Category: Mushrooms

Spaghetti Eggcetera – 1977 vs 2016

Imagine a room lit only by an overhead light.  Facing each other off across a dining table are 1977’s The A-Z of Cooking and me.  With a flourish worthy of a hot stepping disco move straight out of Saturday Night Fever, the A-Z of Cooking, looking like a young and studly John Travolta  places a dish of pasta onto the table, right into the beam of light. 

“I’m calling it Spaghetti Etcetera” It says, with a sneer worthy of a Sex Pistol flipping the bird to the Queen.

Spaghetti Etcetera

I stare at the pasta.  “Looks good”

“Good it tastes too” says the A-Z of Cooking which has now transformed into Yoda.

“But I will take your Spaghetti Etcetera and top it with an egg.  And I will call it Spaghetti Eggcetera”.

Spaghetti Eggcetera“I’m not  finished with you” says The A_Z of Cooking and slinks away with all the dignity of the King of Rock and Roll, Mr Elvis Presley dying on a toilet.

And that my friends, is how I defeated 1977 in the battle of “Let’s Give a Plate of Pasta The Most Stupid Name Ever”.

Spaghetti Etcetera2

Spaghetti Etcetera is from the Informal Suppers Chapter of The A-Z.  Which is maybe why they chose such a lackadaisical name.  Then again, the other recipes in the chapter aren’t called Pizza with Stuff on it, Pork Whatever or Who Gives A Toss Potato Salad so who knows what the thought behind this name was. 

Regardless of the silly name it is delicious.!

The Etcetera is bacon, black olives, mushrooms, anchovies, onions,garlic and parsley.  Otherwise known as the Magnificent Seven of good things to have with pasta.   This was a really quick and easy weeknight supper- you can make the topping whilst the pasta cooks so you can go from fridge to table in around 20 minutes!   Top with a mix of Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and some chilli flakes, you have a delicious  dish! 

It’s so good –  salty crispy bacon, salty and briny olives, earthy, silky mushrooms, sweet caramelised onions and garlic, fresh and bright parsley with  some umami depth from the anchovies.  Add some bite from the chilli, some more umami and a touch of creaminess from the  Parmesan and you have a dish jam packed full of flavour!

Spaghetti Etcetera3But if you want to take to an entirely new level, why not add an egg and turn it into a Spaghetti Eggcetera?

I used a fried egg but a poached egg would work just as well.  I am also about to experiment with steaming eggs which I think would work really well here too.  Alternatively, if you are runny yolk phobic, you could crack the entire egg into the hot, drained spaghetti, a la Carbonara, so the heat from the spaghetti cooks the egg. It will taste delicious, but will not look as pretty.  Also don’t read the next sentence.  Come back after the photo for the recipe.

Okay,  now those weirdo’s scared of runny eggs are gone,  can I tell the rest of you that breaking into that yolk and then mixing it through the cheese and bacon and mushrooms is a thing of beauty and has an almost addictive joy to it. 

Spaghetti Eggcetera2

 

Spaghetti Eggcetera
Serves 4
A super tasty, super speedy pasta dish, perfect for a weeknight supper.
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Ingredients
  1. 200g spaghetti
  2. 200g mushrooms, sliced
  3. 2 onions, thinly sliced
  4. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  6. 6 bacon rashers, chopped
  7. 16 black olives, stoned
  8. 4 tbsp parsley, chopped plus more for garnish
  9. 4 eggs
  10. 3 tbsp olive oil,
  11. Parmesan cheese to garnish
  12. Chilli flakes to garnish
Instructions
  1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon, anchovy fillets and onions in the oil until caramelised around ten minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms and parsley, cover and cook for another five minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  4. Whilst the mushrooms are cooking poach or fry your eggs, leaving the egg yolk runny.
  5. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it well, return to the pan and stir through the bacon and mushroom.
  6. Serve onto four plates, top with the egg
  7. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, chilli flakes and fresh parsley.
  8. Enjoy.
Notes
  1. Don't worry if you do not like anchovies, they break down leaving absolutely no fishy taste at all.
  2. Runny egg phobics - break your eggs into the drained spaghetti at step 5, just before adding the bacon and mushrooms. The heat from the spaghetti will cook the eggs as you stir the ingredients through.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
I’m skipping the next chapter because it’s Jam and I am not much of a jam eater let alone maker.  Never fear though, I’m not completely ignoring the letter J.  Because coming up sometime in the not too distant future will be a meal – Just For Two.  The selections here are all pretty good – there’s a pepper steak, hamburgers, tuna provencal, sesame chicken and gammon with pineapple and corn sauce.  Who knows where we will land on that.  Stay tuned and have a lovely weekend!

