Grand Dishes spends a day with each grandmother,
capturing recipes that have been perfected over a lifetime.
“My family comes from the north of Spain, which is where this recipe comes from. In my hometown of San Sebastian, the ladies of the house were supposed to cook very well, otherwise they were completely disgraced”.
“I’d go with my grandfather, father and siblings to pick berries in the forest. We’d fill two huge pails with wild blueberries, seal them in glass jars and then boil the jars in hot water to make a jam for blueberry pierogis.”
“Food is important. It’s like fuel to a car but we shouldn’t be too obsessed about it. As long as you have something to eat, that’s the important thing”.
“The verb 'escabechar' in Spanish simply means to cook and preserve in vinegar, which I like to do a lot, but using only very good quality Spanish vinegar”
“The most esteemed guest to have eaten my Peroshkis at a luncheon is Margaret Thatcher, who was perfectly charming. This recipe goes back very far. My mother was Russian and she taught me to make Peroshkis.”
When Tim (my husband) and I lived in Uganda in the late 1950s, we’d have this Peanut Chicken stew almost every week. He was a doctor over there and I delivered Iodine oil capsules to remote villages.
“Bobby my son-in-law is always asking me to make him a pie. I’ve had strict instructions not to make him any more though, because of the weight issue. I’ve been making this as far back as I can remember. I don’t actually remember not making it, but it is a bit of an East London dish.”
“I haven’t bought a loaf of bread in 40 years or a jar of jam. I think it’s important for a mum to know how to do all of these things.I learned how to do preserves. I also learned how to rear and butcher a pig.”
“If I don't like someone's food, I wont eat it. The day before yesterday, my friend told me, 'my curry is the best' I said NO! My curry is best! I don't want to eat your curry.”
“My grandmother used to make this orange tart. It’s her recipe and I learned to cook it in her kitchen along with all my aunties.”
“I was once invited to dinner by an Austrian lady who thought she knew everything about food and she told me to really enjoy a schniztel properly, you just have a nicely dressed salad with it.”
We would hang our herbs to dry out in the sun and my favourite smell was always that of oregano.