Nomatter how hot or cold, rainy or sunny, windy or quiet our summers have been, once September comes a certain mood comes over the island. When I drive into town to do the grocery shopping there is a certain smell in the air. Suddenly the atmosphere has changed, the sounds from the sea are different, the seagulls sound different, the is no more busyness of hundreds of tourists going in and out of the shop, no noise, just the view of the sea and the soft clanging of the masts in the harbour. That moment when the first of those days arrive is always something I notice. Every year, without fail, September feels different.
No kind of food feels more autumn-like to me than roasts, especially lamb. We don't have sheep ourselves at the moment so instead we buy a whole lamb every year from an organic farm nearby, so we have enough for a long winter of warm hearty dishes.
I use this recipe for every roast I have ever made since I saw it in the Jamie at Home series years ago. Slowroasting for about 8 hours or so, ensures that you have very little work to do and also achieve beautiful melt-in-your-mouth tender meat, whether it is lamb, pork, cow or wild game. This time I added what we had plenty of: onions, garlic, tomatoes and plums.
I usually have flowers here and there in my garden all the way through October. I love them in the golden light outside, but sometimes I also choose just one or two to come inside with us for the kitchen table. They all somehow seem so precious at this time of year, being so few, and I want them to last as long as possible, so the memory of their splendor, colours and intricate details will take me all the way through the gloomy and grey months of january and february.
Our woddland garden is alive with pheasants, berries and hundreds of small birds feasting on the seed heads of all the sunflowers we planted in the wild life corridors last spring
And the chickens are finding higher and higher spots in the garden to catch the warmth of the sun which is getting lower and lower on the sky. Our mother hen Viola is busy caring for our last newly arrived batch of chicks. They sleep in a little rabbit shed on their own and not in the coop with the others. My gut tells me she would protect them if anything happened, but our Rooster boss is quite aggressive at the moment so I am not taking any chances until they get a bit bigger. So after feeding them grain and kitchen leftovers every morning I let the flock roam freely in the garden for the whole day while Viola and the chicks graze in peace within the fenced chicken yard where there are loads of bugs, ants and dandelions to feast on.
It is also at this time my favourite kind of mornings start. With the mist from the sea slowly rising up swallowing our house and the fields and trees around us, covering every surface in a silvery glow of thousands of tiny water beads. All of this only to subside moments later as the sun rises, turns the silver into gold, and drives the mist into hiding in the shadows of tall trees and in valleys. These mornings are quiet, and I can sneak out of the house just before sunrise with my camera, only accompanied by our cat, Alot, and with a few cows grazing as the only sound to be heard.