Sunday, 6 August 2017

August - Summer's Swansong

Overlooking Aberaeron, Ceredigion
August is traditionally the high point of summer.  The school holidays are in full swing, and the annual summer getaway imminent.  Sadly, in recent years August seems to have been one of the wettest months of summer, a bitter blow for staycationers. 

The annual blackberry harvest is a daily occurrence now.  With other soft fruits and berries they make a lovely compote; or they can be stockpiled in the freezer for some much-needed comforting crumbles once autumn hits.  My neighbour freezes them as she picks them and then makes batches of jam once she has enough. 

This is the best time to make chutneys, with the fruits at their prime and weather conducive to having every door and window flung open to try and minimise the smell of cooking vinegar in the house!  From my experience, it still takes two or three days to get rid of the smell, but it’s so worth it when you open that first jar and are reminded of the happy summer harvesting. 

August food is usually quickly assembled salads, quick cook pasta dishes and picnic food for beach visits or to take to whichever cottage we’ve rented for our holiday.  I don’t travel lightly where food is concerned – never knowingly under-catered is my motto!  One of my favourite picnic pies, aside from good old Corned Beef Pie, is a nice sausagemeat and chicken pie, with an added layer of sage and onion stuffing this is a lovely treat.  I usually make it with whatever bits and pieces of leftover cooked chicken and stuffing I have stashed in the freezer.  Its a very filling pie so all it needs is a bit of salad on the side.

One of my often-repeated summery pasta dishes is linguini with bacon, garlic oil and chilli.  I make it year-round, but somehow it seems so much nicer in the summer months – doesn’t everything though!  It’s not quite an assembly-job, but only needs a bit of bacon cooking while the pasta boils so it’s a very low-effort meal. 

At the homestead, it’s really little more than a tidying and sorting month.  Organising clothes, food and other essentials for the holiday, organising my jars and ingredients for the great chutney-off! 

By the end of this month it’ll all be done and dusted and we’ll have come full circle to autumn and it all starts over again!

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