Sunday, December 25, 2011

Aunty Jean's Christmas Pie

(from Mary Knox)

My mother's sister Jean Owen was perhaps the loveliest person I've ever known - gentle, kind and gracious.

When our daughters were little we spent a Christmas season in Montreal, and I remember Auntie Jean saying she would make a "Christmas Pie" for a special lunch. We had no idea what this would be, though later I realised I had seen Auntie Jean knitting unobtrusively for a while ...

Anyway, on the lunch table was a cake-shaped decoration made of cardboard and paper, with ribbons radiating from it, each going to a place with a child's name attached. When they were told to, each child slowly pulled the ribbon, and drew from inside the pie a little gift. The girls each got a tiny doll with knitted nightie and sleeping bag.

That was typical of Auntie Jean's thoughtfulness. She was a good cook too, but that's another story.

  Jean Owen in 1964

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Three disasters for the price of one!

(from Paulette Robinson)

Today, lucky followers, you get three recipes kindly contributed by Paulette, from her mother, Carole Charles.  Carole was also "Auntie Carole" to Emma, who was the beneficiary of Carole's creativity up until the time she died in 2007.

Carole was known to be a great cook, however when dishes were served up they were put on the table with a qualifier of "It's a disaster, I completely mucked it up, I left an important ingredient out, I let something burn, I ruined it, you don't have to eat it, it's awful...."  It was only newcomers whose eyes widened at the thought of the ruined food they were obviously going to have to eat anyway, as it was being dished up on their plate at that very moment.  The more seasoned recipients knew they were about to taste yet another delicacy from Kitchen Carole.

As the kids got older we would get in first: "Here's Carole's disaster, oh no it looks TERRIBLE, we can't eat THAT, we'll DIE of food poisioning!!!", then everyone would merrily dig in and enjoy as Carole told us all to shush up.

Carole contributed these recipes when Paulette was collecting from family and friends for her own recipe book.  Paulette has kindly "translated" Carole's handwriting, and here are the three goodies:

Gefilte Fish
Use a mix of three fish – Snapper, Cod etc.
To the minced fish add: a slice of soaked bread, one egg, pepper, salt, 1 T/Spoon sugar, 1 small minced onion.
Add cold water – up to 1 cup but keep firm.
Roll into balls and fry.
Stew in water with sliced carrot or better still tetra packed stock very gently for 1 hour.

Yum Potatoes
Slice potatoes
Slice fennel and put in lemon water
Heat milk, cream, garlic, salt and pepper
Put in oven – grill off.
Grandma Corn’s Almond Cake

¼ lb butter      
Small cup sugar
½ lb flour 
1 t/sp baking powder
1 large egg
Almond essence
Pinch salt

1.  Beat butter & sugar.
2.  Add eggs & essence then dry ingredients.
3.  Put half in the tin and spread apricot jam on top, then add other half.
4.  Press almonds all over top.
5.  Bake at 350/180 .

Paulette and Carole

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ethel's Bananas in Lemon Syrup

(from Mary Knox)

My mother-in-law didn't much like cooking. In fact she didn't enjoy any sort of housework, though she did it. She would much rather be acting in a play - she was a stalwart of Wellington Repertory, and before that a leading light in amateur theatricals in Otaki. So this recipe was treasured for its simplicity, as well as its deliciousness. It is still treasured in our family.

(For 2 servings - multiply as necessary)

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water and the juice of 2 medium lemons.
Heat and stir till the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot syrup over 4 bananas,
sliced once lengthwise and once crosswise, in a serving dish. Chill
overnight or for several hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Note: I find it best to make sure the bananas are cut side down,
otherwise the cut surfaces can go a bit brown. Often I add some of the
rind of the lemons (pared off with a potato peeler) to the hot water, for
extra flavour, and remove it before adding the syrup to the bananas.

Ethel Knox on her wedding day in 1927

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whisky Log

(from Emma Levy)

This dessert is another Danielle Levy masterpiece, and I actually don't have words for how divine it is.  Now that I think about it, it's possible I was underage when I was eating it.  What I remember best about it (it's been a long time in between tastings) is that I would get a cake fork and take just a minute amount, because it was SO rich - and this is when I was young, when really nothing is too rich, so who knows what trying it in one's mid-forties would be like!!  It was one of the dinner party regulars - how I miss the dinner party days.  My parents threw a lot of dinner parties and I would sit at the top of the stairs in my pjs, instead of being asleep in bed, listening to the chatter and the laughter, wishing I could go down there and be with them....  This is not a recipe you'll use as an everyday one, but give it a go as a special treat.  You won't regret it!

