Tag: Jello

My Swan Lake Cake

Remember…hmm about a year ago when I bought the re-issue of the classic Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday  Cake Book?  And I swore black, blind and blue that this year for my birthday I would make the classic swimming pool cake? Well that didn’t happen.  Because I made something better!  I made a Swan Lake Cake!

Swan Lake CakeOk, technically a pink flamingo cake but in my mind a Swan Lake cake because….I’m going to the ballet!  For my birthday the Fussiest Eater in the World bought me…us…tickets to Swan Lake! It’s being performed by the Russian National Theatre Ballet and I can’t wait.  Mind you, I have to because it’s not until November.  Meantime, I guess I can eat cake!

Swan Lake Cake2Ok. so, let’s get down to it.  This should have looked like this:

Pool Party Cake
Pool Party Cake

Not to diss the AWW but I like my version better.  It’s brighter, less busy, a little more uncluttered.  And it’s pink flamingo’s on a lake of bright blue jelly (jello for my American friends)!!!  When there are so many artificial colours in the one place, you need to keep it pretty simple!

Swan Lake Cake3So, now to the assembly.  I used a box butter cake mix.  You could buy a ready-made cake.  It’s going to have a big hole cut in the middle of it so no need to be too precious here. 

Swan Lake Cake5The next step is to ice the cake inside and out.  Icing on the inside will prevent the cake from going soggy once you add the jelly /jello.  Here I am about half way through that process.  I used the icing that came with the cake mix and it was just enough although I had to spread it pretty thin in some places. 

Swan Lake Cake6 I used Blue Heaven flavoured jelly.  Which as anyone outside of Australia will know is a totally made up nonsense flavour.  And anyone in Australia will be hard pressed to tell you what Blue Heaven actually tastes like.  EXTENSIVE research on my behalf (ie a google search) would have me tell you that Blue Heaven is a combination of raspberry and vanilla. Which does sound quite heavenly. I have no idea why it’s blue. 

It does make a pretty lake though! 

Swan Lake Cake8

Swan Lake Cake10

I really wanted to keep the jelly whole so I would have  a lovely smooth surface on my lake.  Impossible!  Anyway, I went down to our local lake today and it was neither flat (nor quiet).  I had never really noticed how LOUD the lake is on a windy day!  And not just because Oscar goes crazy when he sees his version of Swan Lake!

Oscar and The SwansOnce your jelly sets, rake thought it with a fork and then move it into your cake lake. 

Decorate as you will – a Swan Lake Cake, a swimming pool cake, a sea monster cake!  Whatever floats your boat….you could even float your boat on the lake!  I bought my flamingo candles at a gift shop but you could use toys or sweets.  The only limit here is your imagination.

Oh and a little tip for eating.  Jelly and cake is great!  Jelly and cake and a little dollop of whipped cream? 

Trifle-icious!

Swan Lake Cake9.jpgHere’s the original recipe from the AWW:

Swimming Pool Cake Recipe

Here’s a little bit of what I’ll be seeing come November. 

Have a fabulous week!

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Raising The Salad Bar Part 2 – Melon Surprise x 2

Shortly after you start reading vintage recipe books, you start becoming attuned to certain words as being signifiers of something truly awful.

Any recipe with the word “Surprise” in it usually falls slam bang into this description.  Believe me, nine times out of ten, the surprise isn’t one of the happy, happy, joy, joy variety.

For instance, my mum used to make something we used to call tuna surprise.  I found this recipe for something very similar in an old magazine.

Tuna & Almond SurpriseIt is sans the potato chip topping which was always the best bit of mum’s tuna surprise but I guess I can forgive that when the Shaun referred to was none other than my main man Shaun Micallef.

What?

I’ve been doing this a couple of years now and I’ve never spoken about my huge girly love crush on this man?  For those of you who do haven’t  had the pleasure, imagine the wit of John Stewart combined with the silver foxiness of George Clooney and you’re in the ball park…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoz6kZsjc3s

Anyway, enough about my obsessions…ok, no, just one more.  It’s my blog, I guess I can do what I want….

Ok, so before this turns into the gushy, girly Shaun Micallef hour…lets talk about Melon Surprise.

Melon Surprise
Melon Surprise

But before we go there can we just stop for a moment and look at my ever so cute pins? Bought at Daiso…how adorable are they?

Melon Surprise2
Melon Surprise2

So the melon had pins in it because…surprise….this ain’t no normal melon!!!!

Because  when you cut it open….look what’s inside!

Melon Surprise 3
Melon Surprise 3

Grapes in Jello folks, grapes in jello!

Hands up who was expecting something really disgusting?  Wait a few minutes….it’s coming.

But in a real surprise, the Melon Surprise turned out to be pretty damn super.  To my taste, more of a dessert than a salad but  still pretty damn good all the same.

Melon Surprise 4
Melon Surprise 4

Ok…so  by the way, both of these recipes come from the “Elegant First Courses” section of Salads For All Seasons in which  Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us that

“The recipes in this section are designed to excite the eye, delight the palate and stimulate the appetite”

And sure, the Melon Surprise does all of these things.  As you can see I tool some liberties with the flavour of jelly and the colour of the grapes.

Melon SurpriseTime did not permit me to peel the grapes.  There is not enough time in the universe to induce me to do that.

Next up, we have Surfer’s Paradise Melon.

Let’s take the ingredients for this individually shall we?

Rockmelons – sure.

Celery – why not?

Grapes…worked in the Melon Surprise.

Apples – I’m getting a bit excited, this is looking Waldorfy…

Mayo…yep, its a Waldorf with Melons.  That sounds great!

But wait…there’s more?

Oh yeah, Walnuts right?  Waldorf with Melons.  Awesome.

What?  What do you mean the final ingredient isn’t walnuts?  How can we have Waldorf with Melons without Walnuts?

Oh, I see the quirky bit, the RMW spin is that it’s not walnuts.  So what is it?  Almonds?  Cashews?  Pistachios?

It’s what?

Yeah…that’s what I thought you said…..

Ok…look, I just want to doublecheck.

You said tuna right?

Like in the fish?

Oh for the love of God….why?

Incidentally, the tuna and fruit combo must be vibing in some retro space because recently the lovely Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts was guesting on Mid Century Menu and made some Tuna Apple Sandwiches. (which you can find here).

In the blurb for this salad RMW says:

“When Australians are overseas, few requests are made for them to contribute to food stalls and fairs…it is assumed that our cuisine is either too dull to be considered or just an offshoot of English cooking…However, if there is a request for an Australian dish, one friend always serves this grand melon appetizer”

I suspect she’s confusing cause and effect…

If anyone turned up to my food stall or fair with a mix of canned tuna and rockmelon, I’d probably ban their whole nation too.

However, here it is….

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad

It looks pretty good doesn’t it?

And truth be told, it was not disgusting.  It had a nice crunch and it was…palatable. I might have actually liked it without the rockmelon…

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad2
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad2

One thing?  If you ever plan on making this, when you mix the rockmelon and tuna together, it looks huge.  There is a mountain of Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad such that you think you’ll  never be able to eat it all.

I had for lunch at around 12:30.  And, believe me, by 5:00pm I was ready to gnaw the leg off my chair.  Because when you think about it, this is what it is:

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad IngredientsThanks company I am not going to name (but hint, their name is pretty clearly displayed in the photo) for only putting half a can of tuna into a can of tuna.  I guess that’s why it’s called light….And the rest of it is just fruit and celery so I guess you know, from a weight loss perspective this is win-win.  You won’t want to eat it but when you do, it probably has all of about 3 calories.

Surfer's Paradise MelonAnd just so I’m not deterring tourism to our lovely Gold Coast, I can almost guarantee that no one in Surfer’s Paradise is eating this…do not let this dissuade you from coming.

By the way, I just signed up for 100 Happy Days and will be regularly tweeting my happy snaps.  You can follow my progress on Twitter or join up.  To find out more, click the link:

http://100happydays.com/

I”m going to spending my week finding things that make me happy. Make yours fabulous whatever you do!

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(Almost an) Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

Remember way back when I made the Spaghetti Bolognese that had the chicken livers in it?  You know, “the best Bolognese ever” that prompted me to implement the “Don’t ask, don’t tell rule?” into all future cooking ventures?  Well, it happened again this week with the Almost Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad, and we’ll definitely go there but first….

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

You might be looking at the above picture and wondering why the featured item is called an Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad.  Because emeralds are green right?  Any fool knows that. And, you might assume that, this is one of those quirks of vintage cookbooks that I would normally mock mercilessly.

