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Family Traditions

The funny thing about getting married is that you take on family traditions as well as imposing your own. The great thing is that you get to start your own family traditions too. My favourite so far is hot chocolate and mince pies after Midnight Mass. But who knows what other traditions we'll start over the years to come.

Neither of us grew up in the UK so some of our childhood traditions might not make sense... Like when we used to go to the beach pretty much every weekend, especially in the winter because the heat was more tolerable. Or like the Mr.'s trips to the beach on Christmas day, running around with water pistols after Christmas dinner. Not really feasible in cold, wintry York.

But some traditions definitely are transferable. Like taking a little something with you when you go to someone else's for dinner. Or having a nice cup of tea or coffee after dinner to relax in front of the telly. Doesn't sound like much of a tradition but when you get used to something and then go somewhere where it isn't the norm, you notice these little things a lot.

Not surprisingly, for me food comes with a lot of traditions. Lamb at Eid, roast at Christmas, Granny's dutch beef and Mum's chicken and mushroom pie as staple meals. Yum. Coming from a family of cooks and recipe sharers, the Mr. also has a few foods that he would rather not live without. One of these is Nanny's ginger crunch.

I had never even heard of ginger crunch before we went to New Zealand. He never suggested I try making it, he never looked for a recipe for me to try... instead, he waited until I got to his grandmother's house and was offered ginger crunch which was met with a look of, "errr what?". "It's really nice," he said. "Nanny used to give me some everyday after school." So naturally I was obliged to try some. Don't get me wrong, I like ginger crunch. But I don't think you can prepare yourself for just how gingery it is the first time you try some.

There is ginger in the base and ginger in the creamy topping. And the creamy topping is the best bit, I think. Anyway, the first time I tried making this, I used a pan that was too long so it came out quite flat. This time, I made it in a slightly smaller oven tray and I double the recipe I was given to make it slightly thicker. So here it is, New Zealand ginger crunch with British measurements and bakeware.

Nanny's Ginger Crunch

For the base:

  • 200g softened butter

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 350g plain flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

For the topping:

  • 100g butter

  • 200g icing sugar

  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Cream together the butter and sugar. If you're using a stand mixer, sift the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter and sugar and mix everything together with the paddle attachment on the lowest speed until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Don't forget to scrape down the sides before you add the dry ingredients.

If you're not using a stand mixer, sift the dry ingredients into the butter bowl and rub everything together with your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Grease and line a 25cm x 31cm oven dish and tip the mixture into it. Press the mixture down so that it covers the base of the tray in an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

When the base has about 5 minutes left to go, put all the topping ingredients into a saucepan and melt it all together until you have a light creamy icing. When the base comes out of the oven, pour the icing over straight away and spread it all over the top in an even layer. Set aside to cool completely.

When the crunch has cooled, carefully lift it out of the dish and cut it into squares or your preferred serving shape.


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