Hi Maria! How are you getting on?

M: Hola! I'm still making bread, it makes me happy! I am missing cooking. Hope you are OK?

H: Yep, just about hanging in there with home education! Bet the gardens at Picton are wonderful at the moment?

M: Yes the garden is totally beautiful. I think we all need a pick-me-up! You remember when we went to my brother’s Café in Alberic, coffee with brandy at 10 O’clock on Sunday morning? Valencian people, we make everything OK with a bit of brandy coffee. .

H: That certainly woke me up!

M: Carajillo brandy, makes the best brandy coffee.

Un blanco y negro – a glass of milky ice coffee heavily scented with cinnamon

M: Another of my favourites is Un blanco y negro – a glass of milky ice coffee heavily scented with cinnamon which you drink though a straw.

H: You put brandy in everything! Blackberries and brandy, Lamb cooked in brandy, brandy when you’ve had a baby!!!!!!!

M: Haha – Brandy – totally, a pick-me-up!

A busy Sunday morning at my brother's bar in Alberic see how many are men? The women, they stay home with the children!

Look at them! My brother in the square in Alberic

Should you have any brandy kicking around, here's another idea we featured in the summer, blackberries in brandy

Beautiful gardens at Picton Castle

H: Hi! Maria, how are you, missing our catch-ups and cappuccinos.

M: Hi Helen, it's the same day in day out, I am missing cooking…x hope you are ok?

H: All good. Cooking with the kids and going on walks.

M: Making breads makes me happy. I make it like my mother

H: Looks delicious. Bet it smells good in your kitchen...

M: Haha, it certainly does!

Maria- Delores, my mother, Maria Three Forks

Hey! Maria Three Forks

My mother made bread everyday except for Sunday. Instead, on Saturday, she made double. She didn’t have an oven in her house so, after she'd made the dough and shaped it she took it to the village baker, along with all the other women of the village. The baker baked all the loaves together in his giant oven.

When it came to collecting the loaves, the baker put all the bread on a big table and each person had to be able to identify which loaf belonged to them. My mother's mark was three fork marks pushed into the bread so that everyone knew that it was ‘Maria 3 Forks’ bread!

Nothing quite like the smell of a freshly baked loaf!

Stay home, make bread (if you can get flour), keep well! Mx Hx

Maria and I are separated, as we all are, at the moment. Our get togethers are limited to rubbish mobile signals and lots of messaging. So we’re going to keep things simple, and dish you up a dessert that’s so quick, and so delicious.

I first tried this in Alberic when I visited with Maria in January.

M: Ah yes, we celebrate St Antonio, with the fires, and the bakers making Coca de cansala y longaniza – flat bread with sausages and belly pork.

H: We had a lovely meal with your niece…

M: Nieves, yes my niece, she is lovely…

H: For dessert we had those delicious oranges, d’you remember? So simple. Nieves peeled them, taking all the pith off as well, then what did she put over them?

M: Just a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

H: Is that all? I could’ve eaten them all night!

M: You did!

H: Haha!

Simple, easy desert

Fresh oranges, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Full of vitamin C!

We'd love to see pics of you trying out this healthy, delicious desert, send us photos if you have time. We'll leave you of some pics from the celebrations for St Antonio in Alberic earlier this year. Looking forward to the happy times we can all share together soon.

Keep well, keep safe everyone

Words/photographs/illustrations© 2019 Helen  Lewis