Sunday, 30 August 2009
The Berry and the Baking.
We're still living an appley life here with bowlfuls of them dotted all over the kitchen. Some look as though they have come straight from a child's drawing with that perfect pinky-red gleam and two neat leaves hugging close to the stalk; others are full of holes and bruises, the typical warwounds of the windfall apple. I love both as the first makes for perfect snacking, just begging to be bitten into and making me feel rather wicked step-motherish as I entice the children to 'try a bite or two'. The tattered and battered are also perfect in their way as they make great bases for jellies, particularly for fruits which are low on pectin. We have had them all in so many forms including this rather lovely (though I do say so myself) tarte tatin - don't you just love that golden crust on clotted cream? Cornish of course.
I also made a srt of streudel traybake thingy with blackberries thrown in for good measure. This was very popular with the children
as was Nigella's 'damp apple cake' -well, it was mine actually and although the 'damp' of the title didn't suggest anything too promising, I knew Nigella would come up trumps yet again. It was gorgeous and perfect for someone like me who loathes those really dry cakes that stick in the throat with their dusty crumbs. Even better, I stowed slices of the last two bakes away in the freezer ready for the impending return to packed lunches (something else I loathe...well, the making of, that is!)
We managed to pick over 6lbs of blackberries in one session and have made wine with these. For those who have never tried it, blackberry wine is like drinking autumn with a deep richness of colour and a round, full flavour that has that perfumed edge of burdgening hedgerows in warm, rosy sunshine. Just wonderful.
The picture below shows the weather we have been experiencing here. Hardly makes you think of August does it? The light has been so dark and even the usually calm waters of this local reservoir turned decidedly choppy in the blustery winds buffeting its shores.
Clearing areas of the garden has been another project this holiday, though one more usually undertaken later in the year. The poor summer has caused many of our plants to fail and the whole has a green woodland look which suggests summer is long behind, the reality being that it never actually came! By cutting back the herbaceous plants - the loosestrifes, ox-eye daisies, jacob's ladder and so forth - we are hopeful of a second showing particularly if we have an Indian summer like last year's. This dear chap was discovered under one of the logs around the campfire; I quickly placed its cover back to enable it to hide away once more.
Have a lovely Bank Holiday x