Kitchen Utensils and Accessories

My oh my, if you look in my kitchen drawers at all of the utensils and cooking equipment available today compared to our Mother’s equipment, what a vast difference.

On the windowsill in the kitchen Mum kept her assortment of wooden spoons in a jug, in the cupboard under the sink along with the saucepans, were baking trays, a round grater, colander, egg beater and potato masher. In the utensil drawer were an assortment of forks, knives, serving spoons, bean slicer, lemon zester, knife sharpener and slotted spoons. Now where have the slotted spoons disappeared to? They were great when mixing puddings and cakes when a beater wasn’t required.

In later years mum acquired a Sunbeam Electric Mixmaster which she stored in a cupboard along with her kitchen scales together with the metal weights.

Enamel bowls and pie plates, ceramic pudding bowls, mixing bowls, a small selection of salad bowls, a rolling pin and Martin Boyd rammekins took up about 80 cm wide and 90 cm high cupboard space.

My sister Marilyn spoiled her one year by buying a Le Creuset casserole which was much used, and still in use today by Marilyn.

The pressure cooker was used primarily for making soup and Chow Mein. Loved Mum’s Lamb Shank and Vegetable Soup, would you like the recipe? Well so would I, but will have a go as to what I remember, and thanks to my darling sister who reads my blogs I am sure she will be able to enlighten me further. I love getting her input.

Cut up or grate carrots, swede, turnip, chop onions and celery. Add to saucepan together with 1/2 cup pearl barley, one lamb shank and cover with water, season, then cook in pressure cooker for a rapid result or cook in a normal saucepan for a couple of hours until meat falls of the bone.

Keep the soup on the stove overnight, no not really, not with the heating we have in our homes nowadays. Our kitchen was usually pretty cool, so yes, the soup was left on the stove. Should there be left overs, add water from the next days vegetables to enable a second serving.

Chow Mein was a result of having quite an influx of Chinese into the country, not sure who wrote the first recipe but ours came from a pack of Continental Chicken Noodle Soup. Following is Mum’s recipe

1 tabs oil, 1/2 pound beef mince, 1 teasp curry powder, 1 onion sliced, 2 stalks of celery sliced, 1 cup sliced green beans, 1/2 cabbage finely shredded, 1 pkt Continental Chicken Noodle Soup, 1 1/2 cups water, 2 tabs rice.

Heat oil, brown mince, add curry powder, vegetables, soup mix, rice and water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until mince is cooked. Or as we had it, well done!

Now for my recipe –

1 slurp of olive oil, 500 gram beef mince, 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder, one onion diced, 2 stalks of celery sliced, 1 cup of sliced green beans, 1/4 – 1/2 cabbage depending on size, sliced, 1 packet of Continental Chicken Noodle Soup, good slurp of two of Dry Sherry

Heat oil in saucepan, add meat and curry powder, cook until meat it brown, add vegetables and soup mix, stir well, add sherry, stirring well again, turn heat down to low and cook for about 10 -15 minutes. Re-heat when ready to serve. I always serve the Chow Mein with Fried Rice.

1 quantity of cooked rice, 1 tabs of oil, 4 shallots sliced, 1 rasher of bacon diced, 2-3 shitake mushrooms, 1/4 – 1/2 cup of peas, 1/4 teasp. sesame oil, 2 teasp. soy sauce. Heat oil, add rice and bacon, cook for about 3 minutes, add sesame oil, shallots, mushroom and peas, cook for about 5 minutes, stir in soy sauce. Reheat when ready to serve.

I usually prepare these two dishes earlier in the day then put the rice and chow mein  in the bowls I am going to serve them in, cover and microwave them till heated through.


Special Occasions

I’ll start from Easter as that was when Mum cooked two of my favourite fish meal memories. The first being smoked cod which was cooked very basically, poach the fish, make a parsley sauce, add to the flaked fish, serve with mashed potato and peas.

I would like to introduce you to one of our favourite recipes for cooking smoked cod.

Curried Smoked Cod and Champignons

1 kg smoked cod, 2 onions, 2 tabs flour, 1 cup water, 1 teasp Worcester Sauce, 1 green pepper, 60 gr. butter, 2 teasp Curry Powder, 2 cups milk, 2 teasp lemon juice, 200gr button mushrooms, 2 tabs chopped parsley.

