This 'summer weather' is, not to put too fine a point on it, crap. It's August, I don't need to turn the Aga off, the sky is grey as is my 'tan' and I need an umbrella to venture out of the house. But! We may grumble but le jardin anglais is famous throughout the world and much of it is thanks to our mild and damp weather. Equally, for the same reason, British women are renowned for their dewy youthful skin. Other women may be more polished (American), have better accessories (Italian) and thinner (French) but their complexions after une certain age (about 30) leave something to be desired.
Throughout this year my garden has been a useful addition to my larder: wild strawberries for icecream, mustard flowers to decorate my Maille mustard meal, elderflowers for syrup and fritters, vine leaves to wrap salmon and halloumi, nettles for pesto on steaming freshly puffed flat breads and daylilies steamed and tempura-ed for ultra menu wow factor!
The corn on the cobs are bulging in their buttery skeins of silk and apricot-hued flowers from the runner beans will adorn my salads, their taste a lingering but subtle reminder of their fruit.
Last week I picked rosehips to make syrup, a daily spoonful to ward off colds a cherished memory from my childhood. The buds are the 'hips' of the roses, bursting pear-like and alluring beneath the fragrant flowers.
Nasturtiums, mustard flowers and daylilies
250g of rose hips
250g of sugar
750ml of water
First top and tail the rose hips then slice in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop up the rosehips finely. Place in the water and bring to the boil then remove from the heat and leave for a couple of hours.
Then add the sugar and simmer until it becomes a thick syrup. Strain through a chinois or sieve.
Put it in a thoroughly cleansed jar and seal.
Rosehip Syrup: spoon onto icecream, use in prosecco, mix into jam, drizzle over cereal or porridge. It's a natural vitamin C fix!
British runner bean edible flowers....fantastic on salads, as a garnish
Franchi seeds Borlotti beans finally showing...
I chose a special variety of courgettes that had more flowers than usual
Elderflower cordial from June...
Franchi seeds tomatoes, stuttering in the rain
Wild strawberries, frais des bois, winking red beneath the greenery. Recipe for the icecream in my book.
Gorgeous dusty pink hydrangeas from my garden, a single bloom in a glass cheers up a table
Or a host of them on a breakfast table
The Secret Garden Club: autumn and winter gardening lessons with food and drink by MsMarmitelover is starting again soon. Keep checking for dates. It's a great present too for the novice gardener.