Wednesday 26 January 2011

Food – To More Good times and Fond Memories, with some history thrown in for good measure – Part 2

Continuing on along the path of gastronomic memories .. going back a few years too (I regret to say!) .. but perhaps starting with Oatmeal, Haggis and Robert Burns .. last year I wrote a celebratory post. So today I shall remember another celebration in his honour – recalling our boiling hot Burn’s Night Dinner at a friend’s house .. way too much wine, I suspect I had the odd touch of whisky – though I don’t like it!

Oatmeal herrings, Haggis and an oatmeal Crowdy .. a creamy- honey- oatmeal Scottish dessert .. all I remember really was sweltering – but the menu has filed itself away in the mind I see!

Oat grains in their husks

Interesting to note that .. that day 20 or so years ago .. was incredibly hot – Johannesburg can have a few days at 33+ degree C (over 90 degrees F) – but this 2010/2011 year La Nina has struck the southern hemisphere with the opposite force ... huge rains.

Here in the UK we’ve heard little about the African floods .. however the Zambezi and Okavango river systems take five to six months to disgorge their waters ... we used to visit Botswana in May at the height of the flood. This year they’re reporting that these two rivers are at about twice their normal levels, early in the rainy season.

It appears that five countries are on alert for flooding -- Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, -- while South Africa will now declare the region (most of the countries shown in green here) a disaster as they do not have the economic, nor administrative, infrastructure to cope.

Connecting my Cornish visit and Haggis from Scotland was a bit of a surprise .. but Cornish Hog’s Pudding is a type of large spicy sausage, including oatmeal, as well as black pepper, cumin, basil and garlic .. and I’d been determined to take some back with me. So I was grateful for a very quick shop around Penzance to find some of these Cornish goodies .. calendars, notelets, hog’s pudding, Cornish Fairings, Saffron buns ...

Cornish Fairings with a hint of ginger

Historically Groats’ Pudding and West Country Haggis are alternative names for Hog’s Pudding – the groats are the hulled grains of various cereals, in this case oats. (Wheat groats, or bulgur, are, as I’m sure many of you know, an essential ingredient of the Middle Eastern kitchen.)

Saffron Buns from Warrens Bakery

Fresh from Cornwall - Hog’s Pudding

Ancient literature noted the anti-inflammatory and anti-pruritic (anti-itch) properties of oatmeal ... which are now being researched to establish their efficacy.

As I mentioned my ‘aunt’ is still totally with it .. so much so – that I wonder if she celebrated Burns’ Night with the dinner she cooked for herself the other night – on my first visit a neighbour had popped in with two pheasant breasts (lucky her I thought!);

... on my second stop over – she regaled me that she’d stuffed the breasts with a herby cream cheese (Boursin), wrapped them in bacon, oven baked them, had some fresh veggie and potatoes, then she made a whisky cream sauce to accompany the dish – pretty good at 92 methinks?!

From Bramley and Gage - these pheasant breasts have a sloe sauce, a parsley stuffing and are decorated with sloes

She also reminded me that I had always been a good cook and someone who was innovative with her menus and cooking ... the Cordon Bleu magazines, 72 of them, had just started to be published - I bought and devoured everyone, retaining them to this day – packed away for now – and loved using the ideas and recipes in them .. still do.

My aunt remembered the 50th surprise birthday party I’d put on for my father at some friends’ house about 20 miles away ... and how amazed he’d been – he had no idea .. despite the fact I’d done the cooking at our house and all the crockery and cutlery had been transported over .. it was a buffet style; our house was an Old Rectory which had an extension that used to include the old toilet, coal house, and cold store – so the latter two rooms I could and did hide things in.

I had previously cooked for my father’s housewarming, after my parents separated, just a mere 80 for brandy-champagne cocktails and nibbles to start off .. those were the days! and we were harking back to posh dinner-type cooking .. then a full menu for 24 after that .. I was only 21 or so. (Two days later I got turned down as a chalet girl in Switzerland .. because they didn’t think I was a good enough cook. Life would be different – if I’d passed that test, I suspect.)

Thinking about it – I’d baulk now & make it easy (if I did it) .. but then .. the starter (a la Cordon Bleu!)was a melon, tomato and cucumber salad, with hot herby bread – followed by fillet of beef, veggie salads, a tomato jelly from the Robert Carrier magazines, potatoes of some description no doubt, and various puds – I remember one – a hazelnut torte - had chocolate caraque on it .. I’d never done that before & hardly since!

