Bessie Pearl, Grandma & Aunty Pam outside house in Scarborough
I love that the girls are all sitting there, outside the house, posing for this photo! It makes me laugh to remember how proud Grandma was of her well-manicured front. This house is on a fairly busy road in Perth, Western Australia - and now (to keep out noise and for a little privacy, I have no doubt) it is hidden by trees and shrubs. After Grandma sold the house, the next owners did that, and Grandma always hated it. I still drive past that house often whenever I am back home, and say to myself "there's Grandma's house". It is on the way to the beach, and on top of a hill. When you come to the top of the hill, there's her house, and then over the hill and you can see the gleaming waters of the Indian Ocean - the first glimpse you get coming from the river. I cannot express the nostalgia I get on that little piece of road, it is sort of like my life comes flooding back to me. Eating fish & chips, catching the bus to town, going for walks, my Pop's tomatoes in the backyard. And later, when I lived very close to that house, the wonderful beach and times with friends, my first love, and an attachment to that road where her house was, that lead to the beach.
I made Mrs Davies' Tomato Chutney the other day, and it gave me the very same sensation as driving past Grandma's house to the beach. As soon as I set it on the stove to boil, the smell (as smell often does) took me back to Grandma. I know she made this. This whole exercise has really brought Grandma to my mind often, and has somehow given me a sense of grounding that I feel I have lost in moving to another country. I am pretty nostalgic and sentimental at the best of times, and have enjoyed 'spending time' with Grandma. Because she is there! I can hear her talking to me, - what she would say to me when I was getting cranky over having to 'mince' fruit without any appliance except for a knife! (MUST invest in a food processor! It took me ages!).
It is wonderful to think that she used to make this chutney which was in her mother's recipe book. Which was written as "Mrs Davies' Tomato Chutney" - who, I am guessing, was my Grandma's Grandma (Bessie Pearl's married name was Davies, so in my imagination Mrs Davies is her mother-in-law? Surely she wouldn't call herself Mrs Davies in her own recipe book? Although I don't know!). It is a really simple recipe, as they all are and, be CAREFUL, it makes A LOT!! I halved the recipe just because I didn't want to carry that many tomatoes home, and I am glad I did. Wow, they weren't messing about in the old days. I have chutney coming out my ears, and it is delicious!! (Chutney, anyone?).
Mrs Davies' Tomato Chutney
8 lb tomatoes
1/4 lb salt
1 cup sultanas
1 quart vinegar
1/4 oz allspice
3 large onions
8 large apples
1 oz white pepper
1 oz cloves
2 lbs sugar
~ put tomatoes, apples and onions through mincer, then put the ingredients in together (in a big pot!)
~ boil for three hours
~ makes a LOT of chutney! You will be giving it away (although it is yummy, maybe you eat a lot of chutney?)