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Can it really be autumn?

There have been definite signs of autumn this week: 1. I’ve had the heating on in the last couple of evenings. 2. My opaque tights have been on a couple of outings. 3. There is a crumble in the oven.

Maybe its time to let go of summer after all. Baking a crumble seems like a definitive acknowledgement of autumn.Whilst I am still trying to deny it, to stretch out the last of the long warm days, my food preferences do change perceptibly with the change of seasons, so my stomach is in autumn even if my head isn’t. Although I do enjoy the rhythm of changing cooking with the seasons. The allure of a crisp cool salad slowly wanes in September, to be replaced with a longing for warm spices, squashes roasting in the oven, mushrooms and chestnuts, thick soups and crumbles, all soothing as the nights draw in. Read more

An afternoon of PYO and a blackcurrant arctic roll

Blackcurrant arctic roll

Blackcurrant arctic roll

I absolutely adore blackcurrants. I used to grow them a few years ago – I had a bush that grew quite happily in a pot on the flat roof in my old flat, but when I moved and planted it out into the garden here, it promptly died and I’ve not yet replaced it. I picked a good crop of blackcurrants at the PYO without any particular plans for them. My first thought was a blackcurrant trifle, but R peculiarly objects to whipped cream. But some way of combining the tart fruit with thick cream and sweet soft cake stuck in my mind. A cake wouldn’t do, we wouldn’t eat it fast enough, so I decided to invent a new version of an arctic roll. I’ve not eaten an arctic roll for years. It is ripe for reinvention, there must be so many variations you could do. It must be set for a comeback, I almost can’t believe it’s been out of fashion for so long.

This one is definitely a weekend baking project and I’m afraid a bit washing-up tastic. But worth it. I’m sure there are many ways that this could be simplified, but it’s not complicated, it just needs time. Read more

Mid-summer picnic, including the prettiest salad ever made

One of those hot summer weekends where you have to get outside as much as possible to absorb the sunshine in the hope of storing it up for the long winter months. We had a picnic planned with some friends and luckily our local market was on excellent form, so I was able to pick up plenty of mixed leaves and interesting veg. I settled on making a simple roast vegetable tart and some little cheesecakes, packed into jars for easy transportation.  Read more