In a letter from Ngaire to Caroline (my mother), written at the Parkway Hotel, Bayswater, London, August 1958
We all have our trials and tribulations to overcome, and it is better for our characters in the end.
All the engagements here are very formal…naming the man first, without fail.
Kindness to each other is a tremendous thing in marriage and makes up for a lot of defects.”
I was going to be clever and talk about home-made making up for any defects in the assorted creams my daughter Alex and I made, but it seemed a bit of a stretch. Besides, the defects were strictly aesthetic – imperfect shapes and smeared jam.
Well, the Orange Crisps were a bit odd.
I’ve written a little about Ngaire and Gerald’s ‘Grand Tour‘ of England and the Continent before. They were away from Christchurch for over five months, during which time my mother Caroline moved into a flat with friends. She talks about this as being great fun and very liberating, but clearly marriage was firmly on my grandmother’s mind, even from a distance. In fact, Mum was seeing my father Stanley by this stage, and agreed to marry him, defects and all, a few months later.
Orange Crisps (Gert Simpson)
4 oz (120 g) butter, 2 oz (60 g) sugar, 1 packet orange jelly crystals, 1 egg, 2 oz (60 g) ground rice, 2 oz (60 g) coconut, 4 oz (120 g) flour, 1 tsp baking powder
Cream butter and sugar. Add jelly crystals then other ingredients.
Put in small spoonfuls on cold greased tray and press out flat. Bake in hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Cool then fill with chocolate icing (or may be left unfilled).
Honestly, more interesting than inspirational.
German Sandwiches (Gert Simpson)
½ lb (250 gm) butter, ½ lb sugar, ½ lb flour, ½ lb ground rice (rice flour), 1 tsp baking soda, 1 teacup milk, 1 tbsp cinnamon, pinch grated nutmeg
Cream butter and sugar. Dissolve soda in milk and add to the mixture. Sift dry ingredients together and fold in. Beat briskly.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes then roll out on floured surface and cut out shapes. Bake in hot oven for approximately 10 minutes.
When cool, fill with vanilla cream icing (see below). Also delicious unfilled – roll the dough out quite thinly to make a crisp biscuit.
Monte Carlos (Australian Women’s Weekly)
6 oz (185 g) butter, ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg, 2 cups flour, 1¼ tsp baking powder, ½ cup coconut, ¼ cup raspberry jam.
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla then stir in dry ingredients. Put in small spoonfuls on cold greased tray and press out flat. Rough surface with a fork. Bake at 180 for about 12 minutes.
Cool and fill with vanilla cream icing (see below) and raspberry jam.
Vanilla cream icing
2 oz butter (60 g), ¾ cup icing sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp hot water.
Beat butter, vanilla and icing sugar until fluffy. Add the water, a few drops at a time, until you are happy with the consistency.