Sunday 9 October 2011

Autumn Sunday

An early walk with the dogs this morning, the damp, soft air as mild as milk, as my mother used to say, then off to Porlock with friends for the Exmoor Food Festival. The village hall was teeming with people, tasting, chatting, buying. As did I.

I came away with some delicious purchases, all made locally; raised pork and apricot pie, venison pasties (now in the freezer) for the Lovely Son, who may be visiting next weekend; cider vinegar, chutney, handmade chocolates for my visitors later this week, some lovely cooking apples whose rather grand name escapes me, although I know that they are definitely not Bramleys.

Sausages made from rare-breed pigs described by the farmer somewhat ruefully as "free range hooligans who charge all over the fields".

Everywhere you go here at the moment, apples, and sometimes pears, are pressed on you; boxes stand outside houses, labelled Please Help Yourself, and these (name not known, left outside a neighbour's house) are amongst the loveliest apples I have tasted in a very long time.

After a cup of tea and a chance to vote for the best entry in the photographic competition (I chose a plant picture, suspecting that it would be the photo of the stag standing behind two sheep that would win), we trooped off into the steep woods above Porlock Bay to pick sweet chestnuts, lying in their thousands underfoot.

Ali showed me how to open the prickly cases by pressing down with both feet at just the right point; meantime, more of these fierce little spiked tennis balls hurled themselves down on our heads.

My wood burning stove is being installed tomorrow; of course I need a huge bowl of chestnuts to roast on it!

And then home, hungry.

The plumptious free-range-hooligan sausages had to be cooked as soon as I got home, as I made the mistake of turning my back on them, and found Millie deftly unwrapping them on the kitchen floor. Best popped in the pan at once, I thought, and cooked slowly with some local apples. An impromptu Sunday lunch, not at all what I'd planned, but rather nicer than the intended salmon and salad, and with several left over for mustardy sandwiches tomorrow.

Next week, foraging for hazelnuts. Never a dull moment round here.


Anonymous said...

Oh, such bounty! I am envious, it all looks so good. I know where there are Sweet Chestnut trees but the fruits don't grow very large usually. I might check them out tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your haul.

Danielle P. said...

Apples and roasted chestnuts (and tea)... couldn't you imagine living on those?

lovethosecupcakes said...

I'm loving reading about your new life. I can almost taste those apples!

judy in ky said...

Some of the best things about Autumn... lovely! In the States we have something that looks likes the chestnuts, that are called "buckeyes". Thus, Ohio is called "the Buckeye state".

Lyn said...

oh what delicious looking goodies, those sausages look yummy, much better than the salmon!

Anna at the Doll House said...

How very fortunate you are to find sweet chestnuts: they don't grow here and I do miss them.


Noelle the dreamer said...

Oh dear...It is not just the Corgi who is drooling at this time...
Rachel, you have been blessed!
P.S. I can't wait to hear what happens tomorrow!

Arthur Ransome said...

Oh it sounds so wonderful! Imagine being able forage chestnuts! Please let us see them roasting on your new stove. It's lovely to hear of all the surplus fruit boxes outside houses. A neighbour in the next street puts out apples and pears but I don't know if she gets many takers - she's English and I think we Scots are a bit taken aback by such generosity. It doesn't say much for us, does it?

Amy McPherson Sirk said...

Sounds absolutely delightful. We canned a few quarts of sliced apples this week so there will be plenty for apple pies this winter. Now the pears are ready. I'll be at it all day long as I have nearly three bushels of them. Isn't it wonderful to be living in a place with a robust local food system? Enjoy!

Oh, and I would love to have a few free range hooligans of the four legged kind.

Lucille said...

What a delicious post. Looking forward to seeing your stove commissioned.

Mary Ann Tate said...

Lots of yummy goodies:)

flwrjane said...

Oh yum Rachel.

I'll be planning to visit in the fall.

xo Jane

the veg artist said...

I am losing the will to live here - trying to 'sign in' so that I can leave a comment.

Val said...

Are they Howgate Wonders ?

I love the conker photos!!!
oh & those sausages look delicious :0)

Anonymous said...

looks delicious !
did Millie eat apples for dessert ?

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