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Oh, for an Indian summer.

It all started so well, didn’t it? Then we had weeks of wet and cold. So I’m hoping this month is where British summer 2017 redeems itself. Having said that, I kind of love the back-to-school, new-shoes feeling and the sense of re-looking at how you go about your daily life (far better now than in January somehow). And the days are still long enough to escape to the countryside. Whenever I do that at this time of year it makes me want to harness my inner Sarah Raven, haul the trug out of the garage and fill it with fruit ready to tumble into the preserving pan, bottle and line up in my imaginary larder. How I’d love a larder. Like my grandma’s, with its vaguely sweet, spicy smell, old-fashioned cake tins and jars filled with brightly coloured fruits and jams from the summer and autumn before.

This month, I asked food writer Thane Prince to turn her expert hand to creating a few special recipes to preserve the end-of-summer bounty. What. A. Joy. Every recipe worked first time when the team tested them in the delicious. kitchen. Hurrah for that. If you’ve never done preserving before I urge you to get in on the action. I’ll be making the fig jam scented with earl grey and star anise (p64) and the smoky blackberry ketchup (p60). Trust me: bacon sandwiches will never be the same again once you’ve tried them with this.

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