Category: Watercress

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

 

Jane Grigson’s Watercress and Orange Salad

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Ok, so not exactly true for Melbourne, although it has been a fairly shitty summer.  But certainly for my friends in the States, it must feel like that.  But hopefully, this Watercress and Orange Salad will bring you some virtual sunshine.

Watercress and Orange Salad 5
Watercress and Orange Salad 5

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

 This is a very cool salad from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.. I think it looks like a big, beautiful sunflower. And not only is it pretty; it is super tasty too.  How could it not be – peppery watercress, tangy sweet orange, earthy toasted walnuts and salty olives. And it looks so 70’s.  I think it’s the combination of green and orange….

Here is the original recipe from Jane Grigson:

Orange and Watercress SaladAnd here is the original version:

Jane Grigson's Watercress Salad
Jane Grigson’s Watercress Salad

This is very simple to put together.  Line your plate with watercress and start piling in your ingredients.  The worst bit if you do it in the circle is stripping all those watercress leaves.

Watercress Salad LeavesLike a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel…

 Watercress Salad Leaves2Never ending or begining on an ever spinning wheel….

Watercress Salad Leaves3I found the best way to get the orange slices as thin as possible was to cut them with the skin still on, then cut the peel and pith away with a pair of kitchen scissors.

 Oranges for the watercress saladThen just add your walnuts and / or olives. 

Before serving, a grind of pepper and a splash of vinaigrette made with some sherry vinegar and voila!!!  Or should I say “Velado!” because this really has a Spanish feel to it.   

I had this with some grilled salmon the first time I made it and it was delicious!!! The second time I had it with some prawns and it was, again super.  I would love to try it with duck as per Jane’s suggestion. 

And I made it a third time but this time tweaked the recipe a bit – I added some feta cheese and a teeny bit of red onion.  This time, I had it with a lovely sourdough baguette for a light lunch and it was perfection!!!  And yes, I made this three times in about ten days.  It’s that good.

Watercress and Orange Salad 6
Watercress and Orange Salad 6

 So far, Jane Grigson’s recipes are turning out to be amazing.  I am a little disappointed that it is now March and we have another book to focus on at The Cookbook Guru.  But wow!!!  What a book!!!  I am super excited about stepping across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco for my next venture with The Cookbook Guru!!!

 And, if you are struggling through a long cold and lonely winter either physically or mentally, here is a little anecdote that may help.

Back in 1969, there was not much joy camp Beatle – there were personality clashes, legal battles, business disputes….things were going to hell in a handbasket.  But in the midst of all the problems, all the trouble and strife, George Harrison (by far my favourite Beatle) walked into Eric Clapton’s garden with an acoustic guitar and wrote, to my mind anyway, one of the most beautiful, hopeful songs ever written.  In the midst of adversity and all that…

And just to tie it all in together, here is George singing  that song with some Spanish subtitles.

All together now

Sol, sol, sol
Ahí viene

Have a great week.  I hope all your clouds have silver linings.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2  

 

Locket’s Savoury & Pimped Up Locket’s Savoury (GF)

Pimped Up Locket's Savoury

One of the best things about 2014  was connecting with other cooks and bloggers and cooking from the same books. I love doing it in person at the Tasty Reads bookclub but it was also so much fun doing the Joan Crawford inspired dinner for Jenny’s book launch.

Locket's Savoury 1
Locket’s Savoury 1

So, I was super excited to find this blog:

https://thecookbookguru.wordpress.com/what-is-the-cookbook-guru/

Which is pretty much all cook-a-longs.  They choose a new book every two months and anyone can cook from the book and post on their own site.  Then, Leah shares what everyone posts on The Cookbook Guru.  What a great idea!!!

The book for January and February is Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.    First published in 1978, this has become a classic.  And very auspicious that I get to start with a book full of retro recipes. 

I was even more excited that there were a whole heap of artichoke recipes because the local continental deli had been having a sale and I bought about a ton of artichokes because they were something insane like 50 cents a can.

Then I read Jane’s advice on

How to choose canned artichokes.

“Don’t”

Huh….Jane apparently doesn’t mince words.  I like her already. But anyway I hightailed it out of artichokes and landed at the very other end of the book at watercress and found this lovely recipe for a very fancy grilled cheese called Locket’s Savoury. 