1 packet Wine Biscuits (plain sweet biscuit)
120 g Butter (softened)
1 Egg
1 cup Icing Sugar
½ cup Whisky

180 g Icing Sugar
1 Tbsp Cocoa
120 g Butter (softened)
1 tsp Coffee

1.    Cream butter and icing sugar.
2.    Add egg, crushed biscuits, and whisky.
3.    Mix well.
4.    Put in fridge for 1 hour to firm a little.
5.    Shape into a log on grease-proof paper and roll it in the paper.
6.    Chill the log in the fridge for 4-6 hours.
7.    Mix icing ingredients.
8.    Once log is firm, unwrap from paper and ice with icing. 

This log is best served chilled.

A photo of my mum, not sure at what age, but when I first saw 
it I thought it was me - now that was a weird experience!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Florence Christy Anglin's doughnuts (and holes)

(from Johanna Knox)

At least four generations of women in my family have enjoyed using this recipe, with Florence Christy Anglin probably the first.

As a child I adored making these with my mum and sister. We cut out the ring-shaped doughnuts from the pastry using a big jar and a small jar. The little 'holes' from the middle got thrown into the frying pan along with the rings. They were the best bit!

I have no idea if it's true, but I like to think that it was frugal Florence Christy, in wartime, who was the first in the family to cook the holes as well as the doughnuts. What could be more frugal than that? :)

To make:
2 eggs - beat.

1 cup sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup milk

Then add (or sift in):
2 large tsp baking powder
Enough flour just to roll pastry.
It shouldn't be too stiff.

Roll pastry and cut out doughnut shapes.

Fry in deep fat.

(Note: after frying, we would often roll the doughnuts in cinnamon and castor sugar.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate Crunch

 (from Emma Levy)

Those who were lucky enough to taste the after-school or party treats made by my mum will definitely have eaten this one!  It was almost permanently in the cake tins at home.  My mum was a working mum with three kids (and all their friends) and she needed a selection of tasty treats that didn't take too long to make.  This was a favourite.  Now that I'm an adult and use a lot of her recipes, I've realised how adept mum was at finding gastronomical treasures that she could whip up quickly.  I make less of it than she did; it's a different era now and we're more conscious of the quantities of butter in things we make, but when there's a day that you don't really care, or have to produce something yummy at great speed, this is the recipe to turn to!

(I'll probably get into trouble with this one like I did with the Plonk Cake - I really don't know where the recipe originated and am not claiming it as my mum's creation - but she made it a lot! If anyone knows who was the first of the Wellington women to introduce it, let me know and I'll make sure they get their due credit!).

2 Dessertspoons Cocoa
1 cup sugar
225g butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder

1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup coconut
25g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp cocoa
A little hot water

1.  Melt butter and sugar.
2.  Add to rest of ingredients.
3.  Place in sponge roll tin.
4.  Bake for 15-20 mins at 180C (350F).
5.  Cover with icing while hot and cut immediately.
6.  Leave to cool in tin.

                                                           Danielle Levy (1937-2004)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Adam Family's Strawberry Shortcake

(from Brittany Adam)

Strawberry shortcake was my little brother's favorite.  He was a great sailor, high jumper, and
snowboarder.  He didn't have a huge repertoire of recipes - he was 22 - but what he did know how to make was produced pretty prolifically, and to great reception.  He died three months ago from meningitis.  The recipe has been in our family forever, but it is as much his as anyone's.

2 cups flour
2 tbs sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1.  Sift all ingredients together in medium bowl & cut in small pieces of chilled shortening.
2.  Add the smallest amount of really cold milk you can get away with... Just enough so that all the ingredients for the dough just barely sticks together and then form a lump of dough on wax paper.

(NOTE: Handle/mix/knead/roll dough as little as possible- that makes them tough. It is also not good if the dough gets too warm.)

3.  Roll dough until dough is about 3/4" thick and cut out biscuits with an upside-down water glass.
4.  Place circles of dough spread out on baking sheet stacked two high.
5.  Put baking sheet with biscuits in freezer while preheating oven (about 10 min).
6.  Bake @350F until the tops turn light golden for 15-20 min, depending on how thick you make them.

