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Favourite Food Memory: When my sister and I were little, we were allowed to choose a special dinner on our birthdays. Every single year we asked for the same thing: Mum's cheese fondue! Buttery, garlicky goodness (and a mountain of cheese!). It might seem a strange choice for a child but we absolutely loved it. The first person to loose their dipped item in the gloop was widely ridiculed, and the whole performance was wrapped up with a fight over the crispy bit burned onto the pan. My favourite fondue vessel has to be either crusty baguette or broccoli (honestly, it's soo good). This is my mum's original recipe, which took a while to find because my sister had stolen the book! So clearly this is still a much cherished (and hoarded) family recipe. Thanks Mum!
Picture this, a warm summers day in my garden and the bees were buzzing. The sweet scent of tomatoes freshly picked from the greenhouse, beetroots dug up and peas popping out of their jackets. The colours were truly amazing. We were set for lunch, we just needed to add lettuce and Feta cheese! We laid the table, and added the daisy chains that we had been making across the centre.
It was delicious.... until I noticed that I had half a caterpillar on my plate! We did laugh until our bellies hurt and I did join in after a while. Sorry caterpillar ....
FAVE MEMORY: This is a NEW memory, if there is such a thing! When I first moved to California (decades ago) I had never seen an artichoke & it was love at first site! Now fast forward 40 years, I’ve returned to CA. & with this move I discovered BABY artichokes....which are now my new favorites, mainly because you can eat the entire delicious thing, & they are DIVINE!!!
Fave Memory - My mother was 5 years old when she left Sweden to come to live in Italy with my grandmother. New life, culture, recipes and a different language, she soon forgot Swedish and grew up like a real Italian girl.
There is a recipe, however, that has helped to maintain a link with her origins and it is the preparation of Pannkakor, or as we call them in our family, the "Pankoka" name invented by my mother child. From my grandmother to my mother, from me and my sisters to our daughters (yes we are all girls! ;) ) the time to prepare and then enjoy the "Pankoka" becomes a small, although simple, event of celebration to our Swedish origins.
Fave Memory for the October HandPicked Design Challenge:
While most Southern hoecakes are small and fried, our family gives the name "hoecake" to a large, fluffy buttermilk biscuit that we bake and then cut into squares. The recipe for this three-ingredient quickbread has been passed down through at least four generations of Virginia mountain women, from my great-grandmother Rosalie who was born in the 19th century, to my grandmother Clelon who grew up during the Great Depression, to my mother Shelley who created the pencil-lettered title for this recipe, to me, who created this illustration in watercolor, pencil, and digital media. Whenever I make a hoecake, I feel connected to my heritage, proud of the women who came before me, and covered in flour. We love to eat hoecake with cozy fall soups or drizzled with honey for dessert.
Mum's tatty old orange notebook, full of scribbled recipes. I never liked chunks of baked apple, but this recipe had the thin slices layered with sugar and water, dissolving the apple into a yummy jam! Swimming in custard. The perfect Sunday pud. Mmmm..
As I drew this, I was a little taken aback by the emotions that came over me. My grandma was, simply put, an amazing person. She was also a really great cook! It always amazed me how she could put perfectly assembled meals together in, what seemed like, such an effortless way. She made carrot soup for me a bunch of times when I lived with her in high school. No matter how tough of a day I had, I’d walk in and the smells whirled around me like a hug and reminded me that I was “home”. It was so delicious and I loved that she made it just for me. She gave me her recipe but, sadly, I can’t find it anywhere - I really hope one day I stumble upon it. Anyway, I found out later that she actually didn’t even like cooking at all, it always makes me laugh because I was certainly fooled. I also always imagine that if she could do something she didn’t even like doing with such grace and perfection, just think what she could’ve done with something she was truly passionate about. When I think of her now, I remember how much she loved my art, even when I made ridiculously awful drawings in high school, you’d never know it by her reaction. She’d tell me, “don’t forget to sign it, I want proof that I knew how talented you were before everyone else did.” I always knew she was incredible, but I didn’t always realize that having that kind of support and encouragement for your passion was as special and, sadly, as rare it can sometimes be. I’m so lucky to have had her in my life.
Pesto by Rikki AsherRego Park, New York, US
I love pine nuts! The only problem is they can be expensive. One reason they are so costly is due to shortages and harsh weather changes, which effect pine trees. In a pinch: Use shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts, or chopped walnuts as alternatives. Pesto is traditionally served as a sauce with pasta. It is also delicious on potatoes, rice, couscous, or spread on a piece of crunchy bread.
Our go-to recipe for roasted asparagus with watercolor illustration by me and hand lettering by my mom Shelley. This is a fun and fresh weeknight side dish that's totally customizable: you can change up the toppings any way you like!