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Old Bay Crab and Mushroom Vol Au Vents

 Is there anything more kitschy retro than a vol au vent?

Okay, I hear you Jello Salad.  Let me rephrase. 

Is there anything more kitschy retro and DELICIOUS than a vol au vent? 

No, there is not. 

And when you add some Old Bay into an already super tasty mix of crab, mushroom and watercress?  Oh boy, do you have something special happening both on your plate and in your mouth!

Crab Old Bay Vol Au Vents5I do not understand why vol au vents have fallen out of favour.  They’re so pretty.  Like little flowers of yumminess.   I think we should start a movement.  Viva La Vol Au Vent!

And hopefully this will be the recipe that will convince you to join in!

Let’s break it down shall we?

Lovely sweet crab meat, earthy mushrooms, peppery watercress, spicy Old Bay all wrapped in a lovely creamy, cheese sauce and baked in the lightest of light choux pastry.

It’s all good. 

It’s all sooooo good!

Crab Old Bay Vol Au Vents3These are perfect cocktail party food.  Make the filling in advance, then 15 minutes before serving pile into your vol au vent shells to heat through.  Quick, easy, pretty, tasty. 

What more could you want?  Here’s the recipe:

Old Bay Crab and Mushroom Vol Au Vents

Old Bay Crab and Mushroom Vol Au Vents

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 200g spanner crab meat
  • 1 bunch of watercress, leaves picked
  • 12 finely chopped button mushrooms
  • 12 vol au vent cases, I used the ones that are about 5cm across, for smaller or larger you will need to adjust cooking times
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 25g goats cheese, crumbled
  • 30g sharp Cheddar cheese grated
  • 25g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Dash of Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the onion over medium heat until soft. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the watercress and stir until just wilted.
  • Take off the heat.
  • Mix the eggs with the cream and the Old Bay and the Tabasco sauce, if using. Add to the vegetable mixture and stir through.
  • Add the goats cheese and Cheddar and stir through.
  • Add the crab meat and stir to mix.
  • Season.
  • Fill each vol au vent with the crab mixture. Top with parmesan and place in the oven until the egg is set - around 15 minutes.
  • If the cheese is not golden and melty enough, heat your grill/broiler to 200C. Place the tray under the grill/broiler, checking every 30 seconds or so to ensure your pastry cases do not burn.
  • Sprinkle with additional Old Bay and serve.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/10/22/old-bay-crab-and-mushroom-vol-au-vents/

I fear both that I am running out of month and Old Bay….I had two more posts planned and then, on the weekend I found another awesome Old Bay recipe…the Octoberfest may well spill into November!  I’m totally ok with that.  The Germans start their Octoberfest in September, why shouldn’t I end mine in November?

Old Bay Crab, Mushroom & Spinach Vol Au Vents

Have a great week.  And remember, viva la vol au vent!

 Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

 

Molten Umami Meatball Sandwiches

 Hello, hello it’s good to be back!

Umami Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

Did you miss me? I’ve been on holidays – three weeks out of the grey Melbourne cold and into the warmth of sunny Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The holiday was amazing and I will fill you in on the details over the next few weeks, most particularly about the amazing food.

Here is (literally) a taster….

You know how in most supermarkets you get tasting plates?  For example, earlier today in my local supermarket I got to sample 3 kinds of dumplings (prawn, scallop and mushroom), 5 flavours of kombucha tea and some chia pudding…(yeah, my local supermarket is awesome!)  Well, in Cambodia, the taster plates consist of Bamboo Worms…and only  $2 a kilo!

Bamboo Worms
Bamboo Worms

 And these are deep fried crickets….an even better bargain at half the price of the worms…

Crickets
Crickets

 This is me about to taste one of the bamboo worms:

Cambodia Taste Testing
Cambodia Taste Testing

 But before we go there, I wanted to talk to you about meatballs. As much as we love Asian food, after three weeks of it we were craving something that wasn’t.  Funnily enough, we both had cravings for pretty much the same thing. 

