Category: Cucumber

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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The Dishiest Dish – Summer Punch Cup

Something a little different this week.  The best thing I made was a super summery, super fun, super colourful drink – The Summer Punch Cup.

Summer Punch CupThe Summer Punch Cup was inspired by two things.  First Schweppes has some limited edition “inspired by London” lemonade in the shops at the moment and it is delicious.  Also, I have been meaning to try the drink that most definitely is not Pimms (tastes almost identical to Pimms) from the cheap European supermarket. 

Put them together, add a splash of sherry and you have the Summer Punch Cup. 

Summer Punch Cup2Cole Porter said it best – “It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely”.

You could use normal lemonade, just muddle a bit more cucumber in the shaker.  And, of course, you could also use Pimms . However, I did do some research on the Austin’s Summer Punch before I bought it and the general consensus was that, particularly if you are using it with a lot of other flavours, the Summer Punch from the cheap European is  almost indistinguishable. 

The Summer Punch Cup is fresh from the cucumber, tangy from the lemon, sweet from the Summer Punch and lemonade with a touch of dryness from the sherry.  And it looks so pretty.  This is surely going to become my go to for summer!

Also right up there was the Passionfruit Coconut Custard.  I bruléed the top to make it even yummier!

Passionfruit Coconut CustardNo real disasters this week but I broke one of my main rules of cooking and regretted it both times.  The rule is never to buy an ingredient for a recipe if I have no other use for it.  I bought pickled mustard leaves for a Thai Khao Soi recipe and Doenjang for a Korean Steak dish. Neither were great and now I am stuck with a whole tub of Doenjang.  It looks a lot like miso, I wonder if I can use it interchangeably?  If anyone knows, please advise! 

Summer Punch Cup3This week I am looking forward to cooking:

Starter /Lunch / Salad  – Crab and Watercress Finger Sandwiches….so pretty!  This recipe comes from a special they did on retro food. I’m pretty sure there will be more recipes from this feature in due course. 

Main Event – Bang Bang Chicken Salad

Sweet Treats – Blood Orange and Rosemary Cake for The Cookbook Guru

In Other News I Have Been


I’ve been on a bit of a cook book buying binge – all of these were delivered this week.  I’m very excited about all of them.  I think they are all going to be great fun!  Stay tuned, no doubt you will see some of the recipes contained within in due course!

Books CollageI also bought a spoon.  And not just any old spoon.  An official retro food for modern times spoon. Check it out! 



I found another game.  I have only played about ten minutes but already loving:

Her Story


I’m struggling through The Reckoning.  I’m about three chapters in and so far not enjoying it a lot.  I’ll give it another few chapters but I feel that this is not going to be my book of the year!

Summer Punch Cup4


I finished The Faithful Couple.   It was ok.

I have started The Last Werewolf.


Ever since reading The Versions of Us (still probably my favourite book of the year) I have been wanting to rewatch Sliding Doors. Which I got around to doing on the weekend.  Thoroughly enjoyable!!!

I also did a little Paris film watching on the weekend:

  • Midnight in Paris
  • Before Sunset
  • Two Days in Paris

Possibly my way of dealing with the terrible events of Friday night.

Another way to brighten up your day is with the Summer Punch Cup  –  it is a lovely light, bright and summery drink!

The Dishiest Dish – Summer Punch Cup

The Dishiest Dish – Summer Punch Cup


  • 60ml Austin's Summer Punch (or Pimms)
  • Lemonade (I used Schweppes Lemonade with cucumber and citrus)
  • 1 2.5cm thick piece of unpeeled cucumber
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ice
  • 1 tbsp Amontillado Sherry
  • Cucumber slices, strawberries and mint leaves to garnish


  • Muddle the cucumber with the lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker to release the juice.
  • Add the Summer Punch and fill with ice.
  • Cover.
  • Shake until the the outside of the shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a tall glass.
  • Add fresh ice and the sherry.
  • Top with the lemonade.
  • Garnish with cucumber slices, halved strawberries and mint sprigs.
  • Enjoy!

What’s on your list of good things to cook?  What was the best thing you made this week?

What are you reading, watching, listening to?

I’d love to hear!

Have a fabulous week everyone! 

Happy Cooking! Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2


Cucumber Candlestick Canapés

If you read my last post you would have already seen these amazing cucumber candlesticks…now you get to learn how to make them yourself! 

Cucumber Candlesticks
Cucumber Candlesticks

I found the original recipe in, yep, you guessed it, the delight that is Salads For All Seasons by Rosemary Mayne Wilson, because that book never gets old.  Well, technically yes it does but you know what I mean.

I fancy pantsed mine up a bit by adding a little bit of hot sauce into my crab and mayo mix but you could use wasabi or tomato paste or chilli sauce, chopped herbs, chopped up sun-dried tomatoes,  or pretty much any flavouring you liked.  You could also swap out the crab for canned tuna or salmon if that’s how you roll. 

I also added a strip of sun-dried tomato as a flame.

The only bit of making these that was even a little bit difficult was scooping out the flesh of the cucumbers and not having them break.  I don’t have a grapefruit knife as suggested by Rosemary Mayne Wilson so I ended up using a 1/4 teaspoon measure and scooping out a little bit at a time.

Cucumber Candlesticks
Cucumber Candlesticks

These were really tasty and pretty easy to make.  And a pretty cool retro canapé to kick off the celebrations. 

Cucumber Candlesticks2
Cucumber Candlesticks2

 To eat these you can slice them either across into rounds down the middle into half or quarter moons.

But before the recipe,  I thought I might do a quick “retro” spective. I spent some time the other day going through some old posts and one thing became clear.  If there was going to be a sub-sub title for this blog, it would surely have to be “I like round food.  And I really, really like small round food”

May 2012 – Cucumbers Stuffed with Cream Cheese

July 2012 – Moccha Mousse

 July 2012 – Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes

 February 2013 – Barbra Streisands Coffee Ice Cream

 April 2013 – Devilled Chestnuts

April 2013 – Rosé Wine Cup

 May 2013 – Television Eggs

 September 2013 – Ice Cream Muffins

 September 2013 – Vietnamese Inspired Aubergine

 Minh Mang-o Daiquiri

 November 2013 – Kale and Onion Pies, Smoked Salmon Frittata

 December 2013 – Pepperoni Pizza with Boccocini, Olives and Mint

 December 2013 – Cabbage Rolls with Meatballs

 January 2014 – Saffron Risotto Balls

 April 2014 – Ox Eye Eggs

 August 2014  – Autumn Rosti With Smoked Salmon

Autumn RostiAugust 2014- Meatball Sandwich

Umami Meatballs
Umami Meatballs

 November 2014 – Cheesy Eggplant Sandwiches

Eggplant Salami Sandwich 4
Eggplant Salami Sandwich 4

 November 2014 – Chargrilled Aubergines from Persiana

Chargrilled Aubergines
Chargrilled Aubergines

 November 2014 – Paleo Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast Muffins
Breakfast Muffins

December 2014 – Carrot Paprika BallsCucumber Boat 4January 2015 – Meringue Topped Nutella Cupcakes

Meringue Topped Nutella Cake
Meringue Topped Nutella Cake

March 2015  – Orange and Watercress Salad

Watercress and Orange Salad 5
Watercress and Orange Salad 5

 May 2015 – French Apple Tart

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

 And you know what else is round? 

Pie..and I like pie.

I’m not the only one.

Stay tuned, Pieathalon two is coming soon…..

And finally, here’s the recipe for the Cucumber Candlesticks:

Cucumber CandlesticksRemember, third birthday giveaway closes 14 June.  Enter now to win an amazing 1970’s cookbook, and have a fabulous week!

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Cucumber Catamaran with Carrot Paprika Balls

They say the devil will find work for idle hands to do.

