Sunday, January 29, 2012

Granny's Cucumber salad

(from Nicki Levy)

Granny (Mum's mum) was born in Poland but lived her adult life in Brussels, where Mum was born, and then Sydney. I don't remember her cooking us anything. All I remember is her peeling an apple with a knife before eating it. We loved to watch one long peel come off the apple with no breaks. 

However, Mum used to make this recipe of her Mum's a lot and I loved it. As much as I have sweet tooth, I always loved any salad with as much vinegar as possible. The recipe below was given to me by Mum orally and I wrote it down as she spoke. 

I decided to take a photo of a cucumber to go with this blog post, then decided just to make the salad for dinner tonight (one of my sons, Gil, has inherited my taste for vinegar and pickles), so here it is:

Mum's version of Granny's cucumber salad

1.  Slice a cucumber VERY finely. 

2.  Sprinkle salt through it, put it in a bowl with a plate over it and a heavy weight on the plate so that the cucumber is squashed down (whatever's on the plate will get its bottom wet so wrap it with glad wrap our use something that can take it).
3.  Leave it for an hour or so - or longer if you want - then pour off the liquid, drain it well. 

4.  Pour over the dressing:

The original dressing, from memory, was: 
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar - heated and boiled a few minutes, then cooled & when cold pour over cucumber.

Mum did not measure exactly & used less water and less sugar. Experiment! It is always easy enough to add a little sweetener later if not sweet enough or some extra sugar melted in a little water. Better made well before you need it to let it all soak through.

Gil enjoying his late great-Granny's cucumber salad

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Apricot Fudge Cake

(from Andrea Kenrick)

My mother wasn’t the greatest of chefs so I suspect she didn’t get to dad’s heart through his stomach. However, she does have a knack with baking and slices so perhaps she made this for him at an opportune moment!

This recipe comes from mum’s handwritten recipes so I’m not sure where it originated but I certainly knew that it had to come into my own cookbook once I started one. This slice always holds a special place in my heart, not only because it’s so yummy it’s almost unbelievable, but because it always reminds me of dad and his warmth and charm and how much he loved it and mum.

In our family it was always billed as dad’s favourite and always made especially for him. Us kids all knew that and hoped maybe we’d get one slice….if we were lucky. It was also understood that dad got to have this after we’d gone to bed because it always seemed to disappear pretty quickly without much input from us!

I remember his smile when he knew that mum, and then me, was making it for him. He’d get a twinkle in his eye like a small boy waiting for a treat. That’s how I like to remember him – being deliciously cheeky and loving the finer things in life and being spoiled. It also reminds me how nice it is to do something for someone else. That making a slice of heaven for someone else is a great way to show how much you love them.

So I say – make this recipe and not only will you love it yourself, but share with your loved ones and enjoy their appreciation because you took some time to do something gorgeous and spoily. It’s super easy to make and tastes like heaven. I like to make it every now and then for dad, knowing that he loved being spoiled and he loved Apricot Fudge Cake!!

Apricot Fudge Cake
Melt together
  • 4oz butter
  • 3oz brown sugar
  • ½ tin condensed milk
  • 1 Cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1 packet of crushed plain biscuits
Press into a greased sponge roll tin and sprinkle well with desiccated coconut.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chocolate Fudge Pudding (CFP)

(from Emma Levy)

I like to call Chocolate Fudge Pudding (or CFP as it's known in the Levy family) my "signature dish".  How does a dish become one's signature dish?  Because it was the only dessert I could make, and I made it repeatedly.  This hot chocolate pudding became a favourite in my family, and is now a favourite of our kids.  It's easy to make, though from memory I did go through a phase where I left a vital ingredient out each time, but that speaks to my attention problems rather than the recipe which is very straightforward.

The reason CFP deserves a spot in the Pass It On blog is that it's the last thing I ever baked for my mum.  That night was also the first time she met my husband-to-be, so it was a special night all around.  It was entirely fitting that it was the last thing I baked for her, as mum loved it and always told me that at a restaurant you should work out what you want for dessert first, and then decide on a main course that will leave you with enough room.  It was also fitting that it was the first thing Richard ever tasted of my baking, as he soon worked out there was a small repetoire so at least we were starting with the best.

My brother also needs a mention here (he's alive and well but doesn't read cooking blogs, even when his sister co-facilitates them) as he thinks the cookbook is hilarious because it's really obvious that there's only one recipe I make, as all the pages are crisp and white until you get to the CFP page, which is splattered in chocolate.

And credit where credit's due, the recipe is from Mary Pat Fergus' "Junior Cook Dinner Book", first published in 1972.  The juniors will love to make it and eat it, and the seniors will love it just as much.

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
50g butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup hot coffee 

1.    Turn oven on to 180C.
2.    Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and the 1 tsp cocoa into mixing bowl.
3.    Melt butter.  Stir in the milk and the vanilla.
4.    Stir into the mixing bowl until it's all well-mixed.
5.    Spoon it all evenly into a greased casserole dish.
6.    Sieve brown sugar and 1 tsp cocoa evenly over.
7.    Pour the hot coffee over it all - DON'T STIR IT.
8.    Bake for 50 mins.

Serve with cream or ice-cream (the diet starts tomorrow).

(I find this makes quite a small amount and tend to double it if there's a big group, or just make 1 1/2 times the amount for a normal sized one.  For a romantic dinner for two - the above is perfect!)