Saturday, December 31, 2011

saving the worst till last

Well, here we are at the final cookbook.  Possibly the worst cookbook in the world.

And this is possibly the most disgusting food I have prepared.  Not just this year, but any time in my life.

Thank you to the friends who gave me this book.  I will never use it again.

Here is the sequence of assembly of the most unpleasant biscuit treat ever devised.  And yet I did eat it.

Sweet 'n' Salty Tea Sandwiches from Baltz, E. Junk Foodie: 51 delicious recipes for the lowbrow gourmand Adams Media 2010

Modifications: Used Tiny Teddies, Smiths chips and Kewpie mayonnaise.
Verdict: Just. Awful. (Actually, she said "Not too bad at all, really." - the Fella)

That's all for tonight. 

Happy New Year everybody, and I'll be back soon with reflections on this year.  I'm far too tired and full tonight.


These were chosen solely because they were the least complicated thing in the book.

Twice Dipped Strawberries from Sutherland Smith, B. Chocolates & Petits Fours Golden Press 1986

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Fine. 

custardy battle

One more exciting element of tonight's dining.

Custard Sauce from Culinary Arts Institute: 150 Delectable Dessert Recipes Consolidated Book Publishers 1975

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Custardy.

potatoes. again.

So I says to the Fella, I says, "Can you please choose something for me to cook from this cookbook?"

And the Fella says, "Why coytainly, nyuk nyuk nyuk!"

And then he chooses potatoes, because that's what he always does.

But he did explain that we had to have something from the New Year's Eve party part of this magnificent cookbook.  I would have liked to have had the time to organise a whole dinner party around this book, but that will have to wait until next year.

So potatoes are part of the strange mixture of things we are eating tonight.

Many thanks to Jen for giving me this book.  I promise to make fuller use of it later.

Jacket Potatoes from Pan H. The Australian Hostess Cookbook Nelson

Modifications: None.
Verdict: It might be the vellinis talking, but these were fantastic.

drinky poo

This is a very nice way to celebrate New Year.

And it's really helping to dull the doof-doof music shaking our walls from the party across the road.

Vellini from Shaken: 250 very sexy cocktails Murdoch Books 2004

Modifications: Used raspberry liqueur.  All fruit tastes the same anyway.
Verdict: Super.  I think I shall have another.

six more things to eat that we did not need to eat

I don't have time to think of a witty introduction to this post for you.  Here are things I cooked over the past couple of days.  They were good. You should try them.

Must. Keep. Cooking.

Buttered Nut and Lentil Dip from Ashworth, S. Vegetarian Barbecues The Book Company International 1995

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Really good.

More recipes follow...


Last night we ate this glorious pudding.

I have become quite skillful at using three cookbooks to create a single dish.

It is a useless skill, and one that I will never need again after midnight tonight.

Tipsy Sticky Date Pudding from Family Circle: Sticky and Steamed Puddings Murdoch Books 1999

Modifications: Made butterscotch sauce below instead of suggested syrup.  Halved recipe and made in two small tins so one can be frozen in readiness for the zombie apocalypse.
Verdict: Amazingly good.

Butterscotch Sauce from Fulton, M. Margaret Fulton's Book of Ices & Cold Desserts Octopus 1983

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Tooth-dissolvingly sweet, but just divine on the pudding.

Mascarpone from Willman, N. & C. Home Cheesemaking: the secrets of how to make your own cheese and dairy products (2nd edition) Neil & Carole Willman 2005

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Did not set as firmly as it should have, but I didn't want to add too much more tartaric acid because I was starting to taste it.  Ended up more like double cream, but was still an excellent accompaniment to the pudding.

ten little random things

Saffron Rice and Nutty Tofu Salad from Australian Women's Weekly: Salads ACP Publishing 1995

Modifications: Fried up spices with tofu instead of with ginger and garlic.
Verdict: Tasty (for a salad)

More after break...

ten little indian dishes

Read them and weep, all ye who were lusting after my Indian cookbooks.

Pumpkin in Coconut Milk from Solomon, C. The Vegetarian Book Ken Fin 1998

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Nice, but a little subtle.  And not terribly Indian, but I was desperate to cook as many dishes as possible.

more after the break...

