Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lovely September

"Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first of September was crisp and golden as an apple..."  -- J.K. Rowling

Being from the East coast originally, I tend to associate the beginning of September with cool and crisp weather and a return to greater activity. There is a desire to get down to business and start new and exciting projects. It feels like the beginning of a new year. But the weather in Los Angeles doesn't cooperate, at least not yet. It is still hot and not at all like fall, or at least the fall of my dreams. But I have no problem moving ahead to cooler days in my imagination. I find a quiet and cool spot in my house and sink into a good novel or a new cookbook.

Looking ahead to fall cooking and baking, I found these recipes for apple cakes, which to me capture the essence of the season. Apples and September just go together. If you have ever been to Maine in the fall, then you know that going to an apple orchard and picking apples is one of those magical fall experiences that you get in New England. I went to a one in Auburn, Maine a few years ago and I will never forget how much fun it was. In the meantime, bake these apple cakes and in no time at all you will be feeling very autumnal!

Upside-Down Apple Cake with Walnuts and Sage
Recipe here

Apple Blackberry Cake
Recipe here

Apple Brownies
Recipe here

Teddie's Apple Cake
Recipe here

 If you are looking for a book to transport you to a place of seasonal beauty, pick up a copy of  The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. This is the book I am currently reading and it has swept me away to the Cornish coast of England. A classic, romantic saga, this novel will definitely take you out of the heat of early September and help you feel some autumnal bliss.

And if I am completing this fantasy, I would love to do my reading in this gorgeous room designed by Ben Pentreath. An architect and interior designer working in London, he has a 19th-century country parsonage in Dorset where he spends his weekends. I am in love with the way he has decorated his country house. This room is an absolute beauty. I can't wait to visit his home decor shop when I am in London this fall. Go here to see more of his classic English interiors.

For me, September has always conjured up the feelings associated with the return to school, and even though I haven't been in school for a long time, the feelings of anticipation remain. There is the promise of new beginnings and the start of exciting and creative projects. I am working on a few ideas that I can't wait to share with you...

What books are you drawn to at this time of the year?

September really is a lovely month!

Go here to find out more about the apple orchards in Maine.


  1. I think apples are one of the most versatile fruits...I try to eat one a day. Your lovely kitchen does look so inviting...I'd want to sit and gaze out on the pool as I turned the pages of my novel!
    September by Rosamunde Piltcher sounds like a book appropriate to read...mother is reading it now. I have Barbara Kingsolver's latest among my stack...just not too sure which book will be opened next!
    Take care Sunday.

  2. So grateful for those wonderful apple recipes. I am going to make the apple cake very soon. I too live in a warm climate and miss the crisp fall days going to farmer's markets and apple picking. Think I'll turn up the A/C and put on a sweater, haha!

  3. Have read all her books, her characters just charm you and some typically British,great books for Winter/Summer reading,as Leslie mentioned September is one of my favourites about a Scottish family.
    Our orchard is groaning under the weight of apples,plums,crab apples,hedges full of super large blackberries,ready for making apple/blackberry pies this signals the beginning of Autumn here......though the weather is more mid-Summer 75f today hot and humid,enjoying our meals on the terrace.

    The apple brownies sound yummie,can tell you are a good cook.

    Thought of you when going through my bookshelves......have you read 'The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll' by Richard Bisgrove? including 47 plans,maybe you have seen the 2,000 she made as I believe they are in America.
    I know you have a great interest in gardens.....hope you don't mind me mentioning this.

    1. Judith, so many good ideas here! I will definitely get September. I had not heard of it until now. The Shell Seekers is the first book by Pilcher I have read. A while ago I wrote a blog post on "cozy" books and several readers mentioned Rosamund Pilcher's books. I have made the apple brownies and they are delicious! And I will look for the gardening book you mentioned. You are so lucky with all your fruit, happy pie baking!

  4. I am dreaming of fall. The heat is wearing on me and I am very ready for cooler weather and everything pumpkin! Though, the apple cakes look quite delicious. I have been pondering what to make for my next book club meeting and I think an apple cake would fit the bill.
    The Shell Seekers is such an enjoyable and engrossing book. I am drawn to fat Victorian and Edwardian novels at the moment, but I have a lot of books I have committed to read for work so I will mostly be reading new contemporary fiction this fall.
    Happy September!

  5. I read the Shell Seekers years ago and it really is one of those romantic novels that are so good at transporting the reader.
    I discovered a blog recently called "Cornflower Books" and am going to read the book club selection Crusoe's Daughter by Jane Gardam. In British Columbia, we have an Apple Festival in Vancouver where you can taste more than 90 different kinds of apples.

  6. Ooh, I could almost smell the cinnamon in this post. Delightful.
    Autumn is the best time of all. I'm just in from the farmers market with a sack of apples!
    If you're a fan of Rosamund PIlcher, then by all means, pick up September.
    Such a glorious, autumnal book.
    And, bonus, set in Scotland!

    1. And set in Scotland! I have to get this book! Thanks, Pamela. Enjoy your apples!

  7. The apple cake sounds like the perfect dessert for the few apples on my little tree. Happy September Sunday!

  8. Sunday, Each apple dessert looks more luscious than the last. I read "Shell Seekers" so many years ago. I, personally, think it is her best. I remember loving it. Have a lovely week! Bonnie

  9. Wow - that room is gorgeous, as are so many on the link you posted. Downloading The Shell Seekers as I write this, longing for a sweeping and romantic novel. The cakes look great, but if I'm going to indulge, would prefer a juicy apple pie.

  10. Sunday I feel as if I wrote this post, of course I could not write it as beautifully as you but the essence of my thoughts are here.

    September to me is the un-official start to Fall and I often times wish that the weather could be turned down at will. Here on the East coast the weather is still in the high 80's and low 90's not at all condusive to candy corns, mums and my grand mother's slab apple pie. But I too create my own Fall in the house, I am currently reading my Fall/Winter book stacks and getting out my cashmere robe, slippers and sweaters. I am ready for full nesting mode.

    The Shell Seekers is one of my favorite books of all time! I read it every few years and have the same feelings I had the first time I read it. I never tire of Rosamond Pilcher.

    As for Ben Pentreath, I am in love with his designs and his blog! His wit and photos keep me coming back for more!

    I hope that you have a fabulous time in London! I know that you have been many, many times but if you do not know of Paul from the Magical Christmas Wreath Company you should contact him. He always features the most wonderful places on his blog and he has kindly offered to give advice about places to see and things to do that are from an insider.

    I hope you have a wonderful week Sunday! I always leave your blog with a huge smile on my face and a list of things to read and do from both you and your readers!

    Take care, Elizabeth

  11. You inspired me to do some baking with apples--I tried out that apple brownie recipe over the weekend and they were delicious! The recipe will definitely be a keeper, and is a nice transitional treat to make as everyone gears up for the holiday baking season.