Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Coconut Daintees/Jam Drops (They taste good whatever you want to call em)

I know, I know biscuits again but there is a reason and a story and that will excuse my repetition.  My Mum is a good cook as was my Grandmother.  I named this blog Poor Man's Goose as a tribute to both of them.  Poor Man's Goose is a dish that my Grandmother cooked, often the day before payday when there was very little left in the kitty.  She passed it onto my mother who then cooked it for us, probably for the same reason.  We were a family of nine and the food dollar had to be stretched a loooong way.

Poor Man's Goose is a mixture of sausage mince, mixed dried herbs (must have sage) and  some onion.  You roll it up and roast it and the texture is supposed to resemble that of roast goose which is how it got it's name.  It fills the house with a really savoury, appetising smell as it's cooking and you eat it with mashed potatoes and probably peas and carrots and it's absolutely delicious.  It's a perfect example of the resourcefullness and ingenuity of cooks of that era who often had to make something out of not much.  The fact that they could do that and make it tasty as well was further proof of their skills. 

My Mum was an adventurous cook for her time when you consider it was an era where most families did not own one cookbook let alone a library of them, and ingredients which are commonplace now, were considered exotic then.  She used curry powder, dried herbs, and incredibly parmesan cheese (from a shaker, the smell was almost overpowering).   We ate everything and loved it.  Or most of it.  From the hundreds of different dishes that my Mum cooked I only remember disliking two of them and  that's a pretty good record. 

Her beef stew smelt divine but was ruined by the inclusion of kidneys.  I don't know why she put them in, my Dad must have liked them because I know for a fact us kids hated them.  The few times she made it without kidneys you would have thought it was Christmas.   It was torture because without the kidneys it was delicious so you always lived in hope that being shared between nine people you would sometimes get lucky and miss out.  But noooooo, there was always at least one piece of gristly, rubbery disgustingness that was impossible to hide.  Impossible to hide under nothing that is because that's what we were expected to leave on our plates. 

We did persevere though and one night when a few of us were miraculously allowed to watch TV while we were having dinner (must have been serious family discussion time with the older siblings), my brother collected the kidneys from our plates and buried them in the front yard while we stood guard.  Luckily we had a dog so they wouldn't have been there for long.  I'm sure Mum must have been suspicious because we ate it in record time but maybe the serious conversation distracted her.  I don't remember eating them again after that but I may have just blocked it out.  And no, they're not something I have tried again as an adult, I still don't get why anyone would want to eat them.

The one other dish I remember not liking never made a reappearance simply because it tasted vile.  It was in the 70's when odd couplings were often thrown together with little thought of how they would taste.  This one was minced beef and orange peel.  It wasn't good, it was really bad, sometimes I swear I can still taste it.   Mum put that one down to experience and probably binned the recipe book. 

I think I'm incredibly lucky to only remember two bad meals in the several thousand that my Mum would have cooked.  Some friends say they can't remember any enjoyable meals, either because their Mum's couldn't cook or they ate the same thing week in and week out.  Glad that wasn't me. 

I'm getting to the biscuits.  Like many women of that era, my Mum was also a great baker.  Cakes, biscuits, slices, marshmallow cake (not baked but still delicious) scones, etc. etc.  Sometimes the aunties would come for the weekend and they would spend all of Saturday baking.  Can you imagine what that was like for a kid?  Heaven!  Amongst all of the goodies these biscuits were always my favourite.  I used to sneak them for breakfast - the smell of the combination of coconut, butter and jam was and still is irresistible.  Now when I make them myself there's always a little reel of happy memories playing in  my head. (Super 8 of course!).

 Make them and create your own happy memories.

Thanks for the recipe and all of those good meals Mum.
 Happy Birthday.

Coconut Daintees

One and a half cups of SR flour
4 tablespoons coconut
Three quarters cup caster sugar
125g butter
1 egg beaten
Extra coconut for rolling
Raspberry or strawberry jam

Rub butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Mix in the sugar and coconut and then the beaten egg.
Roll into small balls and roll in extra coconut.  Place on a greased tray and allow room for spreading.
Press a hole in the top of each (the end of a wooden spoon is good), and fill with a small amount of jam.
Bake in moderate oven (180celsius) for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven when still a bit soft.  Cool for a few minutes on trays and then remove to a cake rack.

Enjoy at anytime!