The Reuben sandwich was created by Arthur Reuben, owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen, which no longer exists but was one of New York’s more well-known delis in its day. Jared Ingersoll does his take on a toasted Reuben sandwich in “Danks Street Depot”. I’ve tried to take it back to its original recipe, but this is the first time I’ve eaten one so I can’t guarantee its authenticity!
Take two slices of rye bread and spread each one with dijon mustard. On each slice of bread layer: a slice of pastrami (or corned beef) and a slice of swiss cheese. Then put the Sauerkeraut on one side, so that when you combine the two halves it is in the middle. Fry the sandwich in a frying pan. You’ll know it is ready when the cheese starts to ooze. Garnish with a pickle on the side.
Big M has taken to these sandwiches, but I suspect he’s just trying to use up the large bottle of sauerkeraut in the fridge!
Bridget Jones’s Diary inspired my entry in Dispensing Happiness’ blog party #15. The challenge was to create an
The challenge was to create an appetiser and cocktail from our favourite book. You may recall from Bridget’s diary entries she starts the year off with Bloody Mary’s. They didn’t appeal, but I had to attempt the retro pineapple and cheese entree……
Hedgehog appetiser recipe
The hedgehog was apparently big in the 60’s – you can use an orange or grapefruit cut in half, with cheese and pineapple cubes on cocktail sticks stuck in it! To make it look posh you could even cover the orange with foil (if only it was that easy to impress your guest these days!) To make it a little more modern, I’ve used Charles Sturt’s Bidgee Cheese with Native Mint which is a lovely match to the (dare I admit) tinned pineapple rings.
Mr Darcy cocktail recipe
Mr Darcy is a cocktail I think Bridget Jones would enjoy drinking. It is based on Pimms a popular summer drink in England, particularly around Wimbledon time. The most popular way to drink it, is to mix a nip with lemonade.
Mr Darcy is made with two nips of Pimms and topped in a tall glass with ginger ale (since Mr Darcy is tall, dark and handsome!) Garnish with a strawberry to give a hint of Englishness about it, and you have to eat it last, because you know the drink (story) will end on a sweet note!
And lastly, don’t forget Mr Darcy is a proper gentleman and would always have a big umbrella on hand for the notorious English rain.
Try to drink in moderation. Hiccup.
Here is my romantic recipe for heart shaped corn fritters, with oven roasted tomatoes and crispy bacon strips. This is an easy recipe to remember and is perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.
Heart shaped corn fritters recipe
310g can of corn kernels, rinsed and drained
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs plain flour
- Place the corn, egg, parsley and flour in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.
- To create the heart shaped fritters I used a cookie cutter that had been coated in a little butter so the fritter would fall out easily. You can, of course, spoon a tablespoon of batter straight into the pan.
- Repeat to make 3 more fritters, leaving about 2cms apart, and cook for 2 minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through. Repeat until the batter is all gone.
- Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half, and grill the wrong side for 2 minutes. Turn over to the cut half, and sprinkle with finely chopped garlic and parsley or other herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over olive oil. Grill for a further 6 minutes.
- Cook strips of bacon as usual, and serve together with fritters and tomatoes. Preferably to a loved one in bed!
I first tried this recipe from Nigel Slater’s Appetite book. He recommends you use any onion (white, red or leek) and any melting cheese (Taleggio, Camembert, fontina). It is terribly easy and perfect snack or party food. You can ad lib with whatever ingredients you have on hand and it doesn’t have to be the whole shebang that you get with making a full-blown pizza with the lot. Minimalist is best here.
Basic onion tart recipe
2 onions, sliced into moons
1 sheet of puff pastry
Simmer onions gently until they are soft. Set your oven to 220 degrees C. Flour your working area, and take out a sheet of puff pastry. Score a border 2cm in from each edge and prick all over with a fork. Tip the cooked onions into the middle, and sprinkle handfuls of grated cheese over the top. Season with thyme. Bake until the pastry is puffed up golden, which will take about 15-20 minutes.
Onion tart variations
Nigel also recommends the following variations:
- pesto, slices of tomato and basil
- mushrooms and Taleggio
- pancetta and onion
You can read about how Nigel developed his love for food in Toast (sometimes in spite of his parent’s attempts at cooking)! A great read about British food and home cooking.
This is a delicious and easy recipe for Greek salad. You could have it several times a week, and not tire of it if you use fresh ingredients.
1 large ripe tomato
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ green capsicum, strips
10 kalamata olives
50g feta cheese, diced
1 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried oregano
- Soak the sliced red onion in water for several minutes to take out the bite (optional).
- Combine in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Add the following dressing.
50ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white/red wine vinegar
a little mustard powder
- In a screw-top jar or bottle combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and season with a little salt and pepper. Shake well.
Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.
It’s what a crowd of extras will say when they are trying to create a general hubbub on stage. Why rhubarb you might ask? I’ve no idea, but at least it’s easy to remember, and, as it is in season, a perfect complement to this easy vanilla infused custard trifle.
Rhubarb and Custard Trifle
Adapted from ‘The River Cottage Year‘ by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
100ml orange juice
4 tablespoons of sugar + 100g sugar
400ml whole milk
4 large egg yolks
plain sponge cake
- Wash, trim and cut into 3cm lengths about 400g rhubarb. Put in a pan with the orange juice and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until the stalks are tender but still hold their shape. Taste the rhubarb – it should be tart, as the sponge and trifle will sweeten the trifle. But if it is unpalatably sour, add a little more sugar. Strain off about 200ml of the juice. Transfer the remaining rhubarb to a non-metallic dish. Chill both the juice and rhubarb in the fridge.
- Make custard. Put the whole milk in a pan with a split vanilla pod and scald until almost boiling. Beat the egg yolks with 100g sugar and whisk in the hot cream. Return the custard to the pan over a very low heat and stir constantly until it thickens, making a glossy coat on the back of the spoon. Remove the vanilla pod, and scrape off the tiny black specks into the mixture. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl and chill. When cold it should be spoonably thick rather than pourable.
- Take (or make) a simple plain sponge cake. Break it into chunks and press lightly into 4 large wine glasses or dessert dishes. Pour in enough of the chilled rhubarb juice to soak the sponge thoroughly. Then top with a layer of the stewed rhubarb. Now pile in a generous layer of the chilled, thickened custard. Enjoy.
VARIATION – You could, of course, cheat and buy store-bought custard, but just this once try making it from scratch and you may never turn back. Use only fresh free-range eggs.
This was the first time I’ve eaten Welsh Rarebit. If you are going to try it I recommend a mild beer and big thick slices of bread. Some may call it a fancy cheese on toast. The leeks are optional.
Leeky Welsh Rarebit recipe
The recipe is adapted from ‘The River Cottage Year‘ by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
75g mature Cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon of English mustard
1 splash Worcestershire sauce
4 thick slices of bread
- If you fancy the leeky option, wash and finely slice one leek, and sweat it a little butter and oil for about 10 minutes, until tender but not coloured.
- For the cheese mixture, melt 25g butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, then stir in flour to make a thick roux. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent the roux burning. Stir in hot beer (bitter or pale ale, not lager) by degrees, until you have a very thick, smooth sauce. Add the grated Cheddar and stir until melted. You should now have a thick paste. Season well with a blob of English mustard, a good splash of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of black pepper. Now stir the leeks into the mixture if you ‘re using them.
- Lightly toast the slices of bread, then pile up the cheesy mixture on each slice. Flash under a hot grill for a few minutes, until brown and bubbling.
Welsh Rarebit is a classic British dish with Lancashire, Cheddar or Double Gloucester used for the cheese sauce, although sometimes Red Leicester is used.
Welsh Rarebit recipe variations
There are a number of variations:
- Buck rarebit – same with a poached egg on top
- Yorkshire rarebit – same with bacon and a poached egg
- Irish rarebit – topped with onions, vinegar, herbs and gherkins
- American rarebit – uses whisked egg whites
- English rarebit – uses red wine
- Scotch rarebit – Dunlop cheese on toast
- King rarebit – same with a fried egg on top
While up on the Fraser Coast, we purchased some local nuts and a few petite jars of rainforest spreads. We tried the spreads with mini pikelets for breakfast.
Here are the results of our taste test:
Lemon Myrtle Honey (left)
This one was a thick lemon syrupy honey. We could clearly taste the tang of the Lemon Myrtle, with a base of Eucalyptus honey. One way to identify a Lemon Myrtle tree is to crush some of its leaves, and it gives off a similar lovely sweet smell of lemons!
Davidson’s Plum Jam (middle)
The labels described a “tart plum flavour, followed by a delightful tang.” We found it similar to normal plum jam and its mild taste was the most agreeable of the three. Davidson’s plum trees only grow in very limited regions of the Australian Rainforest.
Riberry Jam (Lillipilli Jam) (right)
The last one had a distinct taste that neither of us liked. The label says it is similar to “boysenberry and ginger”, so if you like these flavours perhaps this is the one for you. Riberries are only found in Australian rainforests on the east coast
If you would like to purchase and try any of these bush foods for yourself, visit Lemon Myrtle Refreshed’s website.
Big M and I went off to Hervey Bay for a few nights. We went mainly to go whale-watching. Our big mistake was choosing a cruise based on the “gourmet lunch”. It was a lovely lunch, but we hardly ate any for fear of the sea-sicknesses! Lots of whales, but make sure you pick a large vessel for your whale-watching experience.
Holidays are always a good excuse for eating out, so we tried a number of the local restaurants.
The first night I had “Lamb shanks and vegetables” – normally nothing to write home [or blog] about, except the waif-thin waitress said, “I often have the shanks after work, but I can only manage one!”. I replied that I’d had some help from Big M. Then she said: “Just imagine, in the old days they used to be considered dog food!”
There were two food spots we would recommend. “Gringo’s” do excellent and affordable Mexican food. Big M had the nachos, and I had two tacos with Mexican rice. They can adjust the chilli level to your liking, or in my case leave it out.
The other place we enjoyed was “Arkarra” restaurant and Balinese tea gardens. There is a lovely walk around the lagoons with plenty of wildlife (mainly birds) to look out for. Big M had the “club sandwich”, and I had “calamari with sweet potato spiral fries”. Both were good, so….
We decided to visit again for breakfast. I was in an adventurous frame of mind and decided to try the “Lamb’s fry and bacon with onion gravy”. Big M had “scrambled eggs and bacon”. Lamb’s Fry is usually liver, and maybe other pieces of offal. Its robust texture goes well in pies. I really enjoyed it, although perhaps a little too overpowering for breakfast regularly.
Bruschetta is basically toasted bread, and is sometimes confused with the tomato topping, (which can vary). It is usually served as an appetiser, or you can have two or three slices with a salad for a light lunch. Smaller entre size pieces are called crostini.
Silver Spoon’s bruschetta recipe
Toast the slices of bread on both sides under the grill or a barbeque. Rub them with garlic while they are still hot and put them back under the grill for a moment. Arrange toppings on the bread. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Caprese bruschetta (left)
Layer on the bruschetta, slices of mozzarella cheese (buffalo* preferred), slices of cherry tomatoes, and whole or torn (not cut) fresh basil leaves.
*for the creamy taste
Oliveade Bruschetta (right)
Combine the following ingredients in a food processor:
- approximately 20 pitted, black olives
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- dash of lemon juice
- half a clove of garlic (coarsely chopped)
- a pinch of thyme
Vary these measurements according to personal taste. Spread on the bruschetta and top with strips of roasted capsicum (red peppers).
Oliveade is tapenade minus the capers and anchovies.
An easy lunch for the weekend. We loved it.