Friday, November 27, 2009

Marilyn Monroe's ???

"I don't want to make money.
I just want to be wonderful."

Same here Marilyn.

It's rare that I write a post without it relating to a star's actual recipe but this week has been Marilyn week and there is still NO RECIPE. I guess Marilyn was outside the key era for film star recipes being published (1920s and 1930s) but there MUST be one out there somewhere. The call is out. If anyone knows of one, please let us know. We know from Katharine in Cardiff that Marilyn DID cook but it would be just ELEGANT if we could find one of her actual recipes.

I am off to Cardiff this weekend - very exciting. There will be a Silver Screen Suppers extravaganza on Sunday with many, many film star dishes on offer. I'm going to give a little talk about the project and hopefully score some more test cooks. The call for second round of testing should be going out this week so if you fancy having a go at one of the recipes that hopefully will make it into the book drop me a line.

Last Sunday I was invited to Paulette & Ivor's place for a screening of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It was the first time Shirley (aged 9) had seen it and it was great to see her reaction to the whole shebang. The funniest moment was when Ivor said something about how his wife was just as beautiful as Marilyn and Jane. Their little angel Shirley (sitting between myself and another female guest) said, "What about these two?" pointing to us. She followed this up with the statement, "Just because you are old and withered, doesn't mean you're not pretty".

I THINK that it was meant as a compliment....

I'm watching "The Seven Year Itch" and Marilyn has just gone upstairs and changed into a fabulous frock as she thinks that, "it just isn't right to drink champagne in Matador Pants." Ha ha! Billy Wilder was so right when he said of Monroe, "There has never been a woman with such voltage on the screen, with the exception of Garbo." Voltage. Hm. Interesting. I think I may have to replace my fuse. I've been operating at low voltage lately. But birthday / Christmas season is coming up. I am going to crank it up.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Myrna Loy's Senegalaise Soup

"Some perfect wife I am. I`ve been married four times,
divorced four times, have no children, and can`t boil an egg."

Well I'm not sure that Myrna was being totally honest about the egg boiling, because her recipe for Senegalaise Soup was absolutely scrumptious.

A bunch of us from work had a fantastic evening at Nazimova's place last night. I made her put on the oven glove she burned a hole in the last time she cooked for me TWICE because it makes me laugh so much. It was great watching her cook Myrna's soup through the hatch. When I grow up I want a kitchen with a hatch!

We had no idea how a soup incorporating apples, curry powder and chicken would turn out but there is no doubt about it, this recipe is a HIT. Naz also prepared us some traditional Prebranac and Ajvar which we set upon with gusto. I resisted the toast with special "G. Butter" though, as I vividly remember what happened last time...

A screening of the legendary Rum Jam films "Milkman" and "The Proposal" followed dinner. There was much hilarity when someone we know and love from the office popped up in the back seat of a Citroen looking mightily dishevelled. How very cool to have a screen to pull down and a DVD projector in your own living room. I want to live like Nazimova! She has promised to teach me how to make Prebranac sometime which I am very much looking forward to...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Joan Bennett's Baked Salmon

"With all of Constance's juggling of dates over the years,
I started out as the youngest, then became her twin
and finally wound up as the oldest sister."

It's a Bennett sisters bonanza this weekend. My very own Sister of the Shellac Veronica is coming over tonight for baked salmon then I'll be cooking up Constance's Spanish Chicken tomorrow for Ava and Edmund. "Sisters, sisters, never were there such devoted sisters..." I am enjoying lots of sisterly stuff at the moment both from my real one (love the email system) and my surrogate ones. Lots of girl energy this week.

Isn't this picture of Joan amazing? I shall be channeling her energy this evening as I am going on what feels like my first night out as a single woman for around 15 months. Weird. After the salmon Veronica and I are going OUT. Yes, OUT. I've forgotten how to do it...

Regarding the salmon, it's a bit of an experiment. Joan's recipe includes bacon and as Veronica is a veggie I am replacing that with tempeh. Could be good, could be a disaster, we shall see.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tallulah Bankhead's Coconut Jumbles

“Nobody can be exactly me.
Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.”

Got a fab freelance commission this week - selecting fashion films of the 1940s and writing about them. Film archiving doesn't get much better than that! In discussion over a burger and fries my commisioners concluded that although folks have a strong idea about what 1940s fashion looks like - the 1930s is a bit of a forgotten era fashion-wise. But here is Tallulah rocking the very best look of the era - a white, slinky, silky, bias cut evening gown. YUM.

I'm getting excited about my impending visit to Austin. Not least because I am going to meet some of the lovely test cooks who are doing sterling work in the Lone Star State. One such is Gene, who gave a detailed response to the challenge of Tallulah's Coconut Jumbles. Again, Tallulah's dough was too sticky for rolling and Gene offered the alternative of making dropped cookies instead of cut out cookies. Makes sense! Although her hubby liked them, Gene thought they tasted like a "heap of cooked flour more than anything else". Hmm. This one may need another attempt in the Crouch End kitchen. Food dye and dessicated coconut here I come!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Deanna Durbin's Santa Monica Dressing

Yes, I know it's too early to start thinking about Christmas but I just couldn't resist!

I can only imagine the shenanigans going on Stateside regarding the wedding of the century. I think it is all out in the open so I hope I'm not giving the game away by saying I'll be travelling to Austin, Texas in January to see my Sister of the Skillet tie the knot. Let's get Christmas out of the way QUICK, I can't wait! I have already bought a dress equally showstopping as Deanna's for the occasion...

Ruth is leaving the organisation to her mom, who if test cooking is anything to go by is amply equipped to organise absolutely anything! Here are her verdicts on the first three recipes she rustled up for us. Firstly Joel McCrea's Frojoles with Cheese - a one word verdict - Bad!

Surprisingly (especially as it is one of my favourites) Jean is the only person who volunteered to test cook Constance Bennett's Spanish Chicken. But the "disjoint two fat hens as for frying" instruction has been queried - one is quite enough she says!

Last but not least, Deanna's Salad Dressing. A "bit of a pain" to make as it has so many ingredients says Jean, but the verdict was "good" and "similar to a Louis Dressing". Of course I had to look this up on Wikipedia and I'm pleased to see that this is the dressing used in a Crab Louis dish.

Cary Grant's Crab Louis here I come!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lupe Velez's Orange Flower Appetizer

All is right with the world. I have an afternoon of writing ahead, there is a casserole in the slow cooker and an episode of Columbo has just started on ITV. A perfect Sunday.

My most excellent weekend began on Friday with me being hostess for the book group. As we'd been reading "Me, Cheeta" it was a jungle themed evening with Paulette and myself sporting leopard print and preparing some Tarzan related foodstuffs together. First as a starter, Lupe's Orange Flower Appetizer which was quite, quite charming. Fun and easy to make - half a greengage with a little swirl of cream cheese making the centre of the flower and orange segments forming the petals. There was a complaint that I hadn't (as Lupe prescribed) presented it on crystal plates but that just made me more inclined to buy some - ebay here I come.

The William Powell Beets Piquants which accompanied Nigella's fishcakes were very much enjoyed. Deceptively simple ingredients yet again surprising the palate. Paulette's wonderful rendition of Johnnie Weissmuller's Apricot Meringue Pie rounded off the evening and I am very pleased to report that I have some leftovers in the fridge for my tea.

More good feminine energy was provided over the weekend by Joan and Bette. I nipped down to Brighton to see them yesterday and it was great to find them both in top form getting ready for the imminent arrival of their baby. Talked long into the night with Joan about volatile relationships. Fascinating...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lilian Gish's Lemon Pie

"The older I get, the more I believe in what I can't
explain or understand, even more than the things
that are explainable and understandable."