Strawberry Topping
Strawberries - hulled and halved.
1 pint+ per person.
1 Tbls of sugar or agave per pint

1.  Mash until about 1" of juice in the bottom of the bowl.
2.  Cover warm biscuit with strawberries and top with whipped cream.

Jeff and Britt

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Frances Anglin's favourite Pompadour Pudding

(from Johanna Knox)

My grandmother seemed nothing like the bucolic blonde pictured in her American cookbook.

Frances Anglin was a large, stately widow, dark-haired, with urbane tastes. Hard to please, some said. But I don’t remember that. I was seven when she died.

There’s plenty I've forgotten – like exactly how her recipes sidled into our family repertoire. Her kitchen as far as I recall, was a place for her to smoke and drink coffee. Perhaps she was cooking less by the time I was born (and my mother says she didn't like cooking in front of other people).

What I do remember is her Canadian-ness. This was a basic piece of childhood knowledge, as foundational to my existence as facts like cats meow, dogs bark, and leaves fall in autumm

I was proud of my Canadian ancestry. I never considered how it must have felt for my grandmother to follow her husband all the way to New Zealand, an ocean away from her own sophisticated continent, and her continental-sized family.

I can still hear her smoky laugh, and see her Lower Hutt home with its velvet curtains and plush expanses of silver-grey carpet. I can feel her sleek Burmese cats wending around my legs. Artworks hung on every wall; watercolours, oils, prints ... some by friends and local artists, others her own. Hers were unsigned, as if she felt them unworthy.

Paper doll books were her treat for me. A new one every time I visited. I wonder now, was she herself as fascinated with them as I was? After training as a commercial artist, she'd enjoyed working for an expensive department store sketching women’s fashions for their advertisements. The Depression put paid to that job, and sometime later she married, never to enter the workforce again.

When my grandmother died, my Mum, her daughter, found a stash of paper doll books in a high cupboard, ready to be doled out one by one. I got them all at once - a thrilling inheritance!

But her cooking? There was nothing to miss. In fact, I now realise, her culinary legacy had already slipped seamlessly into my life. The recipes my mother made, especially desserts, were often her mother's.

Pomapdour Pudding was a star in the repertoire.

Mum says my grandmother often used to make blancmange from a packet, a bit like instant pudding, but nicer. You couldn't get convenience food like that in New Zealand in those days. Her blancmange arrived in parcels from Canada. That was a staple dessert, but for special occasions she made a Pompadour Pudding.

Here is the recipe, from the Culinary Arts Institute Cook Book. It's one of those 'never-fails-to-get-compliments' recipes, and it works well in tiny pots at bring-a-plate events. (Click to enlarge.)

These days you could use dark cooking chocolate, as per the recipe, but back when my grandmother pointedly marked up the book, you couldn't get good cooking chocolate in New Zealand, and cocoa had to do!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Aunty Nina’s Green Pie

Nina was determined that nothing should ever be wasted, and so recipes that used leftovers were vital to her repertoire. Yesterday's cold rice, for example, became today's Green Pie.

It was one of those odd, gimmicky recipes that I recall 70s and 80s home cooks being fond of ... Nina used to chuckle over the way it was an inside-out pie - with the protein in the crust and the carbs in the filling.

(Around this time I also remember Nina, my mother, and their friends discovering self-crusting quiche - great excitement!)

a couple of cups or so of cold rice
green veges including a decent handful of spring onion
grated cheese

Mix salt into the mince.
Press the mince around the edges of a casserole dish, so it lines it like a pie crust.
Blanche green veges - except for spring onions.
Drain green veges and chop into pieces.
Finely chop spring onions.
Mix all green veges into rice. Add salt too, if necessary.
Fill the raw mince crust with the rice/vege mix.
Grate cheese on top.
Bake in oven until meat crust is cooked through. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rochelle Corn's Shortbread

(from Petra Frank, nee Corn)

My Mum, Rochelle Corn was a wonderful singer and a pretty good cook too.  I helped her bake often (mostly by licking the bowl) and learned many of her recipes this way. 

Her proudest baking achievement was her shortbread which all admired and craved, especially her elderly  Mother, my Nana. Mum's shortbread melted in your mouth.  It was sunshine yellow with sparkling sugar pressed into the top. Nana just loved it and Mum would take her carefully wrapped parcels of fresh shortbread when we went to visit her at Deckston Home.  Nana would carefully store this in a tin inside a locked drawer in her room, no doubt for happy nibbling later on! 

