One of my most treasured possessions is my Grandmother’s recipe book. I’m not quite sure how this came to be - as Grandchild 17 of 18, I am literally almost at the bottom of the pile. But I somehow managed to get lucky. It’s falling to pieces in a way only the most loved books do - the favourite recipes recognisable by messy tattered pages. Aside from a few recipes taken from magazines or glued in recipe cards, and a couple written by the grandchildren (along with their name and age at the top), the majority of recipes are written in my Grandma’s familiar curly writing, which got a little shaky toward the end as her eyes failed her.
There’s something insanely soothing about baking from this book. On the pages are the recipes which taught me to bake. We spent every Summer holiday staying with my Grandparents, and Grandma and I would spend hours and hours in the kitchen, where she taught me all sorts of things. The recipes themselves can be quite vague - often there are no tin sizes or baking times, but that is part of the fun of working out how she used to do it. Parts of it I remember, parts of it I turn to Mum or one of my Aunties to ask them, and parts of it I just wing it and hope some sort of muscle memory will help me out. And usually they turn out just as I remembered. It’s probably good luck or an educated guess, but I like to think that she’s secretly helping me out - the diamond in my ring belonged to her, so whenever I bake from the book it gets turned around so it is inside my hand, just the way she wore it, my little good luck charm.
Something which was made every year at the start of December was a Christmas Cake. This isn’t quite the one that I remember eating - as Grandma’s eyes got worse, Mum took over the cake making duties, and would opt for a slightly lighter cake, but this is the one I remember making with Grandma when I was very young. According to her book, this was her Mother’s recipe, and it is one of the dirtiest, most used pages of them all.
I had to interpret the recipe a little - there was no method, or indication of what size cake tin to use (Grandma used her Mum’s tin, and it was just ‘the christmas cake tin’), but as soon as I took the first bite, it tasted exactly as I remember, so it must have all turned out just fine.
I am super excited to be sharing this on the Bake From Scratch website today. Head on over there for the recipe!