from one generation to the next
My Mum was an average quality plain cook. She claimed she didn’t like to cook, but a healthy diet involving minimal cost were her major considerations when making decisions about what to serve. Weeknight desserts generally were simple fruit dishes. Saturday night she always served a slow cooked English style baked rice pudding, the recipe taken from her mother’s 1907 edition of Mrs Beeton’s cookbook. The rice pudding spent the entire time in the oven that the Saturday night joint took to roast! Unlike AA Milne’s Amelia Jane, I was always happy to have rice pudding again.
Sunday lunch Mum would serve the leftover cold meat from the roast, hot boiled veg and then a pudding. Mum’s Sunday lunchtime puddings were the high point of her culinary creation. Lemon thing and apple stuff were not uncommon replies when a member of the family asked what she was making, but some real gems emerged. To this day mention rhubarb in my household and it’s not apple that rhubarb is known to be paired with, but banana, an inspired combination of tartness and super sweetness that Mum “invented” to use up over ripe bananas.
There are also “written down” recipes for hot puddings copied from clippings pasted in Mum’s recipe file that I will revisit over the colder months, but firstly, the infamous rhubarb with my version of a crumble topping.
RHUBARB & BANANA CRUMBLE
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Wash then cut the rhubarb into 5 cm lengths. Sprinkle the sugar over and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Heat the rhubarb over a low heat until it begins to simmer, stir then cover. Allow the rhubarb to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. The length of time it takes to cook will depend on the thickness of the rhubarb stems. When the rhubarb is cooked, stir in the sliced bananas.
Combine the oats, coconut, almond meal and sugar. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Pour the fruit into a greased ovenproof dish, then sprinkle the crumble on top. Bake in a moderate oven 160C for 30 minutes.