That's So Retro!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

South African Boerewors Meat and 3 Veg Recipe

Ah yes, good ol' meat and 3 veg.  The reliable fare many of us grew up with.  Meat and 3 veg doesn't have to be a boring affair even when ensuring you're serving traditional, healthy, wholesome dishes.  This recipe uses South African Boerewors which is a full flavored sausage that translated means Farmer Sausage, coupled with the popular side dish of honey carrots and peas and a creamy potato mash seasoned with wholegrain mustard.  Hearty and delicious this meal may become one of the meat and 3 veg meals on your regular rotation. 
Image: South African Boerewors with honey peas and carrot and mustard mash by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

South African Boerewors with Honey Peas and Carrot and Mustard Mash
Serves 4

2 South African Boerewors Sausages
4 medium sized potatoes
2 medium carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic
water for 2 saucepans
Salt and pepper
Step 1
In a pre-heated oven (200 degree's Celsius) add the boerewors which is arranged whole (circular) on a baking tray with 1/4 of the butter. Cook for 30 - 40 minutes.  When finished it should have a lovely, crunchy exterior.

Step 2
Boil the chopped potatoes in salted water with the garlic clove.  (water should be 3% salt)  Boil for 11- 16 minutes until potato is tender.

Step 3
Chop washed, peeled carrots julienne style (long, thin sticks).  In a small saucepan filled with water add the carrots and peas and boil for 5 minutes.

Step 4
Strain the potatoes and place strained potato back in saucepan while placing back on low heat on the stove.  Add majority of the butter leaving a teaspoon for the carrots and peas.  If you need more butter don't be afraid to add some.  Add the garlic clove.  Mix well and add the mustard and some salt and pepper. Mash.  When fully mashed and mixed remove from stove.

Step 5
Remove peas and carrots from stove and strain.  In the empty saucepan add the remaining butter, honey and stir over low simmer heat.  Return the peas and carrots and mix gently through the honey/butter mix well until all is combined.  This takes no more than a minute.  Remove from heat.

Step 6
Slice the sausage into chunky medium sized pieces.  Arrange on a plate or bowl with the mash and the peas and carrots.  Drizzle a small amount of the honey sauce over each of the carrot and pea mixes in each serving.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Hints:  A garnish of parsley or other seasonal herbs could add some flavour to this meal.  Boerewors is a fantastic sausage that beautifully compliments salads and pastas and can be an exotic substitute for chorizo or kabana.  Boerewors can be purchased from well stocked deli's and butchers or you could make your own.  For great boerewors recipes check-out or both websites have authentic, traditional recipes that will get your mouth watering. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tiger Prawns In Sweet Broth Recipe

This dish is a simple Thai style soup that incorporates Australia's favorite sea snack, tiger prawns, in a lovely, sweet broth made from the stock of prawn heads (I know it sounds a little off if you haven't done it before but trust me it tastes amazing).  Healthy and delicious this meal ticks all the boxes of fine 'at home' cuisine.
Image: Steaming Hot Tiger Prawns in Sweet Broth by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

Tiger Prawns in Sweet Broth
Serves 4

500 g uncooked tiger prawns
7 button mushrooms sliced razor thin
4 shallots chopped finely
3 baby bok choy
1 litre chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
500 ml water
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Step 1
Prepare the prawns.  De vein and remove heads and shell leaving tail part of the shells intact.  Place the heads in a saucepan with 500 ml water and bring to boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  This creates a prawn stock.

Step 2
Strain the heads from the prawn stock and discard.  In the saucepan with the strained prawn stock add the chicken stock and gently bring to the simmer.  Add the fish sauce, curry paste and sugar.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Step 3
Add the prawns and the mushrooms to the saucepan and continue to simmer for 8 minutes.   

Step 4
Add the bok choy, shallots and lemon juice to the broth.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Serve immediately in deep bowls with some shallots as a garnish if you wish. 
Hints:  Consider adding some tom yum paste, chilli flakes or coriander to add even more depth to the Thai flavors.  Love your vegetables?  Add as many as you like this dish is very versatile and simple and could easily be personalised to your own tastes. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Free Bald Eagle Picture to Colour In

Here is a picture of a bald eagle for you to print out for your child to colour in next time you need something to occupy them for a little while.

Fun Retro Thing To Do: Games Night

Board games shouldn't mean bored games.  For something different why not consider having an old fashioned games night with your friends sometime soon.  Or even an old school cards night.  After all when a lot of these games first came out 70 + (and in some cases earlier, much, much earlier) years ago it wasn't just the kiddies playing them. 

