In my kitchen…..
…..I’m loving the abundance of great ingredients at this time of year. There’s still plums, apples, and lots of veggies from the garden, including beetroot, swede, rainbow chard and squash. We’ve been enjoying the last few greengages from the farm-shop, while the hedgerows and fields keep tempting me to cook and eat far too much; blackberries, elderberries, sloes, walnuts, mushrooms seem to be everywhere I turn. Or at least everywhere I walk.
We have our first fig glut too which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Our fig tree grows up against the south facing side of our house and does seem to flourish against the sunny wall, but until this year we’d only ever had a couple of ripe figs a day to pick. Partly because the birds seemed to get to them long before they ripened. A brutal pruning (it was growing across a window) two years ago and the arrival of Tiger and Mog may have had something to do with the plentiful supply at the moment.
I’m loving figs on granola for breakfast, have made the fig liquer here and I roast them with honey to scoff with yoghurt. When a friend gave us a large bag of cobnuts from their garden, I tried an Italian recipe too for figs with mascarpone and hazelnuts. I shelled and roasted the hazelnuts first (about 10 minutes in a medium oven) then chopped them, mixed with mascarpone and honey. Having made a cross in each fig and placed them on a baking tray, they were given a spoon of the mascarpone mixture and roasted for 10/15mins.
In my kitchen….
…..there are some very prettty labels. It was my birthday in September and Ruby bought these for me – apparently she totally chose them herself. They touched me almost as much as the squashed tomatoes and stew card that she’d written beautifully. I’m obviously always pleased with any presents off Ruby, including the home-made ones and the novelty items she’s been adamant that I really need. But this is the first birthday that my daughter has given me something tasteful that I’ll actually use.
On reflection this gave me uneasy feelings. Was my 6 year old growing up so fast and getting all sophisticated? I could even read everything she’d written easily on the card for goodness sake, what was happening? How reassured I was when she told me tearfully that she couldn’t remember where the other present was, the special conkers that were all wrapped up in a bit of paper and THREE elastic bands.
In my kitchen…..
…. there are field mushrooms. We’ve had quite a few warm but damp days and there seems to be a plentiful supply of mushrooms in the fields below us. They’re so tasty, even just used for mushrooms on toast.
They’ve been going on homemade pizzas along with our courgettes and tomatoes, and I recommend this lovely roast mushroom version from Louisa of Eat Your Veg.
There’s also lots of pickling and preserving going on. Elderberries have lured me into making more cordial (runnier this time, the last batch is being used as a sauce for ice cream) and I’m trying elderberry wine for the first time; a demijohn is bubbling away under the stairs.
A jar of blackberry whisky is sitting in the sun on the windowsill (we obviously won’t go thirsty this winter) and I’ve made a few jars of piccalilli. Cauliflower,courgettes, onions and runner beans from the garden were the main ingredients for this while Autumn chutney used lots of plums, apples, figs and marrow. Those labels will obviously be needed.
We took Ruby to London on the train at the weekend, she hasn’t been for ages and just seeing her marvel at the gradual change from little country toy-town stations to bustling cities with huge buildings and lots of trains was brilliant. She loved the dinosaurs and seeing a real Ruby jewel in the Natural History Museum, whiile we were all wowed by the London skyline from Embankment after stepping out of the tube station. But I did feel a bit of a chutney making country mum when my daughter asked, a few tube stops after Paddington, if we were getting off at PICCALILLI circus.
Would love to link this once again with Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial’s In My Kitchen, where we get to enjoy peeping into kitchens around the world.
Such a lovely post and a very welcome distraction too! I’m looking forward to getting together while there’s still such abundance around us… what will we eat next? As long as it’s served with plenty of home-made ‘Picadilly’ 😉
Thanks Chava! Would love to get together. Really want to try parsley and cobnut pesto while there’s still lots about – maybe we could try some?
Lovely post, really enjoyed reading it. I made loads of chutney for my Macmillan coffee morning – feels great using every last thing out of the garden.
It’s very satisfying making chutney out of surplus veg that you might otherwise waste isn’t it. I just have one more batch planned this year – pumpkin chutney.
Wow, I thought I’d done well growing and foraging this year but you really went for it. Great year.
I keep thinking the same when I read your posts! It has been such a wonderful year for all sorts of edible goodies though hasn’t it – all that basking in the sun this summer obviously did the trick.
Lots happening in your kitchen this month. How wonderful to have a glut of figs. Figs with mascarpone and hazelnuts sounds heavenly. Hope Ruby finds the conkers soon.
I am loving having lots of figs. Suspect Ruby may have now forgotten about those wrapped conkers. I felt terrible though when I wondered if I might have thrown out my present by mistake – wrongly thinking it was some scrunched up waste paper!
Really enjoyed this post – lovely to have so much home-grown produce. The fig and mascarpone dish sounds very tasty!
