This blog was established in loving memory of my mother, who suffered the hideous ravages of brain cancer and succumbed in 2012.
Pamela Ellison Flockhart (nee Macartney, 1927-2012) was an avid home-maker and superb cook – cooking for the five thousand was a regular feat and delivered with ease over the 61 years of her marriage to Ross, nourishing five children, five grandchildren and whoever walked in the continually open back door. An architect by profession she performed the duties of a minister’s wife for many years and continued in the same ways long after my father left the occupation. Pamela was a role model to many who inspired us all with her effortless hospitality, her good nature and level-headed advice.
My brothers, David, Andrew and Patrick, and I, as well as my sisters-in-law over the years have been known to ring Mum with an urgent request for one of her classic recipes – no matter where we were living at the time – it could have been Tennessee, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia or France.
Many of these recipes were stashed in a notebook that my grandmother, Thelma Macartney (nee Buchanan) gave mum in the 1950’s – an imperial sized lined notebook – the sort that were standard issue in Australian schools at the time. This book now lies in tatters next to me on my desk, held together with rubber bands and yellowy sticky tape. It contains many of Pamela’s favourite recipes, collected from a myriad of sources, many are handwritten on the backs of envelopes, on recycled card, are clipped from magazines, shared by friends or requested from a restaurant. What it doesn’t contain, and which are sadly now lost, are her tips on how to vary the recipe or to shortcut the process. She had an inimitable way of throwing ingredients together without too much care for measuring exactly and was always adventurous in replacing an ingredient with another if it wasn’t in her generously stocked pantry.
I’m not sure of the exact date when she decided to start the Longwood Bakehouse (or indeed when she closed it; I’m sure Dad or my brothers will set me straight) but I think it must have been running from the early 1980’s into the mid-90’s.
The Bakehouse was our family country kitchen, in East Lothian, where Mum used stoneground organically grown wholewheat flour and free range eggs to produce a variety of bread, rolls, quiches, pizzas, cakes and pavlovas. Rising at around 3am five days a week to mix and knead, prove and bake became the ritual that my father joined, helping Mum before he drove 20 miles into Edinburgh for a day at the office (delivering bread on the way!).
This blog is an attempt to share Pamela’s Longwood Bakehouse Recipe Collection with all the family, friends and community that so enjoyed many meals around the Longwood kitchen table or the dining tables of the Polwarth, Pentland View, Northfield, Iona, Buccleugh Place, Argyll Crescent and Sydney homes. Where possible I will attribute where the recipe came from.
Please leave your comments and anecdotes about Pamela and her recipe collection, especially if you recall any of her special tips!
Carola this is a wonderful idea! I remember being at granny’s when your mum brought round a basket of freshly made croissants. They were heavenly. Xxx
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I only managed to get to Longwood once – but oh, what a memorable meal it was! The food was delicious (there was fish with flaked almonds, there was creamy scalloped potato, there was luscious pudding, there was soft fragrant bread …) and clearly made with the care and creativity of an expert. But most important was the warm hospitality of two people who really ‘get’ the deep pleasures of table and conversation. These recipes have brought it all back. Lovely.