Category Archives: Family
Unexpected pleasures are so sweet, don’t you find? The glorious sunshine and unusual warmth of the past days have brought delight – just as we started to get entrenched in the routine of Autumn. And the garden of our new home boasts trees laden with an extraordinary crop of apples and the hedges are richly dotted with blackberries. These must be celebrated!
So, directly home from school, books and bags are cast aside and we make right for a lovely spot in the garden for a cool drink and a rest.
But little boys don’t really rest for long, do they? Our boy is lucky as he has quite a few little friends who live in the village. So after school, the garden is often buzzing with several little boys running around, building dens, climbing…. And feeling hungry – always hungry!
I’ve been reading a charming little book. It’s called ON A Stick! and it’s written by Matt Armendariz. Matt is the creator of the wonderful blog Matt Bites – do you know it? Well the book is just about what you would expect from the title – a series of quirky, delicious recipes and ideas – all of food on a stick.
Now I have yet to find a child who doesn’t adore food on sticks! Even healthy skewers of fruit and veggies. As long as you can trust little boys with sharp sticks (you can’t!) So with vigilance, I presented a garden snack inspired by Matt’s book. This isn’t actually his recipe, in fact it isn’t really a recipe at all. I simply assembled some berries and apple slices (from the garden), along with some little pieces of cake on wooden bamboo sticks.
The cake is a buttermilk and almond cake but I haven’t perfected the recipe yet. When I do, I’ll be happy to share it if you would like. Just let me know.
A quick chat, then back to running around!
A change of weather is forecast – back to the typical offerings of the season. Despite a little sadness to say goodbye to the bright warm days, I feel quite excited about the prospect of Autumn. It’s such a beautiful time of year – the splendid colours, the brisk walks, and of course, the delicious warming foods that nourish body and soul. More soon.
Did you know that the official month of cherries (at least according to the cherry promoters in the lovely state of Michigan) is February? I know, it’s a bit surprising for all of us in the northern hemisphere, clad in the endless, dull vestiges of winter. Yes, the cherry – that gorgeous, vibrant little stone fruit that is so evocative of sunshine, of light dappled leafy trees – is feted with a national month in February. But why not? I thought about it and it makes sense. We need a hit of cherry, of brightness and delight at this time of year. It’s true it is not the time for home grown seasonal cherries, but cherries do preserve very well and a jar of cherry sauce made from summer fruit can deliver that vibrance right to our winter kitchens. Just when we need it most.
Our youngest child is always asking me to make (with his help, of course) two particular things in the kitchen. One is pasta. He’s crazy about that hand crank pasta machine. The other is ice cream. And it’s never too chilly for ice cream according to him. So why not use some cherries (cherry puree or sauce) to swirl in with a yummy soft frozen white chocolate cream – a semifreddo. Delicious.
Do you like these roses? Amazing colour. A strong peachy orange when I got them, they lasted for ages fading into lovely pinky shades. I actually found their faded petals most beautiful of all.
Since I began with the ice cream and these photographs, a few days have ticked us over into March. It feels like the green shoots of spring are all over and I am very excited about that. Little bulbs emerging, even some glowy sunlight today.
I’ll be back soon, with lots of springtime inspiration.
Please drop me a comment – if you would like to -when you visit. And send me a link to your site or blog as I love to see what you are cooking and making too.
The best of the Autumn hues are fading now, the reds and golds giving way to the cool grey skies of early winter. Through the window falls a steady drizzle of rain and most of the trees are bereft of their leaves. I’ve really been enjoying the past few weeks – out with my camera – and discovered some surprising colours like the delicate pinky purples in a vast bed of woodland cyclamen. As a family, we’ve spent time outside walking, cycling, picking apples, and celebrating with bonfires and pumpkins. But pumpkins are not just for carving and decorating are they? They make beautiful subjects for photography – and delicious eating too!
Pumpkin and winter squashes are particularly delicious roasted – it concentrates the sugars and intensifies the flavours. I like to use roasted pumpkin in lasagna, pasties, or Caribbean curries and rotis. I also love pumpkin in breads, muffins and cakes. Wonderful for Autumn walks and picnics.
My grandmother loves – adores – cakes, especially cakes rich with fruit and nuts. When I visit her, there is nothing I can bring that will delight her more than a home baked cake like this teacake. In fact, it was just for my lovely granny that I made this cake, and it’s twin. (The recipe makes two loaves.) Like many old folks (I can call her old, because she really is!) she doesn’t always have the appetite or energy to prepare a full meal, so a slice or two of a nourishing fruit and nut cake with a cup of tea is just right. She just rang me to say how much she is enjoying this teacake. And that makes me very happy.