Category: Salad

Cattle Country Salad for Cowboy Day

Go west they said.  I took their advice and not only went  west but a whole heap north as well to end  up in the UK for this year’s Cowboy Day.  I will be spending the actual day in the most haunted town in Britain! Maybe a ghost cowboy just like this one will appear on the day….

Spooky huh?

Something that is not at  all spooky is the  Cattle Country Beef Salad Salad l made to celebrate Cowboy day.  But first, this is the first time I am writing, editing,  and posting entirely via phone so let’s put any weirdness in this post, beyond the regular  weirdness down to that and I will re-edit, format as required once I get home!

Cattle Country Beef SaladWe don’t have cowboys in Australia.  We have cattlemen.  Who live in cattle country which is where this salad comes from.  Actually, it comes from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson’s Salads for All Seasons but you know what I mean.

So what all goes into a Cattle Country Beef Salad?

  1. Beef of course.  I suspect originally this would have been leftovers from the Sunday roast but I just bought from slices of roast beef from the supermarket. 
  2. Then there’s apples.  Because we all know one a day keeps the doctor away and you don’t want to get sick while you’re out riding the range.  
  3. There’s celery because…I dunno. What use is celery?  I like the taste of it but….oh that’s right.  Celery keeps the cattlemen skinny.  Because no one likes a tubby cowboy.  Specially the horses they ride around on all day.
  4. Spring onions.  To put a spring in their step.  

That was about it for the original ingredients.  I also added some mixed leaves because I had to use them before I left for the UK the following morning.  I also added some chunks of a lovely vintage cheddar.  Which also had to be used but cheese also makes anything taste better and this was no exception.

RMW suggests using a French dressing for this.  Make it really punchy by being HEAVY on the mustard.  The flavours in here are strong enough to deal with it. 

Cattle Country  Beef Salad 2This was yummy!!!! Quick simple delicious.  That’s an all round winner for me!  

Here’s the original recipe:

Okay, I’m trying to keep this short and sweet because posting off the phone is doing my head in.  

Many thanks to Greg from Recipes for Rebels for inviting me to participate in the cookalong again this year.  It is always a so much fun to be a part of something like this.  Plus, he”s one of the most awesome people on the internet so should just be thanked in general 

 I dont have my regular sign off this week but just look what can happen when bloggers get together.  For an explanation of why Battenberg Belle, Jenny Hammerton and I are wearing cowboy hats and clutching a meat cleaver, a melon baller and a hammer respectively, you’ll need to head over to Silver Screen Suppers but in the meantime, have a great Cowboy Day everyone!  

Walnut and Avocado Salad, Seeing Double & Mysteries Solved

When is a salad not a salad?  When it comes from The A-Z of Cooking.  There is no way in the world that I would call this a salad.  It’s much more of a dip.  But The A-Z calls it a salad so, Walnut and Avocado Salad it is.  Even if we all secretly know it’s a dip.  

Walnut and Avocado SaladThis was kind of….meh.  And you know what?  I strongly recommend that you make guac instead.  Because a good guac is awesome!  But first, there is an elephant in the room and it needs to be addressed.  You may be thinking that because we have labelled something a salad when it is quite clearly a dip that we have reached S.  Not so fast there Speedy.  We’re actually still at R.  How so?  Refreshing Salads.  Yeah,  I know I should  have ceased to be surprised at the randomness of The A-Z by now.  But it’s ONE letter..it’s at the back of the Chapter, right next to the start of the S’s. Couldn’t they have?  Shouldn’t they have? Why didn’t they?

Walnut and Avocado Salad2But wait, there’s  more.   When I turned the page over to “Refreshing Salads” my eye was caught by the words Greek Salata.  Now, I LOVE a Greek Salad.  Feta, olives, tomatoes….bring it on!  My mouth was already watering as I contemplated making eating one. In my mind, a Greek Salad should look exactly like this one from the Food Network:

So imagine my horror when my eyes were what can only be described as assaulted by this disgrace:

Oh. My. Lord.  Have you ever seen anything quite so hideous in your life?  Sadly, I have.  Because even as I was recoiling in horror, I realised I had seen something quite so hideous before.  In fact I had seen something exactly as fugly before because I had not only seen but posted on that very picture.  Right here.

