Category: Jelly

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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(Almost an) Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

Remember way back when I made the Spaghetti Bolognese that had the chicken livers in it?  You know, “the best Bolognese ever” that prompted me to implement the “Don’t ask, don’t tell rule?” into all future cooking ventures?  Well, it happened again this week with the Almost Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad, and we’ll definitely go there but first….

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

You might be looking at the above picture and wondering why the featured item is called an Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad.  Because emeralds are green right?  Any fool knows that. And, you might assume that, this is one of those quirks of vintage cookbooks that I would normally mock mercilessly.

Unfortunately, wrong and wrong.

Sometimes, the fault lies entirely with me.  I’ll pause while you pick your jaws up off the floor.  But just to prove a point, let’s count all the ways I failed to notice a fairly crucial part of Nancy Spain’s recipe for Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad.

1 The name.  Emerald and Ruby.

2 Nancy also very kindly provides a picture of said Emerald and Ruby fruit salad.  And even more kindly, it is one of the pictures in the all colour cookbook that is in glorious technicolour.  And yep, it’s green.

Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad
Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

3 The recipe quite clearly states that layer 1 consists of lime jelly and strawberries.

Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

4. Emeralds are green.  Even failing all of the above.  Logic would dictate that the Emerald layer of the Emerald Fruit Salad would be green.

So, given all that  and that I trotted all the way to the shops and bought some lime jelly specifically to make my Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad, how on earth did I manage to use lemon i.e. yellow jelly in the first layer?

I know .  I was astounded at my level of dumbfuckery too.  Feel free to roll your eyes and face palm as much as you want.  I deserve it. But once you’re done, let me introduce you to my…(erm..just hold on a moment whilst I google yellow gemstones….) highly delicious  Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad.

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

It still looks pretty but…doofus mistake right? It also then really threw me for the second layer.  I had lime jelly left.  But, now the recipe called for lemon jelly.  Dilemma – use the lime jelly and hope it turns out ok?  Or head back down to the shops and buy some more lemon jelly?  In the end, I bought more lemon jelly.  I figured the avocado, mayo and salt combo was going to be enough of a sell even using the correct recipe.  Who knew what would happen if I threw the lime into  the mix?

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

So, now to the next part of this saga.

I live with the fussiest eater in the world.  And high on the lengthy list of foods he doesn’t eat are avocado and mayonnaise.

So, I was kind of surprised to get a phone call at work on Monday, after making this on Sunday.

“You know that jelly thing?”

“Uh huh”

“I saw you put the avocado in”

Fuck it.  Now I”m going to have to eat the whole thing myself. I’m going to be eating jelly until Easter.

“But I took some to work to have for  snack and…it’s surprisingly good.  What else is in there?”

Oh…ermm…jelly.  Lemon Jelly.

“Just lemon jelly and avocado?”

Yeah..pretty much…bit of lemon juice…

“Wow…who knew…it’s really good”

Good.  I’m glad you like it.

I’m going to hell.  I really am.  But you know, it also kind of proves my point.  Tonight if I served up a salad containing avocado and mayo, it would be left on the plate. And he would probably eat two slices of the Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad for dessert to make up for it.

Just as long as no one tells him what’s in it.

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Never Mind Eating For Beauty, This Week is All About the Love!

So last time we left off, I had been eating for love and beauty for 4 days and loving it.

However, through the week, I began to see a certain theme running through my dishes…

Day 5

I made two recipes from Eating for Love and Beauty.

The first was a delicious Egg Curry. 

Egg Curry
Egg Curry

This was very tasty, spicy and quick to make.  I will definitely make this again.  Also, I didn’t have fenugreek because…well who has?  However, I noticed my Garam Masala contained fenugreek, cumin and coriander so I used that in lieu of all individual spices.

Egg Curry
Egg Curry

I think we all know eggs are a symbol of fertility…I had my egg curry with a Rice Exotica – Saffron & Lime Casserole.
Rice Exotica huh?  I think the Swami might be getting a bit saucy!

Rice Exotica
Rice Exotica

Sadly, the Rice Exotica, was the least sexy dish of the week.  Probably because in my first mouthful of it, I bit directly into a clove which spoiled entire dish for me  Yes, it was my fault and I should have been more careful when I was counting them as I fished them out but still, not good.  I was also not happy with the texture and I only par boiled my rice initially!  I like my rice light and fluffy and this was a bit too mushy and stuck together for me.  I dread to think what it might have been like had I cooked it all the way through the first time as per the recipe.

If I was going to make the rice again, which is unlikely, I would probably not cook it at all before bunging it in the oven with the nuts and spices.  Hmmm…maybe I will try it that way.  Sans the cloves!

Next up was an Eggplant Dish….and lo and behold, the internet tells me that eggplants are a symbol of abundance or fertility, passion and devotion.  See what I mean about a theme beginning to develop?

