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?