from one generation to the next
I’ve been spending time compiling a family recipe book based on Please Pass The Recipe to hand on to my daughters and grand daughters. Critically appraising the 300 or so recipes that I’ve posted in the past 18 months, I’m finding a shortage of hand me downs. The recipes that Leah specifically spoke of when she was encouraging me to begin this journey are there, but the majority of my recipes are what we eat in 2013, not what my family ate in the 20th century and I think this a real indicator of how Australian cuisine has evolved in my lifetime.
My ancestors came to Melbourne from England between the world wars and typically, were plain cooks. A family dinner comprised meat and two boiled vegetables followed by a plain dessert. My Mum followed that style until the post WW2 wave of migrants from the Mediterranean began to exert an influence in our Anglo-Aussie home, an influence that hasn’t faltered in fifty years.
Dinner at home for the average Aussie is a fusian of cuisines from every corner of the globe. The aisles of the supermarket have kept apace updating ingredients, the market gardeners too. Magazines, blogs, cookbooks, newspapers and the TV continue to feed the change by encouraging us to cook, to create a style that in another three generations will probably be considered old fashioned.
Tradition has it’s place, it’s a tangible link with our past so I’m going back to reconsider my Mum’s recipes. Where I see fit, I’ll update the ingredients and methods to bring them into the 21st century hopefully without comprising the original flavour.
Mum’s original Lamb Hotch Potch recipe was made with dried herbs, a stock cube, no garlic, dry “cooking” sherry, 3 teaspoons of salt and all of the measured 1/2 cup of flour was included. The potatoes would have been peeled before slicing.
We enjoyed our nostalgic meal. We talked about the long Sunday lunches we used to enjoy with Mum and Dad when our girls were young. Dad played a key role in our dinner too. We opened a bottle of 2001 vintage Clare Valley Shiraz, “the Armagh” made by Jim Barry to toast the memory of Mum and my wine loving Dad.
6 lamb chump chops
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
Good grinding of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
3 large sprigs of rosemary
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
6 pickling onions, peeled
2 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
2 cups lamb stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
500g Desiree potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1 cm thick
Preheat the oven to 160C.
In a lidded casserole dish place the carrots,onions, garlic, bay leaves, sprigs of rosemary and oregano.
Trim all the fat off the chops. Season the flour well with salt and pepper then toss the chops in the flour to coat. Discard the remaining flour.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lightly brown the chops. Remove to the casserole dish. Drain any fat from the sauté pan then deglaze it over a high heat with the white wine. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Pour the stock into the casserole dish and add enough water to ensure the chops are submerged.
Arrange the potato slices over the surface.
Place a round of baking paper over the potatoes, put on the lid then bake for 1 hour. Remove the lid and paper and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes.
Serve with steamed green vegetables.