Have Yourself An Autumnal Feast!
When Alison said that autumn is ‘crisp and scrumptious…the shabbiest, chicest season of all’ she was so right! I love autumn. I love the scrunching through leaves; the thought of pumpkin carving to come; lighting the candles in the evening without overheating; knitting myself a new scarf out of the softest prettiest wool I can find. Hunting round the park for pinecones to put in bowls around my house, and making bottles of blackberry brandy and sloe gin. My annual hunt for an orange cardigan to wear with black skirt and tights. Oh yes, I love autumn!
When I was reading through the lovely piece ‘Putting the Garden to Sleep’ by Vintage Pretty, I really felt that she was calling to me too, with her talk of rosehip syrup and crisp days. One thing that really caught my attention in this delicious piece of writing though, was that the autumn equinox is September 22nd next Thursday. What better day to have a sumptuous welcome-to-autumn feast than then? Who knows, if there are enough clusters of Vintage Housekeepers raising a glass of cloudy pressed apple juice or cider to the pleasures of autumn to come on the same evening, perhaps we can hurry it on its way!
Now, my plan is as follows- and do feel free to follow along with me, or to meander off in whichever autumnal direction you please, just like a beautiful falling leaf caught on the breeze! I shall not be inviting anyone else other than myself and my fiancé to our autumn feast, as this is going to be an occasion just for us. I am going to take a walk in the park opposite our house when I get home from work, and look for autumny bits- twigs and leaves, maybe even a conker case or two- whatever catches my eye. I shall put these into a pretty display on the table, and I might even buy a sunflower to go in a vase. When dinner is served we will eat it with all the room bathed in the glow of as many tea-light and beeswax candles as I can find. (Have you tried rolling your own beeswax candles? So satisfying, quick and easy, and delicious to burn! And so lovely to be able to say ‘those…yes I made those!’). Dinner will be lovely and spoiling. Warm and satisfying, a bit indulgent is what we are going for here. I am thinking of maybe a lovely soup with homemade bread (the carrot and lentil from this month’s BBC Good Food magazine is divine) or a risotto oozing melted cheese. Some apple-based drink is a must I feel, perhaps a really good organic pressed juice, or some cider. (Nice stuff please, this is not a White Lightning moment!) And dessert- well for me it will have to be apple again! I made caramel baked apples a la Nigella last year- very scrummy! You may want to go all out with the new season’s bounty- wood pigeon, plums, damsons, blackberries, sweetcorn, and of course apples; or you may prefer to squeeze the last drop out of summer and eat a final bowl of sugared strawberries. Whichever one pleases you most, or my usual choice, some of each!
The main idea here is to go to the effort you would do if you had people coming- but do it for yourselves. (Unless of course you have decided to share your equinox feast with others!) It is so easy to think that if we are ‘only’ doing something for ourself, we will not take the time to do as we would if we were doing it for someone else. So you go right ahead and spoil yourself- take the time to find out a really pretty table cloth, make your little autumn arrangement of twigs and leaves, use the prettiest china and really indulge. If there is a recipe you love and would be perfect for this but is too fiddly or takes too much time- go right ahead and spend the time on it. I am going to be making these lovely little things to have with lovely rich coffee after our little feast. Too fiddly for every day, but simply delicious here! You take a little piece of marzipan, colour it pale green if you so wish, and roll it into a small egg shape. Holding it by the narrower end, dip the fat bottom part into first melted dark chocolate, then some finely chopped nuts. Sit on some non stick baking paper to dry, and then repeat until you have as many little acorns as you could wish to eat!
Now although you should not feel you have to turn this little Autumnal Feast for two or one into a grand entertaining production, there are some others who should be invited! Before it gets too dark, take a potter round your garden to ease digestion, and hang up some nuts for squirrels or birds, or fat balls, or whatever else takes your fancy. Then maybe, just maybe as you sit drinking your vanilla coffee tomorrow morning, you might spy some autumnal visitors to your garden, sharing breakfast with you!
Until next time, I am off to scrunch through the leaves!
Love Mimi xxx