Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
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Monday, March 26, 2007

World's Best Curries - 1

Way back in ancient history when Miss Eagle, dear Reader, was a child bride and bringing up Herself, Himself the Elder, and Himself the Younger with her Dearly Beloved, she learned to cook and knit with the Australian Women's Weekly.

So for many, many years Miss E carted around the country, little recipe and pattern booklets from the AWW until - ten years ago when moving from Tennant Creek to Sydney - she had to make a hard decision to divest. Now the divestment was not total. Miss Eagle kept The World's Best Curries from our Leila Howard Test Kitchen. This rectangular booklet was an insert with the Australian Women's Weekly of 8 March, 1967. It is forty years old!
So this booklet is tattered. The paper now tears easily. Miss E doesn't know how much longer she can continue to use it. So she will have to begin to blog the recipes - even the carnivore ones.
One has to think of the history of food - particularly Asian food. In Miss E's family there were seldom fresh meat curries. Curries were made from left over roast beef and they were the specialty of Buster, Miss E's dad. And, of course, the spicing was simple - Keen's Curry Powder. In fact, the only herbs and spices in the cupboard that Miss E can recall (except those for cake and biscuit baking) were Keen's Curry Powder; Keen's Mustard; and Mixed Herbs. Please note the back cover of the curry booklet - an advertisement by Keen's of their curry powder.
This brings to mind a statement made by Stephanie Alexander at Writers at Como two years ago. In a discussion with Guy Grossi, she said that there was a period in the history of Australian food which was pre-broccoli and post-broccoli. This, if Miss E's memory, serves her well was approximately 1966 and marked the transition from the standard three veg of potato, one yellow (either pumpkin or carrot) veg and one green veg (peas, beans or cabbage) to exotic vegetables like broccoli.
To mark the book's fortieth birthday, Miss Eagle this week prepared the Ceylonese Fruit Curry. Even names have changed! Ceylon is now called Sri Lanka. We no longer say Ceylonese but Singhalese. But we will stick with the name: Fruit Curry - picture from "The World's Best Curries" - Australian Women's Weekly 8 March 1957
Miss Eagle's Fruit Curry

2 large onions
1/2 oz ghee or butter
1 dessertspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of milk
1 slice of fresh or canned pineapple
1 small pawpaw (papaya to those in the U.S.)
2 bananas
1 tart apple
1/2 lime or lemon
1 dessertspoon of desiccated coconut (this is the finely shredded coconut)
1 tablespoon of coconut cream (not easily available in regional Oz in '67 so additional desiccated
coconut was soaked in water to imitate)
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of sultanas
Pinch of pepper or chilli powder
1 teaspoon of currants
Slice onions thinly, heat butter in saucepan, cook onions until golden, stirring occasionally. Add curry powder and milk, cook quickly 5 minutes. Peel papaw, bananas, and apple. Cut all fruit into bite-sized pieces. Squeeze over lime or lemon juice. Add to saucepan with the onions, cook 10 minutes. Add coconut, coconut cream, ginger, sultanas, currants, pepper or chilli powder, and salt to taste; simmer very gently for 1 hour. Serve with boiled rice and border of pappadums.


Cindy said...

It's fascinating to look at food trends from the past, and AWW is such an accurate reflection of what an average Aussie mum would make for her family!

In reply to your comments about ice-cream over on my blog:

An ice-cream maker is certainly a luxury and not a kitchen necessity! Its purpose is to continue whipping the ice-cream mixture as it freezes to make the texture as creamy as possible.

The second-best method is to use an electric beater: whip the ice-cream mixture and freeze for a couple of hours, until it has set but not too hard. Then whip it again with your electric beater and re-freeze. The more times you repeat these steps, the creamier the ice-cream will be.

If you try making ice-cream with this method I'd love to read about it.

Miss Eagle said...

Cindy, thank you for your comments. An awareness of things past is a good thing. You turned a few rusty wheels and cogs in the memory of things past with your instructions about whipping the ice-cream. I remembered my mother doing that. And there were metal trays which came with the fridge in which the ice-cream was placed. Will try. Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted!