CWA Classics and assorted extras

8 March 2012

No one enjoys a good cook book more than I do. I'm quite discerning when it comes to which ones I like. Above all the cook must have my respect, the recipes must be home cooking for a home cook and if that is packaged in a well presented and easy to read book, that's it, I'm hooked. When Hanno and I went out for dinner with Jo and Eli in Melbourne last week, Jo presented me with a wonderful gift - the very heavy, hard covered Country Women's Association Classics. 

I loved it immediately.

For our international readers, the Country Women's Association or CWA as they're affectionately known here, is made up of local town groups of country women who learn from each other, provide support and encouragement in their own towns, fundraise for various causes and administer drought funds to farming families when needed. Many a country fair and agricultural show has a CWA tea and scones stall and when people see that CWA sign, they flock to buy because they know CWA cooks are some of the best country cooks in the land. Profits from this book are going to help provide a health worker in rural areas of Australia.

True to form, the recipes, submitted by CWA members all over the country, are tried and true and it's all about the kind of cooking I grew up with. There is a large soup section, baking, main meals, preserves and desserts. This  book  is full of favourite old Australian recipes presented in a modern form for all those cooks who have only recently taken up the rolling pin and whisk, and for cooks like me who love to be reminded of recipes too good to forget.

I was making a lasagne for dinner yesterday and was just about to pick a wooden spoon from my utensils bucket when I noticed mould growing on my rolling pin and spoons. It had even spread to the plastic utensils next to the mouldy, wooden ones. Luckily I noticed it before I plunged the spoon into the meat sauce. I made the sauce using a clean spoon, then cleaned the utensils in the sink with soap, hot water and a cup of vinegar. Even my rolling pin went in and I hate getting that wet. 

Sorry, this mould on the end of the rolling pin is out of focus.


I did a post earlier in the week about how mould started growing here while the house was shut up when we were away. I just wanted to warn readers in humid climates to check their wooden utensils - and leather shoes and bags,  in case  you need to take some swift action just like I did.  When all my utensils are completely dry tomorrow, I'm going to lay them all out on the back verandah table on a clean cloth to sit in the sun for a few hours.

I think I've sent out all the books ordered so far, the book plates will go out today. If you haven't heard from me yet and have put in an order, would you kindly send an email with your details. Thanks.

I'm really pleased to tell you that tomorrow, Sharon will start a swap here. It's been so long since we've done a swap, they're always a lot of fun, and they can help sewing newbies with their skills. I hope you join in. Sharon will have all the details for you tomorrow.

We've been home five days now and the trip away is beginning to fade into a pleasant memory. It's good to be in our home here, surrounded by the familiar, and comfortable and safe despite the rain and crazy weather. I am beginning to think about the cooler months and the projects ahead. There will be some hard cheese made, lots of knitting and crochet, some red work and, of course, the new season garden. We'll start planning that later this week. It's all ahead of us. I hope you are looking forward to your change of seasons too. This is always a great time of year.


  1. I just found your blog and am so happy I did. I feel at home already! Looking forward to browsing around. Like you I am looking forward to the change in season only while you are looking to fall and winter we are going into spring and summer! Well, I'm off to browse, have a great day!

  2. Rhonda,

    Congratulations on your lovely book! I bought a copy last week and love it! There are so many parts of it that resonated deeply with me, and it is fast becoming one of my treasured favourites. Thank you and again, congratulations.

  3. Oh yes.. I ám looking forwart to our next (spring) season! I ordered all kinds of new seeds (fruit and vegetables) and ow how I love a little bit more warmth! ;o)

    Thanks again for the mould-tip. i think I will clean my wooden spoons in advance. Just in case..

    Love to read about the swap tomorrow!

    Love from Holland

  4. Congratulations on your book Rhonda. I am so glad that things went well on your trip. I also love the change of seasons and getting things prepared for the future months. Autumn is my favourite time of year with it's promise of cooler weather ahead.

  5. I received that book for Christmas and love it.
    I think at the moment with the rain and humidity mould will be hard to keep at bay.

  6. Oh, I'm excited about the swap! I'm definitely a sewing newbie, I hope it's something I am confident enough to do.

  7. Rhonda re your mould. Does the fact that you do not suffer alone help?
    We live in an old Queenslander a few hours from you and to keep mould down is a constant battle this time of year.
    My homemade furniture polish includes linseed oil with a mould inhibitor that I saw at Bunnings last year. It seems to have helped with the wooden furniture.

    I have been teaching myself to knit - starting with dish clothes last year and going onto scarves. Yesterday I picked up a Patons Womans Classic Knits booklet at the op shop (50c). This booklet has basic knits and I think I am up to knitting myself a long line vest. I can use it on my walks if it is a bit rough - the dogs won't care. Maybe next winter should be the aim as I'm a bit slow still.

    Let autumn come here also - those slow cooker meals are a favourite here.

  8. Wow the humidity up there must be pretty high this year, we are in Lismore, and it has been very wet and humid here too, but so far no major mould problems, just the usual bathroom etc. Welcome home! I think going away for a while makes you appreciate home even more.

  9. Hi Rhonda, welcome home. I've been a bit distracted from the blogging world due to the arrival of our grandson. Have been thinking of you on your travels.

  10. Hi Rhonda, I've been reading your blog since September and I am hooked!! I love very entry I read and the "you might also like" at the end of the entries is great,I have list as long as my arm of things I want to read!! This is the first time I've written (and I have wanted to for a long time) but I'm very shy even on the net!! But I thought it was time I said hi and thanked you for getting me on the "simple life" road. It has kind of crept up on me slowly and was definitly something I needed but didn't know how or where to start and then I discovered your blog, looking for information on baking bread! It all started with a loaf!! LOL!

    Anyway not to witter on any longer, I'm writing because I would love to participate in the swap, but I live in Spain, and was wondering if I'll still be able to take part?

    Thanks again for all of the wonderful information and inspiration you give,


  11. Ah! CWA (Australia) = WI (UK). I have a wonderful 1954 WI book on wine making which is heaven.
    Hope you beat your mould. Good luck

  12. I also found mould in my kitchen yesterday in a most unlikely place - on the underside of my wooden dining table! One of my children spotted it when they ducked under to retrieve a dropped pencil. So it was out with the vinegar spray to wipe it away whilst trying not to bang my head on the table! It's a place I never thought to check for mould and I've never noticed mould in my kitchen before - now going to check the end of my my rolling pin. Everyone in humid/damp parts will be crawling under tables and pulling out their rolling pins! Thanks for the alert and for the book recommendation. Will check the library for that one as my next planned book purchase is your book Rhonda.

  13. Here in Florida, USA, we are very humid as well! A few weeks ago I pulled out a pair of leather shoes I hadn't worn in about a week, only to find the toes covered in mold! I ended up having to clean most of our leather shoes, yuck!

  14. Would it be possible for you to put up a message Rhonda on how you make your hard cheese? My future son in law is an engineer and he blessed me bymaking me a cheese press :-)
    Karen - NZ

  15. Ha Kate, I've been thinking of you and your new grandson. I hope all is well at your end.

    Curvywitch, yes, the WI and the CWI are very similar. I think the CWA may have been modelled on the WI. Both are great institutions.

    Gayle, welcome! Yes, everyone can take part in the swap. Sharon will have all the details tomorrow.

  16. I was just reading through the CWA Classics I borrowed at the library last night. Lovely, lovely recipes. Truly considering purchasing my own copy. :)

  17. Rhonda I finally collected my book yesterday Down to Earth that was on order at a local bookshop. I simply loved the cover when you were telling us about it a while back however actually opening the book and flicking through it, your designers (Alison) has done an amazing job!!! It is a beautiful home grown book and not daggy and penny pinching ideas. You should be very proud of your book and also I love the way you decicated it to your family. Also Penguin have done an amazing job and they certainly won't regret publishing this book. Congratulations, I'm so excited to have this book and get some time to sit down and read it. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

  18. Rhonda, nice write up about you in The Range News today.
    Have been eyeing the CWA cookbook off I think I may have to buy it. Cant wait to get my hands on your book it looks gorgeous. Congratulations

  19. I bought 'The C.W.A. Cookery Book and Household Hints' WA, while I was visiting, this year. It's just full of wonderful stuff.

  20. Got my copy of your book yesterday! It is beautiful, even more-so in person. It even feels lovely.

    I'm looking forward to digging into it!


  21. A few months ago I received a box of very vintage cookbooks/recipe pamphlets from my aunt. The earliest one is dated 1933. I treasure these as they are recipes for true scratch cooking. They don't call for mixes and cans of this and that. Just true ingredients to make simple, healthy meals. I'd love to see the cookbook you mentioned above!

  22. I received my book last week - all the way here in the US! Shipping was about $15 for those interested. I started it last night and really need to spend more time reading it slowly and thinking about what you are saying. My husband has been coming in from work every night sighing, "I wish I didn't have to wait 8 more years to retire." He is quite good at his job but the pressures are high. I feel so badly for him and also very guilty. The financial rewards are incredibly high if he waits but at what expense to him and his life? Rhonda, how long did it take you to gear up to this simpler life style before you took the plunge and finally said "that's it?" We are both handy and enjoy homemaking and gardening but the idea is scary. Or does one just say "that's it" and step away from what could be? Life IS for living, right?
    Thanks, for everything,

  23. I love CWA recipes, they taste great and always work. Cap'n Dan in Airlie Beach Queensland

  24. Gretchen, I decided to start straight away, but I could do that because we were debt-free. If you have debt, I encourage you to keep going to pay it all off but if you're debt-free, you could be like Hanno and I.

    I didn't have a plan, only a feeling that it was right for us. Luckily that paid off.

  25. Rhonda, your book arrived yesterday. It is even better than I expected (and I expected it to be good!)- everyone has a 'way' that works for them - for some reason your 'way' just fits for me, and I am personally greatful that you took the time to write this book - I can't wait to get in and read it properly.

    It is definitely going to be something I pass down to my kids and I can see it making a wonderful wedding gift for a new bride.

    Good on you!

  26. I've been catching up on some old posts and this hasn't left my kitchen bench for months! Everything I have made from it has been perfect!


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