It is official. Summer in the UK is now April, May and September. While Autumn is June, July and August. This weekend the temperatures are predicted to hit the high twenties. Make the most of it. By the new calculations, next week will be winter and we'll be knee deep in snow the following month. With all this hot weather I ditched my feature planned for this week, all about how to keep cosy as the weather gets colder. Instead I grabbed as many people as I could find and asked them for their top tips on making the most of the good weather while you can.
If, like us, you've not been able to have a BBQ this summer because of the weather, then now is your chance. The problem is there's about 59 million other people out there doing the same thing. So the first tip comes from dad of three Roger. "Drop everything, go to the supermarket/garage/garden centre and buy your charcoal now."
On the plus side, a lot of places have BBQ equipment on sale this week. Shona, mum to two teenagers, is a big fan of the disposable BBQs. However, the reaction to these was mixed. Rebecca, mum to two boys, tried using one this summer. "There wasn't any wind. But the BBQ just wouldn't stay alight. I had to keep sitting there lighting it, and lighting it. Took two hours to cook the chicken. Never again."
So what happens if you miss out on the charcoal or don't fancy lighting a fire to cook your food? With temperatures reaching close to 30 degrees Celsius we are, apparantly, going to be hotter than some parts of Hawaii. So why not take this one last chance to eat al fresco? Tina goes for pizza. "To be honest, I'm not a big fan of BBQ's. I prefer to do that indoors, or what we commonly call in our house 'having a grill'."
Tina's twin boys are a big fan of her sausage pizza. "It is easy to make, looks fabulous, and doesn't take long to grill. I make my own dough, so I can make it in a rectangle that will fit easily under the grill."
Of course if you're one of those lucky folks with a styled garden complete with its own pizza oven you can cook the pizza out there. Tina uses an American recipe she found online - pizza with sausage, tomato and basil. With some salad and crusty bread it makes for a great outdoor meal.
Now I would never I thought, in a million years, that I'd be giving you advice on food to cook on the barbie as we head into October! Having said that, when I got married *cough* more than a decade ago on October 11th we had a BBQ for the reception!
The easiest and quickest thing to do is to go get yourself some ready made burgers from the butchers or supermarket. But if you've missed out or you rather fancy something a bit different for a change, here's some ideas.
On the same US site where she found her pizza recipe, Tina also came across the Southwestern Burger. "I use turkey mince instead of beef, and the recipe is so quick to make. Plus it doesn't need to have breadcrumbs or anything like that which is great as my best friend is gluten-free. I have adapted it to suit the ingredients that we have in the UK, but the lime juice is inspired. It gives the meat that zing it needs, and really makes a great burger".
Tina grills hers but they would work on the BBQ too.
What you should do differently
The problem with an 'Indian' summer is that it isn't really summer. You do feel that once the sun has gone down. While there won't be a bite to the dark, it is definitely not the time of the year for balmy evenings. You can't treat it like a summer BBQ.
If you're out in the country, or park, take a cardi at least for the kids. Have your BBQ early in the afternoon, while it is still sunny. And instead go for a warming supper once the sun has gone down. Outside of course.
Mum of four, Collette's favourite autumn soup is sweet potato and leek. I love sweet potato soup myself, and had never thought of putting leek in there. That would, I imagine, stop it from tasting too much like a Korma sauce, and more like actual soup.
She uses a recipe from Antony Worrell Thompson, which can be found on the BBC Good Food website (of course, where else would you go for a soup recipe?) - Sweet Potato and Leek Soup.
Just go outside. Sit in the sun. Enjoy it! Goodness only knows when we'll be warm again. On the plus side, the weather forecasters are saying that this will be an even colder winter than last year, with even more snow.
Now, that doesn't sound like a plus I know. But I figure that going with the success rate the weather people had last winter at predicting the weather, it means that we're probably set for a warm winter.
I'll be drinking my Christmas cocktails on the patio this year!