German Biscuits

My Aunty Pam, BP's Granddaughter

Oh god! Can someone can help me next time I have to make biscuits (cookies)? I am SO bad with dough. We've already discussed how crap I am at pastry, well, buttery biscuit dough is also something I fight with. It is one area where I simply have no patience. I just want to throw the rolling pin at the wall. Show that dough!! If it wants to stick to everything, then it can stick to the wall!! haha!

I know it is probably my fault, perhaps I never listened to any cooking tutorials my Grandma, or Mum tried to give me (I mean, I know I never listened to the knitting, crocheting and sewing talks!). But how come I don't know all the little tricks by now? I think if I were a woman back in the day the other ladies would have talked about me behind my back. Sure, we would have been friends, but they would laugh at my baking (not my cooking, I am an ok cook!). They would come over for afternoon tea and wonder what the heck I was serving them. It would probably taste ok, but it would look terrible. They might politely spit it into their hankies when I wasn't looking. 

But, I am an optimist. I do think that by the time I am of Grandmother age (whether I am someone's real Grandma or not) I will be good. There will be people who, after I die, will remember my cooking. That will make me happy!! I always think of my life in its current state and see if it will be something that I will enjoy looking back on when I am in my rocking chair, knitting (??!!) and chatting with my husband, sister or girlfriends while an apple pie cools on the window sill. I know, when I am older I should be still out there and enjoying my life, and I hope I will be. But I do hope I get to rock on that chair and think back to when I couldn't roll out those damn German Biscuits (or Empire Biscuits, as they were re-named during the war - which I think is pretty funny!) and enjoy remembering Bessie Pearls' Ledger and how much fun it was.

Later - I re-made these biscuits today! They were so yummy, and I knew that I hadn't done them right the first time. I think they were probably a little too small this time, but I think they're much closer to what they are supposed to be - little buttery shortbread-esque biscuits that you sort of want to pop into your mouth all at once. Go on! Do it!

German Biscuits

4 oz flour (1/2 cup)
2 oz butter (4 TBS)
1 oz sugar (2 TBS)
1 tsp water

~ Mix together & roll into thin paste (it was so sticky!! I couldn't roll it. I had to roll it into little balls and flatten them. On the second take, I rolled the dough into a long 'snake' and then cut small pieces off. I then rolled them into balls again, but they were much smaller - I think more suited to this biscuit.)
~ I learned what I think is the method from a Swedish Sweets book. So these worked waaaay better the second time I tried them.  Cream the butter & sugar, then add the flour a little at a time. Some recipes said to rest the dough in the fridge for half an hour, others didn't. I didn't. Why? Because I am impatient!!
~ Cut size required (I think they should be small, there's not much dough)
~ Bake in moderate oven (350 f for 8 - 10 mins)
~ Put raspberry jam between two layers
~ Add icing on top if you like

these are the second batch - small and cute, sans icing which we found too sweet!

Indigestion Cure

My Grandfather, Kyran 'Keeny' Brennan, in his stylish car

I am so lucky! I really scoff things down sometimes, but I don't ever seem to get indigestion. If I do, it is something that just goes along with eating, that I have no clue about. 

Grandma taught us to eat fast. It is really quite terrible. She would pit my sister and I against each other, - telling us whoever ate their food the fastest would be the winner (no prize necessary, it's sibling rivalry remember!). I think it was more a ploy to get my sister, a picky eater, to finish her food. But all it really did was instill a habit in me, a veritable garbage disposal, of eating quickly, - I would competitively devour my meal, hungering for the recognition of being the 'winner' while my sister would pout and scowl, barely touching a thing. So, yes, I always 'won'. But, I don't think anyone really won in the end. Grandma's plan never worked (even when it did move into actual prizes), my sister would still end up with dessert (always unfair in my mind!), I would be an unfulfilled winner (c'mon, I am not that bad - absolutely no competition is not that fun. It's like busting your balls in a running race, only to look back and see that the competition fell down due to exhaustion, and meanwhile you are only running against yourself, (you were thinking you were doing a great job), when in reality, you don't know if you really deserve to win....! And how come the exhausted fellow gets a medal when he didn't even breathe near the finish line?), and Grandma was frustrated at not getting my sister to eat, again. 

So, now, I still eat fast. After years of working in the hospitality, retail and entertainment industries, where you get a quick break, always ready to rush out and greet & help people if they need you, the habit is hard to shake. The only way to make me slow down is to get me to start talking. That'll always do it!

