In the kitchen
A few weeks ago, I pulled out my 'Women's Weekly Italian Cooking Class Cookbook' to find my Osso Buco recipe. This book came from my late, great Aunty Teresa, a Sicilian who thought that this book was mostly ok for Italian recipes.
Out of the pages floated two small sheets of paper. In the weeks after her death, I had torn the house apart to find these pieces of paper, and I'm sure that I looked carefully through this book to find them, to no avail. But here they were now. They have the recipes for a potato pancake, arancini and Aunty T biscuits scribbled on them.
When she died, I asked my son what he would most miss about her.
He said her stupid jokes and her biscuits.
Her jokes were stupid. From the time he was eighteen months old, she would tell him that I wasn't his mother anymore, and I was her mum now, just to see his reaction. Initially, he would cry. At two years old, he would try to punch her. By the time he was four, he would just roll his eyes and tell her not to be so dumb. I think that the purpose of the joke was to help him grow a thicker skin, and entertain her.. She did like a good fight.
Her biscuits were divine. And I'd never made them, or tested her recipe when she was alive because you could always visit her and be force fed them until you exploded, along side incredibly strong expresso coffee.
I tried the recipe and it didn't work - and I've modified it a bit and it still is not the same (the biscuits don't rise properly) but they taste the same which is the important thing...
4 osso buco
3 celery sticks
1 clove garlic
800g whole tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
500mls beef stock
Strip of lemon rind
1. Fry up smashed garlic, diced carrots, onions and celery until the onions are golden brown - transfer to an oven proof dish.
2. Fry up osso buco in the pan, browning well on both sides - put on top of veggies
3. Either use a good jar of spaghetti sauce or make it:
Cook up tomatoes, with wine stock, herbs and lemon rind, bringing it to the boil and season with salt and pepper - then pour this over the veggies and meat
4. Cover the casserole and place in a moderate oven for 1 1/2 hours and serve.
Aunty T biscuits (almost)
1 cup sugar
2 table spoons oil
1 cup self raising flour
cinnamon to taste
1. Beat eggs and sugar together
2. Whisk in oil
3. Add sifted flour and cinnamon
4. Ingredients should form a soft dough
5. Place on tray, lined with baking paper and cook for 10 mins at 250 degrees,
Let cool in oven to crisp up - then eat in one sitting, as if an old Italian lady is compelling you to eat more and more and more. Leaving any would be an insult.
In the garden this week:
- Turnips (used in a stir fry, eaten most happily by the baby)
- Parsley, coriander
- Heaps of broccolini
Broad beans are flowering, as are self seeded tomato plants.
We need to start thinking about what to plant for spring.
I found some silverbeet, growing out from underneath some broccolini, that must have self seeded from a cutting given to us by Aunty Teresa years ago. It was nice to be visited by memories from her in the kitchen and garden this week. I miss her.