Huh…in case you’re wondering why it’s two for one day here at RFFMT, it’s because I only realised that I hadn’t posted this recipe for Chicken Chowder which I wrote weeks ago, when I went to post my Pieathalon recipe. So here is my belated Chicken Chowder.
The A-Z of Cooking has not been kind to me recently. So, even though I LOVE soup and we are in the middle of winter so it’s perfect soup weather, I had my hesitations about trying something from the chapter called “Soups to Make a Meal”. There were three options. Lentil Soup, Minestrone and Chicken Chowder. I feel like I just made George Harrison’s Dark House Lentil Soup, the picture of the minestrone looked vile – and the recipe called for weird inclusions like turnips, parsnips and swedes which have their place (which is mostly in the garbage) but never in a minestrone. Not on my watch anyway. So Chicken Chowder it was.
At the time, i wasn’t overly concerned that there were no photos of the said chicken chowder. You can’t photograph everything right? Well, not in 1977 anyway. As I was to find out, the omission quite possibly had more to do with a factor of the chicken chowder rather than any sort of 1970’s austerity measure.
Before we get to the lows, let’s talk about life (and soup) highs. I was immensely proud and somewhat baffled by being named one of Feedspot’s Top 100 food bloggers of 2017. I’m still waiting for an email saying something along the lines of “Sorry Ms Fryer, there has been a terrible mistake and we have dealt with the offenders appropriately” but in the meantime? I’m doing a happy dance!
Awwwwww……he wasn’t even my President and I miss him to death! How adorable is his happy dance? And that cheeky little smile at the end? Too. Much.
But I digress. Chicken Chowder. The highs. This tasted deeeee – licious. It was everything you want in a hearty winter soup. Tasty, thick, creamy, filled with chicken and veg…..perfect comfort food to combat the cold weather blues!
So much for the highs. What they don’t tell you in food blogging school…or maybe they do, I wouldn’t know, is that sometimes, things that taste really good – (Souper anyone? Anyone? Am I ladleing it on too thick? Do I need to take stock?) sometimes just look a little bit shit when you try to photograph them. Which is why I spent WAAAAAAAYYYYY too many hours trying not to make my chicken chowder look like big bowls of vom.
Oh. My. Lord.
The very things that made the chicken chowder delicious – creamy, chunky, diced veg….all combined to make the first….hmmm…let’s say 20 photos….. all look like someone had just thrown up rather neatly into a plate. I really, really hope that the photos I ended up with don’t share that attribute. But just in case you think I exaggerating, I will post one of the early versions right at the end. Kind of makes me think that The A-Z of Cooking knew what it was doing when it conveniently didn’t have a photo of this hot mess!
I used carrots, leeks and potatoes as my root vegetables. Otherwise, here is the recipe direct from 1977!
Ye of faint stomachs, look away now…here is one of vomitous photos.
It’s been a while since we dipped into the pages of The A-Z of Cooking…and yep, we’re still only up to C. This time though we head away from the fun, fun, fun of Children’s Favourites and into the darker world of cost savers. Retro Frugality can a very scary place!
Surprisingly, all three recipes featured in this section were things I would have been happy to make. There was the Chili Con Carne, a Tagliatelle with Bacon and Tomato Sauce and an Oxtail Casserole. I REALLY wanted to make the Oxtail Casserole just because the others are things we probably eat fairly regularly and I have never cooked with o before. But, someone had a hissy fit in the butcher when I asked for oxtails. Sometimes it’s difficult trying to be a retro food blogger when you live with the fussiest eater on the planet!!! It will be made though. I have enough meals alone to warrant making some, even if just for myself.
But for now, we needed a meal to be eaten together and, turned out, we had everything to make this chilli already in the freezer, fridge and store cupboard. This is really important as you will soon find out that not all my ventures into Mexican cooking have been so expeditious. You will also notice that there are no green peppers, as specified by the recipe ingredients, and there are mushrooms which are not mentioned. I am not fond of bell peppers of any sort as they tend to repeat on me for HOURS after I have eaten them. Plus, I had mushrooms and, in the cost cutting vibe of this post, waste not, want not right?
I had one problem with this recipe. And that was the lack of cumin. Funnily enough, as I was writing this post, I was watching a Heston Blumenthal show where he made chili con carne and he too mentioned how important it was to have cumin in your chili recipe.
Then again, Heston’s’ chili contains 27 ingredients and at least 3 processes….I love Heston, I really do. But 27 ingredients for chilli? And that doesn’t even include the muffins?
I’m sure Heston’s recipe is the best chili you’ve ever eaten. I’m equally sure that the A-Z of Cooking’s Cost Saving Recipe won’t be.
BUT. And it’s a big but. (Sir Mixalot would be proud).
Is this a tasty dish? This recipe lacked some flavour, most notably cumin. And personally, I would have increased the chilli content too. However, I think the mushrooms added some umami that would not have been present had the green peppers been used instead. And it was tasty even without the cumin. So yes, big tick on tasty.
Does it fill the brief of being a cost saver? Absolutely. The basic chili cost around $7.00. And that made 4 large or 5 medium sized serves.
Should this become something that is in your repertoire of basic dishes that you can then flavour and snazz up whatever way you want? Totally!
Is it something you will make over and over? You bet!
It’s a good, solid, basic chili recipe. Sure it’s not Heston. But it not everything needs to be. In fact, nothing except food at The Fat Duck should be.
