Category: Casserole

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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The Dishiest Dish – Poulet Vallée D’Auge

This week’s highlight came from France…from Normandy to be be precise.  Or to be even more precise from the the Pays D’Auge.  This is apple country and the chicken casserole that is the Poulet Vallée D’Auge contains both apples and Calvados, the apple brandy that is also a specialty of the region.

And if chicken, apples and Calvados aren’t enough for you how about we add a generous dollop of creme fraiche into the mix.  Bon Appetit indeed. 

Poulet Vallee D'Auge

We had a bit of a cold snap in the week so this hearty kind of meal was perfect.  And for those of you in the Northern hemisphere who are still in the midst of winter, this will warm any, and all,the cockles you have. 

The perfect drink to have with this would be a cider, one from Normandy would be perfect!  Or maybe a wee glass of that Calvados.

Poulet Vallee D'Auge2This is a lovely dish and that sauce is divine! 

I also made these prawn cakes from the Paleo book.  They looked gorgeous but tasted only ok.  I felt the restrictions of the Paleo diet really made themselves felt here.  Thai food is meant to have that mix of sweet, salt, sour and heat.  The recipe as it stood had no sweet in the dipping sauce.  It vastly improved after I added some sugar.  They do look pretty though!

Paleo Prawn CakesThe Six Week Challenges

No Alcohol

The six weeks of “no” alcohol are nearly over.  I had a bit of a set back this week.  A friend of mine resigned from work and we arranged to go for doughnuts so he could tell me all about it.  And somehow on the way to the doughnut shop we got waylaid by the little bar on the corner.  We were halfway through our glass of vino when we started getting messages.  “Where are you?  The fire alarms are going off.  We need to evacuate the building”.  I am  the fire warden for our office.  Can you believe it?  I never leave my desk.  NEVER.  And the ONE time I go off for a sneaky doughnut pinot, the flipping fire alarms go off. 

What could we do?  They would have grounded the lifts, we weren’t getting back into the building in a hurry.    Nothing for it but to have a second glass o’ wine.

Here is the scene of the crime – Dikstein’s Corner Bar,

We had a lovely New Zealand Pinot but  ewwww…did I feel seedy afterwards.  Totally lethargic, no motivation to do anything except flop on the couch and tune out in front of the telly for the entire evening.  I will say more about this challenge when it is over – in just a couple of days. But after yesterday I am seriously evaluating my relationship with booze. 

Meditation

Still struggling with this one.  I thought this would be so much easier than giving up booze.  Not so.  I”ll try to lift my game for the last two weeks.  And this one can go back on the list for a re-do later in the year. 

Flexibility

I’m LOVING this.  And after only a week or so in, I am already seeing the difference!  I am mixing it up between two different routines – one has a morning routine and an evening routine so if I get up early enough I do that one.  If not, there is another where you do one 10 minute workout for the day.  Really happy with this one!

The March Challenge

I have not decided what will replace the no alcohol challenge come the first of March.

I am narrowing it down:

Journalling – I used to journal all the time and love it.  And I think in some ways that was my meditation.  I REALLY want to get back into it.

Candy Crush – MUST. STOP. PLAYING.

Food – I feel I should replace a “food” challenge with another food challenge – I was thinking maybe a month without bread, pasta potatoes.  But Jenny has inspired me to do one around food waste.  

I will do what I did last month and see what jumps out at me on the morning of the first!  Eeeeekkk – can you believe it’s almost March?

Reading

I have given up on The Apologist for my audiobook.  I could not get into it.  I had previously started Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantell and I have gone back to that.

You can keep your real Housewives…for real scandal and intrigue, give me the Tudors anyday!

Bring up the Bodies

But my major discovery this week was this:

Savage Lane by Jason Starr

Savage Lane=Jason Starr

The hot pink cover had me at hello.  I like to read dark and this is pitch black!  It is also pitch perfect. Nasty, nasty people doing nasty, nasty things.  I’m loving it!

Here is the premise:

“Life is sublime in the idyllic suburbs of New York City.  Recent divorcée Karen Daily and her two kids have, for the first time in years,  found joy as they settle into the close-knit community of Savage Lane.  Neighbours, Mark and Deb Berman have been so supportive as she moves on in life: teaching at the local school and even dating again.

But behind the pristine houses and perfect smiles lie dark motives far more sinister than Karen could have ever imagined.  Unknown to her, Mark, trapped in his own unhappy marriage, has developed a rich fantasy life for the two of them.  And, as rumours start to spread, it seems that he isn’t the only one targetting Karen”

This is the first book of his I have read but I am now keen to read more.  And all of his covers from No Exit Press are equally arresting:

Jason Starr Via No Exit Press

Plants

I am going through a phase where I want to fill my house with plants.  To help with that obsession, I bought this book:

Have started  following this blog:

http://www.thejungalow.com/ 

Her instagram is also amazing!

https://www.instagram.com/justinablakeney/

And have been trying to find a local version of these West Elm Planters.

West Elm Mid Century Planters

Now I just have to buy some plants!

That’s about it.  I haven’t really done much else this week except work. 

On The Menu

  • Saffron chicken from Persiana
  • Lamb Kebabs from the A-Z of Cooking with the tomato salad with pomegranate salad also from Persiana….and eeeekkkk.  Sabrina has a new book coming out in May!   I can hardly wait!
  • Honeycomb Cheesecake from A Moveable Feast
  • Sweet Potato cakes with Lemon Chickpeas

Sirocco

That’s about it for me for this week.  Except for the recipe for the Poulet Vallée D’Auge – which you can find here.

What are you cooking, reading, doing this weekend?  I am planning to take the dogs down to the dog beach for a play. 

Have a wonderful weekend whatever you do.

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