Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Autumn is in the Air

The change in the weather has certainly been a popular topic at the school gates this past week.  A number of us try to dispel the colder air by continuing to wear short sleeved - only to freeze and huddle together like Emperor penguins in the moments before we pick up our children.

There are a few things that are noticeable with this change in season.  The changing colours are remarkable.

I love this time of harvest.  I love the harvest hymns at church.  I love generally feeling closer to nature through foraging for, and picking it's fruit.

This year our own 'picking of natures abundance' comprised a single apple from our garden!  Can you see it?!

Apparently, this year has been an awful year generally for apple produce in England.  Our tree is usually very plentiful and lack of apple production has been a problem in the South West especially.  My husband is worried about cider production given his favourite brand is made very close to us!! 

But I was lucky to be given some by my mum when I visited again last week.  Well, she is still in hospital although gaining strength and we picked some with her approval!!

These apples and some victoria plums were the base of the chutney I made yesterday. 

This chutney came together really well and didn't take as long to reduce as lots of other fruit combinations.  This will taste wonderful with cold meats and cheese!!  Peeling, coring and cutting up the fruit is always the longest part of chutney making, but I can sit at my table and gradually cut away whilst watching a bit of day time TV!!

I then adjurn to my little kitchen and as it gradually cooks down the flavours take over - the smell and colours so epitomise Autumn for me.

This was a new recipe to me but already tastes nice.  It'll taste even better after maturing for a few months - bang on for Christmas Cheese Boards!!

Today, I'm being kind to myself as my body is not willing so I've been looking through my little pile of preserve and chutney books to get general inspiration for future pickling.  I like to make different batches each year as well as our family favourites!

A friend gave us kind permission to hunt for blackberries around their farm, so whilst Ben was off running his half marathon for Childrens Hospice South West in Bristol on Sunday, the kiddies and I slowly made our way around the abundant hedgerows.  This was the harvested rewards for our efforts.

I'm hoping to make some jam with this and some of the apples, and a batch of my favourite chutney this later week - Fiery Bengal Chutney, which has an amazingly zingy flavour.  I love to take a number of harvested fruits and produce something that tastes sooo good!  I'm planning to make mini homemade hampers for some friends and family this year for 'C' (lets not say that word twice in one post just yet) and a couple jars of chutney will make a nice addition!!  We try to escape the materialism that seems to prevail at that time of year so want to give creatively with some extra thought, preparation and a combination of homemade goods.  So, I've got my work cut out over the next few weeks!!

Are you making anything with your harvested produce?  It's a funny thing how making something like chutney can make you feel more connected with our history or how previous homemakers managed their food production at this time of year.

Little B has claimed the last of the apples for an apple crumble.  Who am I to refuse such Simple Things?!

J9 x

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