Nectarine and blueberry cobbler, and a sad cherry story

This was going to be a post about the delicious and beautiful cherry pie I made the other day.

It is English cherry season and the greengrocer near my office has had dark, gorgeous, glossy cherries in the shop for a week or so, and I have been daydreaming about pie.  So a couple of days ago I cracked open Nigel Slater’s Tender, the fruit volume, and got all excited about pie-making.

Nigel is ambivalent about stoning cherries; I gather he generally can’t be bothered, which is fair enough.  But I never make cherry anything, let alone pie, so I thought I’d put the effort in.

Stoning cherries is a messy business.  I had never tried it before.  Mr Meg helped me, going for the ‘stab cherry with skewer and push the stone out the other side whilst liberally spraying the surrounding area with juice’ technique, while mine was a more traditional slice-and-yank-out-stone approach.  When we were finished we looked like Lady Macbeth.

I made a sweet pastry crust, put the fruit in the dish, laid the pastry on top ripping it in the process but managing to patch it up with some improvised leafy-things, and popped it in the oven.  I pulled the pie out when it was done, and it looked beautiful.  I put it on a chopping board to take it into the living room for its photo shoot and… splatted it upside down all over the kitchen floor.

Catastrophe!

The immediate aftermath was pretty gruesome… if the police had happened to call in, I’m sure they would have asked where we’d hidden the body.  It all got mopped up eventually though and we sadly scraped a few unsullied cherries off the bottom of the dish with a spoon, whilst imagining what a whole slice would have tasted like (answer- pretty damn good).

BUT (apologies for the length of this post, it does end happily, and soon, I promise) the next day I decided the best way to banish the memory of my cherry disaster would be to embark on another baking adventure, so I made…

nectarine and blueberry cobbler.  Another Nigel Slater recipe, this time from the Kitchen Diaries.  It was scrumptious!  The photos are pretty average since it was dark by the time it came out of the oven, but crucially it survived the trip from the kitchen to the dining table in one piece, right-side-up.  The remains are now lurking in the fridge ready to spring a delicious breakfast surprise on me tomorrow morning.

And they all lived happily ever after!  Except for the blueberries and the nectarines, which got eaten.

birthday cake

It’s not even my birthday yet but I’ve already had one birthday cake.  It was, however, possibly one of the best birthday cakes I’ve ever had…

My sister and I made it together.  I know traditionally one is not supposed to be involved in the making of one’s own birthday cake but I LIKE making cake so I overruled that objection.  This glorious confection was sour cream coffee and walnut sponge sandwiched with coffee buttercream, draped in coffee glaze icing.  Even three days later (I know, amazing it lasted that long!) it was so moist and lovely.  I haven’t got the recipe in front of me sadly but will fish it out later.

 

I am hungry just looking at it.

The cake stand, by the way, is from Linda Bloomfield.  She makes the most beautiful mugs as well, I have lots of them.  Pottery is not so easy to dabble in, I feel, as sewing or photography or cooking or what have you.  But I’d like to try all the same!

If you are wondering who Nutmeg is, that is a family secret…

Memories and lemons

Hello everyone!  You’ve probably stopped reading my blog because I’ve stopped writing it recently… although we are certainly still lucky by anyone’s measure, life has thrown us some (admittedly small) lemons in the past few weeks and we are busy making lemonade…

So I thought, just to make myself wistful, I would check what we were doing this time last year.

Here is the answer.  This week in 2010, we were in our Jucy campervan on Ellis Beach in Queensland, Australia.  That is me in the hammock under the palm trees next to our campsite, reading a book. We soon realised this spot was the most perfectly situated campground in the whole of Australia, so we even came back here a few weeks later with Mark’s mum!

Sigh! I think I may have to make this a regular feature…