Butternut squash and blueberries


Mo and me on A&B's wedding anniversary in September, Fulham Palace

Morning and happy February to you! What a beautiful start to the month it has been, with the crisp cold and bright sun. Proper winter has arrived!

The resounding hit of February so far has been butternut squash. Mo cannot get enough, it would appear, and who can blame him. The name itself is a sumptuous delight, butternut…rolls off the tongue deliciously and suggests its creamy texture and savoury sweetness. So I am proud of the wee man for giving it a thumbs up, especially as it is a seasonal vegetable and redolent of hearty winter fare. Which brings me to the other foodstuff we sampled this week, blueberries…not at the same time I might add.

Now, blueberries for me are inextricably linked to a memory of the first time I ever had them, as if every time since has been a tempered version of the initial distilled perfection of that first time. Picture if you will, a red-dirt country lane in Prince Edward Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada (home of Anne of Green Gables if that rings any bells), me as a small person picking blueberries, ostensibly to place in a basket and take home for the purpose of jam making, but largely to be placed directly in my mouth and enjoyed in situ. I love everything about blueberries…the fact that the name does everything it says on the tin, it’s a berry, and gosh darn it, it’s blue. Juicy, sweet but also the merest hint of tartness, satisfyingly small and pert. Love them. Enjoying them straight from the bush is certainly a clear memory of food discovery perfection. Which is why now whenever I enjoy blueberries it tends to be accompanied by a chunk of guilt unless they are in UK season, as they usually are shipped from Chile or some other far flung place. So it leaves me with a dilemma: given the huge superfood wonderful powers of blueberries, should I introduce them to my son when they are clearly not in season here, or should I try and encourage a relationship between the seasons and the food that we eat?

You see…we have now lost that relationship, I think. Head into a supermarket and there is without doubt an awesome display of all sorts of fruit and vegetables, but a closer inspection shows that much of it has landed from far far away. But we don’t tend to think twice about eating tomatoes not in season, or having Kenyan grown beans with our roast. The variety and abundance of choice is remarkable and we are utterly spoilt, but I wonder whether this is a good thing and whether we are aware enough of the journey each morsel has to take before ending up on our plate…hmmm. I know my little one is clearly far too little for me to be ruminating over such matters with him directly, all he can really do in response is nod sagely, wave a spoon around or say “ayayayayaya”, but this is what went through my mind when I offered him the bluest of berries yesterday to try. He seemed ambivalent towards them, so perhaps I will try again only when we are in Canada and he can eat them straight from the bush…

On other matters…we had a stroll in the sunshine at Fulham Palace yesterday, where Ben and I got married, with the beautiful Laura Marchant and little 2 month old Jack. It’s great getting together with friends who are now mums, to ponder how monumentally life has changed, to decide whether sleep/showering/drinking hot cups of tea/etc are actually a necessary part of our lives, and to coo over each other’s babies. A lovely afternoon in a beautiful setting.

And, finally, we are moving this weekend and I am unspeakably excited! And a bit daunted by the prospect. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this move is that I am getting to set up my very own Pilates studio, which I have been vaguely idly dreaming about for years. I am decorating it in my mind’s eye as we speak, and making it a welcoming and restful space. Can’t wait for the doors to open so others can enjoy this vision and some fabulous Pilates work to boot.

Right, the little man is stirring so I’d best go. What shall we have today for lunch….hmmmm


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