So long, Summer.

Rather, not so long at all.

It seemed to fly by; between barbecues, lazy days dodging the heat indoors, and watching an ultimately unhealthy proportion of medical dramas… It went.

You may have gathered that there wasn’t a great deal of baking going on here – London was baking, and the last thing I wanted to do for fun was switch on the (tiny) oven and double the temperature in my (tiny) flat. That’s not fun, that’s a furnished sauna.

I was still baking every week for the bar though, and Monday night was always a mad dash to make four batches of cupcakes and four flavours of frosting, and get everything cooled off, frosted and packed up before midnight.

My kitchen was always a mess: Every surface was covered with an increasingly thick layer of icing sugar, the various mixing bowls were either ready to wash, drying, or being used, I stopped bothering to put the electric mixer away and there was an ever-present supply of flour and caster sugar lurking stubbornly in the spot where I usually keep the Merlot and Jack Daniels.

The things I do, you know?

I gave myself the challenge of coming up with different cake and frosting flavours as often as possible. The bar had taken me on with a particular interest in unusual flavour combinations and I wanted to try something new every week.

I was getting a bit frustrated, having tried to pair chocolate, vanilla, caramel and coffee with almost everything they could possibly go with. Then I got into trying out fruit in my frostings. That was a good career move.

My favourite frostings so far are blackcurrant and lemon curd – with the cookies n cream frosting (not fruit related, I know, you shush) not lagging too far behind. It’s a good job my face doesn’t quite fit into any of those mixing bowls…

Thing is, my fridge (yes, also tiny) was stacked full of milk, cream, eggs, butter, lard – yes, LARD, see?

And there was little to no room for other things. Nice things, like flaked parmesan, green grapes, hummus, pesto… and things like this:

Yep, I’m a woman who likes her rabbit food, and this summer, if I wasn’t buried under a box of pizza with a beer between my knees, I was craving big, lovely, crunchy salads. So all summer long, while the only cool place in my flat housed the better part of a dairy, instead of baking ammo I was longing to cram my fridge full of this stuff:

As it happens, the summer ended up a bit of a mess.

An even bigger mess than my kitchen on a Monday night.

Long story short, I don’t think I’m baking for the bar any more, I don’t have a big, real kitchen to play in any more, and my poor DSLR needs a good cleaning after going for a swim and having to spend the night in rice-filled tupperware.

Sad face: I won’t be able to take any photos for a bit.

Happy face: I have time!

I have time again to experiment and do all the mad cooking and baking I love to do, to reread a few favourite books and start on some new ones, to listen to music I’m too embarrassed to admit I like, to turn to a blank page in a long neglected notebook, to plan the future by resuming old habits.

And of course, to work on this. I’ve missed you folks.

The days are getting shorter and my much-loved natural light is slipping away, but after my little experiment last Winter, that shouldn’t stop me from sharing some more recipes, photographs and general brain fluff with you.

I hope that’s cool with you.

So. I’m back and Summer’s gone.

It was a mess, but it was fun while it lasted, and I’m folding away the especially wonderful bits in the cedar cupboard of my mind (keeps out the mind moths) for safe keeping.

Bring on Autumn, spiced cider, big scarves and wooly socks. And some gorgeous food.

I’ll meet you back here to discuss.

Until then…

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