Sunday, February 28, 2010

Clark Gable's Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

“I'm just a lucky slob from Ohio
who happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

My lovely ex Charley is on his way over for a birthday dinner so I gotta be quick. I've made Clark's Stuffed Tenderloins which look pretty darn impressive I have to say - and a Carole Lombard Cherry Pie to follow - a nice little combo to reflect their great and enduring love for each other. Must get hold of the only film they were in together to see if it holds up for a modern audience...

I made a schoolgirl error today, thinking it was the 29th February and therefore the special day that only comes once every four years. Consequently I proposed to the man formerly known as the artist - only to get a rebuttal. I am two years out of sync. Oh well, I'll ask him again in 2012 I guess. Mind you, although he pooh poohed me for getting the date wrong he has just sent a text enquiring after my dowry! Ha ha.

I have been pretty much "lit" all weekend thanks to those book group ladies leaving 2 and a half bottles of wine undrunk on Friday. Jeepers. There is no point me having undrunk wine in the house is there?!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gloria Swanson's Caviar Canapes

"They took the idols and smashed them,
the Fairbankses, the Gilberts, the Valentinos!
And who've we got now? Some nobodies!"

Oh Lord, I have an almighty hangover. The ladies of the book group came round last night and I think I drank 5 times as much as the rest put together. Maybe I was nervous as I was the hostess... We met at Villiers Terrace for a cocktail first - maybe that's what did it, my Vodkatini? I wore the dress I had bought specifically to wear to the Brits. I figured that the ladies would appreciate it more than the New Yorker!

It was an ace night though, love those sassy women. There was much discussion about all the teenage passion in the book we have just read. We wondered whether I was the least hot and bothered over it as I've been having that stuff for real lately. As the only non-married one in the group I guess I'm closer to the teenager than most.

My lovely supportive chum Paulette was on hand to assist with the dinner. She made the Gloria Canapes and introduced the innovation of CRUMBLING the egg yolks rather than putting them through the sieve. Nice. The spinach pie turned out fine and the Ida Lupino Lemon Mousse - divine. I was so drunk by the time that came out that I took the risky decision to zap the big vat of it in the microwave to soften it up for serving. Worked fine and there is LOADS left over. I shall feed some to Charley when he comes over for his birthday dinner tomorrow.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rudolph Valentino's Secret Spaghetti Sauce

Last night I took some of Rudy's Spaghetti Sauce over to Hackney where Ava is convalescing after a double foot operation. YIKES. Her account of the ordeal they put her through has almost put me off wearing high heels, absolutely horrific!

We had two bowls of Rudy's special each whilst watching Sunset Boulevard. Ava hadn't seen it before and as I'm planning to write the Sunset Boulevard article this weekend it was good to see it again. We laughed when Gloria observed about her shiny dance floor, "Rudolph always said that tile was best for the tango" (or something approximating that).

The sauce was just as good as it was first time around so this is one for the book for sure. Absolutely no change in flavour or texture after freezing. Excellent!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ida Lupino's Lemon Mousse

FROCK! And big powder puffs to lean on. And a gasper on the go... Loverleeeeeeeeee.

Ida's Mousse is setting in the freezer for Friday - the ladies are coming over for dinner and I've been slaving away to get things pre-prepared. That Lemon Mousse is every dieter's downfall. I've had to curb my enthusiasm for ladling it into my mouth as I try to get it in the tupperware. It is, without a doubt, my favourite of all the SSS recipes. I LOVE IT.

I wonder if there is some connection with contented singledom. Like Proust and his madeleines there is something about the mousse that takes me back in time. To living at Rita's place after the end of everything with the Chaw-bacon, when I was beginning to get over it all.... Weird.

I forgot to mention that there was a fabulous moment in Grey Gardens last night that caused Rosalind and I to simultaneously grab each other and cackle like witches. Little Edie got on the weighing scales in her swimsuit and then had to grapple for the string around her neck that was attached to her binoculars so she could see the truth. Ha ha! We both intend getting magnifying glasses and miniature binoculars so we don't have to wear our spectacles. For weigh-ins or for anything else.

Rudolph Valentino's Chicken from Parma

Early morning in the Russell-Stewart household after a late night watching the Grey Gardens double bill. Rosalind and I amused ourselves by sitting on the sofa in headscarves enjoying the antics of Big Edie and Little Edie. My favourite quote was, "I'm pulverised by this latest thing!" and will attempt to use it in some context today. I may also keep in reserve the "Marble Faun" nickname for any new man that comes my way and seems to deserve it.

It is TEEMING with rain but the view from the 9th floor still rocks. I love the fact that at night I can see the pink lights of the Paramount Club from the spare bed and wonder if the New Yorker is up there looking at Rosalind's fairy lights.

