Ahh, the pandemic. What to say when so much has already been said? During lockdown, like so many others, I veered between being happily ensconced in the safety of home, only to find myself the next day, pacing the house like a caged lion. Wistfully remembering happier days involving family, friends, cafes, restaurants and someone else’s cooking. Good days were spent helping kids with schoolwork, baking, cooking, cleaning, tidying, sorting, exercising, playing games with family and watching movies. (Other days that were ‘less good’, were spent watching too much Tiger King on Netflix, drinking too much wine and freaking out…just a wee bit.) There is no ‘upside’ in a pandemic but with the Yak working from home, we got to spend precious time as a family that we had never experienced before.
Personally, the major downer in all of this, has been missing seeing Mum. No more Thursday morning market visits, dinners and especially, no hugs since March. Being over that ‘certain age’ and in the process of sorting out a pre-existing lung condition, meant strict self-isolation for our Mum. And whilst phone conversations and brief chats from the end of her driveway may have grown tiresome, (especially for her), it was a constant reminder of how important it is that we all did the right thing. And that we all still continue to do the right thing, ensuring that we protect those who are most vulnerable and ourselves.
This is not a whinge, I was very grateful to see her, even from a distance. My husband is unable to go back to the UK to see his Mum and as she is medically vulnerable, God knows when he will see her again. Other friends are in the same situation as him, with family in far away countries that they cannot go home to and visit. So many jobs lost, so many struggling and my heart breaks for all of those who were unable to and still cannot, visit family in aged care. Let alone and even more so, for those have lost loved ones forever, to this damn virus.
In Sydney and NSW Australia, we are currently hovering in a strange place, Covid wise. Kids are back at school here but sadly, Melbourne and parts of Victoria are back in lockdown with infection rates and deaths growing scarily by the day. In NSW, Covid clusters are occurring but at a slower rate. Some restrictions have just came back into place regarding numbers at restaurants and at social gatherings. We are on tenterhooks, waiting for the next shoe to drop. Hoping that we can all make sensible choices and keep one another safe.
Recently and cautiously we have seen a little more of Mum. (Although that may have to go back on hold considering the last few days of community infection rates.) Her condition is now under treatment and we have enjoyed carefully curated coffee catch ups outside and one or two short, socially distanced visits from one faraway couch to another. Baking this apple slice for afternoon tea on one of these visits, was my way of letting her know how very much I love, miss and appreciate her. There are no guarantees of a tomorrow for any of us and time is so very precious. This delicious slice was a recipe that she passed along to me and has become a firm family favourite. It is simple, quick and delicious. Give it a whirl, it’s a food hug you can give when you can’t give a proper hug.
PANDEMIC APPLE SLICE
WHAT YOU NEED
3 apples, peeled, cored and diced (1 cm)
1 tbl lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
280g self raising gf flour
(Or 280g plain gf flour with 4 tsps baking powder and a 1/4 tsp salt.)
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Toss the prepared apples in the lemon juice to ensure they don’t go brown, add vanilla and stir through.
Combine the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl then add the apples and stir through.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in a small bowl in the microwave.
Pour the cooled butter, beaten egg and milk into the flour and apple mixture and stir until combined.
Tip the mixture into a lined tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Can keep up to 3 days.
Cooking Notes: If you don’t require this slice to be gluten free, substitute for 2 cups regular self-raising flour. I sometimes add a teaspoon of cinnamon depending on my mood.
Original non-tweaked and non gluten-free recipe found here: