Archives for posts with tag: summer

A few days ago we decided to turn the  Rayburn back on. Almost  overnight  the temperature has changed, it feels cold, darker, and we already lit a fire in the living room.  Autumn is here, colours are turning. Rather than sadness, I feel happy about the summer we  had, grateful, a gift and a good reminder that we can all bask in Britain sometimes, drop the coats and woollies, walk barefoot, get kissed by the sun.

So rather than a grim farewell, here are some of my summer highlights…

Image

Small naps floating on buttercup fields…

Image

The first borage flowers…

Image

English Cottage gardens..

.Image

June Wedding at the farm… Wildflowers!

Image

Summer Solstice

Image

Sofia’s Prom

Image

Car Boot Sale!

Image

The need for Watermelon…

Image

Quail Egg lunch

Image

rolling hay…

Image

visitors…

Image

more visitors…and peonies!!!

Image

Siestas…

Image

Western Zen Retreat…

Image

Summer in Wales…

Image

Day at the beach / Devon…

Image

Someone loves the lovage…

Image

Double Rainbows in Devon

Image

So many butterflies…

Image

Light fragrant lunches

Image

Foodies in London … Broadway Market , courgette flower tempura, and edible flowers, sister fun.

Image

An attempt to Glamping…

Image

Luncheons with eccentrics

Image

A reading of Feeding Orchids to the Slugs at the wonderful Arts Barge Tent at Galtres Festival

Image

Biggest Thunder Storm I have ever experienced in England.. didn’t stop Sofia having fun at Leeds festival!

Image

Harvest…

Not a very good one I’m afraid.

Image

Awesome late summer evenings, (YORK STATION)

Image

Birthday celebrations… SUMMER chocolate cake.

Image

Bale Stacking and clearing fields for Ploughing…

Image

………………………….

Hot summer’s day. Watermelon. Flashback to hot summer afternoons in La Granja, in Argentina, where we’d sit in the shade and wait for my grandmother to slice the gigantic fregetable (it is not clear whether it is a fruit or a vegetable). We would sit around her patio and bite into the sweet crimson flesh. Sometimes she would scoop out the seeds first depending on whether it was possible. We would drip juice everywhere and a bucket or two of water would be thrown afterwards with a few drops of creosote to keep the flies away.

We would have likely have bought on a stall by the side of the road which also sold enormous squashes and gourds, sweetcorn by the sack.
Watermelon is thirst quenching and satisfies that sweet cravings I get in the early afternoon. Its often hard to find good watermelon in England, as it has been probably picked green and unripe and lacks the taste of sunshine but I buy them and leave them for a few days in a warm room.

My grandmother, who grew up in a farm, told us how her family harvested watermelon solely for their own consumption, hundreds of them, engorged by the constant heat and sun-rays of the long summer days. They would only consume the heart, the sweet flesh from the centre, and feed the rest to the chickens.

On Tuesday, we were baling hay at the farm in one of the hottest days we have had in the last few years.  I arrived, with a picnic for lunch of potato and courgette fritatta, tomato and basil salad and boiled globe artichokes from the vegetable patch, ready to help with the tractor driving from field to field collecting the hay bales, I noticed that there was a watermelon in the car. It had been there for a few days, with time to mature, and when we opened it in the afternoon, it was pure colour and joy. I sliced it into a tray and we sat in the garden whilst having the only break of the afternoon. Delicious and sugary. A ruby prize for the day’s hard labour.

ImageImageImage

Last week we drove out to a small village in South Yorkshire to visit friends.  It was a stormy afternoon, but by the time we arrived at the house, the sun had come out and it felt warm. I was immediately enchanted by the spirit of their garden.

The big cottage-like house belonged to a sweet eccentric woman who passed away last year, she was in her 90’s and tended the garden until she died. From the sounds of birds and bees, to the colours and the scent everything in it spoke of summer, of England, of the types of afternoons that we all dream about, and I found myself caught in a bit of an identity dilema. Has my imaginary ideal of flowers and gardens slowly, with the years, become British? I hark back to Palo Borracho flowers and bougainvillaea visited by hummingbirds, but it is the peonies and old roses, sweet peas, and herbaceous borders in bloom that make me giddy…

My passion for gardening started in this country, with the purchase of our first house in 1995 which had just a patch of lawn and no plants. I became an obsessive grower of flowers, and I loved the build up of anticipation to the seasons and to the different flowering plants I had planted. We always grew our own vegetables in an allotment and flowers were sown alongside lettuces and potatoes. In the allotment we grew cutting flowers, at home I grew shrubs and cottage perennials. I guess my love of gardens developed in this country so there is undoubtedly a connection, and that intrinsic hope for summer that seeps into you as you settle into your life in this water washed Islands.

I strolled around the beautiful garden, taking pictures and smelling roses, feeling the sun tingle in my arms. Nothing better, I thought, than a beautiful English Garden in June…nothing better than a June afternoon in the garden in the sun.

ImageImageImageImageImage

 

May Bank Holiday Monday with clear blue skies , so blissful to have sunshine and warmth at last. We had an impromptu barbecue and enjoyed eating with friends at the farm. All the roads getting out of York were gridlocked with people seeking nature and the countryside. It felt like we had been waiting for a day like this for a long time.

 

 

 

We lit the fire with rosewood and bits of willows left from the harvest and placed a few onions and an aubergine into the embers for that smoky charred taste.  I particularly loved grilling some local asparagus brushed with olive oil  in a fish grid until they lightly charred. Then I mixed them with other vegetables, which were also grilled (on skewers) and tossed onto a big herby couscous salad,. The highlight at the table were the green tomatoes my friend Horacio brought, which were delicious just sliced and brushed with EV olive oil and sea salt. The watermelon was cold and seed free, sweet and quenching. A different kind of cooking happens when the weather is warm.

 

 

 

After lunch we walked through sprouting fields fenced by blossom hedges and when we got to the river, some were tempted to take a dip. Only Pirate, the dog, dared and little Lucas buried his feet in the silty stream. A few bluebells had opened in the copse and Pirate chased a rabbit hiding under the fallen trees. Everything felt beautiful and hopeful, life exploding in flower and leaf. The kids sat under the apple tree and made potions with grass and tiny flowers, whilst the grownups soaked up the much needed sun.

 

 

Image

Very Simple Aubergine Dip

 

Place an aubergine in the embers of your barbecue. Using tongs, keep turning it so that the skin chars. Once it is evenly charred take it out and place it in a bowl and cover for a few minutes, or until it cools. The steam makes it easier to peel the aubergine. Remove all the burnt skin and place it in a clean dish. Mash it with a fork, drizzle with some olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, sea salt and fresh mint and eat with warm bread.

 

 

Image

 

ImageImageImageImageImage