Apple, celery and nut salad

celery and appleThe garden grows cookbook, 234pp.
by Eva and Tony Lambert
Wildwood House, London, 1978
Cooking on page 132

The book starts out with a story about a teacher who asked her class where eggs come from. A young boy was quick to answer ‘from an egg carton’. When asked for more detail, he said the carton came from ‘back of the shop’ somewhere.

It’s sad to think how remote our food supply has become to us (and this book was published in the 1970s). Eva and Tony Lambert have written about seasonal foods, how they are grown and their nutritional values. There are recipes for each season, as well as a chapter on items such as dressings, breads and pastries.

Page 32 was a chapter divider so I moved on to 132 and a recipe that is similar to a simple and classic dish—the Waldorf salad.

apple, celery and walnut salad

Apple, celery and nut salad

Ingredients and method
Combine equal amounts of diced apple and chopped celery with half the amount of crumbled walnuts or hazelnuts. Pour over a mayonnaise dressing. Delicious served as a salad or as a topping for open toasted sandwiches.

The garden grows cookbookHow it played out
I used a cup each of diced Granny Smith apples and celery, along with half a cup of broken walnuts.

Dressed it with 3–4 tablespoons of my homemade mayonnaise (recipe at the bottom of this post), which made it just moist enough. I’m sure any mayo would be fine, but mine is sugar-free.

What a wonderfully refreshing recipe. Great crunch too. Over the years, I’ve made plenty of different Waldorf salads. This is as good as and much easier to make than all of them.

I served this as part of a summer-y lunch. As an aside, I’ve given this book to my friend and neighbour, Lyn. She’s going to pass it on to one of her brothers. The recipe on page 37 caught her eye on his behalf.

P.S. During the times of coronavirus, I plan to post recipes that call for economical and easy-to-source ingredients (at least in Australia) that might help you to cook healthy dishes at home. Would love to hear from you if you want to contribute a guest page-32 post that will help others.

apple, celery and nuts

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Wholemeal loaf

bread in baking tinThe South Beach Diet cookbook, 344pp.
by Dr Arthur Agatston
Rodale International, London, 2004
Cooking on pages 32–33

While I’ve never followed the South Beach Diet, I remember when it first came on the scene in the mid-1990s.

The diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agastston, a Florida-based cardiologist. His work in heart disease research led to the development of the Agatston score, which measures the amount of calcium in a person’s coronary arteries.

The diet emphasises eating lean meats, unsaturated fats and low-glycemic-index carbohydrates. One chapter explains how the diet works, and the 200 recipes will help people to get the best from their dieting efforts.

Pages 32–33 provides a bread recipe that is lower in carbs.

Wholemeal loaf

Wholemeal loaf

350ml (12 fl oz) warm water (use one part boiling water to two parts cold water)
2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
400–455 g (14 oz–1 lb) wholemeal bread flour
60 g (2 oz) walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 sachet (7 g) easy-bake yeast

flour and recipe chopped walnuts bread dough mixtureMethod
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, combine the water, oil, wholemeal flour, walnuts, salt and yeast to form a rough dough. Let the dough stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic; add a little more flour if it feels sticky.

Coat a 1 kg (2 lb) loaf tin with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/gas 8.

Place the dough in the tin, pressing it into the corners, and cover with a clean damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Place the tin in the centre of the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes. The loaf is ready when it sounds hollow if you knock on the bottom of it. Turn out the bread onto a rack and leave to cool. Makes 16 slices.

How it played out
I know dough because I make a lot of bread—at least two loaves a week and sometimes four. One of my recipes calls for 350ml of water and 490 grams of flour. I’ve learned how hard it is to wrestle that dough. So I knew, before I started, that I would need to use somewhere between 500–550 grams of flour to make this recipe work.

Once I added the extra flour—I didn’t weigh the additions (just went a small handful at a time) but I know I added at least an extra 75 grams—the dough was fine.

bread dough and scraperI was also surprised by the short rising time, but it worked fine. Baked as suggested and it did make 16 slices.

Two special things relating to this loaf. I baked it in a wonderful old-fashioned bread tin given to me by Barb, a friend and neighbour. And the butter is in a lovely dish I bought during our travels in Estonia.

A surprisingly delicious and functional bread. It has a lovely texture and amazing taste.
I used it for a recent page-32 sandwich recipe.

