Category: Celery

Festive Duck Salad & Oscar’s Story

 A few of the recipes in Salads For All Seasons have odd names that have little bearing on the contents.  Take the Sportsman’s Saturday Salad I made a few weeks ago.  This one however is exactly what it says on the box.  With it’s gorgeous shades of green and red, it’s very festive.   It’s duck.  And it’s salad.

And it’s deeeelicious!!!

Festive Duck Salad2
Festive Duck Salad2

 I have a weird issue with duck.  I love to eat it.  Really love to eat it.  But I find it very hard to cook correctly.  I also have an issue in that we live very close to a lake.  The ducks there are so tame; when they see you coming they come racing all the way across the lake because you might have food for them.  Which we never do.  Because we already have two walking, barking dustbins that are more than ready to consume any scraps. But seeing them and particularly the ever so cute ducklings in Spring does make me feel a bit guilty about eating them.  Also I’m sure I heard somewhere that ducks mate for life and it always makes me sad that somewhere out there is a lonely duck who has lost the love of it’s life and will spend the rest of his or her life alone.

Ok, so now that I’ve put you off eating my yummy salad, let’s talk about something else for a while so we forget the lonely ducks.  

Oscar also has a complicated relationship with the birds on the lake.  The swans more than the ducks though. A swan at Williamstown beach had a go at Lulu when she was younger.  She keeps her distance.  He is just fascinated….
Oscar & The Swans 2 And now feels like a good time to tell you the Oscar  story because it is our personal Christmas miracle.

December 2012, I was working at a place that I hated and was day by day destroying my will to live.  Seriously.  One of the few days of joy in those last 6 months was that, as a team, we worked with the RSPCA on Santa Paws.  Santa Paws is a fabulous initiative where people bring in their pets for a photo with Santa that then gets printed onto Christmas cards, keyrings etc.  It’s pretty cool.  And not just dogs, people were bringing in goats and kittens and goldfish.  It was awesome. 

After our shift finished I asked if I could go have a look in the kennels. There was a very cute beagle but it was going to Beagle rescue the next day.  In the next cage was a big lolloping gangly boy who came running over and as soon as I patted him fell over for a belly rub.  And he was lovely and an incredibly weird combination of a Greyhound and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Which seems like a combination that doesn’t work however you play it.  

But there he was.

Oscar Sleeping
Oscar Sleeping

And then I read the sign on his cage.  It said something like “I have been here for nearly 100 days and lots of people have looked at me; then they leave with their new puppy.  I just want a home with a family who loves me as much as I will love them.” 

OMG, it makes me cry even now. 

The poor little fucker was two years old and it was his third time at the RSPCA.  He had been born there; the last owners had brought him back because they could no longer afford to feed him.  We also strongly suspect he has been massively ill-treated because even now, he will cringe at any loud noise, like a door slamming for the wind, he is pretty much scared of his own shadow.

So I went home and Mark was “So how was it,  did you have a great time?”

And I started to tell him.  And I got as far as  “There was a dog and he had a sign…” and then I cried.  For hours.  And when he could finally get the story out of me, he cried.  And then he sighed and said  “So, when do we go get him?” Bear in mind at this time, we were living in a one bedroom apartment, and we already had one dog.  A second dog was also going to be a stretch and a real life changer, and not in a good way,  for us. But we reasoned, it would only be a couple of months until we moved into the house we were building so we all had a bit more room to breathe.  That couple of months turned out  to be nearly a year….

OscarBut who could resist that face? 

The next morning we took Lulu and we went to get him.  Our get-out card was that if Lulu hated him he couldn’t  come.  She is so bossy that we couldn’t have another dog that challenged her authority and fought with her all the time. 

So we drove for an hour in a huge rainstorm where you couldn’t even see ten metres in front of the car and I was really scared driving in such bad weather but I did it because I was so happy that we could take him home.  When we got there he came running up but then he turned away.  He was really disinterested in us – as if he was sick of investing in people who weren’t going to take him.

Mark liked him and Lulu didn’t kill him.  So it was pretty much a done deal that we were taking him. 

Until they told us that we couldn’t. 

Lulu and Oscar Front Door
Lulu and Oscar Front Door

Their  dog psychologist had deemed he was food possessive and could not be in a house with another dog. 

We argued and argued the point.  We said Lulu is such a dominant dog she would NEVER let anyone come between her and her food but they stood firm.  We could not take him. 

I cried all the way home. 

Oscar Lulu 2
Oscar Lulu 2

 About four days later, I got a call from the RSPCA.  “Are you the girl who wanted to buy Thor?” Oh, yeh, his former name was Thor….we didn’t want a dog called Thor so we renamed him.    Anyway, yes that was me.  “Well the psychologist has reevaluated him.  He’s  all yours.”

Two years on,  I can’t imagine life without him.  He is the sweetest, most gentle, most affectionate boy in the world.  With an increasing cheekiness as his confidence grows. He knows this is his home and I hope he knows we will never abandon him.  I am confident we have given him the best life he has ever had.  We love him to death and, yes, the sign was true, he absolutely loves us in return. 

If you’re wondering why so many of the photos show Osky sleeping or in some type of bed, it’s because greyhounds are surprisingly, incredibly lazy.  He and Lulu get walked for about an hour every day and we are lucky enough to have an off leash park close by where, ideally, he can run with another dog. Ten minutes of flat out running during the walk and that’s him done for the day.  He’ll snooze for most of the rest of the day, waking up only to eat.  And there’s always time for a cuddle…

Oscar Cuddles

And then, it’s time for a bit more snoozing….

Oscar in his PJ's
Oscar in his PJ’s

We might be good to get back to the salad now.  The original recipe is here if you want it. I wasn’t taken by the idea of orange and egg so I omitted the egg and added some cranberries to my version.  Also, I used homemade mayo, also from Salads from All Seasons but you can use store bought if you wish.  Having said that, this one is super easy and tasty! 

I cooked my duck according to the Gordon Ramsay recipe here and it worked pretty well.  It was certainly the most successful I have been with duck. 

 

Festive Duck Salad RecipeMayonnaise

Festive Duck Salad
Festive Duck Salad

You could also make this with some leftover turkey post-Christmas.  It will lack some of the richness of the duck but will still be pretty good!  

I”m going to try to get one more post in before the big day but just in case life gets in the way, Merry Christmas to you all from me and a special Christmas Angel. 

We both hope it’s fabulous.

Oscar Christmas
Oscar Christmas

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Festive Duck Salad
It's a festive duck salad!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup diced cooked duck
  2. 1/2 cup sliced celery
  3. zest from one orange
  4. 1 orange, peeled and cut into segments, all pith removed
  5. 1 cup rocket (arugula)
  6. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  7. 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  8. 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  9. handful of black olives
  10. handful of cranberries
Instructions
  1. Mix the mayonnaise, orange zest, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Mix the duck, rocket, celery and orange.
  3. When ready to serve sprinkle with olives and cranberries and top with mayonnaise.
Adapted from Salad for All Seasons - Rosemary Mayne Wilson
Adapted from Salad for All Seasons - Rosemary Mayne Wilson
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

 

 

 

 

Raising The Salad Bar Part 2 – Melon Surprise x 2

Shortly after you start reading vintage recipe books, you start becoming attuned to certain words as being signifiers of something truly awful.

Any recipe with the word “Surprise” in it usually falls slam bang into this description.  Believe me, nine times out of ten, the surprise isn’t one of the happy, happy, joy, joy variety.

For instance, my mum used to make something we used to call tuna surprise.  I found this recipe for something very similar in an old magazine.

Tuna & Almond SurpriseIt is sans the potato chip topping which was always the best bit of mum’s tuna surprise but I guess I can forgive that when the Shaun referred to was none other than my main man Shaun Micallef.

What?

I’ve been doing this a couple of years now and I’ve never spoken about my huge girly love crush on this man?  For those of you who do haven’t  had the pleasure, imagine the wit of John Stewart combined with the silver foxiness of George Clooney and you’re in the ball park…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoz6kZsjc3s

Anyway, enough about my obsessions…ok, no, just one more.  It’s my blog, I guess I can do what I want….

Ok, so before this turns into the gushy, girly Shaun Micallef hour…lets talk about Melon Surprise.

