Monday 24 September 2018

Settling in to Autumn

In sharp contrast to the heavy rain and blustery winds of last week, autumn has officially arrived, bringing with it some sunshine, blue skies and crisp, cold weather. The darkness of early morning has given way to a beautiful but very chilly day, and Lily was most excited to announce 'Mummy, I've found my breath!' as we walked through the village to school.
It has been two weeks since the beginning of the autumn term and Lily has slotted back into the regular school routine once again, which is such a relief, although, I wish I could say the same for myself. I've been finding this whole transition period a little unsettling. I am aware I'm juggling a few extra balls this year but it's taking more getting used to than I originally anticipated. I think I just need to have faith in myself, be a bit more patient, and hopefully everything will eventually fall into place. With a bit of luck, I will be left wondering what I was so stressed about in the first place.

We are still getting out in the garden at every opportunity. Lily is using it mainly as some kind of a mud kitchen with her bucket and spade! In between clearing away small piles of mud, I've trimmed back the hedges that I wanted to get done before the winter months, and have been harvesting the tomatoes and beans on an almost daily basis. Thankfully they all managed to withstand the heavy winds. Remember the failed strawberry plants? Well, one out of the nine of them looked OK, so rather than bin it, I moved it into a large empty pot, and it has thrived and filled the pot with runners. I will have to wait and see if it provides us with any fruit next year.

Indoors, I've been busy turning the tomatoes into delicious meals and soups, I can hardly keep up with them since they started ripening. The sofa throws are being used as the evenings turn cooler, and we are gradually adjusting to the shorter days. I've picked up my crochet again, as I really want to try and get Lily's blanket finished before winter. It feels lovely when I'm working on it, nestled in the comfort and warmth of the wool.

Recipe for tomato soup:

50g butter
2 chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 kg tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
Fresh basil

Melt butter and gently fry the onions and garlic until soft.
Add the flour and mix well, taking care not to let it burn, then gradually add the stock, stirring all the time.
Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and basil and allow to simmer for around 30 minutes.
Blitz with a hand blender then sieve to remove any pips and pulp.

J. X