Tag Archives: mustard

Basic White Sauce and Watercress Sauce

Another smashing guest post by Talia – find her first on here and why not peruse her blogs Teafull and The Gibson Girl’s Guide to Glamour?

This was another of my inherited cookbooks — Cooking For One by the team at Better Homes and Gardens.

My grandmother lived on her own from about 1985 when my grandfather died, till around 2010 when some cousins of mine came to dwell in her basement due to financial troubles. Not long after this, she needed professional nurses to come help as her health wasn’t keeping up with her. Family always lived nearby, but she seemed to like being independent; and I can imagine she probably used this cookbook a lot, since dining solo would have been her standard way of life.

This book came extra handy to me on a recent 3 week stay in Scotland. Due to the length of the trip, I made sure I was dwelling in a place with a kitchen so I could cook at “home.” Many inspirations came from this little work. See, while it includes plenty of actual recipes, it also has lots of general suggestions for easy things to eat alone. (Including perhaps some things you wouldn’t *want* anyone else to know you’re eating… there’s a few suggestions that amount to the kind of thing you eat when you’re trying to use up leftovers but you really don’t want to boast you’ve been feeding off of. Example: mushrooms in white sauce as a meal.)

Some suggestions include egg in a basket, croissant sandwiches, an ingredient heavy but still single-serving salad niçoise, the questionable sounding (but probably fashionable today) bacon and peanut butter tostada, and more.

There is one section on how to make (approximate) single-servings of various sauces, and this was one area I gave a try. I made some Basic White Sauce, which then with a few additions becomes Watercress Sauce. Here are both recipes:

Basic White Sauce
1 tbs butter or margarine
1 tbs all-purpose flour
dash salt
dash pepper
1 cup milk
In a small heavy saucepan, melt the margarine or butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper till blended. Add milk all at once, Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly, then cook and stir for 1 minute more. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes about 1 cup.

Watercress sauce
Using 1/4 cup Basic White Sauce, stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh watercress, 1/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, and dash ground nutmeg.

I used the finished Watercress Sauce mixed with some canned tuna and some bacon, to make a pretty good little tuna salad. To do it this way, add the whole recipe of watercress sauce to 1 standard sized can of tuna and about 2 strips of bacon, finely crumbled or diced, and mix it all up well. Eat it on crackers or bread or a potato or whatever.

An interesting thing about this little watercress tuna salad recipe, was it ended up being a great lesson to me in how the quality of your ingredients really effect the flavor of your food. See, I made a batch of this one time in Scotland, and one time after I returned home to the US. US has crappy food; it’s all bred to be large, and hold up well to transportation, and to not taste like anything (I assume intentionally for the sake of consistency season to season.) Consequently, the white sauce made with Anchor butter and Scotmid watercress was way tastier than the stuff I had to use in the US. You can also get BRINED tuna in the UK which you pretty much cannot find in the US, so the fish tastes a lot better since it’s been salted through; adding more salt to the recipe just doesn’t get the same result.

All in all it is a pretty fun little cookbook, I hope I’ll get to try some more of the recipes in the future.

Garbanzo snacks

This recipe comes from a vintage classic, Diet for a Small Planet (1971, Frances Moore-Lappé). This book, joint published by Friends of the Earth and Ballentine, is one of the first which pulls together environmentalism and nutrition, and has become short-hand for a certain kind of eating associated with the 1970s – all brown and fibrous, all the time.

The theory behind this book is that combining certain vegetables proteins gives equivalent nutrition to eating meat (more about that here). Various substances not normally found in my kitchen make frequent appearances in this book: skimmed milk powder, brewer’s yeast, soy flour. The recipes are grouped into protein matches, some of which sound more appetising than others: rice and yeast, peanuts and sunflower seeds, potatoes and milk.
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Crusted Cheese Pie

Well. It’s Pie Month again. Where better to find a suitable pie than in the classic Make A Meal Of Cheese? Yes, the recipe book that gave us the abject horror of the Hollow Cheese Loaf. Good idea. There’s no way that could go wrong. Here’s the instructions:

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Liptauer Cheese

This was the first thing I started making for our recent Eurovision party, being skilled at planning ahead I bothered to read the recipe card sometime before the party started so this got the chance to rest for the couple of hours it specifies. Lots of things seemed to go wrong with this, the quantities seemed off, I seem to remember reducing the amount of capers and thanks to a shopping omission didn’t add the chives until a lot later. When I first tasted the dip it struck me as one of the least appealing things ever – the potential of the separate parts had combined to form a disgusting looking and tasting goo. It was horribly sharp and I considered going off-recipe simply so as not to horrify my guests, but was utterly lost as to what would sort it out, so shoved it in the fridge as if the fridge was magic and would somehow transform this mess into something edible.

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Pork and Beans


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Spinach Cannelloni

Here’s one I cooked about a month ago – the stodge was perfect at the time but now it’s salad weather and the idea of a creamy pasta dish is less appealing, so please cast your mind’s back to chillier times in order to give this recipe the attention it deserves.  It’s from The Sainsbury Book of CHEESE –  including Cheesecakes and Fondues by Rhona Newman, first published 1982 (this ed. 1983), so a fairly recent resource, with generally sensible recipes .  The difference between this book and Make A Meal of Cheese from 10 years previous is notable – where MAMOC was cheddar-centric here we have recipes for a range of cheeses (unsurprising really, given the publisher).  There’s still some slightly icky recipes (Sardine Fish Cream?) and some where you feel you’d have liked them to try a bit harder (I’m looking at you Garlic Sausage Spears, aka slice of garlic sausage wrapped round cream cheese on a cocktail stick).

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Rosy Baked Chicken

This is from Family Circle Home Entertaining published by Albany Books in 1980.  With chapters such as ‘Wine Sense’, Giving a Cheese and Wine Party’ and ‘A Wedding Buffet Planned at Home’ it offers everything necessary  for one to entertain on a large scale and if this sample recipe is anything to go by it also offers everything necessary to make sure that your guests will think twice before accepting an invitation to future soirees.

Rosy Baked Chicken

4 chicken joints
1 small (200g) can sliced pineapple

Sauce
50g margarine
1x15ml spoon plain flour
2x15ml spoons tomato ketchup
2x5ml spoons dry mustard
1×2.5ml spoon salt
Pepper
1x5ml spoon Worcestershire sauce
1x15ml spoon vinegar

1 (200g) pack frozen peas
1x10ml spoon cornflour

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