Chocolate caraque decorating the dessert

Just have to tell you about the fillets .. there were three of them – well I didn’t have a lot of time .. and they had to cook quickly – so all three got shoved in the oven for theoretically 20 minutes – an hour later after much huffing and puffing on my part, with the mind full of the word ‘help’ ... surprisingly three perfectly cooked fillets came out – to cool before they were glazed. Yes the works happened in those days.

My father’s sister, and her husband (the one I looked after recently) came up to attend, help .. and I was floored somewhat by being asked what did she want me to do with the fresh fruit for the salad .. did I want the grapes peeled and pipped .. I’m not quite sure what happened – I really wasn’t up for niceties .. I just needed the fruit salad finished!

We’d had a herd of cows through the property and I was pretty miffed .. I’d spent hours making the garden as tidy as I could ... but the weight of ‘dem cows on the turf and banks/terraces was the pits!! So my main concern was getting the show on the road, not organising loads of helpers! Still I was no doubt extremely grateful for their support and calmness ...

I see Julia Child is listed as a Notable Alumni and attendee of the Cordon Bleu School .. but not Prue Leith, who certainly inspired me ... as I walked past her restaurant near Notting Hill each day on my way to the bus and work in the West End.

Another tale here .. one day in the 1970s when the Irish bombings were going on in London I walked up to Notting Hill, I heard a low “whoomph” reverberate through the air, and thought no buses, no noise .. then the sirens started – I realised a bomb had gone off in the main part of Notting Hill.

So I walked to work past, the top end of Portobello Road, along the north side of Hyde Park, to Marble Arch and on to St James’ .. when I got there – within the hour the Evening Standard Newspaper had its morning edition out – with a picture of the bomb blast and giving the details.

We live through history .. the Evening Standard is now free .. competing with the other freebies – which I hate to say it rubbish the streets, the tubes, the trains with paper ... full of mainly inconsequential items, and a lot of (desperate) adverts ... times they are a-changin’ ...

Before I left for South Africa I took my family to The Caviar Bar in Knightsbridge – that too has closed – but the meal was extraordinary .. everything with caviar and vodka, or champagne ... the different vodkas were served from bottles frozen into pails of ice filled with flowers – they looked very pretty.

South Africa is reminiscent of rather too much champagne, oysters, good friends and parties by the squash club pool, or with another near-relative and her Portuguese husband .. with excellent barbeques .. grilled sardines – I loved!, marinated meats of all sorts and the South African sausage – Boerwors.

Coming back home ... we’ve become more sensible .. though the family did give me a memorable 21st (50th actually .. but I’m not admitting!) .. a winter one – with delicious food .. a whole salmon .. with friends and family from far and wide ... and really good wholesome food .. my ‘oldest’ friend came – sadly she’s died since ...

... and then I went off to South Africa and repeated the birthday with the near-relatives above – who put on another party for me .. so I was a very lucky girl that year.

This is long and rambly .. and not complete but definitely enough for you all to have had an elegant sufficiency! But my other sister-in-law who reads this blog .. said you must remember that what you’re writing is history put dates etc .. I think when mentioned I was going over on Freddie Laker’s Airline to a friend’s wedding at the Cathedral of the Pines (beautiful October day) .. and I had to get up – buy the air ticket – go back to bed (no internet in those days) – get up again and catch the plane .. in 1978. Post here.

I love entertaining and surprising people with parties ... my uncle whom I’d been looking after and giving him, as he said, something to live for – his birthday was near Christmas and each year I’d arrange a party for him at his house .. again picnic style, open house ... call in when you can – the first one was a complete surprise – he said he’d never had a party thrown for him before ... my honorary god-daughter aged 13 helped me .. good to have help!

What was rather nice this Christmas – the neighbours had been asked to a house warming by the new owners .. which happened to be on his actual birthday – as Melanie said .. they were heartened with the invitation – it was a good rounding off of my aunt’s and uncle’s lives – a final goodbye.
Inside the Burns Cottage Museum in Alloway.

Haggis, Whisky, Poetry only means one thing - Robbie Burns.

