Tag: chocolate

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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Two Turtledoves

Sometime last year I became obsessed on Pinterest with an American candy called a turtle.  I went from never having heard of them in my life to seeing them all over the internet.  And holy moly did they sound good!  For those of you, like me, who have spent our lives in ignorance of this delight, just listen to this:

  • A chocolate base.
  • Toppped with pecan nuts
  • Topped with caramel
  • Topped with more chocolate

There is no way on God’s green earth that they could be bad.  Supposably.  As Joey Tribbiani would say.  And depending on your definition, they were really good.  Well, they tasted delicious. 

Before we get into them, just a word of explanation.  The recipe I used called them turtledoves because they used Dove Chocolate.  We used to have Dove Chocolate here – apparently not anymore.  I wonder when that happened? 

My turtledoves started really well. 

TurtledovesIt all started to fall apart with the caramel.  I could not get it to sit on the pecans the way I wanted it too.  I wanted it to be a perfect dome, surrounding my pecans but leaving a little bit of chocolate on the base visible.  Not ONE of them looked like that.

Turtledoves2And the more I tried to meddle with it, the worse it got.  In the end, I thought. “Nevermind.  It will all be covered with the rest of the chocolate.  It will be fine”. 

Not so.  I was already on a slippery slope and the only way was down.  The final chocolate layer was a disaster!  I could not get it smooth, it was a hot day and the second I touched it, it would either melt or crack.

Before I show you the wreck of the Hersperus that was my effort, let me show how these babies should look  (via candy,about.com)

Turtles from candy.about.comAnd, oh Lord, here are mine….

Turtledoves3I know.  I’m sorry.  Two fails in a row.  Although these tasted delish, my turtles may not have been teenage or ninjas but they were mutant. Technically they weren’t even turtledoves because I could not find Dove chocolate. 

They did taste good.  Really good.  Even the fussiest eater in the world was a fan. 

Turtledoves4But you know food blogging can be very much style over substance so that sometimes I think it doesn’t matter how things taste as long as they look good.  In retrospect, I should have not tried to cover them entirely but just done a little splodge of caramel and one of chocolate over the top.  Next time….

But I wanted to have something that was a success, of only to soothe my wounded self-esteem.  Two fails in a row is no way to write a food blog.  So I needed a turtledove.  Fast.  Guaranteed success.

Hmmmm….

  • Chocolate
  • Caramel
  • Nuts

How about something like this?

Turtledove7

  • Baileys
  • Frangelico
  • Butterscotch Schnapps

Now that’s my kind of Turtledove! 

And it brought F.Scott out of the funk caused by the Bobby Dazzler.

Turtledove6Normality has resumed in Chez Retro Food.  Well, as close as we can get ’round here anyway!

Turtledove
A cocktail shooter that mirrors the flavours of the classic American turtle candy - chocolate, caramel and nuts
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Ingredients
  1. 30ml Butterscotch Schnapps
  2. 30ml Frangelico
  3. 30ml Bailey's Irish Cream
Instructions
  1. Pour the Butterscotch Schnapps and the Frangelico into a shooter glass.
  2. Measure out the Bailey's and pour very slowly over the back of a spoon into the glass.
  3. Enjoy!
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Have a wonderful week!

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The Dishiest Dish – Black and Blueberry Crumble

Black berries, blueberries, dots of marzipan, almonds, choc chips, a splash of amaretto and, of course some custard?  How could the Black and Blueberry Crumble not be the dish of the week? 

Black and Blueberry Almond Crumble

Close second was Karen Martini’s Sausage, Ham & Egg Pizza.

Sausage, Ham & Egg Pizza

Fail of the week?  The Broccoli con Anchovy from The River Cafe Cookbook.  I’m not sure what it is with me and this book.  Last week the rotolo was a fail.  This week, I didn’t even get to cook anything.

Here’s the thing.  I put broccoli on my shopping list.  I ticked it off my list meaning it had gone from shelf to basket.   I should have had broccoli in my fridge. BUT I tootled off to twilight yoga on Sunday afternoon planning to have a healthy broccoli con anchovy supper on my return.  Got home, had my aromatherapy bath, got into my jamies. And no broccoli.  Not in the fridge, not misplaced in the cupboard.  Not in the car.  Just a black hole of broccoli. 

And yes, I could have gone and bought some but I was already in my pyjamas and Doctor Who was about to start.

This week I am looking forward to cooking:

Tasty Reads is coming up, I am going to make the Chicken, Cheese and Corn meatballs and the Raw Tuna Meatballs from the meatball cookbook. I found the Turkey Cran meatballs I made a little too sweet for my taste.  I will try these again but instead of the dried sweetened cranberries required by the recipe I will use fresh (frozen) cranberries.  They will bring a much needed touch of tartness.  Also place the balls in the freezer for maybe 15 minutes so the cheese doesn’t ooze out everywhere. 

Black and Blueberry Almond Crumble2In Other News I Am

Listening To

  • I know I spoke about this last week but OMG Episode 3 of Limetown sent shivers up my backbone.  The last ten minutes?  Possibly the scariest thing I have ever listened to. 
  • In the same creepy vein, Mark had never heard of Jonestown until this week.  Reminded me of this other creepy, but this time true, pod

Reading/Listening

I finished A Rush Of Blood on audio,  It was ok. I think the author drew a long bow for the reasons for the murders. 

Am about to start Life After Life.

Watching

We saw William Shatner’s Stage Show the other night.  Briilliant.  We have started marathon watching Boston Legal on the back of it. It’s still immensely watchable!

Also A Beautiful Lie on ABC.  This is a modern day version of Anna Karenina which so far has been superb.  Except for one teeny thing…the Vronsky character is not at all good looking.  In fact, Mr Karenina is waaay more handsome.  Despite this, absolutely loving it. 

 

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Ingredients

  • 50g (a large bunch) flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked
  • 50g (a large bunch) basil, leaves picked
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 35g blanched almonds
  • 10g anchovies
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

  • Blitz the herbs, garlic, almonds, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor for around a minute or until a smooth sauce has formed.
  • Add the parmesan and blitz for another minute.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/10/25/dishiest-dish-strawberry-cheesecake-heaven-2/

What’s going on in your life / kitchen?    What was the best thing you made this week?

What are you looking forward to making next week? 

What are you reading, watching, listening to?

Please share!

Have a fabulous week everyone! 

Happy Cooking!

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Retro Easter Part 3: The Eggs-travaganza

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? 

What? 

Well, yeah, ok sure  it’s about Jesus….but eggs are important too. 

This year I made my own chocolate eggs.

Home Made Easter Eggs
Home Made Easter 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.

 Zumbo3Think it looks simple?

Think again.

Because when you cut this baby open you get this:

 Layers in the V8Yeah…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:

Zumbo’s V8 Cake

 And send me photos.  And a piece.

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:

 Peanut Butter Fudge Filling

 And in true retro style the peanut butter fudge mix has a secret ingredient.

Mashed potato.

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?

You can check the full list out here.

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.

Peanut Butter Fudge Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs with a "secret" ingredient
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 cup peanut butter - I used super crunchy.
  3. 1/2 cup condensed milk
  4. 1 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
  5. 180 gram block of dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Melt 2/3 of the chocolate in a bowl over hot water and coat the moulds with the melted chocolate. You may need to do this more than once to get the desired thickness of chocolate shell.
  2. Place the chopped potato into a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender.
  3. Drain and mash.
  4. Add your condensed milk, just as you would add regular milk to normal mashed potatoes.
  5. Allow this mixture to cool.
  6. Mix in your peanut butter and confectioner's sugar. It should form a fairly thick paste.
  7. Add more condensed milk or confectioner's sugar if required.
  8. Spoon this mixture into the chocolate lined moulds.
  9. Melt the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate. Use this to seal the mixture into the moulds.
  10. Chill until the chocolate hardens then press your eggs out of the moulds.
Notes
  1. You will also need Easter Egg Moulds. I bought mine from a craft shop for around $4.
Adapted from A Bite From The Past
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.

