Karen Wright writes: September is here, it can’t be! It only seems last week that I was writing that the schools had broken up for summer and now it is the first week of the new school year.
I always looked forward to going back to school, my enthusiasm usually only lasting a day or two. There were so many things to anticipate, a new form teacher, brand new exercise books to rule margins in and start off with your best handwriting. Also seeing your friends again after a six-week break. We didn’t have a phone in our house so unless you lived close to friends there was a lot of catching up to do.
September is the official start of autumn apparently and heralds a change in the weather and landscape as the trees turn and we have shades of gold rather than the vivid greens of summer. I think of hearty recipes and bakes using up the last of the berries and fruits from the garden or hedgerows.
This week I have been quite busy in my kitchen. For starters my Uncle Graham called to say he had an abundance of blackberries in his garden going begging. I had a couple of apples in my fruit bowl that were on their last legs, so I cooked them up with the berries and made some individual lattice pies. Part of my work is to think up original twists on old classics, so this time I enhanced the fruits by adding some five-spice powder, the result was good.
Yesterday at breakfast, I discovered we had used the last slice of bread. This started me off thinking about making a loaf. I always have some bread flour and dried yeast in the larder and that is really all you need for a basic loaf, along with some salt. But I wanted to expand my repertoire. I had loads of potatoes needing using up so made a loaf with mashed potato in it and some caraway seeds, it was delicious, and the potato helps keep it moist so it will be toasted for today’s lunch.
The other thing I was practicing this week was piping with butter-cream. I am going to a food festival in Kent this weekend and I rather foolishly agreed to do a masterclass in cupcake decorating. I made that commitment back in January but hey, we all know how quickly time flies past and here I am a week to go and having to learn some new techniques to teach in Kent. Maybe I have an aptitude for it, Paul Hollywood did say I had, my results were very nice so fingers crossed I can do it again next week.
Even though the school holidays are over for summer I am lucky and am away again in a caravan this next couple of weeks. We have a house sitter, so we know things are safe back home. We are heading to Kent for the festival and then heading to Norfolk. We use the Caravan and Motorhome club sites everywhere we travel as we are members. We love the sites as they are so well laid out and as clean and tidy as can be. I shall be writing up next week’s column from a caravan so watch out, Karen’s about!