And when I say they, I mean Messrs Morrissey, Marr…and….ermmmm…. the other two.  AKA The Smiths.  I’m not sure where the original quote for that comes from.  Shakespeare? The Bible?

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I had a little box and I could type questions into it and get almost instantaneous answers to questions like who were the other two and where did that quote come from? 

But, no time for that sort of sorcery right now….these idle hands built a boat!!!

Not a real boat, I haven’t spent my holidays tinkering around the backyard with a hammer and some hickory barky bark, but a boat nonetheless.  A catamaran to be exact!

Remember when I made the Hayman Island Chicken Salad? That post contains this photo amazing photo of a catamaran table. 

Hayman Island BuffetAnd now, in the spirit of a Russian Doll, imagine a  smaller catamaran.  Maybe one that could be placed on the catamaran table, filled with some cheesy balls o’ goodness.

Et voila…

Cucumber Boat 4The cucumber catamaran. 

Now, I”m not saying she’s the best looking boat in the world.  She’s a bit wonky.  But she is quite obviously a boat. 

Cucumber Boat 3In case you need some work for your idle hands, here’s how to make your own:

 Cucumber CatamaranThe paprika carrot balls weren’t bad either…recipe below…

The Smiths are one of my favorite bands ever.  I spent countless hours of angsty teenage emotional turmoil locked in my bedroom listening to “How Soon Is Now” and “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”,  countered only by and the sheer manic malicious exuberance of “Panic”.

So here’s a little treat for me you!

This week,  I’ll be “spending my warm summer days indoors, writing frightening verse to a buck tooth girl in Luxembourg”…

Otherwise known as doing this. Which I guess makes you my bucktooth girl. 

Where ever you are.

Have a great one!

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Paprika Carrot Balls
A yummy retro appetizer, best served in a Cucumber Catamaram
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  1. 1 large carrot, finely grated
  2. 150g cream cheese
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  4. Smoked paprika
  5. Salt & Pepper
  1. Mix carrot, walnuts, and cheese.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Form into marble sized balls.
  4. Chill.
  5. Lightly dust with paprika.
  6. Serve in a cucumber catamaran with crackers as an appetizer.
  7. Alternatively, serve with grilled meat.
  1. I used a Herb and Garlic Boursin to boost the flavour in my balls.
  2. Feel free to snicker at will.
  3. If you don't want to make the boat, these can be served in a lettuce cup.
Adapted from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson, Salads For All Seasons
Adapted from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson, Salads For All Seasons
Retro Food For Modern Times

Raising the (Salad) Bar Part 1: Cuban Aguacate Salad and Dressing

One of the reasons I love old cookbooks is sometimes you get a little insight in to the lives of the people who owned them previously.  My latest favourite vintage find, Salads For All Seasons is no exception.

S4AS CoverThere is an inscription on the front inner cover that reads “To Ann, Happy Christmas 1985. Love Aunty Ev & Uncle Bill.

S4AS Inscription

Thing is…the book was published in 1971.  I don’t want to judge but I dunno….unless it’s an absolute classic, giving someone a 14 year old cookbook makes me think that some regifting may have been at play here.

I suspect Ann may not have been the favourite niece.

Avocado and Aguacate Dressing
Avocado and Aguacate Dressing

In the foreward Elizabeth Durack Clancy O.B.E. says:

“I commend this book because it is so useful and practical.  “The wilful extravagant maid” can learn some fresh devilment from these pages but the “housewife that’s thrifty” is equally catered for.”

Hmmm…I’m thinking Aunty Ev may have been one of those “thrifty housewives”. And good old Ann, a maid of will and extravagance.  It’s all starting to come together….it certainly explains the parsimony of the Christmas present. And the lack of a term of endearment in the greeting.

