Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Teacup Tuesday - on Wednesday!

It's Teacup Tuesday on wednesday because Bantam Boy hogged the computer until it was too late to start, particularly as it was a school night and it would have been wednesday anyway.

I love this tea cup. It was my grandmothers. She gave it to me on my birthday just before she passed away. It is a lovely connection to her, best used when drinking tea and eating 'burnt butter biscuits'. Something she always had on hand being so easy to make and delicious, although I grant you the name doesn't sound too promising. It refers to burning or rather browning the butter before mixing in the other ingredients. Shortbread was her other specialty, OH and 'fathers favourites'- a yummy slice made with dates and apricots. And her sponge cakes were divine. I have never managed to make them although I have her handwritten instructions. She passed away 13 years ago this last week. Actually it wasn't until I sat down to write this that I thought of that, I didn't consciously choose the teacup for that reason. It was the first one my hand went to.... Funny that.

I remember because it was my Mum's birthday and she was having a big party for her 50th and Cammy (my grandmother) had made her famous sponge cakes and frozen them ready for mum's party because she was going into hospital to finally have her heart surgery she had been waiting for. She didn't make it through the operation. So mum didn't have her party and the cakes were sitting in the freezer and we had them at Cammy's wake! A bit strange to cater your own wake but entirely fitting as Cammy catered for all our special occasions with her sponges or fruit cakes for christenings and weddings.
Here are a couple of Cammy's recipes.

Cammy's Burnt Butter Biscuits
1/4 lb butter, brown and when cool add a good 1/2 cup sugar, mix in 1 beaten egg and 1 cup SR flour. (all of this is done in the saucepan you have used to brown the butter!)
Roll tspn fulls into balls, press half an almond on each and cook in a moderate oven for 10-15 mins. Leave room for them to spread
For a Change: Add 1/2 cup of dessicated coconut to the mixture and leave off the almond. (I actually like to add the coconut and put a whole almond on!!! Cammy didn't write it here but I recall her pressing them lightly with a fork especially if they didn't have the almond on them.)

Cammy's Father's Favourites
1/4 lb butter (melted)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
1 cup SR flour
1 cup chopped dates
Place all thesein a bowl and mix. Then add 1 beaten egg. Put in an oblong tin (she would press it gently into the tin using her knuckles- giving the surface a unique ripple.) Bake in a moderate oven for20-30 mins (the longer it is left the dryer it becomes it is more chewy if cooked for only 20 minutes, play with it until you find what you prefer, as Cammy got older she preferred it dryer, I like it chewy!)
For Variation: add dried apricots and walnuts (I prefer pecans myself)

It is almost the end of school term. I think I might have to dust of my baking trays and get back into making these things. I used to bake a lot in my old house. I think it may be the working full time thing or perhaps I've just got out of the habit. It is nearly time to host a high tea, maybe a holiday high tea, mmm, sounds good.

Ohh! I'd nearly forgotten her spinach cakes made using the stalks of the silver beat in a batter seasoned batter and fried like savory pikelets. She pickled her own olives too, I must try that too.... Maybe one day in my spare time I'll make one of those blogger books that you can have published using her recipes and photos of her and of the food. Not to publish for the world just for us as a family.

What a lot of thoughts from just one little tea cup!

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