I invented a pie for dinner the other evening using Christmas leftovers.
My pie was lightly spiced butternut squash and feta cheese with chilli and garlic wrapped in filo pastry. How middle class is that?! My granny wouldn't have heard of half the ingredients and as for using shop-bought pastry?!
She made the best shortcrust pastry. She taught me the method, told me the exact ingredients and watched as I made it; still it wasn't as good as hers.
Ever since I've felt a fear when called upon to make pastry. Mine's okay but it's not my granny's. But then again maybe I'm looking through rose-tinted spectacles at a past that is partly created from storybooks. That's what I accuse Husband of when he takes his first taste of my Christmas pudding, savours it, allows its flavour and texture to be appreciated before he says, 'It's good ... but not as good as Evelyn's.'
Husband used to work with Evelyn about 25 years ago. A Scot, at Christmas she would take one of her home-made puddings into the office to share with her fellow-workers. Husband has never forgotten these puddings - as he reminds me each year. I say length of time makes the memory sweeter and, just like Princess Diana will never look old, Evelyn's Christmas puddings will only grow in splendour as the years pass.
My granny used to make her own puddings, steaming them for a day in the big old family boiler. Now her puddings were really something ...