Games to Consider:
Bridge, Twister, Scattergories, Poker, Cluedo, Scrabble, Monopoly, Backgammon, Operation, Mouse Trap, Chess (only 2 players), Mah Jong, Chinese Checkers, Squatter's, Boggle, Rummy, Nightmare, Black Jack, Charades, Celebrity Heads and Yahtzee to name a few examples.

What you will need:
The games to play.  People to play with - your guests or family.  Enough comfortable seating for all.  Munchies - like dip, biscuits, chips, sodas and cocktails (a jug of margaritas or beer with the right crowd would go down a treat), nachos, sushi, chicken wings and other finger foods are best.  Don't forget napkins so your game pieces aren't spoiled.  A sturdy table and playing space.  Time - some games take hours to play through.  Rules - It's always good to have a few general rules right from the start and ensure everyone knows the rules (the same rules too as everyone has grown up playing these games and there are many neighbourhood variations so best to clear them up early and ensure everybody is playing from the same rule book) 

Why not turn it into a theme night.  Something like a 1920's card night where everyone dresses up gangster/flapper style or a team night similar to on episodes of the TV show Will and Grace where teams are chosen at the beginning of the night and play each other. It could be the beginning of some long term rivalry.
Black tie - why not get everyone to drag out their finery for a glitzy evening at your place. 
Want to liven up the party quick smart?  There are plenty of drinking games such as Pass Out and almost any game can be turned into a drinking game just use some imagination. 
Have children and like to get them involved in some games night fun?  This is a great family activity so why not get a bunch of families together to duke it out or have a kids game and adult game running simultaneously. 
I'm not one to advocate gambling but you could make things interesting with a bet if that was your prerogative.  As a kid my friends and I used to play for matchsticks when playing poker so you could do something along those lines instead of betting money.  Loser mows your lawn or something like that maybe.
You could have some fun prizes at the end of the night to winners.  Perhaps something kitsch like a meat tray or a fruit basket. 

Itchy Palms Old Wives Tale

An old wives tale a week

The Old Wives Tale About Itchy Palms

Many of us have heard this old wives tale somewhere along the line.  Itchy palms are supposed to relate to financial matters.  If your left palm itches money is going to leave you and if it is the right palm money is going to come to you.  There is a poem about it - Left to leave, Right to receive.  Scratch it on wood to make it come good.  It is believed that if your left hand itches you should scratch it on something wood to stop losing money but if your right hand itches you shouldn't scratch because if you do you won't get your cash windfall.

Is this old wives tale true?  Even though this is a well known old wives tale there is no evidence to suggest any basis in truth. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Retro Picture List - 10 To Inspire You

For your viewing pleasure here are 10 retro images from media such as vintage books, propaganda, ads and print that are sure to please retro and vintage design style enthusiasts.  Very popular at present in decorating circles it isn't just the artsy crowd that are investigating retro possibilities and sourcing retro style. Companies are at times opting for retro style logo's and ad campaigns believed to help engender trust, girls are dressing like wild 1960's singer Marianne Faithfull (who reportedly said that Kate Moss stole her dress sense) and other idols of the past , collectors are scrounging through flea markets and garage sales looking for rare LP's or Eames chairs.  The classic car buffs with their polished and motorised gems, chefs chasing old forgotten recipes and the list is endless, retro appreciation takes many forms. Timeless style is everywhere if you take the time to open your eyes and look for it.  I hope you enjoy this list please feel free to leave a comment.

Image: A propaganda ad produced by British Government 1939 during the Second World War

Now available in a wide range of colors and on everything from posters, t-towels, mugs and mouse pads the 'Keep Calm And Carry On' message is definitely getting heard by and appealing to the masses, especially in the wake of the recent world financial crisis.  Designed as a piece of morale raising propaganda by the British Government during the second world war it almost never saw the light of day which is lucky as it was created to be used in the event of England being invaded. 

The third in a series of three posters the others being 'Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory' and 'Freedom Is In Peril', the 'Keep Calm And Carry On' poster was rediscovered in 2000 in Barter Books in Northumberland, England.  As crown copyright expires after 50 years this image was in the public domain and so the store owners printed off a series of different merchandise bearing the image and from there it just took off to become the worldwide phenomenon it is today.  There are many places that you can purchase 'Keep Calm' paraphernalia including from the people who kindled our love affair with this image -  the owners of Barter Books. - EBay is another great place to start looking for creative 'Keep Calm' goods.

Image: Cover of Mr Dog by Margaret Wise Brown by S. Hensley

Little Golden Books have been a constant childhood favorite since 1942 and I for one have fond memories of my parents reading me stories from The Little Golden Book range when I was young and learning to read myself while enjoying entertaining stories such as Mister Dog: The Dog Who Belonged To Himself written by Margaret Wise Brown and beautifully illustrated by Garth Williams. 

