Saturday, September 22, 2012

Golden Circle Magic (or should that read, tragic?)

You decide... 

Revolted inspired by our vintage copies of the Golden Circle Tropical Recipe Book published in the early 1960's by the Golden Circle Cannery  

visitors could attend guided tours of the cannery and purchase a copy. There were even Golden Circle Hostesses to conduct the tours. I'm wondering what their uniforms looked like, I bet they were awesome.

Donna and I thought it would be fun to whip up a dish from the book and share our disasters delights on our blogs with you.

It wasn't easy to choose a recipe. Ruby Borrowdale, the Golden Circle Home Economist(!) certainly knew her way around a pineapple, that's for sure. Her recipes are all so bad, they're good - as far as kitschy, retro recipes go, I don't think you'd find a better collection.

In the end I decided to tempt the family with a Coral Reef Pie. Here it is as it appears in the book:

in all it's technicolour glory.

(pudding like this would've been all my dreams come true when I was a kid)

and here's my version:

before I popped it in the oven



You shouldn't mess with perfection. I know that now. If Ruby thought sprinkling the top of her pie with coconut was a good idea, she would've said so in her recipe.
My decision to add my own little florish was a big mistake, it completely wrecked that beautiful, lurid, nausea inducing pink top, which is what made me choose Coral Reef Pie in the first place. I felt like giving myself a smack when I took it out of the oven.

(had to sneak a vintage tea towel in here somewhere!)

 All was forgiven (re coconut sprinkling only, NOT taste wise, I'm afraid) when I cut myself (I was the only taker???) a slice.

Look at that pink...

there's something about it that reminds me of a soggy beetroot sandwich which isn't a good thing really, is it? And that oozing yellow custard? Ewwww!

Now, if you really want the recipe

before you ask, bear in mind this 'thing' sat in the fridge completely untouched for a week, before I threw it in the bin. Not one finger pierced its surface (in this house, that's a miracle!)

I'm more than happy to send it to you.

In the meantime, check out Donna's effort here. I know it involves that mouth watering combo of jelly and vegetables. Mmmmmm! Yummy!

Before you pop over to Donna's check out the lovely labels on Golden Circle products of old

compare them to the label on the tin I bought to make the pie

Proof, that sometimes, some things don't get better with age.

Thanks for reading, I'm off to Donna's for lunch.

p.s. if you'd like us to do this again (?!) just let us know in your comment. Ha-ha!



I've just discovered that Donna and I aren't the only ones out there having "exciting adventures with tropic-style cooking". Brismod makes us look like amateurs. Check out her series, yes, I said series(!) on cooking with pineapple here. You are our Golden Circle guru Brismod. Those Sunny Sausages look like you've got too much time on your hands delicious!


I know this post is like the ubiquitous piece of string, but I had to make mention of the Pineapple Princesses who write a blog utterly and entirely dedicated to Ruby and the joys of cooking with pineapple. Click the link and say Hello, I'm sure the girls would love to hear from you.


  1. What a glorious technicolour pie! You did very well. Love the pie on the tea towel-Dig your styling. I laughed out loud about you putting coconut on top - I think Ruby would've been proud that you gave it a bash. Good fun - I'm definitely up for it again.xx

  2. PS. So true about the can labels. So much more vibrant and eye catching back then.x

  3. Awesome Kylie and hilarious. So pink! Ruby would be proud :)

  4. Maybe I'm just a sucker for pink desserts and gooey custard, but I was thinking it looked pretty good...until you said it looked like a soggy beetroot sandwich. I don't even know what that is, but it sounds awful. I've been told that Australians eat Vegemite sandwiches with considerable gusto...and if beetroot is worse than Vegemite, count me out. ;)

  5. I was laughing so hard that I forgot to say I'm definitely up for you and Donna to do this again. And the TT is adorable!

  6. Please Miss can I have some more! That pink had me going but you lost me on the custard! Subprimo effort girls! Miss Rubes would be so proud! Great TT!

  7. It's kind of mesmerising in a technicolour train wreck kind of way. Is it a combo of fish, custard, pineapple and beetroot? that is what the name conjures up for me. The old labels are definitely seducing me to buy more pineapple, perhaps we can rally Golden Circle to embrace the retro labelling again. mel x

  8. Wow you just bought back some very funny memories, of us as school children sitting on the bus, going home from a Golden Circle factory tour, feeling so ill from drinking and eating all the juice and pineapple rings you wanted!!!!. The hostesses actually wore a green uniform, I remember they always had very bright lipstick too. Being a Queenslander they were extremely happy days. It's sad to think now that once a good honest aussie family owned that factory and used Queensland grown pineapples and Queensland grown workers and I also remember how the first Italian Immigrants worked there as well. Jut another piece of good old Aussie history.......fading, nearly gone.
    PS. My mother relied on that cook book for tuperware and such parties.

  9. i laughed out loud at that first pic....glorious...oh please do more!

  10. Yikes! What the devil is that pink stuff? It reminds me a teeny tiny bit of blancmange *shudder* (the most hellish dessert ever apart from coral reef pie of course). Oh pleeeeeeeease do another one. It's a genius idea. Xx

  11. Snap! You should check out my pineapple series on the blog - it has it's own label.. I planned to work my way through the book. The trick to the recipes is to use pineapple in syrup. We have regular retro pineapple Dinner parties based on that recipe book. xx

  12. Oh wow! That's awesome. Did we really eat stuff like that? I think we did you know - I remember making something called a fridge tart (in the mid 70's, when I was about 10 or 11) which was essentially layers of thickened condensed milk, tinned peaches, custard, marshmallows and plain biscuits, topped with whipped cream, glace cherries, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts. Yep, there are some 70's things best left right there where they belong. In the past.