Dear Mr Postman .. my mother never ceases to amaze me – she asked me to tell her what I’d been doing in the day, and then asked if there were any more Christmas cards ... well yes, but I had them at home ... always things in the wrong place! She seems well and looks extremely well, which is good news.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Betsy Wuebker said...

Oh Hilary - Where to begin with such a feast (ha!) of a post! The pheasant breasts sound divine; I would love to have a meal with this 92 year old! Oatmeal and wild rice sausages are enjoyed around these Minnesota parts as well. Your talents and skills in the kitchen began early as well, worthy of Le Cordon Bleu. And the cow and Notting Hill stories - worthy of screenplay preservation I would think. All in all, a truly delightful post! Thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betsy .. I think you've picked the lot - thank you so much .. what a wonderful comment. My aunt is some amazing lady - you're right .. Oatmeal and wild rice sausages sound tasty too.

I loved my cooking and trying new recipes out - things others didn't .. one advantage of being single I guess - a little more time on my hands if the mood took.

It's an odd mix - that's for sure .. cows, Notting Hill .. especially if woven in with Portobello Market, crocuses in Hyde Park and the film industry .. who knows!

Wonderful to see you here .. thank you so much for the fantastic comment .. cheers - Hilary

Joanne said...

I am not much of a cook, but love reading about others' dishes. Food always tastes best to me when someone else cooks it! These meals sound divine.

We do live through history, don't we. Every day that passes becomes one for the books, or blogs, or journals, ready to be looked back upon and considered fondly in some way. Documenting it is a wonderful way of keeping it alive for others to consider.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joanne .. I've always loved cooking - and still do, but now-a-days never do much .. so it was good to remember. I think that's it - when someone else has slaved over the hot stove .. the food always tastes delicious.

I agree - there'll be many more grand-kids with memories to draw on from our writings .. I love reading about times gone from living people - the reality of true memories, recorded, set down, there for us as you say consider.

Thanks - so much appreciate the comment .. cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful collage! Such succulent stories!! Hate to hear about all the flooding in South Africa, or flooding and disasters anywhere for that matter. Here in Virginia USA we've been spared so far this winter. It is only today that we got an icy mix of rain and snow. A big snow predicted, which may or may not hit us. Maybe this time we won't be so lucky! But, we all go through these trials, in one form or another. Trials to make us reach out to family and friends!!

Hope you are well today, my friend. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your comments also uplift and inspire me!
Ann Best, Author

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ann .. good to see you .. and I'm really pleased to hear my comments uplift and inspire you at your blog - that's lovely to know.

Glad you like the 'rollock' through a few more food stories.

I hope the snow storm doesn't hit you - we're in for another cold spell .. but snow unlikely down here: I hope!

As you say these trials get us to reach out .. but those floods are something else .. and I'm not sure where the Victoria Lake in Australia has got to .. it looked horrendous.

I'm fine - but more importantly I hope Jen and you are having a good day .. keep well - cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Wow, what interesting sounding foods and what interesting names. Thanks for sharing the pictures so I can see what some of these foods look like.

Glad to hear that your mother is doing well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne .. glad you like the sound of the dishes, and the pictures definitely give them some identification .. I had fun looking the photos ups!

Mum is doing well ... and looks so well too .. she was remembering the old days with a little prompting from me .. but I learnt a few more things.

Thanks so much for the visit .. Hilary

TALON said...

'dem cows had a lot of nerve!

It's always fascinating to me how food plays such a central part of our lives in socializing and connecting and being creative.

I'm so happy to read that your mother is doing so well, Hilary!

Davina Haisell said...

Hilary, you and your aunt are both quite the cooks. My dinner is frying on the stove as I'm reading and commenting. Good thing, because the meals you've described are making me hungry. I perked up at the mention of Cornish Hog’s Pudding and that is all I can say :-) Hi to you and your mother.

Mason Canyon said...

Oh I shouldn't have read this so late at night. Now I'm starved. The food all sounds yummy, especially the pheasant breasts with the herby cream cheese. It seems there are so many areas flooding this year. Just strange weather we're having. Our snow has finally all gone. Glad to hear your Mother is doing well. I laugh every time I think of her comment on the hanging snowman. :)
Have a great week.

Thoughts in Progress

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talon .. how right you are 'dem cows were a heavy-weight pain!! I gave up trying to get them out of the garden and ignored them .. eventually they were gathered in!

