Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's A Retro Cook-Off!

Good afternoon everyone, welcome to "It's A Retro Cook-Off!" Thanks for dropping by, and an even bigger thank you if you've popped on an apron yourself and joined in. We love you guys! You're awesome! 

There's been alot of cookin in my kitchin over the last couple of days, but NOT alot of eatin! (which in all honesty is quite surprising, because none of my fixins were as gag-tastic as I thought or hoped they'd be)

I like to think of "It's A Retro Cook-Off!" as the bloggy equivalent of an old-school Smorgasbord. So grab a plate, and check out everyone's offerings, I'm sure you'll find something to tempt repel your tastebuds.     

Anyway, enough chit-chat. Here are my contributions to our buffet...

Pineapple Chiffon Cake 1963

I found this recipe on retro Ruth's fabulous blog The Mid Century Menu. It is described as "a mouth-watering fluffy filling, layered with chocolate cookies"

Here's the recipe:

And here's my reality:

You know what's missing don't you? A big glug of yellow food colouring! I can't believe I forgot to add this - a splash of 'poison' would've brought this cake to life! It looks so insipid compared to its glowing/radiactive 60's predecessor. I was pleased though, that I managed to turn it out of the tin in one piece!

Tasting Notes

Kylo-meter: 2/5 fluffy? yes, mouth-watering? no. Not yellow enough. Would've been nicer without the biscuits.

Antho-meter: 4.5/5 Anthony loved this - good thing too, see kiddo-meter! (but he also loves Arnott's Orange Slice biscuits! Ewwww!)

Kiddo-meter: Despite saying "No offence Mum, but I thought the whole idea was to cook something that looks really gross - this doesn't!" both daughters refused to try it. Which says it all really, doesn't it... 

Curried Chicken Divan
(that's divan, not devine!)

Chicken Divan was the signature dish of a 1950's restaurant in New York, called The Divan Parisienne.

I'm sure the original Chicken Divan didn't contain a can of soup like mine does, but this is how it has been prepared by housewives for over sixty years. Chicken, mushroom, celery, soup it doesn't seem to matter which can you open! I suppose that's how they kept things interesting... 

Anth tells me he grew up eating "this muck" which is probably a slight exaggeration because I am sure there were other things on the menu (he grew up in Singapore after all)

Feast your eyes on vintage Chicken Divan:

image via
(this is a posh version)

and the Curried Chicken Divan  we ate for dinner:

the 'sauce'

(Campbells Chicken Soup, mayo, milk, lemon juice, and curry powder. Yum! )

(btw, this is what our plates looked like after dinner!)

Tasting Notes

Kylo-meter: 2.5/5 there was really nothing wrong with this, there just wasn't anything right with it either!
A waste of beautiful, fresh brocolini!

Antho-meter: 1/5 "not as good as my Mum's" (do you think I should consider this a compliment?)

Kiddo-meter: .25/5 once again only one taster. Her comment: "this stuff is confusing my tastebuds!" I won't tell you what her big sister said it smelt like...

Black Magic Chocolate Cake made with Condensed Tomato Soup (1970's version)

Another recipe I found here, courtesy of retro Ruth.

According to Ruth canned tomato soup is a common ingredient in depression era and mid-century cooking. I've baked chocolate cakes with beetroot, potato and zucchini in them, but I have never made one with tomato soup before, have you?

I know you might not think so, but I've saved the best for last. This cake is delicious. Although, it definitely qualifies as gag-tastic in its raw state:

told you!

and it didn't look too appealing while it was cooking either - the tomato soup kept bubbling to the surface and errupting like larva from a volcano, or blood from a scab to be more precise (sorry)

"scab and matter pudding..."

But despite all that, I promise you this cake is truly


(I can't tell you how desperately I wanted to decorate the top of this cake with a circle of cherry tomatoes, but I knew I would give the game away, and have no takers if I did)

luscious and moist

rich and velvety

so good (and so easy) I implore you to make it!

you won't be disappointed, promise.

(and fyi neither of my girlies could pick the 'mystery' ingredient)

Tasting Notes

Kylo-meter: 4.5/5 my only negative, the ooze factor during cooking.

Antho-meter: 3.5/5 Anthony liked this, but preferred the Pineapple Chiffon Cake. Once again I'll mention his devotion to the Orange Slice biccy - do not base your decision on this man's opinion! His tastebuds are clearly taste-challenged!

I kid you not, I have just served him a slice of Pineapple Chiffon with two Orange Creams on the side! Gross!!!

