I've been going to make Golden Syrup Dumplings for MR. HRK for a while now, definitely one of his faves, and when I saw Maggie Beer make a guest appearance on journalist Annabel Crabb's recent TV show, "Back in Time for Dinner", broadcast on the ABC here in Australia over four Tuesday nights, I couldn't put it off any longer. I've made Golden Syrup dumplings a few times in the past, always delicious, but I thought I would try Maggie's recipe this time. Yes I'm quite a fan of Maggie Beer, show me someone that isn't.
Watching this series was quite nostalgic in a way for our age group as we found ourselves reminiscing over the various pieces of kitchen and garden equipment that we remember from our childhood days. Not during the wartime era I hasten to add, we definitely weren't around then or even thought of, however by the 1950's and the 1960's some of those old Aussie things, now vintage, were still around in some homes.Something I found interesting during the 1920's episode of "Back in Time for Dinner" was the revolutionary appearance of canned food in the kitchen pantry in the 1920s and the excitement that caused for the woman of the house. Offal was still a readily available and popular choice for meals, and we even ate our fair share of it, but suddenly the housewives were creating a plethora of meals out of canned meat, canned fish, and canned fruit and vegetables. There was no disgrace in serving a meal out of a tin, and it's still ok if it's baked beans, sardines, tuna, salmon, or spaghetti. Now it seems there is no disgrace in serving a meal out of a bottle, although as you know if you read my posts regularly, I like to mainly cook from scratch now that I have the time. However pantry staples such as tinned food are still important as an economical and time saving resource. As well as all of the homemade jams, chutneys and pickles in my pantry, I keep a good stock of tinned tomatoes, chick peas, corn, pulses, sliced beetroot, sardines, tuna, sliced apples, pineapple pieces, and condensed milk as a minimum. Does that sound like your pantry these days?
No bully beef or Spam in sight though, as were the staples in the wartime era. After the First World War, attention turned to manufacturing food for the population, instead of the soldiers. Post War in the 1920's, the Ad man arrived, and gas ovens, couches, lino floors, new household appliances, and tinned food, sparked up everyone's lives. Let's not forget the glamourous Flappers either, it was party time.
Along with the tinned food innovation, came the humble can opener, and some subsequent kitchen accidents, as these weren't easy appliances to use. The old can opener was really sharp, and a warning to watch your fingers came with it. I would have hated that can opener, and I can remember it still being around in kitchens in the 60s. This a photo of the one in the show.
Then along came this one, a slight improvement. I remember trying to wrestle with this one in my Mum's kitchen. They seemed to go blunt quite quickly.
When the electric can opener appeared, in the 70s I think, it was revolutionary and everyone had to have one to make life easier. We still laugh when remembering that Mr. HRK and I received four electric can openers for wedding presents in 1977, that's how popular they were. They were all the same, and yellow if I remember correctly, and we know where in Rockhampton our young friends went to purchase them. It was at Millroys, a much smaller version of Myer today, no clothing though that I remember. The electric can opener looked something like this, I don't have fond memories of that one either.
Thankfully now, most of the cans are ring top making life a lot easier. However I wish cans of condensed milk still needed to be opened with a can opener as boiling a can with a ring top to make caramel always worries me, even though I have had no disasters as yet. Touch wood! Which raises the question my friends, do you still have a can opener in your kitchen, or do you prefer an electric one or do you use one at all? I like my hand operated can opener, an easy one to use and occasionally I still need to use it.
Enough reminiscing, let's cook some dumplings, requiring no can openers. When I have cooked dumplings in the past, I have placed them in the frying pan to cook with the simmering sauce just as we sat down to eat the main meal, and they were ready when we finished eating. Although I always checked them after 20 minutes. However if you like a long interval between the main course and dessert, just slide them into the sauce as soon as you finish your main course. How you do it, could depend on whether you are eating with your family, or entertaining guests. Golden syrup has been around in kitchen pantries for a long time, definitely since the 1940s anyway, and these dumplings have been a very economical and popular dessert through the decades.
Golden Syrup Dumplings, this recipe originally by Australian cook and chef, Maggie Beer
Ingredients for dumplings:
1 cup self raising flour
Salt to taste
50 ml milk
Ingredients for Golden Syrup Sauce:
1/2 cup golden syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 cups water
- Sift the self raising flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt.
- Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, and then add the whisked egg and stir to combine.
- Slowly add the milk and mix gently until the dough just comes together and resembles a scone mix (do not over work the dough or it will be tough instead of light and fluffy.) Set aside.
- Combine all sauce ingredients into a large frypan. Bring to the boil to amalgamate before reducing heat to a gentle simmer.
- Flour your hands and roll the dough into the size of a twenty cent piece. Smaller dumplings will absorb more sauce.
- Slip the balls off the baking paper all together into the syrup. Cover the frypan with foil to form a tight seal and cover with the lid. Cook for about 10 minutes before turning them over to cool for another 10 minutes on the other side. (Turning them over is optional.)
- Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with the remaining sauce and a jug of runny cream or ice-cream or even custard. Whatever you prefer. The dumplings will steal the show anyway.
|Where would we be without this Golden elixir called Golden Syrup|
There is reference to a version of Golden Syrup being produced at the Spiller's Sugar Plantation here in Mackay, North Queensland, in 1868. Outback shearers and station hands bought their golden syrup in 70lb. (30 kg.) tins, naming it "Cocky's Joy". Small farmers in Australia were also called a cocky in the first half of the 20th century. Cattle farmers were called cow cockys. Golden syrup was much easier to transport in tins than jam and often used as a substitute for butter on their damper. Who doesn't love Aussie damper with Golden Syrup, especially over a campfire? This Golden Syrup story reinforces what a culinary icon it still is in our kitchens. Mine is in a plastic bottle here but I generally buy it in a decorative tin.
What is the most valued appliance in your kitchen my friends? I would have to say mine are my Kitchen Aid, and our Rancilio Coffee machine and coffee grinder. The slow cooker and pressure cooker are great as well, we are lucky aren't we?