Monday, April 26, 2010
Just wanted to write a quick blog entry before the site goes offline for a few days. It's having a makeover so it has to come down for the work to be done. I'm excited but scared - what if everything I've written here gets lost in the ether? Four years of cooking antics gone! Keep your fingers crossed my lovely chums.
On Friday gorgeous Paulette cooked dinner en famille and she made Jean's stuffed celery as a starter. YUM. She was using premium quality mayonnaise and I must say it does make a difference. They were scrumptious. I made Ida Lupino's Lemon Mousse for pud and got it all a bit wrong as I was chatting to Shirley when I should have been concentrating. I put in too much cornflour but it still tasted good. Didn't set like it usually does though - was more mouseey..
As with all gizmo's young 10 year old Shirley was doing all sorts of fancy tricks with Paulette's new i-phone while us grown ups just looked at it like it was something out of a Star Trek film. Shirley took some pretty good pix of the celery, one of which can be seen on the flickr site
See you once the site transformation has taken place...
Friday, April 23, 2010
Oh what FUN it was to be on Market Kitchen! They had cooked up 4 dishes to be sampled but I was so nervous I didn't take a bite of any of them! Alex James from Blur was on the show too and my favourite moment was seeing the look of horror on his face when he cut into one of Joan Crawford's Creamed White Onions in a Red Pepper Cup - ha ha! I admit, it didn't look very appetising!
Everyone working on the show was adorable. I got to sit in front of one of those mirrors surrounded by lightbulbs to have my hair and make-up done. Blusher! I haven't worn that since the 80s! Matthew Fort interviewed me and was absolutely charming. He got a few classic film quotes in and it was a fun chit-chat. I can barely remember what I said because it all went by in a flash, but I do remember ranting on about imagining Marlene Dietrich playing the musical saw while she waited for her Banana Nut Bread to cook!
I made a batch of the good old JGIBCs and gave some out to all the lovely folk who worked on the show. TX date will be Friday May 7th at 7pm on the Good Food Channel with repeats on Saturday. Can't wait!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Man, we put the world to rights last night over two bottles of red. Main subject? Men we have loved and men we would like to love. There's a certain fellow at the bfi who better watch out when Ms Kim is wearing that frock on Tuesday! A certain award winning film director too the way she is feeling...
My desk-mate Jim has returned from the ash cloud. So nice to have him back taking the mick out of my cooking. I've got some left over pie for lunch and I admit, it doesn't look very appetising after a journey in on the bus. I did like Jim's observation though that the little "biscuits" that top the pie look like miniature scones.
Market Kitchen tomorrow - EEK!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Tonight's post is a slow process because to be frank, I am absolutely sloshed. Usually a fast touch typist, tonight this is like typing underwater...
My lovely Walthamstow chums have been over for lunch and it was supposed to be a dinner and a movie affair - Barbara Stanwyck's wine soaked leg of lamb with Jimmy's Apple Pie to follow. These were both DELICIOUS but as we are having an unseasonally gorgeous weekend the six of us went to the Middle Lane Pleasure Gardens instead of watching Ball of Fire.
It's been an odd weekend. After lying fallow for 8 months or so - like buses, two have come along at once. For the first time since moving to Crouch End I had a bed fellow of the opposite sex last night. I am having to keep my eyes open with matchsticks this evening - not much sleep was had. But I was strangely disconnected throughout. Perhaps I was just hungry? After the promise of a nice dinner, turned out crisps and wine sufficed.
And then, after a big build up from Grace, ROD turned up on the scene this afternoon. Interesting. There's a touch of the David Essex about him, and as some of my readers know, I am rather partial to the gypsy lifestyle...
Over and above all of this was the absolute HEAVENLY PLEASURE of spending some time with Cary, Grace, William and the lovely and very zen Douglas Fairbanks. I do not see these folk often enough so a whole afternoon with them all was a springtime treat of the very best kind.
Friday, April 09, 2010
My lovely friend Gary C is coming to stay for a couple of nights next week so I have made a batch of Rudi's spaghetti sauce for us to have one night for dinner. I couldn't get the Italian sausage I usually get for this dish so bought Sicilian sausage instead. I hope that won't make Rudi turn in his grave...
There is a big weekend ahead. I've been preparing for a big gig tomorrow night, I am DJing solo - without my sisters - at a big house party in Islington. It's a blitz themed party so I'm going with two gramophones, two boxes of 1940s records and my new gorgeous red and gold guitar amp. I don't have enough shellac from the actual blitz period (strictly speaking 1940 and 1941) so I'll be treating the rug cutters to some futuristic sounds right up to 1949. I'm being paid in champagne and canapes - have they any idea how much fizz I can put away during a set?!
Then on Sunday night I am going on a DATE. Yes, another one, but this time with somebody brand new. A friend of Ava's who my desk mate thinks looks like George Clooney... Intriguing.
By the way, quick update on the moth box situation - moths in the bedroom moth motel - zero (good) - in the lounge moth motel NINETEEN! The swarm continues...
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
"Beauty does not come with creams and lotions.
God can give us beauty, but whether that beauty remains or changes
is determined by our thoughts and deeds."
Edmund came to dinner last night and much fun was had. It was the first time I'd made Dolores' chicken dish and Edmund enjoyed reading the characteristically bizarre recipe. He was much amused by the fact that the stock was supposed to be made from veal knuckle and mixed vegetables with the exception of celery. Why no celery? Because Dolores no likee celeree we decided. He was also amused by the fact Dolores said to throw the unwashed rice in a pan and fry it until it was "tea colour". Who knows how Dolores took her tea? We let it get to a kind of "tea with a dash of milk" colour.