So, if you would like to share the secret of making the lightest shortbread biscuits; here it is:

6 oz flour
2 oz icing sugar
pinch salt
6 oz butter
2 oz vanilla custard powder

Rub the butter into the flour and other dry ingredients. 

Roll out the dough and sprinkle with sugar, then roll the sugar into the dough very lightly with the rolling pin. 
Cut into oblong biscuit shapes and slide a baking tray underneath.  
Bake at 150 C for 20 minutes.  
(Handle carefully once baked as they are delicate!)

I have one more tip...When cutting the biscuits into nice neat shapes, your daughter should eat the jagged offcuts! 


Petra Frank (nee Corn)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shirley Wiseman’s Fruit Loaf

(from Belinda Aarons Gerber)

As a single mother with three kids and three jobs, plus a set of extended family commitments and volunteer activities my mother was an expert economizer – of both time and money. Mum’s baking is an excellent example. She never baked one thing. What was the point of heating the oven for just one cake? Better to pop in two or three baking tins and an extra one for the freezer at the same time.

In order to have multiple cakes ready to go into the oven, Mum usually mixed one cake in the Kenwood mixer and another one in a pot on the stove. The machine-mixed cakes varied, but the mix-in-a-pot cake was often fruit loaf.

How I loved Mum’s fruit loaf! Thick slices, often with a slather of butter on top, were a regular after-school snack. (In 1970s New Zealand, we hadn’t yet heard that high fat was a bad thing.) Now, thirty-plus years later and several continents away, I make this cake every few months, enjoying this taste of my childhood – albeit without the extra butter.

Making this fruit loaf is a two-part process, as the hot mixture needs to cool before the egg is added. For Mum, that was the time to mix another cake in the Kenwood. For me, it was the opportunity to surreptitiously skim my finger across the top of the mixture and grab a big dollop of the sweet froth. Several times, if I could get away with it. Mum surely knew I was doing it; just as surely as I – and my kids – continue to do it now.

Bake the fruit loaf in a ring tin or a couple of loaf pans. In true Shirley Wiseman fashion, you can easily make a bigger cake by using an extra-large egg and multiplying the rest of the ingredients by 150%. Or, do as I do, and double the whole recipe, so there’s always a cake in the freezer. I learned well.

Shirley Wiseman’s fruit loaf recipe
As she dictated to me 20-or-so years ago, hence the imperial measurements.

1 cup sugar
1 cup sultanas / dark raisons
¼ cup chopped moist dates
1 cup water
1 tsp. baking soda
2 oz butter
1 egg
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 cups plain white flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Put sugar, sultanas, dates, water, baking soda and butter in a saucepan and bring to boil. 
Set aside to cool and then beat in the egg. 
Add nuts and sifted flour and baking powder. 
Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch ring tin and bake 45 minutes at 350 deg. F.

Shirley Wiseman, early 1987. A rare moment when she actually sat down.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ouma Babsie's Soetkoekies

(From Marietjie Swart, who has kindly lent us this recipe from her wonderful blog - Rainbow Cooking - full of culinary memories from a South African childhood.)

If I think of Ouma Babsie, my grandmother on my mum's side, I picture her in her farm kitchen with the wood-burning stove and the wooden kitchen table which took most of the space.  

The generator power on the farm was mainly used in the evenings for lights or to use the meat cutting machine after a slaughter.  Water for bathing was heated with a "donkey boiler". (The water was a bit muddy as it came directly from the Orange River).  Drinking water had to be pre-boiled and was stored in containers on the floor in the dining room (the coolest room).  

The fridge and freezer ran on parrafin and the stove ran on wood/coal. If my grandfather was away, my grandmother didn't bother with the generator and only used parrafin lamps as lighting.  

Where my grandparents lived on an irrigation farm in the North-West Cape on the Orange River, temperatures soared in summer and you can imagine how hot and sweltering a kitchen would become whilst baking, as the heat from the wood burning stove inside the kitchen as well as the outside temperatures (that were usually in the high 30s - 40C) was quite something.  

But thankfully my grandmother braved the heat and we had lots of biscuits to eat, as she loved sweet treats. 
Helping my grandmother baking was fun - she shared many stories of the old days over the kitchen table. She didn't really need help as she was a very capable women. She worked  with large quantities of meat, making her own butter and baking on large scale on her own as she filled big containers with her baking - but we both enjoyed the company. 

