I couldn’t help LOVING Hannah’s nostalgic recap of SH winter last week and wanting to do something similar for our summer here in the north. I always lament the end of summer, and this year is no exception. It’s hard to say goodbye. (Though not hard to say goodbye to the fruit flies in my kitchen, who apparently still think it’s August. Be. Gone. Pestilence.)
So I’m going to do a roundup of the best of our summer in this little corner of the west coast of Canada. Naturally, it’s made up mostly of food. And then some books. I guess this is the right blog on which to be posting it all…
We have amazing garlic around here. I wasn’t on the ball enough to plant any last fall, so this summer I scoured the land for big, fat juicy heads of garlic. It’s amazing the difference good garlic makes. It’s sticky when you cut into it. It’s oily and pungent and potent. It’s a whole different beast and one of my favourite things to splurge on when I find it. And next year, we’ll have our own harvest, mark my words.
Popovers. I’d never heard of them before I found the recipe for them in this book. It’s one of my favourite baking bibles. And these were delightfully easy and crispy. Paired with jam, they are a great alternative to scones. (I know–the scone is sacred. But sometimes you just want to switch it up, right? Even if it’s to reaffirm the scone’s supremacy.) Actually, I think popovers would make even better winter fare than summer. I’m not even sure what I was doing making them in summer heat anyway. Autumn is clearly the time. I’ll get on that.
I experimented a lot with panella sugar this summer. It’s delightful–an unrefined cane sugar that retains lots of good nutrients and minerals. It works best when dissolved in liquid, though, which might be why many Mexican and central American recipes call for this way of using it. So in our July heat wave, I looked for a way to drink it. I found this amazing method for panella limeade. Refreshing it is.
We also made use of ice-pop molds and my trusty ice cream maker this summer. Best of the best: salted caramel, vanilla with chocolate flecks, strawberry-buttermilk.
Figs. Our fig tree did us proud again this year. (Would you believe me if I told you the collective noun for figs is a newton? A newton of figs. The internet doesn’t lie! But if it does, I like the way it lies.)
This summer Little e has had her favourite books, but I’m proud to say the one at the top of the list is The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. This book is pure nostalgia for me; I remember being a kid and looking carefully at all the illustrations, knowing, but still waiting for what would happen next (“Then he ate all the dinner that was cooking in the saucepans!”). I love the way this story is put together. It’s simple. It’s a small story. It’s silly and also totally deadpan. And (spoiler alert!) the end is so perfectly bittersweet. The tiger is there on the last page, saying goodbye, but he’s not really there. Because he never comes to tea again. I love stories that accomplish that difficult edge of open, yet satisfying, ending, whether they’re for big or little people.
I also managed to read two (that’s a big number for this mama!) of my good friends’ books this summer. Huzzah for writer friends and huzzah for great books! Check out Theodora Armstrong’s work here and Amanda Leduc’s work here. They’re both amazing.
And now to my autumn/winter reading list. Yes, it’ll be cozy and yes, it’s bound to be filled with more book time and the desire to eat rice pudding and apple crumble while reading. But.
Summer, don’t stay away too long.