Food is integral to human life .. we (here) don't have to hunt or gather it .. so it takes on a different form and we can learn so much from and about ourselves through good conversation and interaction.

Yes - Mum looks so well ... still very very tired but after a few strokes that's expected. Thanks Talon - good to see you .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. great to see you .. she was always a very good cook, but more importantly always made us feel extremely welcome and garnered everyone in. Ok .. I can see where you're coming from with the Cornish Hog's Pudding .. from another comment you made .. so I'm laughing too - Mum will be delighted to have your hallooos from Canada-land.

Hope the dinner was tasty and the hunger pangs are no longer there? .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mason .. Oh dear .. I hope sleep takes the starvation away. I rather like the idea of the pheasant breast recipe too .. a simple, but tasty dish.

Your American weather has been unusual as you say, and as I see from others' comments - just not always sure Geographically where everyone is situated and so can't always piece the snow/rain jigsaw together.

We're about to have another cold snap (snow went before Christmas though - thankfully) .. but glad to hear your snow has gone.

She was totally bemused by the snowman story and picture 'I painted' for her! She loves laughing still.

You too have a good last couple of days with the weekend ahead .. cheers Hilary

Mandy Allen said...

Goodness, Hilary, what a gorgeous and mouth watering post! My mum had the very same cook books/magazines. And we always used to watch Carrier's Kitchen! Mum wanted to be in the audience and be the one picked to sample the food at the end! What I love most about your posts is they invoke really strong memories in me that I might otherwise not think about.

Enjoy the journey.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mandy .. wonderful that I've brought back those memories from the past for you - that we can so easily forget or overlook exactly as you say.

If I'd seen Carrier and his shows - I'd have been like your mother, keen to participate ... his flavours were delicious. They must have been on tv as I left for South Africa .. so I've never seen one!

They were the instigators of wipeable recipe cards, and the weekly magazine .. the contents certainly informed and enticed!

Delighted and chuffed to get your comment .. thanks so much ... have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend .. Hilary

Arts web show said...

You listed some amazing dishes here.
It's so satisfying to see people take a serious interest in what they eat.
Though no burns night dinner is complete without chranachan.
It's simply delicious but then if you dont like whisky then maybe not. lol

Al said...

I had to laugh over temperatures.
I had a conversation today where we were cheering the fact that it was finally going to be over 30 on the weekend and therefore properly warm :-)
We usually have stretches in Melbourne that are well over 40 most summers. 43 or 44 are not uncommon.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Richard .. good to see you and your own interest in food and whisky?! I mentioned Chranachan .. but not with this name .. I used crowdie, which, in earlier times as a cheese, used to be used in place of the cream, .. but last year's post (per the link) did include creamy Chranachan! The thought of Chranachan .. even with whisky .. would be rather good now!

Delighted to hear you resonated with the dishes and, you're right, I do love my food and trying new things .. thanks for coming by and commenting .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Al .. oh good .. temperature does vary so much - I'm sure years ago it didn't! Seasons were seasons .. and I always remember being told that it rained at 4.00pm in Africa - cleared the air and went on its way (Spring and Summer).

I found 33 too hot .. and having experienced the 40s in Cape Town - it was pretty stifling! But Johannesburg's altitude is 5,751 feet .. so it's not often that warm. Melbourne sounds like Cape Town to a large degree.

I hope the floods are going down .. life will be difficult for a while .. it will be interesting and sad to see the impact they have on the land, the changes in the river patterns, and the sea ..

Enjoy the rest of the week .. cheers Hilary

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hilary, this post is a real taste treat! I loved the part about the pheasant breasts, something I haven't had since I was a kid and my dad and uncles used to hunt pheasants on our own farms. The recipe sounds amazing, and your aunt even more so.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. wonderful you enjoyed the various tastes and treats. In recent years I've been buying pheasants early in the season, when their still young and succulent - but for the last couple of years .. time hasn't allowed - perhaps this I'll get back in the groove, come Autumn.

Doesn't the recipe sound wonderful .. but my aunt is gorgeous - so lucky to have her as a wonderful friend.

Good to see you here .. she'd love to meet everyone too .. as would my Mama! Enjoy the rest of the week and weekend .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

Hilary, Thanks for a great post with a lot of interesting information. I enjoyed taking a look at your gastronomic memories :-)

I'm not sure if I would have the courage to try some of the things you mentioned. Like oysters and grilled sardines. :-(


walk2write said...

I always get the impression that I've been invited over to share a cup with you and maybe some dainty cakes if I come at the right time! Right now, my mouth is watering at that description of your aunt's supper. You are a wonderful hostess, Miss Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ron .. how lovely to see you - you've eaten Mexican and American-Indian food .. grilled sardines are delicious .. they must have those in CA ..

My father used to love Oysters - which he had (at huge expense) at Beotys (previous post) .. and was delighted when I, as a teenager, decided I didn't like them .. a decade and a half later .. oh yes - delicious!!

I'm sure Mrs Geezer encouraged your children to try new things?! I must check if my aunt tried her Sushi pieces I left .. she's 92 - plenty of time for you ...?

Cheers .. lovely seeing you here - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Walk2Write .. you're welcome at any time of the day, or season .. we're here .. dainty cakes - well that could be challenging .. bring your smart clothes and we'll hit the posh hotels!

Yes - I agree I have a mundane supper on the go .. and I could do with some wonderful dinner a la my aunt ..

Your Florida blog is great .. but I do love entertaining and being around people you're right ... and learning more things! Cheers to you ... from Miss Hilary (oh boy! was that a long time ago!!! ..)

Anonymous said...

You're quite the Foodie. Do they use that term across The Pond? Its fun to have a meal turn out awesome when you think you might be messing it up. Speaking of iced vodka, we like ices lemon and orange liquer. The colder the better. Great way to top off a home cooked meal. Especially Italian food.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Stephen .. probably as slang word .. but then I'm not in the hub of life - London .. Certainly we understand it! I got lucky a lot of the time - so mostly they came out tasting rather good - thank goodness.

No - I haven't had ices in the way you suggest .. we used to have orange water ices as kids; and one year we tried an Iced Vodka Ice-Cream .. but it had far too much vodka in it and it didn't set .. so we had a runny dessert - tasted ok! Your Iced lemon and Orange Liqueurs .. sound delicious - especially with your hot climate and with Italian food.

I might try them come the summer! - good thought .. and Italian food we can rustle up - thanks for the thought - enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

Vered said...

I think you might have just inspired me to write my own blog post on food memories!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Hilary, you inspire me. I may never be able to create such spectacular menus, but I'm definitely going to try. Thanks for sparking my interest in baking and cooking again. It's been too long.

J.D. Meier said...

There's just so much enticing food.

I have to say, over the last year, I really learned to like oysters so much more. I think in the past, I always got sand or something, or worse, bits of shell. This past year I've lucked out time and again, and now I'm hooked.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vered - that would be very interesting .. we'd learn so much about the places, the types of food and other 'historical' memories that are enticingly lingering to be revealed.

Looking forward to it Vered ... and hearing more .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joylene .. how great that we can be inspired through others' blogs .. excellent that you're going to start baking and cooking again with some extra verve ... it's certainly a relaxing experience with delicious aromas before the finished platters are produced ... sounds good to me - I might be over!

Enjoy the fun times ahead in the kitchen .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. thank you.

Gosh - that's brave .. most adults once failed with oysters that's it .. I think if a friend wasn't loving them so much and insisting I too would be hooked - I'd have not revisited my teenage first time taste.

Glad to hear .. that enjoyable oyster times are ahead for you. Enjoy them .. you're tempting me - but here in England .. they are definitely no longer the poor man's food! Cheers Hilary

Karen Lange said...

I am now officially hungry! :o)

I first heard of Haggis when I was in an eighth grade play. A Scottish character talked about it; I forget what the context was. It sounded not so good to my young mind...

Thanks, as always, for sharing your info, wit, and wisdom!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - me too .. as it's cold and tea time! I think I'd have been put off haggis at that stage in life .. but only tried it in my twenties - deep fried I think?! Then again in South Africa .. it is definitely a cold weather dish.

Delighted you enjoyed the titbits and snippets .. I hope you have a good lunch?!

All the best and enjoy the weekend ..Hilary

BK said...

Hi Hilary, been a long time since I was here. I am glad to read that your mother is well and that she looks extremely well too.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BK .. how lovely to see you again. Yes - we're continuing on .. and Mum seems much the same, which is good news, and still taking an interest in life. How are you - I must pop over and check in .. Hilary

Marinela said...

