Marmellata di nozze

Today I’ve had a day off. In fact I have two days which means combined with the upcoming bank holiday I’ve managed to sneak five days at home in a row. It’s been a while since I’ve managed that, and I’m feeling rather smug about it.

I’m mostly using the time to “get stuff done” which actually tends to mean spending the entire time in the kitchen. Not content with having spent the last two weeks at work frantically in the kitchens making batch after batch of jam, the first thing I planned for this morning was to make jam. Not just any jam; wedding jam.

Like the over ambitious sort that I am, when the suggestion of having a wedding cake was floated I knew that I’d have to get involved in some way. My immediate thought was to roll up my sleeves and offer to make it. Fortunately Mr L talked me down off that ledge reminding me that it would be a whole different kitchen, and oven, and country, not to mention it would be the day before the wedding and it was possible that maybe, little bit, there’ll be other things to be getting on with.

So I stepped graciously (okay, reluctantly) away from that idea and went back to pondering. I’d already suggested the recipe and flavour that I hoped they could produce right down the jam flavour for the filling. Then it struck me, the jam! Obviously it couldn’t possibly be a cake at our wedding filled with jam that wasn’t mine. That’s just wrong.

Which is why I find myself in the kitchen today, up to my elbows in red plums and rosemary. My signature flavour, which the chef in Italy has said he needs over five litres of in order to fill the cake sufficiently. That wouldn’t be particularly daunting if I didn’t have to then transport it to the wedding venue in my suitcase!

It’ll be worth it though to slice into our cake and have it filled with the most delicious marmellata di nozze (wedding jam) that a bride could hope for.

If those jars don’t break during my flight and cover my honeymoon wardrobe in red sticky fragrant goop that is.

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In defence of the grapefruit.

There are certain things I indulge in when Mr L isn’t home. I reflected on this recently whilst he enjoyed an evening of post-work drinks and I pottered off to keep the cats company and spend some alone time in the house.

Now for some people an evening without their parter might involve watching that guilty pleasure film, taking the longest bath possible with the largest glass of wine they can manage, eating dinner in bed with a good book. It’s not that I don’t enjoy any of these things, I do, but when Mr L is out the first thing I do is bust out my secret stash of grapefruit.

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I like to eat my grapefruit cut in half so that it can be slowly, deliberately and delicately be enjoyed using my grapefruit spoon. A special utensil handed down from my grandmother with a perfect serrated tip that allows maximum grapefruit scoopage.

I also like to enjoy my grapefruit in peace. Which I cannot do when Mr L is home. His dislike and derision of such wonderful a fruit goes so far that he once sent me this graph to help illustrate it.

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(graph thanks to XKCD)

That man has a serious grapefruit aversion. Which is perfectly fine and understandable. Not everybody gets the greatness that is the tart and juicy pompelmo. But sometimes, when I get an evening to myself there is nothing better than curling up with an episode of Columbo* with my grapefruit spoon at the ready.

*we’ll discuss that another time shall we?

 

I’m pretending I haven’t seen it.

I think autumn is trying to sneak up on us. The last couple of days I’ve worn a jacket for the first time in months and today I gave in and added a jumper. Not that this has stopped me wearing shorts because it hasn’t, but I did have to give in and wear tights with them. I’m just not ready for autumn, I’m in an official state of denial about it all. I mean,  it’s August, and August is not an autumnal month. Also there are too many things happening in autumn for it to be upon us just yet .

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But the pumpkin doesn’t lie, and it’s getting more orange by the day. I can see it from the dining room window, taunting me, flashing its orange skin amongst the leaves. I haven’t been out to check on it in the last couple of days because it’s rained and thundered, and I have been mostly curled up on the sofa trying to pretend that it’s still warm enough in the house to wear just a vest top (whilst hiding under a quilt). However, I know it’s there.

The strange thing is that I love autumn. It’s my favourite time of year. It means knitwear and the start of the football season (yes, yes, I know it starts tomorrow, but that’s just silly, it never used to start as early as mid-August), and pumpkins! Ones I grew myself and are supposed to taste like roasted chestnuts. And yet, I’m just not ready. I want a little more sunshine, a few more figs from the tree and I’m still holding out hope that our courgette plants will produce a courgette (I’m not sure how last year I drowned in marrows to the extent that I’ve hidden them in the work freezer – ssshhh – and this year not a single courgette has graced my plot). I want to drink just one more glass (ahem, bottle) of rosé, and spend just a few more breakfasts before work sitting outside watching the cats roll around in the dust.

Perhaps if I ignore the pumpkins for long enough they will realise I’m not ready, stop ripening and allow me just a few more weeks of blissful ignorance?