Saturday, September 29, 2012

The sacrament of the table.

I have just bought my self a new cook book .

Sacred Feasts from a Monastery Kitchen. by Brother Victor Antoine d'Avila- Latourette

I am fascinated by the link between food and spirituality. Food plays such an important part in celebration and hospitality. I also enjoy cooking  and providing my family and friends with good food. In his introduction brother  Victor -Antoine says:

  ' It  ( the book) is  imbued with the innumerable joys and ways of praising God daily through the practice of food spirituality in the humble sanctuary of the kitchen'

That link between prayer, worship, food and hospitality is what I have been and continue to learn about. Appreciating the seasonal produce that come into my kitchen and what is served from it are one way of demonstrating thankfulness to God from whom every gift is good and perfect.

Another cookbook I have enjoyed using is The Times Cookbook for Feasts and Festivals by C.J. Jackson

Since today is Michaelmas Day here are a few links to recipes for today's feast.

lots of lovely blackberry, apple and other seasonal  recipes at  BBC Good Food  - I tried blackberry and coconut squares

Catholic Cuisine as usual has plenty of ideas

I am roasting a duck ( they were half price at Sainsburys a while ago and this one has been in the freezer!) and also a chicken. Goose being out of our pocket range! I am going to try roasting some apples along side the chicken. I have also made an apple and blackberry pie - wondering if there is too much of an apple theme?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Celebrating Autumn

Next Saturday - September 29th is Michaelmas Day, a feast in honor Michael the archangel and, in English tradition, the last day of harvest. The hard work is over, the abundance of the land is gathered and stored and it is time to celebrate and give thanks.

 For most of us the significance of harvest is lost today since we gather our supplies from Sainsburys or Tescos and can usually find a variety what ever the season - no need to store, preserve, dry and put by for later. Autumn is my favourite season and despite the reliability of my local supermarket I both enjoy and feel an urge to gather and preserve at this time of year. We have been collecting wild apples and blackberries across our local common. So far I have made: apple sauce , blackberry jam, blackberry compote and for the first time blackberry gin (very easy to do - the recipe is the same as for sloe gin). And I have bought myself a proper old fashioned pie dish . Autumn seems the time of year to make pies.

The traditional  way to celebrate Michaelmas is to eat goose. Last year we had a family lunch with roast chicken followed by baked apples and blackberry compote. There is an old folk tale that tells of the devil being cast out of heaven and falling to earth to land in a bramble bush. Enraged he curses the bush and spits on it! Since then it is supposed to be unlucky to gather blackberry's after Michaelmas.