Friday, December 29, 2006

Lillian Roth's Fig Cake

“When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along”

Our project's staunchest supporter Paulette gave her verdict on the Lillian Roth Fig Cake this morning as we all nursed mighty hangovers after going to the superb "Class Club" at the Barbican. Her and hubby declared the cake to be nice but the fig filling to be "Most Peculiar".

I'll be staying at their gaff again tomorrow night prior to heading off up to Suffolk to dance on the grave of the lunatic year that was 2006 and we will attempt to rustle up another star recipe that may be somewhat less peculiar.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Zuzu's Petals

Season's Greetings! As is tradition there was a Christmas screening of "It's a Wonderful Life" at Rosalind's place. Her very own Jimmy Stewart had NEVER SEEN THE FILM. It caused much amusement as Rosalind and I kept passing each other tissues and when it had finished Jimmy flipped the TV over with great haste to catch the surfing film he ACTUALLY wanted to see.

I had planned to make Jimmy Stewart's Chicken Pie to eat during the film but Christmas Beer and Mandle Candles got in the way of that plan. It is proving super difficult to get some recipes under the belt what with festivities at every turn and being of no fixed abode.

I think I need to get off Rosalind's sofabed and find myself a kitchen...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Errol's Fish Dish Again

Had a lovely re-run of Errol Flynn's Baked Fish Havanaise with Paulette last night. It is the one and only dish that I can remember the ingredients for at the supermarket so I guess that makes it a house special.

I had a bit of a cry last night discussing the disastrous state of my love life. Today after lunch with my "Clarence" I have come to the conclusion that it is all my own stupid fault. If I insist on spending time with someone who thinks he is Errol Flynn why am I surprised when he behaves like Errol Flynn?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gracie Fields and Goose Fat

"I wanna go home - I miss my cook"

Am experiencing withdrawal symptoms as I haven't been near a stove for weeks so the Silver Screen Suppers project has slowed to a halt. I'm back from the land of the long white cloud but currently of no fixed abode so cooking is proving a bit difficult.

I am currently at Paulette's place and she bought me a beautiful vintage pinny for my recent birthday so I am itching to get back to it. Maybe tonight if I can find a veggie recipe quick enough to do...

Life has been chockablock since my return mostly due to DJing at lots of swanky parties, a big birthday bash on Saturday night, rockabilly bowling, a commissioned article on 1920s fashions that I have to write by Sunday and an upcoming radio show about film soundtracks on 78rpm I need to prepare for. No wonder no cooking is being done.

But the reason I am really blogging is today's report in one of the broadsheets here that sales of GOOSE FAT have rocketed. The paper is claiming it is that luscious bit of stuff Nigella Lawson that has provoked this, but how do they know it isn't our blog readers making Gracie Fields' Hotpot?!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Skeets Gallagher's Souffle of Tomatoes

I am in strange black walled Blade Runneresque internet cafe in Auckland - the only non Chinese person here. All the salty snacks are Chinese, all the cold beverages ditto and even blog instructions are in Chinese so I have to use graphic memory to work out how to publish an entry. Surreal.

Am having a super time with all my NZ chums, have even managed to prepare two SSS dishes. The first, Charlie Ruggles' Tuna Special Salad - was prepared at our fabulous holiday home on Waiheke Island. This was a little appetizer before an evening of extremely heavy drinking and a birthday ceremony to mark my reaching the ripe old age of 40. This involved 5 of my lovely girlfriends perched on rocks in the dark like SIRENS swinging tea light lanterns to the sound of the Bee Gees singing "How Deep is Your Love". I was then handed a string (turned out to be dental floss) which I had to pull towards me thus propelling a "Huggies" baby wipe container across the swimming pool. The lid was open, another candle inside lighting the way on its journey to the poolside. Inside was a gift of a beautiful greenstone pendant. Only that bunch could have hatched such an elaborate plan. Insane and totally unforgettable. Those crazy kiwis.

The other Hollywood dish I prepared was Skeets Gallagher's Souffle of Tomatoes which I made for Merle and Rock - my lovely hosts in Glen Innes. It took me an age to prepare in an unfamiliar kitchen with a small pirate running around the place and preparations for a weekend away going on around me. Rock almost opened the oven to check on it but realised just in time that it was a SOUFFLE and we all know what happens to those if you are not careful. Upon completion I worried what it might taste like having never made a souffle in my life before but Merle announced with her usual style, "I'll chuck it down whatever it's like". It was actually rather nice in a sort of fluffy eggy sort of way.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Evelyn Brent's Spaghetti Mark 2

I have just had an almost perfect weekend. Much hilarity at the World's Biggest Blind Date attempt as mobile phone technology failed to match up to the task of 600 singletons attempting to find their assigned date in a ram jammed bar offering free drinks. Bizarrely I ended up with an ex - the Pocket Rockabilly - having a drink in the calm of the ICA rather than joining the after event scrum at the chavtastic "Rubyblue" nightspot.

On Saturday the chaw-bacon was charm itself. He'd arranged a romantic 1950s style date at a bowling alley Saturday afternoon. I fell over rather gracefully on my first throw - but I was already on my second cocktail at that point. Later on we watched the sun go down over Primrose Hill accompanied by 78s on a wind-up portable gramophone. Bliss. Lovely lie in on Sunday morning with aforementioned chaw-bacon and The Archers, a big hairy steak for lunch then a re-run of Evelyn Brent's spaghetti for 7 chums after fireworks on the roof with an awesome view across London. I love my life!

The blog may be lying fallow for a while as I am off to New Zealand for a few weeks. I hope that Ruth might get her pinny on Texas-side but I know she is busy...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Charles Ruggles' Tuna Special Salad

Rather too much socialising and not enough cooking going on this side of the pond at the moment. Also packing. I move out of the STAR's apartment on Wednesday and then wing my way to New Zealand. To take the ukulele or not to take the ukulele that is the question.

I've been notified that the STAR will not be returning to the flat before the lease is up and therefore I have carte blanche to devour everything that is in the food cupboard. There is a LOT of baked beans, some tuna, pasta and lots of crackers. I am planning to have a BANQUET for my sisters and their beaus on fireworks night to use up some of these supplies. Like the lovely Rosalind "wartime" Russell I am loathe to see food go to waste.

I therefore plan the traditional bonfire night jacket potatoes and will make a variety of things to have on them. The aforementioned beans will look after themselves. I shall also fashion some of Charlie Ruggles' Tuna Salad. Might also make some of Joan Crawford's stuffed peppers. We shall see.

On the lovelife front exciting things are afoot. I am going to be part of a Guiness Book of Records attempt to stage the Largest Blind Date in the World on Friday. What japes.

I am however slightly cross with myself that I have accepted an invitation out on Saturday night with the Chaw-Bacon. He sure knows how to tempt me. We are going to the much lauded 1950s bowling alley in Bloomsbury. A curse on that short sleeved 1950s docker mentality! And a curse on me for falling for it!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Roy Rogers' Corn Fritters

I know I should really have a picture of Roy with TRIGGER but I just couldn't resist this jigsaw puzzle picture with puppies. Also, as it was almost certainly always his cowgirl co-star and wife Dale Evans who made the fritters there should probably be a picture of HER here. I bet my Texas buddy will have an official Dale Evans recipe or two in her collection though, so until then...

