Monday, November 02, 2009

attica-ruth magazine 18

Tree and Leaf

Tahera remembers Christmas at the Heredias'

"Later that evening Mummy, Ayesha and me went to wish the Heredias a merry Christmas. I love their house and am fascinated by that family- they are the most creative people I've ever met. And uncle is so sweet and warm always.
The whole house wears an exquisite and charming air. Ruth Aunty, Berry's aunt has created the most beautiful nativity scene. A church or cathedral made of white thermocol with small exquisite stained glass windows, painted painstakingly by hand, a tiny crib in the doorway- the tiniest I've ever seen, figures of Mary and Joseph, the 3 kings in their full splendour, shepherds, cattle and sheep, angels in silver and white and the gold star- all put together so charmingly.
The Christmas cake was all frosted and snowy, covered in white icing on which was delicately placed a chocolate Yule log perched on which was the tiniest red breasted robin with a spray of holly near its tiny feet.

On a table nearby stood a Christmas tree- about 1 ft tall made of green icing, looking all soft and pasty with brightly coloured streamers encircling its smooth body with tiny silver balls and presents and pieces of candy.

Around the chocolate trunk stood small presents made from marzipan and icing and right on top of the Christmas tree stood a tiny angel wings spread out in that warm little house of joy and celebration. Everything was altogether so beautiful that I wondered how they managed to eat it later!



[In normal type, information from an old recipe book; in italics, what was done in making the pie in the photograph.]

Photo by Berenice da Gama-Rose

Keep ready for use boiling hot water, and stock (boiled veal shinbone, onions, dried herbs including tarragon & bay leaf, a few cloves of garlic - as it grows in India - & salt).

Small rindless cubes of pork (from over the ribs) (1 kg, but left too much fat in it – avoid this error).

Salt, ground pepper (a pinch of ground nutmeg, some dried sage, & a little sugar) stirred into the pork just before the pastry is made.
Hot-water crust:
12 oz. flour (16 oz. but next time will use 18)
4 oz. salted butter (6 oz./150gms.)
4 tablespoons milk (6 tbsps)
4 tablespoons boiling water (6 tbsps)
In a very large stainless steel vessel, melted the butter and milk & added the water, then added the sifted flour, stirring QUICKLY with a long-handled spoon, to form a ball of dough. When cool enough to handle, BUT NOT COLD nor even just warm, kneaded on a (glass) cutting board until smooth, adding DROPS of boiling water to achieve this.
Set aside 1/3 of dough for the lid, keeping it warm in a covered pan standing in the remaining hot water.
Shaped the rest of the dough into a round 'cake' & put it into a floured cake mould with removable base. With knuckles shaped dough over the base & up the sides, keeping about ¼ inch thickness. - Work QUICKLY & DON'T prick the base. Make sure there are no cracks in the shaped dough.
Pack the pork in firmly & well. Quickly roll or shape the lid & place it, sealing the edges with cold water. With a sharp knife, quickly & carefully cut out a small flap in the centre of the lid & folded it back lightly – so as not to stick to the lid. Brushed lid with beaten egg yolk, (carefully under the centre flap).
Preheated oven (in Indian gas range) at 190C and baked in the centre for 1 hour. Lowered heat to 180C and continued to bake for 1 1/2 hours.
When the pie was nearly cold, carefully spooned in stock through a funnel.
This pie should be refrigerated until required, but kept standing outside the refrigerator until it is only just cool, (not room temperature in India, or the jelly will melt), before eating it.
Photo by Berenice da Gama-Rose
[It should be possible to use this recipe substituting veal or chicken for pork. But the chicken would have to include some fat or some bacon, and require 2 tablespoons of cold water stirred into it along with the seasoning, because chicken meat tends to be dry. Also, the baking time will be different. Veal and chicken both take less time to cook than pork.]

scribendi cacoethes


"Hello. Who's speaking?"
"Whom do you wish to speak to?"
"Who's that? Is it 1234 5678? Who's there?"
"May I know who you are, please?"
And on occasion even so direct a question fails to put the telephonic exchange on to its proper course which should have gone more like this:
"Hello. May I speak to XYZ/ Is that XYZ? This is/ I am ABC."
"Hello ABC ...&c"
It is quite impossible to understand why persons of at least average intelligence, adults whose lives have not been eremitical, should handle this instrument of communication, which is both simple to use and old in usage, in so senseless a fashion.
At the time of writing it would generally be acknowledged that life is largely stressful for most people. Useful though the telephone is, it makes a decided contribution to the ordinary stresses of daily life merely by ringing – in however mellifluous a tone – at what seem like the wrong moments to the harried recipient of the phone call. Some telephones have a device which at least reveals the caller's identity (up to a limit of 50 listed callers). And then it is possible for the recipient to respond with an assumed cheeriness of tone. But more often there is a technical reason why the caller cannot be identified before the call is taken, and then follows the exasperation of being asked by the unknown caller, "Who's that?" - for all the world as if one had knocked on someone's front door at midnight.
Man is clever enough to devise all sorts of ingenious instruments to perform all manner of useful tasks. But vehicle or telephone, men and women who use these devices will seldom, it seems, learn the correct manner of using them.

Ruth Heredia is the originator and holds the copyright to all material on this blog unless credited to some source. Please do not use it or pass it off as your own work. That is theft. If you wish to link it, quote it, or reprint in whole or in part, please be courteous enough to seek my permission.

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