Jimmy is telling me that Helvetica and Avant Garde should never be seen on the same page. Never! We are fast approaching the madness of a Grey Gardens lifestyle here ourselves. This is what it will be like when we are all in the home together. Jimmy is complaining about the rain so I just gave him a Big Edie impression: "Will you shut up! It's a goddamn beautiful day. Shut up!"

I made Rudy's chicken last night, here in Rosalind's kitchen and it was - as usual - absolutely delicious. It's good to break the spell of only having made it as a romantic dinner for two for Sidney. It can be made to serve 3 - easy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Greta Garbo's Swedish Meatballs

"Let's have a martini...
I'm going to feel terribly guilty if you have tea."

Very pleased to hear that like me, Garbo was partial to a vodka martini. I've been doing lots of research on her this week as my goal was to do her mini-biography this weekend and it is DONE. Next, Sonja Henie. Her little cookies were a massive hit in the office. Basil compared them to Jammy Dodgers.

It's a while since I have made Garbo's meatballs so here is a report from Marilyn M. that has been languishing in my inbox for a donkey's age. As Ms Monroe is well known for burning bundles of money in her back yard I was pleased to see that she bought rump steak for this recipe and minced it. Not for her the £2.50 Tesco value pack of mince! She recommended adding some herbs for a bit of flavour (although said she wasn't the best person to suggest which ones) and opted out of making the sauce. Lazy girl - all you do is add milk to the butter in which the meatballs have been cooked and warm it up a bit! Marilyn M. is definitely the kind of woman who needs STAFF to do this kind of thing for her.

Mind you - how did she mince the steak? Did she roll up her sleeves and put it through a mangle-like contraption? I wonder...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sonja Henie's Scandinavian Cookies

"Jewelry takes people's minds off your wrinkles."

Top tip thanks Sonja.

I've been a bit tearful this week - and not just because we won a Gold in the Winter Olympics. Although that DID make me cry - what a sap I am.

I've not been enjoying the dating business at all these last few days. I don't think I am cut out for the uncertainty of it. Am slightly worried that I've been a bit harsh on the New Yorker but feel better for giving him the elbow. Rosalind - who is usually right about these things - says that he has been wasting my precious time. So this week I should have a lot more time for writing as I won't have to spend any time at all waiting for my phone to ring...

I've made a batch of Sonja's cookies for work to celebrate the Olympics. They are very cute.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bing Crosby's Turkey and Eggs a la Crosby

"My golf is woeful
but I will never surrender."

Golf was on my mind yesterday as Tiger Woods' apology was beamed around the world via the satellite dishes outside my office. Loved the bit where he said he had felt like normal rules did not apply to him, especially as I have been reading about self entitlement. The New Yorker told me that at an early age he had announced to a teacher that he wasn't prone to self entitlement and I had to look it up on the internet. Fascinating!

I'm afraid that I have nothing to report from the Brits. Because HE STOOD ME UP. Rosalind straightened my hair and did my nails and I sat in her lounge waiting for him to call me until 12.15am at which point I went to bed. A text arrived at 2am saying he had left his phone in a taxi so hadn't been able to call me. Really? Do I look as if I was born yesterday?! Unfortunately I went out with the Panther for two years and have therefore heard every excuse in the book. He was more inventive than Reggie Perrin with his reasons for being late, having to cancel or not even turning up at all.

This new no show has suggested "making it up to me" by taking me to a BAFTAs party tomorrow night that starts at 11.30pm. What kind of insanity?! I'll be cosied up with my electric blanket by 9.30pm as per usual!

Anyhow, I was really pleased as I sat in bed this morning listening to Sounds of the Sixties when I suddenly remembered that I had the wherewithal for Bing's Breakfast. Loving the spinster life - why try and change it?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clark Gable's Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

“The only reason they come to see me is that
I know that life is great
and they know I know it.”

It IS a great life Clark, I know that too...

Although I am NOT going to the Brits, it seems as though I AM going to two of the after parties. Which, I am told are the best bits. So we shall see. There is no point having a hissy fit because I don't get to see all the money come down from the ceiling when Dizzee Rascal is doing his thing! Apparently the New Yorker says there was a "delicate situation with a client" so someone else will be sitting in my seat! I have to watch Dizzee on tele and hope to press the flesh with him later. Ha ha!

But to cheer me up, joy of joys I received a little Silver Screen Supper missive in the post today from our test cook Mickey in Athlone, Ireland. Some before and after photos of his version of Clark's Tenderloin (looking absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS I must say) and his Vincent Price Peppered Steak - ditto. Yum, yum, yum. And a lovely letter - remember the days when people sent letters?

