She was the matriarch. Small in stature, but respected. Strong but always gracious. Brought up five children and took her wayward husband back years after being abandoned for a younger woman. Like her own mother before her, she lived well into her 10th decade, only really succumbing to the inevitable frailty of old age in the final years.


Taking her role as grandmother seriously, she was the one who introduced me and my brother to the arts. The only time I ever visited the Festival Theatre (home of cultural arts, stage and music in my home town) was to see the movie “Annie” with her as a young kid. She also took us to see a children’s theatre production (something about mouldy bread is all I can remember); another introduction to “culture” and one of very few ‘grandma dates’, as for most of our growing up years we lived interstate and overseas.


But as a teenager, separated from my parents for a year, I stayed with her one Easter weekend. Made myself sick on chocolate Easter eggs, and did some cooking. She must have caught on pretty quickly that I liked baking. I came away from that weekend with some of her favourite recipes written in spidery letters on paper, and what better way to remember her than to make these treats? Perfect for making during a heat wave, when it’s too hot to bake but you really need something to appease that sugar craving.

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Apricot Chews
Makes about 30

As with all recipes calling for dried apricots, my tip is to use the local version rather than the cheaper Turkish apricots. The flavour is incomparable!

1 cup (4 oz) diced dried apricots
½ cup water
½ cup honey
2 oz blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange rind
1 teaspoon lemon or orange juice
1 cup skim milk powder
1 tab wheatgerm or sesame seeds
½ cup sultanas
½ cup coconut
Extra coconut, for coating

Combine apricots, honey and water in a small saucepan. Simmer 10 mins. Do not drain.

Blend in powdered milk, almonds, orange rind and juice, sesame seeds, coconut and sultanas. Leave to cool a little.

Divide mixture into three portions and roll into logs. (Mine seemed too soft for that, so I rolled them into balls instead). Roll in coconut.

Cut into 5mm slices after chilling.

Try not to eat them all at once!

Also found at Best Recipes

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