And if you want to jazz it up, any, or all, of the following would make good additions:
Corn Chips as dippers
Pico Di Gallo
Cojita or crumbled feta cheese
Tabasco or other hot sauce
This is great, quick easy weeknight cooking, it is also great, maybe even better the next day for lunch or dinner.
Eat, enjoy! With the money you save on this why not treat yourself to a margarita or two.
As we approach the day of sickening oversentimentality love, it seems fitting to devote a post to the love apple aka the tomato. And just to further add to my bah humbug disdain of the day, I thought I would share another one of my dating disasters from the good old days when I was single (and dinosaurs ruled the Earth). The first which I posted last Valentine’s day can be found here.
But first, tomatoes…..have to be one of my favorite foods. And as much as I love the fancy stuff – if you give me two slices of white bread, spread liberally with butter, some slices of tomato, preferably fresh from the garden some salt and pepper….right there you have a little bit of my idea of heaven.
And speaking of tomato heaven, this salad is one of the best things I have ever eaten. And it’s not just my favourite tomato salad, it is also a mash up of Rosemary Mayne Wilson’s Favourite Tomato Salad and her Superb Blue Cheese Dressing.
Just look at this and tell me it’s not one of the prettiest things you have ever seen? And just to gild that lily? The dressing contains a hefty dose of blue cheese. And a liberal splash of sherry for those of you who, much like myself, like to have a little bit o’ booze with….well pretty much anything.
So tasty and full of yummy deliciousness. But as we celebrate the love apple, let’s also take a step back into my dark, deep dating history for another disaster story.
So, a few years ago, I was dating a someone who…seemed pretty normal. Until.
We were due to meet my mum and her partner for dinner one night. And we had to park a little bit away from the restaurant. As we started walking through the car park, he went to spit on the ground.
Which, is pretty disgusting in, and of, itself. But then came
So. He goes to spit on the ground.
Only thing is…he misses.
Misses the ground that is How you ask? How can he miss the ground? Do you live in a land of anti-gravity?
No, He missed the ground because he spat all over his own shoe.
Feel free to insert massive eyeroll at will.
Bad enough, you’re going to spit on the ground. That’s uncouth. Do you need to add uncoordinated onto that as well?
So now we’re half way across the car park. He has a big gob of spit on his right shoe. Which needs to be gotten rid of pronto because we’re about to meet my parents.
And here comes
He chose to get rid of that big gob of spit by lifting up his right leg and wiping it on the back of his jeans on his left leg.
Appalling, I know. But you haven’t even heard the worst.
Because even though I know that technically there’s no such thing as a
The worst thing?
Let’s just suppose I had accidentally spat on my own foot…it would never happen but you know…in the realms of absolute fantasy….
I would have hopped about shrieking like a banshee for….I don’t know, at least a good ten minutes…
“OMG, I’ve spat on my own shoe…what am I going to do? I need to get it off, how am I going to get it off…where’s the nearest shoe shop? I need to buy new shoes…” etc.
HE did not even break stride. It was like spit, shoe, wipe…all in one fluid motion. Which only meant one thing….
It wasn’t the first time he had done it.
He was a serial spitter and misser.
That relationship didn’t last the carpark….
This tomato salad should become an immediate part of your summer repertoire. It’s so damn good!!!
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!! Hope it’s fabulous whatever you do!
Favourite Tomato Salad
The name says it all. This will become your favorite tomato salad too!
Great name huh? It just kinda rolls off the tongue. Sportsman’s Saturday Salad. I have no idea why it is called that; but the name instils visions of mad hungry footballers coming home after a match demanding to be fed. This is a relatively hearty salad with beans providing the bulk and salami and eggs providing the protein. I guess it is kind of a man salad….even though I tried to make it as pretty as poss.
This gem comes from…huh…where else? Rosemary Mayne Wilson’s Salad’s for All Seasons. And it’s good. Really good!
He had a couple of mates coming over to do….things…in the garden pertaining to retaining walls and welding and digging post holes. Maybe. I’m pretty sure it was something like that. Whenever they started talking my brain did that thing they do in the Snoopy cartoons when the teachers talk….
I may have even started snoring at a few points. But anyway, there were, if not exactly sportsmen in my house at least some semblance of burly-ish men and they not only ate this salad, they wolfed it. I also pretty much ate my own weight of it so it is by no means limited to sportsmen.
I did make it on a Saturday but believe me, this would be good any day of the week!
Here is the original recipe and below you will find my tweaked version.
Capsicums repeat on me so I always sub something else into recipes containing them. In this instance it was chopped cherry tomatoes.
I also subbed in 5 bean mix for the kidney beans because that’s what I had in my cupboard.
And I happened to have some of the saffron yoghurt left over from when I made the super delicious eggplant dish from Perisana so I used that instead of mayo. You have to waste not, want not with the saffron, that stuff’s exxy!
Because I am obsessed with finger food, I made mine into bite size portions but you could also make a big salad as per the original.
This is great, quick, easy tasty and I thought it looked pretty as well.
And remember, it’s not just for Sportsmen. Or Saturdays. It’s barely even salad. It is really badly named. But delicious!
And have a fabulous week.
And let me know if you have any food you think is incorrectly named!
Sportsman's Saturday Salad
A delicious and hearty salad but definitely not just for sportsmen or Saturdays!
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!