Thursday, 26 February 2015

Ooh-Aah Just A Little Bit of Mite-y Vege Tim-Tam-A-Bang

Fanny Cradock took part in Eurovision in its first year, 1956. Yes, Eurovision! Before you start to imagine dear old Fanny and Johnnie bopping-and-a-twirling around a stage crooning and-a-cooing to a panel of international judges for votes for their song, I should point out it was a Eurovision Cooking Contest. The European Broadcasting Union encouraged all sorts of competitions between European Nations, and Fanny wasn't one to ignore a challenge. Particularly when the gauntlet was thrown down by a celebrated French chef, Monsieur Raymond Olivier, who goaded her by saying that 'Women, particularly English women, do not know how to cook. They are incapable of inventing a dish.' Fanny stood up to fight for our National Honour against the Frenchman in a head-to-head culinary battle, filmed by the BBC and beamed around Europe. Terry Wogan was not involved.


Fear not Eurovision fans, Fanny did take the glitzy performance aspect of the competition extremely seriously. Well, you wouldn't expect anything less. She made sure her entourage arrived with a paparazzi flourish, and her gown was suitably dazzling. She claimed to fashion the elaborate apricot coloured satin number herself, studded with diamenté and embossed with ostrich feathers. She whipped around the stage swishing her 3ft train in her wake, much to the 'delight' of the cameramen I am sure. Monsieur Olivier wore grey.


In celebration of the 'other' Eurovision's 60th transmission, the EBU have invited long term supporters Australia to participate, highlighting the theme of 'Building Bridges'. Fair Dinkum. (Please read every sentence from herein with a 'high rising terminal' or upward inflection at the end). I think it sounds like fantastic fun. You probably heard Jason from Don't Boil the Sauce squeal at the announcement. For the past few years he has been tucking into tucker from around Europe for his fabulous Chow Down to Eurovision. I love Eurovision, but he's obsessed. This year he's asking other bloggers to create a dish to represent Australia... Just like Fanny I can't resist a challenge, particularly an internationally-camp and flamboyantly-controversial one involving Eurovision and Australia. So, time to slip on that apricot ballgown, polish my diamanté and flick my train into the kitchen.


Fanny showcased perfectly fine English ingredients in perfectly posh French dishes for the contest. Fanny insisted they both create a Soufflé, and the Oyster version she whipped up for Eurovision was apparently a roof-raiser. So, naturally, I'm adapting the recipe with a suitably Aussie twist as my entry. Luckily Fanny included her recipe in her very final book, The Ambitious Cook - A Lifetime in the Kitchen in 1985 and detailed the story in her autobiography, Something's Burning in 1960. I need to incorporate iconically Aussie ingredients, so what better than Vegemite and Tim Tams? Stone the crows, if this isn't what most Australians would hope to be known for, I apologise. I may have Buckley's chance in this contest already.


To recreate Fannys soufflé I follow her guidelines and make a roux from butter and flour. I plonk in a half a tablespoon or so of Vegemite too. While it's still warm in the pan, like Fanny, I add cream and white wine - obviously Australia-tastic Jacobs Creek! I beat in egg yolks and beat again until smooth. My Tim Tams are whizzed up to a powder and mixed in to sweeten before the very stiffly whipped egg whites are folded in. I've already buttered and coated my soufflé moulds with more powdered Tim Tams (you can never have too much) so fill them up with the mixture. I nervously wait for them to bake in a hot oven for around 10 minutes, while an interlude video montage of Fanny in Australia scrolls through my mind, but I needn't have worried. Like Fannys version they rise to the occasion and will hopefully bring me 'douze points' when the voting lines open. Follow Don't Boil the Sauce on Twitter for all the fun. He's a top bloke.


They taste unusually good. I'm hoping the slightly alcoholic, sweet and salty mix will appeal to Eurovision fans Down Under as well as Up Over. Move over salted caramel. I'd be stoked if you'd vote for me if I get through to the next round! The result of Fannys Eurovision was officially diplomatically decided to be a draw. Fanny felt she was the real winner. Is it a sign that we can expect a tie this year too? Apparently the Monsieur tried to get it written into his contract that he would 'win' but he hadn't bargained on the fierce and formidable Fanny. What a drongo. What controversy awaits for 2015? Hopefully you'll be saying 'good onya' to a Scottish blogger for representing Australia with a twist on an old Fanny recipe... Strewth, whatever next?


10 comments:

  1. This looks like heaven! I'm rather partial to Tim Tams and love a Tim Tam explosion in particular! Tweet me if you need to know what that is!!

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    1. I'm almost scared to tweet and ask, I've led such a sheltered life you see...

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  2. Goodness! You've put me to shame. I had thought about some sort of Vegemite salted caramel but it was all too much trouble. You've shown me up. Bravo Fanny!

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    1. Ah no, healthy competition...! Yours is fab. You do have the Holy Grail of Johnny Logan though... I look forward to seeing all the entries!

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  3. G'day That looks delicious and am glad we are united by our passion of food Eurovision and our friend Jason; my blog post coming today!
    Cheers! Joanne

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    1. Thanks, and great - will look out for your post!

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  4. Eurovision food contest sounds amazing, never heard of that! Have to say I've also never heard of Tim tams, are they like a bourbon?! Also not tried Vegemite before!! Like the idea of the salty sweet thing you've got going on!

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    1. I'd say a Tim Tam is the Down Under relative of the Penguin... Two layers with a chocolate cream in the middle and smothered in chocolate... Perfect with Vegemite, or Marmite, or just on their own actually... Thanks!

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  5. You made Vegemite work in there? I bow deeply to your culinary genius - Fanny would be proud! :) And Jacob's Creek makes a white? I didn't know that! :)

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    1. It worked well actually! I guess they ship all the white Jacobs Creek over here!

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