By the time you read this, I will be wending my way to (hopefully) sunny Sri Lanka. I’m super excited to be visiting the country where I was born. We will be travelling around Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks then stopping by our beloved Vietnam on the way home.
However, just so you don’t miss me too much, this year, like a television chef, I have a few things I have prepared earlier for which should (fingers crossed) come out every couple of days while I am gone.
The Margaret Fulton Cookbook was recently the book of the month over at The Cookbook Guru. I have the 1977 version of this book which is what I used to cook most of my recipes. However, my local library had the modern version. And because I am a cookbook nerd I did a side by side reading of the two. The results of that reading inspired this holiday series.
But first, taken from the blurb on the 1977 edition, for those of you who do not know her, here is all you need to know about Margaret Fulton. It’s a bit of a long quote but utterly delightful and indeed points to why she is such a treasure and legend of Australian cooking. The modern version has nothing like this which is an absolute shame!
“Margaret Fulton is a good cook – that’s indisputable. She is also an intriguing personality. This gives lie to those who think that someone whose career is cookery is bound to be staid and homely with conversation that hovers on or around matters culinary. Margaret’s conversation sparkles with wit and shows no preoccupation with her career. She is fascinated by the stock market. Will discuss big business, high fashion, the theatre, modern literature and child care with verve and intelligence.
Margaret has travelled widely, living every moment of every day with an enjoyment, an enthusiasm that would exhaust most people…..
Petite and feminine, she loves good clothes and smart shoes. Although she would never dream of putting up with anything but the best quality food, her Scottish thrift (and plain good sense) prompt her to buy most of her fruits and vegetables at a farmer’s market where the freshest quality is available and the prices are low. She is not a food snob. Rather a fresh wing of skate than an Alaskan crab or Scotch salmon that may not have travelled well…
And when Margaret entertains, which she does with the same zeal she applies to everything else, her friends are sure of a memorable meal and lively conversation. Her definite personality, her bubbling zest for living make her an outstanding human being”
Enjoy the next few weeks! How could you not in such good company? By which I mean Margaret of course. If you want to keep up with my travel adventures and general nonsense, I’ll be on FB and Insta.
Why should you invite a mushroom to your birthday?
Hands up all of you who thought I was going to go with that corny old “Because he’s a fun guy” schtick? Well boo to you!!! My jokes are never that bad. Are they? I’m actually terrible with jokes. The only one I can ever remember is “Why are pirates called pirates?” And the answer is “Because they are” Only you have to say the “are” in that pirate voice. “Arrrre” See? The only joke I know and it’s not even funny written down.
So, mushrooms, parties…I made a cake!!! In fact I made lots of little cakes. And they looked kinda like mushrooms. And you should definitely have them at your next party!
Oh and the taste? So good. Chocolate, marzipan and sour cherry jam….how could you go wrong?
Have I ever mentioned exactly how much I love marzipan? Well, it’s this much – I ate the left over marzipan from making this recipe by itself. Then I bought another pack and ate that by itself too. Then I felt sick for about three days. But it was worth every minute of it.
My mini mushroom cakes are based on a recipe from The A-Z of Cooking which has it as one large cake. This is from the Children’s Favorites sections which means we have hit C. Why does it feel like I have been cooking from this book for YEARS? How can we be only up to C?
To be honest, I’m not sure of the validity of the mushroom cake as a child’s favourite. Teddy Bears, Thomas The Tank Engine, one of those awesome Barbie Pool Party Cakes – hmm whatever, yes and definitely yes, yes yes! (Note to self, Make Barbie Pool Party Cake for next year). I’m not sure there’s many children asking their mum to bake them the fungi cake. Not even back in the hippy ’70’s.
Mushroom Cake – Original
You start with one big or lots of little chocolate cakes. I used the recipe from The A-Z of Cooking but you could use any chocolate cake you wanted. This would be A-MAY-ZING using your favourite brownie recipe too.
Here is the original recipe, my slightly tweaked recipe is below.
Spread the top your cakes with the sour cherry jam,
Roll out your marzipan until quite thin, then cut into rounds large enough to drape over the top and sides of your cake. Trim additional marzipan so the marzipan is flush with the bottom of the cake. Turn over so the uncovered part of the cake is now facing the top.
Roll another long thin piece of marzipan. Spread with the sour cherry jam and roll up, lengthways. Cut this into 4-5 pieces depending on how long you want your stalk. Repeat until you have the same number of stalks as you do cakes.
Pipe or spread your icing onto your cakes. I spread mine and made the mushroom gills with a toothpick.
Then place your stalks onto the middle of each cake.You may need to hold these in place with a little dob of jam or icing.
Despite their dubious credentials as a children’s favourite, these mushroom cakes are just adorable and so tasty, and you know what would make then even better and certainly not kid friendly? Douse the cakes with a little bit of kirsch before adding the jam.
Now that’s what I call a magic mushroom cake!
Three sleeps to Pieathalon!!!! I can hardly wait
Have a great week!!!
