Monday, 29 October 2012

A Blaze of Autumn

Today has been a beautiful Autumn day. As it is also half-term, we decided to go for a long walk. We set off along Conishead beach aiming for the woods at Conishead Priory.

Although a little muddy, the woods were spectacular. Theo, my middle son (trailing behind everyone else in the pic above), loves these woods. He particularly loves coming in Spring and spotting the snowdrops peeping through the frozen ground.

We spotted this huge fungus growing at the bottom of a tree.

I loved the texture of this bark. I am a bit ashamed to say that I don't know what the tree was.

Whenever we walk through the wood Theo and Finn always make a beeline for this old tree trunk.

The wood was adorned with the most colourful carpet of leaves. I couldn't help but think about all the leaf mould I could make!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

In which I am awash with pumpkins!

I have been so busy in the last month I have had no time to update my blog. However, I am now (hopefully) back. This is just one of my 8, yes 8, pumpkins. I love growing pumpkins, and I very much missed my pumpkin patch when I didn't grow them last year. I love the way they trail off, rambling across the allotment. I especially  love finding one that has managed to hide itself deep within the foliage on another crop (I found one such pumpkin among the sweetcorn this year).

I usually grow pumpkins to eat, bar one that is sacrificed for Halloween, however after being utterly inspired by the huge pumpkin grown this year by Matron of the lovely blog Down at the Allotment, next year I may set aside one pumpkin plant to see if I can also grow a Cinderella!

So, what am I going to do with my 8 pumpkins? As mentioned above, one is earmarked for Halloween, however I am not entirely sure what I will do with the rest. I made a head start today by chopping one of them up and adding half of it to my Autumn allotment broth, which as its name suggests, is a mixture of all the things I have from the allotment at the moment - pumpkin, carrots, onion, a chili, potato, and kale (green curly, and cavolo nero). I will roast the other half tomorrow to go with the veggie roast dinner I am hoping to make. 

I have found that pumpkin freezes well. In Autumn and Winter I like making root vegetable casseroles (great to make in a slow cooker) and its super easy to get a bag of diced pumpkin out of the freezer and add it to the pot. Of course, there is also pumpkin soup, which I usually make once or twice. I have never had pumpkin pie. I've just never fancied it. Maybe one day I will give it a go! If you have a surplus of pumpkins Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book has a number of recipes to keep you busy.

I do love Autumn. It's about the only time of year that I really appreciate orange. I couldn't resist taking a picture of this beautiful tree in the grounds of my elder boys' school. Maybe the super intense colours this year are due to all the rain we've had!