Unfortunately, wrong and wrong.

Sometimes, the fault lies entirely with me.  I’ll pause while you pick your jaws up off the floor.  But just to prove a point, let’s count all the ways I failed to notice a fairly crucial part of Nancy Spain’s recipe for Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad.

1 The name.  Emerald and Ruby.

2 Nancy also very kindly provides a picture of said Emerald and Ruby fruit salad.  And even more kindly, it is one of the pictures in the all colour cookbook that is in glorious technicolour.  And yep, it’s green.

Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad
Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

3 The recipe quite clearly states that layer 1 consists of lime jelly and strawberries.

Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad

4. Emeralds are green.  Even failing all of the above.  Logic would dictate that the Emerald layer of the Emerald Fruit Salad would be green.

So, given all that  and that I trotted all the way to the shops and bought some lime jelly specifically to make my Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad, how on earth did I manage to use lemon i.e. yellow jelly in the first layer?

I know .  I was astounded at my level of dumbfuckery too.  Feel free to roll your eyes and face palm as much as you want.  I deserve it. But once you’re done, let me introduce you to my…(erm..just hold on a moment whilst I google yellow gemstones….) highly delicious  Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad.

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

It still looks pretty but…doofus mistake right? It also then really threw me for the second layer.  I had lime jelly left.  But, now the recipe called for lemon jelly.  Dilemma – use the lime jelly and hope it turns out ok?  Or head back down to the shops and buy some more lemon jelly?  In the end, I bought more lemon jelly.  I figured the avocado, mayo and salt combo was going to be enough of a sell even using the correct recipe.  Who knew what would happen if I threw the lime into  the mix?

Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad
Topaz and Ruby Fruit Salad

So, now to the next part of this saga.

I live with the fussiest eater in the world.  And high on the lengthy list of foods he doesn’t eat are avocado and mayonnaise.

So, I was kind of surprised to get a phone call at work on Monday, after making this on Sunday.

“You know that jelly thing?”

“Uh huh”

“I saw you put the avocado in”

Fuck it.  Now I”m going to have to eat the whole thing myself. I’m going to be eating jelly until Easter.

“But I took some to work to have for  snack and…it’s surprisingly good.  What else is in there?”

Oh…ermm…jelly.  Lemon Jelly.

“Just lemon jelly and avocado?”

Yeah..pretty much…bit of lemon juice…

“Wow…who knew…it’s really good”

Good.  I’m glad you like it.

I’m going to hell.  I really am.  But you know, it also kind of proves my point.  Tonight if I served up a salad containing avocado and mayo, it would be left on the plate. And he would probably eat two slices of the Emerald and Ruby Fruit Salad for dessert to make up for it.

Just as long as no one tells him what’s in it.

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Never Mind Eating For Beauty, This Week is All About the Love!

So last time we left off, I had been eating for love and beauty for 4 days and loving it.

However, through the week, I began to see a certain theme running through my dishes…

Day 5

I made two recipes from Eating for Love and Beauty.

The first was a delicious Egg Curry. 

Egg Curry
Egg Curry

This was very tasty, spicy and quick to make.  I will definitely make this again.  Also, I didn’t have fenugreek because…well who has?  However, I noticed my Garam Masala contained fenugreek, cumin and coriander so I used that in lieu of all individual spices.

Egg Curry
Egg Curry

I think we all know eggs are a symbol of fertility…I had my egg curry with a Rice Exotica – Saffron & Lime Casserole.
Rice Exotica huh?  I think the Swami might be getting a bit saucy!

Rice Exotica
Rice Exotica

Sadly, the Rice Exotica, was the least sexy dish of the week.  Probably because in my first mouthful of it, I bit directly into a clove which spoiled entire dish for me  Yes, it was my fault and I should have been more careful when I was counting them as I fished them out but still, not good.  I was also not happy with the texture and I only par boiled my rice initially!  I like my rice light and fluffy and this was a bit too mushy and stuck together for me.  I dread to think what it might have been like had I cooked it all the way through the first time as per the recipe.

If I was going to make the rice again, which is unlikely, I would probably not cook it at all before bunging it in the oven with the nuts and spices.  Hmmm…maybe I will try it that way.  Sans the cloves!

