Recently, I’ve been going through a funny kind of nesting, spring-cleaning phase. I want to tidy, rejuvenate, and organise everything in our house. The four drawers in my little desk-come-dressing-table in the front bedroom are in the process of being sorted out after having accumulated three and a half years worth of ‘I’ll keep that just in case I need it’ rubbish, and this weekend has been a blur of paperwork/filing/traipsing out to the bin with bags of rubbish. I think it’s the September effect. Even though my year doesn’t run to an academic calendar anymore, I still can’t shake the feeling that late August/early September is the time to start afresh, dust things off, and start over with better intentions (and prettier stationery) that I might have had previously. It’s my favourite time of year, almost for that reason alone.
But what of the other joys of early autumn? Hedgerow harvests and digging out forgotten knitwear and cooking comforting things? Recently I wound up with two huge bags full of fruit- homegrown apples from my Mum’s next door neighbour, and blackberries collected by our own neighbour who has this incredible knack for catching them just at the right time. I froze the blackberries to stop them from going bad, then got to work on the apples. Peeled, diced, and cooked down with a tiny scraping of butter, some soft brown sugar, cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
I did have visions of being virtuous and saving the apple compote to eat for breakfasts with granola, and yoghurt, but it seemed wrong when the weather’s been so autumnal and I had all the ingredients for a fruit crumble ready and waiting in the kitchen. So on Saturday evening, after a hearty dinner (of lamb, kale, and mashed potato! For the first time in so many months!) we set about making blackberry and apple crumble. The recipe for the topping came from Hugh’s Fruit Everyday recipe book (with the addition of a little cinnamon, because why on earth not), and the filling came together with apple compote, partially defrosted blackberries smashed together with a fork, and tablespoon full of maple syrup. Kind of indulgent to make a dessert just for the two of us, but such a lovely indulgence to make on a Bank Holiday weekend.