September in the Garden
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
September; Pears a Plenty, the #GrapeReport and Aubergines
In Ireland September heralds the cooler dewy mornings and a gentle lull of activity in the evenings as the sun goes down. The garden in many ways is still in fullest bloom with the Dahlia's taking centre stage and the Canna-banana and Gingers showing off their fiery orange and red flowers. I grow with the poly culture philosophy in mind. Edibles woven in with ornamental plants creating what I feel is the easiest and most rewarding way to garden.
In the little glass house the tomatoes are in their second flush and yet definitely on their last legs taking every last bit of sunshine that comes their way.
Close behind them are the ripening Allecante grapes and the Black Beauty aubergines. Last year I culled most of the grapes to leave only two trusses to ripen in the hope to have a more abundant crop this year. It certainly worked and we have easily 6-7kg of grapes to harvest this year. Out of the 3 aubergine plants we only got on average 1 aubergine per plant- but they are mighty in size and we can look forward to Aubergine Parmigiana for dinner. Here is my recipe for Open-baked Aubergine's.
This year our conference pear tree is laden with fruit, so much so that we've had to secure some of the large branches to the fence in the hope they won't break! First pickings this week were with the promise of a fruit crumble. I absolutely love cardamom in all things savoury or sweet. I often add vanilla extract to pear dishes but thought cardamom would add a lovely fragrant note with a robust crumble topping. Conference pears are super sweet wether ripe or cooked unripe. There is the temptation to add more sweetener to the fruit as its simmering but I feel the cardamom spice is enough to give a lovely sweet flavour. To give the crumble a really satisfying texture I add lots of ground seeds, oats and some oat bran to the butter, sugar and flour mix.
Do give this recipe a try, it's lovely served with a dollop of Greek or coconut yogurt (I like this one). Perfect for these autumnal evenings or a tasty breakfast if there's any left over!
Pear and Cardamom Crumble
8 conference pears
1 heaped teaspoon ground cardamom
1tsp coconut oil
1 cup flour of choice (I use white spelt)
1 cup oats
2 table spoons oat bran (optional)
handful sunflower seeds
handful pumpkin seeds (I grind these in the nutri-bullet)
1/2 cup of sugar-of-choice (I like coconut sugar as it has a lovely malty flavour- demerara works great)
120g of butter (or 100g of coconut oil* if preferred)
First peel and roughly chop the pears. In a skillet-type pan melt the coconut oil with the teaspoon cardamom and the pears and slowly soften for 20 minutes. Don't be tempted to add any liquid as the pears will release lots of juice whilst cooking.
Next mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub the butter in to make a crumble textured mix.
*If using coconut oil, keep an eye on the baking time and temperature as it is likely to catch and brown very quickly.
When ready to bake top the cooked pears with the crumble mix and place into a hot oven (180C) for 30 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
As with all fruit crumbles these would be super made in individual serving dishes for a dinner party or can be frozen as a whole dish or the crumble topping individually. I often make a double batch of the crumble topping to simply top the fruit for a quick, simple and satisfying fruit dessert.