Sunday, June 06, 2010

An Empty Weekend... with Chocolate Brownies

A weekend with nothing planned is a gift. When you wake up on a misty Saturday morning, knowing that there is no soccer match to rush to, no shopping still to do, the day stretches out invitingly with myriad possibilities beckoning, most of them centred around food.

Those oranges and knobbly lemons brought straight from a friend's farm are desperate to be turned into marmalade, with a little support from a jewelled pink grapefruit for extra tanginess.

The winter sun breaks through the mist, tentantively banishing the chill of morning and soon citrus smells waft out to greet it. The pot bubbles throughout an impromptu outdoor picnic lunch, preserving sunshine in pots for my personal delectation through the year. This year's first batch is now ready to fill up the yawningly empty shelves in the larder. Just in time. I was down to my last jar, an unthinkable state of emergency.

While the marmalade simmers there is plenty of time for a sortie to the orchard and veggie garden. The sun is afternoon hot now, what would pass for summer in England, so Middle Daughter comes prepared.

Our two guava trees are surpassing themselves this year, bearing the most glorious golden globes, the largest guavas I've seen before, with unblemished skins and fragrant fruit. We pick all the ones approaching ripeness, fill the basket to the brim, and still the boughs of the trees bend under the weight of more green fruit, promising to provide enough guava puree to fill our freezers over and over. We leave the heavy basket under the tree and continue on to the veggie garden, where Youngest and her aunt are busy spraying bugs with a garlic spray, checking for out-of-season strawberries (they found three!) and harvesting carrots.

The sunshine slowed our footsteps, no hurry to return to the semi-darkness and cool air indoors. We wandered back to collect the guava basket, up over the rise to our house, welcomed by the fluttering of laundry rapidly drying on the line on the stoep.

I tore myself away to the kitchen to hobnob with the marmalade and a brownie recipe and left the children to stock up on Vitamin D till sunset chilled the air once more and they had to be dragged inside from trampoline and garden.

Today the promise of more sunshine was never fulfilled, the clouds stubbornly blanketed the sky and a light drizzle hustled the kids back inside from the trampoline to find refuge on the sofa.

The importance of having a big sofa is never so apparent as on cold cloudy winter Sundays. I was getting Sunday lunch ready, but could have squished in if necessary... right in the middle of the card game.

I got busy working on my food photography instead, trying to style my precious brownies according to the advice from the Food Bloggers Conference. The clock approached closer and closer to lunch time as I went backwards and forwards between the computer and the kitchen checking out the latest shot and eventually getting what I was after, while the potatoes got crispier and crispier.

The joy of having an empty weekend stretching ahead to fill, now concertina-ing to a close with a flurry of playing Pit, hairwashing and walking dogs, but still time left to blog as my husband makes cheese on toast for supper.


  1. From a fellow lover of long lazy weekends, yours sounds close to perfection.

    Glad you enjoyed the brownies.

    PS: Your last photo is beautiful!

  2. Lovely!
    And can you share your marmalade recipe sometime?

  3. Thanks for the brownie recipe, Marisa - it was so good. I'm sadly looking at the last two in the box, as I was stupidly generous enough to share them with the kids!
    edj, I'll post the marmalade recipe soon on the blog, but in the meantime, here's the recipe on my site .

  4. Sounds like a blissful weekend! Beautifully written post and I'm not just saying that because there is a picture of scrumptious brownies in it!


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