Friday, October 03, 2014

Gone But Not Forgotten...

A welcome to essexgran who remembers Kunzle cakes.  How can we forget them? They were so special and absolutely gorgeous.

Many prefer to 'live for the day', others look to the future.  Myself enjoy past memories.  Does that make me a sad old lady?  Perhaps.
However, many foods and other products that we loved - or even hated - seem to have disappeared, so it would be interesting to hear from my lovely readers other names they remember..  Maybe then could find a recipe so that we could have a go at making the foodie ones ourselves.

My mother always used to have a box of bloaters sent from Great Yarmouth to arrive home (in Leicester) after our holidays in Norfolk.  These I believe are a bit like kippers but not dried.  These were eaten by my parents, so don't recall ever being given any, and wonder if herrings are still  processed in the same way today.
The fish called 'snoek' - sold during World War II - is best forgotten.  Believe it was whale meat, but could be wrong.

During the war when sweets were rationed, we children would go to the chemist and buy Ovaltine tablets to suck.  Not sure what the real purpose they were made for, but they did make a good sweet substitute.  Doubt these are made today.
Don't let us forget Zambuk.   Beecham's Pills.  Vim.  Omo.   Cherry Blossom Boot Polish....a there must be other non-edibles that were really good.  Do they still sell carbolic soap today?  My mother used to buy this for scrubbing the kitchen floor - think it came in big yellow blocks.

Mum also used to buy Pear's soap for washing me when I was small.  Think it was Pear's, the tablets were oval, darkish pink in colour and clear, looking a lot like very solid jelly.  I hated it.  For herself she preferred Knight's Castile soap.  These two may still be sold today.

In my late teens there was Helena Rubenstein's Silk Face powder, and I did buy some and it was very special. Or at least it made me feel special.
Max Factor Pan-stick was my chosen 'base' and boy, was that a mistake.  I would spread it on my face and a few hours later the once pale 'undercoat' changed to a deeper orange.  Never did get 'make-up' right.  After marriage tended to hardly wear any, just a bit of lipstick and a dab of powder, and like to think that is why I've hardly any lines on my face now (although that probably is due to me being overweight rather than for any other reason).

There are lots of foods bought/cooked/eaten in my youth that can still be bought today, but usually have to be ordered from a butcher, and not all can provide them.  Capons (castrated cockerels; boiling fowls; pig's heads, pig's ears, pigs trotters.
Beef skirt is now hard to obtain, and also tripe (but who would want that anyway?).  Apart from liver and kidneys, the other offal:  brains, sweetbreads, heart, lungs (aka lights), and other unmentionables are now mainly forgotten about but probably the most nourishing and cheap because no-one wants them. 

The squash family (marrows, butternut, pumpkins etc), all store well once harvested.  In fact they will keep for months until cut - then need to be used up.
With Hallow'een on the horizon we could be planning to buy a pumpkin, and suppose we could stick black paper on a pumpkin to make a face (eyes, nose, mouth) leaving it uncut.  More likely we will be carving it out to make a hole in the centre to place a candle and cut the facial features out throught the peel so the light can shine through.

Believe it or not, some people throw away the pumpkin 'innards'.  You don't do you?  Here is a recipe for pumpkin soup, and while you are preparing it, save those seeds as they can be washed, roasted and eaten as 'snacking seeds'.
If you have a very large pumpkin and wish to use up all the flesh for soup, then freeze the surplus, garnishing it after thawing and reheating.

Pumpkin Soup: serves 6
4 tblsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2lb 2oz (1kg) pumpkin, peeled/seeded, chopped
1.5 pints (700ml) chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
5 fl oz (150ml) double cream
4 slices granary bread, crusts removed
handful pumpkin seeds
Heat half the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened, then add the chunks of pumpkin and cook for a further 8 -10 minutes, stirring often, until the flesh begins to soften and turn a golden colour.
Add the stock to the pan with seasoning to taste, then bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the pumpkin is very soft.  Stir in the cream and bring back to the boil, then remove from heat and blitz to a puree using a stick blender directly in the pan, or using a food processer.
While the soup is cooking, cut the bread into small croutons.  Put the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the bread until it begins to crisp.  Add the pumpkin seeds and cook for a few minutes longer.
Reheat the soup if necessary, check seasoning, then serve in individual soup bowls, scattering croutons and the pumpkin seeds on top.

