You may have been wondering where I have been since posts are so few between these days. I've been concentrating on juice feasting and eating some simple raw food, with some cooked meals to try and heal my body and get this damn weight off! So I haven't been experimenting much of late. But the change of season means I feel drawn more to comforting food since Summer's fruity bounty has all but come to an end.
I love Autumn. The days are still mild, the nights crisp, and time seems to slide gently into winter. It's the season when the fire is lit again for the evenings, I linger in a hot bath, and then want to curl up with the cats and hounds for a cosy night in.
Mr Sprout and myself celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary on the 26th March and it has been the first we have both been able to have the day off and spend it together since we were married. The romantic picnic I had in mind went down the drain with the ridiculous amount of water we've had pouring from the skies of late. Not to be discouraged we changed plans, packed our wellies in the van and headed out to Mt Irvine to squirrel for nuts instead. For us it's about a 50 minute drive since we live on the other side of the mountains, but it is a nice one. The small communities of Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine were cut off completely for several days in the bushfires we had in the Spring, and as we drove we saw plenty of areas that had been charred. Yet in the amazing nature of the Australian bush the eucalypts were already covered in bright green foliage helped along by the recent rains. Thankfully Kookootonga nut farm was spared by the blaze although the neighbouring property lost everything. Which is just as well because we spent a very pleasant hour or so wandering under the canopies of towering chestnut and walnut trees and plucking the fattest nuts we could find.
Since it was mid week we were barely disturbed by anyone else and the misty morning no doubt kept other squirrels at bay. $8.00 kg for fresh organic nuts are not to be beaten and certainly there is something lovely about gathering your own.
I decided to make some chestnut and portobello patties with our bounty since the mushrooms are also particularly good at the moment. they are delicious in your favourite bun with leafy greens and lashings of mustard, or wrapped in kale or chard leaves if you want a gluten free option. Earthy flavoured vegetables like fresh grated carrot or beetroot go well (or even just some ripe tomato). The mixture also makes excellent vegan sausage rolls, just get some vegan puff pastry and away you go!
250gr peeled cooked chestnuts, chopped
200 gr portobello mushrroms
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
handful fresh sage, tarragon, and rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1.If you are using fresh chestnuts cut a criss cross in the top and drop them in a pan of boiling water for about 10 - 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then peel and roughly chop.
2.In a frying pan saute onion and garlic in an little coconut or oil until beginning to soften and then add the mushrooms. continue to cook until onions are cooked through. Allow to cool.
3.In a food processor put in all ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles a mince and sticks together.
4.Leave in fridge, covered, for half an hour or so for flavours to develop.
5.Using your hands shape into the size and shape you desire, and fry in a little oil until brown on both sides.