From Ngaire’s journal 1 st July 1961
This evening we went to a drive-in cinema which was a novelty for us. Gerald heated bricks in the oven and wrapped them in newspaper and these together with hot-water bottles and rugs kept us warm.”
Ngaire wrote this here in Melbourne. She and Gerald came to visit my parents who had just bought their first home, in Hilton Street Mount Waverley. I imagine that Christchurch didn’t do drive-ins due to the weather, too cold, so it would have been a novelty, though if the 1st July 1961 in Melbourne was anything like today it would have been absolutely freezing.
I saw Dr Zhivago at the drive-in as a child. Well, some of it anyway. My brother and I were meant to be sleeping in the back of the family station wagon, but of course we weren’t. Every time Dad realised we were watching he’d reach back and try to whack us. Never even took his eyes off the screen. The drive-in was in Horsham but it might as well have been the Urals it was so cold, and I don’t remember any warm bricks. It did create a sense of atmosphere though, the cold and Dad behaving like a KGB lieutenant. I can’t remember, but Mum may even have been wearing a fur hat. She certainly had one – it’s in the kid’s dress-up box now.
Anyway, the point is that here in Melbourne we’re having a proper winter. It’s very cold (especially for those of us who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk) and very wet, and except for the obvious sartorial benefits (coats, scarves and gloves), it’s really a bit miserable. Given that it’s Sunday night, another pudding seems the best idea, and is certainly what Ngaire would have suggested. This one’s baked in the oven, so you can pop a couple of bricks in at the same time and save on your heating bills.
Peel, core and slice 4 large apples. Place in saucepan with 2 tbspns water, cover and cook until just soft. Put aside.
(Ngaire’s recipe doesn’t include the apples, but I think it needs fruit. Pears would work well too.)
Sift 230 gms flour, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground ginger and ¼ tsp ground cloves into mixing bowl. Add ¾ cup sugar.
Mix or rub in 90 gms softened butter until the mixture is crumbly.
Put a third of the mixture in greased baking dish. Pat out evenly.
Mix ¾ cup hot water with ¾ cup golden syrup and 1 level tspn baking soda.
Pour half the liquid over the mixture in the dish. Add a layer of cooked apples then cover with remaining crumbs. Spoon over the rest of the liquid.
Bake 45 minutes in moderate oven (170 C).
Serve with cream or ice cream and remind yourself that putting on a winter pelt is just plain sensible.