The colours of Autumn
By Anne Gigney, Sprout subcommittee member
There is a wonderful confusion of the seasons at this time of year. How is it that the violet juice of blueberries is still staining our lips, while we’re concurrently plucking the firm plumpness of new season’s tomatoes from the vines?
The season for stone fruit is also starting to fade. But jams and crumbles are still on the menu as we pluck the last of the apricots, nectarines and plums from the trees and either gobble them up, licking drips of the season’s juice from our chins, or holding onto them for a bit longer and freezing them in preparation for Autumn’s fruit crumbles.
This time of year is one when it seems everything is on offer. At the markets, are old favourites are holding but new shapes are appearing on the tables of stallholders. There seems a virtual cacophony of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchinis, radishes, greens and other sneaky members of the nightshade family making appearances.
The colours on stallholders tables are making way to red, oranges and browns and even the beans have purple cloaks that became verdant when cooked. Fresh juices, made with new seasons apples and pears are appearing at the same time as some of the cooler season vegetables and it make a tempting combination of root vegetables and meats, brought together with mapled apples.
The markets really are ideal to help shape your mood for food. Recently I experienced a curry, made from what was seasonal, which was lightly spiced and made of rich meats, tomatoes, seasonal spice and some sneaky beans. Admittedly, it was a little hot for curry, the day starting out with dew and finishing with a need for lemony beer on the deck – but it was delightful, made from what was available right now, and reminded me that as the seasons get cooler again, that the best is yet to come. Some of the most exciting news about this time of year is the emergence of festivals related to seasonal food. The Koonya Garlic and Tomato Festival celebrates the diversity within just two delicious seasonal foods and no matter where you look stalls are sharing all shapes, sizes and types of both.
So it seems, whatever you favour it is a time for the best of both worlds. It’s a chance to cook up thick, rich sauces, to prepare an autumn roast with an assortment of root vegetables and fresh greens, while surprising your friends with stone fruits and berries.
I've just set my menu for the night. Now I'm pouring myself a glass of red, placing an LP of Satio's Gymnopedie number 1 on the stereo and soaking in the aroma of Autumn's dinner.
Welcome to my favourite season in Tassie - Autumn!