He wanted spaghetti bolognese.  I wanted spaghetti and meatballs.  I was doing  the cooking so spaghetti and meatballs it was!  As I was cooking these, I realised why this is such awesome comfort food (it’s not like either of us has Italian heritage). My meatballs are crammed full of umami flavours – parmesan, mushrooms, tomatoes, red wine….Hmmm…is red wine umami?  Well it’s pretty damn good even if it isn’t.  Also, the original recipe for this called for an anchovy fillet.  I didn’t happen to have any so I added saltiness with a dash of fish sauce…guess what?  More umami!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs (and the joys of a plate on your knee  in front of the telly…it really is good to be back)

The spaghetti and meatballs were delicious and everything I wanted – something to warm our bones in the winter cold, something that was quick and easy to cook after a day of travelling and something familiar – comfort food at it’s best!!!

They also require very little in terms of fresh ingredients so you can keep shopping to a minimum.  And, if you were super organised, you could make a batch and pop them in the freezer before you left.  (Massive sigh).  I would love to be that organised!!!!  

So, it was spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and then, (this mixture makes a lot of meatballs) I made a molten meatball mountain (i.e, a meatball sandwich ) for my lunch the next day.  The meatballs were great with the spaghetti but for my mind, even better in the sandwich the next day.  And Oscar was on hand for any leftovers.

Of which there were none!

Molten Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

 Remember these?   Bamboo Worms

 They tasted like this: Aftermath of the Bamboo Worm

I wouldn’t say this was the worst thing I have ever eaten…but it sure wasn’t good.  The outside was kind of crunchy and not so bad.  It was the inside that was gross.  It didn’t taste so much of anything, it just had an unpleasant texture – mushy and slightly gritty. Not to mention the thought that was impossible to dispel.  “That thing in your mouth?  That’s worm guts…you’re eating worm guts…that thing you just bit into, that was probably work heart….”

Not good.  

Thank goodness I found much better things to eat in Phnom Pehn.  Which I will tell you about next time…

Have a fabulous week!    

PS – Is anyone doing the kombucha thing?  I kind of want to grow my own….if you are please let me know!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

Umami Meatballs

Umami Meatballs

These delicious meatballs are crammed with umami goodness and are the prefect comfort food for a wintery night or a delicious lunch the following day

Ingredients

  • 500g lamb mince (or you can use ground beef or a mix of pork and veal)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried herbs or 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs
  • 120g grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 small mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • For the Sauce:
  • 400g can Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • To Serve:
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or a mixture
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (as much or as little as you like)
  • or
  • 1 baguette
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or both
  • Rocket (Arugula), Baby Kale or other green of your choice
  • Shaved Parmesan or melting cheese of your choice

Instructions

  • Place the minced lamb, garlic, mushrooms, onion, herbs, grated parmesan, chilli flakes and fish sauce in a bowl.
  • Season with some pepper - the fish sauce will add saltiness.
  • Using your hands shape into walnut sized balls.
  • Place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large deep frying pan over medium - high heat.
  • Fry the meatballs in batches turning for 3-4 minutes until browned.
  • Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and then add the sugar, fish sauce and wine.
  • Cook until the wine has reduced by half.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Add the meatballs and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sauce has thickened. If you like a thicker sauce (like me) simmer for longer.
  • For Spaghetti
  • If you are having your meatballs with spaghetti, cook this according to the directions on the packet.
  • To serve, place the spaghetti into bowls, top with the meatballs and sauce and sprinkle over some chopped parsley and some shaved parmesan.
  • For A Meatball Sandwich the following day
  • Split your baguette in two lengthwise and lightly toast.
  • Add the oil to a fry pan and heat, add the mushrooms and saute until soft.
  • Remove and set aside
  • Add the meatballs and sauce. Heat through.
  • Add your greens and mushrooms to the toasted baguette.
  • Load on your meatballs and sauce.
  • Sprinkle with herbs,
  • Top with Parmesan
  • Place under grill until the cheese has melted.
  • ENJOY!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/08/10/molten-umami-meatball-mountains/

 

 

 

 

Retro Food For Modern Times – Holiday Wrap Up

Happy New Year!

Here’s whats been going on since I last posted.

On Christmas day, we gathered at my mum’s for a family lunch.  I made the carrot and orange flower water salad featured in the last post and a lemon and lime tart with limoncello as my contribution to the meal.  The tart was meant to look like this….

Lemon and Lime Tart With Limoncello

Sadly, it didn’t.  I lack confidence with pastry so thought I would make it with a crumb crust.  But I  didn’t let the crumb set long enough so when I poured the filling in it all came loose and mixed in with the filling.  I ended up covering it with a meringue (thanks again for that idea Monica) but when it was cut it didn’t have a nice sharp line between meringue, filling and base.  It tasted wonderful; it looked terrible.  I hate that.  Why is it  always when you have to cook for a large group of people that things go awry?

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/6694/lemon+and+lime+tart+with+lemoncello

I was lucky enough to get lots of lovely vintage and vintage inspired presents – a selection of some are below!

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Over the break I finally got to visit the Gusto exhibition at the State Library which explores the culinary history of Victoria.  Among other treasures, they had an amazing array of vintage cookbooks which I was just itching to get my hands on!

Gusto: A Culinary History of Victoria

The days between Christmas and New Year are tinged with sadness for me as my Nana passed away during this period a few years ago.  In memory of Nana, I cooked some devilled eggs which was a dish she used to make quite often .  My devilled eggs weren’t nearly as good as Nana’s stuffed eggs but they weren’t terrible….maybe  next year I’ll get Nana’s recipe and do it properly!  In the meantime, the recipe I used is here:

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/deviled_eggs/

Devilled Eggs
Devilled Eggs

Asparagus rolls were another of Nana’s specialties.  Nana’s asparagus came straight from the tin, the rolls were made with white bread with the crusts cut off, and the asparagus was melded to the bread  with a mixture of butter and finely grated cheese.  There may have been some mustard in there too…again, I’ll have to snaffle the exact recipe, if such a thing exists, off mum for next year.  Ribbon sandwiches were another of the lovely, dainty things she made…..it’s funny, for someone who had a very sweet tooth, all of the best of Nana’s recipes were savoury high tea type delicacies.

On a more mundane level, I remember school holidays sitting in front of the television watching Days of Our Lives eating  hard-boiled egg and tomato sauce sandwiches that Nana had made for me.  Just in case you were wondering, these were eggs mashed into tomato ketchup on white bread. I kind of shudder at the thought of them now but back in the day….delicious!

Every year in the school holidays Nana would take me into the city and we would have Frog in a Pond at the Coles Cafeteria.  I think Frog in a Pond maybe a uniquely Australian dessert so for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about here it is…

Frog in a Pond

A link to the recipe is here:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/18303/frogs+in+the+pond

I made us some mushroom vol au vents…can you get more retro than a vol au vent?  They were light and lovely after the rich  food at Christmas.  The recipe I used is here although I cheated and used bought shells. One of my goals for this year is to master pastry!!!

http://www.cookitsimply.com/recipe-0010-02605q.html

Mushroom Vol Au Vent

In between some house renovations, we had a boozy lunch and some fabulous cocktails with  some girlfriends one day.  The cocktails were served in jam jars and look almost as good as they tasted!

Cocktails 001a

Ended the day on the couch watching Bond on the telly.  The Spy who Loved Me…which has to be the best Bond song ever if not quite the best movie.

We had a very quiet New Year’s Eve as the dogs get frightened by the fireworks and we didn’t want to leave them alone at home.  I lit a tea light – in one of these gorgeous candle holders made from vintage doilies – and reflected on the year gone and the one to come. 2012 was a turbulent year for many reasons and in some ways I was glad to see the back of it. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a fabulous year!  I also wish the same for everyone reading this and hope all your hopes and wishes come true.

DSC01688

 

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Retro Food for Modern Times: The Busy Woman’s Curried Chicken Salad Revamp

Who doesn’t love a chicken salad?  Shut up vegans and vegetarians.  I heard you.  Ok…what normal person doesn’t love a chicken salad?

Busy women of the 1970’s loved a chicken salad.  They also loved curly parsley.  I have never seen so much curly parsley in my life as in these old cookbooks.  They also loved scales.  Scales feature heavily in vintage cookbooks.  I have no idea why.  Some sneaky physics lesson maybe.  Which weighs more – parsley or a lead weight?  Garlic or clams?  Maybe these pictures were the precursor to the BrainTraining games of today where you are shown a kitten and an elephant sitting on some scales and you have to say which one weighs the most (it’s usually the kitten).

The Busy Woman’s Curried Chicken Salad  is a  a pretty good  recipe, all it needs is a few little tweaks to adapt it to modern taste.  I suggest the following:

  • Toast your curry powder before adding to the dressing. It smooths the flavour out.
  • Use fresh mushrooms – I kept mine raw
  • Use fresh asparagus – I steamed mine.
  • I didn’t  put red pepper in my version  because I don’t like it.  I added some tomato for colour and celery for crunch.  Other things you could add into ths would be carrots, avocado, steamed green beans, nuts….pretty much whatever you have or you like!

Enjoy!

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