Last night Paulette came over with new improved husband and joined me and Nazimova for corney fritters. The wine flowed freely and conversation ditto. I didn't think much of the fritters though. Naz suggested serving them with a nice spicy salsa next time which would certainly perk them up a bit.

The new improved husband bought Millionaire's Shortbread that he had made on daddy-daughter day. Is this the same man who used to bark "While you're up..." at any passers by who might be persuaded to bring him a beer? Paulette has worked wonders...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Walter Connolly's Corned Beef Hash

I had an intriguing conversation with a friend of the Chaw-Bacon in a telephone box in the rain yesterday afternoon. Apparently the friend has had a "big falling out" with the CB because of his, "appalling misogynistic attitudes" and “blind spot when it comes to women”. Hm, interesting. As I used the STAR’s big wooden spoon to stir my corned beef hash I contemplated the effect the friend’s stirring was having on my psychological well-being.

Methinks that three weeks on the other side of the world will help get some of this teenage tittle tattle into perspective. As I listened to the latest batch of 78s the CB kindly gave me I tried not to read too much into the titles. Songs such as, “When the Love Bird Leaves the Nest”, “There’s Everything Nice About You” and “What Have I Done”? could have contributed to an emotional swing to feeling sorry for him. Instead I decided to settle down in front of the tele with a big plate of grub and a large glass of wine and forget about it.

I love corned beef hash and soon I will do Bette Davis’ version which has beetroot in it!

Winnie Lightner's Italian Salad

Ah the Archers was a humdinger this week. "Stolen kisses in the cowshed" said Ruth after a passionate embrace with Sam - ha ha. I was right there with them. Not only was there passionate intrigue but also a superb comedy moment when Linda Snell put her foot in it by singing, "one day my prince will come" to Kirstie who had just been dumped by aforementioned cowshed romeo. Got my Sunday off to a fantastic start.

It COULD have been a sad little lonely little rockabilly Sunday were it not for the fact that I had CHOSEN not to go out with the Chaw-Bacon in favour of doing my own thing around the Wood. So I pottered around the flat, played my uke for a bit, got together a 1930s selection of 78s for the next gig and hung around a bit in cafes.

For my lunch I prepared Winnie Lightner's Italian Salad. I don't know much about Winnie. She played mostly flapper parts I think. In "The Life of the Party" she played a character called "Flo" which reminds me, it was the Panther's birthday on Saturday...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Greta Garbo's Swedish Meatballs

"Life would be so wonderful if we only knew what to do with it."

How true Greta, how true.

The lovely Buster is in town. He came over for Greta’s Swedish Meatballs last night and damn they were good, even if I do say so myself. I think I am actually getting quite a dab hand at cooking! And I dispute Greta's own statement that "there is no one who would have me - I can't cook. "

Me and B had a long conversation in the pub about “getting the bends”. I was blathering on about how his namesake Buster Crabbe died in mysterious circumstances in a diving accident off the coast of Portsmouth. I must have been having false memory syndrome brought on by an excess of beer as I can find no evidence of this now I am sober.

Mind you, MY Buster will be pleased to hear that Crabbe not only played Flash Gordon but Tarzan too. AND Buck Rogers. What a hero.

Tonight I will meet with the Chaw-Bacon armed with a proposal. I have taken Veronica's advice on board and decided exactly what I want from him. It does not involve attendance at social events...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mary Brian's Orange Circles

Have just been on a stroll up to Kilburn High Road to my friendly butcher to seek out "round steak" for Greta Garbo's Swedish Meat Balls. After scouring the interweb to try and find out what the English equivalent cut of meat would be to no avail I decided that the butcher would be the person to ask.

So I go in (as usual) with a preamble to overcome my embarassment that I have grown to this fine age with no real understanding of meat. "I've got an American recipe that calls for a pound of round steak finely ground" I say. He says, "yes". I say, "I don't know what the British equivalent of round steak would be." He says, "that's round steak" pointing to a flat steak. I say, "What's that called then?" He says, "round steak".

I felt I had to do a mini entry anyhow so that Mary Brian gets her picture up. Ruthie should be pleased - she's a TEXAN after all. Her little orange biscuits were very nice. I particularly like the fact that the recipe stated the following:

"For card parties they may be cut into clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds by means of specially shaped sandwich cutters".

I may have to have myself a card party very soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sylvia Sidney's Steamed Chocolate Pudding

"Hollywood! It's like an old chair - if it's useful, keep it; if not, give it to Goodwill."

I like Sylvia Sidney. She always looks a bit sulky. I liked her Chocolate pudding too - absolutely scrumptious. Paulette kindly had a go at this recipe as she is a whizz with the pudding basin. She also made some of Mary Brian's Orange Circles but that's another story. I think she prefers the test cooking to the test knitting.

We had quite a feast on Friday night what with Evelyn's fascist spaghetti which everyone seemed to enjoy, plus assorted nibbles not from the kitchens of Hollywood, plus the pudding, plus the biscuits - it is hungry work discussing literature is it not? Thirsty work too. I appeared to drink around a bucketful of red wine.

It was great fun hanging out with a bunch of girls and that vibe continued all weekend, DJing with my sisters on Saturday and then spending all day Sunday sewing. Veronica has been commissioned to fashion FOURTEEN top hats for a commercial. I offered to help out and had a lovely day with millinery wire, buckram, shot silk and plenty of gossip.

I think Veronica may be right in her conclusions that "men have feelings too" and I although I always tend to avoid such things, I may attempt to have a proper grown up discussion with the one whom we refer to (in fine teenage style) as the chaw-bacon this week...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Evelyn Brent's Spaghetti La Fascisti

Got to be quick as it is home-time and I have a gaggle of girls coming over for dinner tonight. I have prepared the spaghetti sauce in advance and it is in the fridge in two large saucepans. A bit like a student supper really but I selected it in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street which was last week. The lefties of London battled it out with Oswald Moseley and his blackshirts - huzzah. I am on the side of the reds you understand rather than the fascists.

So anyhow we will see how the ladies like it.

I may decide to spend my spare time with ladies only for a while. Getting fed up with boys. CAT PARTIES I believe they called them in 1930s Hollywood. Meeeeeooooooow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ruth Chatterton's Beefsteak a la Victor Hugo

Exhausted by a day of battles with healthcare professionals I was craving a big hairy steak so I bought an EXPENSIVE bit of organic rump on the way back to the Wood. It appears that with just a week's notice, funding for my disease modifying drug has been withdrawn. I won't go into details on a public forum but after a year of daily revolting self injections I am amazed by my stamina for pursuing some more. Don't take my mojo away. Or I will cry - a lot.

