Cooking for Bachelors ~ 1959 – Ted Moloney & George Molnar

Country bookshops and second-hand stores. They get me every time. I’m the one flicking through the old cookbooks, rattling through kitchenware and cutlery, looking for anything that speaks of the yesteryear when time seemed slower and a little more genteel. Sometimes I find things. Sometimes I don’t.

The National Library of Australia tells me Cooking for Bachelors (1959) by Ted Moloney & George Molnar is pretty hard to get your hands on.  With Molnar’s somewhat risque cartoons peppered through the text, and Moloney’s recurring references to the clique Sydney restaurant circuit and social circles, I’m reminded of how progressive the mid to late 1950’s and early 60’s were for developing socialisation and the food movement. I’m taken back to black and white reruns of Doris Day and Rock Hudson/Cary Grant. Now they were romantic comedies.

IMG_2990Cooking for Bachelors offers me advice right from the point of my boy first leaving home. In the preface, the ‘Letter to Mother‘, I am reminded that ‘It’s a natural urge for a young man to want to spend part of his life, wedged between his mother’s cooking and his future bride’s, as a bachelor. Hence the scarcity of bachelor flats in King’s Cross and St Kilda.’

Indeed.

Cooking for Bachelors assures me this will ‘lead him to an interest in the type of girl every mother approves of… a girl who is interested in cooking.’ In the meantime, my bachelor will need to feed himself and remind himself of the etiquette he learned from his ever loving mother.

We begin with the Elementary Techniques. (I love that a subscription to the Herald is number one in the purchase of necessary instruments. Moloney goes on to explain why: the bad press notices in The Telegraph simply won’t do).

IMG_2977We move through, chapter by chapter.

Our bachelor learns to ‘earn a reputation’ (let’s assume as a reasonable cook!), tackle soups and savouries, ‘many of us remember the great Sydney hostess, her most formal dinners, as we formed up two by two with our lady on our arm and walked slowly to dinner. Those days are gone. You need to know a spoon works more efficiently than a fork for soup, especially when consuming a TV dinner’ and manage vegetables ‘…a vegetable is not a fruit. Neither are you’.  Sauces and seafoods have dedicated chapters ‘…steaming… in the colander place your fish (cleaned). When fish is tender take it out. Taste it. Now throw it away. It’s horrible. Most fish is’ before leaping into full elements of entrees, meats and casseroles, finally triumphing in the fanfare for quenelles, which are every bachelors secret weapon.

IMG_2980Quenelles might sound scary. But the bachelor is reminded to ‘think of the triumph for yourself, the very real pleasure for the guests when served this Lucullen entree which they would not have experienced  since their gourmet tour of Europe’. Once conquering the Quenelle, our bachelor works through managing pancakes before jumping head first into Filet de Boef with truffles. Although, if that’s too daunting, there is a nice recipe for  corned beef and carrots as a fallback.

The bachelor is reminded of modern social graces.  When inviting friends over after a party, ‘open a bottle of red wine… put some flamenco on the new stereophonic and let yourself go. Chop up anything which the wailing, clapping flamenco inspires’ . Or perhaps a light supper with a female from the office? ‘break an egg into a pot of scalding hot soup, cream or consomme at the very last minute. A poached egg turns a bowl of soup into a satisfying casual meal which should appeal to career girls who may be reducing’.

Finally, there are Graduation Exercises. Menus set by Tony Gemenis (Prunier’s, Double Bay); Chales Fourcade (Normandie, Sydney); Mr Luigi of the famous Quo Vadis, and my favourite, from Miss Margaret Fulton, Chief Home Economist at the J. Walter company,  herself.

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I’m thinking of cooking my way through Cooking for Bachelors. I’m considering the primary lesson dishes for home, the exercises as dinner parties. I may have to pass on the use of the recommended aluminium saucepans, estimate the weight of a thrupence worth of flour, and make a few substitutions (can you even buy blue boxes of Kraft Swiss cheese anymore?), but I think it would be a fine way of teaching my teen of what to expect in his bachelor years.

And choosing my audience to sample the pâté de foi gras stuffed profiteroles and iced sliced pineapple sprinkled with white Curaçao could be fun.

IMG_2986Would you be interested?

Pumpkin Caraway Seed Loaf

It’s been so cold in Brisbane, it’s always a struggle to keep the carb cravings from overtaking completely.  My boys go through a loaf of bread every 2 days, which means I have been really honing my bread making skills since I took on the ‘no more shop bread’ policy last January.

I’ve developed quite a repertoire of loaves, rolls and buns.