My Learn To Cook Book
My Learn To Cook Book

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:

OxEye 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!

Ox Eye Eggs, Bacon and Loaded Guacamole
Ox Eye Eggs, Bacon and Loaded Guacamole

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!!!

The Perfect Bite!
The Perfect Bite!

 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!

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Retro Food For Modern Times: Three Sweet Treats inspired by a Luscious Liqueur

I was recently strolling around my local purveyor of fine alcoholic beverages (or as we like to call  it, our second home) when a retro looking bottle caught my eye.   A very glamorous  Elke Sommer looking woman is being draped in a fur coat by a man who looks like a  1970’s tennis player or a porn star (possibly both).  The label promised  “an experience of elegance and lingering pleasure” which only further reinforced the boom chicka wah wah soundtrack that was going through my head.  The name: Kellermeister Sable.  According to the back of the bottle, Sable is a

“base of  ruby tawny into which we have steeped dark German Chocolate, special spices and three year old brandy”

You know those moments when Homer Simpson goes into the donut fugue state?  I think I lapsed into something very similar.  Standing there mumbling to myself  “Ruby Tawny…dark chocolate….special spices….brandy…ruby tawny…..”  Ruby Tawny may well become the name of my first-born child.  I hope it’s a girl.

The bottle, in all it’s gorgeous  retroness did give me pause though.  I honestly wasn’t sure if it was meant to be retro chic.  Or it just came from South Australia.  If anyone from South Australia wants to dispute the implication of this statement  I suggest they first go and count the people with mullets walking down Rundle Mall.  They can lodge their complaints when they have a number less than ten.  

Ok, we may have lost South Australia forever so the rest of us might as well get on with it.    Sable is meant to be retro chic and forms part of the Kellermeister Retro Range which includes this and two Moscatos which I am very keen to try.  One is called Pink Minx.  This may become the name of my second born child. Again, a girl would be good.

The Sable is great on it’s own as a little tipple – rich, silky, porty, chocolatey loveliness in a glass.  If I was prone to swooning I would.  However, as I do not live in a Jane Austen novel  I will remain upright and advise that this is utterly delicious and is likely to become a staple on my drinks trolley for some time to come!  This will be my go to product for those days when you just want a little something sweet and lovely after dinner! Or mid afternoon….or…you know…whenever….

The loveliness of the Sable does not stop with drinking though.  It is equally good in food.

I’ve now made three recipes with it and they were all gorgeous (even if I do say so myself).  If you cannot get Sable, your liqueur of choice can be substituted in all of these.

First up was a Raspberry Meringue Roulade  which I adapted from a Bill Granger recipe.

Raspberry Meringue Roulade

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Raspberry Roulade and a glass of Sable – a lovely afternoon tea tipple

I then made a Strawberry and Mango Zagablione where I used the Sable instead of marsala.   This tasted divine!   The zabaglione was also lovely swirled into some plain yoghurt the following day.

Finally, I used some Sable  in my version of the Australian Gourmet Traveller Chocolate and Caramel Tart. I adapted the original recipe as I am not that good with pastry and I used a bought caramel.  This is a truly decadent recipe and tastes like heaven!  My only word of caution is give yourself plenty of time to make this.  I started mid afternoon.  I added the final layer at midnight.  This takes a LONG time to make as you have to let each layer chill before adding  the next one.  It is worth it though as this is absolutely delicious!

I love the ombre effect of the four layers!

If you really want to make your own pastry and caramel, the original recipe can be found here:

http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/chocolate_and_caramel_tart.htm

Enjoy!

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