I have fond memories of these Soetkoekie biscuits.  My grandmother rolled the dough, and then rolled over the dough with rolling cookie cutters, cut in different patterns. My two favourites were the heart and diamond cookie cutter forms.

She glazed her biscuits by washing them with egg (possibly egg white) before baking, and it gave it a lovely shine.  I adjusted her recipes to a much smaller batch as I don't want to bake biscuits with 12 cups of flour at a time.  

In later years, I tasted a soetkoekie which was baked by a lady from a home-industry.  (In South Africa many good bakers / jam makers / needlework boffs would sell their products via a "tuisnywerheid" as it is called in Afrikaans. Translated to English it simply means a coop-shop called a home-industry where people would sell the stuff they made - usually at home.  The name of the baker is not written on the product, but all members of the home-industry would be alloted numbers to differentiate between them.)

Back to the biscuits - the soetkoekie biscuits were so tasty that I phoned the home-industry to ask for the name and phone number of the person  who baked them.  They gave it to me and I complimented the lady about the biscuits and asked her if she would mind sharing the recipe and she gave it very kindly to me.  

Lo and behold - her recipe and my grandmother's recipe were very similar! The only difference was that the biscuits I bought were very elegant as they were very rolled out very thinly and cut out in circles, and all looked the same.  My grandmother rolled her biscuits out a bit thicker.  I must admit, I do not get them excactly so thin like the lady from the "tuisnywerheid", but I love them.

In the past, many people decorated the biscuits with red stripes by using  "rooibolus" (I guess a sort of old fashioned red food colouring) - but neither my grandmother and the kind lady from the home industry  used it as far as I can remember and therefore I don't bother.

This is my variation of soetkoekies, a very traditional and well-loved South-African biscuit. It is spice biscuits, flavoured with sweet wine.  The original recipe asks for pork lard and butter - but I just settle for butter as it is not so easy to get pork lard.


  • 2 cups (500 ml) flour
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • zest of an orange or mandarin (naartjie)
  • ¾ cup (180 to 200 ml) sugar
  • ½ cup (110 gram) butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoon (4 ml) bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) sherry, port or sweet wine (or replace with 2 tablespoons brandy and 2 tablespoons milk)
  • Egg white for glazing


  1. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in sweet wine.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the beaten egg and bicarbonate of soda mixture, and mix dough together until it is a firm dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to approximately 5 mm thick.
  7. Cut the dough into forms with a cookie cutter.
  8. Arrange them about 3 cm apart on a buttered cookie sheet.
  9. Brush each biscuit gently with the egg white.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes- until golden brown.
  11. Remove to a rack to cool completely.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Morning Eggs with Dad

(from Emma Levy)

There are many women being remembered on this blog, including many by me.  But the first significant person in my life who died, and who cooked for me, was my dad, Phil Levy.  He died a long time ago – in 1987.  I was only 19.  He was one of the kindest men you could ever meet, and terribly trusting.  Once I told him I was collecting signatures and asked him to sign a blank piece of paper right down the bottom.  He did it. Above it I wrote “Emma cannot participate in PE class today” in my best Dad handwriting, and felt so guilty for duping him that I tore it up and did PE.

I really wanted to give Dad a spot in the blog, but the only things I could remember him making were whiskeys at the end of each work day, and barbeques, in the great NZ tradition of the 80s where men suddenly became the cooks in that single circumstance of the backyard barbie. 

Then I remembered Sunday mornings before going to Hebrew School.  Every week he made us poached eggs on toast.  Much effort went into them.  He told me it was crucial that you boil the water, but only put the in egg when you've removed the pot from the heat, and that you must put vinegar into the water.  That’s a recipe, isn’t it?  

The other thing that happened every week, without fail, was that he would break a yolk. Much swearing accompanied each breakage - one of the few times this mild-mannered man broke out into a litany of language no child should hear. It was so inevitable that I sat at the breakfast table each Sunday morning, tensing myself, waiting for the break and the swearing that ensued. I sat quietly, wanting to yell out “why don’t you break it into a bloody teacup first so at least if it breaks it’s not in the bloody water"?? But I'd have got told off for swearing.
So here ‘tis – a tribute to a beautiful man who was lost to us far too young, and who put more effort into his kids’ Sunday eggs than anyone I know.

Poached eggs on toast for your kids on a Sunday morning
1.     Boil water.
2.     Take it off the element.
3.     Pop bread in the toaster.
4.     Put a dash of vinegar in the water. 
5.     Break an egg into the water. 
6.     Break the yolk. 
7.     Swear for up to a minute. 
8.     Start again. 
9.     Put toast onto the plate and butter if desired. 
10.   When the egg white has just turned white and solid, get a slotted spoon and take out the egg,  
        hoping it doesn’t splosh through the slots or plop over the side back into the water, probably 
        breaking, in which case add more swearing here. 
11.   Spoon the egg onto the toast.  
12.   Hand dish to your child who is both relieved the weekly routine is over, prepared to eat the 
        egg in whatever state it’s in, and is quietly filing away the language they’ve just learned.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Freda Beder’s Fabulous Fruit Cake

(from Ruth Ketko)

“I always wanted to stay at home and bake cheesecakes”!  So said Mum, but life’s journey took her on different paths. 

My Dad died in 1946, just seven years after they were married, and Mum went from being a “balaboosta” (a Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess) to becoming a successful business woman, opening her own “Finchley Wool Stores”. Her life took her from England to New Zealand, to Israel, then back to New Zealand. A much-loved person, always making sure to have plenty of “nosh” and loads of “wisdom” to dish out.

I don’t remember Mum making many cheesecakes, but she became well-known for her delicious fruit cake. Made for birthdays, bar or bat mitzvahs, weddings, and many other special occasions, as well as making sure to keep one for home, for years she used to make three at a time!

One of my very special memories of this successful fruit cake was when, on one of her last birthdays, at a time when Mum was unable to continue to make fruit cakes, our son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Sue, surprised her with a birthday cake that they had made using her “never-fail” recipe!  We were so proud of them, and the pleasure on Mum’s face said it all!

Here it is – enjoy!

1  lb. mixed fruit                                         1 lb. sultanas
½ lb. butter                                                 ½ lb. sugar
12 oz. flour                                                 1 tbs. Golden Syrup
4 eggs                                                          ½ tap. Baking Soda
¼ cup milk                                                 Nuts as desired

Melt butter and mix with sugar. 
Add 1 egg at a time. 
Add golden syrup, then flour, then fruit and nuts. 
Lastly bring the milk and baking soda to boiling point, then stir it in. 
Bake in a 9" round tin greased and lined with greaseproof paper of 3 thicknesses, and 1" above the tin. 
Place nuts on top. 
Bake in moderate oven 3000 for 3 hours. 
When removed from oven, add brandy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Veronique

(from Richard Bright)
Mum was a good cook, though in a very Anglo-centric way. I remember enjoying everything she put in front of us and, despite her menu being very meat-and-three-veg oriented, I never had to endure over-cooked greens or grey meat. But, with only a couple of exceptions, our food was essentially British fare. It wasn’t until I went to university that I discovered curry, tacos, kebabs, or garlic. Or that 6000 years of Chinese culture had produced anything other than sweet and sour pork. 
Thus the meals in Mum’s repertoire that hinted at a world beyond the English Channel (and bear in mind that I grew up in New Zealand) were truly highlights that remain memorable to this day.
One of those highlights, and it seems so quaint today, was Chicken Veronique. It was chicken. With fruit! It was like some mad alchemy and I was always excited when the standard after-school question - “Mum, what’s for dinner tonight?” - elicited the chook-and-grape answer.
This exotic dish came from the magnificent 72-part magazine series ‘The Cordon Bleu Cookery Course’. This prized collection, complete with blue binders was acquired by my parents in the late sixties and it is still in the possession of my Dad today. It seemed very daring and authoritative, and I spent many hours poring over its step-by-step photos and lists of fabulous ingredients. And without it I would have probably made it to university without having tasted spaghetti bolognese or beef stroganoff!
So, here's how to make Chicken Veronique, with precise instructions from the Cordon Bleu Cookery School, c1968.
1 chicken
2 knobs of butter
3-4 sprigs of tarragon
1/2 pint of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot
2 tablespoons double cream
1/2 cup white or muscat grapes, peeled and pipped
  1. Season the inside of a trussed chicken.
  2. Rub the chicken with butter, and put 3-4 sprigs of tarragon inside, along with a further knob of butter.
  3. Place the chicken in a roasting tin, with 1/4 pint of chicken stock, cover with buttered paper, and roast for an hour at 400 F.
  4. After the first 15 to 20 minutes, the chicken should be removed from the oven and basted; and then basted again after another 15-20 minutes, turning the chicken around, each time.  The buttered paper should be removed a few minutes before the end of the cooking, to brown the bird. 
  5. The hot chicken is then removed to a wooden board, jointed and carved.
  6. The remaining juices in the roasting tin are reduced over a steady heat until brown and sticky.  Add ¼ of a pint of chicken stock to the pan to make a gravy.
  7. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan and thicken with ½ teaspoon of arrowroot mixed with a little water. Add the arrowroot mixture away from the heat, and then stir until boiling.
  8. Stir two tablespoons of double cream into the gravy.
  9. Add the grapes to the gravy.
Audrey Bright aged 16

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mrs O’s Marshmallow Balls

(from Sam Treister)

At the tender age of nine, my parents' marriage dissolved.  My father, as well as running a busy business, was also left to ‘carry the can’ and manage our hectic household.  I was the youngest of four children.  My siblings, being much older, came and went as they travelled & flatted.

My Dad wisely enlisted some home help.  This help came in the form of a wonderful Catholic woman who we fondly called Mrs O.  As far as I’m concerned, Mrs O was a marvel.  Not only did she raise her own six children, including a set of twins…… but she came three times a week to us, arriving at 8.30am, and leaving at 5pm. She ironed, cleaned, dusted….. and……… also, ( to our collective delight), BAKED. 

Every Wednesday I would arrive home from school, knowing the biscuit tins would be full. Somehow, on top of all she did, she managed to fill those tins with an array of goodies…… these included, Caramel Slice, Louise cake, Chocolate Crunch, Sydney Special, and best of all, Marshmallow Balls.

You need to make these balls when you have a bit of extra time….I usually double the recipe (as that way you can use up all of the condensed milk in one hit). I then leave the balls in a container in the freezer.  This is for two reasons; I think they taste better when eaten frozen, and secondly, my husband can’t find them!

These balls are perfect to serve when visitors pop in unannounced, or as an after dinner treat. As they tend to be a tad sweet, consume them with a strong cup of coffee .

‘Here’s to Mrs O’ (who sadly passed away last year.)

Mrs O’s Marshmallow Balls
100 grams butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tin condensed milk
1 dessertspoon cocoa
1 packet of  wine biscuits (or any other plain biscuit). You need to crush these until they resemble breadcrumbs.
Fine coconut, enough to roll the balls into.
1 packet of marshmallows (not the tiny baking variety, or the very large ones, the middle sized ones!)

Melt the butter in a medium sixed pot, but don’t let it boil.
Add the crushed wine biscuits and all the other ingredients except the coconut.
With wet hands get a marshmallow, and coat it on all sides with the biscuit mix. (This can get messy, but persevere!)
Roll the ball into the coconut to coat.
Freeze- with wax paper between each layer of balls.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aunty Nina's Party Leftover Rolls

(from Johanna Knox)

My Aunt Nina loved parties and festive food. At her burial we ceremonially threw liqueur chocolates onto her coffin - the ones my Mum was going to give her for her birthday in two weeks' time.

In Nina's younger days, she used any excuse to invite a bunch of friends round for a celebration.

Although everyone always brought a plate, she loved to provide plenty of food herself, and spent the day before the event making punch, chocolate eclairs, and more.

I was fascinated one time when, faced with left-over ingredients from making quiche, sausage rolls, and a cheese log, she threw them together and made a whole new plate of savories:

A few frozen peas
A handful of chopped cooked bacon
a couple of spoonfuls of cream cheese
Leftover flaky pastry

To make
Roll the pastry and cut into strips as if you were making sausage rolls.
Smear down the middle of the strips with cream cheese.
Scatter on the bacon and peas.
Roll up like sausage rolls.

I periodically had cravings for these for years afterwards!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Granny Rosie and the Wonderful Baked Cheesecake

(from Sue Berman)
My granny Rosie used to make a wonderful baked cheese cake. On numerous occasions my mother asked her for the recipe but she would never give it up, always preferring to just ‘make it’, it never got written down before she passed on.  I can remember the cheese cake (as well as tongue sandwiches, trifle, pickled fish and pickled cucumbers!) even though we left South Africa and Granny Rosie’s baking treats when I was only nine years old.

