Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Friday, 16 December 2016

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest – BUCK HANNASSEY


Winter days mean afternoons in the warm with a good movie, and one of my favourites is 'The Big Country'.

Now we all know that Gregory Peck is the star (and what a fine job he does). He plays James McKay, an ex-naval captain who travels to the West to marry his fiancé who lives on the Terrill ranch. Men are tough there and there is some initial doubt as to whether McKay is tough enough. As the film progresses, we learn that he is; he just does things his own way. Even the famous fight scene with Steve Leech (Charlton Heston) takes place in private and ends with the classic line: ‘What did we prove?’ He also shows his mettle by (again secretly) riding ‘Old Thunder’ the ‘unbreakable’ horse.

The scene stealer is Burl Ives. His entrance at the engagement party is movie genius. As patriarch Rufus Hannassey, he leads the family which is in contention with the Terrill’s for grazing rights in ‘The Big Muddy’.

But my meal is for his son, Buck. Poor Buck; he is forced to be tough but cannot, as hard as he tries, win his father’s respect. He loves ‘Julie the Schoolie’ (Jean Simmons) and at one point, in a vain attempt to woo her, he invites himself into her house and eats her stew.

Buck Hannassey is played by Chuck Connors. His performance is right up there with the others although his name is less well-known today. In his time, though, he was a successful baseball and basketball player and had a long-running stint on American series, ‘The Rifleman’.

In 'The Big Country', Buck Hannassey is a mixed-up man. He craves acceptance from his father and many of his mistakes are made attempting to win the slightest of praise. At the end he is rejected by the man he so wants to please and by the woman he (probably genuinely) loves but whom he has abducted in another desperate scheme.

So, I think he might like this lovely stew with dumplings. It could warm his heart and show him that he doesn’t need to try so hard. This one is made with vegetarian sausages but you probably wouldn’t even notice. The chilli adds a little kick which a hard-living man would enjoy.

Oh, and by the way, the Big Country has them best theme of any film ever. We could play it while we eat. 



SAUSAGE AND BEAN STEW

Serves 2-3

6 vegetarian sausages, defrosted if bought frozen
2 medium red onions, sliced
1 medium red pepper, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
420g can mixed beans (pulses)
420g can red kidney beans, drained and washed
400g can chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree (or 2tbsp tomato ketchup) mixed with 3tbsp of hot water
2tsp dried mixed herbs
1tbsp sugar
1tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves

Chop each sausage into four.
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the sausage until brown. Remove and set aside.
Fry the onion and pepper for a few minutes until almost soft.
Then add the garlic and continue to cook until all just brown.
Put the sausages back in the pan.
Add the beans to the pan with the tomatoes and tomato puree.
Sprinkle in the mixed herbs, bay leaves and sugar and stir well.
Transfer all to a crock pot and place in the oven at a low heat until the sauce has thickened. (I leave it for at least an hour.)
Remove bay leaves before serving.
 








This dish is even better if prepared in advance and re-heated when needed.

It is even better again if you add these dumplings. You can cook them separately and stir them in.

HERBY DUMPLINGS

200g SR flour
100g veg suet
2tsp mixed herbs
Salt and black pepper
5 – 8 tbsp cold water

Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
Add enough of the water to bring them together in a soft dough.

Shape into small balls.
Add to hot stock so that they float on the surface.

Cook for about 20 minutes (add to stew about 20 mins before serving).

Saturday, 3 December 2016

A Meal for Vegetarian Pirates and Smugglers



This is my Dad's photo of Mousehole in Cornwall.  


We spent a glorious November week in a cottage on the quay here.
And, if you spend a week by the sea, it makes sense to have a Smuggler/ Pirate meal. This was a kind of 'free for all' with all dishes on the table at the same time. It took a lot of preparation but I had some willing helpers. Some of these recipes were my own but I also trawled the internet for ideas.






The Menu
Pirate Cheeses                 Treasure Map Pizza
    Pastry Treasure Chests     Fruit Trees
        Salmagundi                    Shark Infested Beans

I started by making the filling for the Treasure Chests. This is because it tastes best when it has had time to sit for a while. It can be heated up at the end and placed inside the pastry chests which are cooked in the final 20 minutes before serving.

Then I, with my helpers, started on the prep for the other dishes. The Pirate Cheeses can be made and left until needed, as can the Salmagundi. Don't make the Fruit Trees too soon as you don't want the fruit to discolour.

Pirate Cheeses
My Dad was given responsibility for assembling these. I found the idea on the web. The original used black food colouring but I thought that black olives would be better. Cutting and assembling was a bit fiddly but the end result was worth it.

Ingredients
babybel cheeses
black olives
Method
Cut through the red covering on each of the cheeses. Make sure you don't cut the cheese itself. Remove half. Then, using a sharp knife, cut an eye, eyepatch and mouth for each pirate from the skin of an olive.

Salmagundi
This is, apparently, a traditional meal served to pirates. Recipes vary and there are even some hot versions available. Most writers agree, though that it was a shredded mix of meat and salad. This vegetarian twist on the dish uses what we call 'make believe ham'.

Ingredients
4 Quorn meat free smoked ham slices
1/4 cucumber, de-seeded
2 carrots, peeled
4 lettuce leaves
4 slices cheddar 
1 small onion
Method
Cut and slice all ingredients into strips, apart from the onion, which can be in thin rings.
Mix all together. No dressing needed.

Shark Infested Beans
A bit of fun to accompany the meal.

Ingredients
2 large tins baked beans
3 tortilla chips.
Method
Heat beans just before service and place in a large bowl. (You can make sure that it is in the pan in advance to avoid a rush at the end.)
Arrange tortilla chips to look like sharks.

Fruit Trees
This is another idea I pinched - this time from a children's party post - but we made it using the fruit we had in the fruit bowl and added a bit of cress.

Ingredients
1 banana
1 orange
1 green apple
Method
Slice the banana in half lengthways, then chop into slices.
Cut apple into segments, leaving the skin on.
Peel the orange and cut into segments.
Arrange on plate to make the palm trees and sprinkle cress on the bottom.


Treasure Map Pizza
You can have fun making whatever you want to be on the map.

We even made ships from red and yellow peppers and cocktail sticks
We also covered the serving board with pieces of blue and grey paper, cut from magazine pictures to make the sea surround.

Ingredients/ Method
1 pack cook your own pizza dough (you can, of course, make your own but I used a quick cheat). Make this up according to packet instructions but make into an island shape. Spread with tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.
➤Cook in oven, then add toppings.
Toppings must be ready in advance:
1 red and 1 yellow pepper for the ships (see above)
1 carrot cut into palings for the palisade
6-8 pasta twirls (fusilli), cook until soft but firm. Use as tree trunks, along with flat-leaf parsley for the leaves
pieces of cut olive skin for the path
spring onion leaf for 'X marks the spot'
crumbled tortilla crisps for sand/ rocks

Pastry Treasure Chests
You can put whatever filling you fancy into the pastry chests. I used a creamy quorn and leek mix which is my Mum's favourite. This serves 4 people.

Ingredients
1 300g pack Quorn chicken-style pieces
2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
300ml vegetable stock
200ml double cream
3tbsp butter
2tbsp flour
75ml milk
2 large leeks, washed and chopped
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry

1 egg yolk
Method
Heat oil and 1tbsp butter in a pan and add the onions and leeks.
Cook gently until soft and golden, add the Quorn pieces and then pour over the vegetable stock. Stir well.
In a separate pan heat the remaining butter. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Then add 60ml milk, stirring well to avoid any lumps. Add the cream and continue to cook until the roux is smooth. Then add it to the leek and Quorn mixture.
Bring to the boil to reduce by half and then allow to cool slightly. Season as required.

Keep until needed.
➤About 20 minutes before serving, gently reheat the filling.
Heat oven to 200C/ Gas 6
Cut sheet into four neat rectangles, removing any uneven pieces.
Score a line with a knife, all the way around each rectangle, about 1cm in from the edge. You should be cutting about halfway through the pastry. Place each on a baking tray. Make a lattice pattern on the top of each. Mix egg yolk with a little water and brush over the top. 
Cook pastry for about 15-20 minutes until it rises and you can remove the central panel.
Place hot filling inside and replace the 'lid'.
(This should be the last item before serving)


And then, after all the food was eaten, we tried to play a 'Cornish Smuggler' game. It made cooking six dishes seem easy.






Friday, 14 October 2016

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest – MRS TIGGYWINKLE

On Tuesday it was my pleasure to prepare a meal for the members of the DAFT group. DAFT stands for Devoted to Animals Fundraising Team and they have raised almost £20,000 to date, which has been donated to a wide range of animal charities. The proceeds from my meal this week will go to help those who protect and treat our little hedgehog friends.

This Carrot and Coriander Soup was one of the choices for the starter. So here it is for Mrs Tiggywinkle and all those who contributed the money to make the evening a success.

CARROT AND CORIANDER SOUP

40g/ 1½oz butter
170g/ 6oz leeks, trimmed and sliced
450g/ 1lb carrots, sliced
2tsp ground coriander
1 tsp plain flour
1.1l/ 2pts vegetable stock
150ml/ ¼pt single cream
salt and ground black pepper
handfull of coriander leaves

Melt the butter in a large pan.

Add the leeks and carrots, stir well and then cover. Cook for about 7 minutes.
Stir in the flour and coriander and cook for another minute.
Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or util the vegetables are soft.
Whiz in a food processor or blender (in batches if necessary) until smooth. Return to pan.
Taste and season, then re-warm (but don’t boil).
Stir in the cream.
Either serve right away or set aside until later (if so, reheat when ready).

Ladle into bowls and top with torn fresh coriander leaves.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Fantasy Veggie Dinner Guest – MISS JEAN BRODIE

Muriel Spark’s 1961 novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie introduced my favourite teacher (although I first read it twenty years later). When, in the late ‘80s, I trained to follow in her footsteps, she was not ‘in vogue’ and she has not been since. But, on each occasion that I re-read the book or watch Maggie Smith bring her to life in the 1969 film, I feel – more and more – that she had the right idea: a teacher should inspire a group of pupils to want to learn, to want to succeed and, therefore, the subject taught is irrelevant. We cannot even begin to cover everything in the time we have allocated to us in the classroom so it is best if we share a passion for learning, whatever the subject.  A good teacher can show her charges that they can follow their own interests. But then, just as now, the establishment has the final say.



We call this ‘School Pie’ as it originated as a meal which a lovely teacher friend of mine borrowed from her school cook, even though it has been tweaked a bit since.

SCHOOL PIE

I have given metric measures but – if you have both on your scales – the imperial is much simpler.
115g/ 4oz carrot, peeled and chopped into large chunks
115g/ 4oz onion (about 1 large onion), peeled and chopped
115g/ 4oz cheddar cheese, in 3-4 chunks
170g/ 6oz stuffing – make this according to packet instructions
4 slices of bread, toasted and ripped into smaller pieces
Splash of olive oil
2 eggs + yolk of another
200ml/ 7floz milk
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry (You can make your own or use a block but this is the easiest method)

I use a food processor.  Have a large bowl ready to mix ingredients.
Put onion into food processor and chop until small. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onion. On a low heat, fry until soft. Then put in the bowl.
Put carrot into food processor and chop until small. Add to bowl.
Repeat with the cheese.
Put bread into food processor and blitz to make breadcrumbs. Add to bowl.
Add stuffing, mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Pour over the milk and crack 2 eggs into the bowl.
Mix very well so that you have a very stodgy mess – this is exactly what it should look like.

Spread out a sheet of pastry and place half of the mixture inside one half of the pastry.
Fold over the other half of pastry so that the filling is in the centre. Then crimp all the way around. Score the top.

Repeat with the second sheet of pastry.  Freeze one.
Put the other on a baking tray.
Mix the egg yolk with a little water and coat the pastry with it.

Cook at Gas 6/ 400˚F/ 200˚C for 35-40m.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Vegetarian Delirium - VEGGIE SAUSAGE BAKE

I love having fruit and veg 'on tap' in the garden, but I must admit that sometimes there is almost more produce than I know what to do with. We have a glut of courgettes and tomatoes at the moment. I thought that this might be a good way to use them.

VEGGIE SAUSAGE BAKE

6 vegetarian sausages, defrosted if frozen
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red onion, chopped into chunks
6 small tomatoes, halved
½ courgette, sliced
1 large tin chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
¼tsp caster sugar
1tbsp olive oil
1 garlic bread baguette

plus
mixed fresh herbs of choice
spices to suit

Heat oil and cook sausages. 
Then remove them from the pan and chop each into about three or four slices on the diagonal.
In the same pan, cook the onion and pepper for a couple of minutes. Then add the courgette and tomatoes. 
When all have softened, pour in the chopped tomatoes and return the sausages to the pan.
Then add the herbs and spices. I used fresh coriander and cumin with some ground paprika.
Add the tomato puree and the caster sugar. Season and taste. Adjust any of the above if necessary.


When ready to eat
Heat the oven to Gas 7
Make sure that everything in the pan is hot. Then transfer to a baking dish.
Cover with slices of the garlic bread.

Place in oven for about 10-12 minutes until bread is cooked.



Friday, 26 August 2016

Vegetarian Delirium - HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE

Perfect for pasta, this is a great way to make the most of a glut of fresh tomatoes.


600g tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar
½tsp caster sugar
handful of chopped fresh herbs
salt and pepper

Remove the stalks from the tomatoes and cut a cross into the top of each.
Place in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes until the skins begin to split. 
Drain and cool under a cold tap.
Peel the tomatoes and discard the skins.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic until golden.
Return the tomatoes to the pan and add the other ingredients.
Adjust to taste.

Stir well.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Vegetarian Delirium - GREEK SALAD


There are many versions of this and everyone has their own idea of what it should include.
The two essential ingredients are, however, olives and feta cheese.

Serves 2

For the salad
100g feta cheese, cubed (check to make sure it is vegetarian)
12 black pitted olives
6 small tomatoes, halved
12 slices of cucumber
handful of shredded lettuce

For the dressing
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar
chopped fresh herbs

Mix the cucumber, lettuce and tomato in a bowl.
Then scatter over the olives and cheese.


Mix the oil with the vinegar and add the herbs. Season and stir well. Then drizzle over the top of the salad.

Monday, 18 July 2016

TEXAS COOKIN' - A Meal for James Dean


"He played a boy without a home, torn with no tomorrow, reaching out to touch someone, a stranger in the shadow." ('James Dean of Indiana' by Phil Ochs).

The Event

Here I am in the kitchen.  I am told that I look a bit serious but I was thrilled to take part in Greg's fabulous challenge, inspired by his book and website Recipes for Rebels.
My Cowboy Cookalong took place on Monday 11th July 2016. Dave and I invited our friend Simon around. The fact that he has worked as a chef was a bonus as he was an excellent help in the kitchen.


I set up my 'cantina' in advance and, while the 'Spirit of Dean' was watching over the preparations, and listening to 'This Old Porch' by Lyle Lovett, I wopped up a good mess of vittals. ("And this old porch is like a steaming, greasy plate of enchiladas/

With lots of cheese and onions/ And a guacamole salad.")



Then my boys came back from riding The Goodnight-Loving Trail; having stabled 'Old Paint' and 'Old Dan', weary from feeding the little dogies in the coolie, watering 'em in the draw and throwing the hoolihan...and we were ready to begin.


First up was Eddie Albert's Guacamole, served with some nachos and sour cream. I wasn’t overly pleased with the colour once the tomatoes had been stirred in as I like my guacamole to look green but the flavour was superb. I’m not sure how many Eddie intended it to feed but the amount was just right for the three of us. I had a normal portion and the boys ate the rest. 







All plates were cleared.  

At this point we were listening to ‘The Beautiful Waitress’ by Terry Allen (“And it's not rude/ When she takes away your food/ To touch her fingers/ And let them linger awhile with your loneliness.”)

 




As Dave sang raucously along to'Gamblin' Bar Room Blues' by Jimmie Rodgers


("Ho! He! Ho! He! You're just as drunk as me/ Ho! He! Ho! He! Heading for the deep blue sea")...


...Simon and I prepared 

the next two dishes. 


We had Old Borunda Cafe's Enchiladas Montadas with Ronald Reagan's Rancho California Rice as a side.

There had been an argument in the supermarket about the size (diameter) of the tortillas to choose. Dave tried to convince me that large ones were needed. I remembered that we were stacking them and I thought that smaller ones would be better. We bought both, knowing that we could freeze whatever was not needed and use them for another meal next week. Guess who was right?

But Dave did try to be helpful when I asked him to get the 'Mexican' plate.

The fried egg provided us with a dilemma. We made one stack with and one without.


And then there was Ronnie's Rice: 
This was the scary one. Simon and I know a thing or two about cooking and were very sceptical; Dave knows nothing but also thought it would be awful. In actual fact it was incredibly tasty and was a perfect accompaniment to the enchiladas.



I am not sure that I presented it as it would have been at the Old Burunda but it worked for us.








While he was waiting,Dave insisted on playing his live version of 'Hey Good Lookin' from the 'Live at the Grand Ole Opry' album. (Note that Jimmy has found his way into the dining room.)




This was my plate without the egg...




...This was Dave's with the egg.



While we were eating, Simon had to put up with Dave telling him for the hundredth time of how he shot Billy the Kid. 

("Me and Billy the Kid never got along/ I didn't like the way he buckled his belt and he wore his guns all wrong" - Joe Ely)





After the main course, Simon had to let his belt out. (Dave didn't even bother to wear a belt!)








And for dessert...Jane Withers' Chocolate Roll.

This had quite an unusual texture (I was left wishing it had included flour). It was, however, very rich and chocolatey and was a lovely sweet ending to the meal.



The boys had a drink to celebrate the conclusion of a very enjoyable evening.




In fact, Dave got so carried away that he decided to bang a nail in the wall ready for the James Dean Commemorative Plate!






And, guess what? By the time we had finished the meal it was 'Cowboy Time'.

Cowboy Time? (Ten to ten to ten to ten to ten to ten...) 


It was that point in the evening when it became necessary to listen to 'The Last Gunfighter Ballad' by Guy Clark, pour three glasses of Wild Turkey, and sing along.



And now, here is the serious bit.
.                                           

The Food

The Starter:
EDDIE ALBERT’S GUACAMOLE       
       
The Justification:
Eddie Albert was a contemporary of Dean’s. They starred together in an episode of General Electric Theatre.



The Ingredients
3 very ripe medium-sized avocados
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 medium-sized onion, diced
salsa Jalapena         
wine vinegar or lemon juice to taste
salt to taste

My Variations
I used a green chilli pepper, peeled, de-seeded and chopped instead of the salsa Jalapena as we have a glut of them in the freezer from the greenhouse last year. I added a tablespoon of shop-bought salsa.
Greg says it doesn’t need the salt but I added some when I tasted it (but then again, all my friends will tell you I am a bit of a salt fiend!).
I also used freshly squeezed lime juice instead of lemon/ wine vinegar.

The Shopping
Most of the ingredients were easy to source from the local supermarket.

The Method
Remove avocado flesh and mash with a fork so it is not too smooth.
Add the other ingredients and mix well.

The Cooking
Very easy to make. Just a case of chopping, mashing and mixing.

The Main:
OLD BURUNDA CAFÉ’S ENCHILADAS MONTADAS (STACKED ENCHILADAS)

The Justification
James Dean regularly ate at the Old Burunda Café while shooting Giant.

The Ingredients   (serves 4)
For the sauce:
12 red chilies, seeded and stemmed
½ onion
3 cloves garlic, minced (pressed)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour (I used plain)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground black pepper
For the enchiladas:
3tbsp vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
2 cups Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese (I used Cheddar)
1 cup chopped onions
4 eggs

My Variations
Dave thought that 12 red chilies would kill a herd of buffalo even after they had drunk the Colorado River dry. I am guessing, therefore, that Mexican ‘chiles’ are a lot milder than the ones we grow. I knew that I needed the same bulk, so I used three chilies and one large red pepper.
I used one small red onion as I had a lot of small ones and it made sense to do this rather than to use half a large one.

The Given Method (slightly adjusted to fit my oven and utensils)
Preheat oven to 450˚F (This is my Gas 8 and I don’t need so much pre-heating).
Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil, then add the chilies. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until softened.
Remove chilies from the heat and allow to cool.
Place chilies, onion, garlic and 3 cups of water in a blender. Blend until well pureed.
Strain the puree, extracting as much pulp as possible and discard the rest.
In a large flat-bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the flour. Mix to make a blonde roux. Add the strained puree, salt, pepper and oregano. Stir until it thickens, then set aside.
To make the enchiladas
Heat the oil in a small pan. Place a tortilla in the hot oil for about three minutes. Place on absorbent paper towel and allow to cool.
Ladle a thin layer of sauce onto a baking dish large enough to hold 4 tortilla stacks. Place 4 tortillas in a stack and ladle sauce over each.
Sprinkle with cheese and chopped onions.
Add another tortilla and repeat. Top with a third tortilla and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and onions.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts.
While the enchiladas are cooking, fry the eggs “sunny side up”.
Place each stack on a plate and divide the remaining sauce among the plates. Serve immediately with an egg on top.

The Cooking
I gently cooked the onion and garlic in a little oil before I put it in the blender.
Following the recipe, I sieved the puree but it seemed such a shame to throw away the best bits so Simon and I decided to put it all back in and we were glad we did. The sauce had flavour and texture.
On a gas stove top, it took less than the suggested 3 minutes to cook a tortilla. I would say it took only 1 minute.
I always find it hard to measure in cups, when using a solid rather than a liquid. I know it is 250 ml but what is it in grams? If talking about cheese or onions, how tightly do you pack them? In order to try to keep as close to possible to the original recipe, I therefore used cups (lightly packed, bone china ones), even though I had converted all other measurements to metric. In the grand scheme of things it made no difference at all.
It was also a slight dilemma whether to crisp up all the tortillas before assembly or to do them as I went along (just like making a lasagne). I checked out Greg’s wonderful blog which told me all I needed to know about the origin of the café and the recipe but even this did not enlighten me on this particular point. I decided, therefore, to cook and assemble as I went along. This was made possible by the fact that I had Simon helping me in the kitchen.
The concept of ‘stacking’ was also not that clear – should there be four together or interspersed with the sauce. I went for tortilla, sauce, tortilla, sauce, etc.
Not being a fan of raw onions, and not trusting that they would be cooked enough later, I used chopped tomatoes.
We tried it with and without the fried egg. Opinion was mixed: Dave loved the egg but there is not much he doesn’t like.
I served it in the cooking dishes rather than removing it onto plates.

The Side:
RONALD REAGAN’S RANCHO CALIFORNIA RICE

The Justification
In his early days, Reagan worked with Dean on TV’s General Electric Theatre and was renowned for his role as General Custer in The Santa Fe Trail, thus establishing his credentials as a contemporary of Our Man Dean and a screen cowboy.

The Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp butter
4 cups cooked rice
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups sour cream
1 bay leaf, crumbled
16oz can whole green chilies
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  
My Variations
There were several. We argued for a long time about ‘chiles’ in a can. Yes there were some made by ‘El Paso’ but I thought that these would probably be fairly mild and also a bit of a cheat, so I used three home-grown green jalapenos and a green pepper to make up the same bulk.
I also had more cottage cheese than sour cream as we had used some with the starter so I changed it to 2 cups cottage cheese and 1 cup sour cream.

The Shopping
I was a bit extravagant in my shopping as I searched for an alternative to the huge can of chilies which Reagan used. I bought a jar of jalapenos in oil but apart from the fact that we can store them until 2019, they were a bit of a waste of time.
I made up for it by helping myself to a few fresh bay leaves from the tree in next door’s garden.

The Given Method
Saute onions in butter until limp.
Add rice, sour cream, cottage cheese, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Mix well.
In a greased casserole dish put a layer of rice mixture, a layer of chilies (seeded and cut into strips) and half a cup of cheddar.
Repeat, saving 1/3 of the cheddar, ending with a layer of rice.
Bake for 25mins in a 375F oven (Gas 5).
Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 10m more.

The Cooking
I cooked an estimated amount of rice to work out how much would be 4 cups. I am guessing that Ronnie had some rice left over from the night before when he made Nancy a curry, otherwise I think it would be better to specify a dried weight.
Simon and I worked out the rest of this recipe as we went along. He gently fried the chilies and the pepper in a little oil then added the chopped bayleaves while I cooked the onions and made the rice mixture.
Then we assembled it with rice, chili mix, rice, chili mix, rice.
In my particular oven it needed Gas 8 for 20m to brown the cheese at the end.

The Dessert:
JANE WITHERS‘ CHOCOLATE ROLL

The Justification
 Jane Withers was, apparently, one of the world’s most famous child stars. She was in Giant with James Dean

The Ingredients
5 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup of sugar (I used caster sugar)
6 squares (6 oz) chocolate
3 tbsp strong coffee
1 ¼ cups heavy cream (whipping cream)

My Variations
Jane says that 6 squares of chocolate is the same as 6 ounces. Not by my scales! (Maybe the size of a ‘square’ of chocolate was different then.) I weighed 10 squares of cooking chocolate at 3oz. I added this to a whole cup of coffee and considered that the 3tbsp from the recipe would probably contain the right amount (or somewhere near) of chocolate.
NB Please, please, please make this with free range eggs.

The Given Method
Butter a large baking sheet (18 x 12 inch), line it with waxed paper and butter again.
Melt chocolate in with the coffee and allow to cool.
Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale in colour. Mix in choc/ coffee
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold in.
Spread mixture evenly over prepared sheet and bake in 350F (Gas 5) oven for 15mins or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove and cover with a damp cloth for about half an hour, until cool.
Loosen cake from baking sheet and dust generously with cocoa.
Turn out on wax paper, cocoa side down, and carefully remove paper from bottom of cake.
Spread with the whipped cream, sweetened to taste and roll up like a jelly roll.
Dust top with a little more cocoa.

The Cooking
This was done in advance. I kept thinking, “Where is the flour?” As it was cooking it was very ‘eggy’ but I was pleasantly surprised by its appearance when it came out of the oven.
When it was ‘rolled up’ it looked a bit plain so I cut it into slices and arranged them on a plate with a bit more cream and cocoa powder.