Britain’s reputation for bad weather was completely turned on its head this year and we were blessed with long days of bright sunshine and sultry, balmy nights in the ‘summer that wouldn’t stop’. Most evenings, I’d arrive home, shuck off the suit and change into shorts and a t-shirt, throw open the back door and relax with a glass of wine and a book before tossing a salad together a little later. Summer made my life so much easier.
The other day I left my frigidly cold air-conditioned office and when I went outside, experienced that glorious feeling you get when you step out of a plane after arriving in some hot foreign clime. My end-of-day exhaustion dissipated the instant my feet hit the pavement. I wanted to head straight for a bar and relax at an outside table with an icy glass of Ricard and let my bones absorb the heat. Unfortunately, because my daughter was due back to school the next day, I had to beat my way home via the sweltering, stuffy Underground. Reality check!
She was experiencing the usual first day insecurities and spent the evening worrying that she wouldn’t know anyone in her new Sixth Form classes. At the end of her first school day, she returned home jubilant that her best friend is going to be in three of her four classes. Considering her initial reluctance to the change of school, she’s been lucky-she’s got a nice timetable and the school is walking distance from home so she’ll be able to come home or go to her friend’s house for lunch.
I was informed that she and her friend are going to take turns making lunches to which news I was proud at how sensible the pair of them were. All that changed when she added that they’ll be bringing friends home to eat with them. Reading between the lines, this means that not only will I have to shell out for my daughter’s lunches but I’ll have to have enough food in the house to feed several other hungry teenagers. Poverty is imminent! HELP!!
I’ve spent the morning writing out a list of foods and dishes that I can make and put in the freezer for them. Teens are a bloody fussy lot though. I was thinking of making some nice and healthy Couscous and Feta Salads, or some Homemade ‘Pot Noodle’ dishes, all nutritious and filling to last them through the day. After she’d turned her nose up at those suggestions I’ve decided to hand her a bunch of carrots and a recipe for Carrot and Coriander Soup and let her get on with making it herself. They’re her friends not mine!
All that time I spent browsing through recipes this morning has almost made me hanker for the colder months. For endless weeks I’ve existed on chilled or non-cooked meals like salads that I’m now longing for some nice roasted Squash, some Autumn Berry crumbles and slow-cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Molasses. I can’t wait to have a nice rich Shepherds Pie or an indulgent Fish Pie, topped with buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. As I brace myself (and my wallet) for the central heating going back on and braving the morning chill of the bathroom, I’m comforted by the anticipation of my favourite time of year for food. Yum!