One Week – Autumn 12 – A Favourite Place

There is a place I like to go to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and a plethora of wonderful ingredients from around the world. This amazing Aladdin’s cave of delicious temptations and beautiful blooms is called Fosters, a family name. I never regret having to visit, in fact the opposite I love going to Fosters.

Firstly there is an amazing array of fresh fruit and vegetables laid out for you to touch, handle, squeeze and lift to your nose in search of the fresh, ripe and ready. At this time of year the root vegetables present strong and proud. I especially love the dirty carrots and parsnips with the clods of earth still attached; you know these are not long from the ground. Baskets of vegetables to accompany your Sunday roast, concoct soup from, add to a stew, dice in a pie or throw in a tray, drizzled with olive oil and pop in the oven. Although I dislike the cold I adore the hearty dishes we consume to warm ourselves making autumn my favourite time for culinary creativity. Beef with beetroots, cauliflower with cheese, parsnips with honey and carrots with swede, the combinations are endless. These baskets of over flowing produce send me into a giddy over whelming desire to cook.

As you move further into the shop you find yourself among the shelves of worldly promises. There are products from every type of cuisine, all the different Asian flavours through to the Moorish and a big helping of the Mediterranean.  Home and local products are also a plenty with British cheeses, local artisan bread, local eggs, home baked cakes and my husband’s favourite, he can’t resist a chutney. Again the inspiration to crack out the pots and pans and try something new, discover unknown aromas and flavours is everywhere. Every shelf is stocked high with mouth watering delights.

The added joy of being met with a smile, a friendly word, an expression of welcome makes visiting Fosters even more of a pleasure on an inclement autumnal day. There is often chatter, local news and discussion of what’s at its best. I’m frequently treated to a sample of something or a recommendation of something to try. I have never left without feeling glad I went, pleased to have been there.

And then there is always the promise of what the next season holds in store………

.

Other than the normal warmth and friendliness I receive when visiting this shop I have not been paid in any way for this post. Oh ok I was given some old roses the other day but that’s just part of the service I’m sure.

I will link this in for the final day of Older Mum’s #OneWeek and I would just like to say what an amazingly wonderful week it has been

one week

One Week – Autumn 12 – Soup

Having disclosed my often melancholy mood at this time of year it won’t surprise you that I look for comfort and soothing to ease my pain, dramatic I know.  Food can provide the warmth I require to lift my spirits and soup can console like no other dish. Plus the lovely Tea, Cake and My Boy put soup in my head on Tuesday with her evocative description of Autumn and there it has remained, lodged. The only way to move beyond is to make soup and that is exactly what I did yesterday.

I’ve devised a soup that I think is Autumnal, I’ve not taken a recipe from anywhere, it’s a combination of a couple of favourites, however I’m no Heston Blumenthal so I’m sure it’s not going to win prizes on Master Chef for originality. All I can say  is that creating this bowl of food brought me lots of happiness and each mouthful brought me closer to a restored me.

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Chorizo Soup.

INGREDIENTS

1 Butternut Squash
Ground Cumin
Chilli Flakes
Olive Oil
1 Onion
1 Tin of Chickpeas
½ Chilli (optional)
500ml of Chicken / Vegetable Stock
100g Chorizo Sausage
1 Lemon

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 5
  1. Slice the Butternut Squash into 6 or 8 long sections and place in a roasting tin. Season with the ground cumin, chilli flakes, salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for approx 40 minutes or until the flesh and skin are soft and cooked through.
  1. In the meantime, slice the onion and sweat over a low heat for 10 minute, if you are adding the fresh chilli add that now (I just chopped the end bit in, no seeds, more for a bit of colour than warmth) and cook through for another 2 minutes.
  1. Add the Stock and the chickpeas and allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  1. Once the butternut squash is cooked cut it into chunks.
  1. Add the butternut squash to the stock and chickpeas and simmer for 5 more minutes. Then turn off and allow to cool a little.
  1. Slice the chorizo into smallish chunks and fry in a little olive oil. Once cooked and slightly crispy take off the heat and put to one side.
  1. Now blend the chickpeas, stock and squash, season if necessary and add a good squeeze of lemon.
  1. Pour the soup into a bowl and top with the crispy pieces of chorizo, I drizzled a little bit of the oil from the pan over too.

Heat- I add the chilli flakes and hint of fresh chilli because the chorizo we have in the fridge is mild so the kids can eat it too. There is some really spicy ones out there so you might want hold all the chilli seasoning if you pick a hot one.

Vegetarian Option – Obviously without the chorizo but maybe season the butternut squash with a little paprika  as well,before roasting, just to add a hint of smokiness.

Once again I’m linking up with the lovely Older Mum in a muddle blog. #OneWeek in Autumn.

one week

One Week – Autumn 12 – Autumn Tones

Crisp and crinkle

Dank and dry,

My heart sinks lower

With the darkening sky.

.

Twist and curl

Browns through green,

Things are tough

Now the sun can’t be seen.

.

Chill and chatter

Layer your clothes

Each day brings pressure

That nobody knows.

.

Flick and flitter

The fire glows warm,

Heart feels frozen

Just riding the storm.

.

Decay and rot

Time to hide

One thing helps

Family by side.

.

This post is Linked Up to Older Mum in a Muddle #OneWeek

one week

One Week – Autumn 12 – The Acer

This is one of my favourite plants in the garden, my Acer, potted and on the decking, I can see it clearly from the kitchen window. I can remember the first time I noticed this tree, it was also potted this time in a friends garden. It was summer and I marvelled at how the sunlight danced across the crimson star-shaped leaves. I had to have one and so as a sign of my increasing maturity I requested one for my birthday. So there it sits in my constant view, season in and out, marking each one in its own beautiful way.

Autumn and the leaves begin to curl at their many points, the red, as if kissed by the cold, tinges blue and an intensive shade of magenta stretches through its veins. The coiling action reminds me of my own desire to adopt a foetal shape in defence against the chilling air. The leaves cling for dear life until in a final gust the strength to stay is gone and off they flutter into the foreboding change of season.

This post is Linked Up to Older Mum in a Muddle #OneWeek

one week

One Week – Autumn 12 – A moment

Perched on the damp park bench I close my eyes, as if the darkness within will increase the absorption of light into my face. Tilting my features towards the open sky I wish each pore to stretch wide and drink in the glorious sunshine. My shoulders drop as the warmth brings ease to my body and a lightness to my heart. A smile is starting to emerge from beneath my seasonal cantankerous mood. Not even the chill on the breeze that causes the wisps of my fringe to dance can dampen this moment of bliss.