Sunday, 1 September 2013

Autumn Pizza and Fruit Crumble

Gentle Reader~today, September 1st, marks the "official" start of Autumn, at least the Meteorological start of Autumn, according to The Met Office.  The other "official" start of Autumn is still a few weeks away, on the Autumnus Equinox, in the Northern Hemisphere, on September 21/22.  I am grabbing today as the Official Start, as I adore Autumn and plan to get the most out of it as I possibly can, for it is my most favourite time of the year. 

Hot chocolate supplies are now sitting happily at my Hot Drink Station in the kitchen {yes, I really do have this} and scarves, mittens, and woolly jumpers are getting an airing and freshening up after their long, Summer storage, for soon it will be cool enough to wear them.  Quilts and pillows will be washed, ready for use on those chilly evenings that are nigh, books and magazines are waiting to be read on the darker evenings ahead, and fragrant candles are scattered across the hearth~~

At the moment, daytime temperatures are sitting in the low 60's, but are slowly slipping into the high 50's already!  The winds are fresh, and leaves are preparing to turn colour.  Although my back is a good bit better, I am still unable to garden, so I am simply going to keep the blog going for the meantime with some images from my photographic library, some thoughts on Autumn, gardening and planning ahead, and I shall share a recipe or two. 

There will be many thoughts as I sound out my plans~which are certainly bound to change~on establishing the changes to the garden that make it easier to manage with arthritis in my spine.  This little episode has made me all too aware that changes must be made if I am to continue to garden without bringing in help~~not an option!

Here is a happy little banner I made to celebrate Autumn~~I now need to find somewhere to hang it!

Although the harvest from my garden has been small, I am regularly cropping courgettes {zucchini} now, and my favourite recipe for these is~

Fried Courgettes, Apples, Onions, and Sage

In a heavy pan {I use my cast iron skillet} heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil and saute, over a gentle heat, a peeled and roughly chopped onion {red, white, or yellow} with two medium courgettes, {washed} cut in 1/2" rounds.  When they start to colour a little {about 15 mins}, add two cored and chopped {skinned optional} tart eating apples and a chiffonade of fresh sage leaves {thyme is also good}.  Place a lid on the pan and continue to cook until the apples are soft and courgettes are browning.
Serve hot or cold, as a side dish or a salad with fresh, crusty bread

I am not good with quantities, but this recipe can be adjusted to personal preferences, and doubles up very well.

This plate shows the recipe, bottom right, with a garden salad of mixed leaves, parsley, fennel fronds, and nasturtium flowers~

Here are some variations and suggestions for this base:

Mix in a can of cooked chickpeas and some Zatar seasoning instead of the sage.  Serve with pitta bread and salad.
Use as a topping on a home made pizza base (see image below)
Serve with slabs of griddled Halloumi cheese (scrumptious) and crusty bread
Add a handful of sliced runner beans or broad beans at the same time as the apples.
Add some roast parsnips, stock or milk and seasonings and blitz into a soup.

Needless to say, this is one of my favourite things at this time of year as I grow almost everything in the garden, fresh food from Plot to Plate in minutes~~does food get any better than that?

There have been crumbles too~~blackberry, and blackberry and apple.  Such a simple thing, but few puddings bring more pleasure than a bowl of warm and juicy, fruity crumble with lashings of creamy custard~~

Fruit Crumble

Put 4 oz self raising flour  and 2 oz butter {or butter cooking spread} and 2 oz sugar in a mixing bowl.  Rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
In an oven proof dish, put about 2 cups of your chosen fruit, or combination of fruits, sweeten to taste with sugar or stevia, and gently press the crumble topping over.
Bake in a moderate oven {Gas Mark 5 or 6} until the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling, juicy, and cooked.  This can be anything from 25 ~ 40 minutes depending on the fruit, you may wish to partially cook it first.

Serve hot, warm, or cold.  I like it best warm with either custard sauce or vanilla ice cream.

Some good choices for fruit are: Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Apples, Gooseberries, Rhubarb, Peaches {if you are lucky enough to have them}, Plums, Apricots, and Pears.  A lot of these make good combinations too, like Blackberry and Apple, but it is entirely up to you!  Add things like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cardamon, or any spices of your choice too~~no rules in my kitchen {except when you need to be exact!}  As you can tell, I am a bit of a hit and miss cook, I don't really do set recipes. 

Gentle Reader~do let me know if you try any of these recipes I'm sharing.  Please, share some of your own in the comments.  I'd love to know how you get on, or what suggestions you have for alternative toppings, maybe, for the fruit in the crumble ~~ Buon Appetit!

Finally, here is how the sky looked a few evenings ago over my little corner of The Shire~~fierce and stormy, though it was calm as can be!

~~~A Gardener's Work Is Never Done~~~


  1. Happy Autumn to you! Autumn is my favorite time of the year,too! We have had a sweltering hot weekend and I am so looking forward to some cooler weather!!

    The recipes look delicious,I will have to give them a go. The sunset photo is so pretty!

    I sure hope you feel completely pain-free soon!!
    I look forward to your continuing journey with your garden, no matter what form it takes. I am harvesting tomatoes,green peppers,and lots of parsley,sage,basil and thyme. The brussel sprouts look good and I am looking forward to eating some fresh out of the garden. This is the first time we grew brussel sprouts! I planted a Fall crop of peas and they are up! I hope they make it.

    Take care and my best to you! Darlene

    1. Oh, do enjoy your home grown produce! Always it tastes so much better fresh from plot to plate in minutes. I picked *a* tomato today~~barely bigger than a cherry tomato :( Will pass on the Brussels, they said my tastes would change as I grew up and I'd like them~~guess I haven't grown up yet then? :D
      Our best to you too! xoxo

  2. Croeso again Deb,Im just reading back through Your blog this evening. I m sorry to read You have Arthritus in Your spine. I too suffer with Arthritus,Rheaumatoid Arthritus. I m on alot of drugs for this which do help with the pain and slows down the disease but not cure it. I love my garden so much but am very limited by the illness to what I can do. I cant kneel At all, but my mum bought me a little plastic step stool which I can sit on,this year. I do not have much strength so digging is out but I do enjoy pottering. And doing just what I can. I m very much a beginner and love watching gardeners world,carols one of my favourites,I loved her series,i think it was last year. I grew some flowers from seeds this year in a little plastic greenhouse from wilko,marigold,foxglove, I do hope they flower next year,apparently its the second year they flower. I can see I am going to pick up some great tps here, the leaf mulch,I read about,I had no idea it would be so easy,so I m going to try that :) take care,best wishes julie.x

    1. Dear Julie That step stool sounds very useful. I do what I can and am planning to remodel the garden to make it easier to manage. Can't give in to it! Look forward to seeing your flowers next year when they flower~hope your greenhouse is still standing after all the winds!

  3. I almost forgot ,i did grow hundreds of tomatoes this year too,lol :) xxx


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