Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. Perhaps a good judge of which seasons are my favourite can be seen in which seasons I've forgotten to write about since starting this series! I remembered Spring, but skipped Summer. All season I've been thinking ahead - pining for Autumn to finally arrive.
Autumn is when the heat of Summer finally subsides and the world comes out of survival mode. The threat of bushfires has passed, and both plants and people alike breathe a sigh of relief. New grass is starting to peep through the crisp brown hay that Summer created. (The homeowners that water their lawns in Summer are conspicuous by the swathes of green amongst the brown.) Some plants -- fuchsias and daisies in my area -- are entering their second growing phase for the year and bloom again before Winter begins. Others, none of them native, are starting to drop their leaves. Our winters are so mild that I almost feel sorry for them for going to the effort. It's only in the mountains that it really gets cold enough to hibernate.
Last year I wrote about the things I'm looking forward to in Autumn -- tea, wearing layers, hot comforting foods -- and that still stands of course. This year I'd like to explore ways to celebrate the seasons.
attend a harvest festival
Celebrating the harvest is perhaps less relevant in the modern world, where fresh food is available year-round. To me, this time of year is more about switching from hot-weather foods to cold-weather foods. It's time to put the salad tongs away and unpack the crockpot. To celebrate the appearance of pumpkins, squash and parsnips, and embrace the cooking of hearty stews and soups. This is what I enjoy most about the harvest festival atmosphere. I also have more of an urge to leave the house now that the weather is cooler. Melbourne has a huge foodie culture, so there are plenty of events to choose from, both city and country.
Momijigari / Autumn leaves viewing
While Australia doesn't have the spectacular displays of leaf-fall that are seen in the Northern Hemisphere, there are still places to go to find some beautiful Autumn colour. The introduced deciduous trees go through their seasonal changes against a backdrop of native evergreens. In some ways, we have the best of both worlds here in Australia.
bake a special bread
One of the things I've been looking forward to the most is firing up the oven again and doing some baking. I've been dreaming of cakes, biscuits and muffins, but bread is the most back-to-basics and yet comforting food of all. To celebrate the abundance of the harvest, perhaps something like this Tsoureki I made back in 2010: