Sunday, 27 June 2010

A little midsummer madness ...


My life is like a Peter Greenaway film these days.. I mean fancy finding yourself in a field at 7.30 a.m in the morning surrounded by acres of lurid plastic including a singing frog and a full set of prosthetic limbs. You may well be thinking that the recent heatwave has gone to my head.. and I suppose it is partly to blame for the surreal quality of my waking day. I am not good with heat and much like my tabby boy, I tend to flop when the mercury rises and wonder why I wasn't born in a land that embraces siestas...

This morning.. like every other morning this week.. wide eyed and sleepless at 5.a.m.. so tiptoe down to the lower deck and sit in the first rays of the day to eat my muesli in the garden listening to a bird that has puzzled me for some weeks.. He comes and goes.. or she comes and goes... but when said bird returns.. it sings.. no.. whistles so loudly and vibrantly.. I have yet to learn which bird it is but am determined to identify this exuberant and vociferous visitor..

This morning.. I was also visited.. a little too closely for my comfort, as I was sitting in CK nightie in garden feeling very exposed, when this hot air balloon wafted over my head..a common sight here in the summer mornings and evenings, which never fails to thrill. All the dogs in the neighbourhood start barking when these galleons of the sky float over our houses. It always makes me think of the book by Dodie Smith.. Twilight Barking.
Anyhoo.. after wading through limbs and plastic in a field above Bath city this morning.. I took my newly purchased psychedelic plastic bowl and found a field heavy with Elderflower trees and picked enough of the fragrant frothy heads.. to make Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls delicious Elderflower champagne.. a very fine and a very explosive brew and so easy to make...

More than the 100's of meringues I will attempt to bake this week for the first Vintage & Handmade Textile Fair next Saturday.. Making meringues is childs play really.. but I always find it fraught with unforced errors.. like separating the whites from the yolks for starters, then there is the whipping of the egg whites to get them really stiff so one can hold the bowl over the head without them falling out of bowl onto head.. lastly there is the removal of cooked meringues from the baking tray. My last batch of meringues.. made with brown sugar.. lovely and chewy inside.. were a devil to get off the baking trays, despite being lined carefully with baking parchment....

These intended meringues might end up as Eton Mess .. just as delicious even if they are squished.


Thank you Emma from Silver Pebble for identifying my birdy friend.. it is indeed the Song Thrush a bird with a big voice! Click on link to hear this melodic bird.

Monday evening...
It is 9.50 p.m and my visiting Song Thrush is sitting in a tree at the bottom of the garden.. giving it his all.. Just lovely!

18 comments:

Ragged Roses said...

Well I'm waiting for my helping please, can be as messy as you wish! Good luck with the meringues, maybe you should start making them at 5am with the twittering of the dawn chorus to keep you company! But please put an apron over that CK nightie you don't want to be adding to that mess. Also steer away from elderflower champagne whilst cracking those eggs! Good luck
Mx

Frances said...

Oh, this was fun to read.

I love the opening with the unexpected additions to the landscape and the balloon over the muesli.

And then you read about all the meringue baking you are about to do ... wow! I learned to make meringues before I was 20 ... 64 years ago, but have not practiced that art in many, many decades.

You are inspiring me. At a local farmers' greenmarket today I bought a pint of precious, perfectly ripe, tiny strawberries. No sugar required. I could just imagine them on a slightly crushed meringue with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top.

Maybe next weekend I will find the time and more perfect little strawberries.

Thank you for the inspiration!

KC'sCourt! said...

May I share your Eaton Mess?
Julie xxx

The Little Vintage Company said...

Mmmm Eaton Mess.. although I'm a bit bazaar and like my Eaton Mess with no fruit!! Maybe a scoop of ice cream! We could crack open the elderflower champagne after the fair perhaps??

T X

VintageVicki said...

Is there a 5th portion for me please??

I love seeing hot air balloons - we used to see them so often when we lived in Berkshire when I was a child.

silverpebble said...

I was wondering whether your feathered friend might be a song thrush. Here's the rspb link complete with sound clip for you to check. http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/s/songthrush/index.aspx. We have a couple here that sing at 5 - they wake the tiny pebble up! TWEET TWEET! Oh well.

That Eton Mess looks positively divine.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

How beautiful!
lovely writing Michele, love those Galleons of the sky and your description of the field! brilliant.
Meringue making is just as you say and my mother in law leaves hers overnight in the bottom of the aga to thoroughly dry out which is excellent assuming you have an aga which I don't (YET! If you are reading this Mr.Lane.) I am not bitter and twisted though! tee hee!

Good luck with the fair, it will be brilliant I am sure of it,

Love Sarah x

Andi's English Attic said...

Thanks for the links to the bird site and the recipe for elderflower champagne. We have a blackbird that sits high in our tree singing away.
I don't cope very well with hot weather either. I wilt. I need to be watered often with elderberry champagne! xx

Jee said...

I'm another one who isn't good in the heat - love the early morning though. Perhaps if I show husband the meringues it will swing the debate about who has the car next Saturday in my favour - he wants to go to an organ recital in Ludlow, and I want to go to Chipping Sodbury, obviously.

Country Cottage Chic said...

I often wonder how much the balloonists see when they float over!

x

winnibriggs said...

A great post, we too get the balloons overhead here, but fortunately not close enough to critic my nightwear! The Eton mess is my hubby's favourite which is a godsend when the meringues decide to misbehave. Have you tried silicone paper instead of parchment, or one of those silicone sheets.(you can get them from Lakeland) The meringues don't seem to stick quite as much!

Kitschen Pink said...

hey honey! Just popping by for a catch up and I can't get my head past the prosthetic limbs.... still not clear on that one. Did they come home with you? Do you wear them with the CK nighty and wave them at passing hot air balloons - now there's an image to toy with! Good luck next week. t.xxx

jane and the happy crow said...

Lost limbs and plastic frogs! Sounds just up my street! Hot air balloons and eton mess even more so! Happy baking and really good luck with the fair this weekend. lots of love Jane xx

Gorgeous Things said...

I can see why your tabby boy likes that room - love that birdy blind!!
Meringues are an essential summer indulgence - what I find confusing with making them is that they never cook the same - sometimes they need longer; sometimes not; and I just never seem to get them just perfect! Although it really doesn't matter, cos they always taste Mmmmmm!
Good luck with the vintage and handmade textile fair.

Garden Girl said...

Sitting in the garden eating muesli? and I had you down as a Glastonbury chick!
I love it when you include photos of your garden, it really is inspiring...and just to keep you company, my oven timer has just beeped to say my mini pavlovas are ready for work tomorrow! haven't ever made them with brown sugar though, will have to give that a go next time x

Debbie said...

Such a lovely post!
Love your sense of humour!
And your meringue does look good... is there any left, for me?
Please,.....
Pretty please!
DEBBIE MOSS

OhSoVintage said...

I have never perfected the art of making meringues but am definitely an expert at eating them.
Ruth x

RACHEL GOODCHILD said...

Sorry, haven't read all the text above, but is that top picture your garden? It is lovely!!!!
Sorry if text says otherwise. Would love a garden like that!