Melon Surprise
Melon Surprise

But before we go there can we just stop for a moment and look at my ever so cute pins? Bought at Daiso…how adorable are they?

Melon Surprise2
Melon Surprise2

So the melon had pins in it because…surprise….this ain’t no normal melon!!!!

Because  when you cut it open….look what’s inside!

Melon Surprise 3
Melon Surprise 3

Grapes in Jello folks, grapes in jello!

Hands up who was expecting something really disgusting?  Wait a few minutes….it’s coming.

But in a real surprise, the Melon Surprise turned out to be pretty damn super.  To my taste, more of a dessert than a salad but  still pretty damn good all the same.

Melon Surprise 4
Melon Surprise 4

Ok…so  by the way, both of these recipes come from the “Elegant First Courses” section of Salads For All Seasons in which  Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us that

“The recipes in this section are designed to excite the eye, delight the palate and stimulate the appetite”

And sure, the Melon Surprise does all of these things.  As you can see I tool some liberties with the flavour of jelly and the colour of the grapes.

Melon SurpriseTime did not permit me to peel the grapes.  There is not enough time in the universe to induce me to do that.

Next up, we have Surfer’s Paradise Melon.

Let’s take the ingredients for this individually shall we?

Rockmelons – sure.

Celery – why not?

Grapes…worked in the Melon Surprise.

Apples – I’m getting a bit excited, this is looking Waldorfy…

Mayo…yep, its a Waldorf with Melons.  That sounds great!

But wait…there’s more?

Oh yeah, Walnuts right?  Waldorf with Melons.  Awesome.

What?  What do you mean the final ingredient isn’t walnuts?  How can we have Waldorf with Melons without Walnuts?

Oh, I see the quirky bit, the RMW spin is that it’s not walnuts.  So what is it?  Almonds?  Cashews?  Pistachios?

It’s what?

Yeah…that’s what I thought you said…..

Ok…look, I just want to doublecheck.

You said tuna right?

Like in the fish?

Oh for the love of God….why?

Incidentally, the tuna and fruit combo must be vibing in some retro space because recently the lovely Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts was guesting on Mid Century Menu and made some Tuna Apple Sandwiches. (which you can find here).

In the blurb for this salad RMW says:

“When Australians are overseas, few requests are made for them to contribute to food stalls and fairs…it is assumed that our cuisine is either too dull to be considered or just an offshoot of English cooking…However, if there is a request for an Australian dish, one friend always serves this grand melon appetizer”

I suspect she’s confusing cause and effect…

If anyone turned up to my food stall or fair with a mix of canned tuna and rockmelon, I’d probably ban their whole nation too.

However, here it is….

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad

It looks pretty good doesn’t it?

And truth be told, it was not disgusting.  It had a nice crunch and it was…palatable. I might have actually liked it without the rockmelon…

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad2
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad2

One thing?  If you ever plan on making this, when you mix the rockmelon and tuna together, it looks huge.  There is a mountain of Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad such that you think you’ll  never be able to eat it all.

I had for lunch at around 12:30.  And, believe me, by 5:00pm I was ready to gnaw the leg off my chair.  Because when you think about it, this is what it is:

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad IngredientsThanks company I am not going to name (but hint, their name is pretty clearly displayed in the photo) for only putting half a can of tuna into a can of tuna.  I guess that’s why it’s called light….And the rest of it is just fruit and celery so I guess you know, from a weight loss perspective this is win-win.  You won’t want to eat it but when you do, it probably has all of about 3 calories.

Surfer's Paradise MelonAnd just so I’m not deterring tourism to our lovely Gold Coast, I can almost guarantee that no one in Surfer’s Paradise is eating this…do not let this dissuade you from coming.

By the way, I just signed up for 100 Happy Days and will be regularly tweeting my happy snaps.  You can follow my progress on Twitter or join up.  To find out more, click the link:

http://100happydays.com/

I”m going to spending my week finding things that make me happy. Make yours fabulous whatever you do!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Not Eating My Way To Love and Beauty

Can you believe I’ve been doing this for nearly a year?

