Sunday, 3 May 2015

Autumn, lamb vegetable and barley soup,  garden talk and  antique-ing!

Autumn has well and truly arrived.  My favourite time of the year.  The Southern Highlands has put on a magnificent show this year.  The streets are awash with Maples and others in shades of burgundy, orange, yellow and gold.   I took the photo above on an early morning walk.  If you look carefully you will see the statue of Mary Poppins in a local park!

The cold weather has inspired  me to cook hearty soups, slow cook casseroles and poach autumn fruit.  

I came across an old recipe book which belonged to my late mother.  The recipe below is for a delicious lamb, vegetable and barley soup.  A couple of Instagram friends asked for the recipe,  so here it is.

4 medium Lamb shanks - less if you prefer less meat
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large brown onions
2 small leeks sliced
4 medium carrots chopped
3 sticks celery chopped
4 medium potatoes chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 litres good lamb/beef stock
1 cup barley

Brown the shanks in the olive oil.  Remove.  Add butter, melt and soften all the vegetables.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add barley, stock and shanks and sprigs of thyme.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a slow simmer.  Simmer until shanks are falling off the bone.  Check on liquid and add more water if needed. Remove meat from the bones,  chop finely and return to the soup.  Serve with lots of chopped parsley.  

Lamb, vegetable and barley soup

golden poached pears.
Mr R-I has had key-hole surgery so we've had lots of time at home.  Warming fires at night and trying to make final selections for our English garden tour.   

Grey's Court Garden in Oxfordshire

Wollerton Old Hall Garden

Cottage garden at Sissinghurst.

So looking forward to a return visit to Sissinghurst.  These photos were taken during our visit in September last year.  I'm sure the garden will look entirely different in a few weeks.

Vita's chair

Even the humble Potatoe vine has a place at Sissinghurst.

Finding Spring flowers and bulbs in Autumn is exciting.  I especially love white multi-layered folds of Ranunculus

The pink Echinacea are still flowering in the garden along with the Delphiniums, Verbascum and a few others!   

Antique-ing is a favourite pastime and my daughter and I had a fun day yesterday adding to our treasures!  

Thrilled with the delicate Georgian table above,

the two porcelain herons above.
and this unusual large Asian tureen.

Lastly, I'm so enjoying this bunch of flowers dropped in  by my daughter-in-law and family on their way to the beach.

Have a good week everyone and I'm sure friends in the Northern Hemisphere are loving the Spring!

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