Category: Herbs

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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Mag of The Month – Super Food Ideas – September 2002


Given that September is almost over, I thought I would quickly squeeze in a mag o’ the month.  If the month was September 14 years ago. However take a step back in time with me as we flick through the pages of Super Food Ideas.


Flavours of The Month – September 2002

Peaking  in September 2002 were


Here is my Salted Caramel Apple Pie:

Salted Caramel Apple Pie3Grapefruit

Here are two cocktails using grapefruit:

The Navigator

rp_The-Navigator3-802x1024.jpgThe Mexican Standoff

Honeydew Melon

AKA the worst melon.  I have no recipes.  I wouldn’t have it in my house. 

Pear (European).

Here is my Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad.  Now, that was delicious.  I think I need to make it again.  After all, pears are peaking!

Pickled Pear & Blue Cheese Salad

Brain Teaser

This alphabet soup was featured in the August 2002 edition of Super Food Ideas.  Can you solve it?


The Food

I made four recipes from this Mag starting with:

Ricotta Wafers

ricotta wafersThis came from the Weekly Menu Section and was classified as an entrée.  I ate mine for lunch and it was a great quick lunch idea.  Ricotta with herbs mixed through served on crackers with tomato and avocado. 

Another lunch idea was this:

Ploughman’s Lunch

ploughmans-lunchNow, without wanting to seem too smug.  That ploughman’s lunch you see above?

I made that bread. From scratch.

I also made the chilli jam that you can see between the bread and the lettuce. 

And those pickled onions?  I made them too. 

Because I am fucking awesome. And because we’re doing preserving this month at Tasty Reads. 

See?  Not smug at all.

Quick Sushi

quick-sushi2Ok, before anyone tries to stage an intervention, just know that I haven’t started boozing on brandy in my lunch hour.  That Remy bottle was just  the right size to put my soy sauce in. 

Chargrilled Fish With Tarragon Salsa

The only thing I made that wasn’t a lunch was this lovely dinner.  The fish and salsa were really good.  Not so much the potato thing I had with it which was from that horrible Mexican book.


Here’s the recipe for the fish:

Char-Grilled Fish with Tarragon Salsa
A light and lovely dish, packed with flavour
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  1. 1 slice day old bread, crusts removed
  2. 1/4 cup tarragon leaves
  3. 1/4 cup parsley leaves
  4. 3 tbsp lemon juice
  5. 2 tbsp water
  6. 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  7. 1/4 cup olive oil
  8. 4 bream fillets
  9. Additional olive oil
  10. salt and pepper
  11. Lemon quarters to serve
  1. Tear the bread into small pieces.
  2. Place into a food processor with tarragon, parsley, water, lemon juice and garlic.
  3. Process until mixture is finely chopped.
  4. With the motor running slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture forms a thick sauce.
  5. Brush the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook on a hot char grill for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through.
  7. Top with tarragon salsa and serve with lemon quarters.
Adapted from Super Food Ideas - September 2002
Adapted from Super Food Ideas - September 2002
Retro Food For Modern Times
Next time, we’re getting classy and taking a step back in time with a look at Vogue Entertaining (Australia) from October 1989.

Have a great week!

PS, if you want any of the other recipes featured above, drop me a line and I’ll email them to you.

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Strawberries in Grand Marnier with Mint Sugar

The good news, is that with this post, we are done with the letter F in the A-Z of Cooking.  The chapter heading promises that we will be “Finishing with Flair”. The bad news is that without seeming like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary right from the get go, another F word springs to mind when I consider the contents.  Except for these Strawberries in Grand Marnier.  They were good!  Although how could a combination of fresh sweet strawberries combined with luscious orange liqueur with mint as it’s cheerleader not be delicious?

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint SugarWe’ll get to them later.  However, back to Finishing with Flair – we have already mentioned this so called Mango Mousse. The picture of which contains bananas, oranges, passionfruit, eggs and nuts.  The recipe below has none of these.  The Mango mousse recipe actually sounds really nice.  Maybe I am just being a brat for not making it.  Then again, if they can’t be arsed putting the right picture with the recipe, what are the chances that recipe will turn out?

Mango MousseThat fear of 1977 desserts not being all they were cracked up to be was born out when I made the Continental Chocolate Squares featured on p28.  The picture from the A-Z of Cooking is on the left, with the Squares looking rather decadent.  Mine are on the right looking a lot more Raggedy Anne.  I think I tried to cut them when the chocolate topping was still too hard from being in the fridge and I could not get a nice clean line. Maybe I should have glammed them up by adding some candlelight!

Continental Chocolate Squares3What both of these pictures fail to convey is the overbearing sickly sweetness of the filling. It contained 4 cups of icing sugar which was far too much!  I love sweet food but this was way too much for me and prompted the fussiest eater in the world to ask if I was trying to put him into a diabetic coma.  It is a shame that the middle layer was awful because the base which was chocolate and walnuts and biscuits was quite nice.  It is probably worth someone spending some time on trying to get that filling right because this could have been amazing.  I just don’t think that person will be me!  Although, now I kind of want to.  So maybe it will rear its head in another incarnation down the track. 

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint Sugar2
There was a lovely sounding recipe in this section for French Cherry Fritters.  This is the one I would have loved to make but you had to deep fry the fritters and I do not have a deep-fryer.  This however is one I am going to:

a) Play around with until I can perfect a baked version

b) borrow a deep-fryer.  i think my mum has one. 

Until then, it’s Strawberries with Grand Marnier.  Adding the mint sugar was an idea I borrowed from Sabrina Ghayour in Persiana.  She makes a number of herb sugars to sprinkle over fruit and now it is something I do all the time!

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint Sugar4I served this with some white chocolate dipped almond bread which was every bit as delicious as it sounds!

Initially I thought this might be a bit too simple to blog about – soak some strawberries in booze.  And done.

And it is very simple.  But sometimes that is all you need to finish a meal with flair!

Strawberries in Grand Marnier with Mint Sugar
Serves 4
A simple way to finish your meal with flair!
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  1. 1 punnet of strawberries
  2. 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  3. Handful of mint leaves
  4. 3 tbsp caster sugar
  5. White Chocolate Dipped Almond Bread to serve (optional)
  1. Halve the strawberries and place in individual serving dishes.
  2. Sprinkle each dish with 1/2 tbsp of Grand Marnier.
  3. Leave to stand at room temperature for at least an hour.
  4. Meantime, make your herb sugar.
  5. Place your mint and your sugar in the bowl a mortar and grind with your pestle until them mint is finely ground and well combined with the sugar, which will be a lovely green.
  6. Alternatively, place both in your food processor and whiz until you achieve the same effect
  1. You could use basil instead of mint. Or a mix of basil and black pepper.
  2. Any Orange flavoured liqueur could be used instead of Grand Marnier.
  3. Any left over herb sugar can be used to rim a cocktail glass, or used in place of regular sugar in anything else you are making - I'm thinking lemonade would be amazing.
Adapted from A-Z of Cooking & Persiana
Adapted from A-Z of Cooking & Persiana
Retro Food For Modern Times
 Ok so  that’s F done. 

Coming up we have G is for Good Health.  I have actually already made the Cheese & Date Bread from this section so we may skip it altogether as there is not much else to get excited about.  So, possibly our next venture into the A-Z will be The Gourmet’s Touch.  Ooh la la.  Exciting times ahead!  Possibly.

Have a wonderful week lovely people and this week, what ever you do, I hope you finish it with flair!

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The Dishiest Dish – Green Sauce

English is meant to be one of the most descriptive and eloquent languages in the world.  Why then, do some phrases sound so blah when contrasted to their foreign counterparts? Take Green Sauce, this week’s dish o’ the week. How much better would it sound if it were called Salsa Verde or Sauce Verte or even Pesto?

Green Sauce 1

All of these suggest a zing, a zippiness, a brightness that plain old Green Sauce totally fails to convey.  However, out of everything I made from The Meatball cookbook, the green sauce was an absolute standout highlight which I will make over and over.

