Autumn harvest

I love September. I used to think the spring was my favourite season, but I’m coming round to autumn. The most beautiful sunsets, a freshness in the air, the excuse to buy a new jumper and boots, and most crucially it’s when all the hard work on the plot finally pays off, and after a trip to the supermarket for washing powder and tea bags and other boring stuff, you can then go to the allotment for the fruit and veg. All fresh as the day, organic, with no food miles attached, and all of your favourite varieties in one place. Okay, so you don’t need a garden fork when you pop into Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available) and you don’t have to brush off the mud and discard a few mildewed leaves, after you’ve fought through the spiders webs, but hey it’s all part of the fun.

Today I harvested the first couple of leeks and the first few carrots, a couple more courgettes, some sorrel from the herb bed, and fresh borlotti beans (you don’t get those in the supermarket) …

… and another large punnet of raspberries. I could have filled two, but I ran out of steam after filling the first one. I’ve been bringing these back and putting them straight into the freezer. In time I will make some jam, but they’re also great for smoothies or puree for pouring over ice-cream. I took some home to mum at the weekend and she made a cake batter to pour over them in a wide pie dish. When baked, you get little puddles of fruit juice bubbling up from underneath the spongy top. I’m not sure what this is called, it’s a typical mum dish that she just knows off by heart and knocks up in a matter of minutes. Delicious.

Also, I made some raspberry vodka last year, and I drank it over Christmas. It was absolutely delicious, so I’ve made some more. It couldn’t be easier, just fill a clip top jar with the fruit (any berries will do) pour over some sugar (amount depends on how sweet you want it) and then pour over enough vodka or gin to cover and fill the jar (leaving a small gap at the top). Give it a gentle swirl each day until the sugar dissolves, then put it in a dark cupboard for around 2-3 months (i.e till Christmas if you do it now). I’ve got plans for blackberry gin next. Not sure I’ll remember much of this Christmas.

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