Apples and Autumn

This time of year is Harvest-festival time; Friday was Michaelmas.

According to British folklore, Michaelmas is the end of the blackberry season. An old story about how, when St Michael threw Satan out of heaven, Satan landed in a blackberry bush. Satan cursed the blackberries; he stamped, spat and urinated on them, thus making them unfit for consumption.

I was going to write about my first chocolate trip since July, which was to Haiti, with an 80% bar from Waitrose, but I can’t now remember how it tasted. Well, certainly. It had the bitterness of cacao; it melted smoothly on the tongue, and snapped cleanly. I don’t recall the underlying flavours. I’ll have to return.

Apples

So, instead, it’s apples. Home-grown, windfallen Bramleys. We went home at the beginning of September, and returned with about 25lbs of apples. They filled two and a half carriers. A few went bad and were thrown, but I stewed the rest. Had a crumble and Belgian hot lightening pie out of the first lot, with two extra servings set aside for freezing; another crumble and three more servings from the second lot.

Last year, we basically lived on apple cake and crumble for a month. This year, I’ve frozen it.

I tried something different for the second stewing. I found a recipe for Swedish apple cake, in the ScandiKitchen recipe book, which calls for apples stewed with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Swedish apple cake is one of the best apple cakes I know, so I thought I’d try stewing the apples in this manner. I already had a couple of servings of normal stewed apples, anyway.

I’m glad I’ve got three lots of spare cinnamon apples. So delicious. I’m saving one lot for my Christmas cake this year.

 

Ducks and Dating

Because. Ducks.

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Yep, I’m being deep and meaningful. Look, I’m tired, OK?

And ducks are far more interesting than discussing why a Pick-Up Artist should or should not be denied entry to the UK on the basis of some questionable statements about effective methods to get laid.

The real question is how come men pay to hear him say these things? And also how come his methods actually appear to work? Because, let’s face it, if they didn’t work for him, he wouldn’t be making money telling other men to do whatever it is that he’s doing. Which suggests that there’s an number of women out there who do fall for his “routine”.

I don’t agree with what he says, or condone his actions, but as with all such dubious characters, let him say his piece, reveal himself to be a thoroughly nasty specimen, and then get on with our lives without any further ado. Knowing about him has not enriched my life; I doubt it’s enriched yours. What this fuss has done is to make us aware of his name and given him his fifteen minutes. (Actually, I can’t remember his name and nor do I think him worthy of the minute it would take for me to Google him.) I expect he’s thrilled to be attracting so much attention, even if it is negative.

It has surely, though, warned those women who might fall for his methods to be on their guard. Let’s hope so.

Autumn

Now the weather’s turning, it begins to feel more like summer’s over. There’s a chill in the early morning air, and the rain has a more distinctly wintry character.

The temperature’s dropping, the heating doesn’t work, and the nights are much darker much earlier. I’d like to hibernate until about March, with a refuelling about Christmas/New Year time.

But here. A nice picture of an Autumn walk.

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And this little fellow taking a nap in the middle of the path:

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How to Have Fun in Autumn…

Is there any noise more satisfying than the scrunch of autumnal leaves beneath your feet? Other, that is, than the pop of bubble-wrap when there’s enough to jump on.

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(Also, I never noticed before how much the little mushroom looks like an owl!)

There’s something wonderfully gleeful about jumping in a pile of leaves. I think it’s one of the best things about autumn. I find it so disappointing when fallen leaves are swept aside and removed, don’t you? I know there’s all the health and safety in case someone falls over and breaks a leg or whatever, but crunching leaves is one of life’s small pleasures.

Maybe it’s the crunching. Some years ago, I went through a phase where my comfort food of choice was an apple. Or six. Because of the crunching when you eat them. (It only wasn’t chocolate because at the time I was practically living on Maltesers, one of my all-time favourite treats. Again, they crunch.)

Like the soft crunchy noise of tightly-packed snow when you leave footprints in fresh snow. Oh the joys! I know. Simple things and all that. But it’s the simple things which make life such fun. Makes it easier to have fun, too, I think. (Splashing in puddles is good fun too…)

What’s your favourite thing about Autumn?

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Not-So-New-Year’s Resolution; or: How to Use Time More Effectively Between Job-Hunts

Apparently I’m not good at this. I keep leaving vast chunks of time between posts. Easily distracted. Or a good procrastinator. Or something.

Something I’ve done for years. Start a project, loads of good intentions, lots of energy and passion and interest, and then life gets in the way. It has a habit of doing that. Do you find that?

I’m rubbish at remembering to take photos too. I carry my camera most places, but I forget to actually take it out and use it. I’ve got a decent memory for things I’ve seen (not so much for what people say though…) so I don’t always see the need for a photo.

Anyway, my not-so-new-year’s-resolution is to be better at writing and posting. And not just about baking or truffling. Because I’m not always in the kitchen.

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I’ve recently moved. I moved in with my fiancé. Big steps all at once. Guess I’m jumping. We’ve been together for three years. Became engaged and co-habitees all at once, it seems. But anyway.

Now I’m one of the mass unemployed graduates. Except I like to think of myself as a writer. So I am working (honest, parents), I just haven’t been paid yet.

I think part of my problem with this blog is that while I originally intended for it to have no specific subject, it quickly became about the kitchen. So I need to reclaim it and sit with my cup of tea and biscuits (or kanelbullar) and talk about other things.

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Like what’s distracting me from life at the moment. Which is mostly Netflix.

There’s a lot of TV series out there. A lot of good ones too. I’m currently a little addicted to most of the American crime dramas. I will say this for American TV: they’re crime dramas are usually pretty damn good. Or maybe I’ve only seen the good ones. (British TV does some good ones too. Sometimes.)

Currently I’m a little wrapped up in Lie to Me. Lots of lies and mysteries. I’ve always liked mysteries, and I like it when a crime drama isn’t just about murders (although I do like Castle. Have you tried the novels? Quite good fun).

My friend Katie introduced me to this several months ago, but we only got to half way through the second season. I don’t really like leaving things half-finished. So I’ve gone back to it. Started at the beginning again, and just now reaching where we left off.

It’s less addictive than I remember, but then, I have seen these episodes before. Which was the point, because I’m trying to write at the same time. Multi-tasking woman and all that. It’s harder when it’s an exciting new episode.

What’s your favourite TV series?