Last weekend was a bank holiday in Blighty which signaled the end of the summer. Thankfully the sun was out in full force apart from the odd shower on Sunday but it didn’t stop me celebrating. I always feel that this last week of the summer holidays needs to be enjoyed to the maximum. Next week will herald a new beginning and a new school term. For me that means ballet classes start again and my evenings get engulfed with ballet shoes and ballet buns instead of cocktails and barbecues outside in the summer sun! I know we can’t have it all, all of the time but wouldn’t it be nice?
Sunday began with bright sunshine but there were dark clouds in the distance so I knew the warmth wouldn’t last for long. I met up with my friend Emma who I hadn’t seen properly in absolutely ages for a tea date. We deliberated over where to go for quite sometime and finally decided on getting some takeaways and sitting on the beautiful cathedral green. It seemed foolish to coop ourselves up indoors when we knew the sun was only going to be short lived.
Monday was warm too so I decided that Steve and I should pack up a picnic and head off for a walk and find a nice spot. Steve’s mum had given me some wonderful homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers so in my mind that felt like the beginning of a Greek style salad. I chopped everything up and threw the ingredients into a tuppaware ready for transportation. I also made my runner bean and sundried tomato salad as it it a robust salad for travelling. It’s pretty darn tasty too. I whizzed up some hummus in the food processor and grabbed some pita bread for dipping. I figured we would need something sweet so I knocked up some banana bread for dessert! I packed everything into my bag and off we went.
We walked to a place about 30 minutes from home called Duckes Meadow. It is a relatively quiet spot beyond the humdrum of Exeter’s historic quay. There are picnic tables there if you fancy sitting up to a table but I felt that sitting down on the grass was more my vibe. It also meant that Steve and I could lie down and sunbathe too if we felt inclined. Which we did! It was so hot that it felt like we were back in Split, Croatia. It was blissful and definitely what Steve and I had been hankering for. The weather in the southwest of England where I live has been a bit of a let down this summer so having a day that actually felt hot was to be celebrated!
We took our little speaker and played a few chilled out tunes whilst we made the most of the sunshine and ate our lunch. We must have spent the best part of three hours lazing in the sunshine before walking back home via the quay for an ice cream and the cathedral green for a final sunshine blast.
I may or may not have had the last barbecue of the year on Friday. As we move into autumn I wonder if I will get another chance to fire up the coals. There is something so pleasing about cooking food outside over white hot coals don’t you think?
I invited Johanna over to celebrate our last weekend of freedom before Christmas! We both teach. I teach ballet and Johanna teaches dance fitness so weekends can be taken over with classes and paperwork. She was a perfect guest to have over to share possibly the last barbecue of year on my last free weekend of the year!
I made some Moroccan style beef burgers with some high quality minced beef, toasted cumin seeds that I ground in a mortar and pestle and a dollop of harrisa paste. I mixed the ingredients together, formed it into four patties and then popped them in the fridge to chill so they would hold their shape whilst barbecuing. Which they did by the way! I was so happy!
Whilst all of that was cooking on the barbie I had made a cannellini bean dip that I served with carrot batons, wholewheat toasted pita and some crisps. It’s always nice to have a little bite to eat whilst having a cocktail or a glass of wine don’t you think?