Boy, do I love a good picnic. Securing a grassy space beneath a tree, laying out the blanket, surrounding yourself with snacks and goodies.
When the weather’s hot, it’s pretty much all you can do – the most strenuous part being choosing the perfect spot. No one should work (either body or mind) when the sun’s strong enough to heat a computer keyboard – even by a couple of degrees.
Take Saturday, when the London air was well into the thirties – thick, bright and stifling. There was no chance of staying indoors to roast, so my old chums Beardie and Mrs C accompanied me on a leisurely stroll to the park.
What followed was a couple of hours of dedicated grazing, safe in the shade of a huge leafy tree. Dips, nibbles, fresh bread, and – the star of the show by a mile – fresh-baked sticky pecan buns, made by Mrs C herself.
If you’ve ever wished to know the secrets of eternal bliss, look no further. All you need are sweet home-made buns, devoured on a lazy August day.
Especially when the buns are as good as Mrs C’s. Apparently, they were quite easy to make, but they looked just like professionals: pecan-covered swirls of dough, moist with a syrupy glaze.
Our pud-based bliss didn’t end there either. After yawning about on the grass all afternoon, we returned to the flat with another dessert to look forward to:
Ah me. Mrs C really excelled herself this time. The cheesecake was formed of a layer of biscuit, baked with a cream cheese and strawberry mixture, then finished with a generous load of sweetened mascarpone.
No amount of expletives can convey just how gosh-darn delicious it was. Made from a Hummingbird Bakery recipe, it was as close to summer as puddings can get.
Every mouthful was bursting with cream and ripe strawberries. I ate it with my eyes closed, convinced I was having some sort of religious experience.
If you ever get your hands on the recipe – I think it’s the Hummingbird’s Cake Days book – you should buy up some berries and bake it as soon as you can.
Just take the ‘Serves 12’ with a pinch of salt. It’s summer, God damn it. It’s not going to go on forever…