Also a bit ground down by mixed messages all weekend from both the Panther and the Chaw-Bacon. Perhaps it is better to move on to pastures new. Whatever it was the Scottish one didn't like about me last time around is presumably still the same so how long before he decides that he wants to jump ship? My idea of having the strokes without engaging the emotions doesn't seem to be working. Perhaps I am not a NSA (no strings attached) kind of gal.

Anyhow, the Beefsteak a la Victor Hugo was a minor disaster. Because I was distracted by all sorts of stinking thinking about my drugs and my lovelife I didn't watch the sauce and ended up with an omelette instead. I shall try again another time with Cary Grant’s version – differs only from Ruth in that he specifies extra vinegar and horseradish…

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Maureen O'Sullivan's Toasted Cheese Sandwich

"Good morning, I love you. You never forget, do you, Tarzan?"

Ah, now I understand. American cheese.... Ha ha ha ha ha. My long awaited book explaining British equivalents for American foodstuffs has arrived. I could have done with it during some of the pimiento / bell peppers / red peppers conundrums. But I now truly understand what is meant by American Cheese. To us Brits the generic term would be "processed cheese" or the more evocative and brand specific "Kraft Singles". Well, I too had the wonderful experience of trying to chop some American cheese last night for Maureen O'Sullivan's Toasted Cheese Sandwich. I really and truly cannot remember ever having sampled American Cheese before now. Possibly as a child but I don't think so. There is something rather sensual about it though - peeling off the sticky seal of the cellophane and separating the rubbery square from plastic. MMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm.

And the dish itself? Well, if I hadn't also consumed the last of Richard Arlen's chili beforehand I think I would have appreciated it more. But actually it was rather good and I can imagine rustling this up on a rainy Sunday afternoon and snuggling down with a Johnny Weissmuller type to watch "Tarzan and His Mate".

On that subject I was amused by Charley's reaction to my current dalliance with DSG. He said, "whatever gets you through the night, but don't get too tangled up in them big braces."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Richard Arlen's Mexican Chili Con Carne

"Some people are just nice guys and nothing, not even Hollywood,

can change it."

I LOVE Richard Arlen and mainly because I made his Chili Con Carne last night and it was quite honestly the most delicious Chili I have ever eaten outside of Texas! Despite the fact that I made a schoolgirl error thinking that "3 Red Peppers" were the kind of peppers that also come in green and orange and yellow over here (Bell Peppers to those across the pond) and having to use the STAR's squeezy tube of pre-prepared chili when I realised my mistake...

Shame there was nobody there to see the comedy moment when I ate my first mouthful. I could have been on a cheesy commercial doing the bit before the "pack shot" where there is a close up of a "oh my goodness this is absolutely delicious" look. It was a big surprise as there are so few ingredients for such a splendid taste. I think the secret is the Worcestershire Sauce and flour combo added near the end. Bravo Richard.

Sunny days in London are adding to my current sunny demeanor. I am learning "I Wanna Be Loved By You" on the ukulele and have some fun DJing dates on the horizon. The cooking is picking up momentum and the love life is tickety-bo. I am making the most of everything...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tim McCoy's Corn Pudding

Well either Paulette and I are exceedingly greedy or Tim McCoy's cowboy comrades had tiny appetites. Reputedly serving 6-8 Tim's delicious eggy, peppery corn dish was polished off by just two of us on Friday night with a bottle of red. I do admit though that when I get home from work I am quite capable of eating a whole can of sweetcorn before I've even got my coat off so perhaps it's not that surprising. I loved the way that all the pimiento (for I know what a pimiento is these days) floated to the top and all the corn sunk to the bottom. Scrumptious.

It has been a busy life this week so not much cooking going on. Lots of dancing though. I eventually got Charley to take his satchel off on Wednesday night and we had a jive to a great rock and roll combo at the Turntable Cafe, and today a 2 hour Charleston class which has left me with very creaky knees. I plan to keep up this jigging around. It works off all the corn.

There is a bit of a cowboy theme this weekend. I've been asked to play some of my 78s on Harold Lloyd's radio show and am thinking of selecting all singing cowboys. Unfortunately this morning as I chatted on the phone to Clara I sat on my precious copy of PRAIRIE ROMEO - a gift from the chaw-bacon - and snapped it in two. Wonder if I should ask if he has another copy amongst his mountains of shellac?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Buster's Tuna Toast Comforter

"Some say my acting rose to the level of incompetence
and then levelled off."

What else is a girl to do after having been dumped by text than go home and cook herself some comfort food. That hunk Buster came up with the goods. Four of my favourite things in once recipe – tuna, gherkins, toast and Worcestershire sauce. Mm. So I got stuck in to all that whilst contemplating the fact that I am now 100% single. That hasn’t happened for a long time really – 10 years I suppose. There has always been a bit of dangling in between. So according to popular legend it will take me 3 months to get over the Panther – Boxing Day then.

Coincidentally the 6 months it should have taken me to get over the chaw-bacon is up right now so that is DONE. Charley Chase however is another matter. Should be over him by October 2008. Ah well, the calendar is a funny thing. I blame the eclipse…

Monday, September 25, 2006

Joan Marsh's Chicken Salad

"Is it?"

Aha! A new spirit of optimism is upon me after a weekend at the seaside. Life is pretty damn good at the moment, not least because I have a new "Favorite Recipes of the Famous Movie Stars" book produced by the Milwaukee Gas Light Co in 1934 and autographed by Agnes Ayers!

Friday night was spent preparing for my DJ session on Saturday night, selecting 78s and testing my wind-up. Managed to squeeze in a Silver Screen Suppers number though, alongside all the jigging around to "Prairie Romeo", "She's a Latin From Manhattan" and the like. A chicken salad that shared most of its ingredients with Mary Pickford's except GRAPES were the fruit rather than pineapple. Also a nice link between the two recipes is the fact that Joan was the daughter of Mary's favourite cinematographer Charles Rosher and the girls were in several films together.

I have to say that this project is an eye opener for a fruit-phobic like me. Ordinarily I avoid all fruit unless it is sweety shaped (grapes, blueberries and strawberries fall into this category) but I am actually loving the fruit and salad combinations that I am finding amongst these fab recipes. As I am on a 6 week health regime in preparation for my trip to the land of the long white cloud there may be more salads on the way...

Oh, Joan Marsh factoid - she reportedly had the smallest feet in Hollywood - size 2AAA.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mary Pickford's Chicken and Pineapple Salad

"If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down."

Well, another sad and sorry singleton's Sunday for me, hanging around wondering if my beau is coming over then eating alone when it transpires that he is not. Still, I have to admit I enjoyed my aimless wanderings around Regent's Park and the St John's Wood district as I looked for some kind of adventure to remind myself I am attractive, sassy and not the only person in the world without a playmate...

