recipes

Trash

Good Housekeeping Magazine

There has been the odd day where I’ve felt the need to herald from a high vantage point, ”OK, stick a fork in me, I’m done!” Well done. Done washing, done grocery shopping, done bed making, done basin scrubbing, done path sweeping. On these occasions, the only way to self-tenderise, is to make like the meat does after a big roasting – and rest. And what better way to get some juice flowing back into the soul, than a bit of quiet trashy mag time.

As much as I love some thought-provoking non-fiction or a masterful piece of literary excellence, at certain times of the week, the developments of a Kardashian relationship or a royal outing are about all I have the head space to absorb. In fact, I consider time spent with a glossy and a coffee, to be time well spent. Apart from the celebrity trials and trysts, I really enjoy the convenience of leafing through the snapshots of up-and-coming fashion peeks, the latest beauty product and ways to scatter my cushions, without having to leave the kitchen. By the time I have read the entire mag (usually 30 minutes), I have been recharged with a posse of new ideas and feel abreast of emerging trends.

Personal development aside, I love the humour these magazines elicit. Articles on weight-loss programs followed by pages of pudding recipes, never fail to make me smile. The outrageous claims made by ”close sources” of the famous are also worth a chuckle. And of course there are also the latest research snippets: people who eat less and exercise more are inclined to live longer….

Of course the food coverage always takes my eye – and the growing pile of tear sheets next to my recipe books bears evidence of this. There would be very few weekly publications that I would reach the end of without at least one recipe snaring my attention. This week was no different. When I flipped the page to this Chicken, artichoke and lemon dish and saw that I had most of the ingredients on hand and they could all cook together in one dish, an instant ripping of paper broke the sunny afternoon silence.

Chicken Artichoke and Lemon

1/4 cup olive oil
8 chicken drumsticks
500g potatoes, cut into wedges (skin left on)
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 lemon, sliced into rings
4 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup white wine
170g jar artichokes, drained
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. In an ovenproof pan, heat half of the oil and brown off the drumsticks until golden.
  3. Add potatoes and onion with the rest of the oil and mix around. Top with lemon slices and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place pan in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  5. Pour over wine, and stir in artichokes and tomatoes.
  6. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, ensuring chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.
    (Even though this dish contains potatoes, I served it over steamed rice because the sauce is delicious when absorbed into the rice.)

Postscript: and after reading of the births, remarriages and body makeovers it’s heartening to realise your own life is not that exhausting after all.

recipes

Flexible

Nutty Lemon Slice

Flexibility is the key. To what you may ask. To everything, actually. To peace, contentment and dare I utter the most platitudinous word of recent times, happiness.

In case you’ve not yet realised, things don’t always go the way we desire, and the botheration of this is not the situation itself but usually, the internal fuss we are making of it. If only we replaced the mental energy exerted on resisting the issue with a more solutions focused outlook, then equilibrium could be restored without delay. Some incredibly gifted individuals I know are masters of this process and I hold them in great esteem, as this is not a skill that comes easily in my camp. I continually marvel at these sages who can turn interruptions into social opportunities, disasters into adventures and failed cakes into puddings. All the while with a smile. I keep them near and watch with awe in the hope that some of their creative thinking will cross the airwaves and seep into my soul.

So as I  wait for this esoteric process to take place, what better way to while away time than to prepare a slice. And this slice is flexibility personified. The biscuits can be anything: gingernuts, shortbreads or butternut snaps. The lemon will interchange with an orange and providing you chop them, the nuts can be any unsalted variety you have packaged away. So in fact this Nutty Lemon Slice, could be reworked by you to become the Ginger Orange Pistachio slice, the Shortbread Lemon Walnut slice or the Chocolate Orange Pecan slice. It’s your call, examine the contents of you pantry and be flexible.

250g pkt Scotch Finger biscuits
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
125g butter
1 3/4 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped almonds

  1. Line a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Crush biscuits in a food processor and combine in a bowl with zest, coconut and pistachios.
  3. Stir milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted and combined then pour over dry mix.
  4. Mix well and press into the base of the slice tray. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. To make icing, beat icing sugar, lemon juice and butter together and spread over slice base (add a small amount of hot water if icing is too stiff to spread).
  6. Sprinkle with almonds. Wait until icing has set before cutting into squares.

Get your coffee happening.

Nutty Lemon Slice afternoon tea

Postscript: still waiting….

recipes

PS

Warm potato salad

If you roamed earth at the same time as Marcia Brady, fondue and teak veneer, then you would not be blamed for recoiling in horror at the mere mention of potato salad. Often appearing as unrecognisable dice submerged in mayonnaise or impossibly white cubes hailing straight from the can, early potato salads loomed large in glass bowls on buffets and at barbeques alike. Thankfully there was always a plethora of buttered bread-stick from which to extract ones ‘carbs’ allowing the menacing PS to be skilfully avoided.

