Cook book is a culinary trip down memory lane

Residents, family members, staff and volunteers linked to a Cork nursing home have contributed to a wonderful cook book, writes CHRIS DUNNE
Cook book is a culinary trip down memory lane
Residents Anne Fleming, Helen Buckley, Maura Bitton and Stella Grogan with Abby Rice from KYSS pictured at the launch of the Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery Book in aid of Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS) at a cookery demonstration in Haven bay Care Centre.Picture. John Allen

WE all remember the warm brown bread our grannies used to make, the magic aroma of freshly baked scones stick in our memory. Licking the wooden spoon after a job well done and watching the Kerrygold butter melt into the bread straight from the oven before our very eyes... it conjures up fond childhood memories.

“We all like to taste food and eat it,” says Deirdre Mullins, Activities Co-ordinator at Haven Bay Care Centre in Kinsale.

“Food is all about people and it has the power to bring everyone together. Cooking and baking is both physical and mental therapy. Like art, cooking is creativity.”

It was a natural choice, then, for those connected to the Kinsale nursing home when seeking a project to bring people together.

“When the residents’ forum discussion group were mooting ideas to mark our 10th anniversary in October, 2007, the prospect of a cookbook full of favourite recipes from residents, their families, staff and volunteers was a very popular choice.”

Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery Book is a celebration of the lives of the residents and staff over the past 10 years. All proceeds from the sale of it will go to Kinsale Youth Support Services; KYSS.

Formed in 2010 in response for the need to provide support and services to young people and their families in Kinsale and its surrounding areas, KYSS is a volunteer-led organisation comprising of representatives from the community, including JLO Garda, GP’s, teachers, counsellors, HSE, members from the community volunteer sector and local business people. And most importantly, the young people in the area.

Deirdre, a keen cook herself, prompted everyone enthused by the cookery book idea to recall the joys of gathering round the family table, the hub of the home, a meeting place, the source of sustenance, nourishment and satisfaction, during the fortnightly Ready Steady Go! cookery demonstrations that the residents at Haven Bay Care Centre enjoy.

“Appealing to the sensory concept, where you can smell, taste and see, stimulating the senses, can evoke wonderful memories for people,” says Deirdre.

“Like the strong distinct smell of tobacco or shoe polish, berries, lemon zest, elderflower, herbs, and other food ingredients can trigger lovely memories of the joys of cooking and of sharing food.”

The trip down memory lane was enjoyed by all.

“Reminders of the rolling pin for baking and the apron got people remembering and chatting about their favourite cakes and dinners,” said Deirdre.

Haven Bay Care Centre’s Cookery Book is a collection of recipes from 2007 to 2017, and it is a treasure trove of classics. The colourful jam jar on the cover tempts us to browse its silky pages, finding Sunshine in a Jar on page 23; Nan Burke’s apple conserve.

“Nan, and other people like Sr Sheila, who was with us for five years, loved the traditional recipes,” says Deirdre.

Sr Sheila was a lover of cheese.

“Sr Sheila loved cheese,” says Deirdre. “She was a coeliac, and when she discovered gluten-free ingredients; she was delighted with herself.”

The residents of Haven Bay Care Centre thought the cookery book would be a wonderful way to show their appreciation and support to the younger people who regularly visit and bring such joy to their lives. Wasn’t that a lovely gesture?

Resident Stella Grogan with head chef Par Karph and Abby Rice from KYSS pictured at the launch of the Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery Book in aid of Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS) at a cookery demonstration in Haven bay Care Centre.Picture. John Allen
Resident Stella Grogan with head chef Par Karph and Abby Rice from KYSS pictured at the launch of the Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery Book in aid of Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS) at a cookery demonstration in Haven bay Care Centre.Picture. John Allen

“We had six suggestions on what charity could benefit from the sale of the cookery book. The general consensus was that the young people deserved to be supported because they support us.

“The secondary school is next door and the teenagers visit the residents regularly, and they volunteer here. Some of the students took part in an ‘Adopt a Granny’ scheme which was lovely,” says Deirdre.

“Many of the TY students do their work placement at Haven Bay Care Centre, or undertake their Gaisce programme.

“We love when the Comhaltas group come to entertain us, providing music and song. So we have a huge connection with the young people of the community. There are 36 apartments across the road. Our neighbours were keen to contribute to the cookery book too,” says Deirdre.

Over the past 10 years, Haven Bay Care Centre has had the privilege of sharing the lives of amazing people.

“Some are still with us and some no longer,” says Deirdre.

“We asked residents, their families, staff and volunteers to share their recipes with us. When we decided to do the cookery book; we needed a mix.”

The young people of today are the future of tomorrow.

“We are all aware of the challenges young people face today,” says Deirdre.

“Sergeant James O’Mahony visited us to give a talk on mental health and youth, bringing home to us that support for young people is vital.”

It was vital that everyone was on the same page, willing to get involved, sharing fond memories of favourite recipes and evoking wonderful memories.

“Our first resident to reach 100, Anne Garde, worked for a doctor’s family in England,” says Deirdre.

“Her family had Anne’s hand-written recipes for jams, cakes and preserves.”

Anne’s Malt Loaf is easy and simple to make, the raisins adding zesty richness. Young and old alike can enjoy making the malt loaf.

Director of Care, Yvonne McCarthy, got on board, providing a favourite recipe from another great lady who was a dab hand at creating the fabulous traditional fruit cake.

Freda Moffet was also a character who liked going against the grain.

“She loved eating loads of chocolate and she smoked!” says Yvonne.

“Freda was a spirited lady and she was great fun too.

“When I bought Freda’s fruit cake at one of our Christmas fairs I put it in the freezer.

