I can't tell you how much my mum means to me. And I am not always grateful to her - I'm sure I don't always show it. But if I can be half the mother she is to me - or half the granny she is to my children, I will be doing OK, because she is truly fabulous.
On leaving an impromptu gathering at my Godmother's on Boxing Day, I heard my father mentioning my blog and saying that there would often be some 'horrid remark' about 'her mother' (that is, my mother). Now, I don't think this is true. Have I said bad things about my mum on these here virtual pages? I may have made a joke at her expense, but horrid? Really? If I have, please strike me down, and Mum, if I have, I am sorry, because you are wonderful and I love you.
Anyway, that over, it's time to move on to the point which is that Dom's Random Recipe Challenge this month on Belleau Kitchen is inspired by his visit to California (I am soooo jealous) for his father's 70th, and looking around his stepmother's recipe collection he came up with the following challenge:
" i've asked my step-mum Jette if I could choose my random recipes from
her cookbook collection this month and i'd like you all to do the
same... no, not from her collection but from someone else's kitchen...
you all must have a good friend or a neighbour, or even your parents or
grandparents who must have the most interesting collection of books...
and you can be as random about it as you like... perhaps ask them what
their favourite book is, or get them to do the selection for you over
the phone and read out the recipe... however you do it it should throw
up some interesting recipes..."
Well, it was obvious that I would ask my mum. She has a massive collection of recipe books - we cross over a lot at the Nigella/Jamie/Hugh FW end of the scale, but she has some real great ones by people like Claire Macdonald, that I am always diving in to when we are staying there. She has more Nigel Slater than me, too, and a much bigger selection of back issues of Good Food magazine, so I thought she'd be the perfect person to ask. I might have misread the rules - or miscommunicated them - as she has sent me her favourite recipe, but this is just as likely to have turned up from an entirely random selection from her hugely random cookery book collection. And as I had absolutely no hand in choosing the recipe, it's probably more random than it might otherwise have been, so I'm hoping it will qualify.
Within a couple of days, she'd written me down her selection and sent it to me in the post, and I can do no better than repeat her letter:
"From Good Housekeeping Recipe Book 1972 !
Lemon Layer Sponge (for 4)
This is my favourite because it is the ultimate comfort food - very light sponge with thick lemon sauce underneath. First had it when staying with favourite Aunt (Atholl Crescent trained and an examiner for Eastbourne School of Cookery). She used to produce breakfast, lunch (she used to go home to cook lunch) and supper for her husband and 4 children and any one staying, every day of the year and both lunch and supper were two or three courses. I look back with amazement at how she did it especially as I work on the basis that I married my husband for better or worse but certainly not for lunch!
This is a totally delicious recipe!
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon (make sure 3tblsps juice)
2 oz butter (softened)
4 oz sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 pint milk
2 oz self raising flour
oven temp 400F/mark 6/180C
Add lemon rind to softened butter & sugar & cream the mixture until pale & fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. Stir in the milk, lemon juice and flour. Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold in and pour the mixture into a failry large ovenproof dish - about 2 1/4 pints. Stand the dish in a shallow tin of water and cook for about 45 mins or until the top is set and firm to the touch!"
Yum. Sweet, warming, lemony. Just about the perfect thing for a miserable January day.