Hello Autumn, great to see you!

Today is the first day of Autumn.

Well officially officially it lands on March 21 with the solstice, but is noted by the majority on this day.

I love any opportunity to herald in a new season (I said hello to Spring here and Summer here ) so today causes much excitement in my wee world, with double happiness the next 21 days are are dry run to the real thing.  Oh the glistening glorious start of a new season and all the potential magic loaded and ready to be fired.  A looming twelve months just feels a bit amorphous and loooong and fat, and I never feel an ease in placing myself in it.  Give me three months vignettes that have a powerful undercurrent of energy and meaning to play in and I’m good to go.  Hence my love of the seasons.

Autumn’s energy is very different from the others.  This season is about coming out of the high activity of summer and preparing for the winter ahead.  Its about gathering, focusing, turning inward and letting go.  Letting go of what you don’t need anymore, and focussing on what you do.

I like this excerpt from a book I love which outlines living by the seasons – The Way of the Happy Woman – Living the Best Year of Your Life, Sara Avant Stover goes onto say…..“This season we go onto become the alchemists of our own change.  Like metal, we evolve through reduction.  What needs to be removed and stripped away so that the glistening essence of who we are can shine like a diamond?  This pairing down comes through discernment and faith.  Take an honest look at yourself and your life.  Whats working?  Whats not?  What can you let go of on your own, and with what do you need guidance?  Traditional Chinese medicine acknowledges that grief and sadness are the primary emotions of the autumn season, which, when tended to are transmuted into courage.  The lung and the large intestine are the activated organs that work together, receiving and releasing – carbon dioxide in the lungs, and water, nutrients, and waste in the large intestine.  Both provide crucial life-giving energy through this powerful interchange.  The two are alchemists, taking in what is needed to shine and letting go of whatever might hold us back.  When this pair is weakened through stress, unexpressed emotions, poor breathing, pollution, smoking, or toxic diets, things get stuck.  And feelings of immobilisation, depression, and suppressed grief can intensify and rock you off your centre”. 

She goes onto to talk about the process of letting go……..about staying grounded, Autumn rituals and ‘The One Day Autumn Letting Go Retreat’ that you create and do yourself, all juicy stuff.

And I love her suggestion to write a letter to something or someone your ready to let go of (not with the intention of sending it).  And on completion burning it on the new moon.  What a delicious idea!

Whatever meaning a new season holds for you and in whatever way you recognise it (or not) I wanted to share the bountiful opportunities Autumn holds if your curious enough to have an inner peek.  Oh and for the ladies out there, Sara’s books a gem for getting back into harmony and your own rhythm and life cycle.

food made with love

 

Last night I got to eat and enjoy food made with love.

Food from the heart is unbeatable, it just tastes better.  I have no science to back this up, but years of eating tell me that when food is made with care you can taste it.  Last nights feast was a beautiful message of love to my mother in celebration of her 60th, from her brother (the cook, Anton).

I wanted to share this story because I think sometimes we forget the importance food can play in our relationships (with others and self) and the power of a shared meal.  It brings us together and creates a gastronomic pile of memories filled with friends, family, tastes……….and is the witness and caretaker of important milestones, celebrations, travels, transitions, farewells, joys and hardship.  It is a constant in our lives.  It has the power to nourish and heal and it is our fuel………and for me one of the ultimate joys in life*.

I wrote this because I wanted to share Anton’s beautiful feast, but I also wanted to remind myself (more than anything) of the power of sharing food – great or small, lavish or quick…..from scrambled eggs to a feast…….it speaks volumes without any words.

When: February 14, 2012

What: Valentines Dinner Party in Celebration of my Mum’s 60th Birthday

Where: North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand

Cook: All food created and prepared by Anton Boyle (I previously wrote about him here)

Canapes: Fig and Brie, Capsicum and Kikorangi Blue and Chicken pieces in Sumac and Zaatar spices

Entre: Egyptian Eggs

Soup: Fresh Tomato, Basil and Garlic Soup

Main: Terakihi fillets and Prawns dusted in Cajun spices served with slices of Banana, Cucumber ribbons and dressed with Passionfruit pulp

Salad: Watermelon and Avocado

Dessert: Lemon Tart served fresh cream and Raspberries

Hearts aplenty table setting

Canapes, the Red Capsicum and Kikorangi Blue Cheese a particular favourite

The Egyptian Eggs in there last stages of preparation

Fresh Tomato, Garlic and Basil Soup

Terakihi and Prawns dusted in Cajun spices served with Banana slices, Cucumber ribbons and a Passionfruit pulp dressing

Watermelon and Avocado Salad

Lemon Tart served with cream and fresh Raspberries

All shades of pink dressed the table

the end

* It is not lost on me that I write this post from my comfortable first world life.  I am truly grateful for the abundance of food I experience, I never go without.  And in this footnote I just wanted to acknowledge my privilege given the vast vast tracts of the global community who do go without.  Sometimes it feels a little closed eyed and lily guilding for foodies to wax lyrical about gastronomic pleasures……..when we haven’t resolved the disproportionate distribution of food to all corners of the planet.  I have no answer, I just wanted to acknowledge that it is not lost on me that I have so much food in my life that I get to enjoy, when many many others do not.

Strolling, gazing and grazing at Clevedon Farmers Markets – New Zealand

Beautiful ginormous Mushrooms - 'Out of the Dark Mushrooms'

On Sunday, back in NZ for Ma’s 60th birthday I found myself at the Clevedon Farmers Markets enjoying one of life’s pleasurable combinations – the stroll, gaze and graze. My second visit to these markets situated only 45 minutes South East of … Continue reading