Crispy Cheese Pancakes with Zucchini Sauce

 From the Australian Women’s Weekly Dinner Party Cookbook No. 2 – New, exciting menus for all seasons

In the short time since we started Bad Jelly, Sarah and I have eaten some unbelievably bad things. First there was the Salmon Mousse (I have not been able to so much as look at salmon since), the Anchovy Cream Stuffed Apricots (so thankful I was away for that one) and how could we forget (dear god please let me forget) – the almighty Prawns in a Mould.

And so we thought to ourselves: “Now come on. Surely not every retro recipe tastes like an April Fools Day prank. Let’s try and make something that is not only edible but, dare we say it, enjoyable.”

And that’s how we chose Crispy Cheese Pancakes with Zucchini Sauce:

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Pancakes (yum) stuffed with three cheeses (yuuuum!) and then deep fried (triple yum!). Even the sauce sounded nice – butter, chopped shallots, zucchini…  What could possibly go wrong?

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We were so, so excited to dig in. Finally, something that wasn’t going to send us running to the bin! Even if it meant spending two hours at the gym to burn off the copious amounts of calories  we were about to consume, by God, it was going to be worth it. Triple Cheese Deep Fried Pancakes! Woooo Hooo!

Now, the recipe above describes the dish as”interesting”. And it was. What was interesting about it is that it honestly did not taste of anything. Here are the verdicts:

Sarah: More disappointing than sea monkeys.

Emma: How does this not taste of anything? It has everything going for it; the perfect crunch, the melty, oozing cheese… I don’t understand. Wait – let me have another bite, just in case I missed some Parmesan or something… Nope, tastes the same.

Alister: So fatty but yet so bland.

Duncan: The texture is really nice, needs acid and more seasoning.

Summary: It had the potential to be one of the greats, but unless we’d deviated from the recipe and drained a salt lake, deforested a pepper plantation and added many, many more flavoursome cheeses, I’m not sure we ever really stood a chance.

So confused.

Banana Candle

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I tried to make something else.

In all honesty, I flipped through all my other books – past whipped spam and curried ham and dishes with alarm-bell words like “surprise” in the title – looking for something that was not so… R rated.

But like a moth to a glacé cherry flame, I could not resist the pull of the mighty Banana Candle.

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Of all the recipes in Be Bold with Bananas, I would suggest that this one is the boldest. It’s hard to put my finger on why exactly, but there’s just something about the way the mayonnaise drips down from the shiny cherry head that shocks me to the core. I mean it really looks a lot like a candle.

The version that sister Rosie and I put together did not look quite as much like a candle as the one in the book, sadly. I thought a lot about why this was, and decided what we should have done was squirt the mayo on to the tip, then let that melt, over time, down the sides of the banana to give it a life-like glisten.

Nevertheless, the effect was not completely lost:

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Everything we’ve blogged so far has been of questionable edibility, but Banana Candles stand alone (or rather with the help of two pineapple rings) in that they were never intended to be eaten. They were destined to be table centerpieces and, I imagine, surefire conversation-starters at dinner parties:

“Say, is that a banana candle I see on the table?”
“Sure is, Granny Ethel – bet it’s a while since you’ve seen one like that!”

Although the BC is not technically classed as a food, this is a food blog (just), and so a taste test was going to be necessary. There was no way in hell Rosie or I were getting anywhere near that thing, but after much coercing and bribery and eventually threats regarding the future of his own banana candle, Finn took a bite.

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Afterward he looked slightly ashamed, then confused, before eventually declaring that it tasted “a bit salty.”