Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Myrna Loy's Senegalaise Soup

“Life, is not a having and a getting,
but a being and a becoming.”

I'm going to ponder that over the next few days Myrna, what with the end of the decade fast approaching and resolutions to be made...

I had a go at Myrna's soup for the first time, simplicity itself and yummy too. I did prefer Nazimova's version but maybe that is because other people's cooking is always nicer than one's own. It's a good little recipe though and a definite for the book. Apples, onions, curry powder and chicken essentially. Mmmmm.

I'm busy, busy, busy this week. Trying to get a head start on my tax return before I head off to TEXAS. I am beside myself with excitement.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Roland Young's Rissoles

I'm as surprised as Roland is that the rissoles are not an annual tradition as I first thought. The last time I made them was the year before last and they didn't make an appearance in 2008. I am shocked!

I hereby pronounce them an annual tradition. The best, best, best way of making the most of the annual post Christmas food parcel. I chopped up the turkey slices, pigs in blankets, stuffing and bacon and mixed them up with the other ingredients Roland suggested and they made the most yummy little patties ever.

I had to make a last minute plan today. Charley was poised for a trip to the countryside but Rosalind and Jimmy had to wait in for the cable guy. Hence a luncheon party in the Crouch seemed the best option and we had a late lunch (Linner / Dunch) incorporating Roland's Rissoles.

Alas, nobody knew the classic phrase to quote when invited to such a repast, as Ginger would have put it when invited to a last minute lunch: "I'll be round like a rissole!"

Betty Grable's Watermelon Pickles

“It's loud, it's cheap, it's gaudy.
It's like everything I've ever done - I LOVE IT!”

Well, Betty's pickles were sampled on Boxing Day with a large amount of cheese and cold meats. My mum, as always, was very polite and said, "I would class these as an acquired taste" and they were certainly unusual as pickles go. I pronounced them to be "clovetastic" as they smelt and tasted like a visit to the dentist. But many thanks go out to Cary who had the patience to make them for us and I'll ask him what he REALLY thought of them when I see him next.

Christmas was LOVELY. Just me, my folks and 2 waifs and strays who couldn't get to their family because of the snow. My favourite part of Christmas Day was when we all had a "zizz", as my dad calls it, after lunch. He set the alarm so that we could have an hour and a half of shut eye and wake up in time for a game of Walkers Whist before Poirot. Ha ha - a trad Christmas alright!

And today I must rush as I have Rosalind, Jimmy and Charley coming round for rissoles...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rita Hayworth's Angel Food Cake

I am seeing my Shellac Sister Jean this evening and I'd forgotten that she had quite a success with the Rita Hayworth cake. We are DJing at Kokos in Camden (formerly the Camden Palace) and I'm going to ask her about her egg white whisking between discs.

It's the first time I have really felt sad about the hundreds of records I had to leave behind when I split with Sidney. My CHRISTMAS 78s are all there so I have nothing festive to play tonight. Let's hope Clara has some Xmas Swing in one of her boxes.

Jean took her cake to work and got great feedback from colleagues, most saying how light it was (in marked contrast to the brick I made at the weekend). Some suggested accompaniments such as peach / apricot compote (Will in the Arts team), fruit and yoghurt (Auntie Jean) and stem ginger (Denise in the Sports team). Mmmm, that would be nice and Christmassy.

Speaking of which I'd like to wish all my readers the most fabulous Christmas and fantabulosa New Year. 2009 has been a bit crummy at times, but 2010 is going to be ace. As Bob Hope puts it, "My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" Right on Bob!

So let's all have a great big love in, not just for Christmas - for always! Happy holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Clara Bow's Vanilla Marlow

"A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry when one is
tired, hurt and bewildered"

I've been feeling a bit like that myself lately Clara but it's getting better...

London is FROZEN. It took me two hours to get home from work as trains were on go-slow, buses were cancelled or turned back from slippery hills and I had to walk all the way from Archway. Blitz spirit prevailed as we all tried not to fall over shuffling down Crouch Hill to the Broadway. It's like a Victorian scene outside my house, I just looked out the window and there is a bunch of boys chucking snowballs at each other. Lovely.

So it seems an apt kind of evening to blog the results of Lita's testing of the Marlow - not a success alas. I'm going to have to write more in depth instructions about cream whipping and milk steaming I think. Lita approached the recipe with gusto - but rather too much gusto unfotunately and the resulting curdled mess did not impress her husband! Attempting to fix the marlow reduced this very glamorous domestic goddess to a jibbering wreck but she did volunteer to give it another go once she has recovered from her diva moment!

Not right now though, too bloody cold for ice-cream!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gloria Swanson's Butterless Devil's Food Cake

"I feel sure that unborn babies
pick their parents."

Well if that is true Gloria, I have very good taste!

Today I went up to Suffolk for a surprise 80th birthday party for my lovely mum. Miraculously all 5 of us kids made it - despite the snow, plus assorted partners and a smattering of grandchildren. We had a lovely time as the wine flowed freely as did the conversation. It was just wonderful.

My plan of taking a Gloria Swanson Devil's Food Cake AND a Rita Hayworth's Angel's Food Cake FAILED. I blame two things firstly, not using the right tools for the job (my soup masher just would not whip the egg whites to stiff - it got very, very hot and smelt a bit like a fairground dodgem - it may well be bust) secondly RICKY WHITTLE. Gloria's cake stuck to the cake mould and ultimately never made it out of the kitchen because I lost track of how long it had been in the oven due to Mr Whittle's Cha-Cha. My goodness me. Rita's made it to Suffolk but although it looked lovely, had the texture of a brick. More testing required and a wire whisk to be bought.

Despite me feeling like a very poor cook today it ultimately didn't matter as there was mountains of food and mountains of love so a stodgy birthday cake wasn't really anything to worry about...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rita Hayworth's Angel Food Cake

"We are all tied to our destiny
and there is no way we can liberate ourselves."

Hmm, but what does destiny have in store for me Rita, Rita Peanut Eater?

I have a Rita Hayworth's Angel's Food Cake in the oven, to be followed by a Gloria Swanson's Devil's Food Cake. These are for a very special event happening tomorrow but I can't reveal what it is in case a certain someone reads this blog and twigs that there is a surprise party being hatched. It will be intriguing to see which of the guests chooses to be Angelic and who Devilish...

Yesterday was a lovely, lovely day. I finally got my waist length hair chopped to collarbone length so I can do some Rita style hairdos. Pincurls here I come. My new hairdresser is a peach! Her salon in Primrose Hill is full of original 1920s bits and pieces and she knows all about vintage hairdos. My appointment was at noon and the first question was, "Do you feel it is too early for a mulled wine?" Hell no! There were also homemade biscuits, yum, yum, yum!

I'd never met Lisa before, but she and her mum have test cooked LOTS of the Silver Screen Suppers recipes as my lovely friend Hugh had told them about the project. So I'll be posting their feedback here soon. Great, great, great to meet in person some test cooks who were previously just an email address...

Lisa's lovely salon - http://lisahauck.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ann Sheridan's Chili Casserole

"They nicknamed me "The Oomph Girl",
and I loathe that nickname!"

Ann's casserole is in the oven. The first in my new batch of test cooking. I'm really doing it properly, making copious notes and working my way through the whole list of sixty something - even Katharine's Eggplant dish - yeach! Everyone is welcome to join in!

There is something really nice about making something then leaving it to cook for an hour or so and doing something else while delicious smells fill the air. Maybe that's why most of my star favourites are casseroles - Marlene's Lamb Chops, Constance's Spanish Chicken and Ann's Chili. All gorgeous. There's a picture on the flickr site...

By a fantastic quirk of fate I have switched on the TV to find that "Who Do You Think You Are "is on and for reasons I can't explain right now (top, top secret) I am particularly interested in this one as it is all about Alastair McGowan finding out exactly what Anglo-Indian actually means... Fascinating stuff....

I'm off now to switch on my birthday electric blanket - the perfect gift from the lovely Rosalind and Jimmy. My room is awful cold!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dorothy Lamour's Strawberry Ice Cream

"I felt like a wonderful sandwich,
a slice of white bread between two slices of ham."

So said Dorothy of working with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby - ha ha!

It's been my birthday week and chock full of fabulousness. My feet have barely touched the ground and it isn't over yet! I've seen many friends old and new, received two sung birthday greetings and many felicitations through the post, interweb and telephone. Feel very loved, and happy to be alive. Birthdays. Good. As Gloria Swanson puts it, "I don't let age bother me. Whenever I am a year older, everyone else is too."

So it's a chance to blog Dale's findings on Dorothy's Ice Cream Recipe. Dorothy was born on the same day as me but around 50 years earlier (you can do the "math" if you care to!) so she is my honorary birthday buddy. Can you see a likeness? The conk is big enough!

I haven't made her ice cream myself but Dale pronounces it time consuming but good. "Fat + sugar + strawberries = super easy deliciousness," she says. Dale is one of our most dedicated test cooks and she made two versions - one in her ice-cream maker and one in the old fashioned way (using the NORGE!) - verdict? Her guests preferred the flavour of the latter and the texture of the former.

When the weather gets warmer I shall have a go at this recipe. At the rate I am filling the house with purchases from the Crouch End kitchen shop I will probably have an ice cream maker myself by then!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Rita Hayworth's Angel Food Cake

"After all, a girl is - well, a girl.
It's nice to be told you're successful at it."

I should say you were Rita! Extremely successful at it!

I'm going to be channeling Rita's spirit during my birthday week. I have bought myself a birthday gift - heated rollers - and will be attempting to do the Hayworth "do" for the work Xmas party tomorrow. Watch out Gilgamesh!

I thought as yesterday's post was about Devil's Food Cake, it would be nice to blog the Angel's Food Cake today. Olivia made this AGES ago so apologies for taking so long to write it up. I haven't tried this recipe myself but it's next on the list of things to offer to work colleagues for approval. Olivia proclaimed the cake to be highly enjoyable with a "light and slightly marshmallowy texture". Good for the waistline too as it is low in fat. Mind you, it does contain 9 eggs! No wonder it serves up to 16. These Hollywood folks sure knew how to feed the five thousand...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Gloria Swanson's Butterless Devil's Food Cake

"Because I take care of my body,
it doesn't look like the body of a woman of my years.