Anyhow it was absolutely DELICIOUS and much more appropriate for the book than her Enchiladas - with or without the veal knuckle. Edmund had brought along "Flying Down to Rio" which we half watched and half gossiped through. When we were almost at the end Edmund started obsessing about the fact that there should have been a song called "Orchids in the Moonlight" somewhere or another in the film. He insisted on rewinding then fast forwarding while we searched for it. Every time Dolores appeared on screen I waited until she opened her mouth to speak then bust out with ORCHIDS IN THE MOONLIGHT in a strangulated falsetto. All very amusing when one has drunk three packs of Coronas between two!
Monday, April 05, 2010
I had heared nothing from the editor for months so assumed that she wasn't going to run it - just IMAGINE if I'd known before - it would have completely blown my Gloria Swanson frock competition as the answer to the question I posed is right in there!
It has cheered my up no end - still no word at all from the New Yorker who stood me up last night - he has brought disrepute on a whole city with his dating style!
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Bette looks how I feel. Mildly pissed off that her marmalade yet again hasn't set. I am beginning to come to the conclusion that it must be the ratio of fruit to sugar that's to blame rather than my technique. I'm going to have to do some research on preserves. It was nice to have Paulette's lovely big copper preserving pan in to make it but I do feel like I have wasted the whole day standing over a pan of bubbling sugary fruit...
Alongside wasting time doing that I have YET AGAIN been wasting my time waiting for the phone to ring. Spoke to Mr Mayfair on Thursday and agreed to meet this evening. 5pm and still no call. Has he forgotten? Or is this just his style? Well whatever (as the teenagers say), I'm going to go for a swim, watch a movie and blow a raspberry in his general direction. He'd better not come up with some cock and bull story...
I am getting some comfort from the fact that a newly purchased moth box seems to be doing its work. I can see three moths from where I am sitting and they are all in the general vicinity of the moth motel. I predict that when I get back from my swim there will be three less of the critters to worry about. In general I like animals but the moth is the enemy of the knitter and my wardrobe is full of beautiful hand-knits so death to the moth!
Update - it is now 22.15pm and no phone call - should I consider that being stood up?!
Saturday, April 03, 2010
The exciting news is though that Brian did say that if he DID win, he would paint a portrait of someone wearing the dress (not sure it is his size!) so I'll keep you posted as to who that is going to be. In fact, I got a text from him this morning that suggested he might run his own competition to find a sitter to wear the frock.... So you may still get a chance my lovelies!
I am back from a little Easter visit to my folks which was lovely and I've just scoffed some Joan Bennett's Beetroot Salad which was yummy. Much to do this afternoon and tomorrow. Mostly watching 1940s fashion newsreel items. It's WORK you know!!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
We've had a lovely redhead rockabilly girl working with us for a couple of months and she's such a peach I decided to make the cake for her last day. What a success it was. Everyone piled up to the mezzanine waiting for their slice - it was gone in a flash! I decorated it with little pink sprinkles and some mini eggs to make it look Eastery. A BIG success!
And by the way, I hereby award test cook Miss Dorothy an internet MEDAL for making this for an event at the Cinema Museum. It is the most time consuming cake I have ever made so bravo Ms D over there at the British Film Institute.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Mmmm. The Tuna Pie was good. Little pastry biscuits on top. Yum, yum. I'm looking for an alternative Cary recipe for the book to replace the apple pie. He's got some good ones too. He's a man who loved his fish. This could be the one. Chicken of the Sea in a pie.
It's a busy week this week and I SHOULD be making some Bette Davis marmalade tonight but there is just too much to do. I guess it can wait until the weekend. I'm cat sitting for Paulette and Ivor and they do have a lovely big kitchen for cooking. Would it be mad to take my biddy-bag trolley full of jam jars round there and make the marmalade in Paulette's nice copper preserving pan?
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Lolita over at Lolita's Classics has done some lovely work colourizing some pictures of Thelma Todd. Wish I knew how to do that, I'm sure I could spend many a happy hour colouring in! One of her readers left a link to a brilliant song and dance routine featuring Hot Toddy and I'm going to pass it on here. I laughed out loud VERY loudly at the part where the two guys were swinging the dummy - genius - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCGD2a5iE3M
Yesterday Bette and Jean came over with their little monkey-chew Romy. I'm not really a fan of babies in the flesh but I have to admit that this one is absolutely adorable. I had a bash at Thelma's crazy Scripture Cake - all the instructions involve looking up certain things in a bible so I had to call upon Shirley and Paulette to assist with that, not having a bible myself. So things like, "Use 4 and 1/2 cups of I Kings, 4th chapter, 22nd verse" translates to "Use 4 and 1/2 cups of flour". You get the idea. The ladies had a few religion related comments about it all: "should be heavenly" quipped Joan and Bette observed that it was a bit crispy because it was a "Catholic Cake".
The thing that amused me most about the whole thing was that when I stumbled into the lounge this morning with a mighty hangover there was a left over piece of cake on the table and a LADYBIRD was nibbling away at it. There is a photo over on the Flickr site!
It was great to see the ladies and Joan and I had a very in depth conversation about domestic violence. I guess it is the old case of "it takes one to know one" so it was good to hear Joan's take on it all to realise it's quite normal to be grappling with the fallout of it even now.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
but now I can go shopping in peace."
Kim and her guest (who was it I wonder?!) enjoyed the shrimpy dish very much. I have a feeling that she bought nice big fat king prawns rather than the teeny weeny shrimp Irene might have used. Obviously a gal who likes high-hat living, Kim even suggested throwing in a couple of langoustines to "add a bit of luxury".
