A new year, and about time I said hello again.
I’ve been a little absent on the journal over the last 6 months, photographing plenty of beauty on film behind the scenes but not quite having the words to validate a blog post. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to write. I strive to keep all Verity & Thyme platforms as cheerful as possible, and I didn’t want it to lower the mood with Covid related business.
In a lot of ways, lockdowns (1 & 2 and maybe 3, let’s see) have been a chance to slow, restock and enjoy the seasons fully. The spring and summer months are usually a floral flurry of weddings, events and occasions, and I barely find the time to stop and enjoy the day to day. Oh I miss weddings terribly, that goes without saying, but I think I had my first ‘present’ spring & summer since the day I picked up my floristry scissors years ago. Amongst all of the uncertainty, I relished the opportunity to slow down and fully enjoy those warm, high summer days lounging by the river with a book in hand. I pottered in the garden from dawn until dusk, which allowed churning thoughts and anxieties to settle for a while too. It goes without saying, my bride and grooms have been stoic. You have, and continue to, negotiate these ever changing goalposts with grace and compassion and I shall be forever grateful for your kindness and understanding since last March. I cannot wait to bring the outside in for your wedding celebrations in the (hopeful) near future. I adore you all.
Naturally, I’ve also had unlimited time in the kitchen which I have treasured. A few hours to myself, pinny on and Classic FM gently singing from the radio bring me a lot of joy.
It was lemon curd in the spring. I had a bandaged right hand for March and April sadly, completely out of action for weeks, so I found solace in the gentle stirring of lemon, butter and egg over a low heat. I won’t divulge too much, it was a rather scary injury (especially for a florist who’s hands are rather key to her livelihood!) but a trip to A&E as the Covid pandemic broke was quite the drama. It took most of the spring and summer to heal fully, but I ensure you these battered florists hands have never been so well looked after. Jars of joyful yellow homemade lemon curd lined up on the windowsill made it much more bearable too.
The plans I had for the allotment suffered due to my one handed (lack of) abilities, but the redcurrants still fruited in abundance and so come late summer we were finishing off simple suppers in the garden with homemade redcurrant panna cotta. The garden table was dotted with homegrown scabious in berry hues and the sunsets stretched across the sky above. Old tin bathtubs full of poppies lifted the mood each morning on the way to the greenhouse, where we picked homegrown cucumbers and peppers for salads. I also created a recipe for rose petal jam using petals from my favourite David Austin roses in the garden, and safe to say it is a favourite kitchen experiment to date. Different petals gave varying coloured jam, and I loved the alchemy of it all. Perfect atop scones or swirled through yogurt. It seems I have a penchant for making preserves… who knew?
Autumn was simple; butternut squash and sage lasagne cooked until perfected and endless dishes of crumble bubbling away in the oven. Custard became a daily occurrence in October and I wasn’t upset about it. It is the season where dinner candles are lit for the simplest of meals, and this is a ritual I carry well into late winter. Lighting candles always brings me such a childlike sense of joy, making endless autumn and winter evenings lighter and brighter.
And this winter, aside from the traditional Christmas cake, I also spent frosty days in the kitchen baking vanilla bean doughnuts and clementine cake. I happily continue the feasting well into January, as it is still winter after all. To have a sweet treat ready in the depths of January, to enjoy alongside a hot cup of tea as the sun goes down, always seems like a good idea. None of this January dieting over here. Why make January more bleak than it already is.
Next? It has to be blood orange iced buns, which I have been fantasising about for quite some time now. In my mind I see a plate of plump buns amidst a sea of delicate Paperwhites, but we shall have to see. I’ve been eyeing up the forced rhubarb too but that feels like an experiment for February. Last year’s rhubarb galette was a joy to create, it’s a hard one to beat.
I suppose I should start bringing my ideas together for Valentine’s Day flowers too, as I expect a fair few of you may be hoping for a floral lift in the next fortnight. As always, I’m imagining soft romantic flowers finished with a soft, sumptuous bow. A bouquet to show affection and herald in the spring. Something to wake up to and enjoy each morning whilst stirring your coffee, reminding us of all that’s to come.
I best get ordering some flowers then. Speak soon, you lovely lot…