South Beach Diet cookbookI usually make sourdough breads that need a long or overnight rise, but will happily make this one anytime I am in a hurry. Great for sandwiches.

This recipe is timely. With coronavirus sweeping across the world, people may need to make their own bread. I recommend this as an easy way to start baking. Any wholemeal flour will be fine.

Throughout the world, travel plans have been cancelled, diverted or problematic. We’ve cancelled or decided against plans to travel to Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Africa, and islands in the Indian Ocean. Have your plans had to change?

Luckily, I still have plenty to write about on my travel blog, so please stop by if you’re feeling some wanderlust.

Wholemeal bread and butter

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Grilled cheese and Indian chutney sandwich

lettuce, onion, tomatoesQuick and easy Indian: fast, effortless food for any time and place, 176pp.
by Anjum Anand
Quadrille Publishing, London, 2014
Cooking on page 32

I adore Indian food and am always on the lookout for recipes and ideas. I checked this book out of the library because of the tempting recipe on page 32.

Although I know of many Indian chefs, Anjum Anand was new to me. This is one of her eight cookbooks. Anand is on a mission to bring Indian food up to date and accessible. She is also very health-conscious so works to create lighter dishes with all the rich and famous flavours of the subcontinent.

I like that this thinking has been applied to the humble sandwich.

Grilled cheese and Indian chutneyGrilled cheese and Indian chutney

softened butter or light mayonnaise, to taste
2 slices of bread (whatever you like)
1–2 leaves crispy green lettuce
½ small ripe tomato, finely sliced
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion (optional)
1 large, thin slice of cheese (at least large enough to over your slice of bread)
1 tsp capers, drained and rinsed well (optional)
3 tbsp tangy coriander chutney (recipe below)
a little vegetable oil

Butter, or spread a little mayonnaise on, one slice of bread. Add the lettuce, tomato, red onion (if using) and cheese. Sprinkle with the capers (if using). Spread the chutney on the other slice of bread and place on top of the cheese.

Toast the sandwich in a press, if you have one. Otherwise, place a small frying pan over a medium heat and oil it very lightly. Grill the sandwich in the hot pan, pressing down with a fish slice or a broad spatula until golden brown and crisp, then turn and repeat on the other side. It will be warm and melting in the middle. Serves 1.

coriander chutneyTangy coriander chutney

50g coriander leaves and stalks
20g mint leaves
2¼–2½ tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
30g roasted shelled pistachios
½–1 green chilli

bread and cheese bread with lettuce and moreMethod
Whizz everything together with 2½–3 tbsp of water until very smooth and homogenous. Taste and adjust the salt and lemon juice to taste. Makes 200ml. Can be frozen.

How it played out
I had a green chilli on hand and exactly the right amount of coriander to make the chutney, but had to scrounge around the neighbourhood for enough mint. The hailstorm we had about a month ago wiped out my mint and most of my tomato plants.

I made the chutney (with plenty of lemon juice) and my homemade mayonnaise a day ahead, so it took no time to assemble the sandwich today. I added extra red onion and capers. These are never optional ingredients for me. It was impossible to cut thin slices of my aged cheddar, so I went with thick.

Made two servings—for Poor John and me—and cooked in the sandwich press.

Quick and easy Indian cookbookVerdict
Oh yum, oh yum! The is my kind of sandwich. Poor John often says it take me longer to assemble a sandwich than it does to eat it. That’s mostly true, but this came together quickly (remember that I made the chutney and mayo a day ahead).

This sandwich has that kind of oozy, gooey deliciousness that runs down your arm if you aren’t careful. I almost always have the mayonnaise on hand and I will make the chutney whenever I have coriander (cilantro) that needs to be used up. Hey, the chutney has lots of uses and can be frozen.

I’ve already said how much I love Indian food. Here’s a link to one of the many amazing meals we’ve had in India over the last few years.

Grilled cheese and chutney sandwich

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Mediterranean-style lamb shanks

Eggplant, zucchini, bell pepperThe very useful winter book, 84pp.
by the kitchens
News Magazines, Alexandria, New South Wales, 2010
Cooking on page 32

This paperback cookbook came free attached to an issue of Australia’s popular delicious. magazine. I’ve subscribed to the magazine since it began two decades ago.

In addition to, these recipes have come from delicious., Super food ideas, Notebook:magazine and Woolworth’s good taste. They cover soups and stews, bakes and pies, slow cooked dishes and casseroles, roasts and vegetables, desserts and easy entertaining.

