There are still days of lingering cold, as spring awkwardly eases its way in, unsettled and indecisive.
Cold, blowing winds of chilly air combine with gorgeous blue skies – it sure looks like its spring but the temperatures remind us that we’ve barely left winter behind, and that it isn’t time to shed off those thick jackets just yet.
But the pretty blooming flowers and lush green lawns are proof that we are finally on our way to warmer days.
The sun’s glistening rays reflected by the water in Puerto Madero is promise of increasingly frequent bright sunshine days; and mostly, there on parade and sitting in all their glory are the berries that declare spring has really arrived.
Here in Argentina, markets and fruit stalls proudly show off their fresh produce like it’s “Show and Tell” at school.
Round, juicy blueberries and plump, red strawberries are settled as royalty on the shelves, daring you to pick them up.
A while back I gave in to the temptation and made some absolutely lip-smackingly good strawberry oatmeal bars, you know, the kind that go really well with a mug of hot tea and good company.
It’s a pretty easy recipe that honestly allows you to be as flexible as you like with the filling – you could go with any type of fruit as long as it can be made into a jam; or you could just use any jam you have available to your fancy.
I was yearning for the sweet, luxurious taste of strawberries, cooked and blended into a thick, rich jam.
You can choose to hover over the stove, waiting and watching as the strawberries release their juices and thicken, and watch homemade strawberry jam form before your eyes; or you could also just grab a jar of strawberry jam from the store.
The rest of the recipe involves simple steps that cannot really go wrong as long as you follow the instructions.
Mix together quick cooking oats, some flour, butter and a bit of sugar. Once the ingredients have been well mixed, divide it into half and press half of it down into a greased baking pan, using the back of a spoon to make life easier.
Now’s the time to pour out the strawberry jam (or whichever other type of jam you prefer), and spread it evenly over the first layer of the oats mixture. And then cover the jam with more oats mixture, making sure you get a flat surface.
After this, you pop it into the oven and wait to enjoy this absolutely delicious treat.
STRAWBERRY OATMEAL BARS (Makes 16 square bars)
Adapted from Ree Drummond’s recipe on the Food Network
1) 200g of butter, room temp
2) 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3) 1 1/2 cup oats
4) 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5) 1/2 cup packed white sugar
6) 1 teaspoon baking powder
7) 1/2 teaspoon salt
8) 450g of strawberry jam (or whichever jam you fancy)
2) Cut the butter into small cubes and then add the butter cubes to the flour mixture
3) Using two knives cut at the butter, mixing it with the flour mixture until you get a batter and resemble fine bread crumbs
3) Pre-heat oven to 180 deg cel
4) In a greased square or rectangle baking dish, pour half the batter and flatten it evenly using the back of a spoon to press it down
5) Spread out strawberry jam over the layer of batter, and spread it out evenly
6) Pour the remaining batter over the strawberry jam, and press it down evenly again, as before
7) Bake at 180 deg cel for 30 to 40 minute until the crust turns golden brown
8) Allow to cool before cutting into squares serving
* You can serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, or alone