HOT COLE SLAW Leo wondered why cabbage might be called hot and cold, so Grandma explained that “cole” means cabbage, not its temperature. This is a cold weather dish, good with roast pork or the leftovers of turkey. Serves 4 ½ small white cabbage (about 1 pound/450g) For the dressing 2 egg yolks ¼ cup/60

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CATALONIAN MEATBALLS Down in the southwestern tip of France near Simon’s house, the cooking has a strong taste of Catalonia, meaning that olives, anchovy and garlic are key ingredients. Surprisingly the children seem to enjoy them, particularly when applied to their favorite meatballs, which can be served hot as a main dish, or at room

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WINTER WHITE VEGETABLES So many winter roots are white. You could substitute others-artichokes or parsnips- for those suggested here: for colour, add carrots or sweet potatoes. The vegetables are simmered in stock, then stirred in bit by bit in the manner of risotto. They make a warming side dish for four. Serves 4 ½ lb/250

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TOAD IN THE HOLE When Grandma was a child, the local pork butcher could be relied upon for his pork sausages, well seasoned but not too spicy, with a good proportion of meat and no chewy gristle. She always hoped they would be cooked in disguise as Toad in the Hole, peeking out of a

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LEMON CURD PUDDING In this basic recipe for steamed pudding, the lemon curd can be replaced with raspberry jam, golden syrup or orange marmalade. For a ginger pudding, substitute golden syrup for lemon curd and flavor the syrup with a bit of chopped fresh ginger and a teaspoonful of ground ginger. Makes a 2-quart/2-liter pudding

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SEVILLE ORANGE MARMALADE The streets of the Spanish city of Seville near the Mediterranean are lined with orange trees, the branches glowing with tart golden fruit, perfect for marmalade. Their season is late winter, and one year Leo and Grandma spent a whole afternoon thinly slicing the fruit while looking out over the snow-covered landscape

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TANTE MARIE’S PANETTONE BREAD PUDDING WITH MARMALADE SAUCE Panettone is a brioche bread studded with dried fruit served at Christmas and New Year that you’ll find all over Italy during the holidays.  This simple pudding recipe comes from our dear friend , Mary Risley, creator of Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco. Mary loves

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FRESH FRUIT MINCE PIES Fresh apples and grapes add a refreshing crunch to the traditional mincemeat mix of dried fruits. Grandma assembles most of the mincemeat a month or two ahead so it can mellow alongside the Christmas cake, adding the fresh fruit just before baking. She usually serves the pies hot for lunch or

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Cooking with Grandma Chronicles Part 7


Grandma loves Yule bread for breakfast, toasted or plain and spread with butter, though in its native Yorkshire it is served for afternoon tea. This is another recipe traditionally kneaded by hand as a warm touch helps the yeast rise!

  • This large loaf serves 8
  • 1½ cups/375 ml water
  • 2/3 cup/90 g raisins
  • 2/3 cup/90 g dried currants
  • 2 teaspoons/10 g dry yeast
  • 4 cups/500 g flour, more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup/140 g sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup/110 g butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup/45 g chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm milk (for glaze)

9x5x4-inch/23x13x10-cm loaf pan

1. To mix the dough: Bring water to a boil, pour half over the raisins and currants and leave to soak. Let the remaining water cool to tepid. Crumble or sprinkle the yeast over the tepid water and leave 5 minutes or until dissolved; stir with a teaspoon until smooth. Sift the flour into a bowl with salt, cinnamon and cloves and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the dissolved yeast, plus the water drained from the fruits. Add the eggs and mix with your hand to gradually draw in the flour to form a dough (the warmth of your hand helps the yeast to rise). If needed, add more flour to form a smooth dough that is soft but not sticky.

2. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead it, turning and pushing away with your fist, until it is smooth and elastic, 3-5 minutes. Alternatively use an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook to mix and knead the dough. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, flipping it so the top is oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, 1½-2 hours.

3. To finish and shape the loaf: Flatten the dough on a floured work surface, spread it with the creamed butter and knead again with your hand until the butter is incorporated, 3-5 minutes. Flatten the dough again, sprinkle it with the soaked fruit and candied peel and knead just until the fruit is evenly distributed, 2-3 minutes. The mixing of the butter and fruits can also be done in an electric mixer.

4. To shape the loaf: Butter the loaf pan. Using your fist, pat the dough on a floured work surface to a 9-inch/23-cm square. Roll the dough into a cylinder, pinch the edge to seal and then drop it carefully into the loaf pan, seam side down. Cover loosely and leave the dough to rise in a warm place until the pan is full, 1½-2 hours.

