A taster of A Taste of Home

One of the first things I did when Little D was born was to immediately start to write him a recipe book.

This is a work ongoing but in it I plan to include all our family recipes and family favorites so that he can recreate them for himself at some point in the future (yes I know, two year old's and frying pans don't mix) and pass them down to his own family when the time comes.

I thought that you might be interested to read a sample of what I have been writing and so this is the first of a four articles that will feature some of my very favorite recipes and stories from the book.

Dearest 'Little D',
There is an old saying that the way to a man’s heart (or a woman’s for that matter) is through the stomach, to me it is equally a path into my memories.

I first learnt about cooking very early on at the knee of my grandmother.  In fact to this day nearly everything I know about baking comes from her.  Together we would make buns (currant or plain), melting moments, raisin flat bread and other sweet treats all of which were devoured and praised by my most appreciative grandfather.  My grandma taught me the many methods imperative to cake making: mixing, folding, beating, to measure ingredients accurately and how to lightly rub butter into flour to make the crumbs that would become my favourite rock buns.  Much later when I was at university my grandma would frequently bring me rock buns as a little present and a reminder of those early cooking lessons.  Over time, she had adapted this recipe and these now included cherry, coconut, chocolate, sultana and mixed spice flavours. All delicious.

Grandma further encouraged my cooking by bringing me recipe pamphlets saved from the Sunday papers.  These were part series and included offerings from the celebrity chefs of the day; Delia Smith, Gordon Ramsey, Gary Rhodes and Nigella Lawson.  I loved these and visually gorged on them of a Sunday afternoon. They opened my eyes to an even more glamorous world of food.  In fact I still have some of these booklets but as far as I can recall I have never made any of the recipes to this day. However from these developed my obsession with cookery books which I enjoy reading like novels and are now in their hundreds.

Around this time my mum gave me a copy of the good housekeeping cookery book.  She was determined that I should have at my finger tips a book that could teach me to cook anything I wished to make. As a student it stood me in good stead both my housemates and myself turning to it for guidance and for recipes; many firm favourites to this day. Thank goodness! As your dad will tell you that when he lived in his first shared house one of his housemates actually asked him what gas mark to boil an egg on (and if you need to know I haven’t done my job properly!).

I also learnt a lot by sitting in the kitchen and watching my mum cook.  The food I was brought up on was simple but very good.  Traditional northern dishes such as pudding and chips, sausage and mash, bacon ribs and butter beans and simple stews. Both your dad and I were brought up with food made from the Bero book, a simple recipe book which came free with bags of flour and then later could be sent off for. Even now I think there is no better guide to making pastry, Yorkshire puddings and scones etc.

Over time I hope you will develop equally fond memories and gain a love and respect of food.  Wherever you may wander, these recipes followed will always give you a taste of home.

With much love
Mummy x

Great Grandad Meanock’s Rock Buns
This is where it all began.  My Grandad Meanock’s favourite rock buns.  Nothing is so evocative of my childhood; as I rub the butter into the flour I am eight years old again and right back there in my grandparents kitchen.  A recipe has got to be special if it lets you time travel, come along with me.

Makes a dozen

You will need:
225 g (8 oz) Self Raising Flour
pinch salt
100 g (4 oz) Butter
75 g (3 oz) mixed dried fruit
25 g (1 oz) mixed peel
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
1 Egg
Milk to mix

How to make them:

Heat oven to 200ºC, 400ºF, Gas Mark 6. Grease two baking trays Mix the flour and salt, rub in the margarine Stir in the dried fruit, mixed peel and sugar. Mix to a stiff dough with egg and milk. Place in rough heaps on the baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes.

What family recipes do you enjoy cooking?  Please share them with us.


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