Autumn nights draw in, Mother Nature opens her larder door and it would be churlish to refrain from enjoying the bounty of past months of nurturing, patient waiting for the produce she provides. My apple tree has been most industrious in providing a handsome load of apples for eating and cooking. I’ve got one of those dual fruit trees which has golden delicious as the main stock root the other root is sunset. For some reason I get many more golden delicious than of sunset but the former taste very different to those pale, insipid, tasteless apples that were imported into the UK 40 years ago. The golden delicious produced on my apple tree are sweeter with a lovely, crisp crunch and slight tartness you expect from a good apple. Earlier in the year I picked blackberries and managed to get a good amount of red currants both of which I’ve frozen for later in the year when I’d like a reminder of summer delights as a treat.
At some stage I’d like to be able to dedicate my small 40ft x 40ft garden to food production as it seems to be more suited to that than flowers. I’ve tried growing flowers which some manage to grow well, others are devoured by the numerous beetles and aphids that reside in my garden. I think I’d go for a classical design of a parterre with stepover fruit trees to make the most of the space and a rotation system which seems a sensible use of soil.
Last night I made a plum tart from Polish plums from my local Polish deli. Big, juicy and completely delicious. I’ll have to get more and prepare them as in kluski, that is in dumplings not dissimilar to pierogi, plum cake with cinnamon and almonds.
One of the nice things about autumn and winter is that food changes in nature. Usually its common to eat more substantial meals, but a way of not piling on the calories and still getting the requisite amount of vegetables in your diet is to make a pot of soup, any soup and eat it over three days. Some soups actually benefit from this style of cooking and keeping as the flavours meld and become more delicious. I realise that in these days of instant food and time poor, work habits some people have lost the art of this kind of cooking which was common place only 30-40 years ago and never really went away from the Polish cook. However if you simmer your soup that has been sitting overnight for a minimum of 20 minutes slowly with the lid on, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom, you shouldn’t have any worries about having a bout of food poisoning. The one caveat I would add is as long as there isn’t any seafood in the soup you
should be ok.
In some of the larger Polish delis there are bundles of vegetables sold as standard at this time of year. These are soup or casserole vegetables and consist of leek, carrots, celery, parsnip or white carrots as they’re known in Poland. These you chop up, saute in a little vegetable or sunflower oil and some butter until they soften, add some boiling water, stock or add stock cubes (3-4 in total is usually adequate) enough to cover the ingredients, depending on the size of your pan, add potatoes, pasta, rice or dumpling (even a mixture of these) some chicken or other meat, some beans if you like or lentils, a couple of bay leaves, majoram and allow to bubble away for ½ an hour by which time your vegetables will have softened, the herbs will have imparted their flavours, the bones of the meat (if using) will have given a depth of flavour to the soup and the meat will be soft enough to fall off the bones. Ladle into a bowl, serve with a slice of crusty bread and cheese and you have a meal fit for a king. Comforting, warming, healthy without masses of fat or calories. Smacznego