Well, technically it is not an ode, as described by the Compact Oxford English Dictionary; which states that it is meant to be a poem addressed to a person or thing, or celebrating an event - but I like the word and it will tie in with my post today.
So growing up in South Africa, most of us would associate custard with powder which comes out of a container and is cooked over the stove top with milk, right? I remember in the 90's (if I'm not mistaken and from what I can recall) one could buy pre-made custard at the shops, just ready to pour but it wasn't until I met Aunty Helen (whom I fondly call my Durban Mom as my real mom lives in the UK) in my early 20's, who emigrated to South Africa as a child from the Portuguese island of Madeira, the photo below is of her holding a Mother's Day treat that I sent down for her earlier this year, that I discovered baking, cooking and of course the Portuguese treat, Pastel De Nata (singular form for Pasteis De Nata).
If you've happened to pop into the Portuguese themed red and white coffee franchise where the staff greet you with 'Obrigado' as you leave, you'll recognise what they call Portuguese Tarts at their deli counter - the correct name for them is Pasteis De Nata and Aunty Helen taught me how to make them many years ago and I have adored them ever since, naturally convenience wins over making them yourself from time-to-time but as a special treat they are really worth the effort making them yourself - you could use store bought ready-to-roll puff pastry, but as I always say, in for a penny in for a pound - please see my 'RECIPES' page for my recipe, did I mention I really enjoy baking and cooking. My recipe book library is constantly growing! From second-hand store finds to new books.
Both Aunty Helen and her husband, Uncle Lenn (let's just call them 'The Folks' from now on) live just up the road from us and they are truly special people - always generous with their time and kindly offer advice and moral support in whatever way they can - it happens to be their wedding anniversary this coming Saturday, 31 October 2015 - not many couples can say they have been married for 51 years - yes - 51 years! The photo below is of them on their special day.
So, in closing just want to say a huge Thank You to my Durban Mom for showing me that it is ok to experiment with baking - there will be flops and mistakes made - but that nothing tastes better than a homemade cooked or baked treat, also knowing what goes in to the end product is infinitely better than store bought treats - even though I am guilty of the odd shortcut - but as I said sometimes time doesn't allow for hours in the kitchen. The main thing is that at least (time permitting) I would rather try and bake it myself rather than just popping out to the store to buy something. So get into the kitchen and give baking and cooking a go!
Also, what a milestone to reach, 51 years of marriage - I can't think of a more loving couple that deserve many more years together. Congratulations! Love the both of you dearly.
Until next time.