When I think about cooking and food I always think of my mum. It always brings back memories of growing up, the foods we ate, where my mum shopped, how she shopped and how she fed anyone and everyone that came to our house. So I automatically love any cookbook that has to do with mums! And this one is no exception.
When you think about any cookbook where do most of the recipes come from? Usually from mum or if not mum it would be grandma or great grandma… You get the drift. So when I saw this book I knew it would have some great recipes and better still some great information. The introduction says it all. Stephanie Alexander explains that food and people go hand in hand, bringing people, cultures and classes together. Sharing food, rituals, traditions and recipes not only makes you happy but also makes others happy as well. After the introduction is ‘Back to Basics’. This section is just that. Cooking terms and conversions you may need to help you understand a recipe. But what I like best about this cookbook is the recipes are simple, using ingredients you would have in your fridge, cupboard and pantry. Good, simple, easy home cooking that anyone can do!
“The Way Mum Made It” is a cookbook of 175 recipes compiled and edited by Alexandra O’Brien who also edits an online over 60’s community OverSixty and is a passionate cook and foodie herself. This book shares with us some great recipes as well as some great insight into where these recipes have come from.
With each chapter you get a quote and blurb about the meaning of the chapter and an idea of the type of recipes you will find. ‘Something Sweet’ starts with a quote from Ernestine Ulmer ‘Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.’. You can’t really argue with that can you?! And my favourite is in the chapter ‘Time to celebrate’. Kylie Kwong talks of cooking the way I feel. ‘My way of communicating love and interest in people is through cooking. I grew up in an environment where food was really celebrated, and that gave me the message: food makes people happy.’ I dare you not to agree with that one!
And so my journey to try as many recipes in this book as I can started with Tomato, Feta, Ham and Rosemary Muffins. I didn’t have any fresh rosemary so decided to top my muffins with a grating of parmesan cheese. What a lovely treat. All the flavours melded well together and the muffins where light and made a great addition to a bowl of homemade tomato soup. They also made a great snack morning and/or afternoon.
Next up. I couldn’t go past The Perfect Scones. I had buttermilk in the fridge I needed to use so this was ‘perfect’. What a simple yet tasty recipe. The scones where light and fluffy and as I couldn’t eat them all at once I froze some for later. They fared well in the freezer, didn’t dry out and I believe were moist and light due to that wonderful ingredient; buttermilk.
What to make for a quick, easy yet tasty meal when you don’t have much time? Cranberry Chicken. Four everyday ingredients, a baking dish and an oven and your set. Tasty served with some bread and salad or even some roasted vegetables and what a great way to use up a few of those leftovers you have hanging around in the kitchen like that half jar of cranberry sauce or half packet of soup mix. Another easy and tasty chicken dish is Honey and Ginger Chicken Wings. I used drumsticks instead so with this in mind I had to adjust the cooking time (cooking for a longer period of time; 45 minutes instead of 25 minutes). This recipe uses the flavours of Asia we all know and love and everyone will enjoy and devour them.
More sweets were on the cards so I went for the Blueberry Muffins and the Melted Butter Biscuits. Both quick and easy to make, both using ingredients we always have on hand and both tasty and yummy. I of course added my own touch to the biscuits by adding a nut or half a glace cherry to the top of the biscuit before baking. Very nice indeed if I do say so myself. Fluffy, light and tasty muffins along with crisp, buttery moreish biscuits. Do try them! You won’t be disappointed.
With so many recipes to try I have only just begun. There are more on my list to make like Homemade Raisin Bread and Garlic and Herb Pull-apart Bread, Apple and Caramel Upside-down Cake and how about Gin and Tonic Cupcakes… These are but a few and I could go on but will stop with one last tempter. Lamingtons! An Aussie tradition and yet I have never attempted them for fear of making a mess of this Australian Icon. I will share the results with you all soon.
And to end this review of a wonderful cookbook which evokes memories of days gone by, I urge you to try and get your hands on a copy. You won’t regret it. Have fun with it, start your own new traditions and try new and exciting things.