Saturday, September 15, 2012

R is for RECIPES

Do you have recipes that have been passed down through the family, which evoke memories?

The first recipe has many names, which have changed over the years;
Gran called it the "Eggless steamed pudding"
Mum calls it "Grandma's pudding"
I call it "Rag pudding"
My daughter has called it "Leatherskin pudding" from the time she was a toddler and that is now the name we all relate to.

One thing that has remained the same; the pudding has been enjoyed and requested over several generations.  I can remember requesting "rag pudding" when I visited my grandmother and now my daughter requests "leatherskin pudding" when she visits her grandmother.

I have very fond memories of my grandmother in her kitchen, always wearing an apron.

Pudding Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 oz candied peel
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons shortening (butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water
1.  Sift flour, spice and salt together
2.  Add sugar and fruits
3.  Place soda and butter in a cup, cover with warm water to dissolve them
4.  Pour the contents of cup into dry ingredients and mix well (the mixture is very moist)
5.  Tie up in a prepared pudding cloth, allowing room for swelling.
6.  Place into boiling water for 2 to 3 hours.  Keep checking and top up with boiling water from the kettle as necessary.

Excellent served hot or cold with with cream or custard.

To prepare a pudding cloth (tea towel or calico square), boil the cloth thoroughly, drain and wring out (when cool).  Sprinkle lightly with flour before adding mixture.

I also have great memories of Christmas at Nanna's house.  I am sure that the meal was delicious but what I really remember is the pudding full of threepence and sixpence.  We would eat so much until we were ready to pop.

However my favourite recipe from Nanna's kitchen, would be Currant Rolly Polly.

Currant Rolly Polly Ingredients & Method
- Pastry
  • 1/2 pound flour
  • Teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 oz margarine or butter
  • water
- Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups currants
  • sugar
  • water
  • cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • dessert spoon sugar
  • cinnamon
  • water (from boiled currants)
1.  Bring currants to the boil in 2-3 cups of water, drain (retaining water)
2.  Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder & salt), rub in butter, mix to dough with water
3.  Roll out dough, spread currants on rolled out pastry, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and currant water.
4.  Roll up and put in a baking dish
5.  Dot with butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, pour on remaining currant water and bake 30 minutes
6.  Serve with cream

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Q is for Questions

Hands up everyone who would like to be able to go back in time and ask your ancestors Questions?

The more research that I do, the more questions that I have.
    •  Why did you come to Australia to be a poor farmer when your family in Scotland were quite wealthy?
    • Why is there no record of how you arrived in Australia? How did you get here?
    • What was the boat trip like?
    • Where did the family come from?
    • What was the name of your parents/grandparents?
These are just a few of the many questions that I have.

My grandmother answered many questions for me but when she died in 2006 at age 96, I realised that there were so many more questions that I should have asked.

Now when I visit family members I ask as many questions as I can.  Here are a few to get you started:

Ask "Open" questions.  These are questions that get discussion going and normally begin with How, Why, Where or What.

Photo Albums are a good way to get people talking and with good questioning can lead to some very interesting discussions and information.

So don't delay, get out there are ask your family members as many QUESTIONS as you can, before it is too late.
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

P is for Postcards

My grandmother collected every card and postcard that she received, which started a tradition that my mother and now I follow.

She wrote:

"If one of the nips was off color, I put a rug near the stove or fire for them to lie on.  Rob was the best patient – he always ran a temperature and I’d dose him with aconite pills.  It was a homeopathic mixture – real good.  He’d just lay there, but Joy would hang on to my skirts and grizzle.  I’ve still got all the cards I ever got – more than a case full and when the patient got to sitting up stage, they were allowed to look at them".

Mum did the same thing with us kids.  If I had a day off primary school sick, we would have to stay in bed all day and Mum would bring out the box of cards for us to look through.

My grandmother sent this card to her grandmother on 25th March 1925
Click to Enlarge
 In 1929 my grandmother received a folding postcard from a friend, which showed many of the landmarks in Albury, NSW.  As it turned out, I was working in Albury eighty years later so decided to take photos to show how (little) some things change.  All but two of the landmarks still exist today.  The old hospital had been demolished and the bridge over the River Murray had been replaced.

Albury Globe
1929 vs 2009

Albury High School

Albury Post Office
Albury Regent Theatre

Albury Botanical Gardens

Dean Street Albury from Memorial Hill