In Snow on the Lindis Madge Snow reminisces about her life at Morven Hills Station on the Lindis Pass and shares some great recipes.
“I was never a typical farmer’s wife whatever that is,” she writes. “I never had a dog, never helped on the farm, and only gradually learned the names of the dogs and horses. My domain was the kitchen. To me, the kitchen is the heart of every home. Mother said ‘Feed the men well, look after them and they in turn will look after the farm. ‘They were very wise words.”
And by all accounts she did brilliantly feeding not only own family but also the farm workers. She always kept a kettle boiling on the stove for unexpected guests.
Cooking was much more than a chore for Madge, it was a creative outlet. She loved experimenting. It was just as well husband Max loved all kinds of puddings as she sometimes played a little game during the winter months to see how many weeks she could go without doubling up and could stretch the variety up to three months,
But she could get rather exasperated by Dirty Dora, the coal range. “Thankfully the hens were quite partial to food enveloped in burnt charcoal,” she wrote.
Generous cooks can never resist sharing a few of their favourite recipes for others to enjoy, and Madge is no exception. Scattered throughout the book are some of her favourite tried and true recipes for Grandma Jolly’s Plum Sauce, Madge’s shortbread, Christmas Cake, Shearers’ Buns and Apricot Jam.
Madge’s second love was gardening and she became a real expert. On the farm she planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs as well as irises which spiralled all over her garden in brilliant profusion. Once she and Max retired to Wanaka she established another wonderful garden there.
In their early years on the farm Madge had the bright idea of having overseas paying guests to stay. As they had young children she and Max couldn’t yet travel themselves so this was a way of having the world come to them.
Guests were invited to see the day-to-day activities on a New Zealand sheep Station and to enjoy some warm country hospitality. No doubt they appreciated Madge’s home cooking. Everything put in front of them including the jams, preserved fruit, soup and muesli were made by her. It proved to be a very successful venture and led to some lasting friendships.
As the years went by there were some major upheavals to face. But Madge, now widowed, is grateful for the wonderful family and friends she has living close by. For her it’s not what she has in her life but who she has in her life that counts.
I’d suggest you rustle up some of her delicious shortbread, put on the kettle for a cup of tea and settle down for a relaxing heart-warming read.
Title: Snow on the Lindis. Author: Madge Snow. Imprint: Random House. RRP: $40.00
8 oz (220 grams) butter
2 oz (55 grams) sugar
2 oz (55 grams) icing sugar
12 oz (2 cups) plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Beat butter, sugar and icing sugar until white and fluffy. Then beat in flour, cornflour and salt.
Form the mixture into two cylinders and slice off pieces. Mark the tops with an old-fashioned wooden cotton reel.
Turn the oven down to 150°C and bake for 30 minutes.
(This recipe is reprinted with kind permission form the publisher)