We all have routines; big and small, quick and laborious, seasonal, emotional and sad. My daily internet routine is made a lot easier with the fact that my four most used pages pop up together when clicking my browser; WordPress, Hotmail, Twitter and BBC Good Food! I am something of an amateur foody (or wannabe foody) and love browsing the daily selection of yummy treats. I believe today’s selected recipe may have just triggered the onset of my more Autumnal routines.
Comfort food, knitted sweaters, blankets on the sofa, closed curtains, and mugs of hot chocolate all signal the start of my favourite time of year, and the fruit crumble recipe taunting me from my screen this evening made me want to take an instant plunge. I immediately decided, despite the work I have this evening, that I was making casserole and crumble (with custard, of course) for tea. I got so excited! I jumped up from the sofa, pulled on my shoes and snug collared coat (even though the sun was technically still shining and it really isn’t that cold) to head to the local corner shop for piles of seasonal fruits.
My little corner of Birmingham has three or four quite substantial ‘corner shops’ boasting a huge selection of fruit and veg displayed like market stalls along the street. Internationally speaking there is probably a bigger selection of obscurities than I could ever find in a large supermarket, and their spice selections are second to none. This is all wonderful when creating spicy summer mixes or hearty Indian curries; not so good when you just want some cooking apples, blackberries or a little rhubarb.
Gutted was not the word. I walked up and down the street three times checking each stall repeatedly just in case I had missed those elusive beauties. Should I require a kumquat crumble, no problem. Or a grape pie? Easy. Clementines a plenty. As were ridiculously huge watermelons. But not a single thing I could class as crumble worthy. I even lowered myself to check their tinned selection. Lychee pudding anyone?
So no crumble and no custard, but the oven is currently doing its work on a hearty chicken casserole; sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, leeks, white wine, thyme and plenty black pepper. In a little while I shall top with more potato rounds to go crispy and allow gravy to ooze and bubble through. I have already pulled the curtains and allowed myself to put the heating on. Tonight I will awaken the old routine of planning my lessons under a blanket with a mug of cocoa. And maybe pull the knitting out too!