Category: Gelatine

Cranberry Party Salad

If Christmas has an official fruit, to my mind it would have to be the cranberry.  We smother our turkey in it, serve it up with some brie for an oh so yummy canapé and knock it back by the bucketful in Christmas inspired cocktails. 

If retro cooking had an official dish, it would have to be the jellied salad.

And if these two met at a party and got a little tipsy on a few too many festive sherries and had their very own love child?  It would look  a little like this:

Cranberry Party Salad
Cranberry Party Salad

 And you know what?  If there’s any rationale for hiding your love children in the attic?  The Cranberry Party Salad from Salads For All Seasons could well be it. 

I wasn’t the worst thing I made this year.  Oh, no, that is a dead heat tie between the Paleo Muesli and the Paleo bread…

Sprouted Seed Bread
Sprouted Seed Bread

 It wasn’t awful like these, it was just way too sweet for my taste to have as a savoury dish.  It’s a problem I have in general with Cranberry sauce.  Sometimes it feels as if someone snuck up whilst I wasn’t looking and smeared my turkey with jam. To me, the thing, the whole raison d’etre of the cran is the tang.

Cranberry Party Salad2
Cranberry Party Salad2

 I was also a little disappointed that the fruit and nuts and…yep ok…spoilers ahead…celery…floated to the top which became the bottom once I turned it out.  Then I looked at the picture in the book and it looks like her fruit is all chunked at the bottom too.

Original Cranberry Party Salad
Original Cranberry Party Salad

 Also, look at her terracotta water cooler in the background.  And look at my Kris Kringle present this year…we do the one where you can steal gifts and believe me, there was nothing coming between me and this baby.  Sadly, I stole it off one of the nicest people in the world.  And she really wanted it because she had stolen it from one of the boys.  Caitlin, if you read this, I’m sorrynotsorry. 

Kris Kringle 2014
Kris Kringle 2014

 I am seriously a couple of oddly placed copper moulds away from having that retro kitchen!!!  That woman also has weirdly large man hands like me too.  And that blue salad?  Will be made. I promise.  I have to see how that particular combination of ingredients becomes blue…we will find out together in 2015.   I may even wear a badly fitting blue dress and have my water cooler in the background for some happysnaps.

Cranberry Party Salad Crackers
Cranberry Party Salad Crackers

Rosemary says this is to be served with light meats and poultry.  But how?  You have to remember that this type of dish is most definitely not in any kind of ancestral memory I have.  Well, having said that, I did ask my mother WEEKS ago to give me the recipe for a salmon and jello type thing she used to make.  Which, I have STILL not got.  Someone’s game needs to be lifted….

Given the spread between chunky at the bottom and clear at the top, it seemed sensible to slice it.  To my mind that just looked way too weird on the plate.  In the end, I treated it like a cranberry sauce and ate it on crackers with ham and cheese.

Cranberry Party Salad and Cheese
Cranberry Party Salad and Cheese

 

Cranberry Party Salad and Ham
Cranberry Party Salad and Ham

 Huh…it doesn’t look too bad in the photos and, in all honesty, this wasn’t awful….just waaaaaayyyy to sweet for my taste.  And I tarted it up by adding fresh cranberries into the mix….

Leave this one with me.  I’m going to ponder it over the next 12 months and next year, I’m going to bring you the best cranberry party salad ever!!!

Cranberry Party Salad Recipe
Cranberry Party Salad Recipe

Any suggestions, you know where to send ’em.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – My Super Power…and a Tomato Consomme

I had a bit of a shock last week when I published the Pimms Post and a little message came up saying “You have published 50 Posts”  Wow!  Really?  I completely forgot!  Good thing it was a cocktail post, we can take as a celebration had. BTW, just between us, I discovered later in the week that if instead of ginger ale or lemonade, you happen to mix  Pimms with some elderflower cordial and soda water the result is like heaven in a glass!  So, so good.

Oh and less than a week after I posted about all things British and tennis, Andy Murray finally won Wimbledon….coincidence?  I like to think not.