Mini Mushroom Cakes
Delicious morsels of chocolate cake, cunningly disguised as mushrooms!
I solemnly promise that will be my only egg pun for this whole post.
But really, what is Easter about if it’s not about eggs?
Well, yeah, ok sure it’s about Jesus….but eggs are important too.
This year I made my own chocolate eggs.
And ok, so Adriano Zumbo is not shaking in his shoes just yet but I get some points for trying right? Can’t this be like Little League and I get a medal just for turning up?
For those of you who don’t know Adriano Zumbo, he is a mad-scientist genius baker (kind of like an Australian Heston Blumenthal but with more macaroons and fewer snails). He makes things like this gorgeous V8 cake.
Think it looks simple?
Because when you cut this baby open you get this:
Yeah…uh huh and OMG wow!!!
Maybe I’ll try to make that next Easter never.
For anyone brave enough to try, you can get the recipe by clicking the link below:
However, ’nuff about Zumbo, back to my eggs. They weren’t just any plain old chocolate eggs. Uh uh. No way.
They also had a peanut butter fudge filling:
And in true retro style the peanut butter fudge mix has a secret ingredient.
Yes, I did just say mashed potato.
And it works surprisingly well. You can’t taste it but it gives the peanut butter a firmer texture. Actually the texture is very similar to that of my one of my all time favourite decadent little treats – a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. And when I say “a” Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I of course mean a four twin pack.
I even had to check that there wasn’t mashed potato in a Reese’s PBC. There isn’t but there are two things that don’t actually have names, just initials. And you have to love a list that contains non-fat milk and milk fat right next to each other. So, that would be milk right?
I’m not going to come over all Michael Pollan about this (guess who finally finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma?) but you know what? I’m really not sure about eating the stuff that is just initials. However, whilst we’re on the subject of Mr Pollan, here is what he has to say about TBHQ, one of the ingredients in my possibly formerly beloved peanut butter cups:
But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.
Hmm…compared to lighter fluid, the mashed potato suddenly seems a bit more attractive does it not? And yes ok, you would probably have to eat your own weight in them to get that gram of TBHQ but it was enough to make me walk away from the rack of peanut butter cups today. Damn you Pollan.
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Ox Eye Eggs
In my last post I assumed that everyone would know what Egg in a Hole was. I then further confused the issue by using the name we call these things in my family which is an Ox-Eye egg.
I actually managed to trace back the source of why we call it that. It comes from this book which I inherited from my…hmmm…I’m not sure of our exact relationship…maybe my second cousin? A great cousin? My nana’s sister’s daughter.
This was possibly my first cook book and the ox-eye eggs have become a family favourite. I will return to this book in due course because the illustrations are awesome but here is the recipe for the original ox-eye eggs:
I prefer to do mine in a frying pan than in the oven as I think it gives you a little more control over your preferred degree of yolk runniness but the choice is yours!
And look at this for an amazing breakfast – seriously, if I’d thrown some cheese on this plate all my five favourite food groups would have been covered – eggs, bacon, avocado, and bread!
Loading up that toasted circle with a piece of bacon, some guac and some semi-runny yolk? Probably about as close to heaven as I’m going to get!!!
And that’s Easter 2014 done!
Next time, a double whammy, a retro treat from Salads from All Seasons and a Daring Kitchen Challenge. I’m 3 months behind on my Daring Kitchen stuff and I’m really nervous about all of them – for very different reasons – again which we will get to in due course.
February’s challenge was Salad Dressing – and if you’re thinking that should be fairly impossible to fuck up, well, you haven’t seen the recipe I’m planning on using.
Hint – it too has a secret ingredient, which incidentally has been mentioned in this post. And it’s not mashed potato. If only.
I’m loving my extended Easter break. Hope your week is fabulous whatever you are doing!
It seems like an awfully long time since I have done one of these but ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to, straight from the vaults of 1972, The Nancy Spain All Colour Cookery Book.
Don’tcha just love it when you open the first page of a book and just know you have found something to treasure. The All Colour Cookery Book opens with this…
Yep…a black and white photo.
I guess “all colour” meant something different back in 1972…
Then let’s mosey over to page 3 where Nancy gets her kit off…no, sorry to disappoint, it’s not that sort of page 3….although equally shocking for the folks of 1972 I would imagine is the following:
“That is because my partner’s “presentation sense” is very, very highly developed and she uses colour in “laying out” her Sunday or Saturday lunch as an artist would “lay out” his palette”
What? Did I read that right? Did Nancy Spain just out herself? Who knew there were lesbians back in 1972? Ok, no we all knew that…but I always assumed that those times were a lot more homophobic and that people were a lot less open about their sexuality….then again, it was the ’70’s…people were flinging car keys into fruit bowls with wild abandon…maybe being out and proud was nothing back then…as it should be now…. Anyway, you go girl!
