As a kid, trips to my grandparents’ house would be excitedly anticipated. They lived on a farm, so there was freedom to run a muck! But there were also tractors to drive, motorbikes to ride (and not fall off), cattle to herd, horses to hang out with, dogs to pat, yabbies to catch, picnics to be had, paddy melons to roll down hills and smash (Google it), and kangaroos to spot, just to name a few. No wonder we looked forward to these holidays! Besides, we would finally be able to see our grandparents, who no doubt, we hadn’t seen for 12 months or so.
But of course, one of the most exciting parts of this trip for us littlies (particularly me) was the food: the never-ceasing array of good-quality, typical grandma-style food. To begin the day there was a hearty breakfast (though this was basically always Weet-Bix and maybe a banana if you were quick!), followed by morning tea about an hour later which always included a home-baked snack like slice or ANZAC cookies or jam drops. Then there was lunch; a proper sit-down “help yourself to cold-meats” style lunch. Between lunch and dinner you wouldn’t be chastised for helping yourself to something in the fridge or pantry, but of course you couldn’t fill up too much because before dinner there was cheese to be had (with whisky, of course). And then there was dinner, a proper country-style (generally a roast) dinner with all the trimmings, plus dessert, which always included ice cream. And of course, tea was served with basically every meal. So it was luxury, absolute luxury!
And so, my brilliant grandmother, always cooking and baking for all those times in the day that we ate(!!), had a couple of particular baking recipes that she circulated – and she did that because they were great! And here’s just one of them.
Makes around 20 pieces | Allow 45 minutes
125g unsalted butter, melted
185g brown sugar
1 large egg, or 2 small eggs
1 cup dates, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla
- Line a 23 x 15cm baking tray with foil or baking paper and preheat oven to 160C fan-forced.
- Combine butter, sugar and egg in a large bowl and mix well.
- Add dates and vanilla, followed by flour and stir until combined.
- Pour into tin and smooth the surface.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until nicely browned – the inside will still be gooey, but don’t worry, it’s important that it is gooey!! If it’s not gooey, it’s terribly overcooked.
- Remove from the oven to cool. Slice once cooled and serve at room temperature.