Jun 25, 2009

Raspberries & Ice Cream With Fleur's Flair

It's the time of year for enjoying fresh fruit and ice cream. Personally, I think there's nothing better than fresh, ripe strawberries with a scoop of ice cream! Here's a picture of some fruit picked freshly from my own garden. My strawberry patch is quite small but VERY productive as is my raspberry patch and rhubarb patch and I only have 2 cherry trees but these alongside there are blackcurrant bushes, redcurrant bushes, gooseberry bushes, blueberry plants plus several apple trees, 2 plum trees and a pear tree, meaning that the summer months offer me and my family plenty of opportunity for enjoying fresh fruit - whether with ice cream, in fruit salads or even in fruit pies.

This brings me to a conversation I had recently with a dear friend who lives in London; it was one of those conversations where we found ourselves digressing from one subject to another. It had just been released in the news that the American painter and writer Fleur Cowles had died, aged 101 and I knew that she had been a good friend of my friend in London. Though I had never met Fleur, I knew of her and her delightful husband Tom, having read one of Fleur's books "She Made Friends And Kept Them" - a fascinating read. So naturally my friend and I chatted about Fleur a little and she volunteered a wonderful story which she has happily consented to my sharing with you here .... "I'm sure Fleur would have approved" she said.

One of Fleur Cowles' passions was arranging regular dinner parties at her London home and weekend get-togethers at her Sussex home to which she would invite her 'famous' friends -artists, actors, politicians, writers and so on. Luciano Pavarotti, Yehudi Menhuin, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Laurence Olivier, James Stewart, Cary Grant ... these are just a few who appeared on the guest list. My friend in London was invited to spend the weekend at Fleur's Sussex home on several occasions and remembers very fondly the pride with which the home-grown fruit was served as a dessert - when in season, it would be raspberries freshly picked from Fleur's garden served with ice cream. Although quite a few years ago now, my friend insists she can still recall the wonderful taste and how it represented a definitive "English Summer". A marvellous memory and a reflection of how Fleur Cowles touched the lives of many people - even mine!

My friend paid a delightful tribute to Fleur Cowles recently in her own "Letters From London" blog - called simply "Dear Fleur" it offers an intriguing insight into one of the most fascinating, individual women of the 20th century.

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