Whilst reading Rory's blog, I would constantly think about my life. I feel very blessed myself. I am blessed with a husband I love and one that I know loves me, when I say this he always asks me how do I know he loves me, my reply is, it's a feeling I get, he doesn't have to say it daily, I just know. I have three beautiful children who are now 14, 13 and 9, who are just the joys of my life, love them to bits. I have a puppy now to, Jake, very cute he is. I live in a home I love (it really is my happy place), nothing pleases me more than having pyjama days at home with my family just relaxing. Now don't think life is perfect, we are a normal family who get upset, have great days, have bad days and all other normal family issue days in between, but we are blessed, blessed with love in our hearts.
This link below is to a song I love from Joey and Rory, it is called That's Important to Me. I just love this song as these are things that are important to me, simple joys in every day life that we are too busy to appreciate sometimes. Have a listen, it is beautiful.
We recently started growing our own fruit and vegetables in our garden, it is bringing us so much joy (and the odd heartache to my husband when fruit flies attack his tomatoes or when worms are eating the cavalo nero), but at the end of the day instead of sitting in front of the TV, each night, we water the garden and have a look at what is now growing, what are we going to cook with tomorrow. We now plan our meals around our garden, it really is exciting. Currently I'm waiting on my passionfruit to ripen so I can taste our first home grown passionfruit.
Now to get back on the cooking track, sort of, I grew up in a household with factory working parents, parents that worked hard every day to ensure we had a good life. My mother, no matter how tired she was cooked dinner every night. Have to give my dad some credit here to, as whichever parent got home first was the parent that started cooking diner, but mum always finished it. They would discuss what was being cooked the next day every evening so that they knew what they needed to do, once they got home from work.
One thing my mum insisted on was no one ate dinner until everyone was home from work, sport, school, whatever was going on in our day, we waited and we always ate dinner together as a family. I now have been married 15 years and this is something that is important to me. My daughter recently started dancing one day a week until 8pm, we now eat on Thursdays at 8:15pm, rather late, but we wait (normal dinner time is around 5:30-6:30pm). My husband and kids love it to, it is our family time, we eat together, spend a few moments every day, phone/gadget free and find out how our days have been.
Now this Nectarine Shortcake is something I made with my 9 year old baby in mind. With nectarines in season at the moment he just cannot get enough of them. It was a lazy pyjama Sunday for me, my favourite kind of Sunday, they don't happen often, but when they do, I enjoy every minute of it. I bake all the time, I find it very relaxing, and as I have a family that love to eat, I flicked through a cookbook to see what I would make for them. I came across this recipe, I had all the ingredients at home, so I got baking.
This was very easy to make, and I just love making a recipe from scratch, don't get me wrong I always have frozen pastry in the freezer, but when I can, I quite like making my own pastry. This was delicious, my family loved it and that makes me happy, I love that they love my food. My puppy loves my food now to, I didn't give him this, but sometimes he gets food made for him and he loves it, that makes me so happy. My daughter says I should dedicate a page to puppy food, she makes me laugh.
So this simple task of cooking, something that I love to do, makes my family happy, which makes me happy. Simple things that are important to me.
A few notes about the recipe, you can peel the nectarines before baking them, I don't as it doesn't bother me, but if you prefer to peel them, just cut a small cross at the top of the nectarines, place them in a bowl or saucepan, cover them with boiling water for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes remove them from the water and peel them with a small sharp knife, starting at the cross.
Also if you don't have or can't find peach or nectarine jam, use apricot jam, it is readily available and can be used in a lot of recipes.
Joey recently died, I only just started to reading about her life, but I was truly moved by her and Rory.
Take a few moments every day to enjoy what you have been blessed with. This Nectarine Shortcake is something that I now make as a reminder to enjoy the simple things in life.
1 tablespoon ground almonds
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons peach or nectarine jam
3 nectarines, peeled, halved, stone removed (though I keep the skin on)
Icing sugar, to serve
Double cream or Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
For the shortcake pastry, combine the flour, caster sugar and butter in a food processor, blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1/4 cup chilled water and process until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the base is smooth. If the dough is too soft, cover with greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.
Preheat oven to 200C/210C fan forced. Place a large flat baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of baking paper to form a 24cm x 32cm rectangle.
Remove the top sheet of baking paper.
Cut the pastry in half lengthways so you have two pieces 12cm wide, 32cm long.
In a small bowl combine the almonds and 1 tablespoon of the white sugar.
Spread the jam over the base of one piece of pastry. Sprinkle over the almond mixture.
Place nectarines, cut side down, down the centre of the pastry, on top of the almond mixture.
Top with the other half of the pastry, pressing down the edges together, then rolling them upwards to secure.
Brush the top of the pastry with a little water and sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon of white sugar.
Leave the shortcake on your baking paper, slide it onto your hot tray. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with cream or ice cream.
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