Tag Archives: economical

In whom we trust…..

In my last post, but one, called Short Stories, I promised to provide recipes for the featured spicy lentil soup and easy fruit and nut cake.  I dealt with the soup in my previous post, so now it is the turn of the cake. Whilst the soup recipe had its genesis in my trusty Edmonds Cookery Book, the fruit cake recipe comes from another trusted and reliable source of everyday cooking wisdom in New Zealand; Dame Alison Holst. ( http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/new-years-honours/4504137/Dame-Alison-Holst-Queen-of-the-cookbook/ ) A food writer and television chef ( and oh so much more, in my opinion ) she produced the first of her many cookbooks in 1966. Today, there are approximately  four million of her books in print.   Again, like the Edmonds Cookery Book, that would equate to about one Alison Holst cookbook for every person in New Zealand!

The fruit cake recipe is from ‘Very Easy Vegetarian Cookbook” by Alison and Simon Holst, first published in 1998 by New Holland Publishers (NZ) Ltd P1020775The recipes that Alison and her son Simon present are meticulously tested and are fail safe.  They are utterly reliable and delicious, easy to prepare, and I haven’t met one yet that I didn’t like.

The ingredients for Easy Fruit and Nut cakeIngredientsThe method (with apologies for the poor photos)  and the final result.

Dame Alison, who was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011, graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Home Science and was a lecturer in Home Science before she began her present career. Over the years, as well as cook and write, she has raised over $4 million for charities.  She is a ‘star’ in New Zealand and held in such high esteem that, one year, it was  rumoured that she was to be appointed as our next Governor General. She was not, but, this year, she was placed 4th on the annual Reader’s Digest  most trusted people list. (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1306/S00264/new-zealands-most-trusted-in-2013-revealed.htm)

At the top of the most trusted list is  Sir John Kirwan, former All Black, coach, and depression awareness spokesperson and advocate.  Next comes Willie Apiata, soldier and Victoria Cross winner and, in third place, is  Richie McCaw.  He was the All Black captain who brought home the all important Rugby World Cup in 2011!  At the time, he was akin to the saviour of the nation.  The current Governor General holds the position of the 8th most trusted person in New Zealand, well behind Dame Alison, the cook.

Now, the most trusted list is  not something I take very seriously but I do find it interesting. And it’s fun to compare our list with the Reader’s Digest list for America where the top positions of trust seem to be held by actors and news anchors.( http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/readers-digest-announces-100-most-trusted-people-in-america-206435821.html)  In both countries, politicians occupy lowly places on the list, which makes me wonder, at least in the case of our country, why we vote for them at all,  if we don’t trust them!  In fact, it seems quite nonsensical.

Perhaps we would be  better off if we simply voted, via the likes of Reader’s Digest, for John, Willie, Richie and Alison to lead the country. Under the guidance of these multi talented individuals,  we would most likely be a fitter, healthier country. Alison would see we were well nourished, John would guide us mentally and physically, and Willie and Richie would  help us maintain the  team spirit  to fight the good fight for the nation’s wealth and prosperity. Indeed, with these four trusted leaders in charge,  the governing of our country could become efficient and economical and ‘common sensical’, just like one of Alison’s good, wholesome, everyday recipes. With our improved health and nutrition and fitness, the Ministry of Health would have very little to do; as would the Transport  MInistry, because, with our new-found energy,  we would all be able to walk so much further and faster than we do now. Alison, with her teaching skills and home science degree, could organise the education and budgetary needs of the country; Willie could take care of security and defence, with a little policing thrown in; and Richie, being a lad of the land, could take over all matters agricultural. Lots of politicians and massive Government bureaucracies would be surplus to requirements. What a saving; there would be enough money freed up to provide everyone with a living wage, and a lot else besides.

Joking aside, Sir John, Dame Alison, Willie Apiata and Richie McCaw, and many others at the top of the list, are wonderful examples of fine citizenship. We are lucky to have them. They make a fine mix.

Enjoy your cake.

Photos from these sources:





© silkannthreades


Sustained by Chocolate

After the mayhem of the past few days, I decided that a hefty dose of restorative chocolate was required to repair my weary physical constitution. Happy thoughts are all well and good for the spirit and the brain but, in times of stress, the body needs something more sustaining….like chocolate.  So, yesterday, I made a fortifying dessert called “Boarders’ Favourite”. Others may know it as a chocolate self saucing pudding or fudge batter pudding but, in my world, it is “Boarders’ Favourite”.

I first met this chocolate pudding at boarding school. Most of our food was typically awful boarding school fare but, every once and  awhile, our ever hungry boarder appetites were treated to the utter deliciousness of what was known as “Boarders’ Favourite”.  How the cooks managed to make this dessert so well and almost everything else so terribly I have no idea, but such are the mysteries of life.

Look at this photo collage and imagine yourself as a ravenous teenager falling in to the depths of chocolate love, and feasting your senses on the taste and sight and smell of ooey, gooey chocolateness.Boarders' Favourite

Believe it or not, I didn’t much like chocolate before I went to boarding school. And, believe it or not, it wasn’t till I was in my late twenties that I realised that this chocolate pudding had any other name but Boarders’ Favourite.

The recipe I use for my Boarders’ Favourite is a slightly grander version than the one that our cooks used at boarding school because it includes walnuts. However it is still, despite its richness, a very simple and economical recipe. I found it in a magazine type recipe book that I purchased in the one and only bookstore in Gaborone, Botswana. I thought it was wickedly extravagant to spend almost four Pula (dollars) on a recipe book back in those long ago days, but that purchase has served me well over many, many years. It has travelled with me all over the world.  And, because the ingredients of Boarders Favourite are so basic, I have managed to bake it wherever I have roamed. Now, here I am, still baking it, but back in the city where my chocolate obsession  began.Sweet Treat

Footnote: My favourite baking cocoa is from a New Zealand company called Trade Aid which sources and sells Fair Trade organic cocoa.

© silkannthreades