This stuff is like crack.  Seriously, make it once and you will want to smear, drizzle, spread this over EVERYTHING.  And here’s the thing – it’s good with everything.  Here are some of the stuff I have eaten it with outside of the meatballs:

  • Steak
  • Roast chicken //Poached Chicken
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Fish or any white seafood – lobster, crayfish, prawns, scallops
  • Baked and boiled potatoes

And it’s not just me.  Everyone in the book club who made this sauce agreed it was the bomb!

It’s also a good way to get rid of some of the herbs you have used in other recipes that might otherwise go to waste.  I have added tarragon and mint into the mix and it was delicious both times.

Make it.  Make it today.  You will not be disappointed.  I promise.

Oh yeah, the meatballs were good too!  These are the chicken, cheese and corn balls. 

Green Sauce 2 No real recipe fails this week – just me failing to make some Banana Buttermilk Pancakes (which have been top of my list for weekend breakfasts) for maybe the tenth week in a row. I’ve given up, I’m making a saffron and pistachio kulfi with the buttermilk as we speak. 

This week I am looking forward to cooking:

After  the meatfest that was meatball week, I am looking forward to making some salads and this Cucumber, Pistachio, Grape and Feta salad from Australian Gourmet Traveller is hitting every button I have. 

So is this Shaved Asparagus, Cured Beef and Manchego Salad but I’m not sure if I can be arsed curing my own beef.  Does that make me lazy?  Or is that asking too damn much?  What is a good substitute?  I was thinking I could use pastrami.  Suggestions gratefully accepted! 

Hmm…there’s buttermilk in that dressing.  Maybe the banana pancakes are back on the menu.

In the oven at the moment is Vincent Price’s Champagne chicken for the #treasurycookalong over at Silver Screen Suppers, it is smelling delicious!

In Other News I Am

Listening To

I have downloaded but am yet to listen to The Message Podcast.  I’ll let you know how that one works out. 


Still on Orphan #8.  Had a moment this week sitting in the doctor’s waiting room to get my foot x-rayed  whilst reading about a woman who had her whole life destroyed by x-rays and briefly wondered if I should make a run for it.  Sadly, the most I could have managed was a slow hobble. 


For some reason my computer decided to wipe all the files for  Life After LifeWhich is a shame because I was really enjoying it. I’m not totally upset though because I think it is something I will like even more by actually reading it.

I have switched to audio reading Jon Ronson’s  So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and I am  loving it.  I think Jon Ronson is brilliant and have read (nearly) all of his books and never been disappointed.  There is something about those smart witty British boys (Ronson, Alain De Botton, Louis Theroux) that does it for me BIG time.  I am also totally loving that Jon Ronson is reading the audio himself.  I would recommend this to anyone who has any online presence (this means you)  in terms of how to behave on the old dub-dub-dub that we all share. 

Niki Sengit’s The Flavour Thesaurus is a book I have dipped in and out of for years.  I am  now reading it cover to cover.  And loving it too.  I can’t tell you what I enjoy more, her scalding wit or the great recipe suggestions. 


I  watched Best in Show earlier today and it was as funny as ever.  I had totally forgotten some of the mad random bits of hilarity such as Eugene Levy’s two left feet.  Utterly watchable!

I have a real hankering to go back and watch some early XFiles.  I have yet to scratch that particular itch but it’s there….

Here is the Green Sauce Recipe and if you are only ever going to act on one thing from this blog make this green sauce. 

It comes from this book:

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno


  • 50g (a large bunch) flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked
  • 50g (a large bunch) basil, leaves picked
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 35g blanched almonds
  • 10g anchovies
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 parmesan cheese, finely grated


  • Blitz the herbs, garlic, almonds, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor for around a minute or until a smooth sauce has formed.
  • Add the parmesan and blitz for another minute.

What’s going on in your life / kitchen?    What was the best thing you made this week?

What are you looking forward to making next week? 

What are you reading, watching, listening to?

Please share!

Have a fabulous week everyone! 

Happy Cooking!

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