The English obsession with the weather is something of of a standing joke.
Wherever us British natives travel in the world, however halting our attempts to communicate, very often when our nationality is confirmed, the conversation changes to the weather, to descriptions of a country enveloped in Victorian London smog with grey, rain washed pavements and long days spent sitting forlorn staring through raindrop smeared glass.
Being woken this morning by the insistent thrum of heavy rain, it’s a reminder that summer is waning, giving way to Autumn. The hedges are thick with blackberries and there’s a certain joy in hunting out the waterproofs, collecting logs and starting to prepare for winter, cooking and eating with friends and slowing down after the frantic excitement of the Summer Holidays.
The weekend is a precious time – and a reminder that in slowing down a notch or two, it’s possible for even the most mundane trip to become something of an adventure. This weekend’s read is more from Alan Watts on life’s’ infinite possibilities, with images by Chris McClean, The Lost Weekend is a beautiful and thought provoking reflection on the wonder of the everyday.
At this time of year, a day isn’t complete without some kind of foraging – last week it was Samphire from the magical Newtown Creek and today blackberries are in abundance. This recipe is a favourite – is super easy and works with pretty much whatever fruit you fancy.. It’s a hybrid of Mary Berry’s Devon Apple cake. Wonderful tepid with cream after dinner, although it rarely lasts that long in my house.
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 150g butter, melted
- 250g cooking apples, peeled and cored
- 25g flaked almonds
- blackberries/plum or pretty much any other fruit you fancy – a cup full or more
- Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Lightly grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
- Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter into a bowl. Mix well until blended, then beat for a minute.
- Spread half this mixture in the prepared tin. Thickly slice the apples and lay these and the blackberries on top of the mixture in the tin, piling mostly towards the centre. Using 2 dessert spoons, roughly spoon the remaining mixture over the apples. This is an awkward thing to do, but just make sure that the mixture covers the centre well as it will spread out in the oven.
- Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1¼-1½ hours until golden and coming away from the sides of the tin.