Friday, 29 April 2011

Gran's Kitchen - Review, Interview and Recipe

Before my post proper, I'd like to say that today is the royal wedding day for Prince William and Catherine (Kate) Middleton, it's lovely to see a young couple in love. They both looked fabulous today, congratulations and wishing them all the best today and in the future :) Now onto the post!

Gran's Kitchen Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Brooker by Natalie Oldfield, published by Hardie Grant Books (UK) 2011. With many thanks to the publisher for my copy. This is just the kind of cookbook I like, a bit like the Hairy Bikers Mum's Know Best, except the book is all from one lady's recipe jotters.

The layout is good, fresh and mixed with a reflection on Dulcie's lifetime in pictures. Good food photography too, and plenty of them. Chapters are *Breakfast* Morning Tea* Cakes* Fred's Dinners* Desserts* and Preserves and Sauces* There are savoury dishes, but many more sweet and in particular baking recipes.

Dulcie was born in 1913 in New Zealand, and passed away in 2009. The book is written (co-authoured) by Natalie Oldfield, who is a Granddaughter of Dulcie. She in turn has a cafe and bakery in Aukland, New Zealand and sells a range that is based on her Gran's recipes.

Dulcie would have been about the same age as one of my own Grandmas (sadly now also gone), and how happy I would have been to have a book of her recipes! Still, I'm very happy to be reading and cooking from Gran's Kitchen. Dulcie was obviously a great cook, and her recipes are accompanied by pictures, which are done with a retro feel, really fitting the book well.

This is a lovely book to give someone who can cook, most recipes do not give cake tin sizes, but if you can bake you'll be able to choose the right kind of tin - the pictures help here too. Well, I managed anyhow!

Some, though not all of the recipes I have marked to try are: Ginger Lime Loaf, Cream Crackers, Cheese Straws, Neenish Tarts, Passion fruit Sponge Cake, Winter (savoury) Slice, Caramel Hazelnut Pudding and a beautiful Mint Jelly.

Here is an interview with the author Natalie Oldfield:

KJ: Do you have a favourite recipe from the book?

Natalie: This would have to be cheesecakes, it is something that I always LOVED to share with Gran, and she loved to bake with me!

KJ: Did your Gran get to see her book before she passed away?

Natalie: Yes the book released in NZ in Feb of 2009 and she passed away in March 2009.

KJ: What did she think?

Natalie: Gran loved to see her recipe's compiled into one book although she had so many more. She also wondered what the fuss was all about as for her these recipe's were just part of her daily life and nothing 'extra special' - she did however enjoy some competition and as the book climbed the top 10 on the best sellers book here in NZ she loved to hear where it was standing each week, right up until the night before she passed away this was part of our conversation.

KJ: What is your happiest memory of being in your Gran’s kitchen?

Natalie: Being together with friends and family, the smells and of course the eating! It was a place where everyone congregated - centre point of the home really.

KJ: Which recipe do you make that takes you back to your Gran’s kitchen?

Natalie: Probably Party Cheese Scones - always made for a special morning tea for a birthday etc or Peanut Brownies - these were always on the go in Gran's Kitchen as she would always give a batch away in a tin for your birthday. Dulcie never forgot your birthday even at the age of 95 she was the first on the phone to celebrate the day with you and remind you that your Peanut Brownies were waiting. She had many friends and family so this recipe was a well worn looking one!

Thank you Natalie. Here are some of my first makes:


A really classic, old fashioned recipe - we loved it, it reminds me of my Mum's porridge, except now I have a recipe! I have made this so many times now.

Cheese Cakes

I remember these from when I was little, layers of pastry, jam and sponge on top. The real advantage of making them at home is you can put in plenty of jam. Yum.

Luscious Lemon Slice

A delicious lemon and buttery slice.

Ciss's Sponge Cake

Such a light cake this one, made mostly with cornflour as the flour part, I did it in a 9" tin, a 10" one would have been fine too. It makes a big cake and I had a bit leftover. We thought it was even better the next day when the cornflour had calmed down a bit. Sandwiched with jam and cream, mmmm.

ANZAC Biscuits With permission from Hardie Grant Books - thank you!

1 cup flour

1 cup Sugar

1 cup rolled oats

pinch salt

1 cup coconut

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 lb (115g) butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon boiling water

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Melt the butter and golden syrup, then add baking soda dissolved in water. Mix wet into dry ingredients.

Spoon onto greased oven tray and bake at 320 oF (160 oC) for 15 minutes.

Next Up: Leila Lindholm's One More Slice


cookiemum said...

This looks like a really interesting book! I love reading about recipes that have been handed down through families, you know they are bound to be good when they stand the test of time! I *may* just have to put this book in my Amazon shopping basket, lol :-)

Maria♥ said...

Sounds like a great book with lots of retro recipes! Might have to add this one to my wish list. Everything you've tried from the book looks wonderful and delish!


Jacqui said...

what a great book. I have lots of bits of paper with recipes from my grans and mum's maybe I should get a bit more organised with them for my own girls

Aunty Bee said...

Just popped in to tell you the same author has another book out, with her Nanna's cooking a la dinner recipes out. Saw it today in the Warehouse, now why didn't I get that for Mother's Day........sorry can't remember the name to it, shall look next time I'm in there.

Maggie said...

I like the sound of a book with the title 'Gran's Kitchen' it makes me feel very nostalgic and I can see my Nan baking now.
I'll have to look out for this one.

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This is perfect because apart the perfect blog you have it was a perfect idea to make mention to the royal wedding day for Prince William and Catherine.

renelle said...

The recipe for Ciss's sponge says to add the flour and cornflour, but the ingredients do not mention cornflour, only flour. Has anyone tried this and understands the correct ingredients?

Kelly-Jane said...

Hi Renelle, the recipe in my book says 6oz cornflour and 1 dessertspoon of flour. I hope this helps. KJ

Renelle said...

Thanks for the quick response. The edition of your book that I have from the library does not have this - it only refers to 1 Tablespoon of flour - no mention of cornflour other than in the directions. This is good to know -my first attempt was a flop and will try again tomorrow. I figure it is made in two sponge tins?

Kelly-Jane said...

I did it on one big tin, but two would be fine (deep sides), I can remember worring the one tin might overflow!