I am in a mood for confession so I will admit that I have never eaten a langoustine. In fact, I am not even sure I know what one is. Mini-ature lobster? And while we are at it I will also come clean and admit that although I know that Irene is probably my co-writer's favourite silver screen star, I've never seen a film with her in it. Shocking - bring me ebay immediately!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I am so lucky that I have such wonderful friends. And some who REALLY love the Silver Screen Suppers project too. King loves it so much that he made a great big gorgeous pie for us last night EXACTLY to Boris's recipe. Three people had volunteered to test cook this one but so far, King is the only one who has had the guts to do it!
Rosalind was on hand to assist, her lovely ma had made the pastry for the pie on Saturday in Lincoln and wrapped it up in the paper from the lard. We all sat consuming vast amounts of wine whilst Rosalind and King were huddled together removing the channels from the kidneys and confiding in each other how much they loved to handle offal... And what a wonderful result - a great big, beautiful pie which was 100% delicious. I laughed out loud when Edmund found out what the secret ingredient was - hard boiled eggs. He SHOUTED, "Eggs? Where? It's a PIE not a QUICHE"! But he gobbled it all up just the same.
Rosalind couldn't find her copy of "Gods and Monsters" which we were gathered there to see but no matter, we watched "An Education" and gossiped all the way through it instead. A wonderful night in the grand tradition of dinner and a movie.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
"...don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."
It's a good point Bette, we just CAN'T have it all... As someone once said, you can't expect to have a great job, a great relationship and a great place to live all at the same time. You can only have maximum two at once. Might have been Rosalind actually.
I was very glad I got up the gumption to go to the Rock and Roll night last night. Reminded me how at home I am with the rockabilly types, even if none of them will speak to me. They were all too cool for school but I do love all that posturing. At one point there were about a dozen men lined up at the bar and the sight of their massive turn ups pleased me immensely. Brilliant to see that as usual at this kind of event the most unexpected people are always the best dancers. An Amy Lame lookalike and a guy who looked like one of the scary types in a Dickens novel wiped the floor with all the beautiful people. I loved his half splits.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
OK, I am going to try and channel the spirit of Bonita this evening if I ever get it together to get out of the house and go to the Rock 'n' Roll night at the Music Palace. I will be going on my own and won't know a single person there but it is the month of being brave so I am going to do it.
I've just eaten a solo portion of Marlene Dietrich's Lamb Chops to fortify myself and have made a batch of Bonita's Gingerbread for tomorrow's Silver Screen Sunday. It smells mighty fine but I've never made Gingerbread before so am not sure how it will taste but fingers crossed Veronica will like it.
I almost chickened out of going out on my own to rub shoulders with rockabilly boys and then when I went into the kitchen to do the washing up they were playing the Stray Cats on the radio. I am taking it as a sign...
Friday, March 19, 2010
to live up to the way you look on the screen."
Spring is most DEFINITELY in the air. Everyone is getting very frisky. Today a momentous thing happened for me, I saw someone I fancied. I thought that had stopped happening.?! Eureka, I had a nice little frisson with someone on the tube. 3 minutes of no strings attached microflirting. I shall try and get back in practice, it was most enjoyable.
And just now a phone call from Mr Mayfair saying that he's moving back to the States and insists that he kisses me at least once before he goes. Ha ha! Sure, why not?! I told him to call me when he was in the mood for making out...
I'm considering having another go at Jean's fudge. Ruth's mom sent a very thorough email explaining why her recipe was not really for the beginner. I LOVE the mom testers because they really know what they are doing and they make me feel better about failing. I could NOT get Jean's fudge to set when I tried it but felt better when Ruth's mom emailed to say, "fudge is a little complicated; you can ruin it easily and Jean's won't help anyone succeed." So, if we do include this recipe in the book we'll include some of Ruth's mom's excellent guidance in how to actually get this to work.
I did a silly thing on the way home from work today. I left a folder that effectively contained the first third of the Silver Screen Suppers book AND the book proposal on the BUS. Oh my Lord. I guess three things could happen. 1) someone finds it and pinches the whole idea. (Ruth and I would probably have to hire a contract killer if this happened.) 2) a publisher who happens to live in Crouch End finds it and offers us an incredible deal. (This would be what happened in a movie of course.) 3) I will have to go to some Godforsaken bus garage somewhere in the arse end of Greater London to retrieve it.
I am predicting number 3.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
at least one person is pleased."
Gadzooks, just when I think I can drop Katharine's recipe from the book I get a report from a test cook saying she loved it. Some of you may know that the eggplant / aubergine gives me the fear so I've been putting off trying this one myself. But now it looks like I'll have to do it - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrg!
Trusty test cook Nazimova tried it out for a veggie friend who came to dinner and this is, of course a very good reason for including it in the book. We are short on main course recipes for those who don't eat meat. Maybe I'll take Naz's tip about using small young aubergines as she says, "they are much quicker to fry and don't turn to rubber but melt away". Hmm. The vegetarian friend, "thought it was brilliant!" and Naz says, "This will probably be my dish for the summer, like it that much". What a bunch of crazed aubergine fanciers they all are!
I'm looking after Shirley this evening while Paulette goes for cocktails. It amused me greatly this morning when I popped round to test my door keys to see that on Paulette's shopping list it said, "Beer for Jenny". She knows me SO WELL!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Oh what joy, home in time for Desmond Carrington on R2 with nothing to do but listen in.