And as the anniversary approaches, I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate.  Somehow my normal process of pulling one of the many vintage cookbooks from the pile under my bed at random doesn’t seem quite joyful enough.  Primarily because this invariably involves me knocking the pile over, uttering some sustained invective as I pile it all back up then muttering “I really should Hoover under there one day”.  That is not the stuff of celebration!

I had planned to sift through the pile to find something special.  However, when I found “Eat your Way To Love and Beauty” by Swami Sarasvati in my local charity shop I thought I had found my birthday book!  Who doesn’t want to be loved and beautiful?  Especially on their birthday? And, why not eat my way there?  It beats getting there by the other “e” word.  You know, the one we try very hard not to mention here.  Hint:  it rhymes with…mexercising.  Yes, I know that’s not a word.  If you’re so smart, you try coming up with a word that rhymes with exercising.  Anyway, it’s obviously working for The Swami.  She’s cute.  And limber!

Eat For Love and Beauty 001

The caption to this photo says

“Swami Sarasvati, her youth and vitality living proof of her cooking, exercises among her health dishes”

Please note: Retro Food For Modern Times in no way condones its readers exercising among their health dishes.  Nor will I bear any responsibility for damages incurred if you decide to do so.  To put it bluntly, if you end up with a pineapple up your clacker by engaging in this you’re on your own.  And be aware that hospital staff will mock you behind your back.  “Of course you slipped over whilst exercising among your health dishes… that’s what all the deviants say.”  You have been warned.

Swami Sarasvati was a tv icon on Australia in the 1970’s, where she taught a generation of early morning tv watchers the art of yoga and the delights of a vegetarian lifestyle.  I wish she was on the telly now.  I would totally watch her.  Well, I probably wouldn’t get up that early but  I would record her shows, meaning to get around to doing some sun salutations one day…right after I vacuum under that bed!  She also still runs a yoga retreat in New South Wales.  It is currently ranked the number one hotel in Kenthurst on Trip Advisor.  That it is the only hotel in town is by the by.

http://www.swami.com.au/

Speaking as someone who has been on a yoga retreat, the Swami’s looks pretty good.  I had a miserable time the last one I was on.  It was freezing and in lieu of heating, my room came equipped with a massive spider.  I thought it would be not in keeping with the yoga/vegan/hippie vibe of the place to beat the ugly fucker to death with my shoe.  This meant I was too scared to sleep for the entire time I was there in case, during my slumber, the spider decided to break our unspoken entente cordiale to crawl into my hair or lay eggs in my face.

You will be disappointed, though if you click through the link.  Eat Your Way To Love and Beauty is no longer on the list of the Swami’s books available for purchase.  We’re about to find out why.

Some of the sensibilities of the book feel very modern.  Take for instance the Swami’s response to the question:

“What is healthy food?”

“It is food as fresh as possible and eaten as soon as possible.  Refining, preserving, canning or colouring food should be avoided wherever possible”

That doesn’t last long…we descend into the land of the loony almost immediately.

Q – “How can food make me more loving?”

“A well nourished woman will have the strength to be patient and understanding and loving even when life seems impossible.  Your children won’t turn to drugs”.

Q  – “My Husband won’t eat health foods”

“Girls, to keep your marriage fresh and exciting, you must keep yourself and your husband youthful and vital….there are enough tangy gourmet health dishes in this book to tempt your husband.  Before long he will be better at business and sport.

You know what Swami?   You had me at love and beauty…let’s not bring my husband and non-existent children into it.

But despite all this…despite dooming Mark to bankruptcy and failure on the sporting field (by which I mean his PS3 breaking) and the poor dogs to having to sell themselves to strangers for Schmackos…I will not be celebrating this birthday by eating my way to love and beauty.  Eating for hatred and ugliness has got me thus far, I guess I can continue for another week or so!

I  have made a few recipes from “Eat Your Way To Love And Beauty” being  a celery soup, an eggplant bhurta and a carrot halva.

Here they are:

Celery Soup

???????????????????????????????