In tribute to "g r e g g" who in an act of random kindness is helping Ruth and I with a technical blog problem, I cooked up a Canadian recipe. Mary Pickford, who was knows as America's Sweetheart and the most astute businesswoman of the silent film era was, in fact, a Canuck. G r e g g who we have only met through the interweb resides in Vancouver so I said I would make something in his honour and Mary's Chicken and Pineapple salad it was. And it was mighty fine I have to say. The secret is the cooked salad dressing - this sounds like a faff but is actually easy to do. I ate my salad on the roof of the STAR's flat which has amazing views across London. Landmarks within eyesight include St Paul's Cathedral, Regent's Park Mosque and the London Eye. I am always expecting to make new friends up there on the communal roof with its many tables and chairs but yesterday there was only me and an elderly woman with crazy red hair having a snooze in the sun with her mouth ajar.
Perhaps I should have offered her some salad and some company because let's face it, in a few years time with the way things are going that will be me...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Janet Gaynor and Cheese "Fondue"

Ahhhh, sweet victory after two debacles in the kitchen d'etting. Saturday dawned in a rather ominous fashion - well, mainly as I knew that I simply couldn't put off La Gaynor anymore. I felt her looking at me constantly. From every direction. In fact, showed a clip to les students this week and practically screamed when her sweet visage looked right back at me saying, "I know that this recipe is made of "american" cheese, but don't give up on me..."

Let us begin by saying that for Janet, "fondue" really means more of a souffle. or something. After a quick call to the grandmere (who is now officially going to be called before any attempt at a recipe out of the Photoplay book with its vague and "of course you know what i mean when i say 'warm' oven temperature"), I popped open a cold bottle of pinot grigio brought over by the nutty professor, and began unrwapping my sheets of kraft american cheese. The recipe did demand that it be shredded, but clearly american cheese in the 1930s was made of heartier stock than now. I attempted to chop it and ended up with a mound of clumpy, sticky, nay, rubbery velveeta. Only made more hilarious by the nutty professor constantly sneaking up and grabbing mouthfuls and muttering - "don't laugh". He claims to have grown up not knowing that there was any other kind of cheese until he discovered brie at age 25. I believe him.

Well, the results were not unedible (a step forward, no offense to the divine Anna May Wong) but nothing to dream about long term. Fluffy, light as air, and that peculiarly unique orange color that velveeta brings... I fell asleep dreaming about the future sss cooking show that would feature lya de putti making this dish, then ruth etting pulling out a can of cheese whiz in a confident manner demonstrating that modern conveniences can short cut just about anything.

Thus reinvigorated, I plan to attack Shirley's pecan bars again this week. Huzzah!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kay Johnson's Chocolate Soup Pie

"As long as they pay me my salary, they can give me a broom and I'll sweep the stage. I don't give a damn. I want the money..."

A refreshinghly honest opinion from a star of the silent era - found in her private diaries though, not published in a fan mag. Swearing no less!

Well on Sunday I awaited a visit from the Panther. I trapsed up and down St John's Wood on various small errands getting all the bits and pieces needed for a late lunch. The Tesco Metro is a very strange beast indeed. You can't buy walnuts in there but you CAN buy pre-cooked sweet pastry crusts. This is just as well when you intend making something that requires a pie crust but are living in a serviced apartment which is somewhat short on cooking implements (nothing to cook a pie in that's for sure).

I followed Kay's recipe for Chocolate Pie as closely as I could with one eye on COLUMBO which co-incidentally had Anne Baxter as guest star. Try as I might though, I couldn't get all the egg whites to fold in properly and the damn (Kay's word not mine) chocolatey soup just would not set. Perhaps it was a metaphor for the whole day. About 4pm I got stood up by the Panther and after a crying jag I realised that I had been BORED all day and was not about to be BORED all evening so texted the chaw-bacon. Am I some kind of sad sap weepy needy character in a bad b-movie that gets swept aside by some strong siren for being such a bubblehead? I don't know but I don't think so. Life is too short to be bored.

The pie got put in the freezer to see if that improved things. I forgot to take it out later so who knows?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Anna May Wong's Egg Foo Yung

In the Photoplay Cook Book from which this recipe hails, Anna May reportedly defined Egg Foo Yung as "The simplest Chinese recipe of all...a delicious luncheon dish." Therefore, I chose to slap it together for a nice Saturday afternoon supper. Well, I hate to break it to our readers, but not only do I think that this is one of the worst things I have ever put in my mouth, but I also believe that there is NO way Anna May would have let this touch her lips. I am not going to mince my words. This is NOT a do-over in any way shape or form. Indeed, it is only my sincere love and admiration for the Anna May Wong that prevents me from being even more blunt.

To be honest, I had been the most scared of Janet Gaynor's cheese foundue recipe - but the Egg Foo Yung has made me start dreaming of it.

More on the flip.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Anne Baxter's Magic Orange Cups

"Do at least a few of the things that really seem fun.
Nobody should be afraid to have fun ...even if it's silly."

This apparently was Anne's comment in a magazine when she was asked why she was wearing toe rings... Oooh I love Anne Baxter in "All About Eve" and possibly my favourite scene in a movie EVER is when she starts RIPPING THAT WIG in a rage. Fantastic. I may just have to watch it again with a serving of her "Magic Orange Cups".

I made these for Paulette's book group. Strange looking mixture which looked a bit curdy on top but cooked up just fine. Sort of creme caramel consistency but orangey. Paulette's little angel Shirley LOVED the idea of these little custardy treats and as each guest arrived for dinner shouted, "MAGIC ORANGE CUPS, MAGIC ORANGE CUPS" with much excitement.

I have volunteered to host the next meeting of the group at THE STAR's place so will have to think of a suitably bookish dinner to have with a discussion of Brick Lane.

Food Raid of a Star's Cupboard

Well, I moved into the home of a genuine Hollywood star last night. An OSCAR winner no less but I am unable to reveal his identity - top secret. He will henceforth be referred to as THE STAR. I am flat sitting for THE STAR for two months in a fab 1930s block right slap next to Regents Park. I have had to assume yet another persona as I am forced to pose as the cousin by marriage of THE STAR's wife. I am having trouble remembering both her surname and the tangled web of "who was married to who" in order to make me her cousin. Ah, the fun we have with our miniature deceptions.

Rosalind carried my hatboxes because she wanted to laugh at me pretending to be someone I am not to the concierge in order to get the keys. Once we got into the flat we jumped up and down with excitement holding hands like two schoolgirls. You could probably fit seventeen houseboats inside my new abode - it is big. The wife of THE STAR had said, "help yourself to food", so we grazed whilst standing up and congratulated ourselves on our immense good fortune. Rosalind decided that what we were picking at was in fact a Silver Screen Supper. OK, so I am not a Silver Screen star myself and neither is THE STAR (far too young to have been around in the days of black and white) but anyhow here is what we had.

2 tins sweetcorn, 1 tin peas, 1 can of Hearts of Palm (whatever they are), 1 tin of tuna, a few Flat Breads (also new to me), some "Seafood Cocktail Sauce" (never seen such a thing before in all my born days) and a bottle of champagne. You may remember that Rosalind is "The Queen of Smash" and the last meal I had at her place was beans on toast with a bit of corned beef in the middle so her resourcefulness in knocking up something edible in 5 minutes flat should not surprise any of us.

The large dining table that seats six is leading to all sorts of supper party combinations of folk in my mind and I am sooooooooooooo thrilled that Ruthie is back in her pinny and pecking on the pecans. Roll on the suppers.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Shirley Temple's Mammy's Pecan Bars

Well, I am not going to lie. It has been a rough re-launch of the Stateside Silver Screen Suppers Campaign. But here is why: Many cookbooks from the early period CLEARLY were intended for those people who are A. naturally gifted in the kitchen or B. had extensive staff who were naturally gifted in the kitchen. Tonight, I set aside some time to focus in on my most favorite task: cooking with the stars. Having bought ingredients for a number of fairly dubious recipes (please stay tuned for Janet Gaynor's cheese fondue), I chickened out (almost literally) by going with a dessert from our own sweetheart of the screen, a tiny package of pep, Shirley Temple. Yes, the title of the recipe is dubious - sure. But the idea sounded great.

ALAS: with very little information to go from, I sadly ended up with Shirley Temple's Mammy's Pecan Soup. Yup, I have eaten it with a spoon rather than cutting into a crisp, ready to pass out at an ice cream social, kind of dessert. NOW, a mighty fine recipe from the standpoint that it is delectable and much like what we might now call a "brownie." But I will get back to you on how to prevent said souplike experience. I am not dismayed, however, but rather invigorated with the challenge. Methinks it may have much to do with picking the right cooking pan. Or the fact that I opened another bottle of red wine with which to cook. This is what following the SSS mantra can do: live, learn, get lit while baking.... I know our little princess would approve.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hattie McDonald's Chicken With Dumplings

"Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn't, I'd be making $7 a week being one."

I had a look through my recipes to see if I had any "Gone With The Wind" related ones and found a great article in a 1941 "Modern Screen" magazine that was all about Hattie McDonald's love of cooking. Hattie was so fab in the role of "Mammy" mumbling and grumbling about Scarlett's behaviour under her breath and ticking her off whilst yanking on her corset laces. The Panther informed me that she was the first black woman to win an Oscar - he knows his movie stuff does the Panther - and she deserved it too.

Having learned my lesson with both the trifle (around 7/8ths of it still in the fridge several days later) and ditto Yvonne's Salome Salad Dressing, I am going to save this recipe for an evening when I have enough people to share it with and then I shall put it on the recipe blog. There is a whole banquet of food in the article - Chicken With Dumplings, Corn Bread, Sweet Corn Pudding, Cranberry Jelly, McDaniel Dressing (ALSO includes a can of tomato soup...) and Cracker Cake. I would love to make all of these things and watch the film with a bunch of chums sometime. I will plan it once I am ensconsed in a permanent abode and have found out what the hey Graham Crackers are and where I can buy them.

For now though I wanted to record something else I found along the way to Hattie's recipes and that is a breakdown of how Constance Bennett spent her money in 1931. This was when Constance was at her peak and was probably the top earning female star in Hollywood. I am going to ask someone clever how I can work out what these amounts would be in today's money.


$15,000 for the upkeep of her homes

$15,000 for clothes

$10,000 for a vacation in Europe

$6,000 for servants

$5,000 for her automobile

$5,000 for pin money

In the article Constance explains that she has 4 servants including a cook - ha! I bet it was her cook that made the Spanish Chicken...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yvonne de Carlo's Salome Salad

Desmond Carrington is a national treasure. I am preparing a trifle and listening to his Radio 2 show. Who else could play George Formby, Eric and Ernie and Meatloaf in the same half an hour?

Last night I made the crazy sounding salad dressing Yvonne proposed which involved a whole can of tomato soup. I had my doubts but actually it was deLICIOUS. I crunched away at an exceedingly large soupy salad as I watched the splendid "Gone With The Wind". Poor Scarlett. She thought she was in love with Ashley. But she wasn't.

A lesson to be learned...

Joan Blondell's Chicken Chop Suey

"It amazes me how some of these little numbers with dreamy looks and a dead pan are getting away with it. I'd hate to see them on stage with a dog act."

Joan Blondell is without a doubt my absolute favourite actress and it was with great pleasure that I cooked up her Chicken Chop Suey for Bette and Joan C this evening without too much fuss. No fighting between the ladies, mostly civilised dining behaviour. No scrapping, no breaking of bottles, no voices raised, no dramas. All windows in the house remain intact. Although I was worried the dish might be too salty for the modern taste, they went back for seconds so I hereby announce it a HIT!

There was much hilarity as Bette thought up a new nickname for the chaw-bacon, "the short sleeved 1950s docker" which made me laugh like a drain. They both kept me amused as they flicked through my "Recipes of the Stars" pamphlet. Yvonne de Carlo posing beside a stove in a backless dress was their favourite. Yvonne looks over her shoulder as she pretends to turn the oven on and Bette said, "that's the look I like, one eye on me and the other on the cooker".

Yvonne's recipe for Salome Salad dressing may be up next - it includes a can of tomato soup...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rhonda Fleming's Hollywood Ham Loaf

My lovely ex boyfriend Charley came round for dinner last night. As the man who re-introduced me to the pleasures of carnivorism after 12 years as a vegetarian I knew he would appreciate The Queen of Technicolor's Hollywood Ham Loaf. A loaf made almost entirely of MEAT is the perfect thing to cook up for a man like Charley.

There was much hilarity in the posh butcher’s shop in Crouch End when I strolled in to buy pork and ham. The recipe called for 2/3 lb cured ham and 1 and a 1/3 lb fresh pork. The three young turks in there joined me in trying to work out what half of these quantities would be as I was only cooking for two. It was a bit like one of those questions you get in a maths exam. What on earth is half of 1 and 1/3 of a pound? And what does that equate to in grams? I felt like some kind of granny in the days of decimalisation. Why did they get rid of shillings and farthings? Why can’t I buy fabric by the yard any more? Why can’t things just stay as they were in the olden days? Ah well, throw in the fact that the recipe had that mystery American measurement of “1 cup” and it could have been a recipe for disaster.

However, the more I cook my Silver Screen Suppers the more I have faith that everything is going to be OK. Even if those teenagers in the butcher’s shop say that they can’t mince the ham after mincing the pork due to the possibility of “cross contamination”. A chilled out attitude to quantities and the fact that no oven temperature or cooking time were given in the recipe resulted in an absolutely delicious brick of meat. Huzzah.

After dinner I treated Charley to two songs on the ukulele he bought me 5 years ago and I have only just learned to play. It was sort of bitter sweet as we sang along to “Aint She Sweet” and “Hey Good Looking” then reminisced a bit about the good old days. It is a great thing that we are still chums, brought together every now and then by a love of meat.

Two missed calls though from the chaw-bacon though. I declined an invite to go to a “Paris Swing Dance” earlier in the week so can only imagine that the first (around 10pm) was to tell me what I was missing. Luckily I didn’t get to the phone in time. The second was around 3am. Either the vast amount of alcohol consumed resulted in me sleeping right through the ringing of the phone OR my fairy godmother fiddled with the phone so that it didn’t actually ring.

