late autumn days

sugar and spice

As autumn draws to a close and winter starts to edge its way in, the rhythm of the day shifts and changes. The hens are happy to be let out a little later, though the ducks shout at anyone passing their run that please, as soon as possible, could the gate be opened so they get to the pond or sit on the warm muck heap searching for worms. The field tracks are wet and muddy making walking hard work as feet slip. With damp, grey days and wintry showers forecast for the coming week, I feel the need to fill the kitchen with sugar and spice and all things nice.

Cinnamon rolls and apple cake provided the necessary lifting of spirits over the weekend with half devoured warm from the oven and the rest bagged and frozen, ready to slip into packed lunches to take out to the Christmas tree barn next month.

Outside there are still branches and trees to be collected from the fields following the winds a couple of weeks ago. While the trunks and large branches are stored ready for sawing, the smaller branches and brash made a good bonfire. It’s very comforting to stand in the heat of a bonfire, gradually stepping back as the heat intensifies, with a mug of something warming. Warm, spiced apple juice (with or without a slug of sloe gin) or a good, thick soup usually fits the bill.

vegetable soup recipe

This is my everyday basic soup that changes with the seasons. More a guide than a recipe. Some days we eat it as a chunky soup with pasta and haricot beans added, other days it’s pureed to make a smooth, rich soup topped with a scattering of herbs. If the stock is a particularly good one, I leave out the potatoes and finely chop the other vegetables. Infinitely adaptable. And no, of course I don’t measure out the vegetables when I make it.

23 thoughts on “late autumn days

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    Hehe…I could just see you writing this recipe up, Anne. “Hmmm…that looks like .. um.. THREE cups of vegetables, that’s right…” 🙂 I don’t use enough lard in my cooking, but I’m going to try to. Meant to tell you that I had great success with the half lard/half butter pastry you suggested, thank you! And you make winter sound appealing, which I know isn’t always the case in England.. 🙂

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      When my children went away to uni I sent them with a few basicrecipes, including this one that I did properly work out as I know that my idea of a cupful is very different from reality! Winter’s always appealing at the start – but I’m always very glad when spring arrives. But hey, one of the great things about England is our seasons.

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  2. dianeskitchentable says:

    There is something about fall that makes me want to cook. Of course the colder temperatures but I wonder if it goes much further back when you had to hunt and forage before winter set in. We’re having such a glorious day here in New England but it’s just a tease since we’ll be dropping back down to just above freezing by tomorrow.

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      • dianeskitchentable says:

        Oh the pantry stocking! I do that too and I end up buying things that I don’t even have a need for. Probably why my pantry, although pretty big, is crowded. I’ll be putting things back into the pantry & new cabinets soon so it will be a good time to check expiration dates.

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  3. sally says:

    Your soup sounds good, I have a standard soup recipe too, I make it often to make the most of my home grown bacon. It has a base of bacon, onion, celery and carrot. Then I add other vegies as available and usually a pulse and some pasta, oh and a can of passata which I guess makes it minestrone? I like to use orange lentils as they are light and not as overwhelming as puy or green lentils, but they still make the soup filling. Add hot buttered toast and it is enough for an evening meal. Did you do bonfire night this year? It seems to be being replaced by halloween celebrations, poor old bonfire night, another victim of our global homogenised society!

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      Your soup recipe sounds a proper winter warmer. Delicious. We never celebrate halloween but always have a bonfire in November though I really feel that instead we should celebrate All Souls Day. I hate that Halloween has been taken over simply as Demand With Menace aka Trick or Treat and on the other hand, celebrating a day when we “toss a Catholic on a fire”, to quote my daughter, seems rather bad too.

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  4. frayed at the edge says:

    I recently made a delicious soup with butternut squash, sweet potato and lentils …… and a generous flavouring of curry powder. But our most common soup is the “what’s in the veggie drawer in the fridge that needs used up” soup!!

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  5. CJ says:

    Delicious baking, and the hot soup sounds wonderful for these cold dark days too. I’ve had a good time looking round your blog, and I’ll be following along now.

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