Just a quick visit today. It has been ages since I have been in this space, and I have felt loss and guilt in its absence like a negligent but otherwise loving relative.
Life has been busy. My carefully crafted schedule is followed extremely loosely to the point of contradiction! Summer, for me, always begins with a smoulder and, by the end, threatens to boil over, driving us into catastrophic and uncontrolled motion. I am exaggerating, of course, but there is an element of summer that represents a runaway train. Fortunately, summer has passed, and we are entering the halcyon days of autumn.
Autumn has long been my favourite season. There is so much to relish. To me, it is rapturous, indulgent, nurturing, and comforting. I adore its warmth, the soft, golden light, the briskening mornings and the earlier arrival of dusk. Nights are cool without being frigid. It is harvest time. Time for pots set to simmer, produce bottling, and larders filling. You feel intense satisfaction at what your hard work has achieved. I have only recently established a vegetable garden since our move. So there is nothing to harvest. But still, I feel that deep satisfaction of putting things by in preparation for the quiet, cold and dark days ahead. I love putting things to bed and unwinding for a long rest.
So despite the busyness of our days, there is still much to rejoice about.
My favourite yearly celebration is also almost upon us. It has been many years since I have practised Lent, but I derive so much joy and meaning from this cultural and religious celebration. The kids, of course, love the Easter egg hunt and the expected pair of winter pyjamas, but it is the sharing of a Sunday feast, the smells of spices and dried fruits as hot cross buns bake, and that celebration of life that makes Easter one of the most treasured hallmarks of my year. I always plan my menu weeks in advance. I will try to take some photos and perhaps even jot down some recipes to share here, as I love it when others share their celebratory menus. But I have been consistently inconsistent in sharing anything here!
Most years, our Easter Sunday table features a roasted leg of lamb. This year, we have the added significance of that lamb sourced from a good family friend, so we know the animal has lived well and within kilometres of us. I love the farm-to-table, slow food, and local-thirty movement almost as much as autumn! I love to pair all that meat with veggies. Typically, I will make up a spanakopita as triangles, horns or a large spiral. Alongside this goes a large bowl of buttered and seasoned green beans, some simple boiled potatoes with butter and parsley, or a herby potato salad. And there is always room for sweets other than chocolates, usually in the form of a butter cake iced with pale yellow buttercream and decorated with green coconut nests with jelly bean eggs. Simple and sweet. But this year, I would also like to try a lemon mousse using a recipe by Trine Hahnemann from her beautiful book Scandinavian Comfort Food. The markets have been offering lots of fresh, firm lemons, and I think lemon’s tartness would be a perfect counterpoint to the sickly sweetness of Easter eggs. Sunday morning is for hot cross buns, hot from the oven and slathered with butter and jam if they like. A big pot of tea is a must with this. And I have seen many tutorials for naturally-dyed eggs I’ve decided that would be a great creative activity for the kids and me.
Easter also marks the beginning of the school holidays. As my work is school-based, it is a holiday for me too. I’m hoping for some outings and lots of time to potter and make at home. I have a few more garden beds to fill with soil and plant for winter, and we have a delivery of firewood coming to fuel our stove. It is my first time having a fireplace since I lived in Toowoomba, which was many, many years ago! We can’t wait to light the stove and enjoy its crackle. Its cradling warmth and glow. Waxing a bit lyrical, but I am particularly looking forward to whiling away a few hours in the front of the fire knitting a few projects or spinning some wool. Not playing with fibres has long played on my mind. I can’t profess to be good, or particularly efficient or hardworking at handcrafts, but making something with my hands using materials from the earth satisfies an innate and ancient part of me.
We are heading back into the mountains for a week after the school holidays, so we will probably make preparations for that. Lots of warm gear will be required, and those little items of no minor significance to make a week off-grid and away from modern conveniences much more enjoyable. I like to pack lots of reading material, a letter-writing set, some creative activity to apply my hands to, board games to while away the long evenings, and plenty of good food to cook and enjoy. Our Bialetti Brikka coffee maker is also a must. Decent walking shoes and lots of wool are needed to protect us from the cold on our long walks across the alpine plains. Our days up there are cherished, and there is much anticipation in the weeks leading up to our departure.
Well, I have dabbled here longer than I thought I had time for, with lots of demands tugging at my attention from children (amazing how teenagers can demand as much of your time as toddlers) and kitchen projects begun and nearly forgotten!
I am looking forward to visiting here again soon. It feels good connecting again.
Until then, take care xx
7 thoughts on “Celebrating a new season”
It sounds like you will have an amazing feast this year!
We did have a lovely Easter Sunday meal! Sorry, it has taken so long to reply! Our holidays have begun so I’m hoping for some slower days to catch up.on reading blogs! What was on your menu?
We had local roasted turkey and a small local lamb leg, both from the farm just up the road, so everyone had their favorites. Lots of veggies, spicy shrimp to nibble on gathering, and to top it off, strawberry shortcake in memory of my mom, a tradition for us.
I think I’m still full!
hahaha, yes it’s a bit like that! You eat till bursting, but surprisingly the appetite does return, so I hope you have plenty of leftovers for when it does! Your menu sounds incredible. I like the sounds of your spicy shrimp – is the recipe on your blog? That is a lovely tradition to make strawberry shortcake in memory of your mum. The day has even more meaning for you all.
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I don’t think I’ve written up the shrimp recipe, so I’ll make sure to put it on my list. It’s just one of those things I toss together quickly, and everyone is happy!
Sounds perfect! I’ll look out for it!
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Thanks for the nudge!
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