Hello! And welcome to my October kitchen. Time to cosy up with log fires, comfy pjs and fluffy socks, woolly blankets, steaming cups of tea and cookery books. This is what my early morning today was like before the sun rose up and filled the kitchen with its warm glow heralding another beautiful autumn day ahead of us. I love that soul soothing comfort of October with all its burnished glory and contrasts which make their way into my kitchen too…
Boleslawiec roasting tray and free apples – are on my dresser basking in the low sunshine. I am so happy to be able to add the roasting tray to my Boleslawiec collection. I love that each piece is hand made and hand decorated and that one of the eldest producers in Poland is still going strong and preserving our heritage in times when others have abandoned their roots and moved to cheaper sources of labour and production. The tray is filled with apples that my daughter brought home with her. A neighbour from around the corner had offered her glut of apples to take. Without hesitation my girl accepted the offer and arrived home with these, all giddy with excitement and appreciation for the kind gesture. The fruits are small but sweet and aromatic and the glow you see on them is all natural. Some will be roasted with vanilla and cinnamon to be jarred and used as toppings for cakes, yoghurt and porridge. Others will be filled with cranberries, raisins and oats and baked to be served as pudding.
Late hydrangeas and olive wood tray – my current kitchen table centrepiece consist of these beauties. And whilst the snowy white head screams summer, her green and pink speckled sisters are the fall’s arrivals and firm favourites with me. My senses are now turning towards more natural textures such as this olive wood tray which later this month will be filled with warm autumnal salads of roasted squashes, figs and radicchio when time is of the essence.
Spiced miniature figs – these tiny beauties might be small in size but they pack a punch with their flavour. Deliciously sticky, they are flavoured with white wine, rum, cinnamon and spices. Paired with some creamy mascarpone they create a heavenly dessert to be shared as part of friends get together. Delicious and simple.
Petite madeleines – freshly baked, they are enough to make Mr A go weak at the knees. I have been curing his man-flu with some TLC and these were part of it earlier in the week. I have another batch of batter waiting in the fridge ready for baking later when he arrives home. They are crisp and sticky on the outside with soft inside, beautifully fluted and with their characteristic little bump in the middle. I love them just as they are, warm from the tray alongside some Earl Grey tea with a lemon slice.
Duck and sauerkraut – scented with thyme, marjoram and garlic and waiting to be slow roasted. I have portioned the duck before marinating it overnight with the herbs. The meat will cook slowly on top of the sauerkraut. Its juices and fat will flavour the cabbage that has been mixed with fresh apples, onion, garlic and cranberries. This is a Polish dish and I love the contrasting textures in it of soft tender flesh and crunchy duck skin as well as the deep savoury flavours of sauerkraut with sweetness coming through. Served with crushed potatoes, it will be warming and comforting.
Squashes, pumpkins and conkers – I have a plethora of these currently in my kitchen. Some are here purely for decoration such as these miniature pumpkins and conkers my son found on our walk, glistening in the sunshine with their chestnut gloss. Others are waiting to be included in our menu this month and turned into soups and salads. Roasted and cheese stuffed squashes will be served with my fresh sourdough ensuring every last slice of the bread is put to good use. So many opportunities to create delicious dishes, can’t wait!
Bourbon – to flavour roasted apples and a beginning of a special drink, The Old Fashioned. The simple blend of bourbon, sugar and bitters is paired with fresh orange and a maraschino cherry. Chilled with plenty of ice, it is deliciously easy to sip in front on the warm fire. Hurry home Mr A!
Old music sheets and dried leaves – are on my kitchen table for making fall garland to hang over the fireplace that has two huge pumpkins resting next to it. The old music sheets were picked up by my daughter from a charity shop. But the more I look at them, the more I love them, unable to cut them up… Might have to put that twine and leaves to some other use. Each time I take the girls for a walk, I stop for few minutes, take a deep breath, close my eyes and turn my face to the sun. When I open them again, I feel grounded and full of admiration for the natural beauty that surrounds us. The subdued greens, golden yellows, warm oranges and deep reds make me feel connected, more than any other season. And so I like to bring a little bit of that comfort inside and often dry leaves between the book pages. I use them as bookmarks, as decorations around the house and for making thank you cards. Free apples definitely call for one of these!
Urchin lights – are being turned on now that the evenings arrive so much earlier.The whole family loves these as they bring back many happy memories for us of laughter, fun and adventures together. I have made these myself using urchin shells we brought back from holiday as wanted to be able to admire the intricacy of these stunning shells even when it gets dark. Each one of them is different in colour and pattern and they still smell like the sea. The shells provide a soft, warm glow to an otherwise dark kitchen corner. With all the lights turned off, they really come into their own. Stunning.
So that is my comforting kitchen this month glowing with warmth and ready for the new season. Thank you for stopping by and taking a look inside. There are many beautiful kitchens out there and thanks to Celia, we get to have a peek inside them so go and have a look too. Happy October x