My goal for the rest of July is to try and use all the UFOs I have accumulated during the past 6 months and turn them into useful foods.  Today, I used the stash of steamed pumpkin cubes that have rattling around in the vegetable drawer of the freezer.

I’ve developed this recipe for the Thermomix users, but you can easily do this one  by hand.

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Pumpkin & Caraway Seed Loaf (for the Thermomix)

110 g warm water
200 grams cubed steamed pumpkin (cold or hot, doesn’t matter)
1.5 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon raw sugar
510 g bakers flour
30 g macadamia oil
1-2 tablespoons caraway seeds

Add each ingredient to the bowl, in the order they appear above, with the exception of the caraway seeds. Slowly turn to speed 6 and mix for 10 seconds.

Add the caraway seeds, and knead for 2 mins.

Tip the dough into an oiled bowl, and allow to prove for at least 10 mins, no more than 20 mins – the dough should double in size.

After the first rise, tip out the dough and gentle fold and roll several times, free form into a long loaf.

Allow to sit for 10 mins while the oven preheats to 180.

Place on a lined tray with no sides, and dust with flour to form a dry exterior.

Place in a  180-190C or 170C fan forced oven, for about 20 minutes.

 

*UFOs? Unidentified Frozen Objects!

Jude Blereau ~ Date & Ginger Oat Cookies

If you are even remotely interested in the wholefood movement, you will know of Jude Blereau.

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Jude is an author, food coach, cooking teacher and ‘real food’ activist. She’s been involved with the organic and wholefoods industry for more than 18 years and is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming practices. Jude is a member of Chefs Collaborative – a network  of chefs, cooks and restaurateurs working together to promote sustainable farming, fishing, humane animal husbandry and local artisanal cuisine.  She is also an ambassador for Thermomix.  As you can see, Jude is one busy lady.

I was lucky enough to be invited  to see Jude as part of her current Australian tour, and to add additional interest to the event (as if I needed any) this one night only was aimed at Thermomix owners. Double bonus.

Jude’s food philosophy  is all about nutrient dense, tasty food that’s realistic in a home kitchen.  Her passion for whole foods and natural, realistic approach was evident right from the onset.  And I was surprised and pleased to discover that we trained at the same Teacher’s training college in WA, many years ago. Yes, Jude was a kindergarten teacher too.

Jude’s book “Wholefood”, contains this recipe. Whilst the original is not TM based, I was inspired by Jude to adapt. I hope you enjoy.

Ginger Oat Cookies 

slightly adapted from Jude Blereau’s “Wholefood” book.

  • 100g dried dates
  • 390g oats
  • 60g pecans or walnuts
  • 110g glacé (crystalized) ginger (Buderim)
  • 125g Macadamia oil
  • 125g honey
  • 2 eggs

Prehaet the oven to 180c and line 2 flat sheet baking trays.

  • Place the dates in the TM bowl and add 60ml warm water. Stir on reverse, 5mins, temp 100
  • Add ginger. Stir on reverse, 5mins, temp 100 – you may have to add a little more water depending on your dates. You want to have a smooth date paste and small ginger chunks.
  • Add nuts. Turbo 2 or 3 times.
  • Add oats, eggs, oil and honey (in that order) and mix on knead, 3 mins to make a soft, well combined dough.
  • Roll into large golf ball sized balls and space out onto trays. Flatten balls to make 4cm x 1cm disks.
  • Bake fr 10 – 15 mins until soft golden brown. Allow to cool on the trays.

The nuts and fruits are interchangable. Pistachio and cranberry is very nice, dried apricots and brazil nuts are wonderful. Keep your ginger to make sure the cookies are always amaze-zing!

For Judes’ tour dates, pop over to Jude’s website.

How to Make Haloumi

In the world of a foodie, everybody wants to own a cow. Or part of a cow, at least.

Why a cow? Well, owning a cow means one can legally use raw milk for consumption or in cooking, or if you’re feeling luxurious enough – in  a bath.

Well, let me tell you the milk I get from the cow goes straight into my belly.

But just in case you think I have a cow stashed away in my seaside abode, let me set you straight. Delores the cow is safely housed a long way from here,  on a small 10 acre farm called Lantanaland near Yatala in the hinterlands of QLD’s Gold Coast.  And she’s cared for very, very well. And I only own a part of her.

Let me introduce you to my friend, John Beesley.