Got up early to get Janet's cookies in the oven. I broke my own rule and made them with spreadable butter. Mistake. They weren't all firm and crisp like they should be, but soft and chewy. Nice, but not as Janet would have wanted them. Still, my work chums gobbled them up in a flash, making appropriate noises and giving them double thumbs up.
Had a wonderful lunch with my mentor Hugh. As usual we laughed far too loudly, I had to calm down for fear of upsetting other people in the restaurant. The thing that really killed me was him recounting a story I had told him, with great embellishment. I don't think I have ever experienced this before. He asked me how my Second Life adventures were going and when I said I hadn't been on there for a while he was astonished. He said that last time we'd got together I told him all about dancing in the ballroom of the Titanic and an encounter with a sleazy man and a billiard table that was interrupted by a phone call from a Hawaiian. Well, he'd kind of got it right. What about the guy pole dancing in a Batman outfit though?!
It has reminded me that I did find it incredibly calming to wander around on my own in virtual reality and often ended up sitting under a fountain meditating. But it was a worse time waster than TV for a while there so I'd better not get back into it...
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Ah, Sunday afternoon and Columbo on the tele. Heavenly.
Again, I have a humdinger of a hangover and red wine lips. Temperance month is not really happening is it? I'm cooking some of Ollie's Spaghetti Sauce in an attempt to feel better.
It was a wonderful evening last night chez Jean. It was Oscars night, a week after the event but hugely enjoyable nevertheless. We had some Hollywood canapes and a Gloria Swanson Devil's Food Cake alongside his delicious terrines and little cups of celeriac soup. Cries of "look at his HAIR!" and "what IS she wearing?" filled the air as we had great sport putting our oars in. Ava showed us her lovely new feet with great pride. Beautiful they are too. I bet she can't wait to get those into a pair of strappy sandals for spring.
I can never see a terrine without thinking of Ava and her hospitalization due to sliding on a terrine. Ha ha! I must get her to tell me the story again, I'm sure I've altered it in my mind but she almost definitely ended up with a terrine shaped bruise on her bum.
Talking of bruises, the lovely Preston got me a ticket to a special screening of the new roller derby movie "Whip-It" on Saturday night. I loved it. Juliette Lewis rocked as Iron Maven and it was great to see some familiar faces amongst the roller girls in the audience. RAWHIDE!
Friday, March 12, 2010
I'm very excited about Olivier's Oscars party tomorrow. He has the whole thing on tape and a bunch of us are going to pretend we are watching it "as live" whilst chowing down on a few Silver Screen Supper specialities. I'm doing the canapes and cake and will report back on what we had on Sunday.
Janet was the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Actress so I thought it would be a good day to mention that my lovely ex-housemate Grace made some Ice Box Cookes last week with modifications. She added 1 teaspoon of mixed spice and 100g sultanas and pronounced them to be "yumtastic!" She also came up with the genius suggestion that they be renamed "Janet's nicey icey spice box cookies".
Easy for her to say!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Gorgeous! What a babe!
This week I have had a bit of an "emotional gust". Luckily for me, on the night it happened Paulette was still up when I walked past her house and so I went in and had a cry. She gave me a big hug, some sound advice and a bag of spinach. THAT is what friends are for!
So in my new spirit of trying to use up all the stuff in my cupboards before impending move (yes, again!) I checked the recipe spreadsheet to see what we had that included spinach and one of the store cupboard staples. And so, tonight, whilst watching amazing things being created on Masterchef I ate a very weird dinner. I guess it was OK, and I guess there's plenty of iron in there, but I also guess I'm turning into a ravenous carnivore and could have done with a nice pork chop on the side!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I missed the Movie Memorabilia Bazaar at the Cinema Museum the other weekend because I was too hungover to leave the house. But lovely Dorothy was there, not in her usherette uniform this time, but still working the Silver Screen Suppers magic nonetheless. She made some of Anna's Tea Cakes and reports back that special celebrity guest Caroline Monroe had one and said it was lovely! Worlds colliding - super.
It is little things like this that keep me going. I had to defend myself this week when someone I barely knew launched an astonishing attack on my much beloved project. What was the point he asked? Why bother testing the recipes? Why not just reprint them? Why was it taking me so long?
Hmm. I employed the "bubble" technique recommended by Lisa over at The Sassy Minx to try and avoid being crushed by it all. And then in my mind I blew a big raspberry in his general direction!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
and if you are good enough at it, the money will come.”
I think about my Glasgow chums every time I try and preserve my curls by wearing the spotty shower cap they gave me for my birthday. Twice now there has been a spider hiding inside it. What does that mean? I've never seen a spider ANYWHERE in my flat apart from in my shower cap. Luckily, since living on a boat for a year, I like arachnids.
As if by magic, thinking about Katy made an email from her appear - her verdict on Greer's Guac. Just like Dorothy she was APPALLED by the amount of salt therein. Methinks if this one makes it to the book we will definitely have to modify for the modern palate, as Katy points out, she suspects that using the full amount would result in hospitalisation. She and hubby Buster ate some before they went to the cinema and said, "by the end of the screening we were frothing like rabid dogs from the salt intake and had to find a mini store to sell us bottles of water to surpress the raving. Ha ha - it aint a picnic being a test cook!
There is a photo of Katy's "salty snack" over on the flickr site but do be warned - as Katy herself points out, it looks like green vomit!
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Definitely feeling full of the joys of spring now that I have successfully made an Angel Food Cake. There is a picture of it on the flickr site - I personally have never seen anything like it!
The secret is obviously all in the whipping. Last time I tried to whip the egg whites with one of those soup mulchers but it just didn't work. Has to be the old fashioned egg beater for sure.