Page 32 calls for a slow cooker.

lamb shanks with potatoesMediterranean-style lamb shanks

4 large (about 1.5kg) lamb shanks, trimmed
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 medium red capsicum, cut into 3cm pieces
2 medium zucchini, halved, thickly sliced
1 small (350g) eggplant, cut into 3cm dice
2 sticks celery, thickly sliced
tomatoes, onion, garlic lamb shanks and flour vegetables for lamb shanks2 x 440g cans chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup (125ml) red wine
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
mashed potato or cooked pasta, to serve

Place lamb and flour in a bowl. Toss to coat. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook lamb for 5 to 6 minutes, turning, until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl of slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant and celery to pan. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until vegetables just start to brown.

Add to lamb. Top with chopped tomatoes. Pour over combined tomato paste, wine and stock. Turn slow cooker onto low, cover and cook, for 6-7 hours.

To serve, stir in oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve lamb shanks over mashed potato or pasta. Serves 4.

Tip: Stirring the ingredients every couple of hours helps to distribute the flavours more evenly.

lamb shanks recipeHow it played out
I made this exactly as written, but I did encounter one problem. 

My slow cooker is too small to take all the ingredients comfortably. It holds 3.5 litres (about 3.5 quarts). At a minimum, a 4-litre slow cooker would have been better (see photo at left).

Nevertheless I managed, but it was almost impossible to stir the ingredients occasionally as suggested in the tip. Served with asparagus and over mashed sweet potatoes.

Winter cookbookVerdict
I know a lot of people aren’t familiar with (or don’t love) lamb recipes, but this is so full of flavour it is well worth a try.

We must have loved it because I’ve made it three times over the last two months. The next two times I’ve used only one tin of chopped tomatoes. That change was enough to make the occasional stirring manageable. P.S. All the pics are from the first making.

Lamb is one of the most common meats available in Australia. We eat it regularly. So do the dogs in our lives. Here’s a story about a bit of lamb thievery that happened at our house.

Adding another P.S. 
Happy Birthday Grandma. The page number used for this blog marks the birthday age of my grandmother. She was born on 29 February 1880. When I started this blog in 2012, she would have been 32. You might have thought she was 33 then, but Leap Year was not observed in 1900 (or in any century year that is not divisible by 1000).

lamb shanks

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Grilled Korean pumpkin

marinated pumpkinSeoultown kitchen, 159pp.
by Debbie Lee
Kyle Books, London, 2011
Cooking on page 132–33

I’ve not cooked much in the way of Korean food, so I was pleased to find Debbie Lee’s book of easy-to-make, authentic national recipes.

Lee, a Korean–American, has been been a chef in three prominent restaurants in Los Angeles. She has also been the Asian face of the Food Network and run a popular food truck. In 2013, she committed to living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight—back then she weighed in at 215 pounds. Today she runs Mind Body Fork, a sustainable, farm fresh meal delivery service that focuses on natural and locally sourced ingredients.

Page 32 is a chapter divider so I moved on to 132–33.

Korean grilled pumpkin

Grilled Korean pumpkin

120ml soy sauce
120ml mirin (rice wine)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small kabocha squash or butternut squash or small pumpkin, skin on, sliced into 1cm wedges
sea salt and white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, for garnish

grilling pumpkin grilled pumpkin soy and mirin Method
Preheat an outdoor grill or griddle pan to smoking point and brush it with vegetable oil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil and whisk well. Add the squash and toss thoroughly, making sure all the pieces are coated with the marinade.

Place the squash on the grill and season with salt and white pepper. Cook for 4–5 minutes and then turn over. Cook on the other side for another 4–5 minutes or until fully cooked.

Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 4–6.

How it played out
Most of what North Americans call squash, we Australians call pumpkin. In this case, I made half a batch using a largish quarter of a Kent pumpkin. A Kent looks a lot like a kabocha squash, but I don’t know how it compares flavour-wise.

I followed the ingredients and instructions except that I didn’t have the right pepper or sesame seeds on hand, so used black pepper and white sesame seeds. I could have managed with one-third of the marinade rather than one-half, but I saved the leftovers to use again. Sesame oil is one of my all-time favourite flavours.

Seoultown kitchenCooked the slices on a griddle pan and the timings were right.

