking.  Til then, have a fabulous week!

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Walnut and Avocado Salad, Seeing Double & Mysteries Solved

When is a salad not a salad?  When it comes from The A-Z of Cooking.  There is no way in the world that I would call this a salad.  It’s much more of a dip.  But The A-Z calls it a salad so, Walnut and Avocado Salad it is.  Even if we all secretly know it’s a dip.  

Walnut and Avocado SaladThis was kind of….meh.  And you know what?  I strongly recommend that you make guac instead.  Because a good guac is awesome!  But first, there is an elephant in the room and it needs to be addressed.  You may be thinking that because we have labelled something a salad when it is quite clearly a dip that we have reached S.  Not so fast there Speedy.  We’re actually still at R.  How so?  Refreshing Salads.  Yeah,  I know I should  have ceased to be surprised at the randomness of The A-Z by now.  But it’s ONE letter..it’s at the back of the Chapter, right next to the start of the S’s. Couldn’t they have?  Shouldn’t they have? Why didn’t they?

Walnut and Avocado Salad2But wait, there’s  more.   When I turned the page over to “Refreshing Salads” my eye was caught by the words Greek Salata.  Now, I LOVE a Greek Salad.  Feta, olives, tomatoes….bring it on!  My mouth was already watering as I contemplated making eating one. In my mind, a Greek Salad should look exactly like this one from the Food Network:

So imagine my horror when my eyes were what can only be described as assaulted by this disgrace:

Oh. My. Lord.  Have you ever seen anything quite so hideous in your life?  Sadly, I have.  Because even as I was recoiling in horror, I realised I had seen something quite so hideous before.  In fact I had seen something exactly as fugly before because I had not only seen but posted on that very picture.  Right here.

WTF?  To paraphrase Lady Bracknell, to use this picture in one book may be regarded as misfortune; to use it in two looks like a blatant disregard for the eyes of one’s readers.  But then I was intrigued.  So, I went back to The Hot Weather Cookbook and flicked through it and there were six other photos IDENTICAL to those in The A-Z of Cooking!  They share a publisher, Octopus Books but neither book acknowledges that content previously appeared in the other. 

Now, it also just so happens that one of the photos that was replicated in both books was the mysterious Mango Mousse which I spoke about here.

Mango MousseNow I know that the mystery of what that is a picture of, seeing as it is quite clearly NOT a mango mousse has been keeping all of us awake since I first posted it back in March of 2015 (and yikes, has it really taken me over two years to cook through this book?).  And who knew that I had the key to the mystery within my grasp the entire time?  Because, if you look at page 113 of the Hot Weather Cookbook where the same recipe for Mango Mousse appears, there is a reference at the bottom of the page to the pictures contained overleaf  – Orange Soufflé (page 114).  Which is our mango mousse picture.

And, if we flick back to the recipe of Orange Soufflé?  Oranges, passionfruit, cream eggs….I’m totally ignoring the random bananas but  I think we have a contender!

Orange SouffleMystery solved.  I feel like a culinary Mulder and Scully.  I have been tossing up as to whether I should take up one of those Hunt A Killer subscriptions I keep hearing about on all my podcasts.  After this bit of sleuthing I am a step closer to putting my detective skills to the test.  It’s damn expensive to get it shipped to Australia though!  Is anyone else doing it? If you are, please let me know!

BTW, just to take us back to the Avocado and Walnut Salad?  The bread shown with it is the Cheddar and Apple Foccacia from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez.  And it was delicious!  This is a wonderful book too!

Have a wonderful week!  Next up, I’m taking a bit of a break from The A-Z and making some lovely old-fashioned biscuits, perfect for afternoon tea!  Why not pour yourself an Earl Grey and join me?

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