Lord knows how I'll get it into work tomorrow!
It’s Sunday and so I decided to treat myself to Bette’s favourite Sunday morning breakfast dish. And delicious it was too. It’s the first time I have tried it but wanted to have a test run before the Now Voyager Silver Screen Sunday. Veronica is going to come for brunch as I have told her that it has the best scene in any film ever that features a hat.
It's been sunny, sunny, sunny all weekend - perhaps Spring is actually here already?
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Ah bliss. A night in with some of Dick's Chowder, a bottle of expensive wine and "Stella Dallas" on DVD.
The expensive wine is my new plan. I am going to see if I spend less money on booze if I buy GOOD wine and only drink a glass of it each night rather than downing whole bottles of cheapo plonk willy nilly. So far so good. Mind you, the glasses here are like goblets...
I'm not sure if Dick's Chowder is fancy enough for the book. Luckily he was quite a chef so we have quite a few other recipes to choose from. I like the sound of Truck Driver's Welsh Rarebit. Might give that a whirl...
“Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends..."
I've been really enjoying all the comments on the Gloria Swanson Competition post (see 1st March), love the fact that so many people are participating - both old friends and complete strangers. Adore the power of the internet.
Talking of old friends, fairly recently my writer-ex sent me a report on his rendition of William Powell's Artichokes. He said that they, "looked somewhat dramatic and decadent on the plate, like the head of a giant tulip and would have not been out of place in a mansion owned by William Randolph Hearst." What a fabulous mind picture! I wonder if WR and Marion Davies would have eaten them alongside their Rarebits! Writer-ex proclaimed them to be tasty but messy to eat, saying: "like eating a lobster, you get left with a lot of stuff behind. These fibrous leaves actually jammed up the waste disposal unit of my then girlfriend....but that wasn't the reason we split up."
Imagine if that had been the straw that broke the camel's back. When friends asked, "what happened?!" you could blame it on William Powell.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Apologies for my ranting and raving yesterday. I felt so bad about leaving the blog open on a downer like that I got up early to make some of Shirley's Pecan Squares before work. I believe that my sister of the skillet refers to these as "Shirley Temple's Goddamn Pecan Squares" as her two attempts to make them failed. I blame the altitude she was cooking them at, as mine were scrumptious.
My diagonal desk mate proclaimed them "good enough to sell in shops", my next door desk buddy was "eating them like they were going out of fashion" and the lovely noodle watcher Michael sent an email which I hereby repeat in full.
"Of all the film starry fancies you have made and done brung in, I think Shirley Temple’s Pecan Squares, are the tops so far."
So there you have it. The little munchkin done good.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Oh what a night! As is my custom I rushed home tonight in order to be stationed by the stove in time to listen to Desmond Carrington's amazing Tuesday night radio show on R2. It's a weird and wonderful thing that this show links me to my ex flatmates Ginger and Grace every single week. We all loved his crazy combinations of music (tonight a brilliant rendition of 1930s showtune "Pettin' in the Park" followed by Take That's cover version of "How Deep is Your Love") and whenever I listen to it my thoughts turn to the fabulous two years we had living together in Walthamstow.
A BARRAGE of texts and phone calls were launched upon the ether when Desmond mentioned that his show was being moved to Friday night. What the *&%?! I stay in every Tuesday to listen to his show. It is tradition. I do not wish to listen to his replacement Jamie Cullen. There is NO WAY Cullen is going to play curve balls like Hawaii 5-0 followed by some nutty novelty song featuring Ziggy Talent singing "Maharajah of Mogator". Grr. Ginger and I were very cross.
And then Desmond had to seal the deal by ending his show by playing "one of his favourite singers" Sandy Denny and the SUBLIME "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" Not only the metaphorical question we ALL might all be asking ourselves (where the hell DOES it go?) but also the signature tune of the Cotter Offord Project.
I remember many occasions cooking in the kitchen of 43 St Johns Road hearing Jack and Grace rehearsing this song and how I loved it so. That was a beautiful time and although I had planned to cook some of Sonja's Cookies tonight, I think I may just retire to the electric blanket and have a big blub!
For all my readers who have never experienced the absolute joy that is Desmond's show - it's available on "listen again" for the next week - wherever you are in the world. I highly recommend setting aside an hour to listen to this - he was on FIRE tonight with his crazy combinations and banter - I just don't think that the vibe will be the same on a Friday night - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00r332w#segments - a whole hour of genius. We have him to ourselves on Tuesdays 7pm - 8pm until Easter my lovelies.
The Gloria Swanson Frock competition runs for the whole month of March - please enter - it's free and fun. I am loving getting messages popping into my in-box from all around the world about which fruit Gloria carried in her handbag. Raspberries? Grapefruits? Pomegranates - or something else entirely? Guess away... See the next post down...
Monday, March 01, 2010
Gloria was a health nut and often took her own soup in a thermos flask if she was invited out to eat. In the daytime she often carried a particular fruit in her handbag in case she got peckish. My competition question is - which fruit was it?! You can enter as many times as you wish - just put your guesses in the comments. In the event of more than one person guessing correctly I will pull a name out of a hat - a leopard print trimmed turban naturally!
The competition is open to everyone - wherever you are in the world - and if it isn't your size, why not enter anyhow and if you win you can charm a girlfriend with it as a gift! Who wouldn't want to own a little piece of the glamour that is Gloria?!
Closing date for entries will be midnight UK time on the 31st March.