5. Heat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F. Brush the loaf with glaze and bake for 20 minutes. Brush again, lower the heat to 350˚F/180˚C and continue baking until the loaf sounds hollow when unmoulded and tapped on the bottom, 30-40 minutes longer. Transfer it to a rack to cool. Yule Bread can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an air-tight container for up to 1 month so the flavour matures. It can also be frozen.

Cooking with Grandma Chronicles Part 6


Like the Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding is a once-a-year family event, an English classic. Grandma often makes both at the same time because they have similar ingredients, full of raisins, currants and candied fruits, backed up by mellow spices like cinnamon and allspice. The Pudding is held together with breadcrumbs and steamed for hours in a sloping-sided pottery bowl, then stored in a cool place to mellow for at least a month, often several months, along with the Christmas Cake. For serving, the Pudding is steamed again to serve very hot, with a bold flambé of Cognac, lit by Grandma and carried from the kitchen flickering with flame. Competition to be the carrier is fierce. Hard sauce laced with more Cognac is the final touch, or vanilla ice cream for the children.

Serves 12-15

  • 1 lb/450 g sliced white loaf of bread
  • 2 cups/10 oz golden raisins
  • 2 cups/10 oz currants
  • 1 ½ cups/7 oz raisins
  • 1 ½ cups/7 oz mixed chopped candied peel
  • 1 cup/200 g slivered almonds
  • 2 cups/250 g flour
  • 10 oz/300 g ground beef suet
  • 2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups/400 g dark brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup/125 ml milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons Cognac
  • For the Hard Sauce
  • 1 cup/250 g butter
  • 1 cup/200 g sugar
  • ¾ cup/175 ml Cognac, more for flambéing
  • Sprig of holly (for decoration)

3 qt/3 liter ceramic pudding bowl; cheesecloth

1. To make fresh white breadcrumbs from a loaf: discard end slices and leave the remaining slices out to dry overnight. The next day, cut the bread in large cubes, spread the cubes on an oven tray and freeze until hard, 1-2 hours. Pulse the frozen cubes to crumbs in a food processor, working in several batches

2. Butter the pudding bowl and line with double thicknesses of cheesecloth, allowing a generous drape over the sides. Set up a large deep saucepan with a steamer attachment or 3 ramekins in the base to support the pudding bowl. Add 2-3 inches/8-10 cm water, cover and bring to a boil.

3. For the pudding: In a very large bowl mix the golden raisins, currants, raisins, candied peel and almonds. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the flour and toss with your fingers so the fruits and peel are coated. Stir in the suet. In another large bowl mix the remaining flour, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, sugar and breadcrumbs. Stir in the fruit mixture and make a well in the center. Whisk the eggs until frothy and pour into the well with the milk and Cognac. Stir the pudding ingredients with your hand or a large spoon, gradually drawing in the fruits and flour to make sticky crumbs. Pour the mixture into the lined bowl, pressing it down with your hands to exclude any air bubbles.

4. Cover the bowl with a generous double layer of cheesecloth, pleating it in the middle to allow for expansion, and letting it fall to the counter on each side. Tie a string under the rim of the bowl to secure the cheesecloth and knot the trailing ends on top so you can lift the bowl easily. Set the bowl in the steam and cover the pan. Steam the pudding over medium heat, adding water as necessary to keep the steam going, for 6-7 hours. The pudding should be somewhat risen, and a metal skewer inserted in the center should be hot to the touch when withdrawn.

5. Let the pudding cool to room temperature, then wrap tightly (leaving the cheesecloth wrapping) and store in a cool dry place (not the refrigerator) for at least a month, and up to a year. The flavor will mellow with storage.

6. To finish: set up the same steamer arrangement and steam the pudding for 2 hours more until it has again risen slightly and is very hot in the center. Meanwhile make the hard sauce: cream the butter, add the sugar and beat until soft and the color lightens, 3-5 minutes in an electric mixer. Gradually beat in about half the Cognac, reserving the rest for flambéing. Pile the sauce in spoonful’s in a bowl for serving and serve chilled.

7. Lift the pudding out of the bowl, unwrap the steaming hot pudding and set it upside down on a sturdy platter. Decorate it with a sprig of holly and keep it warm. Just before serving, heat the remaining Cognac, set the hot pudding alight and carry to the table at once — it will continue to flame. Serve the hard sauce separately.

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