"Pure style is my way of life... a blueprint for living in the 21st Century"
September garden notebook
16 September 2019
Gertrude Jekyll`s brilliant pink petals are having a second blooming - welcome colour in the the end of summer garden . There might be less of the brilliant pink and purple swathes of roses and alliums that bathed the garden in loveliness throughout May and June, but in the spirit of less is more I especially appreciate what is on offer as a visual feast
My Verbena is extraordinary , always , going from tiddly 5cm green shoots somewhere back in the spring to 2 metre tall living artworks almost of purple florets atop delicate gangly stems which look exceptionally pretty and other worldy in early morning sunshine.
The tomatoes are a bit of a cheat really, because they arrived in a pot with a view to planting out and to thus increasing
their flowering and fruiting. Challenged however by indoor domestic
piles and summer lethargy of course the tomato pot didn`t make
it to the enriching ground. Never mind it has been cheering to chart
the green to yellow to red ripening of the lucky few specimens over
the last week or so.
There are also the classic fruits of the English season to enjoy and
this year the apple tree is more laden than I`ve ever seen it. In fact
the fruit tree scene is bounteous , spectacular and spilling all over
the gardens of London: golden pears, juicy Victoria plums, red dessert
apples, mulberries (I even made some jam from a local tree in the park)
and crab apples , too. I think it has something to do with the fact that
were no significant frosts and spring was a warm one... as they are all becoming it seems. This is in
contrast to 2018 when the the icy `Beast from the East, knocked nascent
buds for six and drastically cut back fruit production. That`s not to
say that I wasn`t able to enjoy some apple cakes and puddings from our
tree`s limited yield.
I`ve been having a heady experience cutting back the lavender and will make some scented bags for my drawers.
Dew grass in the morning and fallen green apple orbs. Got to get there quick before the slug army advances. The tree is pensionable yet manages to bear me a hefty crop this year. No menopause for trees. I lay the fruit out in the cellar - and hope it will keep crisp for a few weeks. The other thing like my mum used to do is wrap them in newspaper, and store throughout the winter.
Worried I`m selling out with the new white retro Smeg (Smug?) fridge replacing the leaky larder one I`ve had for 10 years. Thinking strategically though, because it fits with the location kitchen look, and what with all the baking shoots we need more space for chilling dough.
Balanced out the big spend with a sixities Jaeger tweed skirt £13.,50 from the secondhand shop Triad in Brixton. Can`t quite believe how achingly trendy Brixton has become. Five years ago my girls were wary of the dope dealers on the corner by KFC , now they`re dodging the foodie tours , snaking up the high street to Brixton village.
Back to the apples which I peel and chop at speed to make apple and ginger pudding. Think I`ve given you the recipe from my cook book before but here it is:
For the syrup
4 cooking or large eating apples
juice of l lemon
90g caster sugar
4tbsp syrup from a jar of preserved ginger
for the cake
125 butter softened
124g caster sugar
2 large eggs beaten
125g self raising flour
4 knobs preserved ginger chopped
Peel, core and slice the apples and turn them in lemon juice to stop them going brown. Melt the butter i saucepan.Add the sugar and syrup and stir until creamy and a pale toffee colour. Arrange the apple slices neatly in a greased 1kg bread tin or 23cm cake tin. Pour in the syrup mixture.
For the cake: Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs and fold in the flour with a metal spoon. Stir in the chopped ginger and spread the cake mixture evenly over the apples.
Place in a preheated overn, 190C for about 45 minutes. If the top browns overly reduce the heat.
Test for easiness with a skewer in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, with sticky cake mixture on it , it`s gone.
Cool the cake on a wire rack before turning out. Eat with ice cream or creme fraiche.