If you are not sure how to post a comment - email your guess to me at firstname.lastname@example.org x
Sunday, February 28, 2010
who happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
I made a schoolgirl error today, thinking it was the 29th February and therefore the special day that only comes once every four years. Consequently I proposed to the man formerly known as the artist - only to get a rebuttal. I am two years out of sync. Oh well, I'll ask him again in 2012 I guess. Mind you, although he pooh poohed me for getting the date wrong he has just sent a text enquiring after my dowry! Ha ha.
I have been pretty much "lit" all weekend thanks to those book group ladies leaving 2 and a half bottles of wine undrunk on Friday. Jeepers. There is no point me having undrunk wine in the house is there?!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
"They took the idols and smashed them,
the Fairbankses, the Gilberts, the Valentinos!
And who've we got now? Some nobodies!"
It was an ace night though, love those sassy women. There was much discussion about all the teenage passion in the book we have just read. We wondered whether I was the least hot and bothered over it as I've been having that stuff for real lately. As the only non-married one in the group I guess I'm closer to the teenager than most.
My lovely supportive chum Paulette was on hand to assist with the dinner. She made the Gloria Canapes and introduced the innovation of CRUMBLING the egg yolks rather than putting them through the sieve. Nice. The spinach pie turned out fine and the Ida Lupino Lemon Mousse - divine. I was so drunk by the time that came out that I took the risky decision to zap the big vat of it in the microwave to soften it up for serving. Worked fine and there is LOADS left over. I shall feed some to Charley when he comes over for his birthday dinner tomorrow.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Last night I took some of Rudy's Spaghetti Sauce over to Hackney where Ava is convalescing after a double foot operation. YIKES. Her account of the ordeal they put her through has almost put me off wearing high heels, absolutely horrific!
We had two bowls of Rudy's special each whilst watching Sunset Boulevard. Ava hadn't seen it before and as I'm planning to write the Sunset Boulevard article this weekend it was good to see it again. We laughed when Gloria observed about her shiny dance floor, "Rudolph always said that tile was best for the tango" (or something approximating that).
The sauce was just as good as it was first time around so this is one for the book for sure. Absolutely no change in flavour or texture after freezing. Excellent!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
FROCK! And big powder puffs to lean on. And a gasper on the go... Loverleeeeeeeeee.
Ida's Mousse is setting in the freezer for Friday - the ladies are coming over for dinner and I've been slaving away to get things pre-prepared. That Lemon Mousse is every dieter's downfall. I've had to curb my enthusiasm for ladling it into my mouth as I try to get it in the tupperware. It is, without a doubt, my favourite of all the SSS recipes. I LOVE IT.
I wonder if there is some connection with contented singledom. Like Proust and his madeleines there is something about the mousse that takes me back in time. To living at Rita's place after the end of everything with the Chaw-bacon, when I was beginning to get over it all.... Weird.
I forgot to mention that there was a fabulous moment in Grey Gardens last night that caused Rosalind and I to simultaneously grab each other and cackle like witches. Little Edie got on the weighing scales in her swimsuit and then had to grapple for the string around her neck that was attached to her binoculars so she could see the truth. Ha ha! We both intend getting magnifying glasses and miniature binoculars so we don't have to wear our spectacles. For weigh-ins or for anything else.
Monday, February 22, 2010
"Let's have a martini...
I'm going to feel terribly guilty if you have tea."
It's a while since I have made Garbo's meatballs so here is a report from Marilyn M. that has been languishing in my inbox for a donkey's age. As Ms Monroe is well known for burning bundles of money in her back yard I was pleased to see that she bought rump steak for this recipe and minced it. Not for her the £2.50 Tesco value pack of mince! She recommended adding some herbs for a bit of flavour (although said she wasn't the best person to suggest which ones) and opted out of making the sauce. Lazy girl - all you do is add milk to the butter in which the meatballs have been cooked and warm it up a bit! Marilyn M. is definitely the kind of woman who needs STAFF to do this kind of thing for her.
Mind you - how did she mince the steak? Did she roll up her sleeves and put it through a mangle-like contraption? I wonder...
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I've been a bit tearful this week - and not just because we won a Gold in the Winter Olympics. Although that DID make me cry - what a sap I am.
I've not been enjoying the dating business at all these last few days. I don't think I am cut out for the uncertainty of it. Am slightly worried that I've been a bit harsh on the New Yorker but feel better for giving him the elbow. Rosalind - who is usually right about these things - says that he has been wasting my precious time. So this week I should have a lot more time for writing as I won't have to spend any time at all waiting for my phone to ring...
I've made a batch of Sonja's cookies for work to celebrate the Olympics. They are very cute.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
"My golf is woeful
but I will never surrender."
I'm afraid that I have nothing to report from the Brits. Because HE STOOD ME UP. Rosalind straightened my hair and did my nails and I sat in her lounge waiting for him to call me until 12.15am at which point I went to bed. A text arrived at 2am saying he had left his phone in a taxi so hadn't been able to call me. Really? Do I look as if I was born yesterday?! Unfortunately I went out with the Panther for two years and have therefore heard every excuse in the book. He was more inventive than Reggie Perrin with his reasons for being late, having to cancel or not even turning up at all.
This new no show has suggested "making it up to me" by taking me to a BAFTAs party tomorrow night that starts at 11.30pm. What kind of insanity?! I'll be cosied up with my electric blanket by 9.30pm as per usual!
Anyhow, I was really pleased as I sat in bed this morning listening to Sounds of the Sixties when I suddenly remembered that I had the wherewithal for Bing's Breakfast. Loving the spinster life - why try and change it?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I know that life is great
and they know I know it.”
