Recently I have been watching my box set of Fawlty Towers DVDs, which is still so amusing after all these years.
Whilst watching the episode with the American guest and the Waldorf salad – when famously Basil Fawlty says “I think we’re just out of waldorfs” – I thought – I have never actually had that -must look it up and make it!
Waldorf salad was created by Oscar Tschirky, a Swiss-American, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in 1896.
The original was made with celery, apple and grapes – nuts were added a bit later.
Either use green skinned apples for an all green look or red skinned for a nice contrast.
Toasted walnuts are delicious – just take care and watch them so you do not burn them!
6 sticks of celery
2 eating apples – Braeburn are good
100g walnuts – toasted
100 -150g of seedless green grapes
2-3 tablespoons of full fat mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
Crispy lettuce leaves to serve
Trim the celery and cut into small slices.
Core the apples and chop into small pieces
Chop the toasted walnut into small pieces
Cut the grapes into halves
Mix the celery, apples, nuts and grapes together
Mix the mayonnaise with the lemon juice
Mix the dressing with the salad
Hand shred the lettuce leaves and put them in the bottom of a shallow bowl
Heap the salad on top of the lettuce
For individual servings put one or two lettuce leaves per person in a small dish and spoon some salad in the middle.
This recipe is from Pani Stasia *,she and my mother were at school together. She baked wonderful cakes and everyone loved this soft cake with seedless green grapes on the top within a mound of lovely meringue.
Many years ago I jotted down the recipe and now I found it amongst my many hand written recipes.
I obviously had not written it down very well and in my first attempt, although the topping part worked very well , the bottom cake part was not as I remembered it. Part of the problem was some of the measurements were in spoons and I think my conversions did not work out that well. Also I remember that seedless grapes used to be very small, now they seem to be much bigger.
My next attempt was a disaster! I tried cutting the grapes in half (bad idea) and I adjusted the base ingredients – the base did not cook well at all this time – a big gloopy mess – straight to birds.
One of a pair of wood pigeons that come into the garden looking for cast off cake!
I decided to bake the cake base separately and add the topping later – I had a couple of goes and found that a Victoria sponge using two eggs was the best.
This method means you have 4 egg yolks left over (you can use these in many other recipe). The original recipe used the yolks in the base and the whites in the topping – sadly I could not recreate this.
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grease a 22cm loose bottomed tall sided tin.
Preheat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
Add the eggs and lemon rind and whisk again.
Fold in the plain flour.
Place the mixture in the tin and bake for around 25 minutes.
Leave to go cold before adding the topping.
225g seedless green grapes
4 egg whites
200g granulated sugar
2 sponge fingers – crushed
Preheat the oven to GM2 – 150°C.
Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
Mix in the crushed sponge fingers
Put half of the meringue mixture on top of the cake base.
Place the grapes in a layer on top of the meringue.
Put the rest of the meringue mixture on top of the grapes and smooth it down.
Bake for 1 hour – if not dry enough – lower oven to GM1- 140°C and leave for another 30 minutes.
Switch off the oven and leave cake in the oven.
Once oven is cold take out the cake and leave to cool in the tin.
Do not try to take it out of the tin until it is totally cold.
Queen Anne tea plates & Portmeirion – Crazy Daisy cake forks – Sophie Conran’s design from 2009.
Coffee set and plates – Greenway by Hostess Tableware – design by John Russell, 1960 – 1979.
Pani translates as Madam, Lady or Mrs and is a polite form of address – it is like donna in Italian or saying Miss Mary in the Southern States of America.
Stasia is the shortened form of the Polish name Stanisława. (The feminine form of Stanisław)
St Stanisław is the patron saint of Kraków & Poland, he was a martyr, murdered by the Polish king Bolesław II the Bold in 1079 – a story which has much in common with St Thomas à Beckett and the English king Henry II in 1170.