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Jam tarts and broken hearts.

It’s that time of year where we come together and take a whole day to bake jam tarts for our family members and Christmas. My grandmother had cooked up 21kg of apricot jam (I don’t think we’ll be using all of it) and we had prepared 6kg worth of flour dough. We have our team together and we’re starting early morning to ensure we make all the dough’s worth of jam tarts. Not only do we bake the day away, but we also listen to Christmas carols all day long.

A broken heart easily forgets the damage and wrongdoings it has suffered

A scared heart forgives quickly

A neglected heart causes other hearts to neglect it further

It is with great hardship that I need to report a broken heart. All the clichés and songs remain just that, someone’s opinions. The only way I feel I have survived so far was by taking one day at a time, some days (as my friend suggested) taking on the day hour by hour. Usually, I would choose to get angry to easily get over things but this time, my heart does not want to be angry anymore. Other than a relationship that has ended, I learned that my cat is terminally ill. I’ve loved this cat for 13 years and it seems that her time has come to an end. My heart breaks at the thought of letting go but it breaks even more at the thought of her suffering.

So before I make you completely depressed, the reason I chose to share this news is that I had learned that if you do not care for yourself no one else will. I am not saying that there aren’t people who care for others unconditionally, those people are just not as easy to find. If you don’t care about yourself it creates the illusion that others also don’t have to care about you and this creates a great mess between you and a person you share a relationship with, whether it be a friendship or romantic relationship. In turn, you create the opportunity for the other party to become a ‘bad person’ whereas you, and the other person, need to bring out the better in each other. What makes it worse is realizing that you could have done better but for some reason, in the relationship, you chose not to. The great tragedy is that sometimes things are just not meant to be and after you have survived the heartache, disappointment, and resentment, you will find that you survived it all for a better.

Looking after yourself:

Of course, in my life, the first way to look after yourself is to feed yourself and treat yourself to good food. You decide what goes into your body and what you eat has an effect on you physically and psychologically. I tend to stop eating when I am depressed and found myself shaky and dizzy most of the week trying to just let one day at a time pass and not eating.  I suppose this is how I feel I should punish myself, avoiding the pleasure of eating. At least I was forced to eat jam tarts while we were all baking (I know, major first world problems).

Helping others helps you:

As I drove to work one morning I received a call from someone that was on my mind that day. Funny, his ears must have been burning. He asked me if I could help out a friend of his by cooking and presenting food from a certain company that she wants to impress. She also seemed to have been going through a tough time, as we all are, and I immediately accepted the opportunity. What better way to have a great day than to cook something beautiful and to share food and knowledge with someone. I ended up going to her house on a Sunday, we opened a good bottle of wine, Kanonkop, and we started cooking eisbein, beetroot, sweet potatoes, and peas for the presentation. She kept telling me that she doesn’t feel like she is learning something, and I told her that if you just observe how someone else is cooking you will always learn something or spark an interest.

3hours later we had this:

Honey and Soy Glazed Eisbein
With
Rosemary Crushed Peas
Rustic Beetroot Purée
And dollops of Jewel Sweet Potato Purée

Chargrilled Baby Onion

At least it’s Christmas, or almost:

It has been the least festive Christmas of my life. I suppose you would expect it to be, I just thought about it today and I have not even seen one house decorated beautifully. I was looking forward to going to the Jacaranda Children’s Home Christmas Lights Festival but thanks to COVID 19 they had decided not to open it this year. Yes, because the year has not been depressing enough as it is… 

As we planned our Christmas festivities, our menu seemed to grow and grow as the days went on. My cousin and I decided that maybe this year we should make some cocktails. Cocktail number one is going to be the watermelon and strawberry drinks I made for the wedding and inspired by the country I want to go and visit, I thought we could make mango lassi/smoothies with a kick. Usually, I would be up for eggnog but, I fear the summer heat in Gauteng will make for a, very bad, eggnog experience…

As it stands, our menu looks something like this:

Lamb Roast

Pork Roast

Oxtongue

Chicken

Potbrood

3 salads (and I do not care for any of them)

Cocktails

Jam tarts for dessert…

Jam Tarts:

If you have never had the pleasure of enjoying a jam tart I would suggest you bake some for yourself. The secret to jam tarts is homemade apricot jam, love, and teamwork… Yes! The slightly sour taste from the apricot jam, along with the sweetness of it, and the brittle, crumbly pastry makes jam tarts a treat you can not just enjoy 1 of, 3 is the minimum required amount of tarts you need for ultimate satisfaction! If ever, you find someone who doesn’t enjoy a jam tart, I would say that you have found someone equivalent of a unicorn. Not only is it fun to roll out the dough, press the individual future tarts, wipe the rinds with egg white, filling it with jam (and if you are like me it’s always too much jam), brush it with egg yolk, then baking it and hoping that the extra bit of love (jam) would not cook out of your beautifully rolled edged jam tart.  Be careful though… jam stays hot for quite some time…

I apologize for the lack of food in this blog and for the sad news that I spread. If you find it in yourself to do something good for someone else I would suggest you do that and not limit this trait, let’s keep that going throughout 2021 and try to make it a better year than this one has been. 

I hope you all have a merry and blessed Christmas with family, friends, pets, or even a Skype call. Look after yourself and until you read again, go bake some jam tarts.

Blog post by Anel du Preez.