Kiddo-meter: 5/5 tomato soup undetected (sucked-in girls! Ha-ha!)

Okay, that's it from me. I've got a lot of left-overs to get through and wonderful blogs to visit. It's going to be a great Saturday arvo.

Thanks to retro Ruth for kindly sharing her recipes, thanks to my partner-in-crime, the lovely Donna. Thanks again to you gorgeous retro chefs out there for sharing your disasters delights, and thank YOU for reading.


p.s. Don't forget to add your link here and over at Donna's too. I'm sure there will be something to make your mouth water at her place. Or not...

Now, get clicking and check out these! (please)



  1. Oh Lucy ... this is just FABU-LOW-SO! You have actually cleared up a MASSIVE childhood mystery for me... I remember walking into my aunty's kitchen one day and seeing her lay out the ingredients for some baking she was about to embark upon. The usual -eggs, flour, sugar, water, cocoa, soup....screech go the brakes... SOUP??? And now all is revealed. In honour of you and Aunty Maka - I must try this one! :-)

  2. Well Kylie, here we are! Your food looks amazing. I laughed out loud at your descriptions of your dishes - particularly the 'scab'/tomato soup comparison. The cakes actually look really good! You've done a wonderful job. I'd sit down for a feed at your retro dinner table any day of the week (well, maybe not for the Chicken Devin...) xx

  3. The Pineapple Chiffon Cake looks pretty tasty, and I remember when the chocolate cake with tomato soup recipe went around back in the day. In fact, I think I remember seeing the copy that my mom typed on an index card.

    I think my Swedish Salad Mold is way out ahead in the ugly category. By the time I finished making it, I was so queasy that I didn't even taste it!

  4. I might have been tempted by the chicken divan had i not known what was in it-curry powder-blerg! But no way would that pinapple blobby thing, lovely as it looks pass my lips, i can just imagine the texture and my gag reflex is just too sensitive!!! The cake though-impressive-it does look gorgeous x

  5. Yum, Kylie! The Chicken Divan is similar to one we make, its really delicious. The Campbell soup chocolate cake sounds really interesting, think I will give it a go. You have been a wonderful host! Tam x

  6. I'm definitely going to try the cake, as I think it's the first thing made with a tin of soup that looks even vaguely edible. Chicken Divan though - barf! I've added my link above.

  7. Awww, now that was fun!! I cannot believe you did all that! I'd say that Anthony is a true retro, based on his scoring, consuming, etc. Maybe he should start a retro fashion/cooking blog? :D


  8. The cake sounds intriguing. Really, who've thought tomato soup could be an ingredient and not detectable. The chicken divan looks pretty awful. So awful it looks good! I bet you had fun making those recipes. Why do so many retro recipes require sherry? My mother used to put sherry in her spaghetti sauce. Disgusting.

  9. Great work Kylie! I'm tempted by the cake, might be one for Mr Ouch!
    Sorry I'm late but check out my campbell soup offering! xx

  10. You win! That is a lot of stuff. I just posted!!! Sorry late. Had to stay at work late on a Friday. BOO! But I ran home and made dinner. Husband and kid are like "what has got into her?"

  11. Oh my goodness I came across two retro food challenges on my blog roll and after recovering from falling about laughing had to find the sauce, I mean source. I actually want to make the tomato sauce cake, hmmm nutritious. Thanks so much for a great laugh on a cold wet day here in Christchurch!!

  12. despite the oozing scab references, im going to try the cake!....that is once Niccy has left for the mine job...she is a pastry chef and there is just no way in hell this would be allowed!!..."not under my roof missy!!" she would never speak to me like that, but would def take the kitchenaid with her!
    Allison x

  13. OMG,I just found you/this via Max of Blackbird has Spoken,and I'm blown away!!!
    I have some hideous retro cookbooks,and a cocktail book,and often threaten to try a few "treats"....but haven't yet had the courage! I do,however,use my Mum's Women's Weekly (an Australian classic magazine) Classics cookbook from time to time.But it's not as terrifying as what I'm seeing here!!HAHAHHAAAAAAAAA! Love it.Love that you've tortured your loved ones! I suspect cakes are one of the few things that stand up to the years!

  14. This cook-off has been so much fun! Thanks to you and Donna for hosting it.

  15. ive been thru them all...what a hoot. niccy and I having been having a good cack at the efforts...what a great idea.
    allison x

  16. Thanks again Kylie. I have been giggling at the computer all night.

  17. Oh I remember so well all the opening of cans - particularly cream of mushroom soup and chicken soup - they formed the basis of many a casserole and absolutely deffo do I remember eating that chicken divan - except we called it simply chicken and broccoli casserole. And my Mum loved to put crushed potato crisps on top of her oven bakes. :)

    You have outdone yourself Kylie - and that chocolate cake really does look yummy. I will have my piccies up later this afternoon.

  18. the chiffon cake looks the part! would try this, like a bite. (have to add i don't mind an orange slice either!).

    i can't believe soup or anything canned is added for interest... having said that... i may have done a similar addition in the past, e.g. when cooking on imaginary stove. it didn't fancy either of the takers. we ate it, simply 'cos we were hungry.

    you decoration urge on that chocolate cake would have suited dibley's mrs cropley {vintage queen on cordon bleugh}! remember her fascination with anchovy paste? on everything? hee hee...

    what a brave vintage star you are! amazing how times evolve, and how our taste and looks palette evolve accordingly.

    what can i say? i love retro, and i love your tribute!

  19. Just arrived home and hope I have not missed all the fun... I LOVE your recipes, the chiffon cake and the Choc cake tomato and all look delicious - YUM. This was a fantastic retro celebration, look forward to checking out the rest of the recipes.
    xx Tina

  20. Wow tomato soup in a cake, now there's something you don't see everyday, or anyday for that matter.
    Some 'interesting' dishes in the link-up.

  21. My toes were curling up at the first 2 receipes that chicken one yuk. And i have to say chocolate and tomatoe soup sounds like a receipe for disaster to but it actually looked really nice :-) dee x

  22. I am so glad that I've fully recovered from my tummy bug, because if I had looked at those pics on Monday or Tuesday ...! Chicken divan - so gross! May have to wait till later to check out the other links, not sure my just recovered stomach can take much more today!!!!!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  23. I fully intend to make the tomato soup cake just to see if I can fool the. I had a lovely seventies classic planned for you but am instead impersonating a devil on horseback as I am all crispy like bacon right now and just need to hug a prune. How long is your link up for?

  24. You are the perfect hostess Kylie - this all looks amazing (in its own special way!). I am willing to give the tomato soup cake a go - it certainly looks good. I'm afraid I can't really say the same of my cod in custard though...

  25. Just LOVED this post. You must do this again! I read all of the recipes and visited all the other blogs it was so much fun. What I really liked were the scores you gave! Now I looked at the tomato cake in detail on Ruth's blog - but I just can't see myself making it despite all the rave reviews. I don't think I'd be able to get past the comments you both made about how bad it looks/smells before you baked it!

    Glad to hear you had not posted anything to me yet. I would have hated to think it had gone astray! x

  26. This is the best idea since, well, sliced bread!!! I'm just sad that I only discovered it a day after the party :(
    Please say you'll have one again some day.
    That soup cake has me intrigued now. And as for Anth eating orange creams... yep that is gross, but... every household needs one member who will eat the shit biscuits from the Arnotts Assorted Creams pack ;-)
    Thanks for the giggle.. I just might have to follow you now xx

  27. The cake looks fantastic, have never heard of tomato soup used in such a creative way. the pineapple chiffon looks like a very confused combo of textures.And the chicken divan plated up did sort of spark up my gag reflex as it looked suspiciously like what my cat spews when she has been eating grass. Except for the little turret of rice, she is not quite that clever! Mel x

  28. You are up to 12 recipes! This is awesome. Makes for a funny weekend. Went for a walk with my Mom today and told her what you were up to. She finds it all a hoot and will be trolling through this evening.

  29. Oh what fun Kylie! I am adding the Black Magic cake to my 'must make' list. Job well done girls!

  30. The Retro Cook Off has been a great success, nice hostessing, Kylie!
    I actually thInk the cakes look OK, despite the tomato soup ooze, which does sound a little off-putting... The chicken in a bed (that's a divan, isn't it?) is similar to a dish a friend of mine used to make, called Margot's Chicken, after her mum's neighbour who claimed to have invented it. Broccoli at the bottom, chicken in a mushroom soup sauce flavoured with curry powder, breadcrumbs on the top. So, it's an internationally recognised dish!
    Off to check out some of the other dishes the intrepid retro cooks have tried! xxxxx

  31. The cakes both look REALLY GOOD. I wouldn't even be scared to try some. *hahahha*

  32. You have surpassed yourself, Kylie. What is it about retro cooking and pineapples? They feature a lot n'est pas? Love the sound of the cake with tomato soup. Who would have thought it! xx

  33. Goodness! I've enjoyed this post Kylie, such a great variety, most of which I wont be trying.