THE LOVELINESS OF
HAVING MY FAMILY WITH ME
It’s so nice to come home and see my mum and my sister – who’ll excitedly tell me about their day, whether they’d been hanging out at home on a grey and rainy day, or whether they’d gone horse riding in the nature reserve – that I could get used to it every day.
I still can’t really get over the fact that I can just pick up the phone and reach them at a local number, and that they’ll pick up and be completely awake – in the same time zone as me. I also love that we’ve even developed household habits – like ordering Chinese food delivery and then cooking plain white rice to eat with it; or that we’ve even decided which supermarket is our “go-to” store. And I love the fact that we can also take day trips together, like the trip we made to Colonia, Uruguay.
It’s crazy how fast we’ve settled into a routine, and it feels as if they’ve been living here with me in Buenos Aires forever, when in fact they’ve only been here for just short of two weeks.
One of the perks of having them here is that in the morning, my mum always wakes up early just so she can have breakfast with me.
“I’ve been eating a lot since I got here,” my mum told me the other morning.
“I eat my first breakfast with you when you wake up, and then I eat breakfast for the second time when Val wakes up.”
My mum has always been an early riser, but these days, even while combating jet lag and despite the fact that she’s on holiday, she still makes it a point to get up when I do, with the sole purpose of making breakfast for me, and then spending 10 or 15 minutes with me at the breakfast table – which is absolutely the sweetest!
While I usually rush out of the house and grab a croissant or two from the kiosk below my office, these days I find myself waking up and craving warm, freshly toasted bread, with a generous spread of butter and marmalade.
Not just any type of marmalade though – I’m talking specifically about the grapefruit marmalade that I’d made a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of my family’s visit here.
Remember the candied grapefruit peel I’d told you about earlier last week?
Well? It’s not hard to guess what I did with the grapefruit flesh.
I could have made a grapefruit, orange and lemon cooler, like I did in the summer, of course, but this time, I decided I would finally get back to canning.
Most people probably make jams and marmalades during summer when there is just too many fresh fruits than we know what to do with.
I like the fact that while it may be winter and so ridiculously cold to be outside, I can stand by the stove, warm with the heat of the fire and comforted by the slight bubbling of the gently cooking jam.
Once the marmalade is cooked to the right consistency, thick enough but still sufficiently liquid to be spread easily on toast or crackers, I store them in jars, cap them tight, and then leave them to cool.
Then comes the best part, of course, when I spread it on freshly toasted bread, together with a thick slice of butter, and then eat it with a relish that justifies all the effort it takes to make the marmalade.
GRAPEFRUIT MARMALADE (Makes 2 jars)
1) 1kg of grapefruit (or oranges if you prefer orange marmalade)
2) 700g of sugar
3) 1/2 lemon (for the juice)
1) Peel the grapefruit, and remove as much of the white pith from both the flesh and the peel
2) Using the peel of one grapefruit, slice into strips as thin as you possibly can
3) Roughly chop up the grapefruit flesh into small pieces and put the pieces in a bowl
4) Pour sugar over the chopped up grapefruit and mix sugar with the fruit
5) Allow grapefruit-sugar mixture to rest for about 30 minutes
6) After 30 minutes, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture into a large pot, add in the sliced peel, and squeeze in the lemon juice
7) Heat over low fire, stirring every few minutes for around one hour to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot
8) Once marmalade reaches the desired consistency, remove from fire and pour straight away into sterilized jars, capping them immediately
9) Allow the grapefruit marmalade to cool before serving with toast or crackers