This timeless tale was written in 1952 and is about a friendly, independent dog named Crispins Crispian who belongs to himself, is a conservative who likes everything in it's own place at it's right time, lives alone and dreams his own dreams.  Quite a modern role model of sorts and I know I found him an inspiring and fun character when I was a child. (and still do!)  Mr Dog befriends a boy and the 2 spend a perfect day each living his own life happily and as he pleases but together.  Like all Little Golden Books the illustrations are classic and gorgeous and a pleasure to drink in with your eyes.  Little Golden Books are available from all good book stores, eBay, second-hand shops and toy stores.  One place I can recommend in Australia is Booktopia who I have found to be a good online book store to deal with.

Image:  Hitachi ad

Retro ads are fascinating and make great wall art and craft project materials today as well as being a fantastic muse to designers.  Note how modern and fashionable the models look in the ad.  Or looked then.  Coupled with the state of the art (for the 1960's) Hitachi Mini Stereos these girls were at the forefront of techno fashion savvy at the time.  Having a mini stereo would have been the equivalent of the new Apple IPhone today.

Places to source retro ads are second-hand shops, market stalls, garage sales, poster shops and eBay.

Image: Toilet Roll Doll by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

The toilet roll doll, what a concept.  Reviled and loved it certainly epitomises retro decorating in one of it's most kitsch forms and was extremely popular in the 1950's.  For those who may have escaped an encounter with a toilet roll doll her voluminous dress hides a toilet roll as an intended decorative and handy storage device.  Whether or not it is considered a stylish addition to the home is always dependant on the eye of the beholder. 

Got a yearning to bring the toilet roll doll craze back beginning with your toilet or bathroom?  You can try eBay and other auction sites, thrift shops, second-hand stores, garage sales  and markets.  Also keep an eye out for old craft books and magazines that may have patterns.

Image: Norman Rockwell print A Scholarly Pace by S. Hensley

Norman Rockwell is an American artist who lived from February 3, 1894 - November 8, 1978 and found lasting fame for his whimsical illustrations and paintings depicting idealised childhood and American life.  His work featured on the cover of numerous Boy's Life magazine covers and calendars and he forged a close relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.  A series of paintings he did called 'The Four Freedoms' were used during the Second World War to promote war bonds by the United States Treasury and several of his paintings have featured on postage stamps.  More recently a Rockwell painting 'Breaking Home Ties' sold at auction at Sotheby's for $15.4 million in 2006.

Rockwell's charming body of work is sure to continue to be a firm favorite in the future. Want to showcase some fabulous vintage prints on your walls?  As with all these examples eBay and other auction sites are a great place to begin a search also markets, garage sales and vintage poster sellers.

Image: Hypercolor T-Shirt by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

Like a whirlwind out of nowhere the Hypercolor T-shirt swept the world in a fast and furious frenzy of color changing due to temperature during the 1980's.  Using a special pigment invented in Japan the Hypercolor t-shirt phenomenon exploded in fluro pinks, blues, greens and yellows exposing for all to see our heat status.  (an indicator of sweat - only in the 80's!)  Feel a little embarrassed when reading this and thinking about your younger, former self unashamedly sporting hypercolor back in the day?  Don't feel bad it seems a new generation are embracing hypercolor with several new companies selling retro inspired hypercolor tee's.  A local QLD online shop you can buy hypercolor products from is Klub Retro.  Email

Image: Spirit of 76 Red Kit-Cat Clock by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

Since the mid 1930's a Kit-Cat clock has been sold every 30 minutes!  That's the claim of the California Kit-Cat Clock company whose cat character has been amusing and entrancing people all over the world since it's depression era beginnings all those years ago.  In fact the red Kit-Cat Clock (pictured) is the Spirit of '76 model that was released in 2009 to commemorate the passage of time of this cute kitchen wall accessory.  (the kitchen was the traditional resting place of Kit-Cat clocks but they look great everywhere.)  The original Kit-Cat clock is black.  Both the red and black original Kit-Cat clocks can be purchased direct from Orsons Retro.

Image:  Beef Goulash can by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

I know this may seem a little weird (unless you are also a can connoisseur) but I keep this can displayed in my home as an example of great art, that is how spectacular I think the design of this Podravka brand Beef Goulash is.  It's simply stunning.  The bright tri-color scheme coupled with the stand-out and easy on the eyes retro typeset lends itself beautifully to it's primary task which is to lead supermarket shoppers eyes to it's trustworthy, old fashioned, country farm fresh goulash (that's how I interpret this cans artwork) over it's competitors on the shelves and it does this job superbly.  There are many wonderful retro logo's and packaging's out there and a quick scan of your cupboards will probably procure some fine examples.  It goes to show that classic retro style can be found in unlikely places.
Image:  Vintage Furniture book cover by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

Old books can always be relied upon to have lovely vintage imagery and this book Vintage Furniture by Fay Sweet is a testament to that.  I can also recommend this book as an informative read.  An elegant lady, cool and graceful like Grace Kelly is reclining daintily on a still incredibly fashionable Barcelona Chair.  Her hand resting with familiar nonchalance on her (groomed within an inch of it's life) Afghan Hound, a pretty picture of a still attainable yesteryear.  Designer vintage furniture is big business with good quality pieces selling for tens of thousands of dollars.  Books, magazines, old advertisements and old movies are all brilliant places to scour for retro ideas.

