I’m just me

I am third generation British.  My grandmother emigrated to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) from Yorkshire, England in 1951. My mother was born two years later in Pretoria, South Africa. My grandmother’s whole family emigrated from England at that time so all my cousins, aunts and uncles were always around me. My father’s family also emigrated from England to Rhodesia but much further back, in the 1800’s. Those are some very interesting stories like how a chest of tea lasted them 7 years!

I have a huge family and this is just one side. My father came from a family with 8 children. When I was born we made the papers as I was the 5th generation born, female (I still am 🙂 ). Some of the recipes I share go back to my great, great gran, like the stew with scone pastry topping. I still have memories of her. When she died we lived in Rhodesia and that was when my great aunt went back to the UK until she died when she was 92.

The British emigrants first started off in Rhodesia then ended up in South Africa. My mother went back to Rhodesia where she met my father and that is where I was born, in Bulawayo. When I was 5 we emigrated to South Africa and I grew up here and remain here still. That was in 1976.

I have had a huge British influence on my life. Most of my cousins have gone back there on Ancestral visas. This resulted in me being taught to cook the British way. The cuisine I make is greatly influenced by the British way of cooking. I have also been influenced by the South African way of cooking. So I guess you could say I make fusion food because I combine the two.

I was brought up on bacon butty’s and chip butty’s with brown sauce (HP Sauce) yum, yum, yum (I will post those recipes soon, then you will know what those are). Sunday roasts too and English breakfasts which always included fried bread and brown sauce.  What a terrible diet! Things have changed.

I distinctly remember my great aunt baking every Friday for the week ahead. She had an orchard in her back garden of oranges, apples, peaches and I can’t remember what else. She never washed any of her baking pans and nothing ever stuck to them. She just wiped them clean. She swore this is what contributed to her brilliant baking. They were as black as ever but they didn’t seem dirty. I know this sounds terrible but that is the way they did it back in her day. No-one ever got sick. It was bizarre.  Note to the side…. I do wash my baking pans and all my baking utensils and I keep a very clean kitchen!

My aunt (Aunty Sarah) was born in 1902. She died when she was 92. Her mother died when she was 91. There is great longevity in my family.

Aunty Sarah never had any children. She did have a baby boy who died when he was 18 months old from bronchitis. They came to take him to the hospital and she wasn’t even allowed to go with him. Things were so different back in those days. She always told the story of watching him wave goodbye to her from the window of the ambulance.  That is the last time she saw him. How terrible!

My Aunty Sarah always looked after me and my cousin, born 4 days before me, when we were babies. She loved children.

Now you know where my cooking inspiration, and experience, comes from. Another great influence and cooking inspiration for me is Jamie Oliver. I love his cooking and his way of cooking and a lot of the time I have adapted my recipes around his tips, like the Yorkshire pudding one. My greatest desire is to one day cook with him!  I always set high goals.

We ‘feud’ (friendly of course and there is always something delicious to eat in the end) in my family over who makes the best Yorkshire puddings.  I think my great Aunty Ethne currently is the best at that. She is 87 this month. She lives in Pretoria with my cousin. I will explain all about Yorkshire puddings in my post of the recipe. Look out of it. We ate gluten-free ones with our Easter Sunday roast.

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