And now September, the holy month is here,
With the harvest almost in (there’s apples still hanging about out there),
And the nights getting colder,
A fire with friends, a glass (or three) of mead,
At last,the bloody kids will be back at school next week.
How’s the summer treat you? It’s been lovely to me, my milk bottle legs are now an old bruise yellow colour, but my arms are as tanned as they get. France was fabulous, I groped some gods in the Louvre and ate the worlds best quiche, against which all other quiches shall hence forth be measured.
Now that it’s getting into September the apple tree down the road (literally, it’s on the road verge, not even in the hedge) is heavy with fruit and I like apple pie. I need to send the nephew up the tree to get more of them. I could only knock a few out with a stick.
Do you know how to see if an apple is ready to pick? It’s simple, cup the apple in your hand and twist gently. It’ll come away easily if it’s ready but don’t try to force it. Or, hit the branch with a stick, any ripe apples will fall off.
Now I’ve got a dozen apples I’m stewing the with two plums, cut up, a bit of water and some sugar. Cooked until some is pulp but some is still holding together, or whatever texture you prefer.
While that’s bubbling away – on of my favourite smells – make the pastry. It’s a basic shortcrust pastry.
200g plain flour
100g butter (or your preferred alternative)
A little cold water
Breadcrumb the flour and butter, add the salt and sugar and stir in.
Add a little water and form a stiff dough.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Roll out, make pie.
The actual reason I went out this afternoon was to collect windfall wood for a fire this evening. A friend is coming round with a bottle of mead she bought on her holiday. We will be sampling. The local woodland was a waterlogged field fifteen years ago dotted with a few mature horse chestnuts and some much younger rowens. The Woodland Trust planted it as part of their millennium community woodland scheme. It has since been extended, and in fifteen years I expect we’ll have a more substantial woodland. As it is, the smaller, original woodland is maturing nicely and there’s plenty of wood on the ground, no doubt helped along by the local children playing in the trees. I’ve had two 15 minute foraging sessions this week and I’ve got a couple of bags of wood to burn.
Can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday evening, good company, home made food, mead and a fire.
Have a good weekend.