Oh, and certain person reading this who thinks their vegetarianism will free them of the jelly towers... two words: 'agar' and 'tofu'. No one will escape my 70s cooking wrath...
The two recipes I have tried and reviewed so far are from this 1978 wonderbook:
I must admit, it is a slightly low-risk option. As an everyday working mum's companion, many of the recipes are pretty timeless and resemble (albeit with fewer exotic spices and a dependence on lard over vegetable oil) the fare of a modern kitchen. But this is good: if I am ever to lure His Lordship into my more dastardly culinary plans, I must first tempt him with '70s kitsch lite'.
The format of my reviews will tend to be:
- Scanned-in recipe with the original photo
- My photo (every attempt will be made to colour my versions as gaudily as the originals)
- Taste review
- Suggestions for 'tweaks' to suit the modern palate (if needed).
I think my version came out rather well in terms of colour. I know the base is rather wonky: my original base didn't bake too well (it was a humid day, and I think I worked the pastry too long) so I cobbled together a messy base from scraps. However the key 'neon peppers' and dark mushrooms are there and the look is pretty authentic, if not buffet-supper-perfect.
This was actually very tasty indeed, and a bit of an inspiration for pick-nicks and so forth. Essentially, it's a savoury cheesecake- the base is chopped hard boiled eggs in philly cheese, topped with cooked peppers and mushrooms and chilled. It's very creamy and rich, but the soft-with-bit peppers counter that nicely, and the mushrooms add a satisfying savoury flavour. The tart looks pretty tiny but you only need one slice. I would definitely make this again, my only tweaks would be to simply fry the mushrooms (I think their cooking instructions were from back when mushrooms were grown in poo and needed uber-cooking), use low-fat philly and perhaps add a pinch of paprika or white pepper to the base mix. But this is a keeper. Had I been asked to provide something for the bosses Christmas buffet this would take pride of place next to the Blue Nun. Oh, but with a neater base. Which I will buy next time (oooh what a cheat).
Recipe Two: Bacon Savoury Rice
Ah, this is clearly the cowardly custard recipe- I knew right off it couldn't really go wrong or come out insanely bizarre. A bit of a presentation fail though, this time. Not being Margot I didn't actually arrange it wonderfully on a plate with garnishes- I plonked it out of the saucepan onto the serving plates with some watercress on the side. Rice is rice though. To my eyes, it always looks yum:
|Excuse the flan cooling rack, avec crumbs, behind.|
Housewife fail #2.
So, there you go: two keepers. If you like these recipe reviews I will keep 'em coming, eating is no effort for me whatsoever. I'm building up to piping mash and covering things in cream sauces of unnatural colour- ooh, next time I might don my crimplene evening dress and serve it all up on a trolley!