Sunday, 8 September 2013


Firstly here's the September page of my calendar

Rapunzel by Heinrich Leffler and Joseph Urban

Oh for that hair!

Now I know many people have been lamenting the loss of Summer, and boy what a Summer it's been, but for me September brings a tinge of excitement. I love the subtle changes in the air, the misty mornings, crisp Autumn walks and glorious sunsets. Those who know me will understand the annual joy I feel returning to my trusty boots and cardigan format, and will recognise the sight of a gleeful woman returning from walks with an armful of sticks for the fire (no I am not an eighteenth century country woman but you get the picture). But there's something else this time of year brings.

Some clues?

The dazzling variety of colours and forms that accompany nature's harvest. Or in our case accompany our neighbours harvest. He had been down to his allotment at the crack of dawn and before we had even put the kettle on he had been digging, picking and gathering.....


All delivered to our front door with a smile and a wave.

This has not been our only delivery. We've had friends delivering plums, damsons and blackberries. We've been foraging for apples and hazelnuts. We are currently eyeing up the rosehips and elderberries and planning their transformation into something tasty. Some latent part of our psyche tells us to hunt and gather to prepare for the long Winter ahead. And if you have friends and neighbours who help you to do that then all the better! Of course this does not go unrecognised. Much of the bounty will be returned in the form of jams, chutneys and dodgy wine.

So let's celebrate this generosity of spirit and of nature itself. 

September - you're a good 'un!


P.S. Any recommendations as to how to preserve the beans and beetroot would be most welcome!


  1. You are so lucky to have a neighbour like that. In our previous house we had the best small holding couple there could be and would have brown paper bags left on the doorstep with all sorts of harvesting bounty. Runner beans were always amongst them and I came across a runner bean pickle that could be made and ready for Christmas. I'll dig it out for you and send it on. Have a great week my lovely. Chel x

    1. Great I'd really appreciate that and yes we are very lucky! x

    2. Here you go, I've just dug out a very old cookery book:

      1 1/2 lb runner beans, salt, 1 pint good malt vinegar, 1 1/2lb granulated sugar, 1 level teaspoon ground allspice, pepper.

      String and slice the beans.
      Cook in boiling, slightly salted water for 8 - 10 minutes until tender
      Put vinegar, sugar, allspice and pepper into a pan over a low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil.
      Drain beans, add them to the spiced vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour off vinegar into a jug.
      Pack beans into clean jars and pour over the vinegar to completely cover them.
      Put on vinegar proof lids immediately.
      Store in a cool, dark, dry place for a fortnight to mature before eating. We usually bring this out with cold meats at Christmas.

      Enjoy xx

  2. Beetroot is easy, boil whole and unpeeled with a bit of the stalk remaining to keep it all together. When it is tender just peel and dice to make a lovely salad with a vinaigrette dressing and some fresh herbs. It all gets eaten a bit quickly in our house. There are lots of beetroot soup recipes online you could make and freeze. If you string, slice and blanch the beans in boiling water for a couple of minutes you can freeze them for later too. :)

    1. Beetroot salad sounds good - top tip to keep the stalk on - thanks for that!

  3. Lucky You!! Yes Mother Nature is being rather generous here too.. chutney, jam, jellies. ketchups all being made here! Beetroot chutney is great and I'm going to be making beetroot and chocolate cakes too... I made some fabulous plum ketchup a few years ago. Cx

    1. Plum ketchup - oh now there's something I hadn't considered - thanks!

  4. Gosh that Rapunzel is rather stunning, very Klimt...and I'm envious of your bounty! Chrissie x

  5. Oh I want to be on your front doorstep. I love beetroot pickled

  6. Dear Jane
    I have just eaten my first ever home grown beetroot, raw and grated in a salad. It had a slightly earthy taste but was yummy. I didn't think I liked beetroot at all, but it is just the pickled beetroot I don't like.
    My other half has been picking blackberries which are having an amazing year in this area and he has made about 24 small jars of blackberry jam and we had a delicious blackberry and apple crumble earlier in the week. Our freezer is full to the brim with more blackberries. I love this time of year!
    Best wishes and enjoy your harvest.
    Best wishes

  7. Wow, what a bountiful harvest! You have a really nice neighbor. Enjoy!

  8. crikey thats amazing - i can see why you like this time of year! Must admit I prefer the security of a big cardi as opposed to beach bikini-wear (not that I have had a bikini for YEARS!!!!).....have fun pickling/munching/stewing........x

  9. That all looks fab. I have an allotment so I am in full preserving mode. Here is my link for beetroot chutney

  10. My brother has an allotment and he roasts his glut of beetroot, they are delicious. Runners can be blanched and frozsn.

  11. I'm doing runner bean wine with mine - we had 10 kilos, no way can I eat that many much as I love them!

  12. I am curious about dodgy wine! ; ) Lovely vegetables! We have got a lot of tomatoes we have to cook! : )

  13. So much lovely looking fresh food.

  14. I so love your neighbor, yum that's quite a bounty. I'm sure you'll find loads to make with it. I too love September and frankly I have no qualms about bidding farewell to this most strangest of Summers. Of course I'll take that back sometime in January. Happy cooking.

  15. Jane your photographs make my mouth water - they are gorgeous. I am an autumn person and welcome September with open arms after the heat of summer. The colours are just amazing and I love the crisp feel of the morning air. A great post Jane as always
    Thanks so much
    Lots of love

  16. What bounty, and what a generous neighbour you have.

    Re. the beets ... how about making borscht and then freezing it?


I love to read your comments - they are appreciated sooooo much. Thanks for making my day xxx