Tuesday, March 27, 2018

#anAWWyear - March 1948: Food

March has several themed food features, each with bright and attractive photographs, but the real winners this month were once again the reader recipes. 

It isn't simple or easy to transport picnic food, but it does look impressive.
Australian Women's Weekly, 27 March 1948, p 33
I was initially attracted to this picnic feature, as my four year old is extremely fond of picnics, but none of the recipes were going to work for me this month. I was intrigued by the 'salad croquettes' (more misuse of the word salad!) combining cold meat, veggies and mashed potato, but these are deep fried, and I don't have the set up for that. 

Australian Women's Weekly,  6 March 1948, p 33
Another feature is this one with a variety of chicken meals, none of which I tried as they were either salad/dainty style meals which my husband wouldn't eat, or were styles for which I already have favourite recipes.  But I do like the ramekin holder illustrated here holding individual serves of chicken a la king.

There was a reader recipe for carrot marmalade which sounded good
Four large carrots, 4 lemons, 4 pints water, 41b. sugar. Wash and scrub carrots, do not peel. Grate on coarse grater, place in large bowl. Wash and slice lemons thinly, remove seeds. Add to grated carrot. Cover with the water, stand overnight. Turn into preserving pan, cook quickly 1½ hours, or until lemons are quite tender. Add warmed sugar, cook quickly until it "jells" when tested on cold saucer - about 1 hour. Pour into hot, dry jars, seal and label when cold.
Sadly even if this turned out well, I knew I'd be the only one eating it!

In the end both recipes I made were from the same issue's reader recipes, one winning the first prize of £1 one a consolation price of 2/6.

I made the oatmeal gingerbread the first time when my son had a friend over, and they'd reached the not wanting to share toys stage and needed a distraction. As a result, a few  ingredients were skipped or substituted, a few things went awry, and while the end result wasn't amazing I felt it had the potential to be better if I made it again properly.
Two cups flour, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch salt, 2oz. margarine or butter, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon golden syrup, 1 tablespoon treacle, 1 egg, good ½ cup milk.
Sift flour, ginger, spice, baking powder, and salt. Rub in margarine or butter, add oatmeal and lemon rind. Beat egg, add treacle, syrup, and milk, stir into dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour into greased slab tin. Bake in moderate oven (350 deg. F.) 40 to 50 minutes. Turn on to cake cooler, when cold top with vanilla-flavored warm icing. 
By a 'good' ½ cup milk, it means that plus another teaspoon or two to make it mix properly - I mixed the ½ cup in with the other wet ingredients, then added a tiny bit more at the end. It won't 'pour' into the tin - I ended up with a dough that I had to flatten out in the tin. I also found that I didn't need to bake it for as long as it suggested -mine only took 30 minutes to be cooked through.
I really like the texture given by the oatmeal, and I found that the children liked it. It isn't as heavy or spiced as proper gingerbread, and so is more of a "mild gingerbready slice". I used the lemon I'd grated the rind from to make a lemon icing which I thought went very well.
The second trial of the oatmeal gingerbread. 

The prize-winning recipe this month was Prune-stuffed steak, which I made for my husband and I. (The boy won't eat steak at all.)

Two pounds topside steak, cut in one thick piece with a pocket cut deeply into one side, 1¼ cups breadcrumbs, ¼ teaspoon mixed herbs, 1 egg, little margarine or butter, salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, good pinch grated lemon rind, pinch nutmeg, 1 lb. prunes, three rashers bacon.
Trim steak and wipe with damp cloth. Place a layer of stoned prunes on bottom of pocket. Mix all seasoning ingredients with melted margarine or butter and beaten egg. Press a layer of stuffing on top of prunes, and then arrange another layer of prunes on top. Fasten together with skewers or sew with strong cotton. Place in baking dish with hot fat, cook in moderate oven (350deg. F.) 1 hour, turning meat several times. Place rashers of bacon on top, cook another half hour or until meat is tender. Serve piping hot with vegetables and brown gravy. 
I was not going to cook one giant two pound steak, so I made this with two smaller steaks instead.
I made up the same amount of stuffing, and just didn't use it all. I did not use anywhere near a whole pound of prunes, and I obviously adjusted the cooking times to allow for the smaller size of the steaks.

The prunes and stuffing in the pockets. Looks strangely like I've put oreos in the steak.

The final cooked steak. 
It was really nice and we enjoyed it, although we both decided that it needed some extra flavour in the stuffing.  We made it again the next week, adding some mustard to the stuffing mix, and trying this time with chicken breasts. I liked this version too, but somehow the prunes and chicken seem a more expected pairing? The prunes and the steak together are still the winner for me.

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