well, we’ve made it to six years in europe, y’all. i don’t know how it happened and this year, it was certainly against all possible odds, but it did. that’s right! our major visa issues have been resolved thanks to the wonderful people we know here in budejovice and apparently, they are the right sorts of people to know. i am ever so grateful. i’ve heard about others in the same situation as us not having quite the luck we did and that it had been the end of the road. but for us, not today. cynthia and alex are going to keep this crazy thing going into year seven. hooray!
here’s a snapshot from down the not-so-distant memory lane.
ahh yes, the end of sweltering july. hot days for even hotter bureaucracy! a tote-bag to go to all of your government offices and keep your documents in tip-top shape! sunnies to keep you cool on that walk up the parking lot of the financial bureau!
as much as i love summer (and oh, i do), the past week has been so refreshing, cool and rainy. we spent the last hot summer day at the edge of the malše river reading our books, one eye on the dog as he ran around the banks and chewed on sticks.
then, sweet delicious rain. it kind of crushed the spirit of the annual ‘end of summer’ block party, normally known for its wonderful temperatures, perfect for sipping mojitos on the lawn, it did lend a nice sort of autumnal character to last weekend.
we spent a slow sunday at our friends’ house, hiding from the rain snacking on freshly-baked apple bread pudding and swilling fresh apple juice – it’s “apple time” right now! see how they’re just dripping off of the trees? we took a rainy walk with the dogs and became the recipients of far too many goodies. i am so excited about all the sage and lemon balm and all the things i’m going to make with them this season. currently, drinking the lemon balm as a tea which tastes fantastic.
the weekend was also a perfect time for the first great british bake off bake along of the year! some of you may recall how i participated in this ten(ish) week baking challenge three years ago. i needed exactly three years to recover from that, but now i’m ready to give it a go again and bake along with the program. i hope some of you will participate too! if you are, please let me know and i will definitely pop over and take a look at your bake!
week one is “biscuit” (aka cookie) week and i chose the signature challenge, to bake a british region-specific biscuit. naturally, to celebrate exactly six years since we stepped off the plane in glasgow, scotland, i had to choose a scottish shortbread. to properly send off the summer and as a nod to our holiday in provence this year, i chose to flavor the biscuit with lavender flowers and homemade lavender syrup.
i noticed, as i loosely followed jamie oliver’s recipe for shortbread that he gave a warning: “go easy with the flavoring – a little goes a long way with shortbread”. i guess you got to hand it to that guy, but he was right. i added about two tablespoons chopped lavender flowers, and it could be that i’ve just had way too much lavender nibbles this year, but it was too much for me. it really could’ve done with just one tablespoon. but still – if you love lavender, you’d really love these!
when all’s said and done, i wish i had chosen something slightly more complicated and used more adventurous flavors, but that’s what the following weeks are for, i suppose.
a friend recently asked me “why are you doing this bake along?” i had a long long answer for him, almost as if i had prepared it, but the short of it is that i love discovering another culture, especially from a country or area i admire, and i feel like baking and cooking brings me closer with different places. i also think it’s a great skill to hone and be more proficient in. but then, i’m one of those nerdy types with about a hundred different hobbies. i can’t help it. there’s so much to do and learn.