Locket's Savoury 2
Locket’s Savoury 2

I did have a little giggle when I read the name of this dish.  Back in the day, we used to have a footballer by the name of Lockett nicknamed Plugger because….I have no idea why and have sufficient lack of interest in football to be arsed to Google it.  Anyway, some time before the Grand Final one year (the equiv of the Super Bowl or the FA Cup Final),   Plugger hurt his groin.  And I swear for an inordinately long amount of time,  it seemed like if you picked up a newspaper, turned on the radio or the tv, all you heard about, all people seemed to care about was Plugger’s Groin.  Strangers would approach you on the street and say “So, do you think it will be good for the Granny?”

“What?”

“Plugger’s groin.”

Not since David Beckham made those underwear ads has an entire nation been so obsessed by the state of a football player’s nether regions.  And yes, by the way…we do nickname our Super Bowl/FA Cup etc The Granny. As in a little old lady.  That’s Australia for you. 

So, all that was Lockett’s Unsavoury, let’s turn to the matter at hand – Locket’s Savoury

So simple. So delicious, and just 4 ingredients.

Bread

The original recipe called for white bread.  I used this beautiful seeded ciabatta. Jane’s recipe called for the crusts to be cut off.  I left mine on because I love the taste of the toasted seeds!

Locket's Savoury  - Bread
Locket’s Savoury – Bread

 Watercress

One of my favourite  greens.  I love the peppery taste of it!

Locket's Savoury - Watercress
Locket’s Savoury – Watercress

 Pears

Are probably my least favourite fruit.  Will this recipe redeem them in my mind?

Locket's Savoury - Pear
Locket’s Savoury – Pear

 Stilton.

Mmmmmm…blue cheese. Happy days….

Locket's Savoury - Stilton
Locket’s Savoury – Stilton

 Stilton is apparently the king of cheeses.  Who knew cheese had a royalty.  Who’s the queen?  And more importantly who is the red headed reprobate prince flashing it’s arse and donning a swastika for high jinks? 

I’m betting it’s goats cheese. 

Locket's Savoury3
Locket’s Savoury3

 This was awesome.  It actually made me like pears.  And that’s saying something!
There’s a few more totally awesome watercress recipes in this same book and I have a ton of it left so you may get a few more o’ these before the month is through.  There is definitely one more I have to do. 

Locket's Savoury 4
Locket’s Savoury 4

Here is Jane Grigson’s recipe:

Locket's Savoury RecipeThis was really good. Super tasty, super easy and I wouldn’t change a thing in Jane’s recipe.

Or would I?

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed very unfair that my gluten-free friends missed out on this delight.  

So without further ado, meet the pimped up, gluten-free Locket’s Savoury

Pimped Up Locket's Savoury
Pimped Up Locket’s Savoury

 Basically, scrap the bread, use a slice of pear as the base.  Add your watercress and Stilton.  Throw in some chopped walnuts.  Once done, sprinkle with some chives. 

In some ways this was almost better.  Those pears got all caramelised and…dare I say it, delicious!!! 

I’m so looking forward to doing the Cookbook Guru Cook-a-longs.  And you know what would be even better?  If you all did it too…

If you did want to, you already know the book for the rest of Feb.  March and April is The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert.  My local library has a copy of this. Yours probably does too.  I also got the Jane Grigson book from the library.

But PS..The Locket’s Savoury is the gift that keeps on giving.  Those little bits of blue cheese that slide off as you grill the cheese and go kind of crunchy.  So good to eat later!!!

DSC02463

Have a fabulous week! 

And I would love to know your royal family of cheese!!!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2 

Pimped Up Locket's Savoury (Gluten Free)
Serves 1
A gluten free version of a delicious watercress, pear and blue cheese recipe from Jane Grigson
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pear
  2. 2 - 4 sprigs of watercress, depending on size
  3. 2-3 slices of Stilton
  4. 4 walnuts chopped
  5. 1 chive, chopped
  6. Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice the pears into six slices, discarding the core. You will have some rounder pieces as well as some more "pear" shaped pieces.
  2. Remove the leaves from the watercress sprigs and place over the pears.
  3. Cover with stilton
  4. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts
  5. Place under a hot grill until cheese is melted and walnuts are toasted.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped chive and black pepper.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can easily increase the quantities for this, I made mine for one because I only had one pear and minimal watercress left.
Adapted from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book
Adapted from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

 

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