A few posts ago I let you know that Archie now has his full licence and as such, can legally drive a V8. And he has been looking forward to this for many years, given his father has a V8 and it’s a 1967 Mustang.
When I was growing up with my four sisters my mother’s pride and joy wasn’t a 1967 Mustang. It was a much newer piece of fine machinery called a Datsun 120Y. The advertising slogan was, ‘New Datsun 120Y, the perfect put-together’. Purchased second-hand in 1977 for probably the equivalent of the loose change you have behind the cushions of your sofa, it had less than 10,000kms on the clock so I think we got away with pretending it came straight from the showroom.
Nobody was ever jealous or envious of my mother’s Datsun however to this day my mother is convinced a friend of hers was jealous of the added feature her turquoise car had with its textured cream vinyl roof. That gave it a distinguished look. So smart!
The 120Y had four doors which was a quantum leap from my mothers previous vehicle that was an Escort with only two doors with an enormous car seat in the back taking up 50% of the allocated seating leaving three of us sandwiched between the side wall and the offending car seat.
My mother beetled all over Sydney in her very smart two-toned 120Y that didn’t have power steering, air-conditioning, a CD-player, tape deck or even FM radio but it was automatic (another enviable feature), it did have vinyl seats that were a cut-above vehicles with cloth, and it did have an excellent heater (on the floor only) that kept your toes toasty warm all through winter.
By the 1980’s that Datsun was still going strong and now it entered its years of punishment because one by one the five of us began to learn to drive. My mother upgraded to a sports car, handed over the keys to the Datsun and banned us from her new wheels.
She found some doddery old fool to be our driving instructor and he used to get into the passenger seat and we would have to follow his instructions as he taught us all there is to know about passing a driving test. One thing he didn’t touch on was the purpose of the side-mirrors. Who needs them? We thought they were a complete nuisance and it was my older sister who often returned the car with the side mirrors dangling as she explained a pole leaned into her as she drove by. Clip, and the mirror was smashed, broken or left hanging beside the car. It seemed almost weekly we were humbly taking the car up to the mechanic trying to explain what happened to the latest side mirror.
The wheel hubs in 1977 were completely pristine but in the 80’s they took a beating with all that reverse parking the doddery old instructor made us do. ‘You’ve hit the kerb; again’, he’d say throwing his hands in the air and looking completely fed up.
‘Well it’s parked, isn’t it?’ I’d say in my defense because it was only a small car and the fact it was on a slight angle to the kerb didn’t look like a huge issue anyway.
‘Do it again’, he’d say, eyes to the front, while I was rolling mine wondering how much longer I had to endure such a tedious lesson.
One of my other sisters had issues with reversing. We had a long driveway and the driveway ran along the edge of the house so it was a bit of a tight squeeze. One day she was backing out of the garage and she got a little too close to the house. She heard a noise but couldn’t imagine what it was as it looked like she had cleared the house so kept reversing as a mysterious scraping noise continued down the length of the car. At the letterbox she got out to inspect what could have gone wrong and alas, every panel was dented and scratched. She’d forgotten about the outdoor tap sticking out from the wall at the back of the house when estimating the amount of clearance required.
My little sister had a lot of trouble with a lot of aspects of driving. Even going forwards was an issue. In the front garden my father had planted some trees. There were three of them and apparently they were meant to be an admirable feature. They were bald most of the year and looked like a collection of dead sticks and I’m not sure if that was what made them special or if the trees were in fact, stressed. Late one night my little sister came up the drive and it was a straight driveway but she somehow veered off onto the lawn, collected the feature trees, turned the car sharply to the right, re-entered the drive and parked the car in the garage with new dents to the front bumper to match the tap indentations down the side of the car.
Going in reverse up the driveway she collected the letter box. After several letterboxes had been destroyed my father had a double brick wall built with a built-in letter box. Somebody else filled it with Diesel (what’s the difference anyway?) and somebody else collided with a lolly-pop man. No harm done but he probably learned to be a little more agile.
That poor Datsun suffered much being left in the hands of teenagers and our friends. Hardly any of our friends had a car and so the Datsun was very popular. I took it away to schoolies and one night we crammed into the Datsun as many teenagers as would fit and went to the beach for a bonfire. One of the boys drank the best part of a bottle of rum and on the way back he had to wind down one of the windows, lean out and let out all that rum, right down the side of the car.
I think we had that Datsun for nearly 20 years. Mechanically it was still going strong but it’s body had long since given up. My father took the Datsun 120Y badges off the car and put them in the place where he keeps all his treasures. JAS058 was tearfully sent to the scrap heap.
During the 80’s whenever there was a special occasion, like a birthday, mum would ask, ‘What would you like for dessert?’ It was this baked cheesecake that featured at many, many special occasions and all the ingredients would have been brought home from the shops in the Datsun with Sophie, our dachshund who loved a car trip, sitting on the back shelf.
Mum’s not sure where the original recipe came from but it is over 30 years old and may have been a Women’s Weekly recipe or it may have been on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese packet.
Mum’s Baked Cheesecake
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Around $15.00
Begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 250g plain sweet biscuits (I used Nice)
- 125g butter, melted
- 500g Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
- 250g sour cream
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 tbspn lemon zest
- 1 tspn vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 300mls whipping cream
- freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 160C or 140C fan-forced.
Grease a 22cm spring-form cake tin.
Crush biscuits in a food processor or with a rolling pin. Pour in melted butter and mix well. Pour into prepared tin and press down, hard. (You can line the sides with the biscuit base but I didn’t). Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
In a food processor, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Beat until well incorporated. Add eggs and continue to beat until smooth.
Pour cream cheese filling over base. Place in oven for 1 hr or until slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave in oven for two hours to cool.
Remove cheesecake from tin. Whip cream until soft peaks form then spread over cake. Grate some fresh nutmeg over the cream. Serve with whipped cream on the side or fresh raspberries to make this a healthy dessert option!
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