We don't have dramatic shifts when the seasons change round here. No blazing summer sunshine to give way to bright reds and golds, no swimming in lakes and rivers, no endless days of sandals, skirts and suntan lotion. Instead there were a few glorious July days at the beach, daylight lingering until it was time for bed, an August of rain and sodden tourists and now September.
After weeks of trying to dress for summer with a side portion of 'and an umbrella and a jacket and a scarf just in case' it's almost welcome. I've bought new cardigans, a jumper dress and boots. We've fallen asleep on the couch under the blanket that we lugged back from Portland. I'm still trying to get by without socks but as I sit here typing my feet are cold and I'm about to admit defeat.
The food has changed. There are still the salads and pastas that we rely on almost every week but they've been joined by mince cooked slowly with grated root vegetables, poached chicken to keep us in broth and leftovers. I'm starting to think about shepherd's pie. It feels good, I'm ready to hibernate.
And this week, as the evenings started to get darker and the air cooler I wanted to bake, so, on Tuesday, while we pulled together dinner, I mashed and stirred and spooned into muffin cases and later, curled up under that blanket with a mug of tea and a muffin it felt like Autumn.
Chocolate Banana Muffins
From Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, Nigella Lawson
3 very ripe or overripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
100g soft light brown sugar
225g plain flour
3 x 15ml tablespoons best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 x 12-bun muffin tin
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with papers. Mash the bananas and, still beating and mashing, add the oil followed by the eggs and sugar. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb together and add, beating gently, to the banana mixture, then spoon it into the prepared papers. Bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes, by which time the muffins should be dark, rounded and peeking proudly out of their cases. Allow to cool slightly in their tin before removing to a wire rack.