Image: Hand Knitted Blankets by S. Hensley Copyright Orsons Retro

During the 1950's a television revolution occurred when TV screens turned from black and white to all the colors of the rainbow, so it seemed, and with it came the color revolution.  For the next 3 decades bright colors would be all the rage and although there was a brief stint during the nineties when color all but disappeared from catwalks our appreciation is now again strong as ever. These hand knitted wool blankets typify the color scheme of the 1960's and 70's with striking stripes of complementary hues all carefully selected for an authentic retro aesthetic.  These blankets are available from Orsons Retro and are made here in Queensland.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How To Make A Poultice

A poultice is a handy thing to know how to make especially for those interested in natural medicine.  A poultice is a herb concoction (usually) that is applied to the skin to treat a variety of maladies including everything from headaches, warts, sores and breathing problems with the potions changing depending on the problem.  These are administered usually in a gauze or cheesecloth 'poultice'.

 In earlier times much store was set in understanding the healing properties of herbs and the wise women, medicine men and shamans that knew the potentials of different herbs etc were highly regarded and important people in these communities.  (note that many of these wise women were periodically persecuted and called witches with some suffering cruel tortures and terrible deaths during periods such as the Spanish inquisition.  The poultices and other home remedies they made were deemed black magic.) Today there is a real shift in consciousness with many people again wanting to try natural medicines and healing alternatives.  For any serious medical issue we recommend that you do see a medical professional or your local GP.

How to make: A poultice.
Firstly research your problem and the necessary herbs needed and gather your supplies.  2 websites I can recommend for researching your poultice needs and options are -  and they both have some comprehensive hints and recipes.
Once you have your recipe grind up the herbs or whatever the recipe calls for in a mortar and pestle.  You will most likely have to add some water or oil to make a paste.  You don't want the paste to be runny or it won't stick.  Once it has a good paste consistency spread it over the gauze or cheesecloth.  Sterilise the intended, problematic area with some dettol or water and apply the cloth paste side down to the target area.  Wrap and secure the cloth.  (Cling wrap, bandage fasteners, material like a towel or some tape works well for this.)  The poultice should be changed regularly - every few hours or as the recipe states.  Hopefully the poultice will do it's 'magic' and cure the problem.  Disclaimer:  Please note I am not a Doctor and this does not constitute medical advice.  For any problem the best plan of attack will always be a visit to your Doctor and is what I recommend.

Recipe for a Sinus Headache Poultice
1/3 small onion grated
2 tablespoons of horseradish finely ground
1/2 teaspoon water

Grind the onion or horseradish in a mortar and pestle until fine and paste like as possible.  Pour in water and mix well.   Apply to piece of gauze.  Apply to the nape of your neck and attach.  Leave for half an hour. 

Recipe for getting rid of warts poultice
This might sound fanciful but it really works!  Use to remove warts by the root.

1 piece of banana skin from a Lady Finger Banana cut in a square slightly larger than the wart.  Use a fresh yellow banana.  (Don't forget to eat the banana it's good for you.)  This can take up to 7 days to work so you may need a few bananas.  The banana skin will have to be changed every 6 hours or so.

You don't need to grind this one.  Attach the banana skin square with the inside of the skin facing down onto the wart.  Place gauze over and attach.  Within a few days of changing the poultice every few hours you will find the wart roots and all stuck to the banana skin completely removed.

Recipe for poultice to fix dry skin

5 crushed chamomile flowers (dried or fresh, fresh is best)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup hot water

Crush the flowers in a mortar and pestle.  Add the oil in small parts-just enough to make a paste.  Soak a piece of gauze in hot water.  Apply the flower mix to the gauze and hold against dry areas of your skin.  Not recommended for your face.  1 minute on each area should be enough though it will be effective as long as it is hot.  Clean skin with cool water and dry.

Recipe for a poultice for swelling, sprains and bruises.

1 raw potato mashed in a mortar and pestle.

Sounds simple and it is.  After mashing potato and adding some water if need be to make a paste apply to the hurt area, cover with gauze and attach with tape or wrap.  Leave for an hour.

Do you know a home remedy that works?  Have you tried any of these recipes? We would love to hear your experiences.