Farmhouse Chicken Casserole

My lovely chum Ben came round for Sunday lunch and I made this easy-peasy casserole.  It was GOOD.  And it was very good to see Ben.  He’d dropped off the radar for a while but when he arrived with FIVE BOXES OF RECORDS I knew we were in for a fun afternoon.  I love the technique of carrying one on the belt – he’s exhausted after climbing 4 flights of stairs…

The Shellac Sisters have a lot of gigs coming up to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and several have asked us to play 1950s music.  As my collection is predominantly 1930s Ben has kindly offered to lend me some of his platters.  He’d been collecting them here and there and like me, finds it hard to get rid of any duff ones that just happen to be lurking amongst the good ones.  When I happened upon a Tommy Steele record he kindly allowed me to smash it on the kitchen floor (I have an irrational dislike of Mr Steele).  One of the pieces was fashioned into a rather fetching shellac moustache.

We did a bit of hula hooping and then Ben did an excellent DJ spot with his box of Ska records while I did the washing up.  A really lovely day with a very dear friend.

Recipe from: Cooking Price-Wise

Cabbage in Sour Cream

Mmmmm – I don’t often swear in the cookblog but this was bloody delicious.  It was a case of having half a cabbage and some sour cream to use up and I looked in the “Come Into the Kitchen Cookbook” and there it was.  White wine vinegar – the secret ingredient.  This is what Vincent and Mary’s version looked like (top left of the picture).

That’s Mexican Beef at the bottom, looks good doesn’t it?  I might have a go at this one, even though I have no idea what makes it Mexican after looking at the recipe.
I am listening to the football on the radio.  I admit, this is partially because I am interested in someone who is interested in football, but I wish to state right here that I LIKE FOOTBALL.  I have been to a fair amount of football matches, I have played football myself (which gave me a whole new perspective on it) and I like watching it on TV.  So I knew tonight’s game (Manchester United v Manchester City) was a big deal.

I’ve really enjoyed listening to it on Five Live but I’ve been a bit shocked at the misogyny of one of the commentators who has been really snide about a woman commentator in the press box.  One of his comments was: “The lady journalist has tapped a few words into her i-pad”.  Honestly.  Some men like knitting, some women like football.  Get over it!

Blime – that’ s my doppelganger on the far left there!

Recipe from: Come Into the Kitchen Cookbook

Chicken Vermouth With Rice

Made a schoolgirl error with this dish last night.  Didn’t read the recipe properly and made my own mind up about how much salt to put in.  I should know by now that if Vincent specifies a certain measurement of salt, that’s what the recipe needs.  It was a bit too salty but still good.  Poaching the chicken in vermouth makes it soooooooooooooo succulent and delicious. The ladies of the book group liked it, they ate it all!  Same with the John Boles Picnic Marble Cakes which were also a hit.

Something momentous happened today.  I talked on the telephone with a man.  For more than 10 minutes.  This is very, very unusual as I don’t like talking to men on the phone.  But I surprised myself by enjoying talking to this one.  It is another indication that I really do need to get a new phone.  So that I can actually hear what this man is saying should he ever call me again…

Recipe from: Cooking Price-Wise

Green Salad

Ooh, I’ve been craving cucumber for days.  Feels like I’ve been eating a lot of rubbish this week so a good old fashioned green salad was just what I needed.  This is an approximation of the greenery Vincent recommended for his salad – I had some extra green stuff in my fridge which I bunged in. The  Vincent touch of the wiggly edges of the cucumber slices is what makes it a bit special.  Cute.  I used the TINES of a fork (have never actually used the word tines before) to make indentations before slicing.  I had Marlene Dietrich’s advice about cucumbers to the forefront of my mind as I prepared them:

“Peel cucumbers not from the narrow end down.”

Marlene pointed out that the narrow end of a cucumber was often bitter and a knife could transfer the bitterness to the whole cucumber.  It’s one of those things that once it is in your head, it is impossible to ignore.  I must try and resist becoming the type of woman that points this out every time I see someone peeling a cucumber.  Or holding a cucumber.  Or even looking at a cucumber in the supermarket…

Look at those cucumber wielding hands!

Vincent says: One of our friends in Puerto Rico served this very rich, beautiful, semitropical concoction at lunch time, and we have done so occasionally at home.  The table looks  most attractive with the real pineapple shells ready and waiting.  It is surprising how well they hold the heat if they have been kept in hot water for about ten minutes.  And the pineapple flavour subtly creeps into the chicken and sauce.

