After Meg’s really superb piece yesterday and all the responses, this seems frivolous but it’s the week-end!

In a recent SAS newsletter there was some good advice on what to do when rejected. For me it’s cooking. Banging pots and pans about, rocking a sharp mezzaluna blade against a tender stalk of celery, stabbing a tomato, hissing through a fennel bulb with a Japanese Global knife, are little acts of retribution. Cooking is something I turn to in all times of writing crises – at the first sign of a deadline or the smallest glitch in a plot.

But I have to confess to cooking because basically I’m greedy. And right now with the leaves swirling down, I’m greedy for summer to last.
I’ve taken Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle quite literally this summer and without the hassle of Ryanair have been living a life of the Italian countryside… in London. I’ve shopped at my local Farmers Market in Bute Street every Saturday (even taking back egg-boxes) and have come home laden with enough produce to feed the Titanic.

It was the sight of the zucchini fiori that got me started… those furled globes waiting to be filled with ricotta and basil. Somewhere in the 70’s Shirley Conran wrote in Superwoman that life’s too short to stuff a mushroom. Well life’s too short, NOT to stuff a zucchini fiori and dip it in egg and Japanese breadcrumbs and fry till golden. And then there are the heaps of different sized and shaped tomatoes… some for roasting, some for salad, some for gazpacho… that fill my basket because we all know the same tomato can’t be used for everything!

Right now it’s the turn of tiny plums straight from English orchards tasting of almonds and the late summer figs, still holding their sweetness. Except figs aren’t too eco-friendly because of airmiles. But I’ve marked the fig trees around the streets of Kensington and Chelsea. They’re laden with tiny, green goblets and I’m watching them just as possessively as I’m watching the olives on my single olive tree growing in a pot on my terrace. Figs on hot toast is not far off!

I have ‘wood-fire oven’ envy of anyone who’s built their own…Lucy Coats. There’s nothing better than slow-roasted chicken done on a bed of red peppers and vegetables in a wood-fired oven. Perhaps I might be converting a corner of my tiny terrace?

Now I’m heading off to the kitchen to bake biscotti. But I do on occasion write and even read, so on a bookish endnote, taking Anne Cassidy’s (sorry Anne couldn’t find your exact blog on this) remark to heart that we should be physically putting books into the hands of others, here are some I’ve read this summer: