Sunday, January 31, 2010

William Holden's Lime Gelatine with Carrots, Olives and Nuts

"The older you become, the more you know;
your bank account of knowledge is much richer.”

I agree William. And for once in my working life my bank account of DOUGH is richer after filing my tax return rather than much, much poorer as it usually is... Yippee.

I've had a fabulous weekend in the countryside trampolining, watching the tennis and eating a tonne of Silver Screen Supperage. Paulette made a magnificient Gloria Swanson Devil's Food Cake and I did canapes. The centrepiece was William's crazy lime jelly extravaganza. I made it in a rabbit mold and Paulette said as it plopped out, "it looks like some kind of Damien Hurst artwork". It really was quite a sight to behold! Not much of it was eaten but it certainly was a talking point. We also had Gloria Swanson's Caviar Canapes and the old faithfuls Jean Harlow's Celery a la Shrimp and Adolph Menjou's Spiced Venetian Cheese. All washed down with some extremely strong martinis. Hic.

The young Rebel Without a Cause James made me laugh when Paulette brought the cake to the table. When she mentioned it was a very special cake he just asked, "Betty Crocker?"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Alan Ladd's German-Style Potato Pancakes

"As long as my pictures go into theaters
and we ask people to pay to see what I do on the screen,
I should not object if customers want to know what kind of man I am."

You seem like a nice guy Alan, but how can a girl be sure?

It's been quite a week! A guy that I met at the Singles Night on Saturday is doing a pretty good job of sweeping me off my feet, but I am trying to resist! Ha ha! My mother is counseling me to find out everything I can about him but it's not easy is it, when you meet someone at random? Anyhow, it has put a spring in my step this week, despite a bit of cage rattling this week by an ex.

It's going to be a big weekend for Silver Screen Suppers too as I'm off the the countryside with Paulette, Ivor and Shirley to a big dinner party with lots of film star fodder. Will report back. For tonight though I am planning to rustle up some of Alan's pancakes as I am now working my way through the book recipes in alphabetical order and Alan is numero uno. I might have them with a fried egg on top....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gary Cooper's Buttermilk Griddle Cakes

"To get folks to like you, as a screen player I mean,
I figured you had to sort of be their ideal.
I don't mean a handsome knight riding a white horse,
but a fella who answered the description of a right guy."

Fortified by the last of Constance's Spanish Chicken I went to a singles night last night to search for a "right guy". I had to steel myself to do it, as the friend who was supposed to come with me chickened out (boom boom), but I remembered the new warning motto, "resistance is the ego sensing danger" and got myself psyched up for it.

It was really good fun. Surprisingly so, and it was a real fillip to see that there were fanciable men out there (as one of the ladies put it) "apparently" single. Not sure that anything will come of any of the encounters but at least it has reminded me that they are out there, somewhere...

I've got the whole day to myself and am RELISHING it. Have just made myself a batch of Gary's Griddle Cakes and they were delicious. These are such a treat and it seems quite extravagant to make them just for one, but I'm on a testing frenzy at the moment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Marion Davies' Rarebit a la Marion

"Gandhi had eaten the whole welsh rarebit."

I wonder if this is the very same doggie that ate the Welsh Rarebit Marion was so looking forward to at San Simeon. I laughed so much when I read her story about it in "The Times We Had" and it's a perfect anecdote to accompany her recipe in the book. I read the story late at night and was so tired I didn't blink an eye about Gandhi being at San Simeon watching movies and eating Welsh Rarebit late at night. It was only in the morning I remembered that one of Marion's dogs was called Gandhi.

I've just eaten TWO slices of Rarebit and very nice it was too. The mixture was a bit runny and Marion didn't specify grilling it so I did it just as she said and just poured the mixture over the toast and scoffed it. Yum.

It's Marion night in Crouch End tonight. I am now going to turn the TV off and write the first draft of the mini biog that will accompany Marion's recipe in the book. What a shame her movies are so hard to get hold of on DVD, I could have rounded the evening off with a screening... Instead I shall start planning the Sunset Boulevard lunch party I am having in February. Gloria Swanson's Caviar Canapes here I come!

Myrna Loy's Senegalaise Soup

“I think that carrying on a life that is meant to be private
in public is a breach of taste,
common sense, and mental hygiene.”

You could be right there Myrna. I had to take a post down this week as it upset someone dear to me so I guess I have to be a little more careful about what I share with the world on this blog. HOWEVER, it is lovely that when I posted how miserable I was the other day I got nice messages to cheer me up, so hurrah for the interweb!

Back to the point... Nazimova sent a grand and celebratory email to say that she'd made Myrna's soup again at the weekend and "everyone loved it". Her mum - visiting from Belgrade - said she could eat it every day and asked for the recipe! Naz suggests having the soup as a starter with liver and mash to follow, using the onion and apple bits Myrna says to discard to go with the liver. Genius!

I am very pleased that we have been pro-active about the Serbian cooking weekend and got a date in the diary. Naz's mum speaks no English and I speak no Serbian so it's going to rock!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Constance Bennett's Spanish Chicken

I was very down in the dumps yesterday. Uncharacteristically well and truly fed up and when I got home I was feeling very sorry for myself indeed. But there on my doormat was a small parcel, addressed to me. This was a surprise as only my mother and my sister know my postal address and I could tell from the writing it was from neither of them.

To my immense joy it was from my old friend PJ in Warrington. He'd sent it to my folks and they had forwarded it on. And joy of joys it was a MIX-CD from the legendary KING of the MIX-CD. I'd seen from his blog that he was transferring his vinyl to digital files and he's been a good and true friend and made me a CD selection. I had no time to listen to it last night so plan to do so this evening in an old fashioned style whilst eating my dinner - the leftovers of the Spanish Chicken I made for Charley on Sunday night. Can't WAIT. Thank you PJ! This has cheered me up no end.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rudolph Valentino's "Secret" Spaghetti Sauce

“To generalize on women is dangerous.
To specialize on them is infinitely worse.”

I have given up trying to fathom it out myself Rudolph. It's just a ZOO PARK!

I'm back from the wedding of the century. My sister of the skillet is hitched. It was such a lovely affair and a whistle-stop tour of Austin for Edmund. Even though we were only there for a week we managed to squeeze in some of the best, best spots of the town. Highlights for me were: getting my first glimpse of the diamond as big as a bath math on Ruth's finger, two-stepping with a Hot Rod Spare Parts Dealer at the Broken Spoke and the moment Lawrence stamped on the glass at the wedding - MUSELTOF! I'm so happy for them both and wish them every happiness in their new life.

Another great thing was meeting some of the test cooks who have been cooking up a storm in the US. Dale (our "Star Spangled Rhythm" party thrower) was there. As was Gene (great to meet her, Edmund's favourite!), Irene - the wonderful and generous mother of the bride, the two beautiful cousins and many, many, many assorted Frick, Bush and Page relatives. How utterly wonderful to be a part of such a humdinging event.

So now I return to my little garret in Crouch End. New Years Resolutions are kicking in and test cooking has resumed. Tonight's cookathon has put me in a quandary. Rudolph's Chicken From Parma is such a favourite BUT, his "Secret" Spaghetti Sauce is (to copy one of the Bush cousins) AWESOME so a decision will have to be made. As Valentino was famously a superb cook - always rustling up pasta for his fellow film stars - it may have to be this one...

There is a Shahrukh Khan movie on C4 and I am watching it in Ruth's honour (Shahrukh is her own Ricky Whittle). At her hen night we had a Bollywood dance lesson so I am waiting for a big number so I can do the "snake" and the "lightbulb" moves here all alone to try and work off some of this pasta... Must remember to pull the blinds though so the neighbours don't have to witness it...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Silver Screen Saturday - Gone With the Wind

"As for those grapefruit and buttermilk diets,
I'll take roast chicken and dumplings."

Hell yeah Hattie!

In the first of my monthly Silver Screen Suppers extravaganzas today we had a FEAST proposed by Hattie McDaniel in a 1941 edition of Modern Screen Magazine.

Plantation Chicken with Dumplings
Corn Bread
Sweet Corn Pudding
String Beans
Cranberry Jelly
Tomato and Watercress Salad
McDaniel Dressing
Cracker Cake

It was a bit like cooking a Christmas Dinner. Elaborate but absolutely DELICIOUS. Luckily I had lots of helpers. Charley came back after beers in the old man's pub last night and offered to assist. Although the lovely King had brought me back some Graham Crackers from the States I couldn't get my act together to go to Maida Vale to pick them up (what was that New Year's Resolution again?) so I used Digestives for the cake. Charley whacked a plastic bag containing over a whole packet of biscuits with vigour. The resulting cake was quite amazing. Picture viewable on the flickr site! We decorated the cake with candles and celebration glasses of So-Co (Southern Comfort). Birthday boy James said that it was like a massive Custard Cream.

The Cranberry Jelly in a mould the shape of a rabbit was weird but tasty. Dumplings aren't my cup of tea but were enjoyed by the guests (Rosalind, Jimmy, James and Ava), the corn bread was corny and the chicken yummy. All in all I would say that this was probably the best meal I ever cooked!

"Gone With the Wind" was screened as I prepared the lunch. Rosalind screeched for me every time there was a classic moment and I legged it up the stairs for the best bits. I loved being in the kitchen, remarkably calm considering all the dishes I was juggling and hearing Ava in the distance laughing at the film. Rosalind said, "I'd forgotten how funny it is", during the first half and then handed out some tissues during the second half for a big blub.

A wonderful, wonderful way to spend a Saturday and a great precursor to the trip to Texas tomorrow. Yeehaw and toodle-pip for a week or so. Wishing all my readers a humdinger of a year ahead. I've a feeling it is going to be a fantabulosa year. Love. happiness and healing via the power of classic movies to you all!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Jean Harlow's Celery A La Shrimp

“I like to wake up each morning feeling a new man.”

Ha ha, me too Jean, me too!

For the first time in living memory however, I have woken up on the first day of a New Year totally on my lonesome. Not too hungover to make myself laugh by saying out loud immediately upon waking up, "Happy New Year To Me!" All sorts of resolutions have been made for the new decade, one of which is (broadly speaking) to just get my act together. It's vague I know, but it has to happen.

My New Year's Eve was lovely. Spent in the bosom of my pals in Crouch End drinking copious amounts of bubbly, eating a few Hollywood canapes including Jean's classic shrimp dish and entertaining each other with "turns". Shirley played us a song on the piano, Paulette gave us a tune on the accordion and Ivor led us all in a game of bingo. Marvelous. I did a family friendly version of my paper tearing act.

So the new year begins with preparation for a grand luncheon tomorrow with all recipes by Hattie McDaniel. There is much to do but I'm managing to squeeze in a cheeky drink with Charley at Villiers Terrace later. We are both agreed we are going to dance on the grave of 2009. And besides, my mum has sent some Christmas cake for him...