Welcome to my August kitchen. I am currently sat outside in the garden enjoying the warmth of the settling sun and a good cup of Earl Grey Supreme tea from We Are Tea, gently spiced with bergamot oil and flecked with cornflowers. The gentle breeze is blowing across some delicious smells from next door’s garden and I can hear Mr A whistling along to Polish radio station. Such a wonderful, relaxed evening. I am hoping that August will continue at the same chilled out pace as it has started. Here is what is in my kitchen this month….
Fresh sunflower head – Mr A had picked it up for me in one of the Polish shops and I was so excited to receive it. Floods of memories from my childhood came back. Memories of hot summer days spent with friends sunbathing after a swim in the lake and eating fresh sunflower seeds. Memories of early Saturday mornings where local market’s stalls would be heavily laden with enormous heads of these beautiful flowers and crowds studded with children carrying them back home. If you have never tasted fresh sunflower seeds then you have missed out on the delicious sweetness these release once shelled directly in the mouth. Both my children love picking the seeds out, sometimes randomly, sometimes creating patterns. Blanket, sunshine and hours of fun, giggling and just enjoying each others company.
Hydrangea and lavender – a little posy of garden flowers, all in the shades of lilac is currently sitting on my kitchen table. But don’t be fooled by the size, the tiny but potent lavender is filling the whole room with its sweet scent. We tidied up the gardens yesterday and trimmed some of the bushes so it seemed only natural to bring a handful back into the house to be enjoyed by us. I’m planning on drying out some more of the lavender and using it as a natural moth repellent as well as aiding us to hopefully better sleep once the challenges of everyday commitments return.
Blueberries – continuing with the blue / lilac theme, I have over 1 kilogram of fresh blueberries in my kitchen. You can see how big and juicy they are. So fresh and sweet when they pop in the mouth. But as beautiful as this haul is, I would love to be able to actually go and pick blueberries myself and introduce my children to this past-time. When I was growing up, around this time of the year, many families would venture out to local forests, equipped with enamelled mugs and pans, long trousers and sturdy boots. The latter to protect from adder’s bite, the former to be filled to the brim with sweet blueberries straight from the bushes. The berries were much smaller compared to these but the flavour unrivalled by any commercially grown variety. I wasn’t very good at picking them as often I was too distracted by the bolting deer or rabbit or wondering off in the search of the adder…The wildlife was far more interesting to me. However the knowledge that when we return home, Mum would turn the blueberries into the most delicious things, was enough to keep me picking and stop me from disappearing for too long.
Blueberry buns – freshly baked, filled with hot and sticky burst blueberries. Soft yeasty buns which were my biggest motivator when blueberry picking in my childhood. I simply had to make them with the very first batch of berries. I had baked 16 buns yesterday evening and now there are none left. We scoffed them hot off the baking tray and the remainder was finished off for breakfast. But I am sure these will be featuring on our table again soon since the blueberry season has well and truly begun and I love using seasonal produce. I shall be posting the recipe for these very versatile buns soon. Oh and blueberry pierogi too.
Bombay Sapphire gin – in its beautiful discovery pack which contains information about the brand, few recipes and a magnifying glass to encourage you to look at plants and spices more closely. Mr A received it as part of his birthday gift when we visited the distillery in Hampshire last month. The tour of the distillery was pleasant and informative and I just wanted to share with you a picture of their two glasshouses. They were designed by an artist and sit alongside the old distillery and the river Test. Both glasshouses are heated by the hot air that is pumped out of the distillery which enables the company to grow in them many of the botanicals that are used in the production process. Genius.
I love the complex flavour of this particular gin, so wonderfully aromatic. Go and have a tour, it’s a great way to spend a leisurely day whilst learning about the origin of gin and this particular brand. We had a handful of cocktails to finish off our day there and each one of them was delicious. So with a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in the kitchen now, we have few cocktail practices planned. Cheers!
Cobb roasted chicken – not strictly in my kitchen since we cooked it in the back garden but as good as. Mr A loves cooking outside so we presented him with the Cobb on his birthday and we trialled it for the very first time today. Mr A did most of the cooking with me just guiding him through it. The meal was delicious with juicy, golden and burnished chicken, beautifully flavoursome thyme and garlic roasted potatoes and lemony vegetables. Mr A is very happy with it and so am I – it was a first time for quite sometime that I didn’t have to cook anything and had a bit of a rest. Or so I thought…
Lemon and blueberry cupcakes – not planned at all but made to use up some produce that would have otherwise been wasted. Since Mr A was cooking, I used the time to pick up our weekly grocery shop. When I returned home, I had discovered that some of the eggs were smashed and covered one of the bags of flour in the process too. Not wanting to waste either, I decided to bake these cupcakes. And I am so glad I did – they are fluffy with a dollop of blueberry jam hiding underneath the lemony butter cream. And of course I had to add some more blueberries and a drizzle of white chocolate for good measure. Sometimes best things happen by accident.
My thoughts are also drifting across to Celia who is going through some life tribulations at the moment and cannot host the regular IMK. I’m sending her my warmest cyber wishes and hoping for gentler days for her soon.
So that is my beginning of August and I am glad you came by. Thank you. Have a wonderful rest of the month x