Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Menu d' Autunno

Since moving to the Highlands, I've had to redefine what summer means. All my life I've lived in places with 'proper' summer; in America, this meant nonstop air conditioning, in Europe this meant nonstop sweating and fans and shade-seeking. It was mid-August when I moved to Shetland, and my first weekend there, while walking along the beautiful Eshaness coastline, it sleeted. And didn't stop til we moved to Inverness the following February. My three Scotland summers have boasted just over 60 'skirts-and-sandals' days - thankfully many of those during our wedding week. The winter coats are never truly put away, nor are the gloves and hats.

But I haven't had to redefine winter, and that's part of what keeps me balanced here. Scotland is made for winter. I love the sound of the wind whipping the stone facade of our cottage. I love sitting by the fire. I love long walks along the coast, all bundled up, then the glorious taste of a whisky afterward. I love cooking things that are warming and comforting. And eating them.

Before Halloween, I bought two pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns that never got carved. So I thought I'd try making pumpkin ravioli. Including the pasta. Without a proper pasta maker . This was not the cleverest thing I've ever done - there's a reason why pasta makers were invented. My crude attempt ended up 1/4" thick and doughy - hardly the lilting parcels of goodness I'd envisioned. But the filling was delicious - a mixture of ginger cookies, eggs, parmesan, nutmeg, pepper, and pumpkin. I made far too much of it for my chunks of pasta, so cheated and made cannelloni using fresh lasagne sheets from M&S. Which were just as good and a damn sight easier than making my own pasta.

I'm looking forward to an autumn of chunky soups like cullen skink (I pop salmon in, too) and Scotch broth. I'll be using our Italian holiday as inspiration for risottos and roasted veg, and using this to remind me what's seasonal, British, and delicious. And preferably not pasta.


Cynthia said...

These soups sound yummy and I'm definitely going to have to try my hand at making them.

It's been cool in Cali and approaching my favorite season here. Cool, crisp, no snow but the opportunity to light fires, wear wool sweaters and make one pot meals. Two that I've made so far are chili con carne (served w/buttermilk corn bread) and chicken 'n dumplings. Pretty damn good If I say so my self!

Kristin Pedroja said...

Mmmm...buttermilk corn bread. Can't find buttermilk here - they used to sell it at a Polish deli, but not anymore. Hope you're well, Cynthia, I miss you! x