"How is ma-de-la-da made?", asks Cinnamon at the Saturday breakfast table. "Who makes its?", she continues.
"People do", I answer.
"Why don't jellyfish make madelada?", she asks. Then my husband explains to her that madelada (Cinnamon's way of saying marmelada - Croatian for marmalade or jam) is made in a factory by people - not jellyfish. We're lucky to have found a Croatian sour cherry jam at the grocery store - the one that graces our table almost every morning. Homemade jam is something I'll attempt one day, although I'm guessing that finding fresh sour cherries in this area will prove to be a bit difficult.
A late weekend breakfast has become a cherished time. A time where we're not rushing out the door at 7h in the morning. A time when we can sleep in, if so desired, or wake up and play until we all gather around the table to eat. Saturday was not warming up as the weatherman had promised. 93 degrees was no where in sight. It was only 63 degrees at noon. Going outside to do yardwork was out the question until later in the day when it did warm up some more.
I decided to do some research for my cakes in the quiet of the early afternoon. I have many notes and outlines that need organizing, cake recipes lined up to be tested, and figuring out which cake is next to be baked. Meanwhile, Sagey played with the Legos and the girls went outside to help Papa with the raking of the leaves. Later, they built a tent out of blankets and chairs and had planned on spending the night in their tents until we noticed a few drops of rain starting to fall. The girls then reassembled the tent inside while the onions were on the grill.
Three large yellow onions sliced thinly on the mandoline takes a lot of time and much patience to get to the perfectly carmelized, almost charred state. The wait, however, is more than worth it. I've learned from experience that I should immediately take the entire amount of onions I intend to eat, otherwise it will inadvertantly end up on hubby's plate. That happened only once. I'm still waiting for the day that the children will develop a taste for grilled onions. If they're like me, that day will be far into their adulthood. So far it seems that age six is the time when children, at least my oldest, start to explore more of the "grownup" food. Food cooked with fresh herbs and veggies.
Along with the onions, we had grilled burgers, asparagus, and red bell peppers. A nice way to end the day.
Sunday was slightly warmer and thankfully a more productive day in the kitchen. More importantly, in the eyes of the children, we had cake. The recipe I used was one that I first wrote in a kitchen journal I took to Berlin and also the one I used a week later for Saffron's birthday last summer while we visited Oma in August. For Saffron's cake, I found a sheet of marzipan at Kardstadt which I used to cover the cake. I then decorated it with chocolate animals and wrote on it with colored icing I also found at the same store. Making cakes without a mixer - either hand or stand - proved to be a blessing in disguise. Sunday's cake was made using this simple method.
Aside from minor tweaking of moisture content - to take into account the differences in the ricotta I had in Germany and one I've found here at home - and a slight reduction in oven temperature, this recipe is near completion.
Later that afternoon, my husband took the girls and Sagey to the playground and the hardware store where he looked for solutions for building planter boxes for the rest of the vegetable plants that need transplanting. I, on the other hand, waited for the pizza dough to rise and made a simple tomato sauce that Saffron requested to go along with spaghetti. To the chopped garlic that was sauteed in olive oil, I added a can of crushed roasted tomatoes, fresh thyme and oregano, sea salt, sugar, freshly ground pepper, and two bay leaves. I let that cook for about 30 minutes and assembled a pizza in the meantime. Simple toppings of olive oil, fresh thyme leaves, feta, and Nicoise olives. Dinner was ready by the time they all returned home.
Cake was enjoyed at the newly decorated spring Sunday table - burnt orange placemats against the dove gray tablecloth and colorful glass butterfly tealight candle holders. It's a tradition that has the children looking forward to Sundays.