Silver Screen Suppers is TEN YEARS OLD. Jeepers! To celebrate, I’ve selected my favourite 50 film star recipes. Ooh, this was tough, but FUN.
When I started this project I was living on a houseboat on the Thames with a tabletop oven that had to be turned on with a pair of pliers. You can see it on the left of the photo below. How I loved that little boat kitchen!
Ten years later, I’m installed in a landlocked flat that I love, but I do miss that boat! Here I am on the roof, watering the pumpkins and doing my Kaiser Chiefs dance. I spent a lot of time on that roof, watching the world go by on the river…
The oven I have now is just as temperamental as the boat one, but over these ten years so much has changed. Teaching myself to cook by trying out these film star recipes kept me sane through some difficult times. Some recipes have been spectacular fails (Ginger Rogers Date Butterscotch Pudding springs to mind) but many have surprised me by not looking much on paper, but turning out to be utterly fabulous. I’m by no means a natural cook, but I am a BETTER cook now than I was then, all thanks to Hollywood.
It’s been really fun choosing my top 50, so with a virtual reality fanfare, here they are… If you click on the link, recipes will be in there somewhere, usually at the bottom. If you try any please do drop me an email, I just love hearing how they turned out.
Ross Martin’s Beef in Anchovy Cream is currently my #1 film star recipe, despite the unappetizing photo…
Closely followed by Elizabeth Taylor’s Chicken in White Wine my go-to recipe for week night dinner guests.
I can eat Vincent Price’s Mexican Creamed Corn by the bucketful. I had to limit myself to one Vincent Price recipe. I could probably do a top 50 just for Vincent.. The infamous Chicken in Pineapple was just pipped to the post…
Andy Clyde’s Baked Ham Casserole – ham and brussels sprouts? Perfect combination in my opinion, a lovely post Christmas din dins, particularly if you have made a nice baked ham…
Cary Grant’s Tuna Fish Pie – warm pap but I love it!
Jocko Marx ‘s Herring Potatoes– who hell he? Who knows. This is an umami feast!
Diana Dors’ Breakfast Bean Omelette – half a fry up in one fluffy package
Dirk Bogarde’s Chicken Clermont – I have a soft spot for this as it was the first thing I cooked for Mr R. I’m not sure he liked all the unidentifiable vegetables in the bottom, but he ate it!
Marilyn Monroe’s Stuffing as a Waffle – stuffing – pimped!
Bette Davis’ Boston Baked Beans – the first thing I ever made for the Silver Screen Suppers project ten years ago, therefore very special to me. In those days I didn’t take food photos – remember those days? Hardly anyone did, now everyone is snapping away every mealtime! So here’s a great picture of Bette saluting Anne Baxter with a spring onion, in All About Eve…
David Niven’s Fish Cakes – these taught me that you don’t need a recipe to make fish cakes and reinforced the fact that cooking with a friend (my regular cooking buddy Battenberg Belle) is usually more fun than cooking on your own.
Dean Martin Burger – three ingredients – beef, salt, bourbon. Genius.
Debbie Reynold’s Chicken a la Honolulu – reminds me of a lovely holiday on Mersea Island. Chicken and pineapple, mmmmmmmmm – here it is marinating…
Dick Powell’s Corn Chowder – when I began the Silver Screen Suppers project ten years ago I had a partner in crime, fellow film archivist Caroline Frick. The link there goes to the first of her blog posts. Unfortunately due to her intense working schedule, and the fact that she has a small person in her life to look after, meant she had to hang up her pinny for a while. Can I tempt you back in Ms Frick for some transatlantic cooking fun?
Fred MacMurray’s Chocolate Fudge Upside Down Cake – self saucing!
Gene Barry Kibbee – if you like lamb meatballs Ottolenghi style, I’m sure you will like these. Gene Barry is in the first Columbo pilot so this one is special to me. It will be the FIRST recipe in the Columbo cookbook…
Basil Rathbone’s India Curry – good old fashioned 1970s style curry! A regular standby.
Bing Crosby’s Turkey & Eggs a la Crosby – excellent fodder for a Spinster’s Saturday breakfast.
Boris Karloff’s Steak and Kidney Pie – my ex-boyfriend Vic, and his ex-flatmate Corinna all live in the same block of flats as me, and we regularly get together for dinner and booze. This one was a favourite dish when we all had a big old moan about the rent going up.
(George Burns and Gracie Allen’s) Magic Cream Pie – there is nothing more fun than a Dinner Is Served 1972 hosted cookalong – I LOVE THEM! The link to George and Gracie is tenuous, but the tale behind the pie is good I think…
Gloria Swanson’s Bar-le-Duc – one of my favourite days of the whole 10 year project. Have you ever spent 5 hours picking the pips out of redcurrants with a goose quill? I have!
Gracie Fields’ Lancashire Hot Pot – I have lovely memories of making this when I lived on the houseboat and shared it with other folks on the island. Must make that again soon. Her Toad in the Hole and Potted Shrimps are good too. Proper British fodder – ee by gum! I’ll take a photo next time…
Ida Lupino’s Lemon Mousse – my favourite movie star dessert. I should make this to serve after Elizabeth Taylor’s Chicken Steamed in White Wine. Oooh yes, that would be good. No photos of this, but here’s the gorgeous Ida… I LOVE this hairdo…
Jack Cassidy’s Rainbow Trout in a Pouch – I love it when a recipe calls for a few drops of wine, what else am I going to do with the rest of the bottle but drink it?!
Jane Wyatt’s Beer Bread – what a revelation! Who knew making bread could be so easy? As my nephew has resurrected a family business dormant since the 1950s – the Hammerton Brewery – I always have beer at hand…
Janet Gaynor’s Ice Box Cookies – I have cooked these so many times, they are fab.
Joan Crawford’s Poached Salmon with Mayonnaise-Mustard Dressing – as some of you know, I have written a whole Joan Crawford Cookbook and this is my favourite recipe from the whole book. I was so proud of how my salmon turned out.
Lee Grant’s Chicken Malibu – I love Lee, and I love her chicken recipe. So colourful and delicious.
Marlene Dietrich’s Lamb Chops en Casserole – until Liz Taylor’s Chicken Steamed in Wine came along, this was my favourite Silver Screen Supper – I haven’t had it for a while but I still remember it fondly. No pix of it though, so instead, my favourite photo of Marlene
Talking of favourite photographs, reading the blog post that accompanied the first try out of Myrna Loy’s Senegalaise Soup reminded me about my favourite photo of ALL TIME. This is my friend Sanja just after she burned a hole in her oven glove. This to me sums up the mad fun to be had cooking for other people, and having other people cook for you. The soup was good too.
I really miss my chum Caroline Frick, who lives in Austin, Texas. And I really miss going out for Mexican breakfasts with her, often with a “dot margarita” on the side. I always think of her when I have things like Natalie Wood’s Huevos Rancheros. This recipe is also special for me as it’s the first thing I cooked from Greg Swenson’s wonderful Recipes For Rebels cookbook. Greg and I have bonded over movie star recipes and have great email correspondences about our passion. This friendship would not exist were it not for my blog and I would never have made these…
Which brings me on to another thing I love about this project. When people I have never met, make one of the recipes on my blog and email me about it. I sooooooo love that! I will never forget receiving this photo of someone I do not know called Natalie, dancing around a kitchen whilst making Rudolph Valentino’s Secret Spaghetti Sauce… it fills my heart with joy.
Assistance with test cooking recipes is always welcome. If you fancy getting involved in this for the forthcoming Columbo cookbook, just drop me a line via the Contact Page which of course brings me to Peter Falk. I like all of the recipes I have from Peter, but am particularly fond of his Pork Chops With Vinegar Peppers. Mmmmmm…..
Oskar Werner’s Cucumber Salad – mmm – pickled cucumbers, yes! Reading this post reminded me that my top three most wanted movie star recipes has changed now that I have found a Lawrence Harvey recipe. Patrick McGoohan is still number 1, Robert Culp is now number 2, Thelma Ritter at number 3. Keep your eyes peeled chums and let me know if you find one.
The post about Red Buttons’ Shrimp Tempura reminded me about the fun I used to have participating in the Daring Cooks Challenge once a month. Also about the fun to be had trying to get hold of weird ingredients like Bonito Soup and MSG… Got to make tempura again soon.. I ate all of this myself – ha ha!
I loved Rhonda Fleming’s Hollywood Ham Loaf so much that I wrote her an email to tell her so. I was absolutely thrilled when out of the blue she sent me another of her favourite recipes, Cowboy Caviar. Yum!
When you have as many hangovers as I do, it’s essential to have a go-to hangover recipe. Vincent Price’s Buckingham Eggs will always be my first choice, but if I have a nice beef tomato around the place, Robert Conrad’s Infamous Hangover Eggs is great too.
I have a massive soft spot for Roland Young’s Rissoles. Just the BEST WAY of using up all the leftover bits of Christmas turkey, ham and pigs in blankets. Also, it presents the opportunity of using the great “I’ll be round like a rissole” joke which always reminds me of my beloved ex-housemates Gaby and Lucy.
Talking of Christmas, I absolutely love Corinne Griffith’s recipe for Edna’s Christmas Pudding. It’s not your trad heavy duty Christmas pudding, but a much lighter steamed pudding made with cherry jam and walnuts. Ooooh it is good. Roll on Christmas!
I made Shera Danese’s Italian Stuffed Peppers for the first time just the other day. They were so good, they immediately scored a spot in the top 50.
With four kinds of meat in one dish, and taking 3 days to make, Simone Signoret’s Cassoulet was a triumph! Here’s a teeny photo.
Sophia Loren is without a doubt the star most photographed with food, she is so gorgeous, and what’s more, she can definitely cook. Her Pizza Alla Napoletana is a winner.
I had never eaten, let alone made, a meatloaf before this project started. Thanks to Joan Crawford, Jayne Mansfield and Theodore Bikel, I’ve become a dab hand at it. Although all three of these stars made a mighty meatloaf, I think Theodore’s Glorified Meatloaf recipe was my favourite.
Want an ice breaker for a dinner party? How about William Holden’s Lime Gelatine with Carrots, Olives and Nuts? It is bonkers. Here I am, dressed as Gloria Swanson serving one up at a Silver Screen Sunday Sunset Boulevard dinner party.
William Powell’s Vatrouskis are hard to spell but easy to make. This post took me right back to the early days of living in the Palace of Solitude and being on the dating scene for 8 years. All those boys who blew hot and cold were UNFATHOMABLE!
Yul Brynner co-wrote a cookbook and very good it is too. I want to make lots more of his recipes as the ones I’ve made so far have all been delicious. My favourite so far is his Beef With Basil.
Finally it’s got to be Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Hungarian Chicken with Egg Dumplings. I made this on the first day of what I consider to have been my recovery period. The day I began to live my real, best life, the day I moved in with Gaby and Lucy. Yes my lovelies, we CAN have it all!
If you want to read the first ever Silver Screen Suppers post, click here to go directly to it. You will find someone there who was feeling very sorry for themselves after a relationship break up. I vividly remember the day I decided to start blogging. It was meant to be a diversion from feeling miserable. I was lonely and fed up, so decided to start cooking my way through some movie star recipes as a way of giving myself something else to focus on apart from my disastrous love life. I had no idea how important this whole project was going to be to me.
Here’s what I looked like 10 years ago, standing on the island beside which the boat I was living on was moored. Pretty good huh? Well, life was good then, but it is SO MUCH BETTER NOW!
If you are reading this and thinking about starting a personal project, whether it is writing, blogging, drawing, painting, writing music, whatever creative dream you have… I say start it right now. This blog of mine has brought me so much happiness, I am so glad I started it on that rainy, miserable day ten years ago today.