Summer seems to be hurtling past at the moment and I appear to be struggling to keep up. I cannot believe we are in the middle of August already and I am starting to fear that summer will be over and done with before I have had sufficient time to soak up the sunshine, enjoy as many barbecues as humanly possible and eat a million ice lollies. Although strictly speaking these are activities not reserved for the summer months only, I love an autumn barbecue.
Is anyone else now well and truly ready for summer to arrive? We have had a few hints of what may be coming our way over the last couple of weeks with the sun breaking through the dark grey clouds and I for one cannot wait. A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to take part in a campaign for Inghams called Ingham Foodie Finds. The brief was to come up with a summer recipe from one of their holiday destinations. What a combination, holidays and food, my two favourite things. The brief was the perfect excuse to start thinking of summer bakes.
I know it is early to start talking about Christmas but as the nights get darker, the days shorter and it gets so much colder I start thinking about the festive season. So here we are with my first Christmas recipe for 2016, an indulgent salted caramel chocolate log. Christmas for me has always been about family, getting together and celebrating with everyone. For my family and I this always involves food, to us it is an important part of the season. My dad is German and my Mum is British so we have always mixed and matched traditions to suit, so when Wren Kitchens asked me to participate in Wren’s Christmas Kitchen I thought it was perfect for how we celebrate the season.
I am really excited about this cake! I made it for Dave’s birthday back in September, well actually I made it twice because he was ill the first time around. It also seems quite appropriate to post it today before Halloween because it would be a great base for any Halloween cake because it’s so black. It also happens to be national chocolate day today – win!
Anyway back to the cake. Over the past year Dave has become somewhat of a beer enthusiast so I knew when I saw Nigella’s recipe for this I had to give it a try for his birthday. To me this is perfect as the nights get darker and it gets colder, I am not a huge beer drinker but in the winter you can on the odd occasion find me drinking a nice dark stout. If you are not a huge beer fan that is fine, it is not like this cake tastes of Guinness, don’t worry it doesn’t. It just adds a really nice depth to the cake.
Happy Apple Day! Who knew there was such a day to be celebrated? Apparently the first Apple Day was celebrated in 1990 with an intention to celebrate the variety of things we are in danger of losing, not just apples but also looking at the richness and diversity of ecology, culture and landscape. Very much conincidentally (although I should add this date to my calendar for next year) I made this Apple and custard cake last week with some lovely Bramley apples that our lovely neighbour left on the doorstep for us. It’s weird as I eat apples all year around but for some reason the arrival of the British apples really signifies Autumn to me and the beginning of the colder and darker nights, maybe it’s the thought of apple bobbing and toffee apples who knows.