CAN YOU HEAR THE RUSTLING OF THE AUTUMN LEAVES ? COME AND STAND BY THE FIRE.... GET NICE AND WARM.....

Having lived in a coastal area for a number of years, seasons arrived and went with barely a whisper. Not so where we live now... in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. It virtually explodes with colour! Going for walks or drives is such a treat and I marvel at the natural beauty all around me. Here are some of the Autumnal things we get up to......

A CARPET OF COLOUR

A CARPET OF COLOUR

 

Changing of the seasons means you get to do fun stuff...... like Bonfires! 

I LOVE A BONFIRE!

I LOVE A BONFIRE!

A GOOD BONFIRE MUST INCLUDE A SMOOTH RED AND A SMELLY CHEESE.

A GOOD BONFIRE MUST INCLUDE A SMOOTH RED AND A SMELLY CHEESE.

A bonfire becomes an event! Wine and cheese....the smell of smoke .... shooting sparks.... staring into a roaring fire......starry skies...... beats watching TV!

Bulbs are now shooting up all over the place with the promise of Daffodils, Tulips, Irises, Bluebells and much more. In a few months time when the garden is at its most stark and bare you will look out the window and be cheered by their sunny faces. 

Tulips in warmer areas should be put in the vegetable crisper of your fridge for extra chilling time. Tulips bulbs are the only bulbs which require 4-8 weeks in the crisper of the fridge before planting. An easy way to remember is to put your tulip bulbs in the fridge around April fool's day, then plant your bulbs around Mother's day.

Misty morning.....hot cup of tea in hand.....sounds muffled......sunlight streaming through trees. Everything looks so different on a cool misty morning.

LAMB NECK PIE WITH SPICY PLUM CHILLI JAM AND MINTY PEAS

LAMB NECK PIE WITH SPICY PLUM CHILLI JAM AND MINTY PEAS

LAMB NECK SHEPHERDS PIE- THE LAMB WAS SOURCED LOCALLY FROM A FRIENDS FARM

LAMB NECK SHEPHERDS PIE- THE LAMB WAS SOURCED LOCALLY FROM A FRIENDS FARM

Now comes one of my favourite bits.....FOOD! Comfort food! Must be warming, filling, it also should involve some form of pastry or potato ...... you know the deal. Nothing beats coming in from the cold and sitting down to a Lamb Shepherds pie. I had some leftover filling and made it with pastry also. Served that with my Chilli plum jam and minty peas.

RECIPE COURTESY OF GOURMET TRAVELLER

  • 90 ml
  • olive oil
  • 2 each onions, carrots and celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.5 kg lamb neck, finely diced
  • 300 ml stout
  • 750 ml (3 cups) beef stock
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) tomato purée
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tbsp hot English mustard
  • 1½ tbsp thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 75 gm (½ cup) plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
  • POTATO CRUST
  • 1.2 kg floury potatoes, such as Sebago, coarsely chopped
  • 200 ml pouring cream
  • 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped, plus extra, melted, to serve
  • 1 tbsp hot English mustard

Method

  • Heat 30ml oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, add vegetables and garlic and stir occasionally until very tender (8-10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add lamb in batches and stir occasionally until browned (2-3 minutes). Add to vegetables with stout and cook until reduced by half (2-3 minutes). Add stock, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and herbs, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until meat is very tender (45 minutes-1 hour).
  • Combine flour and 120ml cold water in a bowl and mix to a smooth paste, gradually add to lamb mixture, stirring until slightly thickened (2-3 minutes). Season to taste, then transfer to a 1.6-litre ovenproof dish, filling to 1cm below rim, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, for potato crust, preheat oven to 180C. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover completely with cold water, bring to the boil over high heat and cook until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain, return to pan and mash with a fork. Bring cream and butter to the simmer in a small saucepan, add to potato, mash until very smooth, stir in mustard and season to taste. Pile on top of lamb mixture, ensuring it’s completely covered, brush with egg wash then bake until and golden (15-20 minutes).

If possible sit in front of a fire with a glass of red and dig in!

I had a girl friend of mine come and stay last weekend and it was wonderful to get the wintery gloves and scarves out and frolic in the leaves. Well... Jeanette frolicked...... I took photos!

After all that food there is nothing better than going for a brisk country walk. Kicking leaves.....feeling the cold air on your cheeks.

Bring some Autumn colour into the house......

COLOUR EVERYWHERE

COLOUR EVERYWHERE

VISIT AN OPEN GARDEN IN AUTUMN

VISIT AN OPEN GARDEN IN AUTUMN

Don't let those leaves go to waste...... start raking and get those leaves into your compost heap. If you want a quick breakdown of Autumn leaves, bag-up leaves into the more sturdy green plastic bags, add a few shovels of garden soil and 1 litre of water, tie the bags tightly, leave out in the sun until Spring. Beautiful compost! 

If you don't live in a cool climate area try and visit one soon. 

Are you an Autumn lover? Do you love the changing of seasons? What's your favourite comfort food?