500 g butter
Eating dad's homemade bread in front of the gas fire in the sitting room. Hot bread and cold, cold butter.
1 cup sugar
Using the coffee grinder part of the blender to turn granulated into castor sugar.
The sweet scent of the twisted black vanilla pod in the old coffee jar full of sugar for baking.
Sugar on buttery toast as a treat.
1 tin condensed milk
Dad making condensed milk sandwiches on soft white bread, and us giggling as it dripped down our chins.
Scraping out the last scraps of sweet, sticky condensed milk from the bottom of the tin.
5 cups SR flour
The pleasing soft thump of flour as mum pours it into the bowl, and the silky coolness of it under my fingers.
Mum guiding me as I rub in lard and butter to make pastry, her fingers cold next to mine.
Cream butter and sugar
Gold turning to white in the old orange mixing bowl, and the sound of the electric beaters on the hard plastic, as mum captures the last scraps of butter and sugar.
Dad showing me how if you over-whip cream it turns into tiny golden grains of butter, hard won but tasting so much better than anything from a shop.
The strange glass contraption that makes butter into substitute cream.
Stir in condensed milk and flour to make a firm dough
Scraping the bowl after mum made cakes.
Wrapping my tongue around the not quite sharp edges of the rotary whisk, the one with the burgundy Bakelite handle and the crack that pinches an unwary palm.
Roll into balls and press with a fork, or freeze in rolls and slice
The sound of the knife on the Pyrex plate rim as mum trims the excess pastry, and the indentations left by her first finger and thumb as she crimps the edges to seal the pie tight. Two slits in the centre to let out the steam.
Making jam tarts and little pasties with the scraps of pastry left over.
Cook at 170-180 degrees for about 12 minutes
Mum putting half a Victoria sponge in the freezer and Dad complaining that we only ever got a round cake when we had visitors.
The house filling with the smell of warm sweetness on a Saturday afternoon.
Writing short fiction, monologues and plays