After the challenges of what is usually a disappointing summer – weatherwise at least – we are often treated to a rather beautiful September. All summer long, folk up and down the country have been chased indoors from picnics, fetes, celebrations and barbecues by plant-ripping hailstones and sudden gusting winds. Sadly, grey skies and Great Britain seem to go hand and hand. You get used to it.
But most starts to Autumn lead with calm and settled skies. Often tepid-warm and blindingly-bright, the lowered sun skims trees and glints off our pale stone buildings. Absolutely stunning. I’ve always thought this should be the time to have barbecues. And so we do. I know the kids are back to school but hey, they gotta eat. May as well be outside with the chance of a bit of a run around with the football, or trampling some plants.
We may not be in shorts, or sporting much in the way of bare limbs, but while the evenings are still fairly elongated we try and drag out our coal-burning cooker as often as we can. I actually prefer cooler weather barbecuing: standing by a hot grill, eating hot food, while being hot is not my idea of fun.
To be perfectly honest our family barbecues are often of the butcher’s-best sausages, grilled vegetables and bunged together salad variety, with perhaps a foil-wrapped pudding – rescued, come bedtime, from embers as we pat our too-full tummies.
Because we often don’t know it is a nice day until we are well into said day, not much planning happens. No flicking through cookbooks or consulting web pages, just a ransack of the freezer and vegetable bin. But, sometimes we get a decent run of the old golden orb and I put on my thinking cap. Yesterday was such a day.
To celebrate this late, bone-warming fillip I pulled together silk-jacketed corn, a virgin packet of sweet white miso, some coconut butter, a lime and couple of packs of tofu and called it dinner. With of course a bunged together salad (coated in a fabulous dressing. Give me some credit), and a fab fruity skillet cobbler. The grill-top skillet cobbler is for the next post, so have some ripe and seasonal plums and berries handy.
Tonight I’m not sure what Miss R and I shall have for dinner. Mr A is away coastal camping with work colleagues, so the portions of whatever we decide on will be smaller, and very likely healthier: I am in no doubt that sausages, tortilla chips and sweets will feature quite highly on the camping menu. There was talk of garlic snails and langoustines, but I think they were just winding me up. As for why I am not there with my colleagues and friends: a) I am holding the fort with Miss R, b) I have fully-loaded pincushions for joints and, most crucially, c) I have a bladder the size of a gnat’s handbag. I am not a happy camper.
By the way, the grilled miso-coconut butter corn and tofu can be done under an oven grill/broiler, or on a stove-top griddle pan. I tried it out to be sure, and it was absolutely delish. And with the added bonus of no thieving chickens.