I started the day with a berry blaster. I made a smoothie with a banana, a handful of blackberries I picked recently and some frozen raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. I added to this about 140 ml of soya milk, 1 tbsp Chia seeds and 3 heaped tablespoons of cottage cheese. I confess I was slightly dubious about the cottage cheese but it worked very well and the smoothie seemed well balanced nutritionally and full of flavor. Every sip was very enjoyable.
Most of the morning was spent watching Harvey play rugby. It was gloriously sunny and so warm it was a real pleasure. I had a lovely chat with Anna and she had a brilliant idea for me. I was explaining that I spend too much time socializing around food and need to find alternative ways of spending time with my friends but without the food element. She suggested I play cards with friends. I love cards so that is a great suggestion. Anyone up for a cards and crudités night?
While I was out admiring my late summer garden, Lara made lunch 🙂 .
Lara made us Quesadillas for lunch. This was a trial of a cheap, nutritious and quick to cook meal she can do when she is at University. She fried an onion with some garlic, added 2 chopped tomatoes, half a can of sweetcorn and a can of red kidney beans. When they were all warmed through, she warmed one large wholemeal tortilla per person in a large frying pan and spread the bean mixture on half the tortilla.
I added some grated cheese and served it with a large tbsp of guacamole.
Guacamole is very easy to make and fresh guacamole is so much better than the green paste you can buy in shops. Mash one avocado with the juice of half a lime and mix with a finely chopped tomato, 1/2 a tsp of salt and some coriander. It tastes fresh and full of flavour.
After lunch we wanted to take advantage of the warm sunshine so we went foraging in the apple orchards in the village. The 4 of us set out with a large tupperware pot which we soon filled with sloes and a few blackberries.
When out walking or just pottering in the garden, children often pick up objects that interest them. Harvey is forever coming in with rocks, stones, feathers and other treasures. Autumn is such a pretty time of year I thought it would be fun to collect some objects and create an Autumn nature table.
We all found little things we thought were really pretty or interesting.
My favourite was the oak leaves with the acorn in its little cup. I have always loved acorns and used to play with them as a child, making fairy hats and bowls with them.
I also love the colours and shapes of the humble blackberry. Plus it has the bonus of being one of the best sources of vitamin C, especially when eaten straight from the bramble.
It is very handy being married to someone who can identify everything. I knew the red berry was a rose hip but had no idea the cute little catkins were from a hazel tree or the little green plant was an ivy flower.
The Autumn Nature table has been moved from the garden table outside to the hall table and it can be added to as and when anyone gathers anything of interest.
I spent all afternoon burning the summer’s cuttings on a huge bonfire. Harvey helped me and in fact he was the one who managed to get the fire started. We spent about 4 hours outside, burning leaves, twigs, sticks, branches and even some tree trunks. I love a good bonfire and was grateful for his company and all his help.
I was also grateful for a couple of glasses of sloe and damson gin which James brought out to me. I bought the bottle locally last year and had never got round to drinking it. Check out those red cheeks – our fire was so big it generated some phenomenal heat.
I started the sloe and damson gin last night after I had posted yesterday’s blog; this is what I drank last night and this afternoon. It is very moreish! I hope I can make some that is this drinkable.
After about 3 – 4 hours of burning garden rubbish, I fancied a sit down and I love sitting beside a fire. It is even better in the dark but the twilight was fine so we pulled garden chairs over to the area next to the bonfire. We sat down and had a drink together and reflected on how this is the last day we will all be at home together before Lara goes to Durham. We planned what we all want to do during the week ahead and how to mark the occasion of Lara’s departure. All the while Harvey and Lara toasted and ate marshmallows. I was really good and resisted all but one, which was so perfectly toasted it was worth every point/calorie. Harvey toasted it for me.
I love my babies.
James had been cooking lunch while we were burning the bonfire and it was a gammon, slow baked in apple juice (the recipe said to use cider but we didn’t have any) with celery, carrots and clove studded onions. Half an hour before eating, James added potatoes, carrots, peas and sweetcorn. It was lovely and I was so grateful to have had dinner cooked for me as I felt very tired by the time I came in. The meat was lean and tender and the long slow cook meant the stock was well flavoured. It was delicious.
As we were washing up there was a power cut. We live in a rural area with no street lights so the power cut meant we were in pitch darkness. Luckily I happened to be in the kitchen near the torch which amazingly worked so it didn’t take long to light some candles. It was really peaceful and quiet and so pretty, with just some candles for light.
We should sit by fire light more often.