Place fish in pan with cold water to cover, gradually bring to boil, remove from heat and drain.

Heat butter in pan, add peeled and chopped onions and curry powder, cook until onions are soft, add flour, cook 1 minute, remove from heat, gradually stir in milk and water until sauce is smooth. Return to heat, stir until boiling, add lemon juice, sauce, quartered button mushrooms and finely sliced pepper, mix well. Break fish into small pieces, place in oven proof dish, cover with sauce, bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until hot, sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8

The other dish she prepared was Salmon Whirls. I cheat and buy puff pastry, usually three sheets is enough, so won’t include her recipe for the pastry, that is unless it is asked for.

For the filling you need 1 lb can salmon or tuna, one medium onion finely chopped, two dessertspoons chopped green pepper or celery, half cup shredded cheese, one beaten egg. Mix all together, place over pastry and roll up.

Cheese sauce, 2 dessertspoons butter, two dessertspoons plain flour, 1 1/2 cups milk, 3/4 lb grated cheese, 1/2 level teasp. mustard, half level teasp. salt, pinch cayenne pepper. Melt butter and blend in the flour, salt, pepper and mustard, cook for one minute then stir in the milk. Cook stirring constantly until the sauce boils and thickens. Add the cheese and heat only until the cheese melts.

To cook the Salmon Whirls, place onto a greased tray or on Baking paper, bake in a hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with cheese sauce.

Sorry about the Imperial measurements, but I am sure you can find a conversion chart as I have had to do.

Christmas and New Year we had  the same meal due to Mum’s birthday being on New Years Day. Well certainly the main course, which was Roast Chicken, tinned ham, roast potatoes, pumpkin, peas and tomato and onion topped with buttered bread and baked.

Dessert was canned plum pudding which would always have threepences or sixpences hidden in each serving, topped with brandy sauce.

We always went to church on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday so the meal was prepared before we left home, the meat already on cooking. Unlike today when we always have pre meal eats, the main meal was all we had and only on these days did our parents open a bottle of Sateurne (sweet white wine) which, when we were old enough we had a glass each.

Before I started to cook

Mum baked for special occasions and it was usually done whilst we were not around, certainly from my point of view, as I don’t remember watching her make cakes or biscuits, so I can’t say that she taught me how to cook.

That didn’t bother me, but when I thought I should learn how to cook I started collecting recipes for when I got married, so from about 20 years of age I started my “recipe book” which consisted of recipes cut out of magazines or favourites from Mum’s recipe book.

In the front cover of the book I pasted a cartoon which had a picture of two ladies sitting having afternoon tea and another walking past with parcels of groceries. The caption read “Sally thinks glory boxes are old-fashioned, she’s filling a freezer instead”. How true that ended up being.

I then wrote on the front page a poem which I think all couples should take note of –

How to preserve a husband

Be careful in your selection, take only such as have been reared in good moral atmosphere. Do no choose too young. Some girls insist on keeping them in a pickle, while others keep them in hot water. This only makes them sour, hard and sometimes bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender and good by garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with smiles, and flavoured to taste with kisses, then wrap them in a mantle of charity, keep warm with a steady fire of devotion and serve with peaches and cream, when thus prepared they will keep for years.


Pineapple Souffle

Pineapple Souffle

After blogging yesterday I now have the recipe for Mum’s Pineapple Souffle. Thank you Andrew


I was lying in bed reminiscing about desserts my mother used to make, particularly during the winter months. Always warming and topped with the cream saved from the top of the milk, those were the days, free cream!

There were many varieties of steamed puddings, well plain sponge really, but the base changed with whatever jam Mum had on hand, but more often than not Plum Jam, the variation would be Golden Syrup.

My second eldest brother and I both loved it when the puddings were not quite cooked which left them a bit doughy in the middle.

Golden Syrup Dumplings, Jam Roly Poly, Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding, Bread and Butter Pudding with sultanas, and one of my favourites was a baked rice custard which had fruit and lemon rind included then topped with meringue. I am including that recipe as follows.


