Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jellied Chicken

1 chicken
1 pkt chicken noodle soup
pepper and salt
2 tbspn gelatine

Method: Boil chicken adding 1 onion to water. Cut cooked chicken into small pieces, place in a bowl. Cook soup in 2 cups water according to directions. Dissolve gelatine in soup, add to chicken, also pepper and salt. Mix altogether add extra water to cover meat if needed. Set in fridge. Rabbit or duck can be used instead of chicken. Serve sliced cold or sandwich filling.

Source: contributed by T. Gutsche in Lutheran Jubilee 150 Cook Book 1838-1988 Vol 2 by St. Paul's Congregation, Yorketown (1988), p.18.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coff's Harbour Salad

Combined equal amounts diagonal slices of fully ripe bananas and thin diagonal slices of celery. Season mayonnaise generously with lemon juice. Pour over the bananas and celery and toss lightly.
Good with cold meat or with sea food.

Source: Recipes tested by time... Centenary Cookery Book from 1840 (The Historical Society of Woodville, 1980), p.8

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cheese and Ham Dreams

1 cup S.R. flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons grated cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon mustard
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 egg
devilled ham spread

Method: Sift flour, salt, mustard and cayenne and rub in the butter and half the cheese. Mix to a firm dough using a little beaten egg and lemon juice and roll thinly on a lightly floured board. Cut into shapes and brush biscuit tops with remaining egg and grated cheese. Place on a greased tray and bake for about 12 minutes in a moderate to hot even 190C (375d) gas, 220C (425d) elec. When cool, join together with devilled ham, or similar spread.

Source: Memory Lane Cookbook (Rotary Club of Naracoorte, 1986), p.18.

Friday, November 16, 2012

American Beef in Claret

3.1/2-4 lb blade steak (corner of topside)
salt & pepper
1 large chopped onion
2-3 rashers bacon
1-1.1/2 cups claret

Method: Place meat in greased casserole, fat side up. Sprinkle with onion and bacon (chopped); pour in claret. Bake at 375°F (190°C) 3/4 hour for first pound, 25-30 mins/lb for the rest. Test with skewer when cooking time nearly finished. When tender, remove from oven, let stand til warm, then carve into 1/4" slices. Put back in casserole as the original piece of meat. Pour the claret through the slices and let stand. Can be prepared ahead. Reheat with casserole covered in foil. [Serves 6]

Source: The Parson Knows: Easy Dinner Party Recipes (The Parish of St. Stephen, Glenunga; n.d.), p.49 ['Winter Menu']

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lemon Malt Special

1/2 lb. Coconut
1 tin Condensed Milk
juice 2 Lemons
1 pkt. Malt Biscuits

Method: Line flat dish with half packet of malt biscuits, smooth side down. Mix together the coconut, condensed milk and lemon juice, and spread over the biscuits. Cover with remaining half packet of biscuits, smooth side up. Ice with green icing, or to own taste. Store in refrigerator at least one day before using.

Source: contributed by Mrs. F. Myers (Parkholme) in The Lunchbox: A Selection of Tried Recipes (Clare, S.A.: The Bihar Mission Auxiliary; 1975 [Second Edition]), p.23.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's A Retro Cook-Off!

It's time for the Hung Up On Retro / Lucy Violet Vintage... 

It's A Retro Cook-Off! 

I collect vintage cookbooks, primarily those from South Australia, and my Retro Meal (which I served last night to my family) comes entirely from South Australian recipe books.

I followed the recipes as closely as possible, but had to substitute in a few places where the ingredients no longer exist (probably for good reason): the shops are empty of 'Green Lemon Jelly' (was 'Lime' such a frightening concept?) and 'menz malt biscuits'. The type of canned salmon was not specified; I went with 'pink' rather than the costly 'red', which I think is in keeping with the parsimonious ethos of these cook-books. 

What did I make? To begin, a cocktail

Barossa Lightning
"This is a dry cocktail that is guaranteed to start off any party with a sparkle, but it has no depressing after-effects. It can be mixed for immediate use, or bottled. Four glasses gin, three quarters glass French vermouth, 1 glass Italian vermouth, 1/2 glass green ginger. Ice and shake well. Serve so cold that glasses are frosted."

This type of meal requires a sturdy anaesthetic type of pre-dinner drink. The Barossa Cookery Book is a classic of the country cookbook genre and is still in print. It was first published in 1917; the second edition of 1932 has since reached its 33rd edition (2006). The cocktail quantities are expressed in 'glasses', a term explained as 'cocktail glass'. Since the 1930s, cocktail glasses have increased in size from around 3.5 fl oz to 10 oz.. I used the cap on the cocktail shaker. This is a very strong cocktail and I must never let my mother have another one. On the plus side, it made all the food look really tasty.

With the main course I served Mateus Rosé: this ran like a river of pink sweetness at my parents' dinner parties in the 1970s. My fall-back would have been a Liebfraumilch (something like Blue Nun).

My entrée comes from p.24 of The Parson Knows: Easy Dinner Party Recipes produced by The Parish of St. Stephen at Glenunga (one of the eastern suburbs of Adelaide). The cookbook is undated, but I suspect it is from the late 1980s. St. Stephen's has since been demolished, but its legacy lives on... The recipe forms part of a 'Autumn Menu'. I could not find tinned grapefruit, so settled for fresh (from our tree):

Prawn & Grapefruit Cocktail 

200g tin prawns
200g tin grapefruit OR 1 fresh grapefruit
1/4 pint reduced cream
1 tbs tomato sauce
3 drops Tabasco (optional)
1 tbs brandy
1 tbs lemon juice
1-2 tsp horseradish
salt & pepper

Method: Empty prawns from tin and rinse in cold water - drain well. If using fresh grapefruit, remove pith and skin, then dice fruit and mix with prawns. Pour over brandy and lemon juice and leave to marinate for an hour at least. Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients to make sauce - pour off excess juice from prawns, etc. and mix with sauce. Serve garnished with parsley or a prawn or a grapefruit segment. Serves 4. [recipe]

It turned out like a cold soupy prawn cocktail with a vicious grapefruit aftertaste. It wasn't awful. It wasn't great: the proportion of sauce to prawn was completely wrong. The sauce was delicious, but then it is basically a Marie Rose sauce.

The main course - Salmon Meringue Tart - is something I have wanted to make for a very long time, but have never had the courage. The recipe comes from p.64 of one of my favourite retro cookbooks, The Lunchbox: A Selection of Tried Recipes produced in Clare (in the Barossa Valley) by the Bihar Mission Auxiliary (raising money for the then Jesuit mission to Bihar state in northern India). I have the second edition (1975). The recipe was contributed by Mrs. M. Horgan. 

I cheated with a pre-made pastry case, and I served it hot. The mixture smelled like cat food. I had no idea that tinned salmon was so revolting in the flesh - bones! skin! Ghastly, revolting things I couldn't identify. It tasted like tuna mornay and while it was not as unpleasant as I feared, I'm glad I didn't waste my time making pastry from scratch. The meringue added zero to its charm. The cheese helped a lot.

Salmon Meringue Tart

(May be eaten hot with vegetables, or cold with salads)
1" x 10" lightly cooked Pastry Shell
1 x 8 oz tin Salmon
1/2 pint Milk
Knob Butter
2 Eggs
1 rounded tbsp. Cornflour
Squeeze of Lemon juice
Salt and Pepper

Method: Drain salmon, remove skin and bones. Flake into a saucepan, add milk and butter, bring to boiling point. Separate eggs, blend Cornflour with the yolks and add to saucepan and cook one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and turn into tart shell. Beat egg whites (with small pinch cream of tartar) until stiff, cover salmon with this meringue, bake for 15 minutes at 375 deg. When cooked sprinkle with chopped parsley and grated cheese. [recipe]

To accompany the Tart, I made a Jellied Pea Salad. Gelatine salad is a staple of retro cooking. This salad also comes from The Lunchbox cookbook (p.74, contributed by Mrs. T. Chidwidden). I used lemon jelly and tinted it with a drop of green colouring. The mould is a vintage glass one. And? This was surprisingly good, albeit rather sweet. Some vinegar in the mix might have fixed that. It fell to pieces too quickly for presentation as a mould - I'd set it in a bowl next time (next time!).

Jellied Pea Salad

1 large dspn finely chopped mint leaves, mixed with one packet of green lemon jelly crystals. Add 2 cups boiling water, stir until dissolved, then pour whole mixture over 1 lb frozen peas; leave to set. [recipe]

Dessert. How does one remove the taste of Salmon Meringue pie from the mouth? I initially thought about something with that other great staple of retro cooking, pineapple, but then I saw Rum Pudding) on p.28 of The Parson Knows: Easy Dinner Party Recipes (another item on the 'Autumn Menu'). I set it in vintage compote dishes, rather than another mould (why detract from the moulded delights of the Jellied Pea Salad?). I sprinkled the sponge with additional rum. The verdict: very nice indeed. A bit bouncy, perhaps. But not bad. Not bad at all.

Rum Pudding

1 small jam roll
1/2 cup sugar
1 heaped tbs cocoa
1 tbs gelatine
whipped cream
1 tin Carnation milk
1 heaped tbs Nescafe
1 tbs rum
1/2 cup hot water
walnuts, cherries/strawberries

Method: Line a basin - bottom and sides with slices of jam roll. Beat chilled Carnation milk, add sugar (slowly), Nescafe, cocoa and rum. Beat in gently, then stir in gelatine dissolved in hot water (when cool). Pour mixture into basin and set in refrigerator. Turn out of basin and cover with whipped cream flavoured with rum. Decorate with walnuts and cherries or strawberries. [Serves 4] [recipe]

Finally, a little digestive: Chocolate Mints.

The after-dinner mint is another staple of these books. Perhaps it was cheaper than Mylanta? This is a common recipe, appearing in various guises, often shaped into a log, rolled in coconut and cut into coin-sized pieces. I chose a simple version where the mixture is rolled flat and cut into squares (I used a berry-shaped cutter). They tasted like minty tarmac when I was making them. After a day in the fridge, all the bits melded together and they were really very nice and not so much like peppermint asphalt. Minty. Very minty. The source, The S.C.N.H. 1st Floor Cook Book (no. 2), is local - from the Southern Cross nursing home about 100m from my doorstep. There is no date, but it looks late 1980s/early 90s. The recipe was contributed by one V. M. Smith:

Chocolate Mints 

1 pkt menz malt biscuits
1 pkt white mints, round ones 
3/4 cup sweet cond. milk 

Method: Crush biscuits and mints, and mix all together. Roll out then cut into squares.

The verdict? 
Would I make any of these recipes again? 

I thought the cocktail rather a waste of decent gin, but it certainly made everyone mellow. The entrée sauce was excellent, with a real horseradishy punch. The grapefruit was just plain nasty. Salmon Meringue Tart was a tuna mornay in tawdry floozy attire. It made Jellied Pea Salad look like a good thing. Dessert was surprisingly nice - decent rum and mocha flavours (and good looks). The mints rocked. And I find myself with a strange craving for retro rosé… 

Many thanks to Kylie (lucy violet vintage) and Donna (hung up on retro) for inspiring me to cook from my collection; and thank you to Anne (pineapple princesses) for letting me know about the Cook Off.  I thoroughly enjoyed torturing my family myself.