“When I took it out and tasted it I thought I had died and gone to heaven,” says Yvonne.

“It was similar to a light Oxford Lunch cake, but nicer! When I make the fruit-cake, every single time I think of Freda.”

Resident, John Ahern is another fan of sumptuous cake. His mother’s coffee cake was the Queen of cakes.

“I remember the lovely smell of fresh baking that greeted you in the kitchen coming in the front door,” say John.

Haven Bay head chef Par Karph pictured at the launch of the Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery BookPicture. John Allen
Haven Bay head chef Par Karph pictured at the launch of the Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery BookPicture. John Allen

“My first cousin used to travel miles to visit us in Cork city to eat my mother’s baking! Her coffee cake with butter icing holding it together and icing on the top, using real vanilla essence was magnificent.

“She baked bread every day. The larder was full with an array of delicious jams. She made wonderful apple tarts which were delicious, hot or cold.”

Maura Whelton, from Wilton, who is also a resident at Haven Bay Care Centre, knew how to put a hot meal on the table with the greatest of ease.

“I married a farmer and I cooked tender cuts of beef making a brown stew for him and the work men on the farm,” says Maura.

“The dish was tasty and nutritious and very handy.”

Maura’s dinner staple served another purpose.

“I cooked the brown stew in the oven very slowly. Then I went off into town and dinner was ready when I came back!”

Maura, using the tender lean beef from the Whelton livestock, went the whole hog.

“I threw in everything!” she says.

Elma O’Donovan, from Inishannon, Ambassador of Residents Forum, liked cooking up a storm when she acquired an Aga Cooker.

“I loved baking and I could whip up brown bread and fruit scones with buttermilk in an instant for the family,” says Elma.

“I used recipes from the book that came with the Aga.

“My Date and Walnut cake was a firm family favourite.

“There was great cutting in the cake and it went a long way around the table!”

Resident Chefs, Par Carpf, from Switzerland and sous chef, Marek, from Poland, got a look into the melting pot of delicious recipes too.

“My grandmother, Helen, was a very good cook,” says Marek, who shares Granny’s Yeast Cake recipe in the cookery book.

“As a child I watched her bake with love and with patience,” adds Marek.

He watched and learned from a master chef.

“Together we watched the yeast rising and I watched my grandmother make light buttery pastry. It is a lovely memory to have.”

All these wonderful memories and lovely recollections from people have created a unique cookery book for a worthy cause. Priced at €10, the cookbook is available from Haven Bay Care Centre.

It is a keepsake compiled by wonderful people to treasure and to pass on for our future ge.

A cheque for €1,250 was presented to KYSS by the residents and staff of Haven Bay Care Centre last month.

Resident Anne Fleming with head chef Par Karph and Abby Rice from KYSS pictured at the launch of the Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery Book in aid of Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS) at a cookery demonstration in Haven bay Care Centre.Picture. John Allen
Resident Anne Fleming with head chef Par Karph and Abby Rice from KYSS pictured at the launch of the Haven Bay Care Centre Cookery Book in aid of Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS) at a cookery demonstration in Haven bay Care Centre.Picture. John Allen

A WORTHY CAUSE

Sgt. James O’Mahony, Chairman of Kinsale Youth Support Services, says the cookbook was a lovely thought to help support the vital services that KYSS provide for young people in Kinsale and in surrounding areas.

“It was a lovely thought and much appreciated,” says James.

“The amount of work, detail and preparation that went in the cookery book was amazing.”

James says the proceeds from the book go to good use for the community.

“Since KYSS was set up in 2010, we recognised the difficulties of mental health issues and the difficulty in accessing counselling due to waiting lists and affordability,” says James.

“We approached a group of 12 counsellors in Kinsale and Cork who kindly agreed to drop their fee so that the client could afford to avail of vital counselling.

“Typically the fee could be €70. The counsellors accept what the client can afford, €20 or €10, making the service much more available to the people who couldn’t afford it previously. We then add €40 to that fee from the KYSS funds to pay the counsellor.”

The scheme has proven to be highly successful.

“It has had a significant positive effect in the last four or five years,” says James.

“And it is working very well, having a great effect on people’s lives.”

Young and old alike can benefit.

“We started off with 15 to 25 year olds,” adds James. “But anybody can be in crisis. We don’t turn anybody away who comes through the door looking for help.”

Try them yourself — here are two recipes from the cookbook

Fruit Cake by Fred Moffet

Ingredients

1lb sultanas

8oz soft margarine

10oz self raising flour

4 eggs

4oz cherries and handful flaked almonds (optional)

Few drops of almond essence

Method:

  • Cover sultanas with water and bring to boil and then strain.
  • Cream margarine and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Add flour and ground almonds and fold into the mixture.
  • Add hot sultanas and almond essence.
  • Add cherries — cold (optional).
  • Pour mixture into two parchment lined tins.
  • Sprinkle flaked almonds on top (optional).
  • Cook at 160C for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  • Cool in the tin.

Sunshine in a Jar — Apple Conserve by Nan Burke

Ingredients

Cooking apples

Preserving sugar

½ oz butter to each lb of fruit

2oz preserved ginger

1 lemon to each lb of fruit

Method:

  • Peel, core and slice the apples.
  • Weigh and allow 1lb of preserving sugar to each lb of fruit.
  • Put the fruit into a double saucepan with the butter.
  • Add ½ lb of sugar to each lb of fruit and cover.
  • Fill the lower part of the saucepan with water and boil until the fruit is tender.
  • Pass it through a sieve or jelly-bag and turn into a preserving pan.
  • Add the rest of the sugar the grated rings and the strained juice of the lemons.
  • Boil until it thickens.
  • Stir frequently. Pour into warm dry jars and cover closely.

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