Tag: gluten free

Frosted Tomato Cocktail

The frosted tomato cocktail was my pick from the Adventurous Appetizers section of The A-Z of Cooking. 

Frosted Tomato Cocktail
Frosted Tomato Cocktail

But first, each section of The A-Z of Cooking comes with a sentence or two to introduce it vis a vis:

A is for… ADVENTUROUS APPETIZERS: start a dinner party or special family supper with a new and exciting idea.

Booooooring.

How much more fun if they’d done them all in verse:

There was a young girl called Eliza

Who wanted to make appetizers

She tried the tomat-er

As an exciting new starter

And the result did really surprise her.

Yeah, I know that was hardly “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” but the A-Z of Cooking is hardly The Larousse Gastronomique either.

You know what they say, water finds its level.

I nearly chose a recipe called Sweetcorn Scallops but the only thing scallopy about them was that they were served in scalloped shaped dishes or shells, neither of which I own. 

I feel they were already drawing a slightly long bow in naming it. If I’d made it in a normal dish you guys would have left wondering if I’d lost my mind…

I can hear it now  “Errmmmm, that’s bacon, honey, not scallops”

Sweetcorn Scallops
Sweetcorn Scallops

Anyhow, I really liked the picture of the Frosted Tomato Cocktail  from The A-Z of Cooking which is why I chose this one to make. I love that glass.   And  just so you don’t think it’s me, they love a long skinny photo in The A-Z of Cooking.

Frosted Tomato Cocktail - Picture
Frosted Tomato Cocktail – Picture

 Here is the original recipe:

Frosted Tomato Cocktail - Recipe
Frosted Tomato Cocktail – Recipe

This was really nice.  So refreshing.  It would be a gorgeous starter for a hot day in mid summer when tomatoes are at their very best.  Or even as a palate cleanser between courses.   

However, I felt it was missing something.  Because you know what?  As far as I’m concerned if you’re going to call something a cocktail, it better damn well have some booze in it.  Also, you really needed to ramp up the flavourings in the original.  .

My fennelly  take on the Frosted Tomato Cocktail was inspired by this Serious Eats recipe. You could put the fennel salt around the rim of the glass as they suggest or just include it in the mix like I did.  Celery salt would also be great here, in which case, I would garnish with a celery stalk instead of the mint.

I wanted mine to be vegan so I also omitted the Worcestershire and replaced it with tabasco. It may also be the most delicious thing I have ever made that is zero fat. 

Frosted Tomato Cocktail 2
Frosted Tomato Cocktail 2

We’ll be sticking with the letter A for the next sortie into The A-Z of Cooking where we will be looking at the world of after school snacks.  And I might try a haiku. 

Have a great week!

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Frosted Tomato Cocktail
Yields 4
A lovely refreshing start to a meal with a slight kick of heat!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 kilo tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  2. 125 mls tequla
  3. 4 tbsp water
  4. 2 tsp sugar
  5. juice of 1 lime
  6. dash of Tabasco Sauce
  7. 1 tbsp sea salt, I used Maldon
  8. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  9. Mint Leaves to garnish
  10. Pepper
Instructions
  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Place the salt and toasted fennel seeds in a mortar and grind until they are well combined and the seeds have broken down. Pass through a very fine sieve and set aside.
  2. Place the tomatoes, tequila, lime juice, and sugar into a blender and puree until smooth. Add the fennel salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste.
  3. Pour mixture into large ice cube trays and freeze. Just before serving remove from freezer, take the frozen cubes out of ice tray and place them back in the blender.
  4. Puree until smooth but still frozen.
  5. Spoon into chilled glasses, garnish with mint and serve immediately.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking / Serious Eats
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

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!!!

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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/

 

Daring Kitchen Challenge – Indian Dosas

One of the reasons I began this blog was to challenge myself to make new and different things – and so not only improve my skills but also my repertoire of dishes.  Whilst this has been somewhat successful,  the format I’ve chosen generally allows me to pick items that:

a) I am confident I can cook well,

b) Will look good in photos, and

c) I want to eat (mostly…I still shudder at the thought of that awful asparagus mousse)

Indian Dosas
Indian Dosas

So, what happens if you want to challenge yourself but take these safety nets away?  Well, in my instance, you join the Daring Kitchen.  Generally, each month members of this website are challenged to cook and blog about a recipe chosen by one of the members.

The only thing in my first month, which was October, in a “celebration” of past Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

And it was a real dilemma.  For most people the choice may have been Cooks or Bakers, sweet or savoury.  Not me, I’m way too shallow for that.  My big quandary was:

Do I cook something I’m pretty sure I can pull off?  Something that will look good in the pictures, and by default make me look awesome?

Or, do I stick to the spirit of the challenge and choose something that is going to test my skills and maybe fall flat on my face but learn something in the process?

The choice was therefore narrowed down to Gyozas or Croissants.  I’ve made dumplings before, home much harder can gyoza be right?  Croissants?  Une toute autre histoire!!!

