One of the best things about having a blog is connecting with folks all around the world who are game for anything! So today’s testers are based in Australia, the USA, Canada, Finland and Greece as well as here in good old Blighty. Thanks so much, you wonderful worldwide blogger chums!

I haven’t met all of you in person yet, but don’t worry, I’ll turn up on your doorstep one day with some Kabot Kove Kookies, I am not kidding!

When Joanna in the USA chose Tom Bosley’s Linguine With Red Clam Sauce she mentioned that it was because her dad looks like Tom Bosley which really tickled me.

It took me a while to put two and two together and realise that Joanna is THE Joanna of the Murder, She Watched website – brilliant! I loved Joanna’s write up about the recipe which you can see by clicking on this link – I’m so glad the recipe was a success, doesn’t it look delicious?

I really love seeing what ingredients look like in countries other than the UK, so I loved this pic in Joanna’s post, but the thing I liked best was that I have exactly the same calendar in my flat here in London!

J.B. Fletcher spreading joy all around the world every day of the week!

Taryn of the fabulous Retro Food For Modern Times blog lives in Melbourne and a shared interest in slightly mad vintage recipes united us across the globe. We’ve now met a couple of times in person which makes me very happy indeed. I loved getting some AMAZING photographs of the dish Taryn chose to make for the Cookalong. John Gabriel’s Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake. Yes, that’s right, 3 x chocolate! Words are not necessary, just check out these pix!

Don’t you just want to put your head right into that piece of chocolate cake and eat it ALL?!

I think I stumbled upon Taryn’s blog via Yinzerella at Dinner Is Served 1972. This was one of the very first food blogs I started following and it has given me hundred of laughs over the years. Yinzerella’s post about Tom Selleck’s Crunchy Tuna Melt cracked me up. WHO KNEW that there was a whole world of art involving Tom Selleck, sandwiches and waterfalls?

Check out Yinzerella’s post to find out more. I naturally went down a rabbit hole as soon as I read about this because, well, GENIUS…

I just love the fact that the guy who created this madness said that his blog featuring these creations was inspired by a dream he had where Tom Selleck was eating a sandwich in a meadow. His moustache spoke to him in Portuguese, asking him to make this dream a reality. HAHAHAHAHA!

I wonder if something similar happened to the person who came up with the idea of #AngelaLansburyAsDessert?

Man, I love the internet!

Loved, loved, loved Yinzerella’s brilliant post, and loved, loved, loved her photo of Tom’s tuna melt (something his mom regularly made for him).

No waterfalls were harmed in the creation of this food photo…

Another blogger that I met via Yinzerella over at Dinner Is Served 1972 is Kari of The Nostalgic Cook. When Kari sent over her feedback about the dish she tested for me, Bill Brochtrup’s Spanish Pork Picadillo it was very early in the morning and I was a little bleary-eyed. I thought, is that someone lying down in the background of the photo of the dish?

Then I spotted the fake blood and got the joke! Apparently, there was a disagreement about who got the last portion of pork. Haha! Apparently Kari’s husband, “was very excited to put his high school acting class skills to use again.  Who knew he could portray such a good corpse?” 

My lovely chum Peter Fuller of the Vincent Price Legacy UK wrote a great piece about Cesar Romero and his Arroz Con Pollo. It looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I can’t resist dropping a heavy hint that I’m working on another book with Peter, I wonder if you can guess whose recipes it will heavily feature?!

I am loving this colour combination, a very festive dish! Definitely going to try this one myself too…

Harry Dobermann of The Dobermann Always Rings Twice went absolutely beyond the call of duty testing Richard Johnson’s Four Time Chicken.  This recipe involves cooking a chicken and making FOUR different dishes from it.  Harry’s feedback on this was so brilliantly thorough I am going to dedicate a whole blog post to it at some point.  For now though, here’s some pix and a here’s the link to the brilliant blog post about this big endeavour which is now known as Operation Capon!

Meal 1 – Chicken Casseroled With Sweetcorn and Peas
Meal 2: Chicken Salad With Sweet Curried Sauce
Meal 3: Hearty Lentil Soup in the making…
Meal 4: Chicken Soup With Baked Potato and Salad

…and the verdict? “in the end Operation Capon was a success. It fulfilled the dramatic arc – exposition, secondary conflict, climax and resolution – and it got a hell of a use out of one chicken.” Brilliant!

I absolutely LOVE a recipe review video and this one from Dr. Bobb’s Kitschen made me laugh so much – he made Kate Muldrew’s Spinach Meatloaf. Yes, Kate Muldrew folks, MRS COLUMBO!

Kate is in three episodes of Murder, She Wrote and she is AWESOME!

Dr Bobb’s findings proved to me why it is so important to test these recipes for Murder, She Cooked book. Will the mystery of the 2oz measure of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix ever be solved? This will be continued as I’m going to have a go at this meatloaf myself… Do watch Dr. Bobb’s video, so much fun.

Gill over at Real Weegie Midget Reviews is a great blogathon organiser and I’ve participated in a few – The Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon, The Michael Caine Blogathon, The Jeff Blum Blogathon and this week The Shelley Winters Blogathon. Gill offered to test cook the Linda Blair’s Best English Trifle – no jokes please relating to green bile and The Exorcist.

Oh yummy, I do so love a trifle!

Gill is a “wee expat Scot in Finland” and I just LOVED seeing all her Finnish ingredients…

The trifle was very much enjoyed by Gill’s “stepdudes” apparently which makes me very happy! Here’s a link to Gill’s post about her investigation into Linda’s trifle recipe – fabulous!

Sally Silverscreen of the 18 Cinema Lane blog made the excellently titled Martha Scott’s Coffee Ice Cream a la Star and wrote about it in a fabulous blog post. As Sally points out, the episode Martha appears in is a mash-up of a vintage movie called Strange Bargain (1949) with J.B. solving a more modern-day crime involving the stars who appeared in the movie. Complicated to explain but brilliant to watch. I am going to do a WHOLE MENU for this episode in the Murder, She Cooked book as there are so many great stars in this episode. I’m also going to make a huge bowl of this ice-cream after seeing how good it looks over at 18 Cinema Lane. I will give myself and ice-cream headache while I watch the original movie and the MSW episode – DOUBLE BILL!

MMMMMMM – coffee ice-cream, yes please!

Sally heard about the Cookalong from Rich over at Wide Screen World who chose Glynis Johns’ Chicken Paprika to test. Rich had fun testing the recipe and didn’t make the mistake Glynis once did by accidentally using cayenne pepper instead of paprika. She had to get her dinner guests to “sit with their tongues in their wine glasses until they felt a little better.”  Haha, I can just picture it!

I am LOVING the look of this dish, I bet those potatoes were scrumptious!

Rich made this dish twice as he missed a step the first time but his mum who was the guinea pig for the dish enjoyed it, “even with the curdled milk”! Thanks Rich, I might give this recipe a whirl too.

I know that I shouldn’t have favourites but I cannot stop looking at this photograph of a Jane Withers Special Occasion Cheese Ball. I might just blow it up poster-sized and put it on my wall to remind me of all the fun and creativity that this Cookalong has unleashed. Just look at this mega cheese ball!

It truly is a thing of great beauty!

Who is the lady in the photograph just behind this vision of cheesy loveliness? None other than Fanny Craddock!

Phyllis Nan Sortain “Primrose” Pechey, better known as Fanny Cradock with her hubby Major Johnnie Craddock – legends both.

Kevin of Keep Calm and Fanny On wrote a wonderful blog post about what might happen if Fanny and Jessica Fletcher joined forces – can you imagine?! I do urge you to zip over and have a read, it’s wonderful. Intrigue – arsenic poisoning – discrediting Mrs Beeton – it’s all there!

The lovely Helen Coniam of tested not one, not two, but three recipes and has sent fabulous feedback that will be super useful for the Murder, She Cooked cookbook. The last time I saw Helen was at the Cooking With Columbo book launch in London.

i almost gave away my Columbo macintosh this week but Mr R convinced me to keep it…

There are so many more recipes in the Murder, She Cooked cookbook, and therefore so many more test cooks, I reckon I’ll have to hire the Albert Hall for the book launch – haha!

Helen was assigned Hayley Mills’ Lentil Loaf and my goodness she did make me hungry with her feedback and blog post about it over at Dinner With Zelda Manners

I was a vegetarian for 12 years and this would have been SO up my alley in those days. Helen’s squeeze Dave always provides brilliant comments about her test cooking efforts and I’ll be using this one in the Murder, She Wrote book for sure, “Dave actually said that it rescued lentils in his mind from their association with Neil from The Young Ones, so I think we can call it a success.”

Oh wow! Oh heavy, heavy, heavy!

Joan Leslie’s Cheese Pastries were a bit of a cheat’s recipe, as Helen observed in her blog post, Joan, “certainly liked to make life easy for herself in the kitchen” as her recipe was basically, buy some ready-made pastry or a bag of pastry mix and add cheese and water, cook ’em and fill with potted meats. Well, Helen being a veggie, and a creative cook, made her own cheese pastry and filled the little cups with all kinds of lovely looking goodness.

Yum, these look lovely!

Dave’s reaction to this recipe again made me laugh, Helen writes, “I quite liked them, but Dave took the fillings out of the left-over ones and made sandwiches from them, so I guess we can say that he wasn’t a fan.” You can check out Helen’s blog post about these, with her own cheese pastry recipe here. Thanks Helen, your pimped up version of these pastries will be going in the book!

The third recipe Helen tested at first glance seemed to be vegetarian but actually included minced pork – Jayne Meadows’ Bean Curd Szechuan Style. Helen went above and beyond the call of duty and worked out a lovely veggie version that I’ll be including in the book.

Helen made this twice and Dave’s reaction made me clap my hands and laugh with glee all alone in bed first thing in the morning when I read it… “You should have seen Dave’s face at the first attempt! Although, he was very well-behaved, and just asked in a plaintive voice if that really was his dinner. I was able to reassure him that it was a test recipe for you and that there was a cottage pie in the oven.” Hahahaha! Luckily, Helen’s second attempt looked much more appetizing and she said that it was even better the second day as the bean curd had really soaked up the flavours.  You can see the blog post about this one chez Zelda Manners here. Thanks a million Helen for all this test cooking, and thanks Dave for all the laughs.

When Sherrie Graham volunteered to test Susan Anton’s Apple Crisp, I had no idea she was a food blogger. As soon as I visited her blog though, I was in heaven. Her blog is BEAUTIFUL and is called Nova Scotia Kitchens. Regular readers will know that I am a real nosey-parker and absolutely LOVE seeing other peoples’ kitchens. Plus, I have always wanted to go to Nova Scotia. Thanks to Sherrie, I can now do both things from the comfort of my own bed! I am going to have a thorough nose around on Sherrie’s blog very soon, and I’ll be checking out her podcast too. Until then, here are some gorgeous pix of Sherrie’s Apple Crisp. We folks in the UK do not have a clue what an Apple Crisp is, but we can get a pretty good idea when we look at these – yum!

Sherrie shared this with the family and said, “my two boys loved it and kept sneaking bites of it on their way past in the kitchen!” I don’t blame them!

Annette is a lovely blogger who has become my penpal. We email each other about all kinds of things, including recently, The Great British Bake-Off. When Annette chose Gloria DeHaven’s Slumgullion to test, it was a bit like the Apple Crisp, I had NO IDEA what Slumgullion was. I assumed this was something obvious to those across the pond but when Annette told me about her blog post entitled What’s Slumgullion?! I realised that it wasn’t just me! Annette is a font of knowledge about classic movies and revealed in her post that Slumgullion features in It Happened on 5th Avenue

Is this a big pot of Slumgullion?!

and Annette cooked up a version of the dish and wrote about it in her post. She was interested to see how Gloria’s version of Slumgullion compared and observed that the first recipe she tried was like a stew, and this recipe was like a casserole.

The wherewithal for Gloria’s Slumgullion
The finished dish – looks scrummy!

I love this pic of Annette… Me too Annette, me too!

I recommend a visit to Annette’s Slumgullion post for some great classic Christmas movie ideas. I feel some hibernation coming on in December!

I cannot end this post without a quick mention of another blogger chum who has done so much for me over the years and participated in the Cookalong. Although I already shared links to Greg’s brilliant videos in the Works of Art post, I am sharing again in case you missed them! Skip over to his brilliant blog Recipes For Rebels to read more about the recipes and other movie star greats.
Click the link to read Greg’s brilliant account of cooking Ron Masak’s Artichoke Pie

Breakfast, He Wrote – another wonderful video and blog post about Susan Strasberg’s Apple Pancake and Omelet Fromage

My goodness I have had SO MUCH fun with this Cookalong and want to send out a huge thank-you to everyone who tested recipes. My heart is BURSTING with joy about it all. I might have to take to my bed to get over it all!

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