Phoning me at 3am. What is he playing at eh?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Errol Flynn's Tomato Fest

"The public has always expected me to be a playboy, and a decent chap never lets his public down."

Last night was Flynn Night on the boat. Radio 2’s excellent “Putting on the Style” was all about the swashbuckling “man’s man” so I cooked up some of his Devilled Tomatoes and accompanied them with his very own “Pick Me Up” tipple loaded with vodka. Was great to hear about Flynn’s extreme vanity and womanising. It put me in mind of a “Choccie” I used to know… It made me laugh to hear how Lily Damita used to fly into jealous rages and throw plates at him. Ah, been there, felt that…

The tomato dish was really scrumptious. Involved quite a bit of fannying about but it was worth it. Despite the fact that it was a boiling hot evening in the metal sweatbox I ate inside because I didn’t want to miss a second of the tittle tattle. For a split second though I thought how nice the tomatoes would be on toast in front of the fire on a rainy Sunday afternoon with “The Adventures of Robin Hood” on the TV. Good times are coming.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ann Sothern's Salad for the Sisters

"I finally realized the happy medium, 'honey blonde' was the correct color and line for me."

Had my sistas over for lunch on the tub on Sunday and it was super. Very rare for Clara, Myrna, Veronica and I to all get together same place same time, so the frozen Margeritas flowed and Ann Sothern's French Bean Salad was scoffed. I am sure we made a very pretty picture in our floral day dresses and raffia hats sitting on the granny squares blanket enjoying the sunshine with drinks in hand. If only Lady Longhorn had been there to share the Lieutenant Blender with us it would have been total perfection.

The previous night I made Kay Stammers' "Winter Salad" for the Panther but goodness knows where my head was at because Kay Stammers, a glamorous tennis star of the 1930s "feted for her film-star looks and style" - was never in a movie. Who on earth was I confusing her with? I just don't know! I will find out next week when I go to my "lock-up" to retrieve all my memorabilia. But anyhow, a salad composed of lettuce, apples and celery hardly a Silver Screen Supper makes!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Penny Singleton's Spaghetti Caruso

“If I wanted something badly enough, I’ve gotten it.”

Apologies for the gap in the Silver Screen Suppers schedule which has occured due to intense courting on America’s Sweetheart of Song’s part, and a cat sitting stint in North London on mine. I’m hoping now that AS of S has returned from the fjords that she’ll be back in her pinny sharpish.

Meanwhile I am packing stuff up for an imminent move off the river. To where? Dunno. But this much I do know, Tuesdays from now on will DEFINITELY be SSS day because to my JOY there is a new slot in the Radio 2 schedule. Not only is there Desmond Carrington (who else would play the 1920s ditty “What Can You Buy a Nudist For Her Birthday?” alongside David Byrne’s version of “Don’t Fence Me In?”) followed by “The Organist Entertains” (Wurlitzers a go-go) but last night the first in a new series called “Putting on More Style”. Billed by the BBC website as: “a four part series about Hollywood Icons famous for their style” - whoopee. Last night’s was a fabulous portrait of Katharine Hepburn. If only I had known I could have cooked a Hepburn recipe (if there is one in print anywhere). She notoriously shunned most of the silliness of the studio publicity machine so methinks she might have refused to play the celebrity recipe game.

I am now desperately trying to find out who will be featured next week so I can plan the menu.

However, last night as I hung on R2s every word Penny Singleton (better known as “Blondie”) kept me amused with her Spaghetti Caruso recipe. Being of the squeamish type it took me ages to separate the fleshy bits of the chicken livers from the stringy bits but the resulting sauce was GOOD. I ate it up on the roof with my back to the Newlyweds who were having a romantic dinner a deux on their boat. He sure didn’t waste any time getting a new beau after Mrs Makeup left I see, perhaps they knew each other of old…

Friday, July 21, 2006

Anna Neagle's Waldorf Salad

All good intentions of doing chores were swept away last night by the offer of a trip upstream to Richmond on S&N’s boat. It was a beautiful evening for a little chug past Eel Pie Island, multiple swans’ nests and riverside loafers. Still, I did manage to rustle up a Waldorf Salad when I got back which I ate on the roof. Alas, no time to attempt the home made mayonnaise that Anna recommends but Hellmann’s came to the rescue.

I can’t eat Waldorf Salad without thinking of Fawlty Towers. I’m sure there wasn’t any beetroot mentioned back then…

Monday, July 17, 2006

Psycho Salad

"You're beautiful. You're a beautiful kid!"

Rita Hayworth threw a "pot luck" party on Friday night for the writing circle. We all had to bring a little something to eat so I though it would be a chance for a Silver Screen Somethingoranother.

As I was out all day being filmed by those lovely people at the BBC, I needed something I could rustle up at Rita's. That gorgeous boy Anthony Perkins came up with the ideal dish. His Tuna Fish Salad (renamed by us as "Psycho Salad") fit the bill perfectly and we ate it ALL with tortilla chips. The evening was most entertaining and thought provoking. The outrageous Rita had me laughing like a drain but of course, now I cannot remember what it was that tickled us so. I blame the booze.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jimmy Stewart's Chicken Breast Italiano

"Not all of us were working at the same time, but enough of us.
Hank Fonda knew how to cook rice.
We lived pretty much on a rice diet."

On Friday Rosalind came over to the tub bringing her lovely new beau Jimmy Stewart. I thought I should cook him something by his namesake but couldn't find anything amongst my heaving shelf of vintage cookbooks and 1940s film fan mags. I therefore resorted to the world wide interweb machine to source a recipe and stumbled upon Jimmy Stewart's Chicken Breast Italiano. This could of course be any chef by the name of Jimmy Stewart or indeed just someone's neighbour who is a dab hand in the kitchen, but I am sincerely hoping it is a personal recipe from the stove of "Zuzu's Petals" Jimmy.

I rustled it up despite only having UHT cream from Mr Riverside and we ate it on the roof. To my mind it was pretty curdled but luckily it was eaten by candlelight and my two guests returned clean plates with compliments (they can come again).

On Sunday Rosalind was on a cleaning jag and not only cleaned but also reorganised all my kitchen cupboards and fridge putting "like with like". Now of course I am engaged in a slapstick comedyesque opening and closing of a million cupboard doors in order to find what I am looking for but I DO love her for it.

The search begins for Henry Fonda's rice recipe. Rice, water and salt I guess but maybe he had some kind of Fonda family secret ingredient...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Joan Bennett's Beetroot Salad

“I turned my hair dark and
have received much better parts ever since."

Omigoodness the day I had yesterday. I know just how Joan felt having to drag that dead body up the beach in "The Reckless Moment". I was completely shattered by a combination of tellings off, crying jags, getting lost in Isleworth and ear bashings about the property ladder. I could quite easily have got straight into bed to listen to the football on my transistor radio but instead decided to follow the original plan of rustling up a Silver Screen Supper for me, myself and I.

The resulting violet tinted salad was actually quite delicious. I had a few teaspoonfuls before laying my weary head on the polka dot pillow putting my thumb in my mouth and deciding that the world and his wife could just KMSWA.

Joan was of course Constance’s sister. Unfortunatly, don't think the Beetroot Salad and Spanish Chicken would go well together. Love this quote from Joan though.

“That beautiful sister of mine was an overwhelming and volatile mixture. One had the feeling that she'd been shot from a canon and showered her sparks over an incredulous world with no thought or care where they fell, a carbon copy of father.”

So not only did Constance trail her cometary glory all over Scotland she showered her sparks all over the world. What a gal!

Hunting down recipes from her father and the third of the acting sisters begins right now.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rosalind Russell's Garden Vegetable Salad

“Flops are a part of life's menu and I've never been a girl
to miss out on any of the courses.”

How right RR was – her salad was indeed a flop. The kind of salad an elderly relative might cobble together so that there is something “healthy” to have with cheap sausages at a barbecue. I’m glad I tried it out last night in advance of my very own Rosalind Russell coming over for dinner next Friday night. Certainly not something I would inflict on guests. Jeesh.

I guess I may have just lost my appetite though after sending a “burning your budgies” text to the chaw-bacon. I do NOT want to meet him for a drink and decided that rather than just putting him off with lame excuses I should just tell him so, and did.

Maybe this then was the cause for the heartburn rather than the radishes…

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kim Novak's Chili Rellenos

Lady Longhorn will be laughing into her corn chowder when she reads Kim's fanciful recipe for Chili Rellenos. Not authentic Mexican ingredients by any means. However, Groucho wanted "Mexican" food as the big match on Saturday night was Argentina v Mexico. The only Silver Screen Recipe I had at my disposal with any kind of Mexicana appeal was Kim's. So I gave it my best shot (modifying it for the vegetarian appetite) and was rewarded with a typically grouchy Groucho comment "it's a bit like student food". Well yes, that is true. But victory was mine when later he discovered more in the kitchen, "you didn't tell me there was some left," he said getting his spoon out, "I'll have that!"

A veiled compliment from Groucho is worth more to me than a hundred from anyone else. He always speaks his mind and as he says, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others".

Like Groucho, "I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty" and I love him and his lovely wife so much as they foot the bill for everything except scones when I go visit them in their country pile in Suffolk. A very generous pair who live by the Groucho rule: "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made".

Friday, June 23, 2006

Helen Twelvetrees' Wakimoli Salad

"Between pictures I go away. I think that is the best way to achieve happiness in Hollywood, the only way to keep one's perspective. If you stay too close to the motion picture colony you lose your sense of values."

Oooh the ladies did enjoy Helen's Wakimoli. It was like Guacamole only even nicer. Because it had the devil of all condiments – MAYONNAISE - in it. Mmm. We scoffed the lot between three of us with tortilla chips whilst showing off our knowledge of boyspeak football style. There was talk of “set pieces” and “body memory” and even one mention of a “nutmeg”.

The only downside of the Wakimoli was that next morning I felt as though I’d been the victim of that stage hypnotist’s trick where they make you eat a whole onion by telling you it is an apple...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wakimoli Schmakimoli

Tonight is "ladies football night" at Paulette Godard's place. Brazil are playing so we will have plenty to occupy our hearts and minds. We've all been asked to bring some grub so I thought it might be a good chance to try out Helen Twelvetrees' "Wakimoli Salad". Guacamole by any other name it seems to me. So I trapsed up Salusbury Road this lunchtime in search of avocados and my little corner shop up there with all the fruit and veggies out front had none. I asked the handsome fellow in the doorway if he had any and he said, "The avocados they are finish". I said, "Oh, are they out of season now?" and he repeated his earlier statement, "The avocados they are finish".

Hmm. Wakimoli without avocadoes is no Wakimoli at all. What else can I rustle up in someone else's kitchen without embarrassment?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Champion Toad In The Hole

Aha! It makes my heart glad to see that America's Sweetheart of Song is now cooking away out there in the Lone Star State. Go Ruthie!

One re-run and one near disaster on the cooking front this weekend. I made Constance's chicken dish for the delight of El Pantero Negra on Saturday night. I was late getting to the supermarket and they only had breast rather than thighs (unlike myself). Stick to the thunder thighs I now say. After 8 years of being told by Charley Chase that the breast of a chicken is bland and that all other bits are nicer, I have to say I am coming around to that way of thinking myself. After dinner the Panther took me to a NIGHTCLUB where the dancing started at 11pm. Fancy that! I am usually in my boat bed by 9pm. I suppose LATE was the way of nights out in the good old days of Hollywood anyhow. I imagine Constance had quite a few boozy boogies herself, although I doubt it was to old skool reggae.

On Sunday as I was cooking for boat buddies I thought I should rustle up a new SSS number. As the only option for groceries was Mr Riverside I was somewhat scuppered. The only recipe I had the wherewithal to make was Our Gracie's Toad in the Hole. The crazy boat oven has no temperature dial, only a squiggly line that ends in an arrow drawn on with a black marker pen at about the 7 o'clock spot. I drew this on under supervision of the landlady about a year ago when she showed me how the oven worked. Neither of us can now remember what this squiggly arrow was designed to indicate. For purely aesthetic reasons I always cook everything at whatever crazy temperature this is. Due to the recent excellent public information campaign on British TV about cooking things thoroughly on a barbecue to avoid food poisoning I was concerned about the bangers. Charred on the outside and pink on the inside. However, as we chowed down the dish was proclaimed "tasty" and the Toads "definitely cooked". The landlady's beau observed however, that the Hole might have benefited from some onions thrown in.

I am thrilled to have discovered all manner of old fashioned things in my local Waitrose. Not only can you buy blocks of DRIPPING - (oh yes Mr Butcher of Kilburn High Road, not such a "thing of the past") but also LARD and COOKEEN - I suspect the latter might do for all those American recipes requiring "shortening". This project is proving to be quite an eye opener when it comes to FATS especially those which come in a disgusting looking solid white blocks.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

dick powell's delightful corn chowder

in the scorching texas heat, which has not been under 100 degrees for over a month, one does not immediately think of HOT SOUP for dinner. that is, unless it is a corn chowder by the divine dick powell. yes indeed, time had finally come for this stateside film archivist to get with the program and begin cooking. armed with a newly won ebay cookbook dedicated to the late will rogers, very, very vague directions, and a seriously sassy apron, i began celebrating the glory that the man whose movie proclaims the glory of "pettin' in the park..." yes, this corn chowder is definitely 1930s crooning dick p., rather than snarky 1940s dick powell, private eye. end product = delish, yet said vague directions gave a bit of pause during the process. thank heavens i have spent a lot of time by the side of my grandmother cookin' over a kansas stove to get an idea of how to "thicken" a broth... (hint: flour, but not too much as you can end up with a very odd looking soup.) i must say that my gravest concern over this project is that i will end up gaining 435 pounds in the process - and end up looking a bit orson welles like by september.

onward ho!!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Constance Bennett's Spanish Chicken

“I'm a lot more sartorial than thespian. They come to see me
and go out humming the costumes.”

