One of the best things about the Autumn is the bounty of ripe fruit and vegetables. Cooking good honest food for the family, with simple ingredients from your own garden, is profoundly satisfying. It grounds us somehow, connecting us with the earth and with our ancestors. While we at Castle Beastie rely on others for grain and dairy produce, we have so much else here to be thankful for. This weekend I have had all the family here plus cousins, so I have been making the most of our ‘harvest’ to feed everyone. Here are a couple of dishes we have enjoyed over the weekend.
In the summer, my elder son landed his first fish, a lovely fresh cock salmon. We put it in the freezer to save it for his birthday: in the event his birthday was so busy that the fish was forgotten, so we had it this weekend instead. (Squeamish folk look away now.)
Son caught it; husband gutted it (I had to do a certain amount of eyelash-fluttering to manage that bit of delegation); I cooked it, following Claire Macdonald’s instructions in her ‘Delicious Fish’ cookbook. Smear a large bit of tinfoil with butter and lay the fish on top, with lemon and parsley on both sides and in the stomach cavity. Wrap up the fish tightly in its foil parcel and cook in a bain marie for 20 minutes per pound. Simple and delicious. I served it with potatoes, peas and leeks all from the garden: a whole meal without – oh, all right, except for the lemon, butter and tinfoil – setting foot in a shop!
For pudding, I think it’s hard to beat a good traditional fruit crumble at this time of year. Old-fashioned comfort food goes down well with everybody. For Saturday’s crumble, my younger son helped me to pick pears from the garden.
Well, the four pound fish was big enough to feed the family again today: I made kedgeree with the leftovers and put plenty of that in the freezer too, so we will be able to have some more in a week or so. As for the crumble, there isn’t a scrap left! So why am I sharing this with you, since I can only share the pictures? Well, I suppose because I just want to say, isn’t the earth wonderful in what it provides. This is what cooking for a family should be like, and I know how fortunate we are to be able to live off the land like this. Before the withering winter cold sets in, it is natural to give thanks for the year’s bounty.
P.S. I won’t be able to post a Tuesday Tree this week, but look forward to catching up next weekend.