Many many years later in Wellington, New Zealand, I was lucky enough to be at an occasion which had me at Dani Levy’s lunch table. Dessert included the most superb baked cheese cake – it took me back to the cheesecake my Granny used to make – except that Dani had created a beautiful boysenberry coulis which was poured over the top - divine.

I asked Dani if I could possibly have the recipe and she very kindly typed it up for me adding a hand note on the biscuit quantity.  As per Dani’s note at the bottom I often do ‘play around with the ingredients’.  No matter what combinations of cheeses I use or number of eggs it is always a success and loved by everyone. I really treasure this recipe for all the special connections it has.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We've been mentioned!

Pass It On is very proud to have been mentioned as a "New NZ blog" that caught the eye of NZ food blogger, Bron Marshall, whose delightful looking blog includes an article entitled "Would you like pencil sharpenings in your salad?".  Hmmmm we really might have to check out this recipe!

See Bron's blog (and our mention at the TOP of her page!) at:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Can I really give away this little gem?

(from Emma Levy)

Plonk Cake - easy to make, and always impresses!

5 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
50g melted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
140g sliced tinned/fresh fruit or mixed berries

Mix in the above order (except the fruit/berries).
Pour into a greased tin.
Place drained and sliced fruit/berries on top of the mixture.
Bake at just over 200C for 30 mins (check till done).
When cold, sprinkle with icing sugar.

My mum was known as being a great cook and baker – my friends loved to come to our house because they knew the cake tins were always full of goodies!  At her funeral in 2004, people came up to me and talked about how they remembered coming over and eating cake and biscuits after school – what a great legacy!!  I’m not sure if she just loved to bake or thought it might help my social life!

This was one of the cakes she often made if we were having people over – Mum called it “Plonk Cake”, because you just plonk everything in the bowl, plonk the mixture into the cake tin, then plonk fruit or berries on the top. 

I have made it many times since and the greedy side of me really wants to keep it as a secret, as it’s such a gem of a cake – it takes a few minutes to make and everyone always comments on it.  But in the spirit of sharing of precious recipes and precious people on this blog, here it is.  Just don’t make it if you know I’m coming to the same gathering – it was MINE FIRST!

Thanks Mum for the memories and for greatly furthering my social standing as a child.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Jewish New Year - time for a piece of honey cake (or two!)

(from Nicki Levy)

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake (Temple Sinai Bulletin)

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 ½ cup flour
1 teaspoo bicarb of soda
1 Granny Smith apple (opt)
1 cup boiling tea

Grate apple if using (Mum says use it!). Combine all ingredients  in order listed, mixing well. Pour into large, well greased tin. Bake at 160C for 1 ¼-1 ½ hours.

Jewish New Year Honey Cake

When Mum died in 2004 , I asked Adam and Emma if I could take Mum’s recipe books. Mum had (like I do too) collected recipes from magazines, newspapers but, most interestingly, her friends, Carole Charles, Maureen Baruch, Barbara Treister, Sandy Myers (oh, and Alison Holst of course). She always credited them next to the recipe.

There are quite a few recipes in my own child’s hand-writing that Mum must have asked me to write out – or maybe because they were recipes I wanted her to make – anyone that knows me won’t be surprised that on one page I have written out the recipes for Chocolate Fudge and Chocolate Blancmange.

I love to flick through and find recipes she made regularly, like Chocolate Crunch, which I think Emma and I had as our nutritional afternoon tea when we got home from school most days. I try not to think about the half pound of butter that went into it!

But the best thing about the recipe book is at the back where in the early 1970s she listed menus for her dinner parties and who attended. On 15 May 1971 (when she had three children under the age of five) she lists: Entrée - pancakes filled with smoked salmon & cheese/mushrooms & cheese. Main - Argentinian Steak, Mushrooms a la Greque, Tossed Salad, Cauliflower Gratin, Baked Potatoes. Dessert - Cheesecake with Boysenberry Topping. Those that were lucky enough to enjoy this feast were the Baruchs, the Hyams, the Brickmans and the Myers.

The honey cake recipe is probably not the one we grew up with as it came from the Temple Sinai bulletin. Mum only joined the Temple after Dad died, probably in the 90s. I accidentally left out the cup of tea when I made this yesterday and I’ve never had so many compliments on the cake. Try it with and without! Bon appetit and Shana Tova!