The mountains are changing their colors literally day by day, and while few trees around here have those strikingly bright red and yellow leaves that we often associate with the image of 'autumn leaves', their subdued, brownish shades are beautiful, too.
I was away for a few weeks, and had half expected it would be too late to have some tea outside by the time I'm back. Yet October seemed to have been blessed with a very mild weather, and I was delighted to come home to beautifully sunny, warm days.
For the first breakfast back home, we opened up a jar of thick cut marmalade I'd brought back from England some years ago. It was nice, and made me want to make my own; the marmalade-making season is nearly there.
But for now, there was something else I wanted to make - something I'd been looking forward to making while I was away.
It was the first recipe that caught my eye in the latest issue of donna hay magazine (issue #59, oct/nov 2011). The issue, by the way, was absolutely gorgeous - even more so than it usually is and totally worth owning. But if you don't have your copy, you are still in luck; the recipe is available for view online here.
As dreamlike as it may be, the recipe still almost gave me a heart attack, just by my thinking how much sugar and fat a single sandwich contains; I resisted an urge to try to slash sugar or fat in some way, and mostly stuck to the recipe, except I cut the recipe in half.
Now I was somehow left with quite a bit of peanut butter frosting. There was too much for me to finish by licking it off the spatula, and I thought it'd be a shame to chuck the whole thing, so I decided to turn it into something else:
And there was another thing I'd wanted to make: apple cake, 'tis the apple season!
The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater (Fourth Estate, 2005), which I had bought a while ago but never got around to actually reading.
There were so many things I'd like to cook in the book, but I picked one from one of his October entry: english apple cake because, well, there were apples and it was October.
Nigel suggests you eat this cake warm, with a good pouring cream, so that was what we did.
I often wonder, at the end of seemingly every month, where the whole month had gone. Days and weeks go by really quickly, and a month - and even a year - seems to pass as if there wasn't a month's worth of time. But this October, there really wasn't enough time worth a month for me to spend - except for being tied to a bed and gazing at the sky and the top of the nearby buildings.
Early in the month, a stupid little accident caused damage serious enough to send me to the ER at the dead of night, immediately followed by what was to be a few weeks of hospital stint. I spare you the details, but I suffered some rather nasty burns - I was really lucky to have come out with relatively limited damage, but it could have been much, much worse. It was particularly fortunate that my eyes and hands/arms were basically intact, so I could read, write, and even type on the bed (I even worked a bit from there).
I was initially told to expect three to four weeks in the hospital, with a possible addition of a couple more weeks if a surgery is needed. Thankfully, my wounds weren't as bad as they had first feared and also healed pretty fast with limited complications, so I didn't have to undergo an operation. And I did really well with my rehabilitation exercises, and managed to leave the hospital a little over two weeks after the accident, quicker than anyone had expected.
And to all who cared about me, sent me good thoughts, and cheered me up while I wasn't in the best of form - thanks so, so much. If anything made any change on my path to recovery, it had to be all the encouragement you gave me that strengthened my will to heal.
Whatever happens, November has to be better than October. And I hope your November will be a good one, too. -cxx