Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aunty Nina’s Iced Jaffa Coffee

(from Johanna Knox)

2 or 3 oranges
A plungerful of hot coffee
1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa
1 heaped tablespoon of sugar
¼ cup water
Vanilla ice cream

Slice unpeeled oranges into rounds and place in bowl or jug.

Boil cocoa, sugar and water together and mix with the freshly brewed coffee to make a mocha mix.

Pour hot mocha mix over sliced oranges and leave to steep. When cool, place in refrigerator to continue steeping till morning.

Remove orange slices and serve the iced jaffa coffee over scoops of icecream. (You can also eat the mocha-infused orange slices.)

Alter ratios to taste.

My aunt Nina had died two days ago. Shaken and restless, I ranged between the two rooms of her bedsit, peering into cupboards, rifling through drawers. I apologised:  ‘I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I find it …’

I didn’t want to elaborate to my father or sister, who were industriously sorting books, clothes, and crockery. I was embarrassed at the sudden narrowness of my focus, and the terrible childish drive that had taken over: Nina had loved to cook, and I wanted to be the one who found her recipes. 

But what did they look like? Were they handwritten cards? Books? Clippings? I couldn’t remember. When I finally gave up and joined the sorting, I confessed my folly.

The next day, my sister and father, excavating deeper, rang to say they’d hit recipes afterall and, being kind and careful archaeologists, had left them for me in situ.

I was excited, until I saw the small, grubby pile they were talking about. Free recipe cards from the supermarket, clippings cut from Tegel chicken wrappers, yellowed appliance manuals ... Not  a single recipe I remembered Nina using.

‘But didn’t she mostly cook from her head?’ my partner Walter reminded me that evening.

Of course!

Thinking back, I'd rarely seen a written recipe in her hand. Her repertoire consisted of family dishes she’d had down pat for years, party foods her friends had shown her, and numerous of her own inventions and adaptations. Wherever Nina had now gone – somewhere or nowhere – she’d taken her recipe file with her.

So now I search my own memories trying to bring up details of recipes she showed me, or cooked while I watched from her kitchen table. I’ve pieced together five so far, and this is the first I’ve written down.

1 comment:

  1. I am so going to make this in summer. It sounds delicious, like something you'd pay good money for in a cafe! I'm thinking that eating those orange slices would be delish too. You could even freeze them and pop them in like ice-cubes.