harvest

allotment, baking, bristol

For the season before death and decay, frost and ice, there is so much sweet and ripe about life right now.

apple

October is a time to marry baked fruit, crumbly pastry and aromatic spice.

autumn apples

Right now, apples are at their peak. A ripe apple should come away from the branch with a gentle twist, and ultimately, taste good.

allotment toast

Over the last BBQ of the year, we grilled bread topped with fresh chilli, ripped nasturtium flowers and salted butter.

sweetcorn

On the plot, cob after cob of corn is now full and ripe. Corn enjoys a long growing season, so I sow it indoors early in spring and plant it out as soon as the frosts have cleared. Six months is a long time to wait for a corn on the cob, but slathered in garlicy, peppery butter, every month is worth it.

early summer and elderflower

baking, fruit, recipe

There are some things which mark the passing of each month, season and year. On the calendar- birthdays, bonfire night, Christmas, and outdoors- hedgerows bursting into leaf, and later on, blood-red, ruby and crimson berries ripening under the sun. Perhaps my favourite of these markers is the elder and its flower.

elderEvocative of early-British summer and most famous in cordials and cocktails, elderflowers are a fleeting moment of growth and scent and bygone days.

Here, we use them in alcohol, cakes and to simmer with sweet-sour gooseberries. We discovered elderflower gin last summer, crafted by the Edinburgh gin company.

This summer, we made our own.

BeFunky_Chromatic_1.jpgTwenty elderflower heads went into a glass bottle, along with a few tablespoons of sugar, and filled with gin. And after a week of gentle shaking and expectation, we tasted it… we’ll be sticking with the professionals next time!

The same evening, gooseberries were simmered in a heady mix of elderflower cordial and lemon juice. A sponge mixture was beaten up, topped with the gooseberries, and a crumble mix was scattered over the top.

We slid the cake into the hot oven. The air hung heavy in the kitchen with the scent of elderflower, citrus and homemade cake.

All cake is good cake, but this, this cake was perfect.

elder3