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Sharing heritage through cooking

Passing on recipes lovingly celebrates family and culture
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The Morris Orange Cake

No one in the Fullarton, Ont., Morris family invented this pleasingly moist cake with an intense orange glaze, but after Jane Morris found and tried the recipe almost a century ago, it became a family classic. Her daughters and daughters-in-law continued to turn to this cake, each one writing the recipe in her personal recipe book. It became a go-to treat in the third generation’s kitchens, with granddaughter Edythe Diebel, a retired kindergarten teacher in Kitchener, star baker and enthusiast.

1 navel orange, approximately 7 oz (200 g)

1 cup (250 mL) raisins

½ cup (125 mL) butter, softened

1 cup (250 mL) packed granulated or brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

½ tsp (3 mL) salt

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature


½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar

¼ cup (60 mL) orange juice

Butter 8- or 9-inch (50- or 60-cm) square metal cake pan; place oven rack in centre of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Scrub the orange and peel off any blemishes only — don’t peel the entire orange. Cut into 8 chunks, remove seeds, and whirl orange in food processor until almost smooth, leaving bits of the peel. Add the raisins and pulse about 8 times to combine with orange; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light; beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, or mixer on low speed, mix flour mixture into butter mixture alternating with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry mixture and 2 of buttermilk. Stir in orange/raisin mixture.

Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Glaze: Bring sugar and juice to a boil. Simmer until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Poke 20 holes in cake; brush syrup overtop. Let cake cool on rack.

Make-ahead: Cover and store at room temperature for a day or two. Or place cake — pieces or whole — in freezer container and freeze for up to 2 weeks. 

Makes 16 quite respectable pieces. Nice for brunch.

Alternate: You can replace the glaze with a dusting of icing sugar.

Photo of Porchetta con Patate (Roast Pork and Potatoes)

Porchetta con Patate (Roast Pork and Potatoes)

Home economist Emily Richards is an inspiring example of passing on much-loved cooking traditions. The author of the bestselling Per La Famiglia: Memories and Recipes of Southern Italian Home Cooking, Richards grew up in “The Soo.” Even as a young child, she helped her nonna in the kitchen, where recipes like this were passed from grandma to eager-to-learn little girl.

1/3 cup (80 mL) finely chopped parsley

6 large cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp (45 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

5 tbsp (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 lb (1.4 kg) bone-in rib-end pork roast

2 lb (900 g) oval baking potatoes (6 medium-large), quartered lengthwise

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

½ tsp (3 mL) freshly ground pepper

Extra grated Parmesan

Place oven rack in bottom third of oven; heat oven to 375°F (190°C).

In medium bowl, combine the parsley, garlic, cheese and half the olive oil. Place pork roast on rack in medium-large roasting pan; rub garlic mixture all over roast.

Toss potatoes with salt, pepper and remaining oil; spread around roast. Roast for about an hour and a half to an hour and three-quarters or until thermometer inserted in centre of roast reaches 155°F (70°C) and a hint of pink remains.

Transfer roast to cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Arrange slices on warmed platter and surround with potatoes sprinkled with extra cheese.

Makes 8 servings.

Tip: Add chunks of peeled carrots or squash to the potatoes.

Photo of Jamaican Patties

Jamaican Patties

When Shannon Ferrier taught family studies at Toronto’s Lord Dufferin Public School, she made sure that the dishes her students cooked in class reflected the many communities that made up the student body. So it wasn’t a surprise when, at a planning session, one student called out, “Mrs. Ferrier, teach us how to make Jamaican patties.” A great cook and keen learner, that day she had to admit that she didn’t know how. No sooner said when a second student chimed in: “My mother makes them all the time. I’ll get her to write her recipe down.” And she did. And the kids made — and loved — the patties. Perfect pass-along.


4 cups (1 L) all-purpose flour

4 tsp (20 mL) baking powder

2 tsp (10 mL) curry powder

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) ground turmeric

1 1/3 cups (330 mL) cold lard or butter, cubed

½ cup (125 mL) cold butter, cubed

1 cup (250 mL) ice water

Curried beef filling:

2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 lb (900 g) lean ground beef

1 tbsp (15 mL) mild curry powder or paste

1 ½ tsp (8 mL) salt

1 ½ tsp (8 mL) dried thyme

1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 cup (250 mL) fresh bread crumbs 

Pastry: In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, curry powder, salt and turmeric. With pastry blender, cut in lard and butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pour in water, stirring with fork to make soft dough. Knead gently to pull dough together. Divide and form into two logs, each about 12 inches (30 cm) long; wrap and chill for 1 hour or up to 2 days. Let come to cool room temperature before rolling.

Curried beef filling: Meanwhile, in large heavy-bottomed pan or large deep skillet, heat oil on medium and cook onions and garlic until softened, 5 minutes. Set aside. Increase heat to high, add beef and cook, stirring to break up meat, until it’s crumbly and no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon off fat. Stir in onion mixture, curry powder, salt, thyme, pepper and cayenne. Add 2 cups (500 mL) water and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in breadcrumbs; cook, stirring, until mixture is no longer runny but still moist. Let cool. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Divide filling into 24 equal amounts.

Arrange oven racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Pastry: Cut each log into 12 equal pieces. On lightly floured counter, roll each piece, one at a time, into 6-inch (15-cm) rounds. One at a time, spoon filling onto centre of pastry. Lightly brush water in ½-inch (1.5-cm) border around lower edge of each round; fold over, making edges meet. Press edges together with fork. Place on baking sheets. Bake until crisp and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. 

Makes 24 patties.

Tip: You can freeze patties unbaked or baked. For a half batch of 12 patties, divide all quantities by two.

Choose mild curry or spicier blends, as you like.

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