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!