August Patchwork Quilt of Seasonal Recipes, Flowers & Ingredients………As we bid a sad farewell to August, and before we move into September, I want to reflect on the last month of summer and what made it special for me, through recipes, seasonal produce and flowers. We had a mixed month of weather in the UK and SW France, where I was for most of August, with storms, rain and high winds interspersed with baking hot days where sizzling skies sparkled with azure muslin, and nights hummed with light seeking moths and glittering friezes of shooting stars dazzled my upward gaze. Our garden continued to provide salad in abundance – from curly bitter frisée leaves to soft, buttery oak leaf lettuces, and the tomatoes glowed crimson through dark green leaves……we had bulging beefsteak tomatoes, striped green and yellow “zebra” tomatoes, pointed Roma tomatoes and the sweetest of sweet cherry tomatoes. Every day salads were made with all of our own home-grown produce, and were bursting with colour, flavour and texture.
When the sun was out, we picnicked in the back garden, under the shade of leafy green canopied trees, as well as enjoying late night meals under the stars on the terrace. There were baked Tians, fragrant salads served with chargrilled meat and fish, pungent cheese boards filled with all manner of cheeses from all over France served with ubiquitous crusty baguettes, unctuous pasta and potato salads, sunburst yellow-yolked eggs coddled with herbs and smoked fish, stuffed sandwiches, glasses of earthy reds and crisp bubbles……it seemed like summer would never end, but time marches on and I welcome September and the start of autumn with open arms and excitement for what seasonal delights it will offer. As more and more vegetables made their way into my country kitchen, I reached for well-thumbed cookery books and hastily scribbled family heirloom recipes on backs of envelopes for inspiration.
Chutney simmered, filling the kitchen with a raw vinegar and yet fragrant fruity aroma, jams bubbled in large copper pans, beans were stringed and cut for pickling, and my green walnuts were finally dried in the late summer sun before being immersed in hot spiced vinegar thus turning them into Pickled Walnuts, all ready to lay down and mature for the Festive table. As well as my manic preserving, and it seemed that every day was a chopping, simmering and bottling day, we had friends, family and B and B guests staying with us, who needed to be fed and watered. My Lavender and Lovage cookery school started with its first summer courses, where several students enjoyed the fruits of their labours outside on the covered terrace, breaking home-made bread and spooning rustic casseroles onto their plates, as well as taking home freshly baked goods. (A list of my courses and a dedicated page to our B and B and the cookery school will follow on Lavender and Lovage soon)
So, as we slip in to September, I would like to share a few of my favourite things with you all, through a patchwork quilt of seasonal recipes, ingredients and flowers from my garden……and, if like me you are now picking blackberries, DON’T forget the lovely little blog hop party and linky that I have running right now, with my good friend Janice – The Great British Blackberry Recipe Round-Up – it is still open to add your all your beauteous blackberry recipes until the 18th September. My Patchwork Quilt is shared below, again, with a link to some of my favourite summer posts and recipes. Have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you soon with new recipes, new reviews and also news about a wonderful trip I am about to embark on. Karen
A shaded lamp and a waving blind,
And the beat of a clock from a distant floor:
On this scene enter–winged, horned, and spined –
A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore;
While ‘mid my page there idly stands
A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands . . .
Thus meet we five, in this still place,
At this point of time, at this point in space.
– My guests parade my new-penned ink,
Or bang at the lamp-glass, whirl, and sink.
“God’s humblest, they!” I muse. Yet why?
They know Earth-secrets that know not I.
- Home-grown courgettes, tomatoes, onions and herbs
- Cheesy Coddled Eggs with Smoked Fish, Sorrel & Dill
- Amish Style Macaroni Salad for summer picnics and lunches
- Tian Provençal (Summer Vegetable Gratin)
- Pan Bagnat ~ A French Picnic Sandwich for a Summer’s Day Picnic at the Bottom of the Garden!
- A Picnic in your Garden with Picnic Recipes
- Wild Meadow Flowers
- Traditional Greengage Jam Recipe
Cherry Tomato, Cheese and Basil Savoury Clafoutis with Rustic Fougasse
Quick and Healthy Apricot Chicken
One Pot Chicken Chasseur
Shooting Party Chutney (Green Tomato Chutney)
Fried Green Tomatoes
Buttermilk and Cornbread Waffles
Mini Baked Omelettes