The first weekend of Autumn is here and it’s certainly starting to chill. That humid, sticky-air feeling is giving way to a bite and the wind is almost unbearable. I haven’t succumbed to wearing a jacket yet, but I had to give into a scarf last night. Denial is fun.
Autumn is my favourite season. Autumn in Auckland is usually warm enough still to do things, but not so hot as to need to shower or swim afterwards. I usually relish in Autumn after a long hot summer. We’re just not ready for it yet.
I was reluctant to make a to list this season as we’ve got some big events planned which will take me away from my kitchen, but once I got started on my list, I was away. I managed to stop at 10. Probably overly ambitious as usual but I don’t know what I could cull. I’ve yet to complete any of my lists so far, but I’m a dreamer. I don’t need the smug satisfaction of reaching all my goals. Most of them is good enough. This is my 4th seasonal to do list which means that the next list will be winter and I would have come full circle.
These are some of things that I’ve always wanted to do. A mini-food-bucket list if you will.
1. Make bacon
Traditionally, pig slaughter takes place in autumn. This also means that curing begins at this time of year too. The work is generally done outside and needs cooler temperatures to keep the meat happy. Winter is too cold to work outdoors so Autumn is the perfect season. Also, in the northern hemisphere, the holiday season follows soon after autumn and there is much appreciation of pork over the festive feast period.
I’ve always loved the idea of curing/brining my own bacon. I’m not sure yet if I’ll smoke it. We’ll see.
2. Experience a degustation
Maybe the epitome of foodie dining. I would love to give up my freedoms to the chef and let them bring out all the delicious delights they think we should eat. Summer is too many BBQs and winter is too much hibernation for degustation. I figure Autumn will be perfect.
3. Cook a big pot of chili
A big pot of chili simmering away on the stove, making the whole house smell amazing. Served with anything you like: saltine crackers, pasta, rice, baked potato, nachos, tortillas, cornbread…
4. Make cornbread
I’m going to break my rule here of “never cook something you haven’t tasted before” and attempt to make cornbread. I don’t have the magical touch for making bread, but from what I have seen online the recipe is more cake-like than bread. Fingers crossed.
5. Make Cornish Pasties
After trying both venison and beef versions of Sarah’s Cornish Pasties at Splore a few weeks ago, I’m hell bent on making some of my own. These parcels of goodness were originally made for tin miners who didn’t come up to air at lunch. Instead, they ate these pasties. With their dirty, arsenic laden mitts, they clutched the thick crust and discarded the soiled crust at the end.
6. Do something with eggplant
As a child, I hated eggplant. They were bitter and spongey and the stuff of evil. But over this summer, at various BBQs, I got to know eggplant and maybe they’re not the enemy after all. I’ve never cooked an eggplant, but maybe I’m almost grown up enough now to try.
7. Make Tom Yum
This spicy soup is one of my favourite Thai dishes. Who knows? Maybe I’ll try making this in Thailand.
8. Make a chowder
There simply isn’t enough chowder in my life. Pass the cream please.
9. Make a feijoa preserve
I can see little feijoas budding from our feijoa tree. This year I’m going to try and make them last just a little longer by making something out of them and bottling it up in a jar. I’m thinking paste or jam or curd. It’s going to be magic. Like a genie in a bottle.
10. Try a new fruit
I’m sure there are some fruits out there I haven’t tried yet.
So there you have it. What are you looking forward to eating this season? Have you got any exciting plans for edible adventures?
For my new readers, the aim of these to lists is to tend to a growing edge. Your growing edge is the part of you that is still learning, trying new things and experimenting. It’s the area of your life that you are improving and working on. It’s often too easy to keep cooking your favourite tried and true dishes over and over again. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel like there’s so many delicious things to eat and and so little time so I need to push forward to get anywhere. I first started writing a seasonal to do list last winter. Not only will you learn new things, but the unfamiliar or things that you shrink away from can become familiar to you with practice. It’s the initial leap that is the hardest.