WTF?  To paraphrase Lady Bracknell, to use this picture in one book may be regarded as misfortune; to use it in two looks like a blatant disregard for the eyes of one’s readers.  But then I was intrigued.  So, I went back to The Hot Weather Cookbook and flicked through it and there were six other photos IDENTICAL to those in The A-Z of Cooking!  They share a publisher, Octopus Books but neither book acknowledges that content previously appeared in the other. 

Now, it also just so happens that one of the photos that was replicated in both books was the mysterious Mango Mousse which I spoke about here.

Mango MousseNow I know that the mystery of what that is a picture of, seeing as it is quite clearly NOT a mango mousse has been keeping all of us awake since I first posted it back in March of 2015 (and yikes, has it really taken me over two years to cook through this book?).  And who knew that I had the key to the mystery within my grasp the entire time?  Because, if you look at page 113 of the Hot Weather Cookbook where the same recipe for Mango Mousse appears, there is a reference at the bottom of the page to the pictures contained overleaf  – Orange Soufflé (page 114).  Which is our mango mousse picture.

And, if we flick back to the recipe of Orange Soufflé?  Oranges, passionfruit, cream eggs….I’m totally ignoring the random bananas but  I think we have a contender!

Orange SouffleMystery solved.  I feel like a culinary Mulder and Scully.  I have been tossing up as to whether I should take up one of those Hunt A Killer subscriptions I keep hearing about on all my podcasts.  After this bit of sleuthing I am a step closer to putting my detective skills to the test.  It’s damn expensive to get it shipped to Australia though!  Is anyone else doing it? If you are, please let me know!

BTW, just to take us back to the Avocado and Walnut Salad?  The bread shown with it is the Cheddar and Apple Foccacia from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez.  And it was delicious!  This is a wonderful book too!

Have a wonderful week!  Next up, I’m taking a bit of a break from The A-Z and making some lovely old-fashioned biscuits, perfect for afternoon tea!  Why not pour yourself an Earl Grey and join me?

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Cowboys, Caviar, Casseroles and Cocktails

Dear readers

I had such high hopes for this post.  Then they were totally dashed by a twist of fate that…well…I guess if I’d seen it coming it wouldn’t be a twist would it?  But I’m jumping ahead of myself.  First, I was totally delighted when Greg from Recipes4Rebels asked if I would join in a cookalong for Cowboy Day!  This event occurs on the fourth Saturday of July each year and is celebrated all over the world! 

Cowboy Caviar 1Obviously, this is not the fourth Saturday in July, however, as I will be sunning myself on the beach at Sanur in Bali that day, with Greg’s blessing I am posting my ventures into Cowboy Cookin’ early!  And it’s a three course meal y’all. (Because 1 that’s how cowboy’s talk and 2 cocktails are a course aren’t they?  This one is almost a meal!  But again, getting ahead of myself!)

So now onto my foiled grand plans.  My idea was that I would find a cocktail called a Bali Cowboy – possibly a more tropical version of this cowboy cocktail and I would make it for my post and then, on the day itself, I would tweet another picture of me in Bali with with my Bali Cowboy and it would in a glass as big as my head and it would be blue and loaded with umbrellas and pineapple wedges and all the other tropical cocktail paraphenalia. 

Cowboy Caviar 2A quick google soon showed me that there is such a thing as a Bali Cowboy.  It is NOT a cocktail.  Turns out that a Bali Cowboy is a male prostitute who hangs around Kuta Beach willing to sell his services to any rich (ie all) Western women who care to pay for them. So, whilst I’m not 100% ruling out a photo of me with a Bali Cowboy on Cowboy Day, the likelihood of it happening has dropped significantly!

So, new ideas had to be found.  Starting with some caviar.  Because we’re classy cowboys!  It’s Cowboy Caviar of courseCowboy Caviar 4Where has this salad / dip been all my life?  If this is what cowboys eat, then I want to be a cowboy.  It’s all kinds of beans and corn and tomatoes and avocado . Truly delicious!  I loved this! 

So, for the second course, I went straight to the top.  And by that I mean Mr John Wayne himself.

