The old and the new!
June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
In case you’re wondering why a novice such as me would join the great food-fundi blogging community, it is simply because, from a young age, I have had an absolute love affair with food. From the warm, comforting smells wafting from my grandmother’s kitchen to the colours, patterns and designs of the birthday cakes my mom would lovingly bake for us, I simply had no choice but to carry the torch for the generations passed of women who adore food in my family.
I am, admittedly, a city girl. But two years ago I relocated to a small farm in the mountains; with no more than a box of my most treasured possessions, my 40 pair-strong shoe collection and The Man. Little did I know that working for The In-Laws would become a challenge of sorts.
We (The Man and I) were tasked with the day-to-day runnings of their established guest house, which above all the admin included the preparation of traditional, welcoming meals for our paying guests.
After I mastered the art of the perfectly fried egg, I turned my attention to rejuvenating the existing menus and ideas of my MIL. I was allowed to experiment, but “guidelines” were provided in a “subtle” manner. Right. Naturally I challenged some of these, but later decided to stick with what is known and acceptable – Rice, meat, potatoes, one sweet veg and one savoury veg – to avoid conflict. Do not for one moment get me wrong, I am eternally indebted to The In-Laws for all the opportunities and assistance they have furnished me, but my creativity needed an outlet.
One year down the line The Man and I moved to our own home, within walking distance from work, but far enough for me to “find” myself.
Luckily for me, The Man is not “afraid of foreign food” (as my best friend puts it), and I started carefully experimenting with what can work, and what can’t. Delicious dinner parties, fragrant foods and even some for the Never Again File followed. I don’t really have a set style when it comes to food, but I do love digging up old recipes and adding a modern twist to a classic.
Not a day goes by that I am not behind my stove, in my 107 year old kitchen (no jokes) thoroughly enjoying myself. My need for great tasting, attractive looking foods has baffled some (guess who..?), but I delight in my creations. Especially if a finicky eater perks at the thought of being fed by me.
Father-In-Law is one of these people. He is a gentle sweetheart, but is well and truly set in his ways. He knows how he wants something to look, taste, smell and be prepared. Never mind what anybody else says or thinks. I have him coming around though, as Tuesday nights is my turn to cook for the whole lot of us. No complaints yet. I decided to treat him to a tin of home-baked biscuits for Father’s Day (yesterday), which, no doubt, had to be made a specific way so that they are crispy, of consistent colour and texture.
Being me, I hunted for the perfect recipe. You see, I have the need to impress. I came across this one in my mother’s Huisgenoot Wenrespte 2 of the 1980’s and the result was absolutely wonderful (and much appreciated).
GINGER BISCUITS – the original recipe makes 20 dozen, but I quartered it for convenience.
112.5gr Margarine (melted)
125ml Brown suger
125ml Golden syrup
1 egg (beaten)
12.5ml Powdered ginger
5ml Ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Stir together marg, syrup, egg, vinegar and spices until well mixed. Gently stir in the sugar until just mixed. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (do not make my mistake, 2 hours means 2 hours!). Once firmed, roll into balls the size of a walnut and bake for 12 minutes at 190 degrees.
The biscuits come out crispy around the edges and moist in the centre, but after the entire batch had been baked, I returned all of them to the oven at 120 degrees for 45 minutes to crisp up. It worked beautifully.
I think I’ve had an epiphany as to why I love cooking for people… ‘Coz when their mouths are full, they can’t talk and I don’t have to listen to them!!