Although I am NOT going to the Brits, it seems as though I AM going to two of the after parties. Which, I am told are the best bits. So we shall see. There is no point having a hissy fit because I don't get to see all the money come down from the ceiling when Dizzee Rascal is doing his thing! Apparently the New Yorker says there was a "delicate situation with a client" so someone else will be sitting in my seat! I have to watch Dizzee on tele and hope to press the flesh with him later. Ha ha!
But to cheer me up, joy of joys I received a little Silver Screen Supper missive in the post today from our test cook Mickey in Athlone, Ireland. Some before and after photos of his version of Clark's Tenderloin (looking absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS I must say) and his Vincent Price Peppered Steak - ditto. Yum, yum, yum. And a lovely letter - remember the days when people sent letters?
The photos sure did bring a smile to my face Mickey and I am going to scan them in and post them to the flickr site soon. Bless you for taking the time to test cook for us, take photos and put pen to paper. You are a STAR! x
Monday, February 15, 2010
"I never go outside unless I look like
Joan Crawford the movie star."
If the answer is yes, I want to wash my hair tonight so I can do the heated roller thing tomorrow morning with my early am coffee in bed. If not, I can relax in the knowledge that I'll be spending yet another Tuesday evening in the company of Desmond Carrington on Radio 2 instead. Which, don't get me wrong, I adore to do. To be completely honest, I don't mind which way it goes, I'd just like to know!
Joan's steak rocked. I had been fancying a big hairy steak for days and her sauce of butter, Roquefort cheese and mustard was utterly divine. Joan, I salute you and will be channeling you this evening and tomorrow. There is NO WAY Joan would not get a seat at the Brits if she wanted one!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Fresh? It's freezing Bing! I'm going to rustle up some turkey and eggs soon to try and warm myself up in a minute.
I'm just back from a fantastic night at Azimova's place where we had a Serbian Cooking Extravaganza. She taught me how to make Pasulj, Sarma, Prebranac and Proja - all absolutely DELICIOUS. Oh yum, yum, yum. Azi's mum was stationed on the couch as we cooked, watching Croatian Pop Idol and a Jackie Chan movie. Later we had some Cuban Serbian music and when I asked what the connection between the two cultures was, Azi simply showed me her postcard of a young and devastatingly handsome Che Guevara.
A copious amount of booze was consumed and during an extended bout of celebrity impressions Azi discovered that (just like Roger Moore) she was able to lift just one eyebrow. Rudolph's attempt at James Dean was so good a photo was taken, and he managed to get my Tina Turner impersonation in approximately one second. When Azi decided that me getting Sean Connery was an easy option a new catchphrase was invented, "You got it cheap!"
Other memorable quotes include: "Leotard darling, leotard" (something to do with Freddie Mercury) and "male female relationships, they need the presence of a body" (regarding talking for hours on the phone with my new beau). Oh, and regarding the Sarma which involved a whole head of pickled cabbage, "it's for people who like pickles!' And anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE pickles. Pickles, pickles, pickles and beans and MEAT!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Jean looks a bit like how I feel at the moment - a bit haggared... I've had a shocking cold all week and will be going on date 4 with the New Yorker sporting a cold sore as big as Texas. Shame. I will try and orchestrate it so that he sits on my left for the whole evening!
Anyhow, I'm getting back in to blogging the results of the test cooking as there seems to be no time at all at the moment to cook myself. Roxie reported AGES ago that she'd made Jean's celery dish for a dinner party. Her guests all enjoyed it and the general consensus was that it was a perfect starter as it is both flavoursome and light. The paprika was considered to be the perfect twist and livened the dish up. Final verdict? "The receipe was elegant and simple - if there were more flavours on the plate it would confuse your palate and spoil the dish." So it's a winner!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
No wonder Buster looks so sad, he's probably just heard that he's been dropped from the book!
One of my very favourite test cooks has reported back that Buster's chop suey recipe was DREADFUL. Her overall assessment in one word? "Blah." Cooking this was a whole lot of effort for a whole lot of bland, brown food. The part in her report that really made me laugh was this: "why would anyone want to make it from a cookbook when they can dial up Ming's Palace and get--delivered!--Sechuan Chicken or Kung Pao Beef or Pork Lo Mein with 2 egg rolls, hot & sour soup, and 2 fortune cookies for $13, and have it taste really good!"
Unfortunately it is the ONLY Buster recipe we have - the call is out - Buster fans, do you have any others?!
I was cheered to the core last night by my DJing session at the Walthamstow Wind-Up. What a lovely bunch of people they are in E17. Lots of laughs involving Mo's black rubber gloves and gags involving the many board games that were scattered around the venue, "Don't sit there, you'll be in a draft" for example said Jim, pointing at the draught board. Ha ha - the old ones are the best. Tony Tunes was doing his "groove devining" act - trying to identify a revolving 78 by just looking at the grooves. And Cary was making me laugh like a drain inventing rude surnames for the New Yorker.
Everyone wants to know what his real name is so they can google him. Nosey bunch! I'm quite enjoying not knowing...
Sunday, February 07, 2010
"Creation is a drug I can't do without."
Had a fabulous, fabulous day today pottering around in the kitchen making the Sunset Boulevard Luncheon. There is definitely a new calm descending on these kind of events as much hilarity was to be had over the fact that my William Holden Gelatine dish hadn't set - it provoked gales of laughter in the kitchen as I approached my guests wobbling the plate of goo...
Cecil's chicken was a big hit. Just the right amount of spice I think and a big ole chicken from the butcher just about served 5 - Rosalind, Jimmy, King, me and special surprise guest John G who came mostly on the promise of seeing Charley who alas couldn't make it.
