Cooking like Mummyji – I Wish!!

india street artOne of my key ways of cheering myself up involves eating, making or reading about Indian food. (Often, all at the same time).

I also enjoy a nice outing to the Indian grocery store; I do my best when I’m there, trying respectfully to use the right words (atta instead of flour and never referencing a ‘curry’ since this is a crass Anglo-misnomer) but I’m also cringingly aware that they may think I’m pulling a “Food Channel-Poseur” and will be holding themselves up at the counter, screaming with laughter behind the Bollywood dvds as I leave …

(I do prefer to believe that my sincerity is not in question as I have been the recipient of more than a few whispered best-ways-to-do-this  during my visits …)

Indian mothers throughout the world – Mummyjis, if you will – you have my utmost respect and admiration! I applaud the sheer time and love it takes to make just one Indian meal and the skill that is involved in making everything come together at the right time.  We often joke at home that it takes two days notice just to make a proper Indian lunch – never mind dinner! (And to Son #2, no I still don’t think it’s necessary to rub the chickpeas through a sieve to remove their skins and this will not be happening in my world …) Continue reading

Someone’s Mum’s Cinnamon Buns

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I don’t care for the commercial grade, overly hefty cinnamon buns.

It’s what my mum would call “too much of a muchness.”

It’s just not okay to me when a bun looks as though it’s been carved away in the style of a Chicago Deep Dish pizza; it’s too much on the plate, the icing texture is reminiscent of toothpaste and no matter how tantalizing the smell is at the time, ultimately, there will be disappointment and a broken plastic fork.

If you can relate to any of this, you will be very happy with the following recipe. Continue reading

Fear of Frying

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Like many people I’ve always had a cast iron fry pan in my repertoire but I only drag it out a few times a year for certain recipes and usually afterwards I am lamenting that I didn’t remember how badly it sticks and how I should have re-seasoned it. Then, I generally leave it out for a while to remind myself before finally getting tired of seeing it and back it goes to the dark side of the cupboard. This is a cycle as regular as the seasons yet like many things, I am ashamed to say that it seems less tiresome to slope into my car, drive to a store and purchase yet another non-stick pan once the current one starts getting that sun-burned skin going on in the middle. Disturbing! But lately I feel guilty and a bit queasy when I recall all those things about not having any kind of caged bird around if you use non-stick  (how can THAT be okay?) and then there’s the entire health concern and environmental piece.

So, when I recently unearthed a truly ancient cast iron fry pan that had belonged to The General’s mother – the appearance of which was both endearing and alarming – I was inspired afresh to make things right.  Continue reading

Someone’s Mum’s Simple, Yet Superior, Apple Crumble

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1 cup flour

¾ rolled oats, not quick or instant

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp. cinnamon

5 cups thinly sliced peeled apples

 

FOR THE SAUCE:

½ cup white sugar

2/3 cup filtered water

1 Tbs. lemon juice

2 tsp. pure vanilla

2 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbs.water

 

  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar, water, vanilla and lemon juice.
  2. Bring to a boil then quickly remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch/water slurry, stirring till slightly thickened and shiny.
  3. Combine the first five ingredients listed and press HALF of crumbly sand gently into a buttered 9” x 9” baking dish.
  4. Add the sliced apples and pour sauce over everything, then press the remaining crumbs lightly on top.
  5. Bake at 350 F for about an hour but check at 50 minutes. All we’re looking for here is a crisp topping and tender apples underneath. Serve warm or room temperature with plenty of cream, custard, vanilla ice cream or hell, all three.
  6. ***NOTE: The vanilla is KEY in this recipe so do not omit. If you have no vanilla in the house, consider making some of Jamie Oliver’s Vanilla Sugar which is fantastic to have in at all times. You will also then be able to whip off the lid to inhale deeply whenever you like. Basically, (from The Naked Chef), Jamie adds used vanilla bean pods to a container of sugar and then whizzes up the entire thing in a food processor to make a supremely vanilla-y caster sugar.)