First Days of Autumn

Hi All
It was officially the first day of autumn on the 1st March. I have mixed feelings about the season, It brings with it some of the most spectacular colours that nature has to offer, Those rich oranges, reds and golden butter yellows of oaks, maples and other trees whose names I am unfamiliar with.
I noticed the sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ in the garden start to put on it’s marvellous display…and red nerrines are in flower outside the sunroom. Earlier this week I even heard the haunting song of the Grey Warbler outside my window, a truly beautiful sound. The ducks around here have been insistant at the back door…tapping the wood with their becks to let me know it’s time for more food. They sometimes spy on me when I am painting on the kitchen table through the skylight in the kitchen roof…or watch me through the plastic of the cat door :) They have plenty of personality and I love the way they hold their heads on one side when they really want to eye me up. Before long it will be time to start feeding the other birds around here…making bird cakes for the finches and spurring kiwifruit and ripe apples and pears on the banksia rose bush for the bellbirds, blackbirds and waxeyes, They provide an endless stream on entertainment.
It has been a wonderful warm summer, some say the best for 20 years. I guess each season has its own beauty.
I am eating very little meat now. Being fond of animals and still eating them…doesn’t seem right to me. If abbatoirs had glass windows I expect we would have nations of vegetarians.
I made a very tasty Ratatouille yesterday and list the recipe below. It is best to make it the day before to let the flavours infuse into the truly tasty vegetable stew. It is great simply served with plain boiled basmati rice.
Hope everyone is keeping well?
Good creative vibes to all. I am going to paint now.
Best regards

Autumn Ratatouille

2 medium aubergines
4 medium courgettes
1 large red onion 1 medium white onion
1 large red and green pepper (I put in an extra half)
2 14 oz (400 g) tin Italian tomatoes with basil
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 level tablespoon roughly torn fresh basil (I only have mint basil in the garden,and used that)
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Begin by wiping the aubergines and cutting them into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices, then cut each slice in half; the courgettes should be wiped as well and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices. Now put the whole lot into a colander, sprinkle generously with salt, press them down with a suitably sized plate and put weights (or other heavy objects) on top of the plate. Let them stand for about 1 hour – the salt will draw out any bitterness along with excess moisture.Don’t cut the veggies too small..they can mush then.

Meanwhile chop up the onion roughly, deseed and core the peppers and chop these up too.

To cook the ratatouille, gently fry the onions and garlic in the oil in a large saucepan for a good 10 minutes, then add the peppers. Dry the pieces of courgette and aubergine in kitchen paper, then add them to the saucepan. Pour in the tinned tomatoes. Next add the basil and seasoning of salt and pepper, stir once really well, then simmer very gently, covered, for 30 minutes. Don’t boil it…or you’ll ruin it.
I tranferred mine to the oven for an hour or so at a moderate temperature say 170C…the smell was divine. Just check to make sure it is ok, mine didn’t need extra liquid.
Enjoy the next day. Heat carefully perhaps best to reheat in a microwave on the bed of rice, so you don’t boil it. I cooked mine in a heavy enamelled cast iron Le Creuset casserole, It is rather like a weight lifting exercise getting it …in and out the oven.
Bon appetite :) ~ Anni

Journal Comments

  • Redlady
  • Anni Morris