Next up was an Eggplant Dish….and lo and behold, the internet tells me that eggplants are a symbol of abundance or fertility, passion and devotion.  See what I mean about a theme beginning to develop?

Day 6 – Eggplant Gourmet

This was AWESOME!…

Earthy eggplant, sweet, sour..all sorts of deliciousness rolled into the one dish.  The flavours reminded me very much of a Sri Lankan Eggplant dish that sometimes contains cashew nuts…and maybe dates?

(Dear mother given you have started to chime in on here, maybe you could offer some insight into the constituents of an eggplant moju???)

Either way, I had some cashews left over from the Rice Exotica  so I dropped them in for extra flavour and crunch. I’m definitely making this again….

I also ate it more as a side dish than as a main.  It’s also pretty good cold on crackers or some tzatziki on pita bread.

Eggplant Gourmet
Eggplant Gourmet

Eggplant Gourmet Recipe

Day 6 – Lovers Dandelion Salad

If you’ve read my earlier post…(here)…you know I have a bit of a penchant for a bit of foraging.  So the Swami’s Lover’s Dandelion Salad was as good a reason as any to go comb the local environment for some dandelion leaves which, luckily, were plentiful.

I loved this salad.  There is something about bitter greens that makes me feel incredibly virtuous and just oozy with health! Again, I had no fenugreek sprouts so I just used a sprout combo.  I was becoming curious about why the Swami used fenugreek in so many dishes so I did a bit o’ research and hello…fenugreek is sometimes used to cure erectile dysfunction.

When the Swami wants you to eat for love, she doesn’t muck about!

She also says this salad is good for those suffering from mental or sexual debility.  I ate mine for lunch a the office and it kind of worked.  It certainly gave me a mental boost for the afternoon!

Lover's Dandelion Salad
Lovers Dandelion Salad

Lovers Dandelion Salad 0

Day 7 – 21 Essences of Kama Sutra

I followed the Lovers Dandelion Salad with the 21 Essences of Kama Sutra Salad although I guess I only had 19 Essences as I subbed a yellow pepper for the red and green peppers and could not find soy sprouts for love or money.  Then again, I used my handy sprout combo per the last recipe so maybe I had more than 21 Essences of Kama Sutra!   The Swami offers no comment on what the 21 Essences of Kama Sutra is good for.  I think she’s letting the name speak for itself.

21 Essences of Karma Sutra
21 Essences of Kama Sutra

This was also a very nice salad, although if I made this again, I wouldn’t bother with the Lotus Nuts. In the first pack I bought there were two dead moths.  That made me gag and I had to throw them out.  The second lot of lotus nuts was, thankfully, mothless but also largely tasteless.

I read on the internet Lotus Nuts are good for irritability.  Well guess what?  After the moths, and having to make two trips to the Asian food store to buy them, then finding they taste of sweet F.A. I guess they are.  I was certainly a lot more irritable after all that palaver than I was before I started!

And quelle surprise, also apparently good for impotence!

1 21 Essences Of  Kama Sutra

Day 8

It’s Plum Wonderful

I ended my week with the Swami’s recipe for an uncooked  Plum Pudding which is basically dried fruit held together with jello.    It’s really tasty, and has all the flavours of a plum pudding but is fruitier and not so heavy.  It would be a perfect alternative to a heavy pudding, particularly here when it is warm at Christmas.

Plum Wonderful 2
Plum Wonderful 2
Plum Wonderful 3
Plum Wonderful 3

Plum Wonderful Recipe

I recently read that a good maxim to use when trying to moderate your alcohol intake is to abstain one day a week, one week a month, one month a year.

It doesn’t work for me alcoholwise as I am aiming for far more than one AFD a week but it’s certainly a philosophy I can embrace when it comes to adopting the principles behind Eating For Love and Beauty.

That book, which also had a whole host of other good advice was:

Dangerous Women

Apart from the moths and the failure of the Rice Exotica, Eating For Love and Beauty has been fun and I feel really healthy.  It is winter here now and whilst people around me have been dropping like flies with all sorts of horrible lurgies, I  have never felt haler or heartier!

I really want to go to the Swami’s retreat now….

