July is proving a rather difficult month. It is refusing to bring us the lovely weather we'd hope for. The cricket season is in full swing, Wimbledon has just finished and the Tour de France is speeding its way across the rolling countryside, and yet the rain continues to fall. It hasn't been a completely wet month, there has been a spot of sunshine here and there, but it's hard to remember that when torrential rain is throwing itself on your struggling garden.
I want salads and picnics, chilled white wine, delicate flowers and pretty summer dresses. Instead yesterday I spent the whole time tucked up in my dressing gown with a blanket over my freezing feet, with a grumpy yowling cat. I then cooked sausages with potatoes, beans and fried onions. That's winter stodge, not my light fruity salads. If I'd have been serving it with drinks it would have been a deep rich stout. Yes, that's how bad the weather was yesterday.
And yet, there are little bits of joy to be found, even in the gloom. Our Lovely Garden (tm) is struggling to prevail. The courgettes and squash are holding their heads up in the rain and insisting on splashes of bright yellow flowers to compete with the splashes (read buckets) of rain that insists on falling on them. Then I also noticed the fuschia. Tucked in a little pot handing on the wall determinedly flowering and even glistening in the rain. It may have been a wash out of a day, but there were still things to remind me that it's not all that bad.
Today I went out again and saw the fushia smiling at me in the sunshine, as if to say "see, it's all alright." It's like the plant equivalent of N, who despite having to work long hours this week was wonderful last night when he discovered his girlfriend sitting on the kitchen floor crying about the grumpy cat that just wouldn't stop meowing. He's amazing, I don't know how he does it.
So, this post, my 100th, is dedicated to N who is my ray of sunshine in all weathers; who puts up with my cookbook and baking obsession with not even a flinch as another book arrives for our already overloaded shelves, or another strange dish is placed in front of him; who deals with my cat-stress and grumpericalness; who even takes an interest when I talk about cycling. Now there's one fantastic, amazing man. Thank you.
P.S. We ended yesterday (having chucked the grumpy cat into the garden determined not to worry about him being out at night) with blueberry tofu cheesecake. It was originally made for the garden party, but I overcooked it, it cracked and it wasn't really presentable enough. Plus the blueberries used in it were rather disappointing. I can't bear to waste food though, and knew that if did various things to spice it up it must be edible. We've tried various things, but last night I went for the indulgent addition of blueberry whipped cream and it was just what it needed. I simply added three teaspoons of blueberry conserve (a wonderful find by N) into a bowl of whipped creamed and whipped it a bit more. It was exactly what the evening needed. A little bit of comfort and indulgence.