Crusty Stuffed Avocado

To think we originally skipped past this one in favour of avocado desserts (if only we did – I can just hear Cher now “If I could turn back time”).

CSA recipe

Having read the title and seen the recipe, you probably have a few questions – “What is it stuffed with?”, “What is it coated in?”, “Oh wow, please tell me the skin has been removed!?” Or perhaps you are a little more like Bridget “Um…. what is that thing? It looks like a weird animal………”

Rest assured, I can confidently reveal that is it not some weird animal – it is crusty stuffed avocado!

The filling is stuffed with a mixture of Camembert cheese, garlic, fresh herbs (not actually specifying which herbs; we opted for chives and parsley, but let’s face it, it wouldn’t have mattered what we used) dash of Tabasco, lemon juice and pepper.

The recipe is relatively simple: Cut avocado in half lengthways, scoop out seed and flesh, mash flesh, combine with filing mixture, put back together, remove skin*, coat in crust and deep fry.

We didn’t have quite enough canola oil and couldn’t be arsed running back to the shops so we decided to “wing it” and combine a mixture of canola, grape-seed and olive oils (basically every neutral flavoured oil we had) And while I know it’s generally not recommended to use olive oil for deep frying, it was only a little bit, what difference would it really make?  What would it matter?

Quite a lot as it turns out. The different smoke points definitely made getting the temperature right a challenge **, but after about 30 mins, a bit of smoke, a loaf of crusty bread (to help determine temp) and a bottle of wine later (no explanation needed), we were ready to go!

After frying, then baking for an additional 15 minutes, and topping with an Almond Butter Sauce, it was time to dish up…

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And then break in for the taste test…

CSA close up

The conversation around the dinner table went something like this:

Alister – “What is that?”

Emma – “Crusty Stuffed Avocado!”

Alister – “What is it stuffed with?”

Sarah – “Cheese, garlic and fresh herbs “

Alister – “Sounds nice”

Sarah – “Hmmmmm……… Maybe……” (doubtful look on face)

Emma – “Bridge, how does the filling taste?”

Bridget – “Like cheese”

Sarah – “Is it nice?”

Bridget – “Ummmmmm…… Not particularly” (disgusted look on face)

Anthony – “Part of my brain says it’s not that bad, the other part says I’m going to throw up”

Sarah – “Oh, it’s yucky……. it’s yucky!”

Emma  – “How does melted cheese not taste nice?”  (memories of crispy cheese pancakes come flooding back)

Sarah – “F*ck I am sick of avocado”

The warm, mushy, bitterness of the cooked Avocado was, simply put, not good!

The recipe says serves 2. We found it struggled to serve 5

* If any one is attempting to try this at home, and we recommend you don’t, but if you do, I would definitely encourage removing the skin before putting it back together. It would be so, so much easier

** Thank you to MasterChef for teaching me to always have a back up (believe it or not what we dished up was our second attempt). Crusty avocado would have been a whole lot crustier otherwise!

Orange Bombe

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halleluuuuuuuuuuujah!

To be honest though, I did have my doubts when it came to the Orange Bombe.

As a bit of background, I’m generally not a fan of fruity Christmas pudding or (traditional) Hot Cross Buns – I know right! Who doesn’t like these two cherished holiday favourites? (Please don‘t tell Grandma). This is a dirty secret I have been able to keep for many a traditional family Easter breakfast. Orange peel belongs on an orange. It is that simple. It has no right been zested, candied, or infused into chocolate either for that matter. It should just stay where it is and act as a protective barrier to the fruit. And don’t even get me started on currants! I’ll take Celery à la Grecque any day of the week.

Orange Bombe called for orange peel combined with assorted glace fruit. Not convinced. I don’t care how much sugar, or Grand Marnier you add to the mixture. Actually, maybe I do care about the Grand Marnier.

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But then came the making, mixing, freezing, unveiling and tasting of Orange Bombe.

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Our Orange Bombe (with handy glass of Grand Marnier to wash it down, just in case)

Finally some leftovers that we actually wanted to keep!

Cheers resonated through out the dining room. “This isn’t bad jelly, this is good jelly!” Even the orange peel tasted alright. It gave that little bit of crunch to an otherwise gorgeously smooth ice cream. The glace fruit added colour, all with the added bonus of not tasting horrendous – Look out Grandma, I might have to take over making the Hot Cross Buns next Easter! (again, please don’t tell her I said that…)

Orange Bombe has definitely restored my faith that not all food from this era, was… well… disgusting. There might actually be some Michelin star worthy recipes out there and by badjelly, we’re going to find them. (Or get very sick trying).

No doubt next week my dreams will come crashing down!