The photos sure did bring a smile to my face Mickey and I am going to scan them in and post them to the flickr site soon. Bless you for taking the time to test cook for us, take photos and put pen to paper. You are a STAR! x

Monday, February 15, 2010

Joan Crawford's Charcoal Broiled Steak

"I never go outside unless I look like
Joan Crawford the movie star."

I know EXACTLY what you mean Joan and I am not enjoying waiting for the phone to ring so I can find out if I am going to the Brit Awards tomorrow night or not! I need to look like Joan Crawford the movie star if I am going, and that takes preparation!

If the answer is yes, I want to wash my hair tonight so I can do the heated roller thing tomorrow morning with my early am coffee in bed. If not, I can relax in the knowledge that I'll be spending yet another Tuesday evening in the company of Desmond Carrington on Radio 2 instead. Which, don't get me wrong, I adore to do. To be completely honest, I don't mind which way it goes, I'd just like to know!

Joan's steak rocked. I had been fancying a big hairy steak for days and her sauce of butter, Roquefort cheese and mustard was utterly divine. Joan, I salute you and will be channeling you this evening and tomorrow. There is NO WAY Joan would not get a seat at the Brits if she wanted one!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bing Crosby's Turkey and Eggs a la Crosby

“Come on in. It's a bit fresh out there.
We may be getting ourselves a bit of a soak.”

Fresh? It's freezing Bing! I'm going to rustle up some turkey and eggs soon to try and warm myself up in a minute.

I'm just back from a fantastic night at Azimova's place where we had a Serbian Cooking Extravaganza. She taught me how to make Pasulj, Sarma, Prebranac and Proja - all absolutely DELICIOUS. Oh yum, yum, yum. Azi's mum was stationed on the couch as we cooked, watching Croatian Pop Idol and a Jackie Chan movie. Later we had some Cuban Serbian music and when I asked what the connection between the two cultures was, Azi simply showed me her postcard of a young and devastatingly handsome Che Guevara.

A copious amount of booze was consumed and during an extended bout of celebrity impressions Azi discovered that (just like Roger Moore) she was able to lift just one eyebrow. Rudolph's attempt at James Dean was so good a photo was taken, and he managed to get my Tina Turner impersonation in approximately one second. When Azi decided that me getting Sean Connery was an easy option a new catchphrase was invented, "You got it cheap!"

Other memorable quotes include: "Leotard darling, leotard" (something to do with Freddie Mercury) and "male female relationships, they need the presence of a body" (regarding talking for hours on the phone with my new beau). Oh, and regarding the Sarma which involved a whole head of pickled cabbage, "it's for people who like pickles!' And anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE pickles. Pickles, pickles, pickles and beans and MEAT!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jean Harlow's Celery a la Shrimp

Jean looks a bit like how I feel at the moment - a bit haggared... I've had a shocking cold all week and will be going on date 4 with the New Yorker sporting a cold sore as big as Texas. Shame. I will try and orchestrate it so that he sits on my left for the whole evening!

Anyhow, I'm getting back in to blogging the results of the test cooking as there seems to be no time at all at the moment to cook myself. Roxie reported AGES ago that she'd made Jean's celery dish for a dinner party. Her guests all enjoyed it and the general consensus was that it was a perfect starter as it is both flavoursome and light. The paprika was considered to be the perfect twist and livened the dish up. Final verdict? "The receipe was elegant and simple - if there were more flavours on the plate it would confuse your palate and spoil the dish." So it's a winner!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Buster Keaton's Chop Suey

No wonder Buster looks so sad, he's probably just heard that he's been dropped from the book!

One of my very favourite test cooks has reported back that Buster's chop suey recipe was DREADFUL. Her overall assessment in one word? "Blah." Cooking this was a whole lot of effort for a whole lot of bland, brown food. The part in her report that really made me laugh was this: "why would anyone want to make it from a cookbook when they can dial up Ming's Palace and get--delivered!--Sechuan Chicken or Kung Pao Beef or Pork Lo Mein with 2 egg rolls, hot & sour soup, and 2 fortune cookies for $13, and have it taste really good!"

Unfortunately it is the ONLY Buster recipe we have - the call is out - Buster fans, do you have any others?!

I was cheered to the core last night by my DJing session at the Walthamstow Wind-Up. What a lovely bunch of people they are in E17. Lots of laughs involving Mo's black rubber gloves and gags involving the many board games that were scattered around the venue, "Don't sit there, you'll be in a draft" for example said Jim, pointing at the draught board. Ha ha - the old ones are the best. Tony Tunes was doing his "groove devining" act - trying to identify a revolving 78 by just looking at the grooves. And Cary was making me laugh like a drain inventing rude surnames for the New Yorker.

Everyone wants to know what his real name is so they can google him. Nosey bunch! I'm quite enjoying not knowing...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cecil B DeMille's Cajun Chicken

"Creation is a drug I can't do without."

I am feeling the same myself this week Cecil - I am ON FIRE!

Had a fabulous, fabulous day today pottering around in the kitchen making the Sunset Boulevard Luncheon. There is definitely a new calm descending on these kind of events as much hilarity was to be had over the fact that my William Holden Gelatine dish hadn't set - it provoked gales of laughter in the kitchen as I approached my guests wobbling the plate of goo...

Cecil's chicken was a big hit. Just the right amount of spice I think and a big ole chicken from the butcher just about served 5 - Rosalind, Jimmy, King, me and special surprise guest John G who came mostly on the promise of seeing Charley who alas couldn't make it.

Jimmy looked marvellous in his baker boy cap, short trousers and argyle socks. I wish I'd had time to make him a megaphone... King looked impeccable in his bib and tucker and Rosalind was resplendent in her mini-me "good angel" Norma Desmond outfit. I was all in black velvet and she was in white turban and flashy wrap around number. John G came at the last minute so proclaimed, "I'm in my jummy" and it made me laugh as he looked just cosy in his cardi.

After lunch we all flopped on the sofa to watch the movie and it wasn't until John shouted, "Is anyone awake?" That we realised that we had all slept right through the first half. Shades of the VERY FIRST Silver Screen Sunday - "All About Eve" at Rosalind's place over 3 years ago - May 2006...

Gloria Swanson's Butterless Devils Food Cake

The cake is made but there is much more to do before everyone arrives at 1 o'clock for the Sunset Boulevard extravaganza. I should be getting on with it but I MUST report on my date last night with the New Yorker.

He took me to dinner at Nobu. A place I didn't think someone like me was allowed to go into...

We were supposed to just meet there for a cocktail and when he asked me if I liked sushi I didn't get the chance to say, "it's my least favourite food" as he was already halfway up the stairs trying to secure us a table. This he did, best seats in the house and I felt like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" as he ordered all kinds of revolting sounding things for us to eat and instructed me on the best way to hold my chopsticks. I did try and stick up for myself by saying, "I learned to hold them the Essex way" but I don't think he got the cultural reference.

Despite my horror at the idea of eating eel, I have to admit that this was - without a doubt - the most delicious meal I have ever eaten - bar none. Everything was DIVINE including the squid with its gelatinous suckers. At one point I pointed with my chopsticks at some unidentified crispy things sticking out of a crab roll, "what's that?" I asked, "crab" he replied. "What, his little legs and everything?" I asked, amazed that there was a miniature half a crab in crispy batter just sitting there for me to eat. So I did, his little legs and his little claw - just like that!

When my date asked if I liked fat salt pork I didn't get a chance to say that my only experience of it was trying to buy some (and failing) for the Bette Davis' Boston Baked Beans recipe. I was wary of it at first - thinking it would be all fatty like spare ribs but I can honestly say it was the most delicious thing I have EVER eaten. From now on that would be my death row meal request. Just one single square of that.

I can't even begin to tell you where we went after we had eaten, but I CAN tell you that at one point I could see Rosalind's 9th floor flat WAY BELOW ME as I was 385 feet above London!

PS - for those who know Nobu - of course the piggy thing I ate was pork belly not fat salt pork. I am an INGENUE!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Cecil B DeMille's Cajun Chicken

Excitement is mounting about Sunday's Sunset Boulevard Luncheon Party. The menu will be as follows:

SPOILER ALERT - if you are an invited guest, look away now!

Gloria Swanson's Cocktail Canapes
Gloria Swanson's Champagne Cocktails
William Holden's Lime Gelatine with Carrots, Olives and Nuts
Cecil B DeMille's Cajun Chicken
Gloria Swanson's Devils Food Cake

Rosalind and Jimmy were making me laugh this morning with their antics. Jimmy wants to come dressed as a "Monkey Butler" but Rosalind said, "You are going as Erich von Stroheim and that's that!" Ha ha!

Last night I introduced the New Yorker to the seedy underbelly of the East End of London. I took him to a burlesque night at the Bethnal Green Working Man's Club. Lord it was saucy! He seemed to take it all in his stride though, and scoffed both the Anna May Wong Tea Cakes in the taxi on the way home. He was pleased to get a cherry...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Anna Mae Wong's Tea Cakes

It was "cherry roulette" in the office today as I experimented with glace cherries on the top of my AMW tea cakes last night. They sank to the bottom so I didn't put any on the second batch. The cakes all disappeared in double quick time so they were definitely a hit. I received several emails from folks either exhalted or dejected about the discovery (or not) of cherries. The big boss is still dubious about "recipes by dead people" but they looked so cute in my retro dot baking cases that even he couldn't resist!

I kept two aside as it's my second date with the New Yorker tonight. Wonder what he will make of them...