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.
It 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.
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…
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
Time 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?
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….
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…
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:
Thanks 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.
And 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:
I”m going to spending my week finding things that make me happy. Make yours fabulous whatever you do!