Saturday, 3 November 2012

Retro cook-off

In my last post I mentioned the Retro Cook off that Kylie and Donna are hosting today.  I'm taking part!  Not that I'm actually here.  No.  I'm sunning myself in (hopefully) sunny Spain and am keeping my fingers crossed that the Blogger scheduling setting works.

Anyway, the thing about some vintage cook books is that the photos are few and far between and what photos there are tend to be a bit rubbish.  Not only that but the recipes err on the side of too bloody complicated.

Fanny Cradock's "Adventurous Cooking" is a case in point:

Fanny and her hen-pecked hubby, Johnny:

Famous in the 60s and 70s, Fanny was known to be bossy, snobby and a bit of a tyrant
So yes, the book.  Unnecessarily complicated.  For instance, she has a recipe for "Casseroled Peas".  Why would you casserole peas?  The whole damned thing takes one and a half hours to cook.  Why oh why?

These are the instructions for "Savoury Swans with Hard-boiled Eggs" consisting of a hideous concoction of whipped cream coloured with green food-colouring piped on top of the egg with the addition of a pipe cleaner to form the head and neck of the swan:

I couldn't get what she was on about but then eureka!  I found this picture on the internet of what they should look like.  Erm, nice. 

Remember what I said about rubbish photos? Well, I found this bizaare item under the cakes and puddings section. It clearly has a meringue base but what the topping is I know not. I think it's supposed to be chantilly cream but it looks horribly like raw mince or possibly spaghetti.

I thought about doing this little gem for the Retro Cook Off: the chequer board:

It consists of bread squares, buttered and then spread with alternating caviare and smoked salmon and finished off with a parsley border.  Sorry chaps, but I was clean out of cavier. 

Instead I went for the simplest recipe that Fanny could muster:  Oranges a la Turque:

I took my one orange, peeled it and simmered in water for 15 mins.  I then removed the orange and  and added sugar to the water.  I simmered for a bit and then I popped the orange back in and simmered for a further 10 mins, took it out and popped it on a plate.  Meanwhile, I tried to cut the pith from the orange peel and then cut the peel into thin strips.  Popped them into a pan of water, brought them to the boil, strained the water away and added a second lot of cold water, brought to the boil and did the whole damn thing again for a third time. 

A gratuitous pic of the peel boiling away furiously
Are you still with me?  I then placed the orange strips in with the sugary water and simmered until the syrup became very thick.  I spooned it over the orange and popped a bay leaf on top (the recipe calls for an angelica "leaf" but I didn't have that).

At last!  I present to you Orange a la Turque:

You know, I'm thinking that it doesn't look that bad
Unfortunately, it collapsed and I couldn't get it upright again:

Mr J and P tucking in:

Mmmm, slightly chewy.

I think it's a thumbs down from Mr J and P
Mr J and P's verdict: "Not bad but it left lots of chewy bits in my teeth.  Kept me entertained for hours afterwards though."  Charmant.

After my efforts, I went on the internet to find more images of Fanny's delightful cooking.  Hell, why didn't I do this?  Banana Candles.  Aren't they utterly brilliant?  Covered in nuts, I think, and topped off with glace cherries.

Lastly, I'll leave you with this little beauty:  Fanny's very own Swedish Bird's Nest.  Consisting of:  chopped chives, capers, diced potato, anchovy and two raw eggs.  Delicious.

Nom nom

They don't make them like that anymore.........


  1. My husband always mentions a classic episode of Fanny Cradock, the doughnut one, Johnny says "I hope all your doughnuts turn out like Fanny's" oops!!

    Lovely, retro post Loo, am glad we don't eat stuff like that now!

    Love Claire xx

  2. They certainly don't make them like that any more...thank goodness!!

    Hope you're having a brilliant time on your hols!


  3. Why DO the Swedes get blamed for so many horrible recipes? It has to be a conspiracy. My Swedish Salad Mold has probably started an international incident.

    I laughed out loud at the photo of your toppled orange, although the other photos really didn't look bad. The heart-shaped thing that looked like it was filled with worms, on the other hand, was the stuff of nightmares.