John wayne casserole recipeTurns out The Duke and I share a love of eggs, cheese and chillies.  Now, just one thing about the John Wayne casserole…. To my mind, when you combine egg yolks to beaten egg whites with other stuff, in this instance cheese and chilli and you them put that in an oven and cook until it’s all puffed up and golden, that’s not so much a casserole as a soufflé. 

You be the judge:

John wayne casserole1I’ll sit quietly over here and let my case speak for itself. 

By the way, cooking this for an hour would be way too much.  You are seeing about 35 minutes and I think it was over.  I would cook this…half an hour max.  Also, the tomato didn’t do much.  I would actually leave it out and cook this for 20 minutes total. 

John Wayne casserole2The soufflé casserole was good but I think I was so blown away by the Cowboy Caviar that it kind of paled by comparison.  I will definitely make it again though!

John Wayne casserole3And now for my grand Cowboy finale, I am turning to to person who started all of this, yep, Greg.  This cocktail /dessert  is A-MAZING!  So, so good.  Cowboys and cowgirls, can I present, the Giant Martini! 

Giant Martini2There is no other word for this but absolutely divine! The giant in the Giant Martini doesn’t refer t to it’s size (but you could scale it up very easily)  but to the fact that it was created on the set of Giant by Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson.

Git along little doggie, this cocktail is all mine!

Giant MartiniAnd you too!

Giant Martini3jpgAh yes, Greg’s site on the PC, a cocktail in front of me and The A-Z of Cooking behind it.  Just a regular day round these parts!

Many, many thanks to Greg, this was so much fun!  Thank you so much for including me!  I always say this but you hear so much about the internet being a a horrible vicious place, I am always delighted and totally honoured to make new friends, like Greg, on here. 

Ok, I’ve gotta go, 5:30am start tomorrow!  But I’m loving and leaving you with some some super rhinestone cowboy singing!

Find out all about the Cowboy Day Cook A Long here.  Hopefully my attempts will inspire you to bigger and better things on the day!

The recipe for Cowboy Caviar I used came from Cookie and Kate.

The Giant Martini recipe is here.

Kiss me and smile for me, I’ll be back here in a couple of weeks but if you can’t smile without me, I’ll be tweeting and instagramming from Bali throughout.

Loving you, leaving you, now!

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Belly Stuffed Rainbow Trout & Orange Salad

Hello Friends!

Today we are celebrating Lunar New Year, and the Year of the Monkey with a delicious belly stuffed rainbow trout.  Lunar New Year, often called Chinese New Year  is celebrated all over Asia, and all over the world via the Asian diaspora.  It is a time for families to get to together, for the exchanging of gifts and of course food. 

Chinese Lantern Banner

I read this article in Serious Eats recently and as soon as  I read that whole fish was a common item at Lunar New Year dinners I knew exactly what I wanted to cook.  I have been waiting for an occasion to make Sabrina Ghayour’s Belly Stuffed Rainbow Trout for AGES and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.   Fish is considered lucky for New Year, particularly at the Reunion (New Year’s Eve) Feast because the word for carp sounds like the words for good luck and gift.

Belly Stuffed Rainbow TrouNow I know some of you might be a bit freaked out by cooking / serving a whole fish.  And believe me, I used to be right there with you.  If you do not like the idea of a whole fish, you could certainly pan fry or bake fillets of rainbow trout and serve with the stuffing mixture.  However, in Chinese symbolism a whole fish represents togetherness and abundance. 

Chinese Lantern Banner

But first, let’s talk Chinese Astrology.  We are about to enter the Year of The Monkey.  Famous people born in Monkey years include Leonardo Da Vinci, Elizabeth Taylor, George Lucas, Charles Dickens, and Lord Byron.  Gillian Anderson is also a Monkey.  Dragging that list down a notch or two from the great and the good,  other monkeys are Miley Cyrus and me!

What can you expect in the Year of The Monkey?

It is a year to act, to innovate and to take your destiny into your own hands.  However, the recklessness of the monkey also cautions us to think before we act so do not be  too hasty in making decisions.  Setting clear goals is important this year.  The monkey is also a sociable creature so this is a good year to nurture and expand your relationships with those around you. 

