All posts tagged: autumn

Do you think it’s edible?

This is the time of year when the husband and I wander around the garden eyeing up the funghi and asking each other if we think this particular example is edible or likely to result in a slow and excruciating death from poisoning. I love funghi, I foraged deep in the Forests every year in Finland for amazing chanterelles and never batted an eyelid, so sure was I (with my Finnish guide) that I knew what I was doing and that my identification was spot on. Thankfully, I got away with it. Older, wiser and much more risk-averse, here  in England I am much more of a wuss about these things. Wild mushrooms are one of my favourite things, wild mushroom soup sits up there with Oysters and Gin as one of my top ten. So it goes that at this time of year, I wander round woodland and even in our garden, knowledgeably  eyeing up a range of funghi and poring over identification guides while the husband keeps asking me if they are edible. …

Nottingham Goose Fair Gingerbread Cake (and the Trentside Cheese Riot of 1766)

Seasonal Fairs were traditionally an important means of selling and buying produce from the surrounding countryside, hiring workers for the coming season and for socialising and celebrating. Given that most roads were not much more than dirt tracks it was important that the fairs took place before the roads became muddy and impassable in the winter. Many towns had several fairs and we can see their roots in shows and fairs that still take place today – the Newark County Show held in May was originally a hiring fair for farmers to take on agricultural workers for the coming summer, and Nottingham’s Goose Fair still to this day takes place around Michaelmas, at the beginning of October. Nottingham’s Goose Fair is over 700 years old and is the oldest and largest travelling Fair in the country. It is now, of course, solely a fun fair but originally Geese were driven from Norfolk and Lincolnshire to Nottingham for sale. Geese are at their best at this time of year, and have always been the traditional dish …

Stubble Goose and Sour Blackberries – Devil Spits Day

He who eats goose on Michaelmas day Shan’t money lack or  have debts to pay. [Old English Saying] Nottingham is rightly famous for its Goose Fair which takes place at the beginning of October each year. Its story extends at least some 700 years back into history. Goose Fairs were held around Michaelmas (29th September) when the harvest was over and the Geese were starting to fatten up picking grain left amongst the stubble in the fields. A “Stubble Goose” was a traditional feast dish for Michaelmas (in Christianity the Feast of St Michael the Archangel, marking the beginning of Autumn and the last day, according to Folklore, on which Blackberries should be picked). The carcass of the Goose was then used for making Michaelmas Broth. Story tells that thousands of  Geese were driven from Lincolnshire and Norfolk to be sold in Nottingham, in the old Market Square and that this is the origin of the modern fair, which sadly no longer sells geese,  but is now one of the largest (and oldest) travelling fairs …

A Year in Cheese – Autumn. A Lincolnshire Poacher and an aged Gruyère

I love cheese. I love gin as well, but I particularly love cheese. I treated myself recently to the Guarneri Brothers (of London Fromagerie, Androuet) book “A Year in Cheese” which explores the seasonality of cheeses, suggests a cheese plate for each changing season and is illustrated with wonderful, quirky and innovative recipes to make the most of the cheeses (by Alessandro Grand). The East Midlands produces some wonderful cheeses, as indeed does England, indeed the British Isles is awash with wonderful cheeses and the increase in seasonality, regionality and artisan production means that the choice, variety and quality must surely never have been higher. So I have set myself a challenge, to explore our seasonal cheeses, inspired by the Guarneri Brothers’ book (well, that is my excuse). So  – why seasonal cheeses? Cheese is like wine, there are endless varieties, nuances of flavour, changes with age, the earth the vines are grown in, the type of grape, the weather, the geography and topography, the texture (ok wine is clearly “wet” but you get my …

LohiKeitto – that’s Finnish for a traditional, creamy, buttery, indulgent Salmon Soup.

To me, the best soup ever. As summer turned to Autumn overnight last week, as school started and there was a distinct nip in the air, I needed something comforting to herald the new season. I used to live in Finland and this soup was taught to me by an elderly Finnish lady who grew up in Lapland in the very north of the country, where calories are properly necessary to keep out the cold. This has them in abundance but don’t let that put you off. Just promise yourself an extra long run next week.     Traditional Finnish Salmon Soup (and home-made bread) (as usual, my measurements are a guide only – add to taste) 200g onions, 800g waxy potatoes, 150g Butter, 2 litres of Fish Stock, 6dl of double cream (I acutally used a bit more than this, well quite a bit more, as I love it), sea salt, a tiny pinch of all-spice, 4/5 Bay leaves, depending on size, 500g skinless and boneless salmon, loads of Fresh Dill to taste Method Simmer …