betty crocker

Not all mothers are Betty bleedin Crocker, now are they, and mine certainly wasn’t.  Perhaps if the Bible had recipes us kids might have fared better.  But it doesn’t and that’s a crying shame… note to all Bible publishers, perhaps incorporating “Jesus Junket and other Religious Recipes”, into the good book might have an audience, no?  Anyway, it was an endless menu of mostly inedible, indistinguishable “food type substances” that graced our plates nightly.

What I do remember from the dinners where pretty horrifying, every possible thing boiled to oblivion, scones like rock cakes that could take out a fairly decent sized pane of glass.  White bread, white rice, tinned fruit, jelly, jelly and more flippin jelly, I still to this day do not eat jelly (jell-o),  dry old chops, all kids horror, the ever lurking presence of silverbeetRisoles, which despite this glowing description, certainly didn’t end up this way in our household, they were usually flavorless charred lumps of greasy meat, made with the cheapest ground beef imaginable.  “Bread” we used as soccer balls,  from the alarming amount of yeast used and resulted in loaves so impossibly hard to cut, let alone eat without cracking every tooth in your head and concave birthday cakes that housed massive pools of icing and were completely impossible to cut.

Oh the joy of cooking, where I get it from can certainly not be attributed from these scenarios, but by far my favorite mother use of the oven was when she used it to “dry” our school uniforms.  We didn’t have a dryer growing up and only a wringer washing machine that was so deadly I was completely petrified of it and had massive panic attacks when it was my turn to help with the laundry.  The fear that it would entrap one, or both, of my hands through the rollers, as it was prone to happen when wringing the clothes dry, leaving me with mangled useless limbs  With only one uniform, come Monday morning it had to be dry, which was fine in summer, but when winter rolled around, it and along with our other normal clothes were headed, on baking sheets,  for the oven, patiently waiting their turns.  Inevitably of course I was the only kid in school that sported brown scorch marked, singed clothes.

So the memory scent that I associate with childhood, isn’t one of freshly baked warm cookies waiting to be gulped down with a cold glass of milk, it’s the steaming unmistakable smell of wet wool eventually burning. Don’t try this at home, but in keeping with the wool theme, try this instead…

Roast Leg of Lamb

2 1/2 lb boneless leg of lamb butterflied (get the butcher to this for you, or just hack around the bone)

3 cloves garlic strangled through a garlic press or us these

2 tbsp each of chopped parsley and rosemary

1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp both salt and pepper

Make this into a paste and smear over lamb, bung into a ziplock bag and leave to marinate in refrigerator a few hours, or overnight if your really into cooking in advance.


take out our meaty friend, roll and tie it in intervals, doesn’t need to be neat just to keep the meat all together and so it will cook evenly.  Next prep some veggies…. typically I used what was left, screaming for attention and rattling around in the fridge… you use what you have, or what you like but cut everything roughly the same size carrots, pearl onions or onion wedges, celery root, parsnips, potatoes, all make a fine companions.

Toss veggies in some olive oil, salt and pepper and place with meat on a baking sheet.  Like so.


Roast 375 for about 45= 50 mins, turning once halfway through, until veggies are nicely browned and lamb will be medium/rare.


Like this.  I suppose you’d better make something “green” to go with it…. peas? beans? some other vegetable that’s “good for you”, I made my “go to green”,  sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic.  Which after blanching the broccoli is finished off exactly how it sounds.


Serves 4, or 2 with leftovers for a lamb sammy the next day!!


yes…. bread again.


  1. Posted February 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Now now… a bit harsh! Could it be that you ended up such a fabulous cook not in spite of but BECAUSE of your culinary-deprived childhood? Anyway the mince pie and pizza weren’t so bad, and the only good thing about religious-related eating? The still warm, fresh loaf of white bread from the Tip-Top factory on the way home from church on a Sunday with lashings of butter and ham off the bone AND fish and chips on Sunday night “because its a day-of-rest”!!

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted February 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      oh i had totally forgotten about the hot loaf for chip butties!

  2. Jill
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Wow….are your childhood memories that crappy? What about the fun bits, like making our own Blackberry & Banana jam from the massive blackbery patch in the bush, on slabs of sunday bread. Making our own bread was hit & miss, but we had fun trying??? Scones with Jam & Cream?? Jam Sponges with our own jam? Ok, the main meals where a bit challenging…but then you wouldnt have the Silverbeet story…!

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted February 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      it was supposed to be funny! it is funny!!

  3. shesagoodegg
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    oh my Kiwi mom still cringes about silverbeet. I’m always telling her how great kale, chard, & other leafy greens are, but she’s scarred for life. BTW, I also remember my grandparents in NZ had a ringer washing machine pretty much their whole lives. I remember being fascinated by it as a kid.

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted February 3, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      i swear that ringer washing machine still gives me nightmares.

  4. Jill
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    And I got a damn good giggle out of it!

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