Chinese Lantern Banner

Belly Stuffed Rainbow Trout

I guess I should have made something a bit more Asian to celebrate however Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe for belly stuffed rainbow trout is delicious at any time of the year!  Incidentally a rainbow trout is the only fish I have ever actually caught for myself. 

The fussiest eater in the world is a keen fisherman (yet curiously cannot eat anything he catches; he just throws them back).  A few years ago we rented a holiday house in the mountains and one afternoon set out to go berry picking.  Well the berry farm was closed but the trout farm was open.  He went to the most difficult area and started catching fish left, right and centre.  I was content to read my book but, seeing how easy it looked said that I would have a go.  Well.  We slowly moved from the most difficult to the next most difficult to the next most difficult,  ending up in what was basically a wading pool.  The four year olds (who were the only other people using this pond) and I eventually caught our fish.  Then I cried because I felt bad about killing something.  But my rationale was “If I’m going to kill something then I ‘m damn well going to eat it” so we stopped on the way home and bought some almonds and I made us a lovely Trout Almandine for dinner.

He refused to eat it.  Which resulted in a blazing row where the phrase “I killed a fish for you.  How can you not eat it?” and variations there of were thrown around the room.  Miraculously his piece of trout stayed in the pan and not over his head!

Lesson learned.  This time, we  bought a trout.

Rainbow TroutThe stuffing is a very tasty and gorgeously colourful mix of spring onions, pine nuts, garlic, chilli, coriander and preserved lemons.

Belly Stuffed Rainbow Trout2Sabrina’s recipe for Belly Stuffed Rainbow Trout can be found here.

My notes on this recipe were that even though I halved the stuffing ingredients  because I was only cooking one trout I still had a lot of it left over. 

This is not really an issue as it is totally delicious and I had the following ideas for the remainder:

  • Scatter over cooked vegetables
  • Add a little olive oil and toss through pasta, maybe with some crispy breadcrumbs
  • Serve on flatbread crisps with a dob of hummus as an appetizer
  • Stir through rice for a pilaf effect
  • Sprinkle onto mushrooms and grill. 

Or you could just do what I did and just eat it by the spoonful while waiting for the fish to cook!

Chinese Lantern BannerBelly Stuffed Rainbow Trout3

Orange & Arugula Salad

To serve with my Belly Stuffed Rainbow Trout, I made a very simple orange, black olive and rocket (arugula) salad.  Citrus fruits are a symbol of prosperity, good luck and abundance and lettuce symbolises spring.  So, despite not having Asian flavours my salad has come celebratory significance.

It’s almost too easy to call a recipe but here we go:

Orange, Olive and Arugula Salad
A delicious, fresh and simple salad that is a perfect accompaniment to seafood.
Write a review
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Ingredients
  1. 100g rocket / arugula
  2. 1 orange
  3. handful of black olives
  4. 1 tbsp orange juice
  5. 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  6. 1 tbsp olive oil
  7. S&P
Instructions
  1. Place the rocket in a salad bowl.
  2. Segment the orange removing all peel and pith. Do this over a bowl so you catch the juice - this can be used for the dressing
  3. Toss in a handful of black olives
For The Dressing
  1. Mix the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning to taste.
  2. When ready to serve pour over the salad
You can fancy up this salad with any //all of the following
  1. Chopped toasted walnuts or pistachios
  2. Toasted pinenuts
  3. Pomegranate seeds
  4. Thinly sliced fennel
  5. Thinly sliced red onion
  6. A smattering of feta
  7. Some tarragon leaves
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

Chinese Lantern BannerSome other lucky foods to serve at Lunar New Year include:

  • Spring rolls represent gold bars
  • Celery for wisdom
  • Plums for mental acuity
  • Dumplings for wealth
  • Long Noodles for a long life.

My work is celebrating tomorrow with a yum-cha lunch.  Bring on the dumplings!

Lunar New Festivals will continue until 22 February so you have plenty of time to join in the celebrations. 

