Since Mr McGregor doesn’t actually read my blog (he just eats the cakes), I feel free to admit that I have recently bought quite a few new books. Looking at them now, they are all by women and mostly involve nature writing. Reading more books written by women wasn’t originally on my #50in50 list, but it certainly is now.
If you have been reading my blog then you’ll know that I’ve been doing a lot of swimming this summer, including outdoors, so I am very much enjoying ‘Wild Woman Swimming’, a collection of writings by the late Lynne Roper, edited by Tanya Shadrick and published by Selkie Press. The writing is beautiful – lines such as ‘As I swim, gold and orange leaves flashed past my hands like autumn fish’, are so evocative that I just want to get into the water. Though I did take a dip in the North Sea the other weekend, and it was really quite cold…… The book is just made for reading outside, preferably by a river, although obviously I’m sitting with a cuppa in the veg garden in this picture.
‘Waymaking – an anthology of women’s adventure writing, poetry and art’ arrived in the post this week. The idea behind this publication from Vertebrate Publishing is to address the under-representation of women in outdoor/adventure writing. It was funded following a Kickstarter campaign with 100% of the royalties going to charity (split equally between the John Muir Trust and Rape Crisis). There’s something (stories, art, photography, poems…) in this lovely book for everyone who loves the outdoors. The introduction to Waymaking is written by Melissa Harrison, the third writer on my list. As the remarkable summer weather has suddenly vanished from Edinburgh and been replaced by autumn, her book ‘Rain’ seems quite appropriate. Finally, I’m really looking forward to reading The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn.
The garden harvest is going well – we are still munching through our courgettes, the tomatoes are very tasty and we have tonnes of beetroot. Mr McGregor is rather delighted to see his hop plants are, well, bearing hops!
The blackberries are particularly good – they are really large and sweet. I’ve made a couple of batches of these muffins, which have gone down very well…..
Blackberry and apple muffins (pdf: Blackberry and apple muffins)
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125ml plain yoghurt
100ml unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium dessert apple, finely diced
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees / 180 degrees fan / gas 6
- Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl
- Beat together milk, yoghurt, egg, honey, butter and vanilla extract until well mixed
- Mix in the dry ingredients
- Add the blackberries and apples and stir in gently
- Divide the mixture between muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full
- Bake for approx 20 minutes until well-risen and golden. The top should spring back when lightly pressed.
- I find mine sink a little when taken out of the oven, but that doesn’t spoil the taste in any way!