Her name is Merle Parrish and she was a 78 old woman when she appeared on Masterchef who started competition baking from the age of 7. Over the years she won many Country Women's Association cooking contests. Most Australian homes would have had a CWA cookbook or two in their house or at least one from a similar type of organisation. Even if they don't have one now, either their mother or grandmother would have.
Merle was invited to Masterchef to represent the Country Woman's Association and was given the chance to compete against one of the Masterchef contestants. For her Masterchef appearance, Merle cooked her Peach Blossom Cake and won! From there, this cookbook was born.
Here is a look at the Peach Blossom Cake recipe Merle cooked to win the challenge:
This cookbook is chock full of classic recipes - sponges, puddings, biscuits, cakes and scones. There are no fancy flavour combinations or overly chef-fy techniques just honest cooking that will be useful in any home. In fact, this book would make an excellent gift if you have youngsters moving out of home for the first time who want a good variety of different types of recipes from Never Fail Spongecake to Banana Slice to Jam Drop biscuits and much more!
I probably wouldn't really have even looked twice at this cookbook in the shops except for the fact that Bree bought it, and then made a recipe from it which she was very impressed with. I have been trying to suggest to Bree that she should post about it as a Weekend Cooking post, but it hasn't happened yet. I am pretty sure however that I am going to buy this cookbook next time I am in the bookstore because there are lots and lots of recipes that I can see myself making at some point in the future.
This week I have to take cake to work and I am thinking that I might make the Bung-in Chocolate Cake from Kate Bracks' book and from this book I am going to make Raspberry Slice (recipe below). Actually, I don't have to make cake. I could buy them and that might end up happening yet, but if I am going to make anything it will be these two recipes.
90g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
1 tspn vanilla essence
2/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup white sugar
2 cups dessicated coconut
1. Preheat oven to moderately slow (160 celsius). Grease a 28x18cm (base measurement) slice tin and line with baking paper, hanging over the two long sides.
2. Use electric beaters to cream the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together until white and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Mix in the sifted flours, and press evenly into the tin, using the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake for 15 minutes.
3. Spread jam over the base. Combing the topping ingredients and spread over the jam. Bake for a further 20 minutes until golden. Cool, then cut into squares to serve.
*Jam being the equivalent to jelly in the US I believe.