I love cooking with my mum and like reading about others dishe.... The food here all sounds beautiful and yummy
Have a great week!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marinela .. thank you .. it's great when we cook as mother and daughter in the kitchen - my Mum was a brilliant cook .. gardener, and many other things ... and I've always enjoyed sharing meals with different dishes .. and making life simple for the elderly re food.

It was a good meal or two!! You too- have a fun week ahead .. hugs and cheers Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

I haven't heard of any of the foods you listed in the beginning of the blog. Even with everything going international, there's still so much I haven't eaten.

When I had chicken pox, I had to bathe in oatmeal. Oatmeal was no match for the itching!

I love the picture of the crockery guide. I recall a similar book in my house when I was a kid. For a little while, my mother used a crock pot. Then it wound up in a cabinet never to see the light of day again.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. I'm sure you've eaten similar .. it's a country change, folk taking their recipes with them ..and adapting, altering to the ingredients and produce around them .. especially over centuries some of them. There's plenty of American food I've yet to try .. and different culture's foods ..

Really - you had to bathe in oatmeal .. I can imagine itching was much more fun!! But goes to show - the ancient remedies have something in them.

Le Creuset casseroles (from France) had just hit the British market, when the Cordon Bleu cookery magazines started coming out .. so logically they'd go together. I had a few - they are brilliant pots to own .. and we have crock pots here made out of oven-proof pottery rather than the cast iron that the Le Creuset ones are made of.

We do get attached to various pots for our cooking, as I'm sure you're finding now - different things suit our needs.

Love the story about the oatmeal - fun .. I'm sure not at the time ..

Have a great week .. Hilary

Deborah Ann said...

Hog pudding...that sounds disgusting...and funny! It's so fun to visit you, and read all your stories and interesting tid bits. You must get around the world quite a bit!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deborah Ann.. thank you! Hog's pudding is really like a spice sausage, just larger slices! So funny but actually rather tasty.

Delighted that you love coming over and learning some different things about life ..

I'd love to be travelling and learning more .. but being English we have so much history and I've been lucky enough to go south to South Africa, travelled to Eastern Europe, as well as Europe, and a couple of visits to America and Canada .. so having met people from around the world .. it's fun to pass on the positives and enjoyment of life ..

Lovely seeing you .. cheers Hilary

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

Hilary, what a post. Thankfully you didn't tuck a shot of some poor ruminant's tummy amongst all these marvelous photos. :D You certainly have a great talent, dear woman.

I have some catching up to do on your posts, but first, since you have made me so hungry, I'm going to wait for my Italian roasted (Olive Oil and herbs) veggies to finish baking so I can cure my salivation!

Your giving heart astonishes me. If I'd presented my uncle with a birthday party for 82 when I was a 21 year old, I'm afraid he would have expired on the spot.

Wonderful to see you in your element and how you have expressed yourself so incredibly with food.

Patricia said...

I just heard the Dalai Lama, a Rabbi, Muslim, and a Church of England person say that the way to connect with people is to eat their food, sing and dance with them -You post just confirms what a glorious way this is to look at history.

I had to push through reading as I am fasting for another Doctor's appointment and this just sounds like you made some pretty spectacular dishes and occasions. Too much for my empty stomach to think about

Glad to hear your mum is surprising you - good news

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

What a fun food post! I loved the saffron buns. I'm sure I'll eat some on my next trip to England. :)

I lived near Hyde Park when I was a little girl. :)

I'm glad your Mum is in good spirits...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Amy - how lovely to see you .. I found a respectable photo last year - so thought I didn't need to do another.

Your veggies sounds lovely .. I quite often eat roasted veggies - too delicious = sometimes with and sometimes without.

Thank you - not quite that way .. it was my father's housewarming - I just cheffed and entertained and at that stage was 21 - could I go back?! etc! But my uncle was delighted with his surprise party - totally taken aback .. which was wonderful, as was my father with his 50th.

I enjoy the entertaining side and don't get much opportunity to do it now - it lingers vicariously in the mind!

Delighted that you enjoyed the post - and can see my total enjoyment of those times.

Wonderful to have you here - have a good week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. how sensible the wise men are .. we always seem to be able to connect over meal times .. now if you asked me to sing and dance - that might send everyone away!!

Being reminded that what I'm writing to a point constitutes history - it's good to put a few extra things in and make it personal, yet appealing to many.

Oh dear, I hope the tests will be encouraging and you can get some relief. Fasting at any time is challenging - reading about food more so. I'll be thinking about you as Tuesday goes by ...

Yes - Mum certainly seems a little more awake and sometimes enjoys a long chat or an interactive read. Thanks so much for your thoughts - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sharon - many thanks for coming by .. and glad you enjoyed it. Saffron buns I'm sure you can get in London at one of the posher shops - Fortnums and Mason, or Selfridges ... but we always get them on trips to Cornwall .. they are good!! Enjoy them when you come over - perhaps we can share one together ...?!

Lucky you to live near Hyde Park .. lots of wonderful walks .. and now I expect it's full of crocuses - that's a beautiful sight.

Thanks re Mum - she seems as content as possible .. cheers Hilary

Janet Johnson said...

Oh my goodness, you have me drooling here . . . And what adventures! Thank you for sharing. So interesting to read about your life. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Janet .. so pleased to see you - just hope that you've found something good to eat or drink by now?! I've had some fun times over the years with different types of celebratory feasts .. love them & delighted that you've enjoyed the sharing here.

Wonderful that you're here and commenting .. thank you .. Hilary

Chris Edgar said...

I love how the food progresses from being very simple and groat-intensive ( :) ) to lavish and awash in color. (I almost want to say "colour" because it is so definitively British.) Another feast for the eyes and palate, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chris .. I hadn't thought of it like that - but it makes sense .. the Cornish, Scottish simplicity of peasant origin food, going on through the recent decades as our tastes and our cultural food revolution continues - that we can access .. if we're not seduced to the fast food era - ugh!

So thanks for the color/colour .. wonderful comment - thank you!!

Great seeing you here - cheers Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

I don't know what's more enticing here -- the yummy photos to feast my eyes on, or the gastronomic banter with current and past events entwined.

Funny how we had to buy tickets in the olde days, eh? 1978 -- I bet you were tanned and laughing.

And boy, I will LOVE coming to visit YOU!! You'll know all the places to eat the tastiest fare. And I'll treat you. And perchance we'll take a sip or 3 too much wine. And dance amidst the tables. Maybe even wash things down with a half shot of whiskey each!!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. there are a right mix of photos and food - but I love your words .. "yummy photos to feast your eyes on, or the gastronomic banter with current and past events entwined" - there's a song in there somewhere?!

Once I got to SA I was tanned and laughing that's for sure! But the Freddie Laker flights to the States were a novelty .. I think it cost £100 ... it was frill-less, no food .. but I was able to afford to get over for Sarah's wedding.

There's new ones (restaurants) now - the old ones have long gone .. but food and different tastes I love .. so we will definitely have a very good time! We might even pop over to Paris - and you can take me round using your French .. that will make my life easier!

That excursion or two .. would be such fun .. sounds a good prospect for the future ... happy thoughts .. cheers for now ... xoxxo Hilary

Anonymous said...

Dear Hilary: You commented on my post that you remember 3 months of snow. Wow! Though now I think about it, I remember long snowy winters in Connecticut where I once lived for three years with first husband and four small children. Lots and lots of snow!! This was 1968 to 1971. Saw New Hampshire and Maine back then. Boy, long winters in Maine. I love your photograph here of the Cathedral of the Pines. There's so much beautiful country in New England. If only I could see England. Maybe you can put up more photographs....(hint, hint).
Ann Best, Author

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ann .. I don't think it snowed for 3 months, but it was around in great banks that long & the big thaw set in in March - the Thames flooded right across its flood plain and our igloo, which we built, finally melted in June!!!

There was a phenomenal amount of snow .. I was ill and didn't go back to school for a while, and we still had to drive through banks of drifted snow - piled high above the car .. I then got a virus .. and had to sit it out in quarantine! so looked at the newspaper with its pictures of the flooding .. and played patience - not much else to do in those days!! especially when I wasn't at home.

I'd imagine New England would get lots of bad weather, and I expect our rain was their snow a few days ago ...?!

Thanks - I always remember Sarah's wedding from the setting - it was beautiful ..and I'd love to see more of that area - well the States in general ... sometime.

I'll put up some more photos of England in various posts - promise!

Cheers and thanks so much for coming across and 'making conversation' .. it's good to do it!! = fun. Enjoy the rest of the week .. Hilary