Bonus close up

Bonus close up to celebrate the glace fruit in all its glory

 

Lazy Daisy Salad

From the Better Hostess Series Hors d’Oeuvres & Appetizers

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Is it a cake? Is it a salad? Is it big pile of vegetables covered in craploads of mayonnaise? If you answered with the latter, congratulations. You’re getting the hang of this retro food thing.

The questions don’t stop there, however. What I would like to know is: why do so many retro recipes call for leftover vegetables? Who has leftover vegetables? Why would you keep leftover vegetables? They’re vegetables people. And considering they were probably using frozen or tinned kind, surely they’d only take a few minutes to make.

I guess you’d need them on the off chance someone might pop around and say: “Betty, you know, this Kiwi Café is simply divine! But do you know what I could really go for? Some Lazy Daisy Salad!”

“Well Dot, you’re in luck!” you could then reply. “I just happen to have all these leftover cooked vegetables in the fridge. Just give me a moment and I’ll whip one up”

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To make a lazy daisy salad, you simply have to assemble your leftover vegetables and cover with “thick basic” mayonnaise.

But how much Mayonnaise?

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Think we’re going need some more….

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Surely not more!?

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In the end it took 2 x 800g jars of mayonnaise to get it looking right, which is a whopping 11584 calories.  How the women of this era stayed so thin after eating that much mayonnaise is a complete and utter mystery.*

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Although we can all agree it looked incredible, there were mixed feelings about Lazy Daisy. Alister didn’t even want to try it but figured if Finn could eat Banana Candle, then he would have to give it a go. Bridget was most disturbed by it and felt that it should only be fed to patients with no teeth. In the end, we all basically decided it tasted like mayonnaise with chunks in it.

“Lazy Daisy Salad for lazy days!” proclaims the recipe.  But one has to wonder, if you’re too lazy to do more than dump mayonnaise on top of leftovers, could you be bothered cutting egg whites into flower shapes or driving all over town to find real fresh daisies? I guess this is just another case for the unsolved retro food files.

*What am I saying? Do I have amnesia? Have I seriously already forgotten about Prawns in a Mould or Salmon Mousse? It’s a bloody miracle they all weren’t all bulimic! And no wonder they all chain smoked; I too would have done anything to disguise the unspeakable taste of my own cooking.

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.

Prawns in a Mould

From the Better Hostess Series Hors d’Oeuvres & Appetizers

Sarah and I have now tried to ‘cook’ (I use the word loosely) a few recipes from this book, and can safely conclude that it should be thrown back into the depths of hell whence it came. I would be intrigued to meet the author, the lovely Miss Elizabeth Price (should she even exist), because there are so, so many questions I would love to ask her. Above all else: “why?”

Prawns in a Mould. Oh Dear Lord, Prawns in a Mould. Where do we start?

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Let’s take a look at the ingredients shall we:

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Simple enough – just your everyday caramel/prawn/jelly combo, nothing too offensive there – now on to the recipe…

It’s safe to say it’s probably the easiest dish you could ever attempt (although I’m not sure why you would, after reading this), and you could probably substitute the prawns for any shellfish, meat, fruit or – let’s not forget what era we are in –  anything vaguely edible you find lying around your kitchen.

We read it several times thinking that surely there should be more steps. Weren’t we meant to sauté the prawns? Season the aspic? Or perhaps add some kind of flavouring other than fish stock?

Nope. That was definitely it.

Aesthetically stunning, it had been given every chance to succeed in life. The sounds of admiration were plentiful as we presented the dish to our loved ones, but the oooohs very quickly turned to arrrrghhhs as one by one, we tasted and fell down to Prawns in a Mould.

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The verdict:

Sarah: (After she gagged, ran to the laundry and spat all contents into the bin, slowly regained some colour and possibly consciousness, could only manage) oh……

Emma: After watching Sarah’s reaction and thinking she may have been “slightly overreacting”, I could only make it as far as the sink, where I ran cold water into my mouth for at least 15 minutes, trying to wash away the unspeakably horrendous taste.  Everything was wrong with it, but the fishy jelly (both texture and smell) was too much to bear. Even now, as I write this post, I have a look of disgust on my face, and  queasiness in my belly.*

Anthony: From the Kings of the Devil.

Alister: That’s exactly what I expect cat food to taste like.

Max: Even the prawn tasted funny. I may be turned off prawns for life.

Alex: I love it! Can I have it for dinner?! (Note: Alex is 8, and is currently undergoing tests for Ageusia).

*To be fair, we did not try Lizzy’s recommendation of eating it “with thinly sliced brown bread and butter”, because after the first bite we were Googling the fastest route to the Emergency Room to get our stomachs pumped. 

Note well, note very, very well: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME!