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