Thanks lots Cathy, and I do recommend figs and mascarpone. Just raw figs with mascarpone and vanilla sugar yummy in my opinion too.
Sounds like your kitchen is a good place to be right now… busy too, do you get time to sleep between all the cooking and preserving?
I think I do need to slow down in the preserving now! Have to admit the garden has been very neglected lately – lots of other things too. The ironing pile is huge, I have a messy house but lots to eat!
Andrea, look at all those figs!! There’s so much gorgeous produce in your kitchen at the moment – it’s lovely to follow the seasons changing in the Cotswolds through your IMK posts! And what a beautiful gift Ruby chose for you – they really do grow up very fast, but she’s clearly becoming a thoughtful young lady.. x
Thanks Celia, I bet the figs from your neighbour are even sweeter though with more intense sun – loving your fig recipes. x
Ooh yes, figs mascarpone and hazelnuts. Sounds wonderful! Were it not for the lack of a suitable south facing wall I would be growing a fig tree. They are so architectural too.
They do seem to grow surprisingly easily, even though we’re quite exposed up a windy hill. If you have anything approaching a sunny wall, definitely recommend.
I’m a fig lover- and that recipe with mascarpone roasted in the oven sounds divine!
Thanks for sharing your kitchen and a tiny slice of your life- I think conkers sound like a wonderful gift. Here in the US we call conkers buckeyes and being from Ohio – which is the Buckeye State- we are often reminded that Buckeyes are a worthless nut. But they are so smooth and beloved of children all over that I doubt they are worthless!
Totally agree re conkers. I always feel like a big kid myself as I always marvel at their smoothness and beauty!
Those figs, those greengages, those mushrooms…. How I miss mushroom picking. We always just miss the best season when we return home.
Even though I may moan sometimes at the rain/lack of sun I do love our seasons and changing produce. But I bet the figs you get hold of are amazing and put ours to shame!
I just love the figs! And those labels are fantastic, I am going to look out for some here
They are pretty – and rapidly being put to good use too.
Love those figs and the mushrooms too! Thanks for the peek into your kitchen.
Thanks for visiting Lizzy.
G’day and love post; enjoyed this month’s kitchen view!
I LOVE figs!!! And wish the season was the whole year through!
Viewed as part of IMK
Thanks lots Joanne, and have to agree, I think this is one of my favourite times of year for food.
ooooh figs! Now that’s one glut I’d love to have. Love your labels, so pretty! Great IMK post x
Thanks lots Lisa & I’m definitely not getting fed up of the fig glut.
You have been enjoying the fruits of your garden recently and it is so satisfying. As for your own figs, how lucky! I had 2 but both had been eaten sadly. I love the thought of enjoying them with cobnuts which we have at the allotment. Hope your garden keeps providing you with goodies
I hope so too! Your fig harvest sounds like ours last year.
I love figs, what a blessing to have such a glut! I’ll never forget when I lived in a share house that had an overachieving fig tree in the backyard, and my housemate decided to turn all the figs into jam. Without adding any pectin. He took all those amazing figs, added them to a pot with incredible amounts of sugar, and ended up with sweet, figgy liquid that didn’t set. Silly boy!
What a shame, all those lovely figs. I do like the phrase ‘overachieving fig tree’ by the way. Thanks for reading.
Love all of the things in your kitchen that the seasons have brought. but I mostly liked the story of your daughter. How they grow up so fast. We want them to but then its so sad to see. I remember the first time I went to Piccalilli Station too ( you can tell she the daughter of a cook)
Thank you and I know, being a Mum you go through a continuous mix of encouraging them to develop and feeling nostalgic when they do, don’t you!
Andrea, it sounds like you have a lovely place to go walking and you come back with a bountiful variety. Mushrooms on toast… mmmmm. I’m still smiling over Ruby’s Piccalilli reference — she obviously inherited your gardening gene. Wonderful post!
Thanks Kim, and I do love our walks from here. Had to go through London on my way to Lewes yesterday and made me smile again on the tube looking at Piccalilli Circus. Was exciting getting a glimpse of all that vibrant life in London again, then after a crowded tube and train I was so glad to get back to the countryside!
You are a hilarious country, chutney making mum and I so enjoy your posts. I wish I lived where there was a glut of figs but you would probably hope for a glut of mangoes, which we are often sick of the sight of!
ps: Well done Ruby.
Thank you! I would definitely love a glut of mangoes and so would Ruby, they’re her favourite fruit – typical that it’s something I have no hope of growing!
Hi Andrea! your kitchen is overflowing with good things – amazing – i eonder if this year was a particularly good year for figs – i had masses on my small tree even though we pruned it last year. Love the mushrooms and the labels too!
Thank you! It is a bit of a time of abundance isn’t it. The figs are slowing down now although I still enjoyed one with breakfast this morning and we all had some with blue cheese and proscuito with dinner. It does seem as if it’s a good year for them doesn’t it.