Margaret Fulton’s recipes for ABBA-style food

Women's Day 7 March 1977

The music phenomena of the 1970s – ABBA, the four from Sweden who have turned the pop world upside down – will be touring Australia in March. It could well be called ABBA-month. And to get you in the mood, ABBA-style, Margaret Fulton has found out the favourite dishes of Agnetha and Björn, Frida and Benny and she gives you the recipes. Also, top astrologer Richard Sterling plots ABBA’s future.

Agnetha, the lissome blonde singer of ABBA, loves Chinese food; her husband Björn likes Chinese but says French food is his real favourite…the salads, onion soups, lamb, quiches and the cheeses.

Frida, the coppery red-head of Money, Money, Money fame, first had her soul food (the food beloved of the American black people – chicory, chick peas, black-eyed peas, spareribs) on the group’s promotional tour of the States and is now an addict. She loves it.

Benny, on the other hand, says his gourmet tastes lie in the Pacific with the Polynesians – raw fish, sweet potatoes, seafood.

Margaret Fulton has devised these recipes for each of the four’s favourite foods.

For Agnetha, she has a delicious Chinese recipe for Steak with Black Bean Sauce; for Björn with his French taste she presents Gigot d’Agneau a la Bretonne (leg of lamb with haricot beans).

For Frida there’s a tasty recipe for Barbecued Spareribs; and as Benny loves Polynesian food Margaret gives a superb recipe for an island favourite-salade Tahitienne.

Try the ‘ABBA food’ – you’ll love it.

Agnetha: Steak in Black Bean Sauce 

Ingredients: 500g (1lb) rump steak, ½ tspn salt, 1 egg white, 1 tblspn cornflour, 1 tblspn dried black beans, 2 cloves garlic, 1 onion, oil for frying.

Seasoning: 1 tblspn dry sherry, ¼ cup water, 2 tspns soy sauce, 2 tspns sugar.

Shred steak and mix with salt, egg white and cornflour. Soak beans in cold water to cover for 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse well. If using canned beans, rinse under cold running water only. Drain the beans thoroughly and dry on paper towels. Pound to a paste with peeled garlic. Slice onion finely and combine ingredients for seasonings. Heat 4 table-spoons oil in a wok or frying pan and cook beef over high heat, turning constantly until brown. Remove. Add onion to pan and cook until golden, then set aside with the beef. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil to pan and dry bean paste, stirring for 1 minute. Return meat and onion, then add seasonings and mix well. Cook 1 to 2 minutes and serve 

Björn: Gigot d’Agneau a la Bretonne.

Ingredients: Roast lamb: 2kg (4lb) leg of lamb, salt and freshly ground black pepper, Haricot beans: 500g (1lb) dried haricot beans, two large onions – quartered, bouquet garni, 1 clover garlic, 1 tspn salt, a few peppercorns, 30g (1 oz) butter, 4 shallots – chopped, 2 tblspns chopped parsley.

Roast Lamb: Wipe lamb and season. Cut a few small incisions between the skin and flesh. Shred garlic and insert into these. Place in a baking dish, preferably on a rack. Put the water, butter and large pinch salt in the dish. Bake in a moderately hot oven (190 deg C – 375 deg F) for 1¼ hours, basting every 15 minutes. The flesh should be still quite pink, the way the French prefer it.

Haricot Beans: Soak the beans overnight in water to cover, drain. Place in a large saucepan with fresh water to cover, onions, bouquet garni, garlic, salt and peppercorns. Slowly bring to the boil, skim and cover. Cook gently for 1½–2 hours or until tender. Thirty minutes before lamb is due to finish cooking, melt the butter in a heavy pan. Add the shallots and cook gently until softened. Drain the cooked beans and add to the pan, shaking to toss them with the butter and shallots. Add a half-cup lamb juices from the dish. Cover a simmer gently for a further 15 minutes. Place lamb on a serving platter and strain the juices from the dish into a sauce boat. Toss the beans with parsley and serve separately.

Frida: Barbecued Spareribs.

Ingredients: 2 onions finely chopped, 1 cup tomato sauce, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, ¼ cup worcestershire sauce, 1 tspn dried mustard, 2kg (4lb) pork spareribs, 2 tspns salt freshly ground black pepper, 2 lemons - cut into ½ cm (¼in) slices.

In a large saucepan, combine the onions, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, mustard and tabasco. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until onions are soft. Trim excess fat from the spareribs and cut into 2 even pieces. Arrange on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread ½ cup of the basting sauce evenly over the spareribs and lay the lemon slices on top. Bake uncovered in a hot oven (200 deg C – 400 deg F) for 1½ hours or until tender, brushing the ribs 3 or 4 times with the remaining sauce. Arrange the spareribs on a heated platter and serve at once.

Benny: Salade Tahitienne.

Ingredients: 1½kg (3lb) fish fillets (any firm fleshed fish), juice of 3 lemons, salt and pepper to taste, 2 medium onions - finely sliced, 2 cups Cocunut Cream.

Remove all skins and bones from fish and cut into 1cm (½in) dice. Place in a glass or earthenware bowl and pour over lemon juice. Cover and chill at least ½ hour or until flesh is white, turning occasionally with a plastic spatula or wooden spoon. Avoid using a metal spoon or any metal utensils in the preparation of fish. The lemon juice will turn the fish white and opaque, and it will look and flake like cooked fish. Squeeze out all liquid by placing fish in a colander or strainer and pressing with a plastic spatula or wooden spoon. Put into a clean bowl, and onion slices and seasonings. Stir in the Coconut Cream, toss to coat well. Serve cold.

Coconut Cream: For every 2 cups desiccated coconut, add 1cup milk. Put into a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Cool then put in electric blender for a few seconds on high speed. Strain through muslin-lined strainer and squeeze out milk. Or, after cooling, turn into fine strainer and push through as much milk as possible using a wooden spoon. Keep in refrigerator and skim off creamy top for the salad. (The remainder can be used for making curry.)

© 1977 Women's Day. Thanks to Samuel Inglles