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!
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.”
“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
For the next five days, I am a lady of leisure! And what better way to celebrate than with a cocktail (or two)! And this Goose in Spring Cocktail fits the bill perfectly!
After three years, I am leaving the amazing team at Protiviti in Melbourne for pastures new. It was so hard to say goodbye; I have made so many friends there and worked for three amazing bosses. But new challenges beckoned and I am moving on.
But not until Monday.
So, in the meantime, while I am unofficially unemployed, I am as free as this little bird.
If being free means:
Cleaning out my pantry
Clearing out my wardrobe
Clearing out my bookshelves
Putting my car in for a service
A visit to the dentist
A visit to the hairdresser
Catching up with a girlfriend for lunch
A visit to the beauty salon for a mani & pedi
Getting the broken strap on my favourite handbag fixed
Trying to cook as many recipes from Persiana as possible
Vintage Shopping with my mum
Writing at least three blog posts to schedule for when I am on holiday next month
Writing that novel I’ve been thinking about for years
Yep, totally absolutely free!
The Goose in Spring cocktail was the winner of the May 2012 Vodka Cocktail Contest, where it was created by Elijah Venanzi.
Goose In Spring
A delicious fruity and floral cocktail. Perfect for Spring!
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
The Goose In Spring combines all the delicious floral flavours I love – lavender and elderflower with some fruity deliciousness from raspberries and lime! The original recipe used lemon instead of lime but I didn’t have any – and you know, when life doesn’t give you lemons, a girl’s gotta improvise! My lavender vodka was also VERY lavendery so I needed to adjust the other ingredients around it. The original ratios are per the link in the recipe.
Have a lovely week! I’ll be thinking of you while I’m doing all that nothing!
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….
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. Emeraldand 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.
3 The recipe quite clearly states that layer 1 consists of lime jelly and strawberries.
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.
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?
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?”
“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.
I fully intended this week to be devoted to Eat your Way To Love and Beauty, but somehow I ended up drinking my way to oblivion and incoherence!
But you know what? I can now honestly say that I didn’t spend the weekend getting tanked on cocktails. I spent the weekend doing research and development. For you dear readers, I did it for you! I’m selfless like that.
I found a version of the first cocktail I made, the Oh Calcutta, in Eat Your Way To Love and Beauty. This combines pineapple, grapefruit, lime and…. curry powder! Yep, a curry flavoured cocktail!
The Swami’s version of the Oh Calcutta suggests you mix the ingredients with spa water. I assumed that was a euphemism for vodka when making my version.
Now, I normally like my cocktails pink and sweet so this was a bit of a shock to my system! Initially I wasn’t too keen on it. Gradually though, the Oh Calcutta won me over. It’s actually has quite a complex flavour profile (whoo hoo, look at me using the foodie words!). There was a slight bitterness from the grapefruit, sweetness of the pineapple, heat from the curry, sour from the lime…the more I drank it the more I liked it!
I was still thinking about it the next day and I decided that, interesting as it was, it needed something more and that something was a little salty kick. So, I made it again but this time I edged the glass (badly) with some ginger salt. I made the ginger salt by bashing some ginger to death in the mortar and pestle and then adding some salt to the mix. I twirled the glass in this. It doesn’t look great but it tasted amazing!
In my first version I toppped the entire drink with grapefruit juice instead of using a mixer, in the second version I mixed grapefruit juice and sparkling water. The result was slightly less bitter which I preferred. I also used ruby grapefruit juice so there was a pink tinge to my cocktail!
I’m now thinking ginger beer would be good in this too….version three may well happen next weekend!
Just in case this has piqued your interest in a curry cocktail, I found a few more versions to tantalise your taste buds bouncing round on the interwebs…
But the weekend of cocktails was not over because it’s feijoa season and thanks to a tree that is fully laden over at my mother’s house we are swimming with them…
For those of you unfamiliar with a feijoa (aka the pineapple guava), it is a fruit much beloved by New Zealanders, and apparently Russians and Californians. It is:
“green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin”
Boo, Wikipedia boo! That does nothing to convey the joy of the feijoa – huh…come to think of it from now on, I’m going to be calling them fe-joy-as. I once read in an aromatherapy book that you need to be careful when burning Clary Sage oil because the smell of it can make you feel as if you are drunk! I feel a little bit the same about the scent of a feijoa, it is a kind of fruity, floral, heady smell that…it’s what I imagine heaven smells like. Not that I’m likely to find out. There is no doubt in my mind which way I’m heading.
Feijoa Marketing Board…don’t even think about it stealing this, I’m slapping a ™ on “Fei-joy-as…what heaven smells like” ASAP. Happy to negotiate with you on the licensing of my intellectual property for your commercial gain though. Call me. I’m easily bought.
Mind you, someone at the FMB is doing their job. These babies are currently selling in the supermarket for $2 each!
When I told mum I was going to do some feijoa cooking for this she wanted to know if I was going to make jam. It’s that kind of comment that makes me wonder if I’m actually adopted….Jam. Pffft…why make jam when you can make cocktails?
I found a wonderful blog called Feijoa, Feijoa which is bursting with recipes for feijoas and has an whole section devoted to cocktail recipes.
I made the Odessa Cocktail purely because I had all the necessary but each one of the cocktails sound delicious. And as for the recipes…this may well become one of my favourite sites! There are also several jam recipes for my mother to make.
The recipe for the Odessa Cocktail can be found here:
If you’re wondering why my simple syrup looks like Coke or coffee , it’s because I only had brown sugar in the house. I think it worked though, it added a treacly depth to the syrup. (coincidentally, Treacly Depth would be the name of my indie band…)
The Odessa is a lovely cocktail, it’s sweet but with a little tang from the lime and exactly the kind of cocktail I normally love! Coming after the Oh Calcutta, it seemed a little simple but it was still delicious! My advice to anyone making it would be to strain it really well. I put mine through a tea strainer and it was a little gritty. I would use a finer strainer next time.
I’m going to be spending my week sidling up to people outside the supermarket and asking “Psst…want a feijoa? ..One fifty each or three for three…and they smell like heaven”
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!
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….
And it looks like this:
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.
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!
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:
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!