Favourite Foods – Part 2
The most obvious favourite grandmother to start this favourite foods series with is my own mother, who turned 85 this year.
I remember when I was growing up that Mum always cooked kind of exotic food compared to what all my friends used to get.
I think it had a lot to do with the fact we had migrated to Australia from the USA when I was four so were very comfortable with things like Mexican food while in Australia, at the time, the biggest influence when it came to cooking seemed to come from England.
A Sunday lunchtime roast was all the rage in my friends’ homes while I was growing up. Forget that it was 40 degrees in the middle of summer.
Of course, things in this country have changed so much since then. We have some of the world’s best chefs in this country, representing food from all over the world.
Our favourite shows include cooking shows that demonstrate how we can have exotic restaurant-style meals at home.
I loved my Mum’s cooking but I also loved going to a friend’s house and having fish fingers and chips – we never ate that sort of thing at home.
Mum didn’t get a lot of cooking coaching growing up as she spent much of her time in boarding school and her own mother didn’t cook.
Despite that and the fact she worked nights (both parents were musicians and owned a theatre restaurant) she always put amazing food on our table.
The recipe below was one of her favourite foods to cook.
Mum stresses this is not her favourite meal to eat. Her favourite meal is Cornish Hen with wild rice and asparagus hollandaise. She first had this in a restaurant in the 1950s and it was a constant favourite.
Another big favourite was Steak Tartare with Caesar salad.
I think the star of Mum’s recipe is the Russian potato. I remember her serving that when I was young (sans the vodka for me of course).
She’d give dinner guests their own shot glasses and tiny bowls with caviar and chives so they could build their own potato – lots of fun.
As with all the recipes I’m featuring this month, I’ve had a go at making them so I can share photos with you.
GraMa’s Chicken Rosemary with Russian Potatoes
This recipe serves 2.
Prep time = 10 minutes. cooking time = 40 minutes
- 2 Chicken Maryland pieces (leg & thigh, skin on)
- Olive oil
- 1 cup vintage cask white wine – we used a bottle of Chardonnay
- Dried rosemary
- Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towel; coat each piece with olive oil.
- Place in a baking dish and pour wine over; sprinkle with rosemary & paprika.
- Bake approx. 40 minutes in a moderate oven.
2 medium potatoes baked in foil topped with –
- Small shot of Vodka (optional)
- Black caviar
- Sour cream
- Snipped fresh chives
Steamed green beans tossed with butter and toasted almonds.
BACK TO THE BOOK – BACK TO BASICS
My new favourite book, M.W.U. Cookery Book, states that the art of garnishing is ‘sadly neglected’.
“It takes very little trouble to decorate a dish, instead of sending it straight to the table as it comes from the kitchen”.
Sounds like we’re being told off by that book, doesn’t it?
SUGGESTIONS FOR GARNISHING
- Tufts of parsley and tomatoes cut into shapes for cold meats
- Carrots, turnips and French beans boiled til soft and cut into shaped, greatly enhance the appearance of haricots and stews – they may be piled in the centre or in little heaps all around
- Roast beef is decorated with tufts of parsley and little mounds of grated horseradish
- Tinned fruits, such as apricots and peaches, look dainty with preserved cherry in the centre of each
- Cucumber with the peel cut away in narrow strips, so that there are alternate strips of white and green, are a “very cool-looking garnish”.
I think we’ve come a long way!
GREAT MONEY SAVING TIP
RECIPE FOR TUTTI FRUITY LAYERED CAKE
INGREDIENTS – FOR THE SPONGE LAYERS
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp bicarb of soda
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp water
- Beat the eggs and sugar together for ‘quarter of an hour’
- Add the other ingredients
- Bake in three greased sandwich tins until cooked through (15 – 20 minutes)
INGREDIENTS – FOR THE FILLINGS
- 4 egg whites, 1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, I cup chopped figs, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup chopped nuts
- A pinch of cream of tartar
- Vanilla flavouring
- Put sugar, water and cream of tartar in an enamel pan and heat slowly, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Boil until it becomes stringy, then beat it gradually into the stiffly whipped whites of the eggs.
Flavour and divide into three equal parts
- Into one portion put the chopped figs
- Into the next, put the raisins
- Into the last pit the chopped nuts
Spread these fillings between the sponges in the order given (the nuts for the top of the cake)
Leave until quite cold before serving.
Next week’s featured Glam Gran is giving us a beautiful cake recipe. I will also share some more hints and favourite foods from M.W.U Cookery Book, including what to do with leftover sandwiches and a two-minute cake recipe.
What are some of your favourite foods? Share them in the comment box below.
Happy cooking and have a gleeful week, Tamuria