It was fantastic to have such an interesting and nutritious vegetable ready to eat in less than 20 minutes. This dish delivers on ease of preparation, appearance and taste. I almost always have some pieces pumpkin on hand and am sure this will work any variety. Hope you try it. Now to make some of the other Korean recipes.

We’ve enjoyed lots of Korean food, but our travels haven’t take us there yet. Hope we can make it some time soon. In the meantime, check out one of our memorable stops in Vietnam. This post was all about gorgeous ethic and elegant Vietnamese clothing.

grilled pumpkin with noodles and salad

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Layered chickpea salad

salad ingredientsMeal in a jar, 96pp.
no author named
Igloo Books, Sywell UK, 2016
Cooking on pages 32–33

I checked this out of the library because I found the concept intriguing. Even though glass is breakable this would be a great way to take a meal to work or to leave in the fridge for a rushed day.

Almost all of the recipes serve four and they cover breakfasts, salads, soups, desserts, preserves and sauce, and juices and smoothies.

I love salad and pages 32–33 delivered.

salad in a jarLayered chickpea salad

150g / 5 oz / 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small cucumber, diced
100 g / 3 1/2 oz/ 2/3 cup pitted olives, halved
300 g / 11 oz / 1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
100 g / 3 1/2 oz/ 2/3 cup feta, cubed
1 romaine (cos) lettuce, roughly chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
100 g / 3 1/2 oz/ 1/2 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

salad in a jarMethod
Arrange the cherry tomatoes in the base of four glass jars, the top with the cucumber, olives, chickpeas, feat and lettuce.

To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard and lemon juice with plenty of seasoning in a small bowl, then whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. Pour into a bottle to serve alongside the salad.

How it played out
I didn’t want to make four salads—just one. So it took me a while to find a single jar that would be suitable for this recipe. Luckily I hoard jars to use for preserves, so I found one to do the job.

Meal in a jar cookbookI made one quarter of the recipe and piled it in the jar. Made the dressing separately and added it when I dished up the salad. For the dressing, I used 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of oil and a full teaspoon of Dijon mustard. I try to cut down on oil.

What a great idea. If I was still working, I’d be happy to make two of these for lunches, but I think four might get a bit wilted before I got to them.

The salad itself is delicious and the dressing (as I made it) had a good balance of flavours.

The mention of salad always reminds me of a massive salad I was served in France. It was delicious but way more than I needed. You can see it here.

Salad in a jar

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Blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffin ingredientsMuffins, 64pp.
by the The Australian Women’s Weekly kitchens
ACT Publishing, Sydney, 2004
Cooking on page 16

A friend gave me a whole stack of small Women’s Weekly cookbooks, and I’m finally starting to make my way through them. This book was reprinted by popular demand.

Page 32 has a picture of a child digging into a muffin, but no recipe, so I backtracked to page 16 (half of 32).

Blueberry muffinsBlueberry muffins

2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
3/4 (150g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (150g) fresh or frozen blueberries
1 egg
3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil

Muffin mixture Muffins in ovenMethod
Preheat oven to moderately hot. Grease six-hole (3/4 cup/180ml) muffin pan.
Combine flour, sugar and blueberries in large bowl, stir in combined remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.

Bake in moderately hot oven about 20 minutes. Makes 6.

How it played out
I’m always a little suspicious of Women’s Weekly baking recipes. They reckon a cup of flour weighs 150 grams, while I think a proper, well-sifted cup of flour weighs 125–130 grams. So I cut back on flour and used 280 grams of flour (9.9 ounces). I also backed off a bit on the brown sugar.

I didn’t want six huge muffins, so I spread this across a 12-hole (1/3 cup/80ml) muffin pan. I lined each hole with a paper baking cup. The muffins were done in just over 18 minutes. A moderately hot oven is 200–210°C or 400–425°F.

Muffin cookbookVerdict
I don’t make muffins often. Too much temptation in my own home. These make lovely muffins that are incredibly easy to make and delicious to eat. Given that I made 12, I was generously able to give away six of them.

Poor John and I have been traveling over the last few months. A highlight was Christmas with the whole family in Taiwan. I’ll post soon about one of the night markets there but, in the meantime, you can check out our visit to the changing of the guards at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

Another highlight was the fact that our house at the south coast of Australia didn’t burn in the recent fires. Here’s a post about that.

Blueberry muffins

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