Thursday 25 August 2011

As summer slips away . . .

"Thou crownest the year with thy goodness . . . and the little hills rejoice on every side. The folds shall be full of sheep; the valleys also shall stand so thick with corn that they shall laugh and sing." ~Psalm 65: 11-13

Oh, I do love this time of year . . . summer looks to be slipping away . . . but we still have glorious days of sunshine to look forward to and cooler nights. (I am not overly fond of sticky hot nights). The farmer begins to see lots of promise in his ripening corn and counts his chances of a good harvest to be very good . . .

School holiday makers are making the most of the last few days they have left and are flocking to the seaside, where a festive air reigns . . . cotton candy, ice creams, rock candy, chips and games on the pier . . .

The verges of the woods and meadows are embroidered with lovely blooms, just this side of going to seed . . . and in the garden the crysanthemums are blooming away fiercely along with the gladiolas, dahlias and roses . . . the last hurrah before autumn arrives and they begin to die off . . . tangled masses of gaillardia, coreopsis, gypsophila, clarkia and marigold . . . blooms of gold and red and pink and blue . . . so pretty

But each day brings us closer to the summer's end and you can smell it in the air . . . the impending autumn has an almost palpable presence now on most days . . .

There is no time for regrets. Something new is always waiting around the corner, some new loveliness to be perceived, some new joy to be experienced. The thought of walking once again upon the acorns which crack beneath our feet, and picking blackberries and sloes from the hedgerows . . . the smell of ripe apples and pears in the air . . . the winding down of summer's clock. The evenings hold a certain glow . . . and the mornings, all a-chill hold the promise of sunny days just waiting to unfold.

We must catch them whilst we can . . .

My skin is driving me up the wall at the moment. I have eczema and the skin on my tummy is itching, itching, itching. I have a prescription cream that I use, but it is doing nothing to relieve it. It wakes me up off and on all night and I find I have been scratching, which does it no good whatsoever! Back home I used to take oatmeal baths and use Penaten Cream which I don't seem to be able to get over here. They even have the oatmeal soap over in Canada. I just suffer and hope that it will improve.

Last night I had my first bought out pizza here, and it was not very good. We were waiting for something to be ready at Curry's and it wasn't worth going home and so we popped into Pizza Hut across the road and had a bite to eat. Blech!! I miss Pizza Delight pizza and Al Greco. Perhaps I just got it on a bad day, I don't know, but to me it was no better than a frozen one and a frozen one is a lot cheaper! My cousin Hal owns a pizza restaurant back home (The Pizza Factory) and he makes fantastic pizza's. Darn, now I am wanting pizza for breakfast. Another itch that can't be cured!!!

Best think about chocolate pie then . . . this is a very easy to make and delicious chocolate mousse pie. I made this for Pat and Pete when they visited us down in Brenchley a few years back. I have not made it in a while. Time to rectify that! We are having a church picnic on Saturday and we are each supposed to bring a dessert to share. I think this will be mine!


*Decadent Chocolate Mousse Tart*

Serves 8

Printable Recipe

Not only is this sinfully moreish, but it’s also relatively easy to put together. I’d call it a dawdle! There’s no real cooking involved here. I think this will become a fast favourite with anyone who tries it!

200g packet of butter shortbread biscuits (about 1/2 pound)

100g unsalted butter (6 1/2 TBS)

1 TBS golden syrup or honey

100g bar of good quality dark chocolate (use one with a high cacao content, at least 70%) (4 ounces)

100g bar of good quality milk chocolate (4 ounces)

1 tsp pure vanilla essence

2 TBS of icing sugar, plus more for dusting

200ml of whipping or double cream (6.7 fluid ounces)

Give the biscuits a whir in the food processor, until they are quite broken down. You don’t want them too fine, but you don’t want big chunks of biscuit in them either. (You can also do this by putting them into in a zip lock food bag and giving them a good bash with the rolling pin!) Put the crumbs into a bowl. Melt the butter with the syrup or honey in the microwave and stir it into the crumbs, mixing it until they are all mixed together well. Pat the mixture onto the bottoms and a bit up the sides of a 12 X 36cm (5 by 14 inch) rectangular loose bottomed tart tin or a 23 cm (9 inch) round one. Put it into the fridge to chill while you are making the filling.

Break all the chocolate into bits in a large bowl and melt it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on high. Check it after about a minute and a half, giving it a stir. You may not need any longer than that, depending on how strong your microwave is. Stir in the vanilla essence and then sift in the icing sugar. Mix it in well. You will think it is going solid on you, but it isn’t. Whip the cream just until it holds it’s shape and then fold it into the melted chocolate mixture. Spoon it into the prepared crust and smooth the top. Place the tart in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours or up to two days.

About half an hour before serving, remove the tart from the fridge. Let it sit and then remove the sides of the tin and place the tart onto aflat plate. Dust with icing sugar and then serve. You can serve it with a little bit of crème fraiche dabbed on top or a scoop of ice cream on the side. Delicious!

There are delicious Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes over in The English Kitchen this morning! Just in time for breakfast!

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