Friday, June 24, 2011

Gray days, blue berries

It's the last day of our vacation in Gloucester, where we've been renting a house on the Annisquam River. The week has been perfect — fresh air, long walks, kayaking, and peaceful stretches where the silence is broken only by birdsong and the sound of a cormorant's wings hitting the water as it takes off.

(Full disclosure: as I write this, however, there are buzzsaw noises and salty language from across the street, where contractors are building a McMansion for a speculator who apparently razed a nice wooded lot for the purpose. Good luck selling that, jerkfaces!)

The week started off hot and sunny, but around Wednesday afternoon gray clouds rolled in, and it has been foggy and wet, alternating between drizzle and torrential, ever since. But heck, we're on vacation, and I'm English, so we've still been sitting out on the porch in rocking chairs, staring out across the water. The river is tidal, so the view changes every few hours.



Just so you know it's not always so gray, here's a sunset from earlier in the week:



When the breeze picks up and drives us back indoors, we retreat to the kitchen, of course. The house has been in the same family for at least three generations, and the cooking equipment reflects the passage of time. I love these cabinets.



One section of the countertop is metal; I don't know whether this was common at one point, and whether the purpose was to provide a place for hot dishes or a colder surface for rolling out pastry. Any thoughts?



This is a family that likes to cook, if the preponderance of baking tools and recipe books is any indication. The best discovery was the box of handwritten recipe cards, including annotations and comments.



Blueberries feature in many of the recipes. As we'd just bought a pint, and needed a reminder that it was actually summer, rain notwithstanding, we decided to try a blueberry cobbler adapted from this recipe. The berries are briefly boiled with sugar and lemon juice before being poured into the baking dish on top of the batter.

Before:



After:



The fruit was intense, the cake acted like a sponge for the juice, and the leftovers made a lovely breakfast.

I also wrote down the family's recipe for blueberry slump, in which the batter is dropped onto hot fruit and steamed like dumplings. I'll be making that when we get home.

It's good to have vacation mementoes you can eat.

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1 Comments:

Blogger jcarsi said...

Your posts are amusing and your writing shows how positive your outlook about life is...you're a terrific storyteller and a brave soul. Cheers!

4:50 AM  

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