    Thanks for the giggle Kylie. :)

  13. That's really funny! Firstly I have to say good effort for trying and secondly for putting your own twist on it. Potentially there were few takers in the first place and the coconut could have been a saving grace. You never know until you try, by the way I throw away at least one experimental effort every month, perhaps I'm not the best person to comment, Kat xx

  14. do you need asking? as long as you are willing enough to bake and show off, i'll be glad to come and enjoy the scenery. courageous women you both are indeed! that pink!

    then on the other hand... so, all of this isn't too long ago, and we did used to eat these dishes. well, maybe not us, but our parents? gosh.

    ps - i could easily sprinkle coconut for extras and in the process get found out by reality ... hee hee...

  15. Well I think it looks awesome! esp the tt styling.Custard and pineapple, how could that go wrong? We are faithfully true to good ole Golden Circle and have a cupboard full of proof, even enjoying beetroot from the can (peasants we are).I even kept an old pineapple tin when I saw they were changing them,pathetic,i know.Off to see what delights Donna has whipped up.

  16. I love it!! It looks just like the puds I remember from when I was a kid. You have to give us (or me) the recipe - I'd love to see what produces that spectacular colour and concoction. I also agree with you about the labels - the old ones had proper personality.

  17. So what IS the pink stuff? I am intrigued! Food is just as much the subject of changing fashion/taste as any form of design, isn't it, old recipe books are a great source of wtf moments! I have a housekeeping manual from the 1930s and some of the recipes in it sound virtually inedible.
    We needed a review of how it tasted though, so next time (I hope there will be a next time) please make the family have just a little taste so they can give us their thoughts! xxx

  18. It is a visual feet if not a taste one! How appropriate that her name was Ruby and she made dessert thar colour. Personally I lean toward the savoury G.C. recipes. When in doubt a new tea towel will save the day!

  19. I read this and Donna's post yesterday, but can't comment from my i-phone. I did laugh and it made my day because I kept thinking back at the horrendous colour combinations in your Coral Reef Pie. Are you sorry you sent me the Queensland table cloth? We use it often, at dinner time, and when we need a ready-access map of Queensland at homework times. Some of the images are now a bit questionable ... topless Indigenous families etc.

    Off to congratulate Donna on her culinary high-point now ...

  20. What a hoot! I have this book as you know and I may just choose a recipe and link with you! For the record I thought it was just fab on the QLD tea towel and in a way I am a bit impressed your family didn't want to touch it. Lurid colours seem to have changed their spots. Once they were tempting treats, now they seem to spell "danger"

  21. This is brilliant! You must do it again. The mind boggles as to what the pink stuff actually is - do enlighten us. And WTF did the original have sprinkled on top - grass cuttings?

  22. What an ingenious idea! You so have to do another post like this Kylie.
    I was always a sucker for my nanas marshmallow shortcake which looks very similar, sans custard of course, but don't think I'd be brave enough to try this nowadays ;)

  23. Wow - what a colour! Had a laugh reading this - brilliant!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  24. MMMMM so glad you tried this for us....shame no one else in your house could verify the taste.
    To be honest I am not a fan of pineapple in much at all...especially salads. Happy cooking. x

  25. Did you like it? Very pretty (in pink).

  26. I am with Lakota on this one. WTF!! Grass cuttings indeed. I too have this cookbook somewhere. Good job you for actually following the recipe. It would have galled me no end putting those ingredients together.

  27. Had such a giggle... reminded me of my Grandmothers apricot chicken (which really was APRICOT in colour) Every Sunday she would (lovingly) fry up drumsticks (they are after all everyone's fave) and then oven bake the (already cooked - but we don't want to take any chances now do we) chook legs in a mixture of Apricot Jam, Pineapple AND canned Apricots (insert vomit noise here) Now I do not mean to disrespect my Nan (Bless her soul) but seriously... it's kinda freaky, Sci-fi & Stepford Wives all in one - when you consider the way strong, capable and talented woman fell for this "rainbow" approach to cooking. I'm a Vegetarian (Shhh Don't tell Nan.. she'd roll over in her grave) so you can imagine how appealing I find colourful chicken. Well ... as appealing as your family found your pie. 10 out of 10 for culinary bravery though! :-)

  28. "...i wanted to smack myself when i took it out of the over...". my enduring experience of cooking.
    the colour of that 'thing' is pretty lurid, maybe it will come back into vogue alongside the neon renaissance?!!! have to confess i am a fan of pineapple in food tho, my local thai places does the BEST chicken and cashew stir fry with lumps of pinapple in it and it totally works.
    Great tea towelage as always kylie x

  29. Heehee Pepto Bismol pink is what came to mind for me!

  30. Hey Kylie, I grew them from seed, either Diggers or Eden seeds. It takes 3 years for a plant to mature enough to harvest. Gotta get back to Breaking Bad...I am sick with a lurgy and am watching them back to back. Cheers Nick

  31. You're hilarious! This looks like when I cook and follow the directions exactly. I end up with something that looks nothing like the original.