Cookbook captures essence of Bay
By Roger Moroney
For at least five generations, and year after year, a particularly tasty plum sauce has simmered away atop the ovens of a Hawke’s Bay family.
“It could even go back a lot further than that,” Ana Ward said of the recipe and aromatic result which is simply known within the family as “great grandmother’s plum sauce”.
It is one of the tasty features of a 200-page cookbook made up of recipes which its creators describe as providing “the essence of Hawke’s Bay”.
Titled Hawke’s Bay on a Platter, it has been created as a joint fundraiser for Woodford House and Hereworth School.
“We were determined to create ‘not just another cookbook’,” Jo Harvey, one of the small team of predominantly school parents behind the book, said.
She said the result was a colourful and diverse array of recipes culled from the families involved with the two schools, with many handed down through the generations as well as offerings from Elephant Hill, Sileni and Black Barn Bistro chefs and local winemakers and olive producers. The book also features snippets of history which helped shape the region along with stories about landmarks across the region.
With photographs by Lee Warren, Mrs Harvey said the book was a “visual feast” which could adorn any coffee table.
Work began on it back in February with a core of seven driving it – Mrs Harvey, Mrs Ward, Jackie Black, Kate Vautier, Heather Smith, Mr Warren and designer Steve Rawlinson.
Getting it prepared, produced and published was a steep learning curve and cost a few nights’ sleep, Mrs Harvey said.
For Mrs Ward and her daughter, Ana, it was a memorable way to pay tribute to a family recipe so many generations old.
“We make it every year. The kids pick the plums… they have to if they want some of it,” Mrs Ward laughed.
And her daughter, Olivia, has been more than happy to get stuck into the picking and is looking forward to joining the family traditional [tradition] in making the sauce.
“I’ve stirred it a bit but not made it myself yet,” she said. “It was something I was brought up with – it’s a special part of the family.”
Mrs Ward said she made about 20 bottles a year and gave it away to friends and family. She said the generations of sauce creators gone by would have been proud to know the recipe had made it into print for others to enjoy.
The book is set to retail for $50 and can be purchased online at onaplatter.co.nz or at selected retail outlets.
“It was something I was brought up with-it’s a special part of the family.” Olivia Ward, Woodford House student
Photo caption – GOOD SAUCE: Olivia Ward with the family’s “grandmother’s plum sauce” which features in a Hawke’s Bay-flavoured cookbook.