Delicious, delicious, delicious. Constance was spreading her cometary glory all around our island last night as we scoffed her Spanish Chicken on the fuel pontoon. After much moving around of tubs in the early evening the landlady and her beau ended up with the best mooring on the island. Alas, for them it is "for one night only" (their turn to have their bottom scrubbed) so we made the most of it. Edmund and I carried the hot pots and pans along the pontoons. Landlady and beau borrowed plastic table and chairs from other residents and we quaffed wine and scoffed chicken as the sun went down and the aircraft and geese roared overhead.

Landlady's beau decided that The Fuel Pontoon would be a great name for a floating restaurant and we had a little flight of fancy as to the possibility of a Silver Screen Suppers themed club where you could eat the nosh and watch the movie. As the last recipe I did was Clark Gable's I guess the film to watch with Constance's chicken would have to be the MARVELLOUS sounding "Starlit Days at the Lido" in which they both appeared. You don't get movies with names like THAT any more do you?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Touched By Her Cometary Glory

A change of plan for Edmund's dinner tonight as Carole's ribs take aeons to cook. Instead we will be having Constance Bennett's Spanish Chicken. E sent a textual message asking "will it be touched by her cometary glory like James Agate suggests?"

Well we shall see...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Supper Smash

The Queen of entertaining Rosalind rustled up some superb Supper Smash last night. This is convenience food British style to rival the Bisquik. Those of a certain age on these shores will remember the "For Mash, Get Smash" advertising campaign and those a bit younger might even recall "Pot Smash" a short-lived potato version of Pot Noodle that had CROUTONS.

Mm but it was good. Stumbling to R's place from Bradley's Spanish Bar where we had been quaffing beer and talking about BOYS for hours, we were absolutely famished. RR put the kettle on and got a foil package out of the cupboard. Perfect consistency mash followed, served in individual bowls with some butter mashed in, a sliver of cheese on the side and (in mine) some of that squeezy mustard.

Current sofabed resident Montgomery refused our offer of Smash. He has a rather refined palate. When I woke him up this morning cussing the plank of wood in the hall upon which I had stubbed my toe he accused me of being "still smashed on Smash". Yes.

Now I know for a fact that Lady Longhorn has cooked up the chowder so we should expect a post from her soon. I spoke to her via transatlantic telephone call yesterday and sincerely hope there is some kind of American version of Smash available out there in Texas. It is a cure for all traumas, comfort food to rival a bowl of hot creamed rice with a cube of chocolate gently melting in the middle. I only wish I lived closer so that I could rustle up a bowl of Supper Smash for Ms Longhorn right now. For THAT is what friends are for in times of trouble...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In The Middle Of The Thames

Much excitement Thameside as the boat is back in the water. But not in its usual spot - secured next to the FUEL PONTOON for a few days. And this means right in the middle of the river basically. Fab views with birdlife all around. Those crazy headed Grebe things dive down for fish and you don't see them again for hours. Black Swans and Canada Geese all over the shop and this morning a strange mist rolling over from the opposite bank. Glorious. Wish my bird spotter's book wasn't in the lock-up. How sad!

Also excited about boat visitor on Thursday. Fellow film archivist Edmund Gwenn is leaving his country pile for a few days and coming over for Carole Lombard's ribs. Mucho fun will be had as he regales me with impressions of Jessie Matthews and tales of derring-do at "The Loft".

Life is goooooooooooooooood.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Clark Gable's Hunter's Breakfast

"Hell, if I'd jumped on all the dames I'm supposed to have jumped on,
I'd have had no time to go fishing. "

The only kind of hunting I do at the moment is MANHUNTING but Clark's breakfast sure did set me up for the day yesterday. Tesco's came up trumps with their "batter mix" which doesn't have the same ring as "Bisquick" but did the job. I THOUGHT that I didn't like pancakes but in my single girl haven looking out at a beautiful day on the river I enjoyed them very much. Lady Longhorn insisted that Gable's specified "bacon" was "American bacon and NOT crazy British bacon". I have no idea what American bacon is but had a picture in my mind of something ROUND so bought Wilthire cured ham and had that with a fried egg on top. Mmmm.

I guess when stinking thinking gets me pondering on how I ended up a being such a sad and lonely little rockabilly girl on a sunny Sunday morning, and I start feeling it is such a goddamn shame there is nobody else in my boat bed but me, I should just get my buns in the kitchen and cook myself up a delicious breakfast like that. Who cares if "man the hunter" isn't there?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dick Powell's Trousers

Have spent a glorious day at the newspaper library in Colindale searching 1930s fan mags for silver screen recipes. Alas, zilch. Saw some fun things along the way though including a remarkable press photograph of Dick Powell in "Cowboy From Brooklyn" wearing the campest chaps I have ever seen (and I have seen plenty of camp chaps).

I know for a fact that Lady Longhorn is cooking a Dick Powell number this very weekend over there in cowboy country. She's had trouble getting off the starting blocks (due to neighbours trauma) but I am expecting a sprint from her very soon. Once she gets going she'll be like a dog with a bone no doubt. This kind of thing is highly addictive. I am planning a Clark and Carole tribute day tomorrow with Gable's "Hunter's Breakfast" in the morning and Lombard's "Barbecued Spare Ribs" in the evening. Not her very own spare ribs you understand. Personally, I have never bought ribs in my life. Does one just ask the butcher for a rack of ribs? How in the name of Carole Lombard does it work?

The proposed "Hunter's Breakfast" shebang provoked a hilarious exchange of emails yesterday with Lady L as, being a Brit, I had no idea what BISQUICK was. As this is sort of the mainstay of the breakfast of "he who hunts" I've had to find out. I shall be prowling the "home baking" shelves of Tesco later looking for a replacement packet of powder very soon. I have only ever eaten pancakes for breakfast in the US. We don't really do it here. So it's going to be quite an exotic brunch. It will be just like IHOP only IBOP - International Boat of Pancakes.

Thursday's date was fab and he says he will "call me". I met the flesh and bones version of Radio 4 soap star "Lilian Bellamy" who told me that the last time she was at Hampton Court she was there to see a "Burly Chassis" gig - which might not make sense to those across the pond but made me laugh like a drain. She had old school Hollywood style glamour. Skin tight lime green frock, real looking tan and silver grey hair in an Armani style wave with a tiny pink streak in the fringe! My escort was wearing an Oswald Boateng suit with yellow silk lining and the food was by Gordon Ramsay (or he "designed the menu" or whatever). Heels were actually banned not because of the lawns but because we were some of the select having our posh nosh in the "Great Hall", parquet floored and resplendent with dead animals and dusty tapestries. I had my photograph taking holding a rather splendid rhubarb dessert. Is rhubarb big in the US?