I was heading right down Gyzoa alley (shallow remember?) when I mentioned the challenge to a friend at work and we started looking through the past challenges.  She chose the recipe for the Indian Dosas from September 2009.  These are both gluten-free and vegan which is great because honestly, my range in both of those areas is limited.   So, thanks Nadya, good choice!

First step was to make the pancakes:

Dosas
Dosas

These were not the super thin crispy dosas I have eaten in restaurants, mine turned out more the texture of crepes but they were still pretty tasty.  And the difference in texture was probably more me that an inherent flaw in the recipe!

Then the chickpea filling…look at the amazing colours of the ingredients.. they are like a little rainbow of health and deliciousness!!!

Chickpea Filling Ingredients
Chickpea Filling Ingredients
Chickpea Filling
Chickpea Filling

This was also really tasty! So, so good…

Finally, there was a coconut curry sauce and some condiments to go with it.

Dosas with Coconut Sauce and Condiments 2
Dosas with Coconut Sauce and Condiments

This was a great first challenge for me as this was probably something I would never had made otherwise. If you want the recipe…and you know you do….click below:

Daring Kitchen Indian Dosas

I really liked the filling, and if I was too lazy to make the actual dosas or the sauce again (which I probably am), the filling would be super in some warm pita bread with some of the condiments and some yoghurt dip over the top.  Hmm..that probably ruins both the vegan and gluten-free aspect of the dish but hey, I’m neither a vegan or a coeliac.  It would stay vegetarian..and pretty damn delicious!

OMG, now I want that so much…I have some of the left over mixture in my freezer…shame I’m already in my pyjamas, or I would be down at the supermarket right now snapping up flatbread and tzatziki like a mad woman…

I ‘m really looking forward to the next month’s challenge which is…it’s a secret…you’ll have to wait about a month to find out!

In the meantime, enjoy this great vintage Indian print…which I think has the Goddess of Food and the Kitchen, Annapurna,in the background…

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Retro Food For Modern Times – The Best Bread and Butter Pudding Ever

Winter finally hit Melbourne this week…it’s been zero degrees or very close to it for a number of mornings now. That’s cold!!!!  So, given I hate winter why am I so damn happy?  Because this weather is perfect for making one of my favourite retro foods – bread and butter pudding.

Best Ever Bread and Butter Pudding
Best Ever Bread and Butter Pudding

Mind you, even though it has been crazy cold, look at my pictures of Sunday morning.  Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye. Who could be miserable on a day like this?

Winter Morning
Sunday Morning
Frosty Morning
Frost on the Grass

Another thing that will never make you miserable is this totally awesome Bread and Butter Pudding.  I mean it, this baby ROCKED!  It was perfect for this cold weather; retro comfort food at its most glorious!

So, what makes a truly great bread and butter pudding?  I put it down to the three B’s…

Lets start with the bread.  Bread and butter purists would tell you to use plain white bread. Remember last post I said that we don’t subscribe to minimalist notions here at Retro Food For Modern Times? Well that goes double for Bread and Bread Pudding.  I like to use a fruit loaf or a sweet bread like a brioche. I have also been known to use a chocolate chip hot cross bun.  Or an Almond Croissant.  Basically, I like my bread to come loaded with deliciousness before I even start!

In this instance, I had a panettone sitting in my pantry.  I’m going to make a confession here.  I have no idea where it came from. That’s the weird thing about panettone.  I can’t recall ever buying one.  Or being given one.  And yet, from time to time they appear.  Maybe my house is haunted by an Italian Grandmother who whips them up whilst I’m at work.  If so, she also does a nifty line in packing and packaging!  This was also a gluten free version so ghost nonna, if she exists, seems to be fairly on trend.

Butter.  Please use proper butter.  Not that other abomination.

Booze – I drenched the dried fruit in Pimms and left it to soak in overnight. And made an amazing whiskey caramel sauce to go with the pudding

The base recipe for this calls for sultanas.  I had some dried fruit medley left over from when I make the Plum Wonderful so I used that.

Bread and Butter Pudding
Bread and Butter Pudding

The recipe I used as a base called for Apricot Jam.  I’d previously made a chunky Apricot Spread by boiling down some dried apricots in apple juice so I used this instead.

Apricot Spread
Apricot Spread

On it’s own, the pudding was kind of  fabulous, but what sent it into the realm of super-awesome was the whiskey caramel sauce.  This was all sorts of delicious and brought some toasty, almost coffee-like flavours into the mix.  Honey and whiskey is truly a match made in heaven and I had the remnants of a lavender honey from another recipe which just added another layer of tasty goodness.

Bread and Butter Pudding
Bread and Butter Pudding

Please, please, please make this.  You will not be disappointed.  Or if you are…you probably did something wrong – not that there’s a whole lot that could do wrong with this – it’s also super easy to make!

Bread & Butter Pudding Recipe

Whiskey Caramel Sauce RecipeApricot Spread Recipe

I’m going to be spending my week enjoying the glorious sunshine despite the icy temperatures!

Enjoy your week, whatever you do.

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