2 oz Rice, 1 pint of milk, 20z butter, 20z raw sugar, 2 eggs, 2 oz sultanas, 20 oz seeded raisins, 2 oz currants, juice and grated rind of lemon, pinch of salt, 2 oz caster sugar. Boil washed rice in milk for about 20 minutes or till soft. Cream butter and raw sugar, add the egg yolks and mix well. Add fruit, lemon juice and rind. Add milk and rice, mix well. Pour into buttered pie dish and bake in a moderate oven 30-40 minutes. Beat egg white with salt until stiff then fold in caster sugar. Spread on top of pudding and cook for 10-15 minutes.

As I have the recipe for Mum’s Chocolate self saucing pudding, or as she named it, Chocolate Fudge Pudding, I am including that also.


1 cup self raising flour, 1/2 teasp. salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tabs. cocoa, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 teasp. vanilla essence, 2 tabs. butter. Topping – 1/2 cup sugar (brown if possible), 2 teasp. cocoa, 1 1/2 cups of hot water, mix together

Sift flour, cocoa and salt, add sugar then melted shortening with milk and vanilla, mix until smooth. Put mixture in a pie dish then pour prepared topping over the mixture until completely covered and bake in a moderate oven for 3/4 hour.

Our mother also used to make her own icecream either from Powdered Milk, which I loved to eat, or Carnation Milk. Of course she didn’t have an icecream maker so it was mixed, partly frozen then mixed again. It wasn’t the best icecream in the world but better than none.

Summer desserts were usually pretty simple which meant preserved fruit and icecream. There were plum, apricot and pear trees in our back yard which Mum preserved every year with her Fowlers kit. Occasionally for a special occasion she would make a Pavlova and at Christmas as an added dessert she started to make a delicious Pineapple Souffle. I am unable to locate the recipe today but will add in my next blog

My mother’s kitchen

Blue would be the word… The walls, cupboards and decorative items. It seemed to work, but then maybe we were not taking a lot of notice. I do remember one of the later editions which took pride of place on the mantle piece which was a glass rooster. I am assuming that our mother bought that in Italy on one of her trips. That mantle piece held an assortment of other items, we had a beautiful timber clock with an etched glass window, a set of tin cannisters for the sugar, flour, tea and biscuits, two blue and white plates and of course the rooster.

The kitchen was narrow, which at breakfast time could be quite a challenge for us all to get our breakfast (all, being at that time, 4 children and our Dad), but we seemed to manage. Our older brothers would often organise breakfast for my younger sister and I, our father having taken one of the papers and a cup of coffee to our mother who was still in bed. She was smart keeping out of the way. Dad would spread himself out over the sink area with his paper and breakfast. I could never understand why we just didn’t go into the dining room which would have made it so much easier, but that didn’t happen until we were a lot older.

Originally there was a free standing cupboard with stain glass windows but eventually that disappeared and “modern” built in cupboards replaced it. A refrigerator replaced the ice box, a stainless steel sink replaced the ceramic trough and wooden drainer, but the sliding cupboards stayed… oh my, not a good idea as they never worked properly.

We started off with a wooden table, but times changed and laminex and chrome took over and the new table and chairs arrived. We could only fit two chairs due to the narrow kitchen but again we managed, even if at times a place to sit was on the end of the sink or the little milking stool.

The one constant was a gas stove and oven, the wood stove having been removed before my time.

Lambs Fry and Bacon

Not to everyones liking but for me it is delicious particularly when accompanied by fried onions and bacon gravy, creamy mashed potatoes and peas.

The lambs fry needs to be fresh otherwise it can be quite crumbly inside (not nice). Rinse under cold water and cut into 1/2 inch slices, dust with flour. Add tablespoon each of butter and oil to a frypan and cook lambs fry until firm to the touch, remove and keep warm. Add extra oil to pan and fry onions until quite soft, fry off bacon and make a gravy with Self Raising flour (about 2 heaped tablespoons), good dash of tomato sauce and Worcester Sauce, plus water (add small amount at a time depending on how thick you want your gravy). Return lambs fry to pan and heat through.


Fond memories o…

Fond memories of my mother’s kitchen warm the heart

Can you remember the taste of food your mother created during your childhood. Like most people of  my age food was fairly bland and generally totally over-cooked. 

Starting this blog it is my aim to bring the good rather than the bad and ugly, so for those of you who may happen upon this blog I trust you will find it of interest.