John, ‘Beeso’ and his wife Vanessa have big dreams for their little farm.  Slowly expanding (and that includes their new little man, Curtis), they have a dream to open a cooking school and help others learn how to become as self sustainable as possible, through growing their own food including fruit, vegetables and even meats and poultry. John has strong ties to his patch, and is working hard to make a difference in his own small way, with the determination to show young Curtis’s generation a completely different way to survive.

One of John’s many talents, is that he hand milks his ‘girls’ and makes his own raw milk cheeses.

How John makes his Haloumi (and how you can, too).

Now, John really needs feed for his cows. Good, organic cows love fresh produce, and need more than just grass to survive. What they really love is a good bit of  fruit and veggie scraps, which are not as easy to come by as people think. These days large grocery chains dispose of wasted fruit and veg in great volumes. These dispersals are ideal cow feed supplements.

If you know anyone who can help John (or Delores!) with a regular supply of fruit and vegetable scraps, let me know – or pop by and visit him yourself. You can find him on his blog Lantanaland or on twitter: @Beeso. You’ll want to spend a whole lot more time in Lantanaland.

But hands off Delores – she’s spoken for.

Basil Cheese Loaf

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Somehow, over the course of Summer, a little bit of something was left at the back of my fridge for a rather long time.

Usually in these instances, the slovenly housewife is alerted to her sluttiness by way of some sort of stench, a subtle suggestion that some sort of stint in housewifely duties is well overdue.

However.

When I did venture into the depths of the bottom shelf, I found a bag.

And in that bag, was bread.

I racked my brain trying to work out when I had last bought supermarket bread.

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Looks like new, huh? Still shows a floury crust. Still shows cleanly sliced olives.

And get this – IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE A BRICK. In fact, it depresses and squishes quite easily beyond that floury crust.

It seems this is the last remains of an olive loaf that I had schlepped home to make emergency  lunches or something.

Back in December.

True – take a look at the date.

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And just to prove I am not a faking fibber, Here’s the bread and the label together.

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Mmmm yum.

Look at that ingredient list.

And not a trace of mould anywhere.

Magic marvel bread!

Supermarket bread, anyone?

*

I’ve been making my own bread a lot in recent weeks.

I can control what goes into it, and I can guarantee it’s a whole lot less than what seems to appear on that long list of science ingredients.

Of course it only lasts 2 days or so – 3 max – but isn’t that what bread’s supposed to do?

You know – like ‘give us this day our daily bread’ sorta thing.

Daily.

Yeah.

So, here’s my recipe for Basil Cheese Loaf.

My son calls it green cheese bread because I blitz the basil first and the cheese afterwards, which turns the cheese green.

It’s made on spelt, which means most people who can’t eat wheat can eat this, but of course, not good for coeliacs.  I manage it well and I have a wheat intolerance.

I make the dough in my Thermomix, but you can use the old fashioned method just as well, just vary your flour as you feel the dough.

Basil Cheese Loaf

Ingredients:

100g whole grain spelt
420g spelt flour
300g warmed water
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1.5  teaspoons salt
20g macadamia oil
1 cup loose basil leaves
150 grams cheddar or other desired cheese
Basil flower or additional basil leaves for garnish

Method:

Put all basil leaves into the bowl, whiz for 4-5 seconds on sp 6. Tip these out into a separate bowl.

Put all the cheese into the bowl, and blitz on 6 – 8 seconds, speed 8.

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Add cheese to basil and reserve 1/4  of the cheese to one side. Scrape out the jug.

Place spelt grains into the bowl and mill for 1 minute on speed 9.

Add the warmed water, followed by the yeast,  salt, oil, flour  bowl and mix for 6 – 8 seconds on speed 6 to combine.

Check the mix – this dough should be slightly sticky, right on that ‘is this too sticky?’ point.

Add the basil cheese mix to the bowl.

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Knead for 2 minutes on Interval speed.

Tip the dough into a floured bread tin. For a rustic look, tip onto a floured tray and mould into desired shape using lightly floured hands.I prefer to use a bread tin for this dough as it is quite sticky and as it has not had a separate first rise, it isn’t stretchy yet. Plus, when the cheese is used to top the loaf it oozes down the sides of the loaf and makes a nice parmesan crust….

Allow loaf to rise in a warm position until it’s around double the size.

Take the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and sprinkle over the risen dough.

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Place the loaf pan o a lined tray , pop a basil flower or a few leaves on the top, and bake in a hot oven on 200 for 20 minutes, no fan.

At the 20 minute mark, remove loaf from pan and let it bake for another 5 minutes – or until tapping the base gives the ‘hollow’ sound –  on the still hot  lined tray.

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