Tag Archives: Retro Recipes

Shepherd’s Pie

A finished Shepherd's Pid

The finished pie

  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Plus: 1/2 cup cream, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed or peeled, and chopped small
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cut green beans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup beef or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (can use stock, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1tsp dried)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot of cold, salted, water over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Drain well, then put the potatoes and garlic back into the pot and mash them 1/2 cup of cream (or milk) with a few tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper . Taste for seasoning.  Beat with a wooden spoon until fluffy, set aside.
  3. In a large, deep skillet, cook ground beef or lamb for about 5-10 minutes or until browned.  Spoon off excess fat and remove meat.
  4. Wipe down the skillet and add the vegetable oil. Bring to a medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, corn and green beans.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes.  Add the ground meat back to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes or so until hot.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.  Add the stock and wine , thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Taste the meat mixture and adjust seasonings.
  6. Scoop meat and vegetable mixture into a 9″ deep dish pie plate. Spoon and smooth the mashed potatoes on top.
  7. Scatter the cut butter over the top of the potatoes and bake until browned, 35 minutes.

Note: you could use water if you don’t have stock or wine — just make sure that you have enough salt and pepper.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein, Vegetables

Berry Muffins

I used to buy these muffins from a shop just around the corner when I was on my coffee break, or for lunch; the recipe is from the “David Wood Food Book”.  How I miss my exquisite lunches and sweets from that shop!  Not exactly nutritious, but one could use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour, or use a Cornell Mixture.  This makes 6-8 muffins.

  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen OR add berries or fruit of your choosing
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour muffin tin, or use paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the melted butter and sugar, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to the butter mixture, along with the milk.  Don’t worry if it’s a bit lumpy.  Add the berries and fold them in gently.
  4. Scoop into the muffin tins; bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until pale golden brown, and the top springs back when touched.
  5. Niall likes to make a glaze of freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar for these — half a lemon, with sugar to taste, warm in microwave, then drizzle onto muffin or dip muffin!

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Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, Breads/Muffins/Biscuits, food, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Cheese Straws

From The Smitten Kitchen.  These addictive cheese straws are the best recipe EVER.  EVER.

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon half-and-half, cream, or milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds. (it never forms a ball for me, but when it holds together when squeezed between finger and thumb, I remove it then knead by hand for a moment until it forms a nice ball).

3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (though I lined mine with parchment), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.

4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned; these taste bad if they brown all over. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

5. Serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Appetizers, food, Grains, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Granny Jo’s Victoria Sponge

Makes two 8” cakes, or one tall 8” cake.

Ingredients:

First with weights, as Granny makes it, then with measuring cups/spoons:

With a scale:

  • 8 oz unsalted butter
  • 8 oz castor/granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 oz self-raising flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • (2 tablespoons milk to add if necessary)

With measuring tools:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup castor/granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups, less 1 Tablespoon self-raising flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • (2 Tablespoons milk to add, if necessary)

For finishing:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Fruit jam

* if you don’t have self -raising flour, remove 1 Tablespoon of the flour, and replace with 1 Tablespoon of baking powder; you still need the additional 1 tsp of baking powder in the recipe.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 360F/182C.

Prepare two 8” non-shiny cake tins by greasing them with butter, and line the bases with non-stick parchment paper.

Ingredients must all be at room temperature.

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat it until it is pale and light.  Add the sugar, continuing to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Break the eggs into a separate bowl, and beat them lightly.  Add the beaten eggs to the butter/sugar mixture one spoonful at a time, making sure that they are fully incorporated before adding the next spoonful.

Whisk the flour and the baking powder together in another bowl.  Using a large spoon, fold in the whisked flour to the egg and butter mixture.  Do not over mix, or the cake will be tough.

Check the consistency of the batter – look for the batter to drop easily off of a spoon when it is tapped gently on the side of the bowl.  If it is too stiff, add a little milk (up to 2 tablespoons, a little at a time).

Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared tins.  Whack the tins down gently on the counter to remove any bubbles and to level the cakes.  Place into preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

When finished baking, turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment.  Flip them over right side up.  Removing the cakes quickly from their tins will avoid soggy bottoms!

When completely cool, cut the cakes in half horizontally and spread the middle with jam.  Place the top back on.  This will make two Victoria Sponges, or a tall Victoria Sponge with three layers of jam.  Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar.

Tips:

If your mixture “curdles”, don’t worry.  Just add a spoonful of flour in and mix it together.  This should absorb all the excess liquid that’s separated the mixture.

Don’t open the oven during baking.

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Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Caramel-y Oat Squares

  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups rolled oats

Mix everything together as you go, in the order given.  Press down the resulting mixture in a well-buttered 9” x 9” baking pan/glass baking dish.  Bake in a 400F oven for approximately 11 minutes, until golden (check often to prevent over browning or burning).  As soon as you take them from the oven, cut them into squares (we use a pastry scraper to “score” them right down to the bottom of the pan).  The original recipe says to remove them while still hot, but we find this unnecessary because we butter the pan very well.

If you want to make them very crispy, use a cookie sheet and spread the mixture thinner.  Adjust the time.

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Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, Grains, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Grandma Ruth’s Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

This is a real retro/60’s recipe, but still requested by the kids in the family!  There is nothing nutritious, or the least bit redeemable about it…

  • 1 package peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 bag coloured or white baby marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Butter an 8″ x 8″ pan .  Line with parchment paper with overhangs if desired, just to make the squares easier to remove.

In a heavy pot over low heat, blend chips, peanut butter, and butter until smooth.

There are two ways of “mixing” this:

  1. Scatter the marshmallows evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Pour the smooth, melted peanut butter mixture over the marshmallows in the pan. OR
  2. Gently fold the marshmallows into the peanut butter mixture, and quickly pour into the buttered pan before they get a chance to melt.

Refrigerate until very firm.  Keep refrigerated!

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Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, food, Fun/Kids

Cooked Playdough

This playdough is very smooth in texture, and will not leave a salty, or oily residue on one’s hands.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup cool water
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • Food colouring (optional)

Put flour, salt, and cream of tartar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the liquid ingredients together.

Add the liquid ingredients to the pot, stirring constantly.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and forms a sticky ball in the centre of the pot, about 3 to 5 minutes after mixture has warmed.

Let cool, and knead till smooth.

Store covered in fridge.

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Filed under Fun/Kids, non-food