A day when I feel like an exhausted mother who has been given an hour´s respite while her partner takes the children to the park for an hour. Big Man has taken the dogs out for a walk and I´ve just made myself a cup of Lady Grey tea and plonked myself down on the sofa. I´m sure real mums have it a lot worse, as it´s constant, but I have spent a lot of time with little people today and it´s worn me out! Probably because I´m not used to it, at least that´s my excuse.
Having said that, it´s been a fun day. Tomorrow in Spain it´s the feast of San José, Saint Joseph, which means it´s Father´s Day here. One of Big Man´s sisters is a teacher at the local primary school and I went along to help her out with classes today to get gifts and cards sorted out for the Dads.
The day was focused on healthy eating, balanced diets, and talk about vitamins, minerals, calcium, protein etc. All pretty advanced for 7 year olds I thought, but they loved it. We made Fruit Salad, which is called Macedonia here, and the children ate this in their morning break. We also squeezed some oranges that one of the dads grows and made a Moroccan dessert of sliced oranges sprinkled with a little sugar and cinnamon. All were made with much laughter and consumed without a single cry of “I don´t like fruit”.
Cards with hearts and sunshine were also made and finally we moved on to some Moroccan pastries (a recipe from one of the mums who comes from there) made with ground almonds, eggs, butter, grated lemon and coated in icing sugar. Good, sticky, messy fun.
This afternoon was spent with Big Man´s niece who is studying English at the University of Malaga and we had a conversation class. To get the ball rolling, I asked her to help me prepare some jam, which she happily did, and we covered a whole new cooking vocabulary which is not usually studied in a typical language class!
A few weeks ago I bought a bag of frozen mixed berries. I think they´re called Fruits of the Forest sometimes. We only used a little which I had whizzed up with yogurt, but I think the fruit had been picked very much out of season and was eye wateringly sour. There was nothing for it but to convert the remaining 600g from a 1kg bag into a delicious, and beautiful, mixed fruit jam. Here´s how we went about it:
- 600g berries
- 600g sugar (any amount if fruit and sugar will do, but they need to be equal quantities)
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- The juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 tablespoons of water
- A large, deep saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- A saucer
- 2 or 3 clean jars and lids
Start by putting the apple and water into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. As it simmers, mash with a fork or potato masher. This will only take a few minutes.
If you´re going to sterilize your jars in the dishwasher, put them in now as this jam doesn´t take long to make. Put your saucer in the freezer for testing the setting point of the jam later.
Add the lemon juice, fruit and sugar to the pan and warm gently until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and bring the jam to a boil. This only needs to boil for 5-10 minutes to reach setting point which you can test with either a jam thermometer or by putting a teaspoonful onto your icy cold saucer. If the jam wrinkles when it has gone cold and is pushed slightly with your finger, it´s ready. If not, boil for a couple more minutes then retest. Be really careful with the boiling jam as it burns incredibly if it splashes onto you.
When it´s at the right point, leave to cool down a little while the dishwasher finishes its cycle and then pot your jam, screw the lids on while still hot but label the next day when the jam has cooled down completely.
Now all you need to do it bake some delicious scones to go with your beautiful jam!