Nana no hats: Corrie’s nanalicious recipes from yesteryear, 108pp.
recipes by Corrie Lee and edited by Ita Buttrose
CorriLee Foundation, Edgecliff NSW, 2013
Cooking on page 32
In 2008, Tanya Lee started the CorriLee Foundation to stage major events and charitable fundraisers that try to bring together existing charities.
The foundation is named for her paternal grandmother, Corrie Frances Lee. Sadly, that grandmother died this year just before her 97th birthday.
This cookbook is in support of the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation. All the recipes are by grandmother, Corrie Lee. And the title’s reference to ‘no hats’ means that nana’s ‘restaurant’ doesn’t have, or need to have, hats or stars to indicate quality.
Page 32 is in the chapter called ‘Nana’s specials’. Damper is an Aussie classic.
2 tbsp butter
¾ cup milk
2 cups self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
Pre-heat oven to 200°C and grease a baking tray with oil spray.
Melt butter in a saucepan and add the milk.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in milk. Mix with a knife to form the dough.
Turn on to a lightly floured board. Dust top of dough and hands with flour. Lightly knead and shape into a round. Place on baking tray.
Bake for 25–30 minutes until the top is golden brown.
How it played out
I made this damper exactly as written. I even mixed the dough with a knife. In the notes, Tanya Lee said she had no idea why her ancestor did it this way when she was growing up. I don’t either, but I stirred it with a knife anyway.
Lee also recalled that her grandmother baked the damper in the hot coals and ashes of an open fire. I have an open fireplace and a wood stove, but I made this during the summer months, so had no interest in firing up anything except the electric oven.
I took this bread, as well as a batch of minestrone soup, to a friend’s house for lunch. Tam (my friend) has just had her second child and her folks were visiting to support her for the first month. I thought it was a nice way to catch up, with them not having to do too much more than set the table. (I also took a couple of cheeses and a loaf of my homemade rye sourdough bread).
The breads and soup (not a page-32 recipe) were great successes. We demolished all of it. I was especially surprised by how cake-like the damper was. Lovely texture and colour, and oh-so delicious with soup.
This will become my go-to recipe when I need bread in a hurry. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I usually make bread with sourdough starter that takes up to 14–18 hours to mature to the baking stage. This quick fix was very helpful and tasty for me.
Finding new varieties and flavours of bread is one of the joys of our far-flung travels. Have a look at this small bakery—most likely run by mother and son—on a back street in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.