Category: Jello

Surprise! Orange Chicken Salad

OMG. I was downloading some photos from my camera of the Ice Iced Vovo when I found all the photos  I had taken of the Orange and Chicken Surprise Salad. I had totally forgotten about it. How,  I do not know.   I’m sure I didn’t drink THAT much over the holiday period.  I’m equally sure you will agree that the Orange Chicken Surprise Salad should be unforgettable (in every way). 

Given that I have named January the month of crazy, it seemed fitting to post it here.  I totally had something else in mind to close out the month and we may yet get there.  But this had to get a mention.

It looks quite pretty.  Like a lovely orange jello dessert.  But wait!  A surprise lurks within.

Surprise Orange and Chicken Salad
Surprise Orange and Chicken Salad

 Not much of a surprise as the name pretty much gives it away….(There must be some sort of term for that….is it a paradox? A tautology?  Someone smarter than me please tell me….) But  hiding under that innocent orange jello exterior is a chicken salad.  A rather tasty chicken salad to boot.

Surprise Orange and Chicken Salad2
Surprise Orange and Chicken Salad2

 The idea of mixing sweet jello and savoury items kind of freaks me out.  It should not work.  It freaks me out even more when, like this, the result is actually pretty tasty.  Mind you, I loaded the jello with lemon juice so it was not as sweet as the original recipe dictated which may have helped make it a bit more palateable to my taste.  The original recipe is below:

Orange and Chicken Surprise SaladThe hardest thing about this recipe is getting the layer of jelly on the top the right thickness.  My cup sank way too deep the first few times, requiring some melting and resetting of the jelly.  It was still a little bit thin in this version and it kind of fell into a heap when I cut  into it.

Orange and Chicken Surprise Salad
Orange and Chicken Surprise Salad

 But all up, this was a success.  The jelly actually added a light tangy touch to the salad which was refreshing both on a hot day and after the heavy meals of Christmas. 

My version, which includes cranberries and tarragon is below.

I’ll be spending this week working on my post to celebrate Australia Day….I’m venturing into the best left alone arena of “things people eat when drunk”  and, believe me, whether I love it or hate it, it’s going to be a doozy!!!

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Orange & Chicken Surprise Salad
Surprise! Hidden beneath the layers of tangy orange and lemon jelly is a super tasty chicken salad.
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For the Jello
  1. 2 packets orange jello
  2. 2 1/2 cups orange juice
  3. 1 cup lemon juice
  4. 1/2 cup boiling water, just off boil
For The Salad
  1. 11/2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
  2. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  4. 1/2 tbsp chopped tarragon
  5. 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
  6. 1/4 cup (about a handful) of cranberries, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  8. 1 stick of celery, diced
  9. more lemon juice to bind, if needed
  10. salt and pepper to taste
To Garnish
  1. 1 orange peeled and segmented
  2. Mint leaves
  3. Cranberries
Instructions
  1. Combine the jello, fruit juices and boiling water, stirring until the jello melts. Place in fridge to set.
  2. When about half set place a small bowl into the jello and weigh it down (baking beans are ideal if you have them, otherwise use rice or beans or anything else you have to hand).
  3. Chill for several hours until very firm.
  4. Meanwhile combine all the salad ingredients and season to taste.
  5. When the jelly is set, take a sharp knife and dip it in hot water. Dry the knife then ease all around the small bowl. You may need to dip it in the water a couple of times.
  6. Once the bowl is removed pack the chicken salad into the cavity. Put foil or a plate over it and chill until firm.
  7. When ready to serve, place the mould in hot water to loosen the jelly, it only needs to be in there a short time. Then turn it out and garnish with the orange segments, cranberries and mint leaves.
Notes
  1. If your cup sinks too low in your jelly mould like mine did, place the bottom of the mould in hot water. The jelly will melt. Keep the mould in the water until you get the level of jelly you desire then place back in the fridge to reset.
Adapted from Rosemary Mayne - Wilson, Salad For All Seasons
Adapted from Rosemary Mayne - Wilson, Salad For All Seasons
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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