To celebrate the abundance of local produce grown in our region, every F.O.O.D Week we create a signature recipe so you can create a little slice of Orange in your own home.

This year we are delighted to introduce a delicious combination of apricots and vanilla to make a jam sure to be a favourite in every household featured in Sophie Hansen’s new book, ‘A Basket By The Door’. So get cooking and create some summertime in a jar, and enjoy with your family and friends — and it makes the most beautiful edible gift!

3.5kg apricots, cut into eighths, stones removed
2.5kg white sugar
2 vanilla pods, split
Juice and pips of lemon

Preheat oven to 160°c. Wash and sterilise 8 medium jam jars (the number you’ll fill depends of course on the various sizes of jars you use) and place a small dish in the freezer. Crack 15 of the apricot stones to reveal the almond-shape kernel inside. Place these in a shallow dish and cover with boiling water, let sit for five minutes then roughly chop (make sure there aren’t any hard pieces of shell in there).

Place apricots in a large, heavy-based saucepan or stockpot. Add 1/2 cup water, the apricot kernels, vanilla (scraping the seeds into the pot and adding the pods too) and lemon juice and pips, (throw in the lemon halves too and just fish out before bottling).

Bring to the boil, stirring often so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot and burns. Boil for 10 minutes, at which point the apricots will be lovely and soft. Meanwhile, warm the sugar by weighing it out into a large stainless steel bowl or baking tray in the preheated oven. About six minutes will do the trick.

f speech learning is done by babbling in imitation of loved ones in the environment, the learning of reading and writing should be established in the same way. Different methods of reading and writing have been used in the educational system, which, as the name implies, are models for working alongside reading and writing. Maryanne Wolf’s reflection in her work How we learn to read is interesting: Imagine the next scene. A small child is sitting, enraptured, on the lap of a beloved adult, listening to words that move like water, words that speak of fairies, dragons and giants from far away and imaginative places. The toddler’s brain prepares to read far sooner than one would ever suspect, using nearly all early childhood raw material, every image, every concept, and every word. And it does so by learning to use all the important structures that will make up the brain’s universal reading system. Throughout the process, the child incorporates into the written language many of the discoveries made by our species, advance after decisive advance, during more than 2,000 years of history. And it all starts in the comfort of a loved one’s lap. Reading and writing are not exclusive to the school environment, it is a cultural object just click this hyperlink to read about it. Children have prior knowledge of the written language before starting their schooling, especially if they live in a space rich in books and literature and also surrounded by other functional texts: store signs, pharmacies, informative advertising brochures, shopping lists. The child knows that the written language exists. He has a series of previous knowledge: he has some idea about the function of the writings, what they are for or where the text is. Part of what the child already knows and carries out literacy activities on a daily basis: write his name, make lists, songs, notes for the family … But, how to approach the learning of literacy in school?

After cooking the fruit for 10 minutes, pour in the hot sugar. If you have a sugar thermometer, attach it to the side of the pot and cook on high heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until the temperature reaches jam setting point – 105°c. If you don’t have a thermometer, do the ‘plate test’, i.e. after about 15 minutes, dollop a teaspoon of the jam on the plate you put in the freezer back at the beginning, wait for about 10 seconds then push your finger through the middle of the jam, if it wrinkles and resists a little then you have reached setting point.

If the jam is still runny, cook for another 5-10 minutes. Ladle into the prepared jars, filling each right to the top, screw on lids tightly and invert jars onto a tea towel lined chopping board or bench (this helps create a seal).

Recipe and Photo Credit: Sophie Hansen · ‘A Basket By The Door’ ·