Day 6 – Eggplant Gourmet

This was AWESOME!…

Earthy eggplant, sweet, sour..all sorts of deliciousness rolled into the one dish.  The flavours reminded me very much of a Sri Lankan Eggplant dish that sometimes contains cashew nuts…and maybe dates?

(Dear mother given you have started to chime in on here, maybe you could offer some insight into the constituents of an eggplant moju???)

Either way, I had some cashews left over from the Rice Exotica  so I dropped them in for extra flavour and crunch. I’m definitely making this again….

I also ate it more as a side dish than as a main.  It’s also pretty good cold on crackers or some tzatziki on pita bread.

Eggplant Gourmet
Eggplant Gourmet

Eggplant Gourmet Recipe

Day 6 – Lovers Dandelion Salad

If you’ve read my earlier post…(here)…you know I have a bit of a penchant for a bit of foraging.  So the Swami’s Lover’s Dandelion Salad was as good a reason as any to go comb the local environment for some dandelion leaves which, luckily, were plentiful.

I loved this salad.  There is something about bitter greens that makes me feel incredibly virtuous and just oozy with health! Again, I had no fenugreek sprouts so I just used a sprout combo.  I was becoming curious about why the Swami used fenugreek in so many dishes so I did a bit o’ research and hello…fenugreek is sometimes used to cure erectile dysfunction.

When the Swami wants you to eat for love, she doesn’t muck about!

She also says this salad is good for those suffering from mental or sexual debility.  I ate mine for lunch a the office and it kind of worked.  It certainly gave me a mental boost for the afternoon!

Lover's Dandelion Salad
Lovers Dandelion Salad

Lovers Dandelion Salad 0

Day 7 – 21 Essences of Kama Sutra

I followed the Lovers Dandelion Salad with the 21 Essences of Kama Sutra Salad although I guess I only had 19 Essences as I subbed a yellow pepper for the red and green peppers and could not find soy sprouts for love or money.  Then again, I used my handy sprout combo per the last recipe so maybe I had more than 21 Essences of Kama Sutra!   The Swami offers no comment on what the 21 Essences of Kama Sutra is good for.  I think she’s letting the name speak for itself.

21 Essences of Karma Sutra
21 Essences of Kama Sutra

This was also a very nice salad, although if I made this again, I wouldn’t bother with the Lotus Nuts. In the first pack I bought there were two dead moths.  That made me gag and I had to throw them out.  The second lot of lotus nuts was, thankfully, mothless but also largely tasteless.

I read on the internet Lotus Nuts are good for irritability.  Well guess what?  After the moths, and having to make two trips to the Asian food store to buy them, then finding they taste of sweet F.A. I guess they are.  I was certainly a lot more irritable after all that palaver than I was before I started!

And quelle surprise, also apparently good for impotence!

1 21 Essences Of  Kama Sutra

Day 8

It’s Plum Wonderful

I ended my week with the Swami’s recipe for an uncooked  Plum Pudding which is basically dried fruit held together with jello.    It’s really tasty, and has all the flavours of a plum pudding but is fruitier and not so heavy.  It would be a perfect alternative to a heavy pudding, particularly here when it is warm at Christmas.

Plum Wonderful 2
Plum Wonderful 2
Plum Wonderful 3
Plum Wonderful 3

Plum Wonderful Recipe

I recently read that a good maxim to use when trying to moderate your alcohol intake is to abstain one day a week, one week a month, one month a year.

It doesn’t work for me alcoholwise as I am aiming for far more than one AFD a week but it’s certainly a philosophy I can embrace when it comes to adopting the principles behind Eating For Love and Beauty.

That book, which also had a whole host of other good advice was:

Dangerous Women

Apart from the moths and the failure of the Rice Exotica, Eating For Love and Beauty has been fun and I feel really healthy.  It is winter here now and whilst people around me have been dropping like flies with all sorts of horrible lurgies, I  have never felt haler or heartier!

I really want to go to the Swami’s retreat now….

I’m going spend my week trying to find a yoga class I can do at lunchtime so I can exercise for health and beauty as well as eat for it. Enjoy your week whatever you do!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Happy Healthy, Sparkly Birthday to Me!

We had a little birthday celebration at Retro food For Modern Times last week.  I also spent the week reading a bit more of Swami Sarasvati’s Eat Your Way to Love and Beauty.   Whilst none of the recipes here are from that book there is certainly more than a hint of nourishing my inner goddess about the recipes I made as part of the celebrations. And yes, I did just write the words “nourishing my inner goddess”.  Feel free to vomit.

I kicked off the celebrations with a hefty dose of booze.  No lame Swami Sarasvati mocktails here.   When this blog celebrates we turn straight to the Goddess of entertaining Martha Stewart for inspiration (and alcohol content).  And her cucumber and lime gimlet got the festivities off to a fine start.

