The Great Recipe Challenge Disappointment

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Irene Field

In the interests of variety and charting new unfounded territories, back to the bookcase I ventured. The next book appeared very sad and sorry, practically spineless so to speak, complete with loose leafs falling out, purchased when I resided in Australia. This one is ‘The Family Cookbook’ and is part of the (Australian) Family Circle Money-Go-Round Guide, by Ethel Brice, published 1977.  How this book reached its sad and sorry state is a total mystery I confess as I have never cooked one recipe from this book. Age has obviously rendered it practically obsolete – a bit like me I guess.

The foreword is interesting. Remember this book was published in 1977 and it reads – Quote: “In these days of higher and higher prices, not only for luxuries but also for so many of the staple items in our diet, FAMILY CIRCLE thought it seemed like a good idea to bring together into a single book a host of our best ideas to brighten up the besieged family budget” Unquote. Doesn’t that give you a ‘Back to The Future’ moment?  Even back in 1977 households were financially besieged, just as we are in 2012.

My recipe choice? I opted for the chapter entitled “Try our Magic Ways with Low-Cost Fish” I have to be honest none of these really appealed so I settled for a recipe called ‘Fish Roll’ which uses a large can of salmon (in the 70’s, Salmon was obviously still a low-cost item).

I did not cheat and this recipe required a pastry to be made from flour, margarine (I used butter), one egg and milk. It has been a very long time since I have made my own pastry. This was a feat in itself. The instructions were to roll the pastry out. Take the can of salmon, drain and flake it, and into it mix finely chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  You covered the dough with this mixture, and then rolled it as for a Swiss Roll. Which is very unusual for something resembling a fish pie? I was that taken back with this instruction, I actually googled Swiss Roll images to ensure a Swiss Roll was what I thought it to be. Every result was a sweet Swiss Roll, and I am wondering if the word ‘Roulade’ hadn’t entered the 1970’s vocabulary as yet back then?

I followed the recipe. Did my Swiss Roll thing, onto an oven tray, brushed the pastry with milk and added some fancy slits into the top. Into the oven my Swiss Fish Roll went. Try saying Swiss Fish Roll very fast, six times in a row. Believe me it is easier to type than say!

The verdict? This one didn’t make the cut.    Pastry really isn’t a food item that lends itself to Swiss Rolling. It tasted better cold, then hot out of the oven.  One thing that I have gained fro this experience is I have managed to add to my Tongue Twister Repertoire. Swiss Fish Roll, Swiss Fish Roll.

Never mind my audience of one. We were bound to encounter a disappointment at some time. For my next recipe, we will leave the 1970s and head into the sparkly, shiny 21st Century. 2003 here we come.

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10 thoughts on “The Great Recipe Challenge Disappointment

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  3. have just chanced upon this ?blog are there any other episodes and where can i find them
    i am assuming cheersthat you are doing some sort of cooking journey thru different decades ??? would like to know more
    your fish dish sounds like fun to do pity about the end result lol

    • Hi Carol, all my blogs are here on Foodlovers and entitled The Great Recipe Challenge. This is the home page for the blogs

      I am embarking on a cooking journey through my bookcase – which encompass various decades (due to my mature years). So I am zig zagging, as my books are in no particular order, but just as with this one – a lot I have never cooked a recipe from.

      Feel free to keep following, and read the previous blogs. Glad you enjoyed reading this thank you.

      Irene :)

      • yes i found it after i had posted have been working my way through your previous offerings very entertaining cheers carol

  4. Good try Irene – I know your disappointment.

    Being the owner of many stalks of rhubarb and some rejected (by the kids) apples, I decided to make stewed rhubarb and apple (with brown sugar and lemon juice) rolled in pastry.

    Made the recipe up and used frozen puff pastry, with visions of a crisp pastry encrusting a delicious stewed fruit concoction. Cue soggy pastry hugging a soggy, stewed, off-pink sludge.

    Luckily my husband was hungry enough to eat one of them. The other remains lurking loney in the fridge.

  5. Never mind Irene. What you are doing means there are going to be some recipes that you don’t like. It’s inevitable. You are not going to try any new recipes if you only make what you like. And that’s the point of your journey, isn’t it? The compensation is the reverse when you try a recipe that you wouldn’t think is any good and it produces a delicious meal.

    • How true Ray. And even though the final result was disappointing, at least I made my own pastry – for the first time in many years.
      Onwards and upwards. And after writing this piece, I actually flicked through the book to see if there were any other recipes to attempt in the future… and there was a roulade! This still has me shaking my head as to how they would expect the ‘inner pastry’ to cook/brown?

      No books have had curries as yet, but I anticipate that will be a winter attempt.