  4. Mwhahahaha! Love Fanny (and her boob and phallus shaped cooking). Those egg swans look truly foul, but your orange looks pretty tasty. My attempt was really quite disgusting, sadly the book didn't have any photos but just the title sold it to me.
    Hope you're having a great time in Spain xx

  5. Hi Loo! Love your Orange dish - I too laughed out loud when I saw the toppled pic - gold! I can't bear Orange rind/peel in any form, so this dish was like a horror movie for me. Speaking of Horror movies, Fanny is frightening! The banana candles are something else, as is that Chequers Board of doom. So gross, it's good. Thanks so much for joining in! xx

  6. Mr J and P's expression, priceless. I think Boiled Orange would've been a more appropriate choice for Fanny's/your creation, because that's what it is really, isn't it? Orange a la Turque, yep, right! I think it was saved by the plate you've served it on Loo, if it was on an ordinary old plate it wouldn't have looked quite so pretty.
    Thanks for donning your apron and joining in. You've done the Fannster proud. When you get back from sunny Spain you must check out the other efforts. GAG-TASTIC!!!

  7. More sick Swedish food. What in the world is wrong with them? Your dish looked, well, interesting. Did you like it? The banana thingy is masterful, filled with innuendo. Or am I reading too much into it?

  8. I love the swan eggs, they are really fantastic! The eating the lovely orange dish face made me laugh, Tam x

  9. Nice to find a new blog for me! It's all so ridiculously complex. Imagine spending all day sticking pipecleaners into eggs! I love your photos! Your orange is a very pretty colour though. Unlike what I imagine casseroled peas would be - grey?!

  10. This one made me chuckle, priceless! :)

  11. great effort loo, and it looked so edible too! i would LOVE to know WTF that spaghetti-like stuff is, and those banana candles...omg i am seriously doijng those for my christmas lunch table, theyre an absolute scream!!! happy hols x

  12. Ooh, you're on holiday but still managing to make a delightful contribution to the retro cook off, you ARE talented at multitasking, Loo!
    The orange look less off-putting than the other recipes you have featured. Those swans and the meringue/mince heart and the raw egg boob dish look truly bizarre!
    Did you watch that BBC 4 drama called Fear of Fanny, with Julia Davies as Fanny Craddock? She was a very odd woman. As her recipes attest... xxxxx

  13. You had me cackling out loud with that # 2 pic of Mr. J and P !!
    Scared the cats.
    Kinda scared myself a bit too...
    But I think I might have to give that banana recipe a go !!

  14. Oh dear, what a long time to cook! Dinner parties must have been a nightmare in the (not too) distant past! The swans are just fabulously awful!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  15. Love mr J and P verdict. Hilarious!

  16. Oh yuk, poor Mr. J and P.
    Love from Mum

  17. God, no wonder I was such a thin child, the food of my childhood was truly awful! Kudos to Mr J&P for trying it.
    Enjoy Spain! x

  18. Eggy Pipe Cleaner Swans, Spaghetti Chantilly Hearts, who could ask for more!!.
    Love your cook off contribution so so funny... also love your plate!.

    xx Tina

  19. I think the wormy things on top of the meringue is piped sweetened chestnut puree.Penny B

  20. mwuahahaha i always love your post!! they're so funny but informative not sure i get the recipe with the orange peels and had to read it again..well gosh the look of Mr J&P is priceless!! but two thumbs up for you to make it hehe not sure abt the raw eggs on the birds nest and that wormy meringue thing hahahaha gosh i'm laughing so hard!!

    xx susan

  21. I think the 'raw minced meat / wormy thing' on top of the meringue base is vermicelli - made from sweet chestnuts. I've come across it in Switzerland - where it is mighty popular - not quite my cup of tea though. It is rather pale in 'real life' so looks more like anaemic worms than minced meat - and, frankly, has about as much flavour as anaemic worms, too!!

    Love the photos of Mr J&P tucking into your orange creation.

  22. Oh my god that 'mince and spaghetti' dessert looks so awful!
    What a shame mr J&P didn't appreciate your culinary skills a bit more, they say a picture says a thousand words!
    Hope Spain was fab.
    Lisa x

  23. Top marks for your Orange a la Turque but what a faff. Fanny's recipes are hideous, (those swans!) did the Galloping Gourmet do anything less challenging and more palatable? The phallic candles and Swedish bird's nest are priceless.

  24. I roared my head off reading this - I love all of that food and aspire that all my cooking is on that grand level. I think that the candles are the best (what the heck was she thinking of!). I loved Fanny as a child!!!!

    Thank you for dropping by - will you be dipping your basket bottoms any time soon?

    Best wishes

  25. Ps _ forgot to say that I love that plate!

  26. Fabulous! You shoulda made the Banana Candles thought they are fun!