Cucumber and Lime Gimlet
Cucumber and Lime Gimlet

Now, you may be wondering how I can justify the whole nourishing the inner goddess thing (Ok, I’ll stop saying that now) whilst guzzling gin?  Well, it turns out my inner Goddess is a bit of a booze hound.  Who knew?

Secondly, I figure the health affirming properties of the cucumber must go some way to counteracting the negative effects of the alcohol.  Yin and yang right?

The recipe is here:

Martha Stewart’s Cucumber and Lime Gimlet

There is a bit of pfaffing around with this recipe in that you need to make up a mint simple syrup and steep some cucumbers in gin beforehand but it is worth the effort.  It is delicious and an amazing colour!  And we had sparklers!

Next up…was my Green Gazpacho.  Now, I don’t think I have banged on about my love of this Spanish delight yet but believe me, summer without gazpacho is, in my opinion, not summer at all.  It is no longer summer here but luckily all the ingredients were still readily available.  I also really wanted to try this with some of the super tasty Black Russian tomatoes I love so much!

Green Gazpacho ingredients
Green Gazpacho ingredients

If you are planning on making a gazpacho, green or otherwise, please do not go all Atkins and leave out the bread – it really is integral to the texture of the dish.  Gazpacho without bread is glorified tomato juice.  And no one wants that.

The basic gazpacho recipe follows but you can play with the quantities of ingredients as much as you want.  It’s pretty forgiving.  And sometimes you need to play around with it.  Strangely enough, I wanted my green gazpacho to be green.  So, imagine my utter dismay when I blitzed the above  and the result was a horrible looking baby pooh brown.  It tasted good but looked atrocious!

Classic Gazpacho

I had some watercress in the fridge and I kept adding sprigs of it into the mix until it became greener.  The watercress also added to the flavour!

Green Gazpacho with an Avocado Garnish
Green Gazpacho with an Avocado Garnish

That, along with my dessert was going to be it.  Three dishes and done.  However, my greengrocer was selling tarragon this week which is a rarity in itself.  I love tarragon but it seems to be fairly scarce so I buy it whenever I see it, then figure out what to do with it.

And what better use for tarragon on a week when we are nourish…(I can’t bring myself to repeat it but you know what I mean) than making a Green Goddess Dressing.  This is an awesome dressing zingy with tarragon, lemon, chives, yoghurt…lots of my favourite flavours….

Green Goddess Dressing Ingredients
Green Goddess Dressing Ingredients

And it looks like this:

Green Goddess Dressing
Green Goddess Dressing

It’s a gorgeous pale green and it looked super cute in the jug my friend Ali gave me for a birthday present last year.

May 060

To go with the dressing  I made a salad of steamed asparagus, broccoli and beans with some raw zucchini, mixed sprouts, avocado and some toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seed kernels and I also made a rice and quinoa mix.

Healthy lunches here I come!

Veggies, Seeds and Sprouts with mixed rices and quinoa
Veggies, Seeds and Sprouts with mixed rice and quinoa

May 065

This salad is amazing, you can almost feel the health bursting out of you as you eat it.  And again, just use whatever vegetables you have.  The Green Goddess recipe is here:

Green Goddess Dressing

Finally, I wanted a retro style dessert.  I recently bought Wobble by Rachael Lane which is filled with delicious sounding recipes for lovely jellies.  I love the old-fashioned look of these jellies so they seemed a perfect finale to the celebrations.

I made a version of Rachael’s Persian Delight (below) but with a straight jelly, not a blancmange for the rose layer and a third layer of pomegranate.  I would have liked to top mine with the candy floss as per the picture in Wobble but the only place I could find it was a high-end department store who wanted an arm and a leg for it.

Seriously, where is a fun fair when you need one?  Although I always find those places a little creepy.  I’ve read way too many books where bad things happen in places like that to be entirely comfortable.  And don’t even get me started on clowns…. Thanks Stephen King et al, for another innocent pleasure ruined…

The rose layer got a little lost but all in all this was a very pretty dessert and it tasted amazing!

Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly
Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly

In lieu of candy floss we had more sparklers…

Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly 2
Pistachio, Rose and Pomegranate Jelly 2

The recipe for the Persian Delight is found here.

Persian Delight Jelly from Wobble

Finally, I thought we might have a little look at what we might  expect over the next 12 months. This is what PBS has to say on the subject of one year olds:

“One-year-olds are just discovering their creative abilities”

And

“They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated.”

And

(They) have no understanding of true “writing,” but many enjoy experimenting with marks and scribbles on a surface.

Hmm…sounds suspiciously like the next 12 months may be quite similar to the first 12!

Thanks to everyone who reads this for a fabulous year!  It has been heaps of fun at this end and incredibly satisfying to watch this grow from an idea into actuality.

I’ll be spending the week marking and scribbling on surfaces and some of it might even end up in here.

Thanks again, I hope you continue to enjoy this for the next 12 months and beyond!

Have a great week!

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