Summer is coming to a close leaves are colouring, some are falling, there is crispness to the air and the air smells smokier, Fall will be here all too soon. Yet we are in August and still the sky is grey and a lid of cloud covers the earth. Summer has been summer in nothing but name. Days of endless grey.
Well ... how has your summer been? Did we manage to get through our to do lists, some things yes, some things like crow pose are are a practice that will take me longer than a couple of months. And, yet each time I move into the pose, I feel myself a little closer than I was yesterday. I notice the tiny sometimes called incidental transitions and movements. This for me is what summer has been about watching and being aware and a part of the tiny changes. Noticing they are happening, life is happening, days move by and we 'do life' we 'practice' at some things, let books and stories absorb us. I loved this Rob Bell, this Dorothea Benton Frank, this Mary Alice Monroe, this Pete Greig, this Sunstein and Thaler, this Maeve Binchy, among others. It's also been a time of waiting and recovery after a car accident.
What we need to get to the end through to September and the new year, at least in the Hebraic calendar is friends around the table eating great summery flavours, accompanied by delicious coolers and listening to some love Bossa Nova.
Marks and Spencer Spirit of Summer range have excellent ingredients to create a feast inspired by the Southern States of the USA and South America. Their product developers have been scoured the Americas in search of authentic flavours and they found them, packaged them and have them instore ready for you to eat. We’ve explored Peruvian markets, got our hands dirty at the fire pit restaurants of Texas and delved into Cajun cuisine in New Orleans
Summer is coming to a close leaves are colouring, some are falling, there is crispness to the air and the air smells smokier, Fall will be here all too soon. Yet we are in August and still the sky is grey and a lid of cloud covers the earth. Summer has been summer in nothing but name. Days of endless grey. Yet thanks to Marks and Spencer we can eat authentic flavours from the Americas.
So why not right now, before you read the rest of this post - get on the phone and invite your friends over for lunch or supper tomorrow or dinner later in the week to celebrate all that summer has been, because summer has been lots of things to lots of people and there most definitely are stories to share. Then pop into M&S to stock up on some of these beauties, because where is the best place to share those stories - around your table, in your home.
I began a love affair recently.
As well as napkins, drawings, and a beautiful piece of art created for me by my sister of a flamingo - I even have flamingo fairy lights and blow up flamingo glass holders to hold, you guessed it flamingo glasses.
Whatever kitcsh you like - get it out and dress your table. Hang out in the party section of the store and pick up parrot cocktail sticks, drink floats and lots of candles or fairy lights, as well as some paper plates and plastic glasses. Make this party you are throwing as easy as possible, it is summer after all. Save the fancy linen, silver spoons and crystal for the Autumn when we need some sparkle in our lives.
Then add bowls of Marks and Spencer salads which are the bar that all restaurants need to meet for me to say I ate a good salad in an eating place.
For nut lovers the Quinoa, avocado and brazil nut salad with a mango and amarillo chilli dressing is a must. It is fresh and fiesty.
The Spirit of Summer Mexican Rice, Quinoa and Avacado salad has a chilli lime dressing that is so morish - you'll definitely eat more than this than you think.
Caprese Salad - more commonly known in these parts as basil, mozzerella and tomato is a firm favourite, but please please make sure you get good ingredients. Bursting with flavour red juicy tomatoes, silky smooth buffalo mozzerella and torn not chopped basil for maximum flavour.
The Rice, Aduki Bean, Mango and Coconut salad is a firm favourite with its sweet, sour flavour and fluffy rice.
These Melting Marks and Spencer Mozzarella sticks in a crisp crumb are morish - always have twice as much as you think you need. Serve them with circles of lime rind and a sour cream dip spiked with garlic.
Dipping bread or other finger food ingredients is a brilliant way to eat and share food, because its enjoyable to dip and eat. To add extra flavour to each mouthful.
Do you love Mac and Cheese? Well then you are going to adore - mac and cheese bites is a crisp crumb, add some spicy Malagueta Chill Dip to bring a sour spice to the sweet cheese bites.
These sweetcorn empanadas with a sweetcorn and black bean filling are crisp in the first bite reliving a smooth sweet almost silky centre with a slight chew.
Who doesn't love potato skins, these Marks and Spencer Spirit of Summer Potato skins are filled with mature cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and scallions.
I first had Queso Pimento Chilli Cheese dip in Florida and I couldn't get enough of it. Marks and Spencer Spirit of Summer Queso Dip is the best on the high street, it is smoky, creamy and spicy - definitely have more than one as it will disappear in a flash.
Who can resist a wedge salad - bacon bits, crisp of course, iceberg or romaine, ranch dressing, croutons, cubes of cucmber and tomatoes - no one I know.
And now for something sweet ... Marks and Spencer have created the best deserts on the high street. I know I say this alot but it is true. I was at a restaurant earlier this week and the pudding went back to the kitchen with two bites from it, when the table was cleared because it was so bad.
Marks and Spencer - now they have got it right - restauranteurs take note and get the puddings right at your restaurant.
Coconut and Chocolate slice - is rich, glossy and deccadant, and can easily be sliced into cubes and served in bitesized pieces.
Wibble Wobble Wibble Wobble jelly on a plate - this Spirit of Summer Jelly is stunning. I loved it. Again restaurants take note you aren't competing with the store down the street you are competing with Marks and Spencer - as we can get puddings this good at home we expect to be able to get them in your restaurant.
The Marks and Spencer Pineapple, Guava and Cranadilla flavoured jelly with pineapple, raspberries, pomegranate and a passion fruit dresssing is bursting with sweet flavours. It is bright and bold, smooth, slippery and delightfully cooling. Serve it with chocolate or without because it is perfect on its own.
Mix your own drinks or pop a bottle of this Caipirinha.
Go on invite your friends over and celebrate your stories and your Spirit of Summer.
That's it for now ...
Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable