Since my last blog post (an age ago!) I have moved house, changed jobs twice and kept up with usual day to day life. Alas, these events have meant my blog has been very sadly neglected. However, a new year has now begun and with life feeling a bit more settled I feel like it is about time I let the inspiration flow again.
A few months ago my Grandmother Polly gave me something I will treasure forever. It is a scrapbook started by my Great-Grandmother Dodo (the women in our family have never gone for being called Grandma!). The scrapbook is filled with recipes collected over the years, first by Dodo and then by Polly. They come from friends, magazine cuttings, newspapers, cuttings from the Rhodesian and Zimbabwean papers (did I mention my family is Zimbabwean?). Some are written in Dodo’s writing, some in Polly’s, some in an unrecognisable hand from an old friend. I have always loved this book – as a child I spent hours paging through it and when I was 10 I indexed it. It took me ages but I too had made my mark in my childish, 10year old scrawl.
These days it is held together with tape, some of the recipes that have been pasted in are coming unstuck and it smells of vanilla and Polly’s kitchen. Opening it takes me back to afternoons spent in the kitchen with Polly baking scones or making pork schnitzel and garlic sauce which was one of my favourite dinners.
So now that I am the proud keeper of this treasure, I intend to try out and share with you some of what’s inside, some of the memories it evokes and maybe learn some bites of my own family history along the way.
I started my project yesterday morning with something nice and easy, a very Southern African recipe – Crunchies. Crunchies in Zimbabwe are a bit like flapjacks in the UK but, well, crunchier (Zimbabwean flapjacks are like drop scones or griddle cakes in the UK). Crunchies were a staple of Zimbabwean afternoon tea, good for filling up hungry children and I consumed my fair share of them. From our family I think the person who made them the most, well at least where I remember eating them the most, was at my Great-Aunt Prudie’s – she may have used this recipe, but if not she certainly used one similar.
Crunchies – pg13
Mix the following together in a bowl:
1 cup plain flour
2 cups oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
3/4’s cup sugar
1 Tbsp bicarbonate of soda in 1 Tbsp milk and then stir it into the melted mixture
Combine this with the dry ingredients and turn out the mixture into a greased baking tin and press out smoothly to fill pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 Degrees C for about 10mins until brown. Sprinkle with sugar and cut into squares while they are still hot.
1. I used a 22cmx22cm square baking tin which was a good size for the recipe.