August hasn’t really got going yet, at least not for me. I went home last week to the apple farm where I spent half my childhood. We picked a few Discoveries which we knew weren’t quite ready: red-cheeked outside, but not quite yet blushing within – and with that slight stomach-aching chalkiness of under-ripe apples. At my godfather’s I picked some Victorias (though I think in hindsight they were actually Opals). They weren’t really ready yet either. It’s August when the Victorias and the Discoveries can be picked from the tree, eaten there and then, juicy and fragrant, a toothy-sweet smack of late summer.
They cooked up rather well though. The apples I sliced and made a quick little fruit tart with sweet pastry, plenty of last month’s apricot jam to glaze and a sprinkle of Swedish-produced cinnamon, which is somehow more ethereal than the English stuff. (You can get some at Totally Swedish on Crawford St or Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield St.) It goes terribly well with fragrant young apples. The plums I poached in a light syrup scented with vanilla and cardamom. Somehow their pallid skin and flesh lent a beautiful blush to the syrup. I had them for breakfast, just warm, with cold yoghurt and a cup of strong black coffee.