Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Autumn is Here

It seems like the weird topsy-turvy on-off-on-again summer is finally over and autumn is upon us again. The cricket season is over, the footie and rugby seasons are upon us. The mornings are crisp and slippers must be worn indoors to prevent a chill. The nights are seriously drawing in all of a sudden. Partially this is because I am working late again thanks to project complications but it really is very noticeable when I step out of the office that it is dusk. It's also got a little cooler, which I don't mind a bit. In fact it meant I got to wear my eBay Buzz Rickson jacket for the first time in anger. I think it's going to see me through the winter no problem.

I am a fan of autumn. It means that the season of weddings and constant social engagements is over and I can crawl, bear-like back into my den and enjoy more domestic pursuits like reading, cooking, watching movies and shooting zombies without that nagging "I'm sure someone I know is doing a fun outdoor thing right now. Dammit, I should be there" feeling. It also means that big hearty stews, soups and solid pasta dishes can come back onto the menu. I am very fond of delicate cooking but if truth be told a big steak and kidney pie wins out for me any day of the week and summer ain't the season to be taking one of those bad boys on. Incidentally, my dad's cousin, Jean, has written down her "recipe" for steak and kidney pie. Here it is and you'll see why recipe is in quotes - the quantities are sketchy, you do it by eye:

For 2


One good round of shin of beef – about 6 ounces

Ox [or other good ] kidney – about 3 to 4 oz

A medium onion

Beef stock or one OXO cube and some Bisto and water

Cornflour to thicken


Salt and pepper to season.


Cut the meat and kidney into pieces. Cut up the onion very finely. Place these in a casserole and cover with the stock [or water mixture] and cornflour. Cover* and cook in an oven at 150o C for 2 ½ - 3 hours. Then cut up the potatoes and par boil for 10 mins. Add them to the meat. Season – bear in mind OXO and Bisto contain salt and seasoning - to taste and leave overnight to infuse.

Next day cover with short crust pastry and reheat to cook both – or cook the pastry separately and cover afterwards.

* Jean does not say cover – it will be necessary to ensure that the liquid does not evaporate but thickens nicely.

This is a bit of a family treat. My gran used to make it and my mother still does. I may have to make myself some individual ones as it's of no interest to the very vegetarian Tinseltroos.

The other big treat of autumn is that the leaves are starting to come off the trees and because it hasn't really rained for a while they're gathering, all dry and crunchy in drifts along walls and fences just waiting for me to run through them kicking them hither and thither. Tinseltroos says she cannot face doing this as she has fear that a stealth dog turd awaits her under every leaf pile. I say that as far as my ability to resist the temptation of a leaf pile goes it's like telling a junkie that heroin isn't very good for them. It's true but isn't going to stop me, I cannot help myself.

Today as I wandered into work, coffee in hand, smelling of Bois du Portugal (a very autumnal scent which I can't really wear during the hot months) wearing my warm new jacket I could feel myself easing into the fall mindset and it felt pretty good.

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Blogger Churlita said...

Yea for Fall and hibernating!

12:41 am  

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