What’s for tea mum?

Recipes our mothers cooked in The Age had me thinking of the recipes for which I’ll remember my mum.

She would always be the first to say she’s a plain cook, and that Dad was the better cook, which tended to rely on meat and ratatouille, and barbecues. To be honest mum was quite protective of her kitchen and keeping it clean, and was always hovering over us when we did volunteer to cook.. She was a bit of a back-seat cook in that regard!

When I was younger she used to makeYorkshire pudding with the roast beef, which were incredibly light and delicious with gravy. Mum though swears that my granny’s are even better.

Roast lamb is still a staple Sunday fare, especially if we’re down visiting and stay for tea. I remember when we were little mum would cook it on the Saturday night, so we would have it for Sunday lunch after Mass. She would slip into our bedroom and give the crackly top bit to my sister and I. I learned from her the best way to tell if the lamb was cooked was by the smell.

Raising four children on one salary meant we ate a lot of mince and one of the variations was Spaghetti Bolgnese. Mum’s version of spag bol is quite plain, with very few herbs and garlic, but Master BG prefers nana’s version to mine!

Champ, which is Irish for mashed potato and spring onion. Potatoes were very much a staple in my house- less so nowadays, where we alternate between pasta, noodles and rice.

For the occasional dessert we would have Apple Crumble, with occasional guest star of rhubarb. Mum throws the crumble topping together (a bit of flour, coconut, butter, oats and sugar) and guesses by the texture. The apples are usually left unsweetened, but she does make sure the rhubarb has been sugared.

Mum was not a big baker, but her Christmas Cake is special. Brandy and whiskey go into the cake to make it dense and moist. She would bake it in November and keep it moist by pouring more spirits over it. Needless to say it would keep for months. It was the same recipe she used for my wedding cake, with the top layer kept for the first christening which took place over four years later- and it was still good!

Mr BG’s memories of his mum’s cooking are chicken curry with pineapple, the best roast potatoes in the world (and I would have to agree with that), and her slices. She would make them for the local church for funerals and if we were coming down to visit. We would always leave his parent’s place with a container of something sweet and yummy.

At the moment, the kids love making gingerbread, especially helping with the decorating. I hope that’s what they remember and not the baked beans and fish fingers :).


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