Whenever I read these old books, I can’t help imagine the personalities of the authors…In a really early post I spoke about my crush on Jules J Bond; Greta Anna Teplitzky is the cool girl in school I always wanted to be. And Nancy and I, would have just been besties…who wouldn’t be best friends with someone who takes photos of themselves holding oversized vegetables over their heads…
Or with oversized cookware…
Or who hold parties based on obscure Nationalities….
Or who begins a piece called “The Three Musts for Every Party” with the words:
“Drink is all important…”
She’s definitely a girl after my own heart!
She’s fun, she’s boozy, and a little bit kooky, and we’d never fall out because we both fancied the same boy! Why would we not be friends?
(Ps the other two musts are food and music).
So, this has just been the taster, we’ll have a closer look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the contents of the book over the next few weeks.
Oh, and welcome back WordPress followers…who knew you would all drop off when I moved platforms? Specifically because I was assured you wouldn’t drop off when I moved platforms…but you’re back now…I think, I hope…Let me know if you are.
Meantime, I’ll be moving house and planning my Liechtensteiner themed housewarming party….you can all come, but only if you wear the Liechtenstein National Dress and bring me something from there. Although I remember from a Year 8 geography project that their main produce is postage stamps…ok, fuck that, who needs stamps? Wear this & bring booze…from anywhere. I’m not fussy….
I’ll handle the menu.
Wikipedia tells me popular Liechtensteiner foods include asparagus, bread, pastries, rosti, schnitzel, sandwiches and yoghurt. If I wasn’t already in the middle of moving house, I might up sticks to Liechtenstein…the cuisine sounds fab! And that national dress has a kind of cute raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Sound of Music vibe….
I’d love to say that I’ll be spending my week planning a holiday to Liechtenstein. However, the reality is packing and unpacking boxes….although my new house is going to be awesome…I”ve already set up the bar…
And cookbook corner is looking wicked good…
Still have an enormous amount to do so, best be doing it, instead of arseing about on the internet all night.
I figured after the alcoholic debauchery of the last post, it was time for some restraint and a bit of detoxification. So, I spent the last week eating for Love and Beauty. Not exclusively mind you but at least one dish per day…and, it was pretty good. Actually, it was better than that – I felt great! I was full of energy, more alert, I was focussed, I steamed through tasks at work, I lost about a kilo in weight, my skin looked great, a cute boy held a door open and winked at me…seriously this shit worked! Imagine if I lived like this…I’d be invincible!
So, this is how the week went down.
Day 1 – Balinese Rice
I know this dish better as a Gado Gado and it is delicious. Mind you, peanut sauce is a bit like bacon…or cheese for me….you could drizzle it over a stick and I would not only eat it but ask for seconds…
I chose to keep my vegies and rice separate because I liked the way it looked on the plate, but you could choose to mix them as suggested by the Swami.
The colours in this are so pretty and fresh as well!
Day 2 – Vitality Bread I baked bread!
I. BAKED. BREAD.
You have no idea how happy this made me. It looked like bread, it tasted like bread, the entire house was filled with the delicious aroma of freshly baked..happy days!
You also have no idea how my heart sank when Mark said “Wow, this bread is great, you can bake a loaf every week.” That won’t be happening anytime in the foreseeable, but I will bake more bread…I really want to do a walnut loaf. But not every week. Life’s too short and yeast is a temperamental little fucker.
In the interests of full disclosure, there were two failed attempts before the loaf of success.
Here is how not to go wrong baking bread.
When they say mix the yeast with warm water…don’t use boiling. Yeast doesn’t like heat.
When they say leave for one and a half hours, don’t think “Well overnight will be even better” and go off to bed. Particularly, in winter. Yeast also doesn’t like cold.
See what I mean? Yeast. It’s the Goldilocks of food.
Day 3 – Chive Relish Sauce
I’m not sure what the original recipe for this would be like…minus any pictures from Eating for Love and Beauty, I didn’t really have a guide. Mine turned out like an Egg Salad. It tasted great with the Vitality Bread so I’m not complaining but I suspect it might have been meant to be a bit more mayonnaise-ish.
Excuse the plastic wrap, I took this to work for lunch and took the picture at my desk whilst eating on the fly!
Day 4 – Lover’s Blush
It’s Rhubarb, fool!
So much for my (bad) Mr T. impersonation…this is super delicious!
Mind you, in my mind, rhubarb belongs in the Pantheon of Foods That Can Do No Wrong (Bacon, Cheese, Peanut Sauce…) so there was more than likely not going to be a downside with this recipe. I did substitute some Amaretti’s for the wheaten biscuits though and added some orange zest for extra zing!
This was just lovely – tangy, sweet, creamy…and (relatively) healthy. And just look at that gorgeous colour!
I’m going to be spending the week doing more eating for Love and Beauty, I have some salads, an eggplant dish and another (jello) dessert! on the menu. In my spare time I’ll be planning how to use my newly bestowed Eating for Love and Beauty super powers to take over the world, for good, not evil. Enjoy your week whatever you do!