I was reading a lovely recipe by one of my favourite on-line cooks, Ozlem Warren, semolina halva with pine nuts, irmik helvasi… it looks delicious so I will be trying it, probably at the weekend. When Ozlem shared it, she mentioned that she remembers a very dear aunt with this recipe, and I thought how often I think of family, and friends, who have died, when I cook particular things, and how it is a little tribute to them each time, a commemoration of their lives, and the happy times we shared.
Recently I wrote about lemon drizzle cake, and shared my mum’s recipe, and the slightly different version that her sister, my aunty used to make. I can’t make it, eat, or even read or think about it without thinking of them, and what wonderful people they were, and the happy memories of them. With Christmas coming, a time always associated with family occasions, meals together, treats and surprises, there are so may things I cook and make which have a resonance with dear people who have died. Gravy… something as apparently simple as gravy, I always associate that with my dad and my mum, both fine gravy makers – I can never quite capture the deliciousness of their gravy in my version… and a friend of my dad’s who was on his own and was invited round for dinner, ‘Lovely gravy, matey!‘ he exclaimed, using a spoon to finish it up.
Several years ago, my husband and I produced a family cookery book, and every recipe was one from parents, cousins, aunties and uncles… and at that time, some of the older generation were still with us… now there are only my cousins left, and every time I open the little book, thoughts and reminiscences fly off the page! Aunty Beryl’s Lamb Hot Pot, Mrs Walder’s Fluff, Aunty Audrey’s Italian Slices, Uncle Sid’s Chocolate Cake, my Mum Monica’s Melting Moments… Even as I write the names of the recipes, I remember… in a way it is honouring them, and I know they would be so pleased to be remembered in this way!
If you want to cook some delicious semolina halva, irmik helvasi, have a look at Ozlem’s page: