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.
Read my previous lists: Winter Summary: BUH-BYE WINTER, Spring Summary: SAYONARA SPRING, Summer Summary: A CHEATED SUMMER IN REVIEW.
Okay, now I know you’re in Australia or New Zealand since we’re moving into rainy spring here. Cornbread is indeed more cakelike but I haven’t made it either. I was like you about eggplant until I had the slimmer Chinese eggplant in a Szechuan style with mushrooms. Oh and there’s baba ganouj (I love that phrase).
I bet the fruits you get down under are what we consider more exotic, like dragon fruit and star fruit. But I’m curious to see what you try. Durian maybe?
Hi Colleen! Yes, I live in NZ although the weather in Auckland is notorious for it’s four seasons in one day.
I have tried dragon and star fruits but we’re not quite tropical enough to grow them here. I think we are considered sub-tropical here. Durian is one that I haven’t tried. We can get durian canned and frozen here, but I feel like those wouldn’t give it justice.
Hope your apocalypse is going well 🙂
I really want to do another degustation soon. They are just so expensive. I really want to make cornbread too. I think it’s all of those American movies where people rant about cornbread. I had it in Melbourne with some breakfast beans. It was a bit brittle for my liking but maybe that is what it is meant to be like? Hmm don’t know.
Yeah, it does seem to have a crumbly, sandy texture. I guess that’s the gritty corn meal that gives it that texture.
Do you remember how many courses your degustation was? I’ve seen 5 course degustations up to 12 courses. I’ve heard that when you have lots of courses, there isn’t quite enough of each one. Especially if they are delicious! 6 or 8 courses sounds good to me.
The last one I did was ages ago and it was 10 courses. They varied in size and were matched with wines. I was so full and drunk by the end of it! Tyler was helping me through by eating and drinking what I didn’t. It was about $125Aus per person which is pretty reasonable here. Not sure what they are worth in NZ but Sydney is such an expensive place to eat that degustations are special occassions or saved up for. My friend and I have been talking about doing one for atleast a year now but they are roughly $250.00 pp now. Eeek..
Wow $250pp! That really is a special occasion. In New Zealand, they’re more like $90-$150 without wine. We have our wedding anniversary next month so I think that can be our special occasion.
We did both 6 and the 9/10 dego at The French Cafe in our pre baby existence, if your feeling rich splash for the matching wines too. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough, amazing food and the little comentary you get with each course and wine is fun too.
I wish we had gone to The French Cafe when a good friend worked there. It would have made it extra special. Lol. I’m never feeling rich, but I think The French Cafe has to be tried once in my life.
I like your list! And I see that you have already started on it, which is great 🙂
Have you been to Meredith’s? I would recommend their degustation menu… have been lucky enough to experience it twice and loved it both times! And I think I would recommend their food over The French Cafe’s (though they are also very good).
Meredith’s is on my list of places to eat too. Both Meredith’s and French Cafe are close to my house, it seems ridiculous that I’ve walked past both of these places many times but haven’t been in. One day 🙂
I don’t blame you! While I think the prices are justified I probably wouldn’t have gone if I hadn’t been generously treated to meals there by friends 😉
If only there was a restaurant which specialised in doing degustation menus at a cheaper price… hmm
A degustation treat! What friends you have 🙂
Some restaurants have half price vouchers for degustation. I bought a couple last month. I don’t have an Entertainment Book this year, but that’s another way to treat yourself. It’s hard to know if I spend more money on dining in the years I have an Entertainment Book. It’s definitely worth it though.
Heheh I know – I was a lucky duck last year! Yes I went halves with a friend on an E book last year, and did spend a fair amount… but agree it’s worth it too, getting to try new places etc.
Imagine that as a blog venture: Eating our way through the E book…
i’ve just been reading back through your posts that I’ve missed while working too much! Two things: I think you’d love clam chowder – I’m sure you’ve tried it before but there’s a few variations – New England is the classic and Manhattan has tomatoes. And secondly, you’re going to have to come to New York on an eating trip, save up your pennies, it’s so well worth it! The degustation I long to do here is at Per Se. It would be about $1000 for me and H1 though…it’s a ‘one day’ thing. 🙂
OMG Hayley! $1000 for the degustation! Now that’s certainly a “one day” thing.
I really do have to visit New York on an eating trip. I wonder if a week would be enough? I guess that’s technically 21 meals. It would be fun to plan New York in a one week, vigorous eating schedule.
I think New England style clam chowder is right up my alley. It’s funny how clams aren’t popular in NZ. I wonder if if I substituted clams for mussels and followed a New England recipe if it would be close enough? New Zea-eng-land “clam” chowder.
$1000 for both of us! I think it’s $450/person, more for wine pairings. Yeah…still kind of unreasonable right now!
I think you could do it with mussels – can you get smaller mussels than the green lipped ones (green lipped mussels are one of the things I miss most about NZ, incidentally). Clams are so little you’re not even really aware you’re eating them when they’re in a chowder.