Fortunately as we grew up, so did potato salad. In latter years it has been permitted to appear at the table wearing its skin and now dressed rather than drowned in mayonnaise. It now invites its friend texture along – so the salami crisps herself up for the occasion. And to ensure the two do not become so visually entangled as to merge into one, fresh aunt parsley attends in her contrasting manner as a wonderful chaperone for the dish.

Like us, ps has improved tremendously with age, so this weekend, build a giant bowl and treat everyone to some grown-up fare.

red-skinned potatoes (eg Desiree) – enough to fill a large bowl
a 250g whole pepperoni salami
1/2 a 235g jar of Thomy mayonnaise
juice of a lemon
cracked sea salt and black pepper
1/2 bunch continental parsley, roughly chopped

  1. Put unpeeled potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until tender (but not falling apart).
  2. Drain and cut into small chunks and place in large serving bowl.
  3. Thinly slice the salami and cut these slices in half (you may only need half of the salami).
  4. Pan fry the salami until crisp. Drain on paper towel and then add to potatoes.
  5. Mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt and pepper and stir this dressing through the potato and salami mix.
  6. Stir through the parsley and serve warm.

potato salad makings

Postscript: serve your ps with the grill or barbeque of your choice but if you can rid your home of occupants, it’s the perfect solo fork and bowl couch meal.

recipes

Miss Drake

Miss Drake's Home Cookery

How wonderful it was for newly married women of the 1950’s (and decades prior) to have the wisdom of Miss Lucy Drake to see them through any cookery challenge that may have presented. Armed with her Diploma of Domestic Economy and a Trained Teacher of Domestic Arts, (awarded in Melbourne no less), this accomplished domestic champion was qualified to see these lasses through any boiled fowl in egg sauce, diplomatic pudding or jellied rabbit situation that may have arisen, without even having to refresh the lipstick. As it happened, my mother was one of those fortunate brides, as evidenced by our well-worn copy of The Original and Only Miss Drake’s Home Cookery, ever at the ready in the kitchen of my upbringing.

I guess then, it was no accident that Miss Drake had a hand in my early cookery development. With Miss D’s guiding hand, I learned the art of the Lemon Meringue Pie, so often in fact that the book would fall open to the spattered page. So for old time’s sake, this millennium family was treated to one this evening. Here is how Miss Drake directs one:

”LEMON TART. This quantity for big sandwich tin; half this for small tin. I lb. plain or good short crust (page 120). Interior for Tart.—2 lemons, 2 eggs, 5 tablespoons sugar, 5 tablespoons cold water, 2 dessertspoons butter, 1 dessertspoon arrowroot blended with 2 dessertspoons cold water. Reserve the whites of eggs to whip stiffly for the top; then fold 3 dessertspoons castor sugar into stiff whites, 1 cherry and little angelica. If eggs and butter are dear, half this quantity of interior is sufficient. Method— 1. Light oven. Make short crust. 2. Shape tart. Whilst it is cooking, get ingredients for interior. Put water, egg yolks, sugar, butter, blended cornflour, grated lemon rind and juice all into a small saucepan. Stir over fire till it boils and thickens. When tart is cold put in the mixture. Whip whites stiffly, fold the castor sugar in. Decorate the top like icebergs. Return to oven just to tint. Decorate with cherry and angelica.”

Miss Drake's Lemon Meringue Pie

For me, following Miss Drake’s directions was an indulgent exercise in nostalgia, but you may not find the vintage terminology as endearing. Therefore, here is a Lemon Meringue Pie in modern terms (from another domestic matriarch, Margaret Fulton), that you may be more comfortable with.

Shortcrust Pastry (frozen sheet)
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tbsp Plain flour
grated rind and juice of two lemons
4 tbsp water
3 egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
1/4 cup caster sugar

  1. Line your pie dish with shortcrust pastry sheet and pinch the edges for decoration. Weight down with rice or dried beans and bake for 15 mins at 180 degrees celsius. Remove weight and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until golden.
  2. Make filling by mixing the egg yolks, sugar , flour and lemon rind in a heavy based saucepan and gradually stir in the lemon juice and water.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and thick. Cool, then pour into cooled pastry shell.
  4. To make meringue, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until thick. Gradually add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until the mixture is thick and glossy and the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Spread over the filling in the pie shell, sealing it completely with the meringue.
  6. Bake in a 180 degrees celsius oven for 8-10 minutes or until meringue is golden. Serve cold.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Postscript: I would love to be able to tell you our old ”Miss Drake”‘ lives on in my kitchen, but alas not. All is not lost however, as I have recently discovered that some wonderful people at Swinburne University, have archived this book within their image bank and have made the entire publication available as a downloadable PDF – so Miss Drake can assist you too, with your next Boiled Jam Roly.