Monday, 21 September 2009

When the summer speaks

My mother used to call the weather like today 'whispering' - it is not just its warmth and sun, the atmosphere is almost like a light blanket enveloping you, making you feel wonderfully cosy and relaxed. They call it here an Indian summer - in Russia they say babye leto, a woman's summer, or, to be precise, a summer of a woman who's glancing goodbye to her youth but is still in her prime, still wishing, but maybe not willing...

The days like that make you comfortable, at the same time as gently forcing you to reflect - not in that wintery way, when you are happy to tuck yourself in under a fluffy duvet and melancholicly watch the rain go by - no, the sun and stillness of the late summer days put you in the right mood to look forward to whatever the leaves, the trees and the wind have under the sleeve just behind the corner...To remember this sparkling day, to have something to savour over the long winter nights, here are a couple of pictures...

A classic tri-colour salad

Not often that I make a conscious effort to buy specific products for a specific recipe - in advance, with a pen and paper in hand - especially when the recipe is beyond the simplicity itself. But a few days ago, on another disappearing summer day I really felt like making the best tri-colour I could ever have! The obvious choice (or maybe not so obvious!) was the Borough market and its main veg patch in the centre: I went for three bulbous almost-orange beef tomatoes, a couple of cute bright yellow ones and a little tigery-green one. The Parma Ham Company provided the snow ball of the naturally sweet buffalo mozzarella. I added my own, window-still-grown basil and dill (a slightly Russianised tri-colour) and voila! Sun, cheese and tomato - a modest celebration of the summer at its pick!

Breakfast in bed

And this is a lovely way to greet the Fall - in bed, lounging on a fluffy blanket with a mug of hot coffee and a thick layer of milk.

I was ravenous that Saturday and considerably hang-over. The hunger won over the laziness and I got up to slice my own soughdough, chop the salty, wrinkly gherkins, take out the peppery smoked mackerel and then came the piece de la risestance - a pouched egg (incredible what a bit of boiling water and a dash of vinegar can do to a humble egg). The mood had become all yellow - the sun on sheets, the yolk gashing over bread, the laughter - all warm and carefree - as if there is no winter to come: just us, beautiful light and... the Guardian!

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