Friday, December 30, 2011

cooking up a political storm

Politics and broccoli are strange bedfellows.

Unless you're the late, great Don Dunstan.  This safari-suited former premier of South Australia found time to write a magnificent cookbook, despite being one of the busiest men in Australia.

He did not give it an imaginative name

but everyone is agreed that he is a hero to all housewives.  A veritable Putin of the kitchen and fowlyard.

He was very creative when it came to jazzing up vegetables.  This broccoli does not look very nice at all.  But it was surprisingly good.

Broccoli Roman Style from Dunstan, D. Don Dunstan's Cookbook Rigby 1976

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Pretty good.

The next recipe also comes from a Labor politician: former Victorian Minister for Education and the Arts - and ABC newsreader - Mary Delahunty.

Mary isn't as snappy a dresser as Don, but she can assemble a mean summer menu.

Vegetable Frittata from Harkness, A. (ed.) Getting it Tabled: favourite recipes from Labor politicians ALP Karingal Branch 2001

Modifications: Left off baby spinach leaves as I'm sure they'd burn to a crisp under the grill.
Verdict: Nice.

And the final political feast comes from further afield.  The book is another compilation, but rather than state ALP politicians, this one contains recipes by the wives of US congressmen.

It comes with a foreword written by Patricia Nixon

and the sort of ads you don't generally get in cookbooks these days

This was one of the few recipes I could find that didn't have canned mushrooms in it.  It comes from the very small "men only" section, and was contributed by Eligio “Kika” de la Garza II, Democratic representative for the 15th congressional district of Texas.

"Eggs Rio Grande" from The Congressional Club Cookbook: favorite national and international recipes The Congressional Club 1970

Modifications: Omitted green pepper and redundant inverted commas.
Verdict: Tasty "breakfast".

Thursday, December 29, 2011

twelve more

As you'd expect, the past few days have been a frenzy of cooking and photography and eating and regrets.

I am so looking forward to the new year.

Pease Pudding from Pork Time Life 1983

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Quite tasty.

More after jump...

haikus that express precisely how much I am enjoying cooking and eating right now

on food

food is a great joy
it nourishes the tired soul
but it makes me ill

on cooking

time spent making meals
is time away from TV
o misery! Woe!

on stupid new year boasts and resolutions

new year hope dawns bright
promises are made with ease
that consume whole lives

Spicy Rice and Bean Pilaff from A Little Book of Hot & Spicy Recipes CLB Publishing 1993

Modifications: Omitted green pepper.
Verdict: Very nice with yogurt.

more after the break...

i like chinese

I kept putting off cooking from my Chinese cookbooks because I did not expect to find anything interesting to cook.  Vegetarian food in most Chinese restaurants consists solely of steamed Chinese broccoli.  Usually in a fishy sauce.

OK, I'm being a little unfair - there are some very good Chinese restaurants that have some fine vegetarian options.  But what's the point of having a blog if you can't indulge in the occasional wild generalisation?

Anyway, I was delighted to find five delicious Chinese things to cook in my books, and the Fella and I feasted most grandly.

Chinese-Style Spinach Dumplings from Yarvin, B. A World of Dumplings The Countryman Press 2007

Modifications: Used bought wonton wrappers.  Went for fried option as SOMEONE set fire to our steamer.  That's right, fire.  Yes, I too was surprised that this was possible.
Verdict: Delicious.  Slightly overcooked - will have the pan on a lower heat next time.  And there will be a few next times, as my freezer is now full of these.

Stir-fried Eggs with Spinach from Lo, K. Chinese Vegetable and Vegetarian Cooking Faber and Faber 1995

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Really, really good.

Sichuan Hot-Braised Stir-Fried Aubergine from Lo, K. New Chinese Vegetarian Cooking Diamond Books 1986

Modifications: None.
Verdict: Lovely.

Recipe scan not possible.

Basic Fried Rice from Lo, K. The Wok Cookbook Diamond Books 1981

Modifications: Omitted bacon.
Verdict: Lovely.

Chinese Custard Tarts from Liley, V. Dim Sum New Holland Publishers 2003

Modifications: Used copha instead of lard in the pastry
Verdict: Subtle flavour.  Very nice end to our Chinese feast.