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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.

 

Tags: september, garden, londonretreat, simplegarden, pink, roses, verbena, apples


Apple autumn
04 October 2013



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 butter
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.






Tags: apples, home cooking, green, autumn


 
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