It's been a while. A lot has happened since my last post. (which was 3 months ago, eek!)
It's not that I haven't been cooking. Boy, have I been cooking! I've recently completed the Essential Certificate, a professional cookery course at Leith's School of Food and Wine in West London, which I massively enjoyed. Will definitely post some of the recipes soon.
Then I moved countries. Bye bye London, England...Hello Durban, South Africa.
Packing up ones entire life, OK 9 years of it, it was still a daunting task. Boxes packed, car taken to the docks to be shipped, accounts closed, farewells said, last stroll along the South Bank and last Borough market visit (sob!) So you get why I haven't been blogging?
I knew you would.
A new chapter, a new city. Durban. My husband's family is from here. It's humid and hot, and don't even get me started on the rain! Seriously, we have had more rain in Durban in the last 6 weeks than I have had in an English summer. The thing about London is that we are organised for this kind of weather, Durban on the other hand, is not. South Africa is all about the great outdoors, so there are no indoor play centres. Spur? Wimpy? You can only eat so many R20 fry ups. What to do with a 2 and a half year old?
To set us off on rediscovering great South African classics here is a recipe so easy, my daughter and I whipped these up on one of the many rainy afternoons. We pretended to 'tickle' the butter and flour which is a good way of explaining the rubbing-in method to a little person. You can also use any type of jam, but apricot jam is the die hard South African favourite.
225g butter, cubed
145g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 large egg
1/2 a tin/bottle apricot jam
*optional 1/2 tsp lemon zest
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
Rub the chilled cubed butter into the flour until well mixed and resembling breadcrumbs. Or alternately pulse it a few times in a food processor. *Add the lemon zest here if you decide to use it.
In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and sugar, add the vanilla essence.
Then mix together the liquid and dry ingredients, using a knife to begin with, so that you handle the mixture as little as possible. The heat from your hands can melt the butter making the dough greasy, which will affect your end product.
Take roughly one-third of the mixture and set it aside. Roll out the remainder and place in a baking tin. Then smear the jam evenly across this surface, leaving about 1cm around the edges. Next, take the final third of the mixture and grate it through the coarsest setting over the jam, ensuring a relatively even distribution over the top. Make certain the jam near the sides are covered.
Bake for about 30 - 45mins or until golden brown on top.
Makes about 24 squares.