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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

That time of mellow fruitfulness

"Autumn," I say with a sigh, leaning back against my bed, knees scrunched up.
"It's here. That time of mellow fruitfulness, ala Keats..."

"Keats said that?" Sid asks looking up from his computer and peering into mine, "Or did you just make it up?"

"I'm good," I say. "But not that good."
"And stop eavesdropping on my blog."

"Don't you mean, 'leavesdropping" he says cheekily.

I give him an exasperated look and take myself and my computer downstairs.
My kitchen is warm and comforting, blanketed in the silent slumber of dawn.
I snuggle up on the couch and take in the aroma of cinnamon and freshly brewed coffee.

There's a squirrel in my garden, scurrying rapidly into a dishevelled pile of fallen leaves, then running away, then scurrying back again.
My silver birch shimmers in the early October sun.

Yes. Autumn is here.

Red leaves and golden mornings
Cool, crisp air
Misty breaths
Wistfulness

There is a peacefulness to autumn, a newness
I fell in love in the Autumn many years ago.
Mad, crazy, can't-live-wthout-you love.
Even the memory of it fills me with a warm, copper glow.
And yet it is tinged - ever so slightly - with melancholy. 
Another year almost gone.
My thoughts drift, thinking of all the years passed
And all that lies beyond.

I am restless suddenly
Like that squirrel in my garden 

I get up
And do what I do best.

Here's what you need:

For the fruit:
450g mixed fruit - I used apples, pears, plums, redcurrants and blackberries
Handful cranberries
2 sticks cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
100g sugar
Peeled, toasted almonds

For the custard:
550ml milk
55ml cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour

Here's how you do it:

For the fruit: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle sugar over the butter, then place the apple, plum and pear slices in single layer on top. Then sprinkle blackberries and redcurrants. Throw in the cinnamon sticks. Increase heat to medium-high and press down on the fruit until it is all golden on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn fruit over and cook until the other side is caramelised, another 5 minutes. Add cranberries and cook until juices are reduced by about half, about 2 minutes.

For the custard: Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
Bring the milk and cream to simmering point slowly, over a low heat. Pour the hot milk and cream on to the egg and sugar mixture, whisking to keep the mixture soft and creamy.
Return to the pan, add vanilla extract, and gently stir over a low heat until the custard is thickened to your desired consistency.

Spoon the caramelised fruit into a deep glass bowl, pour the custard on top, sprinkle with almonds.
And dig in.

This is probably the most exciting thing I have done in a long time.
Bar gambling away my life savings in a wild, drunken night of shamshu and poker.
(Just kidding)

No really, there is a particular delight in eating hot fruit and custard.
Especially at 8 in the morning when no one in their right mind is eating pudding. 

I feel arms around me and a whisper in my ear.
My spoon gets stolen mid bite.
And I am in love, all over again.
In this time of mellow fruitfulness...


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