31 October 2015

Chanterelles preserved under oil

Mushroom hunting can be a fickle activity. On some occasions, one returns from a walk through prime woodland in mid-autumn with hardly anything to show. Usually, especially if you know a few good spots, you will find enough for a meal. Occasionally, you find a huge bounty of mushrooms - more than you can eat in several meals. These are the days that mushroom hunters dream of. When it happens to me, I am like a child on a trolley dash in a sweetshop, and pick frenetically until I have picked much more than I can eat in one go. I am then bound to spend the rest of the day cleaning and preserving mushrooms.

8 October 2015

Pickled green tomatoes

By early to mid October, as temperatures drop and daylight hours shorten, tomatoes grown outside stop ripening. At this point it is best to pick all the remaining fruit on the plants. There are always a lot of unripe green tomatoes that need using. Last year I wrote about making green tomato chutney, one of the classic ways of using green tomatoes. This year, I thought I would also experiment with pickling green tomatoes whole. Pickles are prominent in Turkish cuisine, and a bowl of mixed pickles, or tursu, often appears in a meze spread. I have a lovely Turkish grocers round the corner, which sells a wide range of Turkish pickles. Earlier this year I bought a jar of pickled green tomatoes. They were delicious, and inspired me to have a go at making my own pickled green tomatoes. Pickled green tomatoes have a fresh clean flavour and crunchy texture, and can be added to a meze spread, but are also delicious with cheese and cured meats.

3 October 2015

What's in season in October

October usually starts with relatively mild (and this year sunny) weather, but often ends cold and positively autumnal. This change is reflected in the crops that are available. Early October sees the very last of the tender crops. By the end of the month there is an array of autumnal favourites available: leeks, swedes and cabbages to name but a few. It is a good month for fruit – with many varieties of apple and pear being harvested. October is also good for wild mushrooms, and a great time of year for game. It is the last month when one is likely to have a glut of some sort, and gives an final opportunity for preserving.