Jimmy looked marvellous in his baker boy cap, short trousers and argyle socks. I wish I'd had time to make him a megaphone... King looked impeccable in his bib and tucker and Rosalind was resplendent in her mini-me "good angel" Norma Desmond outfit. I was all in black velvet and she was in white turban and flashy wrap around number. John G came at the last minute so proclaimed, "I'm in my jummy" and it made me laugh as he looked just cosy in his cardi.
After lunch we all flopped on the sofa to watch the movie and it wasn't until John shouted, "Is anyone awake?" That we realised that we had all slept right through the first half. Shades of the VERY FIRST Silver Screen Sunday - "All About Eve" at Rosalind's place over 3 years ago - May 2006...
He took me to dinner at Nobu. A place I didn't think someone like me was allowed to go into...
We were supposed to just meet there for a cocktail and when he asked me if I liked sushi I didn't get the chance to say, "it's my least favourite food" as he was already halfway up the stairs trying to secure us a table. This he did, best seats in the house and I felt like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" as he ordered all kinds of revolting sounding things for us to eat and instructed me on the best way to hold my chopsticks. I did try and stick up for myself by saying, "I learned to hold them the Essex way" but I don't think he got the cultural reference.
Despite my horror at the idea of eating eel, I have to admit that this was - without a doubt - the most delicious meal I have ever eaten - bar none. Everything was DIVINE including the squid with its gelatinous suckers. At one point I pointed with my chopsticks at some unidentified crispy things sticking out of a crab roll, "what's that?" I asked, "crab" he replied. "What, his little legs and everything?" I asked, amazed that there was a miniature half a crab in crispy batter just sitting there for me to eat. So I did, his little legs and his little claw - just like that!
When my date asked if I liked fat salt pork I didn't get a chance to say that my only experience of it was trying to buy some (and failing) for the Bette Davis' Boston Baked Beans recipe. I was wary of it at first - thinking it would be all fatty like spare ribs but I can honestly say it was the most delicious thing I have EVER eaten. From now on that would be my death row meal request. Just one single square of that.
I can't even begin to tell you where we went after we had eaten, but I CAN tell you that at one point I could see Rosalind's 9th floor flat WAY BELOW ME as I was 385 feet above London!
PS - for those who know Nobu - of course the piggy thing I ate was pork belly not fat salt pork. I am an INGENUE!
Friday, February 05, 2010
Excitement is mounting about Sunday's Sunset Boulevard Luncheon Party. The menu will be as follows:
SPOILER ALERT - if you are an invited guest, look away now!
Gloria Swanson's Cocktail Canapes
Gloria Swanson's Champagne Cocktails
William Holden's Lime Gelatine with Carrots, Olives and Nuts
Cecil B DeMille's Cajun Chicken
Gloria Swanson's Devils Food Cake
Rosalind and Jimmy were making me laugh this morning with their antics. Jimmy wants to come dressed as a "Monkey Butler" but Rosalind said, "You are going as Erich von Stroheim and that's that!" Ha ha!
Last night I introduced the New Yorker to the seedy underbelly of the East End of London. I took him to a burlesque night at the Bethnal Green Working Man's Club. Lord it was saucy! He seemed to take it all in his stride though, and scoffed both the Anna May Wong Tea Cakes in the taxi on the way home. He was pleased to get a cherry...
Thursday, February 04, 2010
It was "cherry roulette" in the office today as I experimented with glace cherries on the top of my AMW tea cakes last night. They sank to the bottom so I didn't put any on the second batch. The cakes all disappeared in double quick time so they were definitely a hit. I received several emails from folks either exhalted or dejected about the discovery (or not) of cherries. The big boss is still dubious about "recipes by dead people" but they looked so cute in my retro dot baking cases that even he couldn't resist!
I kept two aside as it's my second date with the New Yorker tonight. Wonder what he will make of them...
Sunday, January 31, 2010
"The older you become, the more you know;
your bank account of knowledge is much richer.”
I've had a fabulous weekend in the countryside trampolining, watching the tennis and eating a tonne of Silver Screen Supperage. Paulette made a magnificient Gloria Swanson Devil's Food Cake and I did canapes. The centrepiece was William's crazy lime jelly extravaganza. I made it in a rabbit mold and Paulette said as it plopped out, "it looks like some kind of Damien Hurst artwork". It really was quite a sight to behold! Not much of it was eaten but it certainly was a talking point. We also had Gloria Swanson's Caviar Canapes and the old faithfuls Jean Harlow's Celery a la Shrimp and Adolph Menjou's Spiced Venetian Cheese. All washed down with some extremely strong martinis. Hic.
The young Rebel Without a Cause James made me laugh when Paulette brought the cake to the table. When she mentioned it was a very special cake he just asked, "Betty Crocker?"
Friday, January 29, 2010
"As long as my pictures go into theaters
and we ask people to pay to see what I do on the screen,
I should not object if customers want to know what kind of man I am."
It's been quite a week! A guy that I met at the Singles Night on Saturday is doing a pretty good job of sweeping me off my feet, but I am trying to resist! Ha ha! My mother is counseling me to find out everything I can about him but it's not easy is it, when you meet someone at random? Anyhow, it has put a spring in my step this week, despite a bit of cage rattling this week by an ex.
It's going to be a big weekend for Silver Screen Suppers too as I'm off the the countryside with Paulette, Ivor and Shirley to a big dinner party with lots of film star fodder. Will report back. For tonight though I am planning to rustle up some of Alan's pancakes as I am now working my way through the book recipes in alphabetical order and Alan is numero uno. I might have them with a fried egg on top....