Celery Soup 001

Eggplant Bhurta

Eggplant Bhurta
Eggplant Bhurta

eggplant bhurta 001

Carrot Halva

Carrot Halva
Carrot Halva

Carrot Halva recipe 001

These all tasted ok.  Actually, the carrot halva was really good once I added a bucketload of brown sugar – kind of like carrot cake without the cake.  And the eggplant was also pretty good.  The celery soup was average.  There was nothing wrong with any of them. They were just a bit drab.  Look at them.  They’re not screaming party are they?  They look, earnest, well-meaning, brown.  The food version of Coldplay. Worthy but kind of boring…

Which brings me to the second reason, we will not be celebrating Retro Food For Modern Times first birthday by eating our way to love and beauty.

Here is a the Swami’s recipe for a Gimlet:

Lime Gimlet

Now, for those of you who are not au fait with the gimlet, it is defined by the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, as:

“A cocktail made of gin and lime juice”

Two ingredients.  One of which is missing from the Swami’s recipe.

Never mind, I thought, the next recipe is called Singapore Gin.  Maybe I’ll make that as my birthday cocktail.

Singapore Gin

Or maybe I wont…we like our booze here at Retro Food For Modern Times, celebrating anything without booze is anathema.

No wonder this book isn’t for sale anymore, it was probably banned for false advertising.  I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to call a cocktail Singapore “Gin” when it contains not the slightest whiff of a juniper berry!

Next week we’ll party like it’s 1969. I won’t give too much away but there will be gin and there will be gelatine; if I can get sufficiently organised there maybe something else starting with a “g” to make up a full three course meal…cocktail and dessert count as 2 courses don’t they?

I’ll be spending my week frantically trying to think of that third course…

Grapes?

Grapefruit?

Gorgonzola?

Have a fabulous week whatever you do!

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The Australian Vegetable Cookbook (1972) – The Redemption

After harping on about the awful recipes contained in this book last time, it was only fair to showcase some of the better recipes.  Three of them will be included here (I actually made 4 however this week is all about being positive so we won’t mention the Asparagus Italienne.  Ever.)

I chose the Stuffed Celery Curls as my first course.  This was jam-packed with flavours I love – celery, walnuts, chives, cream cheese and Tabasco so there was everything to like.  I chose not to add the red food colouring.  I’m hyperactive enough without it and I could see no earthly reason why it should be there.  I think the “au naturel” version looks much prettier anyway!

Ingredients

Sadly, my celery did not curl as per the picture in the book.   I read the recipe as saying you needed 15 pieces of celery 5 cm long.  Which is what I did.  In retrospect, I think it may mean an unnamed number of pieces of celery 15 cm long by 5 cm wide.  Although that doesn’t seem quite right either – 5cm seems too wide.  If you really want your celery to curl, here is a link:

http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/articles/authored/how-to-make-fun-garnishes-from-vegetables

It didn’t really matter though because whilst mine did not look as fun, they tasted amazing!  We had these as our starter however they could just as easily be a lunch box snack or as finger food.  Blue cheese would be an amazing variation.

Original

Mine – with obligatory knife but no curls 

Next up, for our main dish I made a Farmhouse Potato Bake.  This dish contains potatoes, Hungarian sausage (I used salami), sour cream and paprika so I guess is Eastern European in tone.  It was damn good wherever it came from.  If you weren’t fond of salami you could make this with ham, bacon, or left over roast beef or chicken or for a spot of luxury some smoked salmon.  As you will see from the picture, I subbed in basil for the oregano.  I think it is one of those recipes that you could pretty much use whatever proteins and herbs as you wanted. You could layer in other vegetables as well.  Asparagus, green beans, spinach would all be great!

Ingredients

Salami and Onion Sauteing, Potatoes Par-Boiling in the background

Layering

Crumb Mixture

I made a Panama Radish Salad from the book to go with this.  Well, I sort of did.  There is no intended slur to the recipe for my changes,  I think you could follow it absolutely and the result would be delicious.  I just happened to have no red onions and a bucketload of chives and rocket that I needed to use.  So I swapped these in.  I also used my favourite Black Russian tomatoes so my salad is probably “greener” than it should be….it still looks pretty good though.

Ingredients

Panama Radish Salad

These worked really well together, the pepperiness of the rocket and the radish in the salad, the freshness of the mint and the lemon in the dressing cut through some of the creamy, potato, salami induced richness of the Farmhouse bake.  Two big ticks here, will definitely be making both of these again.

The Meal – Delicious!

Bon Appétit.

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