Food The truckie and the pas­sion­fruit sponge

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Cathy Mor­ris Coun­try Style Heir­loom Recipes is out now at newsagen­cies and ma­jor su­per­mar­kets. Price $9.99

FOR­MER truck driver, 93year-old Bill Be­van, be­came known as the baker in the fam­ily af­ter win­ning a sponge com­pe­ti­tion at his grand­daugh­ter’s school.

Be­van, of Wol­lon­gong (pic­tured), dis­cov­ered bak­ing late in life, start­ing out in his 60s af­ter his wife be­came ill.

His great­est achieve­ment in the kitchen so far has been a three-tiered fruit­cake for another grand­daugh­ter’s wed­ding when he was 86.

But his late wife Mauva’s favourite cake – a pas­sion­fruit sponge – has be­come his spe­cial­ity.

“It (bak­ing) is re­lax­ing, I get en­joy­ment out of it and know­ing that you’re do­ing some­thing for other peo­ple – they com­ment on it” he says.

Be­van’s ad­vice for anx­ious first-time bak­ers is to just give it a go.

“When you’re do­ing some­thing, of course, you’re wor­ried, but put that in the back of your mind,” he says.

“If it’s a fail­ure, what have you lost? Noth­ing. It gives you more ex­pe­ri­ence so you know what to do next time.”

Be­van’s sponge is fea­tured in a new pub­li­ca­tion, Heir­loom Recipes, show­cas­ing fam­ily bak­ing clas­sics – each with a story to tell.

The recipes came from reader sub­mis­sions to the mag­a­zine, Coun­try Style, over the past two years.

The mag­a­zine’s edi­tor-inchief Vic­to­ria Carey says food is part of the fab­ric of fam­ily life.

“There are so many beau­ti­ful emo­tional sto­ries (about recipes). It just shows you how pow­er­ful food is in terms of mem­ory,” she says.

One of Carey’s own fam­ily recipes, based on a mem­o­rable dessert her grand­mother served up one night, is also fea­tured in the pub­li­ca­tion. “My nan, she was quite aca­demic,” she says. “A school­teacher and work­ing full­time. She wasn’t known for her cook­ing skills and I was so amazed when she made me this queen pud­ding.” mag­son­line.com.au/ coun­try-style-heir­loom -recipes

Bill Be­van’s pas­sion­fruit sponge cake Pic­ture: Coun­try Style Heir­loom Recipes

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