I’m going spend my week trying to find a yoga class I can do at lunchtime so I can exercise for health and beauty as well as eat for it. Enjoy your week whatever you do!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Singers and Swingers in The Kitchen – Roberta Ashley (1967): Lemon Cake, Orange Jello and Confusion

Hello and welcome to the new look Retro Food For Modern Times.  I’m still tweaking the design so feedback would be greatly appreciated!

I also know I have gone overboard on this book.  I promise this will be my last post from it.  For the moment.

Finally, if anyone has come to this page by Googling “swingers” and “jello”, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.  It’s about cake. Seriously, stop reading now.  You’ll only be disappointed.  It wasn’t even a particularly nice cake!

Lemon Orange Cake
Lemon Orange Cake

Ok, so now that the perverts are gone, lets talk cake.  Although, maybe I should have let them stay.  It worked for that “Fifty Shades of Grey” lady. Maybe I should become the E L James of smutty cooking.  I could go all breathy and talk about “Beating the eggs and whipping the cream” whilst heaving my bosom about. Or would that just make me Nigella?  (Who I absolutely adore.  Please don’t sue me.  I love you).

Anyway, back to the cake.  The recipe comes from Chad Stuart.  And before you even start to think “Who the f…” let me interrupt you right there. Chad Stuart is one half of the British folk duo Chad And Jeremy.

Same question huh? I thought so.  Click the link if you really want to find out. It doesn’t really matter but just for the hell of it, Chad Stuart is the speccy one in the photo below, not the one who looks a little bit like a young Ryan Gosling if you squint and look at the screen on the correct angle.

album-chad-jeremy-sing-for-youyesterdays-gone

So, the cake.

I had never heard of a cake that used Jelly / Jello as an ingredient but was not averse to trying it. There were only a few ingredients and I have an incredible fondness for a lemon syrup cake!

orange lemon cake recipe 002

Orange-Lemon Cake Ingredients
Lemon Orange Cake Ingredients

The batter turned a bright orange and went quite bubbly. It tasted slightly chemical and overwhelmingly of oil.  The oil was my fault. The recipe states vegetable oil. I should have used a more neutral oil like canola instead of a fruity olive oil. There was still too much of it though, you can see it pooling around the edges of the bowl in the picture below.

I think the slight chemical taste probably came from the cake mix.  It could also have been some sort of weird mental effect – my mind thinking that it wasn’t “real” cake so should not taste like one. I’m someone who often likes the raw batter better than the cooked cake so the initial taste was disappointing.

Orange Lemon Cake Batter

Lemon Orange Cake Batter

The first weird thing happened when I took the cake out of the oven.  There was a white….(I want to say bloom but that reminds me a little too much of mould or algae)….froth?…on the surface of the cake, about an inch in from the border of the tin.  This was probably caused by all those bubbles in the mixture, although these had not been as prevalent when I’d spooned it into the pan.

Raw Cake Batter
Raw Cake Batter
White Froth on Cake
White Froth on Cake

The froth didn’t impact the taste but it was unsightly and as the cake wasn’t iced, it meant I had to keep looking at it.

There was also some sort of Jedi mind trick going on with the taste of the cake.  It was an orange cake in colour so in my mind, it should have also tasted of orange.  It didn’t. It tasted pretty much of nothing. I’m not sure why, maybe the excess of oil neutralised the other flavours.

Adding the syrup, if anything, made it even weirder.  Not the least of which because I have no idea what a poultry nail is.  I poked my holes with a skewer like a normal person.  What I ended up with was an orange cake that tasted of lemon.

This cake caused my brain to melt.  Seriously.  It messed with my head.  The oily batter, the weird froth, the colour not matching the flavour, it was not a pleasant experience or one that I am likely to repeat without significantly changing the recipe.

If I was going to make it again I would use a more neutral oil and cut down on the amount.  I would have the colour of the cake match the colour of the syrup – if using orange jelly/o, I would use orange syrup.  How awesome would this look with a blood orange syrup?  Alternatively, I could just make this modern version that I found on the Aeroplane Jelly site:

http://aeroplanejelly.com.au/Recipes/Original/Easy-Jelly-Party-Cake.aspx

What I like about this modern version is the sprinkling of the jelly/o crystals on the icing.  That would be awesome! I love the crystals nearly as much as I love raw cake batter.

I’m off to hunt for a new book for next time.  Enjoy your week!
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