Catherine Devaney shares a recipe from a kitchen in the Fife countryside
Autumn is always bittersweet, gently unfurling a sense of the year slowing down, of lengthening shadows and shutters drawn earlier in the evening, of wood piles uncovered and fires lit for the first time.
Our maple tree has turned crimson, seemingly overnight, the russet apples are biding their time and the farm track is clustered with rosehips and rowan berries.
Brambles can still be found along the River Eden, adding a sense of purpose to small reluctant feet on dreary days.
Autumn fruit inspires preserving and poaching, jam making and the looking-out of traditional recipes.
Rosehip syrup, the colour of sunset, tastes of bottled Turkish Delight. It might keep winter colds at bay, but I have a more interesting plan for a rosehip gin fizz when winter sets in.
Pears too I have been poaching, lightly in a long forgotten bottle of Sauternes, with sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and turmeric to create majestic golden pears.
A neighbour’s post on social media found me raiding her plum tree, its branches literally groaning with fruit, my attempts to reach the highest branches sending showers of plums skittering down the hill.
The plums I gently poached by halving and covering with a hot syrup made by simmering 200ml water, 100g sugar, a vanilla pod and some lemon zest.
They make a decadent breakfast with porridge, or baked into a crumble for the quintessential autumn dessert. Small jam jars are ideal for making individual crumble pots for last-minute suppers or packed lunches.
Music to cook to
Native New Yorker by Odyssey because we’re currently plotting a foodie trip to the Big Apple!