Autumn. It’s when we come over all ‘season of mists’ as the final leaves fall from the trees and the mornings start to have a distinct chill to them.
As we approach the end of November, summer and harvest festivals already seem a long time past. There are still several weeks to go until Christmas. And yet… it’s a wonderful time for the food lover, bringing as it does new crops of comforting fruit and vegetables alongside the last throes of earlier seasonal ingredients.
It seems an ideal time, then, for a celebration – a feast to brighten the longer, dark evenings, to make the very best of autumnal produce, and to mark a kind of midpoint between harvest time and Christmas.
I suppose ‘feast’ conjures visions of lavish expense, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Since we moved to our current house 2 years ago, I’ve been constantly surprised at how much we can grow (and I’m no expert!) for ourselves, and how much we save on food shopping expenditure as a result. We don’t have a large garden, but we’ve put in small fruit trees where we can, dug out a couple of dedicated vegetable patches, and planted a lot of herbs and fruit bushes in the borders.
Growing our own also means I’ve become even more aware of seasonality and the rhythms of the year, and how much better everything genuinely looks and tastes when it’s grown at the ‘right’ time. As I say, I don’t regard myself as a gardener, but I can’t imagine not growing my own now.
Anyway, enough talking, and more feasting. What follows is 3 courses, but I’ll be blogging about pre- and post-prandial nibbles and drinks shortly, just in time for Christmas! And for those who don’t eat meat, I’ll post alternatives to the starter and main course soon, too.
To start: pan-fried mackerel with fennel and mint slaw, orange, and pomegranate
Next: roast mallard with red wine-poached pears, roasted celeriac, parsnips, wild mushrooms, and sautéed kale
To finish: butternut squash, apple, ginger, and roasted cobnut trifle
If you want help with planning a garden design that will give you your own seasonal fruit and vegetables to feast on, it’s worth thinking about getting expert help. Floral & Hardy specialises in contemporary garden design and tailors gardens to meet the needs of the consumer. They take on many challenging gardens of all sizes and have an expert team who work out how to use space effectively.
With thanks to Floral & Hardy for their kind sponsorship of this post.