I have been so blessed that my childhood memories are such happy ones. I had so many people in my life, from aunts and uncles to teachers and friends, all of whom helped me to create a quilt of happy places I still retreat to on grey days.
I'm not saying I grew up in a bubble, to be sure, I've had my share of heart breaks and let downs. It's just that the silver lining has always been brighter than the cloud. The older I get (and I'm not that far into old yet) the more I realise that the best memories are priceless, yet do not involve money.
Looking over the highlight reel of my life (so far) they all happen in times and places that are surrounded by family and friends doing things which didn't cost anything.
The best crayfish I have ever tasted, was not in a fancy silver-service restaurant, but rather caught and cooked fresh on the beach in sea water, surrounded by Varsity friends in Lamberts Bay!
My most memorable lunch : Curry sarmies (sandwiches) and a flask of coffee on the rocks on a cold winter's day on the cliffs of Hermanus.
Best chocolate dessert? Instant chocolate pudding, made with powdered milk- what you say? I can assure you that when you've hiked 60kms in 4 days and everything you have is on your back, your standards are not as high as you would think.
So how do these simple childhood memories bring me back to the best shortbread recipe I have ever made or tasted? Simple, it is so easy to make - you don't need fancy equipment, lots of time or skills learnt over years of training at Le Cordon Bleu!
This is a recipe that you can make memories with!
220g Cake Flour
110g Castor Sugar
250g Soft Butter
Finely Grated zest of 2 Lemons (washed and unwaxed)
Pre-heat the oven to 160C
Sift the dry flours together.
Add the sugar
Work in the butter and the zest until you have a stiff dough.
I use my cake mixture with the paddle attachment, but this can be done by hand.
Grease a 20cm - 30cm baking tray.
Smooth the dough in the tray and pre-cut into biscuits.
Prick the dough with a floured fork.
Bake for about 50 minutes until lightly golden.
Re-cut and re-prick the biscuits when you remove from the tray from the oven.
Dust with extra castor sugar (optional)
Leave the shortbread to cool completely in the tray before removing.
Best enjoyed with a good cuppa tea.