Yes Lilian, I understand. Or at least I think I do. Please explain.

I can't really understand or explain how I managed to get my hands on my number one heart-throb Ricky Whittle on Saturday night in Blackpool. The universe works in mysterious ways and this glorious encounter has given me enough good palpitations to last for a fair few months. Ask, believe, receive indeed. I know that some of the ladies who read this blog and know who Ricky Whittle is will want more details but alas, I'm afraid that,"What happens in Blackpool stays in Blackpool."

Anyhow, I am VERY behind on reporting on the test cooking that has been going on all over the world so am planning to get right back into that this week. We are putting out a second call for testers very soon so if you are game to assist please just drop us an email at

Ruthie's cousin Judy had a go at Lilian's Lemon Pie and the report back was very pleasing. "It was a hit" said Judy and elaborated:
"It's a light and fluffy way to approach a lemon pie. Really refreshing and not too heavy. Good spring or summer recipe. (And this is perfect for Ms Gish, as she probably would've been watching her weight anyway...)" Very true - she was a teeny tiny little thing La Gish. And not as sweet as you'd think according to Marion Davies...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Janet Gaynor's Ice Box Cookies

I have had a terrible few days. Disappointed in love (amazed at how low some people will go), disappointed in my handwashing skills (shrank a gorgeous vintage frock) and disappointed with Amy Winehouse's Beloved Camden Cobbles (ripped the heel off a favourite pair of shoes). Was feeling very down in the dumps until I checked my emails and found I had WON AN AWARD!

I feel like I have won an OSCAR as Matthew over at Movietone-News has awarded me a Kreativ Blogger award. Yowzer. Soooooooo chuffed. Apparently there are two conditions involved in accepting the award. First, one must list seven other blogs to receive the award, and secondly reveal 'seven things you don't know about me'. So here we go. My current favourite 7 blogs - click on the blue name to check them out for yourselves:

Silent Stanzas - wonderful poetry about stars of the silent era
Carole Lombard - my favourite single star website - just gorgeous
Allure - I'd like some please
Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog - one of the first blogs I ever read, and it still tickles me
Matilda's Delights - always something lovely to look at
Sassy Minx - my cheerleader
Kemp Folds - silly but I love it

And seven things you MAY not know about me:

1 - My hair IS longer than Anna Mae Wong's (see post from Oct 16th) - 25 inches long in fact, from centre parting to split ends.
2 - Like Marilyn Monroe in "How To Marry A Millionaire" I am far too vain to wear my glasses.
3 - I come over all peculiar if I ever see Fran Healy or Ricky Whittle on the telebox.
4 - I strongly dislike my best friend's favourite classic movie (she does not know this).
5 - The film I have watched more than any other is Gone With The Wind.
6 - I don't like to touch any tea towel unless it belongs to me.
7 - Janet Gaynor's Ice Box Cookies are my favourite thing to cook.

I shall now bask in the glory of being an award winner - how utterly, utterly lovely!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Vincent Price's Sweetcorn Fritters

"I sometimes feel that I'm impersonating the dark unconscious
of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it."

I am learning a lot about the dark unconscious of the human race this week Vincent, but luckily I am also doing things to balance it out.

Like running up and down the stairs every five minutes for the trick or treaters last night. What kind of INSANITY was going on in the streets of the Crouch? When I got in loads of goodies when I lived in Amersham not a single child knocked on my door. Last night there were HOARDS of them. Madness. By the time Shirley and her posse got here all I had left was ONE chocolate eyeball and 15 chocolate skeletons. I am buying 3 times as many treats next year. I had to stop answering the door.

I had Vincent's corn fritters with my steak last night. I have to say it was the most delicious steak I have ever eaten - apart from maybe the steak at the crazy Italian place I used to go to with Charley. Luckily Vincent's recipe was very generous so I only ate half of the steak last night and had the rest of it tonight. Double bubble!