Rum Balls

Source & History

I have made thousands of dozens of these in my time. The annual fundraiser at Amy’s school in Mackay (Kewarra) was the Rum Ball Drive which was held every year in November. Members of the P&C would go into the school each day for a week and spend every day making rum balls, & bagging them for sale. We all had jobs that we usually did and mine was rolling the mixture into balls. To this day, my rum balls are all the same size – though they might be a little larger than we would have been allowed to make for the drive. At the time, the exact recipe was a secret but one year I bought the ingredients, so I knew what went into them. When I decided to make some rum balls for home consumption a few Christmases ago, I searched for recipes on the net until I found this one. It’s the one that we used at Kewarra every year.

Notes

  • we keep our rum balls in the freezer and eat them frozen.
  • I usually double this recipe – if you want more, make extra batches because the mixture becomes too difficult to mix if you use more than double quantities
  • I use skim condensed milk – no one has been able to tell the difference in the 4 years I have been doing it.
  • I usually put in 4 tbsp rum (8 when it’s doubled).
  • Variations: you could use mixed fruit instead of sultanas if you wanted to. Leah puts a Malteaser in the centre of hers when she makes them.

 

Gram’s Swedish Meatballs

Source & History

I don’t know whether these are really Swedish, but that’s what Mum called them. She used to take them to occasions when she was asked to bring a plate of savoury finger food and so have I. They always seem to be popular with any crowd. Nice for cocktail parties.

Notes

  • Mum would have used corn syrup not golden syrup.
  • I would use fresh crushed garlic rather than garlic powder in the meatballs
  • Make the meatballs on the small side.
  • Serve as a savoury ‘finger food’ with toothpicks on the side.

Porcupines

Source & History

This is another recipe from the Day to Day Cookery book (with the odd modification – see notes).

Notes

  • The porcupines (the meatballs) can be placed in casserole dish or a roasting pan, covered with the soup/water mixture, covered with a lid or alfoil, and baked in a moderate oven for 1 hour [that’s the way that I do it].
  • For the meat mixture, I only use the mince, onion, rice, half the salt & freshly ground pepper.
  • Instead of the soup can of water, I use a tin of diced tomatoes and about ½ a can of water.

Sausage and Potato Casserole

Source & History

This is one of Rhoda’s originals – she made it up one day when all she had were potatoes & a few sausages and she wanted them to go a long way.

Notes

  • I would add some freshly ground pepper and a little salt to this when you put it in the casserole dish.

Basic White Sauce

Source & History

This one of the few things that I remember from Home Economics classes at high school – how to make white sauce. I hated those classes – mostly because of the teacher. Whenever I visualised Professor Dolores Umbridge when I was reading the Harry Potter books, my high school home economics teacher was the person I saw.

Notes

  • the rules for white sauce are:  the basic measurement is 1 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp butter & 1 cup of milk. The thicker you want the sauce, the more flour & butter per cup of milk, always keeping the quantities of flour & butter equal.
  • I discovered recently that you can substitute a light olive oil for the butter and the sauce is still fine.
  • You can make this much more easily in the microwave
  1. Melt the butter, stir in flour & seasonings, heat on high 1 minute.
  2. Add milk, heat on medium until the sauce thickens, stirring with a whisk every couple of minutes
  • To make this into cheese sauce [for cauliflower, broccoli & to use in lasagna], after the mixture has thickened just remove from the heat and stir in a handful of grated cheese. The heat of the sauce will melt the cheese while you stir.
  • If you are making this on the stove, stir continually or it will go lumpy and there is nothing worse than lumpy white sauce.

Macaroni Cheese

Source & History

A long time ago, I got a copy of book called “Day to Day Cookery” which was used as a text for high school cooking classes in Australia at some point in the past. I don’t know when it was published or by whom because my copy is so well-loved that it is missing its front & back covers and its first & last few pages. This recipe is from there & so are a few other recipes I use regularly.

Notes

  • I make the white sauce in the microwave, rather than on the stove-top (see basic white sauce recipe).
  • If you want to fancy this up a little, you could brown some bacon or prosciutto or pancetta or ham and add it. Throw in a cup of frozen peas if you like them.
  • Dry Breadcrumbs – the ones you but at the supermarket
  • Soft Breadcrumbs – made fresh, either by putting slices of bread in food processor/blender or by grating bread slices

Gram’s Barbeque Sauce

Source & History

This is barbeque sauce the way Gram used to make it. She would have used French’s mustard (which you can get in Australia now) rather than any other brand’s American mustard.

This recipe has been passed around the family a lot. In fact, at one point it was the ‘secret’ basting sauce that Pam’s sister Penny used in her take-away shop in Rockhampton. I use it for pork spare ribs and the top of the meat loaf. Pam got the recipe from me & started using it when she made little appetizers on toothpicks with pineapple, kabana & onion. She browned them on the barbeque and basted with this sauce (maybe she still does).

Notes

  • Be careful, the brown sugar, plus the sugar in the tomato sauce means that this will burn relatively easily. A little scorching adds a nice flavour but don’t overdo it!

Kitchen Wisdom

If you are having a big cooking session, keep a jug of hot water handy for rinsing knives, forks & spoons so that they can be used again immediately.

Condensed Milk Mayonnaise

Source & History

The source of this one is easy – the condensed milk tin.

nestle-condensed-milk

Notes

  • These days I would probably make this with the 99% fat-free condensed skim milk. I have been making rum balls with it for about 3 years and no one can tell the difference. I would also be using freshly ground pepper for the seasoning.
  • Keeps well in a jar in the refrigerator.

Marinade for Meat

Source & History

This is the recipe that Pam gave me (a long time ago) when I was looking for a simple way to marinade meat.

Great-Grandmother Priestner’s Christmas Pudding

Source & History

This is my Great-Grandmother’s Christmas pudding recipe. My mother had it and I’m not sure whether she ever made it. Until this year (2012), this was a historical artefact. However, I decided to see whether I could make it this year. Everyone who tried it seemed to think that it was really good – so did I!

Notes

  • I ended up halving this recipe because the quantities were so huge. So I used 125 grams of sultanas…3 eggs. 
  • BUT DON”T HALVE THE COOKING TIME. I steamed the pudding in a 2.8l pudding basin for 6hr instead of the recommended 7hr.
  • Find a butcher who sells suet because you really need to use the real thing to get the best result.
  • I didn’t grind the suet exactly, I whizzed it in the food processor then weighed the whizzed suet to get the quantity I needed.
  • you’ll need to get the apple cider from the bottle shop
  • The Howe family tradition is that everyone in the household should stir the pudding before it is put into the pudding basin to cook – this is meant to ensure good luck for the family for the next year (that’s what my mother told me).
  • I know, the instructions for steaming are missing – I looked up methods on the internet (and so can you). I imagine in Great-Grandmother’s day it was something that everyone knew how to do, so detailed instructions weren’t needed.

 

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