Tomato Consomme
Tomato Consomme

My ability to influence major sporting events is not actually my super power.   No, mine is a lot spookier.  I’m telling you this just so, when things happen over the next few weeks, you won’t be surprised.  And here it is…whenever I go on holiday…famous people die.  Seriously.  Here are just some people who have shuffled off this mortal coil when I have been elsewhere:

Princess Diana (long weekend in Warnambool)

Kurt Cobain (Sydney)

Michael Jackson/ Farah Fawcett (Surfer’s Paradise)

Amy Winehouse (Malaysia)

There have been others, I just can’t remember them off the top of my head but really…that’s 4 of the big ones right there. Weird right?

I was also in Barcelona the day Lehman Brothers went down, signalling the start of the GFC….

Tomato Consomme 2
Tomato Consomme 2

I’m just about to go on holiday so I thought I would love and leave you with a classic retro recipe, the tomato consommé.

I was an unadventurous eater as a child.  I took a vegemite sandwich to school every day for 4 years running.  Mum still laughs that I was the only vegetarian who didn’t actually eat vegetables.  So, last week when I not only whipped up a concoction made of tomato juice, chicken stock and gelatine but ate it without a second thought, it was a bit of a victory for me over my old habits.

So…if my life was a Hollywood movie this would be the bit where I bring  a spoonful of the consommé  to my lips…maybe I hesitate just to build some dramatic tension….then I would slurp that sucker down, give a sexy little wink to the camera and mouth the word “Delicious.” Next up there would be a montage of me finding new appreciation of all the other food I don’t like – boiled peas, boiled carrots, beetroot, pork chops, any mix of chocolate and orange, the list goes on.  And on.  And on.

Tomato Consomme 3
Tomato Consomme 3

To be honest though.  It wasn’t that good.

It tasted like slightly chickeny tomato juice.  It wasn’t disgusting.  Just not awesome.  It LOOKED gorgeous.  Which I guess is like saying that someone you’ve been on date with had a great personality.  No, I’ll tell you exactly what it was like.  I once read somewhere (let’s face this, this next…ahem…”fact” more than likely came from Cosmo or the Huff Post or another source of dubious reliability) that men fall in love with women because of who they are. And women fall in love with men for who they could be.  That’s how I felt about this consommé.  It was kind of a loser in its current state but given a little time and patience it could probably become something awesome.

As I ate my way through the massive amount of consommé the recipe produced, I found myself thinking…huh..what if I also made a basil jelly and made little cubes of the consommé and little cubes of basil jelly and made a really cute caprese?  Or what if instead of the bitters (which added nothing) I subbed in some Worchestershire and Tabasco and made a Bloody Mary Consomme?  What if I piped that jelly onto celery sticks?  Or teeny cubes on oysters?  What if I added more gelatine and spices and made it into something akin to a quince paste to have with cheese?

Tomato Consomme Recipe  taken from Woman's Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)
Taken from Woman’s Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)
Tomato Consomme. Taken from Woman's Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)
Tomato Consomme.
Taken from Woman’s Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Slimmers (1978)

For the right girl (or boy) there is some real potential here to take this and turn it into something truly awesome. Not me though.  I’ve been eating consommé for about a week.  I’m consomméed out….and…I’m going on holiday!

I’m going to be spending the next 4 weeks in Vietnam and Thailand, two fab food hangouts.  I  booked a Street Food tour in Hanoi today and I am so excited about it! And there was a little Banh Xeo place I didn’t around to visiting last time we were in Saigon that I’m dying to try. I can’t wait to revisit the wonderful Morning Glory in Hoi An…and I’ll going to try to do a cooking class in Phuket…in between lounging by the pool sipping cocktails! So food will be high on my agenda and, when I get back, I’m sure I’ll have some stories to tell!

Enjoy your month whatever you get up to!  I’ll be back mid August.  And stay safe, even if you’re not a celebrity or an investment bank.

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