Just for fun, I took some fortune cookies to a family dinner and we all chose one to pick our fortune for lunar new year.  This was mine:

Fortune cookieIf you are celebrating Lunar New Year, or even if you are not, you are all my garden of roses and I wish you all a year of joy and abundance!

Have a wonderful week.  I’m off to eat my weight in dumplings!

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Pear and Blue Cheese Salad: 1977 v 2015

Last time we spoke I was making a mad mix of ginger beer pickled pears for my Christmas Day Pear and Blue Cheese Salad.  If you follow my Instagram, you would already know how this turned out.  If not, take a look!

Pickled Pear & Blue Cheese SaladI am amazingly proud of this.  It looks so pretty and festive and it tasted just as good as it looks! 

The ginger beer pickled pears were great. They were so tasteless raw, it was like chewing cardboard.  The ginger beer pickle not only  added some flavour but also made them taste more pear-y.

 Pear & Blue Cheese Salad2

For the salad, I used a supermarket bought mixed leaves, toasted walnuts, some crumbled blue cheese and some red currants to add some festivity!

I kept the skin on the pear during the pickling but took it off for serving. 

For the dressing I mixed some of the pickling liquid with some olive oil.  And then promptly forgot to take it to mum’s.   She had some bought dressing which we used on the day but I actually think the one I made was better.

Pickled Pear & Blue Cheese Salad3My Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad was inspired by a recipe in the A-Z of Cooking for a Pear and Blue Cheese Salad.  I didn’t copy it totally first because of the issue with the pear.  But also I felt that the combination of blue cheese and mayo would make my salad too heavy.  We have been in a heat wave and so for me the lighter dressing kept the salad more lean and the increased acidity worked well in the heat. 

Here is that recipe, you’ll find my recipe for the Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad at the bottom of the page.

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad collageI may be am totally biased but I’m calling my 2015 version of a Pear and Blue Cheese Salad the winner in this bout of retro v modern.  I absolutely loved it.  But you know what?  Try them both and let me know what you think!

Meantime, I have half a jar of saffrony-gingery-chilli-ish pickling liquid left over.  Fruit and sugar and vinegar  =  a shrub does it not?  I’m researching as we speak.  This could be the gift that keeps on giving.  It’s a dirty job but someone is going to have to taste test cocktails made with the pear and ginger shrub to find out which booze it goes best with.  I think it can go three ways – keep it lean with some vodka, make it sparkle with some prosecco or play to the spicy notes with some spiced rum.That’s where I’m heading anyway. 

Pickled Pear Juice and Dressing.Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions will be gratefully received. 

I’ll try to get it right before NYE.  Speaking of which, what are your plans? The fussiest eater in the world is working so it’s me on my lonesome.  Which is perfectly fine by me.  I am working during the day so will use the evening to prepare a Bridget Jones curry buffet for the following day when my friend Ali is coming over for what has become a New Year’s Day tradition. 

Hopefully,the ratio of cooking vs shrub testing stays on the right side and I don’t end up  doing the full Bridget Jones couch routine!

Have a fabulous week! 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Here is my recipe:

Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Pickled Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pear, cored and thinly sliced, peel on
  • 1 birdseye chilli
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ginger beer
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 cups mixed leaves
  • 50g blue cheese crumbled
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for salad dressing
  • red currants to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Toast the walnuts until golden. Set aside.
  • Combine the gingerbeer and the vinegar in the a small saucepan.
  • Add the chilli and bring to the boil.
  • Add the pears and the saffron.
  • Lower the heat and poach the pears in the liquid for around 5 minutes. The pears need to be cooked through but not at all mushy. If they are not cooked in the 5 minutes, turn the heat off but keep the pears in the hot cooking liquid until they achieve the right level of doneness.
  • Once done, drain the pears but keep the ginger-vinegar liquid. Place the pears in the fridge to cool down while you make the rest of the salad.
  • Spread the mixed salad greens over a plate.
  • Sprinkle over the walnuts and the crumbled blue cheese.
  • Remove the peel from the pears and spread the slices over the greens.
  • Top with the red currants, if using.
  • Make a dressing by mixing 1/2 tbsp of the ginger-vinegar liquid with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season to taste and pour over the salad.
  • Enjoy!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/12/29/pear-and-blue-che/

 

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