Next up, the introduction where author Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us:

“Salad used to something served on Sunday evenings.  It consisted of neatly shredded lettuce, tomato wedges, hard boiled eggs and a slice of cheese.  It was served with the sliced leftovers of the Sunday roast.  Generally it was put straight on the plate, but when there were visitors it was served in a crystal salad bowl.  To make it daring, a blob of mayonnaise was added, but this ‘extra’ was confined to adults”

Personally, I’d be quite happy eating that salad.  But more importantly, who knew mayo was a rite of passage?

Wasabi Leaves
Wasabi Leaves

Then again, have you heard of those Menarche Parties that people are throwing their daughters these days?  I swear, if my parents had ever done anything like that to me, I would still be locked in the bathroom, listening to The Smiths on repeat and  sobbing “You hate me don’t you? You really fucking hate me.”

You can view the full horror by clicking on the link below but just to whet your appetite, included in the party pack provided by…

wait for it…

Menarche Parties R Us…

(I swear you couldn’t make this shit up if you tried)

…are 2 games.  One of these is called “Pin the Ovaries”  and the other is called the   “Puberty Marshmallow Game”.

Pinning ovaries sounds like something a serial killer would do.  And I never want to know what a puberty marshmallow game entails.

For the love of God, bring back the dob of mayo on the Sunday Night Salad. “You’re a woman now Ann, have some Hellman’s”.

“Gee thanks Aunty Ev.  Any chance of some tips on frugality?”

Wow,that was a spectacular digression.  Where we we?  Salad.  Yes.  Right. Ok. Sorry, I’m still  being gobsmacked by the puberty marshmallow game.

Salad.  We’re here to talk about salad.

Cuban Aguacate Salad 2
Cuban Aguacate Salad 2

Back to the Introduction of Salads For All Seasons – after dropping in the comment about the mayo, in a lovely piece of randomness, Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us:

“Of course this has all changed and now nearly everyone owns a wooden salad bowl”

Bear with me while I nip across to Ebay because I am one of the few who own nothing of the sort.  And now I desperately want one.  I really want one that looks like this:

Super 1970's Salad Bowl

But I’m guessing I might have to make do with something a little more mundane.

And it will come in handy because I’m thinking that this could be a long haul.  There is so much that is both amazing and godawful in Salads for All Seasons, that  I think it’s worth spending some time here.

I was going to work through it from start to finish…until I read some of the recipes and paused for a moment of sanity.  So we’ll be kind of working our way through in a fairly random order but skipping some of the truly awful and the just plain boring.

But just to get us off to a to an extravagant and devilish start, put your hot pink dancin’ shoes on, because your tastebuds are going to be doing the Rhumba with this awesome Cuban inspired salad.


Cuban Aguacate Salad and Dressing

Cuban Aguacate Salad and Dressing


  • Salad:
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucmber
  • Handful of leafy Greens (I used Wasabi Leaves just because I found them at the greengrocer and was dying to use them in something - you can use any variety of lettuce, baby kale, spinach, rocket (arugula) etc.
  • Small block of Feta Cheese
  • Chives to garnish
  • Chilli (optional)
  • Toast (optional)
  • Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
  • 1 tsp rum
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  • Make the Dressing:
  • Mix Ingredients in a jar and chill.
  • Salad:
  • Stone the avocado and slice. Place in a bowl and pour the chilled dressing over.
  • Slice the cucmber. I like mine peeled but you can leave the peel on as you prefer.
  • Wash and spin the leaves.
  • Place the leaves into your bowl, add the cucumber and avocado. Toss well.
  • Sprinkle some feta over the top.
  • Garnish with chopped chives and some finely sliced chilli if you like it hot!

Cuban Aguacate Salad
Cuban Aguacate Salad

Who knew you could put rum into salad dressing? It’s certainly efficient – you can toxify and detoxify at the same time!!! And it tastes great!

I”m going to be spending my week, trying not to think about marshmallows! Hopefully Salad dressing liberally dosed with Bacardi will help that  act of forgetting.

Have a fabulous one whatever you do!

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