Family food traditions

6 July 2017
Good food doesn't have to be expensive or fancy. Given half a chance, I would gladly live on stew, soup, sandwiches, a few Italian dishes, fish and salad. What could you live on?  One thing I'm looking forward to when our backyard tomatoes are ripe is a simple tomato sandwich on rye bread. I'll add salt and pepper and dash of malt vinegar and I'll be set. Another favourite sandwich is our backyard eggs, boiled, with a sprinkling of parsley, crisp shredded lettuce and a teaspoon of mayonnaise on fresh warm homemade bread.  If I could drink icy lemon cordial or a cup of black tea with my sandwiches I'd be happy.

Here is some of the food we've eaten here recently. It was all cooked from scratch, some of it was grown in our backyard, all of it was very tasty.

This is a simple and easy chicken meal. I cut a whole free range chicken into eight pieces add a little extra virgin olive oil to a baking tray and place the chicken on the tray.  I add a selection of vegetables, they could be any vegetables you have in the fridge or cupboard, sprinkled on salt, pepper, fresh thyme, lemon juice and finish off with homemade chicken stock.  Slowly baked in the oven for about an hour, it makes its own broth and is delicious.

You can add extras like garlic, chilli, or cream in the final sauce, but it doesn't need much more than what is there to be a wonderful dish. I could drink that broth in a cup.

These last two are very similar, just cooked with different cuts of beef and vegetables. Both follow the recipes for my other stew and casserole meals. On a cold winter's day with the wind picking up, there nothing better that having the house filled with these aromas and then sitting down to a meal that is warm and nourishing. These stews are meals that my parents, grandparents and great grandparents would have recognised immediately. I love cooking them to share with my family.

I cook in a very similar way to my parents and grandparents. I think they were taught by their parents and they by theirs.  I often cook for Jamie when he's here and he's always eaten what we eat.  It's only now that he tells me he likes what I cook and that gives me hope that along with all the fine foods his chef parents cook for him and all the food he'll enjoy in the future, he will hold a place in his heart for this simple food too. Carrying on these family food traditions feels right and although I eat and enjoy what my family serves up, including sushi from their shops, it is this food that I have a strong connection with and return to time and time again.