This recipe book belonged to my Nan. She had many, many cookbooks, as my mother does, and as I now do. But I didn't have this one.
My mum brought it over to the UK last year when she and Dad came over for the wedding. I had originally wanted the Beautiful Biscuits one, but someone else got that one of Nan's....Mum ended up giving me her copy for my birthday this year...but this one, Mum told me, was one of Nan's favourites. She was very fond of sweet things and as I flicked through the pages I recognised many of her much loved signature desserts and cakes. Nan had a sweet tooth, no doubt about it. Perhaps it's where my own appreciation for desserts comes from.
As I turned page after page, suddenly a faded, lined piece of notepaper fell out from between them. It was her handwriting.
This is Nan's recipe for Anzac biscuits, a much loved childhood favourite of mine. I love them slightly undercooked and chewy. Probably because I loved eating the leftover mixture whenever Nan or Mum used to make them.
I only have a few keepsakes of Nan - a bangle she bought me when I was twelve; a tiny jewellery box that belonged to her; photographs; birthday cards she sent me in the last few years of her life. But now I have this too and it's as precious to me as anything else could be. It reminds me of the woman she was and how she kept us well supplied with her homemade cakes and biscuits all throughout our school years, and our birthday cakes were always entrusted to her, and rightly so, they were usually masterpieces with only a few crumbs left to tell the tale.
I always loved her handwriting too; ornate copperplate handwriting that no one does any more. It was a dying art even when I was learning to write, the best part of thirty years ago.
Always, when I think of my grandmother, I think of her floral perfume; the smell of freshly pressed clothes; steaming mugs of black tea; and a slice or two of a freshly baked sweet old fashioned favourite.
What's your Tuesday Treasure this week?
PS: And here's the Anzac biscuit recipe :)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
3/4 cup coconut
3/4 cup sugar (brown, raw or white)
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
125g butter, melted
2 tablespoons golden syrup
Mix all dry ingredients. Dissolve bicarb soda in boiling water and add to melted butter and golden syrup. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place in teaspoonfuls on a greased tray or press into a greased tin and cut into squares while still hot. Bake in a moderately slow oven (160 C, 325 F) for 15 minutes.
For "nutties", Nan suggested adding 30g crushed nuts to the mixture. For oatmeal raisin cookies, add 30g sultanas or raisins. For muesli biscuits, omit the oats and add 1 cup muesli. She wrote "delicious" at the end, but spelled it "delecious" :) Oh, I miss her.