My mother used to love autumn colours, and seeing the scattering of bronzed leaves now dotting the garden, I am reminded of her. My preferred season is spring, so full of mellow yellow, so full of hope and such a relief after the dark months. I never did share my mother’s love for autumn, the lowering light, the looming hours of perpetual darkness and omen of a hibernation I could not keep and the dreary mood that would accompany it.
But I’ve come to see autumn with new eyes and am reminded of my pagan roots. Autumn brings with it the fruits of spring and summer labour. Autumn brings an ample harvest. Elderberries, hawberries, rosehips line the hedgerows. Funghi emerge from littered soils and decorate the trunks of trees and I’m sharing the spoils of the garden with the robins, tits, blackbirds, finches and wood pigeons. Occasionally a pair of magpies startle all of us, but they don’t hang around for long. I like the symbol of joy they bring and forgive their intrusion. How could I not have appreciated this season?
I spent today’s autumnal weather mainly indoors. I followed my morning schedule of learning – performed the 24 forms of t’ai chi three times to a beautiful piano piece entitled ‘Weeping Angel’ and became lost in its flow. This was followed by a more tedious lesson in different types of English pronouns followed by a challenging listening lesson in Spanish. The rest of the day was my own, and opted for some dressmaking. I’ve been planning to make some harem trousers to lounge around in for sometime. I found a book pattern, but needed to enlarge it and transfer to tracing paper. The mapping was a difficult ratio and the first attempt would have fit a 10ft clown, but think I got it right on the next attempt. I’ve now cut all the pieces from some beautifully heavy weighted bordeaux coloured linen.
I felt quite tired after all this endeavour, and settled to read for a while – Cloud Atlas, before I knew it the household would be home in less than 15 mins and most likely hungry!
I quickly scoured the fridge and the main go to ingredient was some watercress, a special from a local fruit and veg shop. I’m lucky that our town still has one, and a farm shop is also close by. In my new enthusiasm for culinary occupation, I want to reassure you that I do not intend to turn this into a recipe blog, but a permaculturalist should share their harvest!
Today’s quick one-pot dish is a risotto
This is suitable for vegetarian, but not vegan tastes. For the food sensitive – it contains milk products.
This started with a sauté of chopped spring onions and garlic.
Meanwhile, I washed and sliced field mushrooms and diced a yellow pepper.
These were tossed into the pan and stirred.
When softened, I added a small glass of arboreta rice and stirred until it became transparent.
I poured in some pre-prepared vegetable stock. This was made with a yeast-free variety I get from a local health store, probably about a litre. I added a tablespoon of dijon mustard to this (I believe this to be the magical taste ingredient), as well as plenty of freshly ground salt and black pepper, brought close to boiling, then turned down the heat, and simmered for about 20 minutes.
Go back to blogging, but don’t forget the occasional stir.
When the fluid is absorbed, I switch off the heat, toss in about 2 tablespoons parmesan, 1 tablespoon of sour cream (perfect with the dijon mustard), a dessert bowl full of watercress and mix it all together quickly.
I stir it witch style – deasil thrice, I’ve no idea why – it makes the process feels ceremonial and therefore special.
Photograph and immediately serve!
More black pepper essential to cater for Safar’s taste! Verd didn’t even add any of his usual Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauce – must have been good!
Wash empty pan and go back to enjoying the inception of autumn colours!