I don't know if my sister is still a picky eater. She'll have to tell you that. I know there are way more things she doesn't like than me, (hmm, well, I can only think of pizza because it is always surprising to me!!). I do know that she is looking forward to being in a place that has a bigger kitchen, so she can cook more. Her kitchen right now is awful. I mean, really awful. I wouldn't cook in there either. So, I look forward to her cooking too. Maybe, even though we're oceans apart, once she's set up she can join me on this journey. Nothing would make me happier!

Indigestion Cure

1 TBS pure honey dissolved in about half a glass of cold water & 1 tsp of tincture of myrrh. 

~ or ~

1 tsp of honey dissolved in a tumbler of cold water, taken with dinner. 


My Grandma, BP's daughter, Phyllis - circa late 1960's?

I procrastinated this morning. Instead of doing the laundry, which has been on my to-do list for a few days now, I decided to make pancakes for breakfast. I was chopping some fruit for my regular quick brekkie and the sun was shining in the window,  and the mango I was cutting looked so luscious and I was reminded of a holiday in Mexico where we picked mangoes from the trees in the garden to eat with the pancakes that came free for breakfast. We would sit in the lovely garden and feel like we were having the time of our lives, free from everything for the time being, eating fresh mangoes & pancakes. Why not today? (Laundry.... it can wait!). 

But, I decided that I wasn't allowed to make my regular pancakes, and that I had to try the ones from the ledger, - feeling that that was being somewhat productive. After all, there must be SO many of you out there reading this, right? I am not just talking to myself. This ledger is important!!! Well, sometimes just doing a project for the projects sake is a good thing, and I must admit, I am doing this as much for me as for you all! It makes me really happy!

So, I set about making the pancakes from BP's Ledger. It called for 3 eggs!! What? My usual recipe has only 1 egg amongst quite a few other ingredients. But, I kept going. The flour part was disconcerting... what kind of batter? Thin? Thick? I started with 1 1/2 cups of flour, which made a sort of thin batter and dropped some in the frying pan. While two little pancakes were cooking I referenced a few pancake recipes, and thought I would add a little more flour to test the difference. Bad Idea!

The first two little pancakes were awesome! They are totally the pancakes I have been striving to make for a long time. They aren't fluffy pancakes like you get in the States. They are thinner, and crisp, and are the perfect style of pancake for lemon & honey, my choice of topping as a kid. 
The rest of the batch, with the extra flour, were ok, but a little rubbery. So, I may even try a little less flour next time to see how that turns out. 

And now, laundry still sitting in the corner of mind, I am telling you about my delicious breakfast! I am thoroughly recommending you treat yourself to a nice breakfast, as if you were on vacation, - pancakes, strawberries and mangoes, oj, earl grey tea and the back issues of your favourite new magazine, Uppercase, which arrived right as I was enjoying my cuppa! (Oh, yeah, husbands are welcome at the table, too!). (Or wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, kids, friends, any sort of person really!) ...


3 eggs
1/2 pint of milk (1 cup)
sufficient flour to make batter (I thought 1 1/2 cups was best)
pinch of salt

~ beat eggs and stir into milk
~ add a pinch of salt & sufficient flour to make smooth batter
~ great with lemon & sugar, or lemon & honey

Tomato Sauce

Herb Truscott (BP's brother), my Mum, Karyn, BP and Keeny Brennan at the Kalgoorlie races circa 1960

Some people really hate condiments , I know. But why? Is it because of all the preservatives? Or just because it changes the taste of something too much? I am not sure, and would love to know people's reasons. I also know people who drown their food in tomato sauce (nb., I am mostly speaking Australian throughout this ledger, to me Tomato Sauce is Ketchup and Pasta Sauce is Tomato Sauce! Just to avoid the cross-country-language confusion that I have often laughed through in the States, this recipe is for tomato sauce / ketchup!). Anyway, drowning things in sauce, yes! I know those people too. I am somewhere in the middle. But, I cannot eat a pie or sausage roll without sauce. It is wrong. They go together like bacon & eggs, coffee & sugar, tea & scones, strawberries & cream. OK, now I have to go make some pies.... YUM!

So, for everyone who likes a bit of sauce, and for those who don't like preservatives (that'd be me, too!), here's some dead 'orse for ya dog's eye!

Tomato Sauce
6 lb ripe tomatoes
1 lb onions
2 oz salt
1 oz garlic
1/2 oz bruised ginger
1/2 oz cloves

~ boil for 2 hours
~ strain through colander

Then add:
1/2 pint vinegar
1/4 lb sugar (I halved the sugar because everything has been tasting a bit too sugary for me!)
cayenne to taste

(I blended the mixture before boiling it again!)

~ then boil again
~ Makes 2  14 oz jars.

I think next time I may leave out the cloves. It tastes good, but it is very similar to the chutney (except smooth!), and I think it would be nice to try a taste that's a little different!