Tuesday 13 September 2016

The Last of the Apples

Hello Friends!

Just the other day, I mentioned to someone how more like Winter our weather is right now. Much of the rest of the country is experiencing the hottest September on record, with a high of just over 34 degrees Centigrade {that's about 100 degrees F} recorded this very afternoon in Kent, while here in the west the winds are 40 mph and it rains buckets full. As the weatherman said at midday 'The South of England roasts and, typically, the west is cold and wet' which just about sums it up.  I'm glad he said 'typically' ~~~

As I type, there is a lamb casserole in the Crock Pot. Many of you know I am vegetarian, and this is for my Mum. I admit, it isn't complicated and that is just as well because I can't taste it to check for seasoning so I really have to wing it when I cook Mum's ready meals for the freezer.  I am such a chicken {not a pun} and buy trimmed and diced meat from the supermarket so that I don't have to handle it. I just open the box and put it in, along with stock and vegetables. It has been so long since I ate, or cooked, meat that I can't remember much about it now. This week, after it's quarterly defrosting and clearing out, the freezer is being well restocked with hearty, warming and nutritious casseroles {both meat and vegetarian}, as well as lots of Apple Sauce, fresh picked wild blackberries, and more. I love this time of year, preparing comfort food and puddings for the Winter freezer more than any other.

I was speaking to my neighbour over our shared fence this afternoon and she confirmed my suspicions that the blackberry pick just isn't as good as usual this year.  Summer was simply too cold and dry, and this is probably to blame. I'm still picking what I can daily and freezing them and will decide what to make once the season is over. However, if you have plenty and would like to get a really delicious recipe for a scrumptious Blackberry Roll then pop over to the blog of my good friend Martha Ellen's The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen where you will find the recipe ~~~

I have put off decorating, but as September is now midway through and the Autumn Equinox is in a few days, I think it is time to bring out the boxes of Autumn decorations.  I am honouring the imminent arrival of Autumn by making a recipe from my Susan Branch "Autumn" book called Cranberry Apple Crisp.  I am not sure if I can, due to copyright reasons, share the recipe, suffice to say {for my British readers} it is very similar to a Fruit Crumble, but if you own a copy of "Autumn From the Heart of the Home" by Susan Branch, you can find the recipe on page 95.

Here it is ~~~

Getting the ingredients together with my green glazed Mason Cash bowl 
I used frozen cranberries, thawed, and a few blackberries that were to hand ~~~

Ready to work in the butter with my pastry blender before finishing by hand ~~~

Ready to bake on a tray in case it leaks! I used wholewheat flour so it looks quite brown before baking

The finished dish 
Nicely layered with plenty of topping and fruits

This will be pudding tonight served with a warm custard sauce ~~~ delicious!

Not much is happening in the garden, but I'm hoping the blackberries will continue to produce some good fruits for the next few weeks ~~~ there are plenty of buds and blooms  ~~~

but already the leaves are starting to turn colour ~~~

Until next time

Friday 2 September 2016

Have You Noticed?

Hello Friends ~~~

Have you noticed that Autumn, the most blissful season of all, is here?

Quietly she came, and began whispering in my ear some weeks ago; the quality of light is softening daily as the sun drops closer to the horizon; the days are noticeably shorter; nights are drawing in; curtains are closed earlier now; the heating is needed to take the chill off the early morning and late evening air; the hedgerows and trees are offering up their ripening fruits; the world that dwells far above the Equator prepares to slow down and rest.

Although the air feels Autumnal, and the light is Autumnal, the trees and fruits seem still a little way behind, but here are some photos of what is happening in and around and near my cottage ~~~

Rosa Rugosa grown into rich ruby red hips

Japanese Wind Anemones fill my borders

Won't you join me on a gentle stroll around the valley this pleasantly warm and sunny Autumn afternoon?  Let us take a peek and see what is happening as we traipse along the high~hedge boundered byways of the Shire ~~~

A trout lies well camouflaged on the muddy river bottom

Leaves still wear the green of Summer and show no sign of turning yet

Conkers ripening high up on the Horse Chestnut Tree

View from Pen Lan looking up the river valley to the village

I think he might be stuck! He certainly chewed up the surface of the lane!

Looking down the river valley all is lush and verdant green and out of site the ocean lies

The winding shady lane that leads back to the village and a blue sunny sky

The stream is low in water and is nothing more than a trickle

Crab Apples ripening for jam and jelly making

My favourite Autumn fruit ~ Blackberries ~ deep juicy jewels ~ gems of goodness
A net of spiderweb covered in dewy crystal droplets of early morning rain

Each day now I am picking a small bowl of wild blackberries from the vines about my cottage and soon I will decide what to make with them as they assemble in the freezer ~~~ the more you pick, the more you get, and with heavy rains coming in tomorrow I hope the following days of sun will give a bumper crop to pick ~~~

Until next time