Friday 16 November 2012

Vintage sheets

Contrary to popular opinion (well, popular opinion in my house anyway), I have not been spending my time stroking my little collection of vintage sheets.

  Nor have I been inhaling their newly washed aroma of sheer loveliness.


Nor burying my head in them, emitting frenzied yelps of joy.

 Nor have I been whispering sweet nothings to them. You know how you do?


You see, dear readers, I've been busy cutting them.

 Into squares.

To make a patchwork duvet cover.


Snippings.  I almost can't bear to throw them away.  What am I like!
Actual squares:

 This beauty is going to be the backing:

Only another 60 squares to go *gulp*.

See you in a

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.........