Chicken in Pineapple

Ha ha ha!  As a diehard spinster I always rejoice when I see a recipe that “Serves 1” and I’ve been wanting to have a go at this for a LOOOOOOONG time.  My goodness what a palaver it was!  But what a delight to be sitting at my dinner table alone, spooning out delicious creamy chicken mixture from a hollowed out pineapple.  It seemed incredibly self indulgent.

You should see the kitchen though.  I had to make a chicken velouté (in the “Blender Magic” section of Vincent’s Treasury of Great Recipes) then transform it into a Supreme Sauce (adding cream) then muck about with some chicken and mushrooms and shallots and sherry and egg yolks and more cream…  I think every single utensil in my kitchen needs washing up.  But I’ve got other things on my mind.  It’s a free listings day on ebay and I have things like this to sell…

Not sure if I’ll get round to it as it is 9.20pm already…

It’s been a fab weekend at the Palace of Solitude.  There has been children here.  Yes.  Children.  Here!

Here’s one chilling on my sofa:

and here’s one hiding in my sideboard:

What fun.

And tonight when I was just about to serve myself with a chicken filled pineapple I had a power cut.  I suspected it was an overload on the system due to every single ring on my hob going at full blast keeping all the elements hot whilst the cast of Les Miserables found out they were the peoples’ choice at the Olivier Awards.  I am not a great fan of musical theatre but my kitchen radio is fairly stuck on R2 and they were blasting out one of their songs when the lights went out so I blame them.

It broke my dream from last night though.  When I woke up this morning my head was full of it but I’d since forgotten all about it.  I was in a major earthquake situation.  I was hanging on to a bar at a bar if you see what I mean (I could see the optics clearly) and my body was flying out horizontally behind me, legs flapping around in the force of the quake.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw BETTY DRIVER come in to the bar, wearing an amazing dress reminiscent of Ginger Rogers’ dress in Top Hat during the Cheek to Cheek routine:

Betty’s dress was a MASS of white feathers with some accents of black and yellow.  I can just see her now, in the midst of all the earthquake madness sitting down on a sort of pouffe and flopping backwards to wait it out.

As always when I see someone I haven’t seen for a while in my dreams I think how lovely it is that they have come to visit.  Nuts.

Vegetarian Toad in the Hole


My champagne and Cluedo party was ace.  Trix, Jane and Sophie came over and we all got right into the swing of things.  I naturally dressed as Miss Scarlett – here I am lunging for the spanner…

Lord Todd Wadley got tooled up:

and we had Vincent’s Toad in the Hole with vegetarian sausages from our chum at Brown’s Gourmet Sauasages.  Doesn’t look good in this pic but it was delicious.

and we jiggled around the kitchen to the brilliant box of records Jane gave me:

There was one in there that I remember having when I was a kid.  Rolf Harris singing, “Someone’s Pinched Me Winkles”.  What a great night!

Pineapple Glazed Double Pork Chops with Shrimp Fried Rice

Mmmmmm.  Massive pork chops (I assume when Vincent said “double” pork chops he meant super thick ones) with a delicious pineapple juice / brown sugar / honey / mustard / cloves and BANANA sauce.  I thought it rocked.  As did the shrimp fried rice.

I really, really enjoyed following all of the recipes in the International Cooking Course programme for Vincent’s “Bounty of Paradise” spread.  I didn’t have time for the South Seas Dessert but might make that tonight.  I’ve said it before and no doubt will say it many more times.  Vincent is a culinary genius.

My guests seemed to enjoy it all and we certainly got into the Polynesian mood..

Recipe from: The Beverly Hills Cookbook (formerly known as the Vincent Price International Cooking Course?)

Steak Teriyaki

These were perfect.  I spent quite a bit of dough on the steak so I knew it would be good.  The steak was marinaded overnight in Vincent’s Sweet and Sour Sauce with soy sauce, sherry and honey added.  It was full of flavour and perfectly tender.  I could eat some more of these right now (it is 10am…).  Definitely something to make again, I do love it when most of the preparation can be done the night before…

Recipe from: The Beverly Hills Cookbook (formerly known as the Vincent Price International Cooking Course?)