Whether we live alone, or maybe can't afford to buy meat this week, if we have sausages we can still make a meal by removing the skins and either rolling the meat into meatballs (fry in a pan and then serve with a good tomato sauce and pasta), or make 'burgers' with the meat (adding extra ingredients to make it good further - such as onions, breadcrumbs, herbs....).

Here is a recipe for a quick sausage bolognaise, and allowing two sausages per person, easy to adapt to feed just one or the four intended with this recipe.  Makes sense to use the best sausages we can afford - and, sadly, these can sometimes work out at up to 40p EACH.  So keep an eye open for offers and then freeze them for later use.  If sold in packs, don't freeze the pack as it will then be difficult to separate the sausages if you only need one or two,  open-freeze separately before bagging them up, then you can use as little or as many as you wish.
Goes without saying that we can make our own tomato 'pasta' sauce if we wish.

Although we often call sausages 'bangers' (whatever the quality), they were called this during World War II when the sausages were made with very little meat plus a lot of bread, water  and other things we'd probably rather not know about (my mother swore she found a mouse's tooth in a sausage).  When fried in a pan, these sausages would burst out of their skins (explode), hence the name 'bangers'.   I use this name just because it begins with a B as does the Bolog.

Banger's Bolognaise: serves 4
8 good sausages, skins removed
1 tsp fennel seeds (opt)
9 oz (250g) mushrooms, sliced
5 fl oz (150ml) red wine (opt)
1 x 660g jar tomato pasta sauce
10 oz (300g) pasta penne or other pasta shapes
grated Parmesan cheese (opt)
Heat a large frying pan, the crumble in the sausage meat.  No need to add any oil as some will come out of the sausage, break it up with a fork as it cooks.  Add the fennel seeds and fry for a few minutes until the meat is golden and the fat is released.  Stir constantly to break up the meat as much as possible.
Add the mushrooms and continue frying for a few minutes until these are beginning to soften, then stir in the wine (if using).  Let it bubble away for a minute then add the tomato pasta sauce.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat and let it simmer, uncovered to reduce down the liquid.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta as per packet instructions, and when ready, drain well and add to the 'bolognaise' sauce mixture.  Mix well until the pasta is completely coated with the sauce, then serve in individual dishes, sprinkling the tops with a little Parmesan (if using).

While thinking sausages, here is another recipe where we can use these - again with skins removed. A recipe for onion marmalade was given just a few days ago.  The skins are left on the apples so the dish looks more attractive if red apples are used, but green ones are OK.
Although lovely eaten with potato (as given), the meatballs-in-sauce would also eat well spooned over couscous or other cooked grain such as rice.

Fruity Pork Meatballs: serves 4
10 oz (300g) good sausages, skins removed
1 small onion, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
3 tblsp caramelised onion marmalade (see above)
half pint (300ml) hot vegetable stock
2 red eating apples, cored and thickly sliced
mash or jacket potatoes for serving
Put the sausage meat into a bowl with the onion and herbs and mix well together (best done with clean hands).  Then wet the hands and form the mixture into 16 meat balls.
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan  (no need to add oil) and brown the meatballs over high heat (shaking the pan so the balls roll around to colour all over - this should take about 2 - 3 minutes.
Stir in the onion marmalade, the stock, and the apples, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the meatballs and apples are cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Spoon these over a base of mashed potato or inside a split jacket potato.

That's it for today, and as I'll be taking the weekend off (maybe even Monday) due to all the cooking I'll be doing, it will be 'expect me when you see me' (hopefully Monday, definitely Tuesday). 

A thanks to Sheridan for her comment re the temperature in Australia.  Not too different from the day temperatures down south here in the UK, but the other side of the world heating up for their summer, while we are now chilling down for our winter.   Cold air is now pushing in from the northwest, and this next week might be the last we have of a good, gentle, and extremely lovely autumn.   We haven't had such good weather all year for decades, the best September on record it is said.  Other parts of the world have not been so lucky.  This year our turn to have been blessed. 

Enjoy the weekend before the weather breaks, and please keep sending in comments, they really cheer me up.  Because I have a 'reader counter' I know the daily/weekly numbers are constant (and rising), but it is lovely to have real 'contact' with you, almost (but not quite) as good as having a proper one-to-one chat with you over coffee and cakes at my kitchen table.
Suppose, in the future, people will be able to 'skype' when blogging and actually see a reader who wishes to make visual contact at that moment of writing.   Just as well we can't do that or you'd soon be fed up with me - I can never stop talking once started!  TTFN.