If you have been reading this blog for a little while, firstly thank you, and secondly, I reckon that, like me, you will probably be aware that a ham cornet is not going to be “just like a Cornetto but hammy”.
There are a couple of obvious differences. Instead of creamy sweet icecream, there are leftover vegetables, and instead of a crunchy waffle cone, there’s ham. But the most striking difference is that a Cornetto tastes good and this tastes like a big pile of crap covered in mayonnaise.
A ham cornet is basically leftover vegetables, wrapped in ham in a cone shape and mixed with mayonnaise. In the middle you must place a tomato with cuts in it (or, taking creative licence, an orange) and then make dinky little shapes with butter and shove them in to it. What the recipe doesn’t tell you is that the dinky little shapes are bloody hard to make without the butter melting everywhere and that once you have finished the final product they slump and melt anyway so the whole thing only looks “good” for about ten minutes before it becomes a sludgy, buttery, vegetably mess. I can only assume that in the 1970’s 10 minutes was all it took for someone to quietly remove the plate of ham cornets and never mention it again.
Extra points for matching the background so well?
As always, I am left with so many questions for the cooks of the 1970’s. How did you eat these? Why did you eat these? Why was your mayonnaise orange? Were the leftover vegetables leftover from the last time you made ham cornets resulting in an endless cycle of leftover vegetables being wrapped in ham, leftover and then wrapped in ham again?
It’s a terrifying thought.
Two weeks on and the memory still haunts me.
I’ll be in the kitchen chopping celery for a risotto, and suddenly get a flashback to that nightmarish taste: sour and mushy, intensely fishy, and just creamy enough to make you gag.
I think I may have been scarred for life.
Don’t get me wrong; I never expected that I could boil the shit out of celery in water, lemon juice and oil; then coat it in vinegary mayonnaise, anchovies and olives and actually enjoy the final product – I mean I’m not a miracle worker – but this was in a recipe book. It had a French name for christ’s sake. It should have at least been edible!
Everybody thoroughly despised Celery à la Grecque, albeit for different reasons. Alister hated the anchovies, Sarah loathed the celery, for me it was just layers upon layers of sour, fishy misery. (Oh god, oh god I’m getting another flashback). I don’t think any of us managed to chew it more than twice before running to the sink.
The words “this is the worst thing I’ve ever eaten” get thrown around a lot on this blog (funny that), but this time I really mean it.
Now can anyone recommend a good therapist?
Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking: a step by step guide to the world’s best cooking, 1980
Once I learned of the existence of the party elephant, it was hard to imagine how I had managed to survive without it for so long. Suddenly past dinners and parties seemed dull – gloomy even – and glaringly lacking in oil-soaked elephants.
For anyone unfamiliar with a party elephant, it is described in the book as being “an amusing centrepiece for a buffet table”, and it looks like this:
To make it, you chill a loaf of bread, cut bits off it into the shape of an elephant and then deep fry your animal.
A glace cherry then represents an eye, a capsicum represents a saddle and skewered grapes and cheese sticking into its back represent… I don’t know… Animal cruelty?
Unfortunately I’m going to have to make a confession at this point – and that is *hangs head* – that we ate the elephant. It was only later that I noticed the warning in the recipe: “Remember that the elephant is only for decoration – you cannot eat it.”
But we did, and it tasted like cold oily bread.
It was probably the best thing we’ve made.
It was the early 1990’s and the boffins at the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board had a problem on their hands. Despite the fact that kiwifruit goes with absolutely everything, kiwifruit sales were plummeting*. The answer was obvious and led to the publishing of “101 Kiwifruit Ideas”, proving to doubters everywhere that kiwifruit could be paired with wontons, prawns, tacos, salmon, curry and thrown indiscriminately in to soup.
Yep, that’s kiwi and oysters on the cover
The possibilities were endless and two of the most intriguing were Hot New Zealand Kiwifruit and Bacon Salad and a Kiwi Café (a Kiwi Iced Coffee).
The Kiwifruit and Bacon salad was as simple as cooked bacon, sliced kiwifruit and pasta with some white wine vinegar poured over it.
The bacon was hot, the kiwi was cold and the pasta was vinegary. The end result looked like this:
Each ingredient on its own was ok, when you combined them together though it just tasted weird. I didn’t think it was possible to make bacon taste bad but kiwifruit does just that. Clearly what was missing was an accompanying kiwifruit drink, which is where kiwi café comes in.
A kiwi café is strained kiwifruit, carefully topped with cold coffee and then milk. Put together at first it didn’t look too bad.
It didn’t taste great and then once you stirred it then the milk and kiwifruit sort of separated and curdled like this:
So, surprisingly, it turns out kiwifruit doesn’t go with everything. Who knew.
* This is all made up. And maybe early 1990’s isn’t totally retro but who doesn’t love a story that stars kiwifruit.