Same here Gloria, honestly!

Wow, I have had such a great reaction from work colleagues to Gloria's cake. Admittedly it did contain over a bar of Green & Black's Expresso Chocolate but yes, to paraphrase Mr Tibble downstairs, it was freakin awesome! I shall make another soon to test the cooking time. I made it in my fancy silicone tube pan thingy so I'll need to test it as a plain and simple sponge cake too.

Had SUCH a lovely weekend with Ginger and Grace - our annual girls weekend Christmas shopping at the seaside. Who would have thought it, when we all decided to live together we were three single girls and now look at the pair of them! Ha ha. One is married and pregnant, the other is heading that way - tee hee! So they both gave me a good talking to about how I should give a NICE man a go for a change.

Sigh. Not sure I am wired up for a nice boyfriend, but I might give it a go...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

William Powell's Beets Piquants

"Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends,
rather than mob merriment,
noise and thousands of nodding acquaintances."

I am trying to William, but it is DECEMBER and therefore I have the double whammy of Christmas and my birthday which, I'm afraid, always results in mob merriment. I guess I'll just have to relax and enjoy it...

I've been thinking a lot about dating this week. Ava persuaded me to try the dating website she's been using but it's just made me very depressed about the prospect of trying to get to know somebody via a short profile and a photograph. Would I have begun communication with William Powell for example, if this was his profile picture? Hmmm. I don't like this game. I'm going to forget about it all for a while.

It's a Silver Screen Sunday and I'm just about to retire to the kitchen to cook some Rum Jam for Christmas presents and some Beets Piquants to go with my fishcakes. I am going to seriously campaign for the Beets to replace the Artichokes for Mr Powell's recipe in the book. Although I know that my co-writer is not a fan of the beet...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Colleen Moore's Shamrock Salad

It's taken me ages to find out if Colleen actually was Irish - as her Shamrock Salad would have us believe. An excellent source on the internet - The Colleen Moore Project - says she was half Irish, half Scottish but born in the US. After my visit to Cardiff and in-depth chats to Anna I am currently VERY interested in the promotion of stars as being of a particular nationality. Colleen often played colleens if you know what I mean, but I LOVE this picture all Americanized. I would like an outfit like this to wear to the forthcoming wedding in Texas...

Today I had an email from Mickey in Athlone, Ireland which reminded me that I hadn't blogged the results of his testing Colleen's recipe. I loved his question, "what exactly is “chill in the Norge?” Ha ha - Colleen's recipe appeared in a fantastic promotional booklet for Norge fridges. All the recipes say things like, "leave overnight in the Norge", or "chill in the Norge" and there are various pictures of stars such as Ginger Rogers posing with Norge fridges. It reminds me of my lovely two years in Walthamstow with my own Ginger and Grace. We always referred to the fridge as The Norge.

Neither Mickey nor Katharine were mad about this recipe. It's a novelty one I agree. Katharine suggested using very small peppers which I think is a good idea. I also loved Mickey's point about pimentos - he left them out as he hadn't a clue what they were! A recurring problem for the Silver Screen Suppers cooks. We may have to have a little section in the book to clarify some of these ingredients.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Silver Screen Sunday Extravaganza

What a FANTASTIC afternoon we had in Cardiff at the Silver Screen Suppers event. There was a lot of love in the house and a LOT of cream cheese too! Chefs Ruth C, Katharine and Anita rustled up tonnes of Silver Screen Supper foodstuffs and the guests wolfed the lot washed down with champagne cocktails and lashings of wine! It was a stardust sprinkled buffet table groaning under the weight of Greer Garson's Gucamole, Lana Turner's Simple and Easy Salsa, Anna Sten's Russian Sandwiches, Katharine Hepburn's Brownies, Janet Gaynor's Ice Box Cookies, Colleen Moore's Shamrock Salad and - my fave - Mae West's Pumpkin Pies. YUM YUM YUM.

Lots of guests came done up as their favourite film stars (Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, a singing cowboy (not sure which one!), Cary Grant and Lauren Bacall to name but a few), Anna ran a fabulous film quiz and I gave a little 10 minute introduction to the project. Several people volunteered to test cook (email me at silverscreensuppers@yahoo.co.uk for a list of recipes) and there may be a chance for me to visit St Donat's - former holiday home of MARION DAVIES in Wales sometime soon.

The event was all in a very good cause - raising money for Theatre Versus Oppression - see http://www.theatreversusoppression.com/ and photos of the splendid food can be seen here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/fritzyritz/ or by clicking on the picture of the heaving buffet table in the side bar. I put on 3 and a half pounds - that's how GOOD it all was.

Oh and if you are wondering, I have put ROMY SCHNEIDER at the head of my post to welcome Joan and Bette's brand new bundle of joy into the world. She goes by the name of Romy so how can she fail to be fabulous?