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

 

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Celery Octopus

From The Better Hostess Series: Hors d’Oeuvres & Appetizers, 1978

There comes a point in everyone’s life where you wake up in the morning and think “Man, I could totally go a celery octopus today,” and today was that day for me.

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This is a delightful canape to serve at summer buffet parties.

As luck would have it there was the perfect recipe in our old friend and retro food bible “Hor d’Oeuvres & Appetisers”.

Now, as you can see, the decorative celery in the middle is yellow and bendy, and this is surrounded by yellow bendy celery “sticks” filled with piped creamy stuff. Herein lay the first problem: the celery at Woollies was green and straight. We could have left it out in the sun for a few days, but in the end decided to just make a straighter and greener version, using as many of the yellow bendy bits as we could lay our hands on.

Making the cream stuffing was straightforward, and we approached the piping with gusto (along with heated arguments over who got to do the piping, as this is the best part of making retro food). The toughest part was actually getting celery to stand up in the middle, but with some cleverly hidden architectural toothpicks and judicious piping we managed it without resorting to glue. (This was vetoed as an option by the nervous taste testers. Man up you wimps).

It was at this point that we noticed the cucumber plate in the background of the picture. This wasn’t mentioned in the recipe, so I can only assume that it’s the lesser known “decorative cucumber” variety rather than an “eating cucumber”. To help with slicing this decoratively Anthony introduced Bridget to the mandoline (No, it’s not a fruit, why would you slice cucumber with a fruit? What do you mean a musical instrument? Watch your fingers it’s really sharp. Well, I told you so. Do you have another cucumber, this one’s got blood on it?).

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Celery octopus and hardly-any-blood-on-it decorative cucumber

After covering up the blood and taking some photos then we sat down with the now familiar apprehension to taste it. This was where it got weird. It was actually ok. I mean I wouldn’t go so far as saying it was a delightful canapé or that I would voluntarily eat it if there were any other options but it didn’t instantly make me vomit or spit it out which is a massive improvement. I feel like my standards for food have lowered since starting this.

The verdict:

Alister – It’s ok, not as bad as the others have been.

Anthony – Sort of watery and creamy and crunchy. Might be alright without the celery.

Bridget – The smell of the sherry is offputting but I don’t mind it. Like cake icing on a celery stick.

Sarah – Creamy and crunchy at the same time, which makes it sound nicer than it is. I wouldn’t eat it again but I didn’t hate it.

And a bonus close up of the middle to show off the toothpicks and piping miracle:

celery-octopus-close-upNote: Emma was away while this was made, thanks to Bridget for stepping in!

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.

Ham Cornets

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.

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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.

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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. 

Celery à la Grecque

Two weeks on and the memory still haunts me.IMG_1165

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!

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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.

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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?

Party Elephant

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:

Party Elephant recipe 1

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.

Party Elephant recipe 2

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?

Party elephant

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.

Party elephant after

 

It was probably the best thing we’ve made.

101 Kiwifruit Ideas

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.

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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.

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The bacon was hot, the kiwi was cold and the pasta was vinegary. The end result looked like this:

Kiwi and bacon salad

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.

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A kiwi café is strained kiwifruit, carefully topped with cold coffee and then milk.  Put together at first it didn’t look too bad.

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It didn’t taste great and then once you stirred it then the milk and kiwifruit sort of separated and curdled like this:

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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.