Autumnal pleasures

Autumn seems to have arrived here all of a sudden, last Thursday.  It was cold in the morning, so cold that everyone was wearing their thick jackets to go to the market, and cold enough that you could see your breath.  The sudden arrival of autumn always puts me in a little panic – will I be able to get everything done in my garden before winter sets in?  And then, after a few days of grey and chilly weather, it brightened up again.  On Sunday the sun shone brightly and I went for a long walk with friends in the afternoon.

But I get ahead of myself!  During the week before that sunny Sunday walk I gathered up all the tomatoes from the garden, the red ones, the yellow ones, the purple ones and the green ones.  And then I went through my recipe file and looked for Nigel Slater’s Mixed Tomato Chutney recipe (you can find it here).  This is a recipe which I’ve cooked many times, and it always turns out well.  It is also pretty easy and almost fool-proof, though you do have to watch and stir towards the end of the cooking time, so that it won’t stick and burn.

A couple of days after the chutney-making marathon our “cookery group” got together again, to cook an autumnal meal, and what a feast it turned out to be!!  Pumpkin soup to start with, followed by a salad of pears, blue cheese (Bleu d’Auvergne) and walnuts, on a bed of rocket leaves.  The salad was sprinkled with pomegranate seeds for prettiness, which was effective, but the pomegranate seeds didn’t make very good eating.



Next came a dish of chanterelle mushrooms, cooked simply in the frying pan with some olive oil and chopped garlic.


And then, long-awaited, the main course:  Roti de Porc au lait, found at The Vigneron’s Wife, another great wordpress blog :-).  It was very easy to make and the result was simply delicious!!  In a departure from Kat’s recipe we cooked the roti without a lid on the pot, in the oven at 150 degree centigrade, turning the meat over halfway through the cooking time.



To accompany the pork there was some lightly braised spinach, and Ratte potatoes boiled in their skins.  One of the members of our little group is very fond of crackling, so we had cooked some of that too.  A condiment made from Limequats (from the trees our hosts have growing on their terrace), dried cranberries and port was perfect and would be ideal for Christmas (think turkey!! :-)).  You can find the recipe here.

Cheese was totally out of the question after all that delicious food, but dessert was a must.  Years and years ago, our hosts had planted a Bramley apple tree in the garden beside their house, and this year there had been a good crop.  So for dessert we had baked apples – again a very simple dish, but oh so very delicious!  The apples were cored and scored about a third of the way down, to allow the apple to puff up. The void in the centre was filled with raisins, cinnamon and honey, and the apples were baked until they were tender and fluffy.  They made a perfect end to a delicious meal!!


Thank you, D&J, for hosting us and sharing those precious Bramley apples!