Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kindergarten, Markets and a Lemon Curd Recipe

Cloudy winter skies and full moon. I had to go out after dark (a rare occurence these days!) to go to a parents' meeting at our kindergarten the other night and driving down the three km dirt road from our farm with a moon glowing mistily from behind some stripes of clouds and a faint hint of mountains on the horizon, was one of those moments when you feel blessed, the world is a beautiful place.

Rain on the way. At the beginning of the winter we're pleased to see it after endless dry summer days. It's always a worry if the rains start late that we'll have a drought, so the sight of trees gratefully soaking up the rain and putting out new growth, seeds of the spring flowers germinating already, winter bulbs popping up, herbs regenerating is another thing to give thanks for. The children get excited over the puddles, we'll have go shopping for new wellies so that they can splosh happily, the old ones outgrown or worn out.

Our Waldorf kindergarten is small, only ten children, two of them mine, so only five mums and the teacher were there, perched on mini chairs, trying to sew even as well as our kids already do, to make little babies in matchboxes and treasure bags to sell on our market stall. We are always trying to raise funds for craft materials and sponsorship.

Half of our children come from Xhosa families on low incomes and pay a minimum fee and with only ten children altogether it is a struggle to raise the teacher's salary. We all have a strong belief that is important for the future of South Africa to bring up our children to know each other - there are so many different cultures and languages here - 9 official languages: English, Afrikaans and different African languages, Xhosa being the prediminant one here in the Western Cape. Our children are some of the new generation of children that have the chance to grow up accepting and appreciating the differences. So we all fight together to keep our kindergarten going, whether it's sewing matchbox babies or getting my husband to build a web page, which is the next project.

Anyway I brought some of the babies home to finish off and my daughter spotted them and asked how much they are going to be, so I have one customer already! The market is their main chance to spend their pocket money every month, so as long as I've got something on the stall to appeal to children I'm guaranteed some I exploiting my own children?! probably but otherwise thay'll spend their money at the cheap plastic toy stall and the purchase will break before the end of the market resulting in tears...better make sure I sew those babies good and strong!

I usually bake a batch of fairy cakes too (the recipe is in one of my first blog entries) also bought by the kids (the economy is about recycling wealth isn't it - never was too hot on ecomomics) and I might branch out into lemon curd. Home-made jam always sells well to the adults and I've already sold all my strawberry jam from last season, only a few more pots for us to eke out until October when I start making again. Winter is for making marmalade, I love it but no-one else in my family does, so last winter I made some to try, just for me, a very self-indulgent thing for! a mother to do, I know, but tangy marmalade on slightly singed toast is the best thing on a weekend morning.

I ended up with three different sorts of marmalade, according to the sweetness of the oranges, the amount of grapefruit and other variables..but have no idea how I did each one, so this year it will be a whole new adventure. I started running out of adjectives to label each one with: zingy, zesty, tangy, fresh, soothing. I can't get Sevillle oranges here though - they're the ones that are quite sour but make the best marmalade - eating oranges make a too sweet marmalade with no zing, so I have to use grapefruit and lemon to liven it up.

Here's the Lemon Curd Recipe. I haven't made it since last year, will let you know how it goes.

Lemon Curd Recipe

2 large lemons
250g/8oz sugar
125g/4oz butter
2 eggs well-beaten

Grate the lemon zest finely and squeeze the juice.
Place the zest and juice in the top of a double boiler (or a bowl over a pot of simmering water) and add the sugar and butter.
Heat slowly over the barely simmering water until all the ingredients have dissolved.
Carefully add the beaten eggs, whisking constantly and keep stirring over the hot water until the curd thickens.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
Keep in the fridge. It only lasts a month or so but in our family has been eaten long before then.

I intended to write a short blog about soup...such is life!


  1. You have a fascinating and inspiring blog and writing style. By the way what can I call you? Food mum is fine...but just seems a liitle impersonal after a while. My name is Jenny.:) It was very heartwarming to read this post about your moonlit drive ( as you probably have gathered from my blog I am an adament moon worshiper and watcher!) Your Waldorf school sounds wonderful and I commend you on this experience and education you are providing for your children and other's children...and the sharing of other cultures and viewponts is priceless for children! Kudos to you!!!! How I wish the US educational system could somehow incorporate these gentle and loving lessons in our kid's schooling. It is sadly lacking. I am encouraged that other's around the world like yourself and your community are taking up the lead. Wish we could teach our kids PEACE first here....that war doesn't solve anything. Oh enough of my political ranting...the lemon curd looks yummy!!!! So do the marmalades...I love orange marmalade. It isn't really popular in my part of the country, but I love that acid bite on buttered toast! mmmmmmmm.

  2. My name is Kit - Food Mum was the first thing that came out of my mouth when my husband was setting up my blog and asked for a user name! Yes it's sad I still rely on the man to do the technical stuff, very unfeminist, but I'm learning bit by bit!

    We have a grandstand view of the moon as it rises here and I'm always dragging the kids away from their evening video watching to look at the moon, when it's particularly beautiful...the amazing thing is they do come and look..admittedly a bit of a cursory glance and straight back to watch, but there's still hope for them!

  3. Thanks Jenny for all your positive comments and feedback, it's great knowing there's someone interestedout there. I'm enjoying your lyrical blog too.

  4. I am glad for the lemon curd recipe! Menton in France has the most delicious lemons!

    Happily lemons beat out soup!!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!