An ode to Lady Mackay

Over the past few weeks we have done a couple of things that seem so middle aged, suburban and grown up to me: last weekend we got our first ever non family babysitter who we had never met and went out to dinner. Then last night we had people around for drinks. What am I in my mid 50’s now? Do people in their mid 50’s even host drinks and why do I think that they do? Interesting.

Anyway. Drinks.

What does one give at drinks that is a little more grown up than a packet of Aldi chips thrown into a bowl? So I went to the source of all things stylish, grown up and fabulous and someone would have hosted her fair share of drinks in her time and rocked a cocktail frock whilst doing so – Rob’s step grandma – Lady Mackay. And she really, truly is an actual Lady and everything. And she is a fabulous cook. And has a wicked sense of humour for someone who turned 84 just a few days ago. Whenever we have had drinks or dinner at her place she trots out old school things like Coronation Chicken, or curried nuts and the like. A few years ago when she lived in the UK Rob and I visited her for one of her drinks soiree’s and I eyed off in her library a selection of Mrs Beeton books. I was lucky enough to receive one for her a year or so later when she moved back to Australia. It is a fascinating read and one of my most treasured possessions. I mean look at it!

It’s huge. It’s old. And is hilarious. I am well informed on how to treat staff and what they should do, should I ever have staff. Which is highly unlikely.

So I went and trotted out some of Lady Mackay’s treats for our drink guests and I thought I would celebrate their 1950’s fabulousness with you all.

Lady Mackay’s Olive Balls

4 oz flour
6 oz butter
8 oz grated cheddar cheese

I added the flour, butter and cheese together. I think you can use an old school cracker barrel or the like but I picked up a vintage cheddar from Harris Farm which I grated.

It’s best to use pitted olives from a jar but I only could get bigger ones which I think didn’t work as well. You want to pop the whole thing in your mouth and with these bigger ones it was a 2 bite job and not as good.

I combined them together with a spoon but soon discovered that my hands were better for getting them combined. Aren’t the hands always better?

You need to dry off the olives before you add the mixture around them.

I kind of picked up a bit and used my hands pat around the mixture and then used my hands to roll it in the palms of my hand (like a meatball).

They were then popped into a 200 degree oven for 10 mins or so, or until they were brown. Leave to cool down for a bit before popping into your mouth. Essential to be eaten with chilled champagne or white wine. Essential I tell you.

They went down a treat with our guests. Daisy loved them too. As I said, they would have been better with smaller olives as these were too big and the mixture was a little crumbly. But, what I did love was that they were made by me, and passed down from an amazing woman who I am so grateful for having in our lives. Rob and I have lost all our Grandparents but are blessed to still have Micky with us. To teach us stuff. To laugh with. To hear stories from. And to enjoy good food and wine with.


  1. I am so jealous of that book.


  2. I love this post. What a brilliant book to own, you’re very lucky to have inherited that.
    I can imagine having long interesting discusssions with Lady Mackay.
    Very impressive olive balls.
    That book reminds me of something I saw at another blog I really enjoy –

  3. Fabulous! I need that book xo

  4. I think you were a housemaid in another life…that chapter is word and verse Beth!!!! Mrs B. would be very proud of your housekeeping skills, and I think that having a real-life “Lady” in the family is very special. Bless Micky x

  5. Love that olive ball recipe! I am currently obsessed with some divine jalapeno stuffed green olives, which would be wonderful in a cheese pastry! Must pop down the shops to get another jar..
    Mrs BC

  6. You have inspired me over the years, and I am almost mid 50’s trust me Im living my best life!
    Now that we are spending more time at home we are having drinks at home on a regular basis.
    We are giving our late 20’s neighbours a run for their money!
    Defo giving that recipie a go!


  1. […] last night: Rob’s step Grandma’s olive balls! You can get the recipe from an old post here. They didn’t quite work out when they cooked…they kind of flattened out into little […]

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