Leaves are falling all around, the northerly wind turns to a south westerly, bringing the cool air up from Antarctica in turn the veg of summer calls it a day. Plants lay weary and limp, leaves discolour, they begin to rot, returning the goodness they acquired over summer back to the ground as the perpetual cycle continues. It's an ominous time, there's a morbidity to these days. One might suggest its the polar opposite of that awareness of the re-birth of spring.
There is however a charm to this slow down in nature, it comes in the form of the fruit of summer. It hangs ripe and full, like a mothers bosom, nurturing and comforting. It fills you with not only wonder for the beauty of nature, but puts you at ease with the knowledge that the larder is stocked, we will survive.
It's a lifestyle I've grown accustomed to. There is no doubt that its not mainstream to live like this in this age, but its the way people have lived for generations, utilising summer's warmth to grow food for a crisp winter. Now it's the time to pickle and preserve.
As winter rears its frigid head, I long for hot stews and warming dishs. Mornings with eggs and home cured bacon, improved with a dash of that hot salsa picante, a chilli sauce that's hot and smokey and makes everything ok. I love growing chilli in the warm months. Even in our tepid climate we can successfully grow them in pots, bathtubs and anything that has good drainage and retains the warmth of a summers day.
Nurturing many varieties gives me a bit of culinary choice, some are hot and some not so much. Some work well as a garnish, some in cooking and all of them help make a nice chilli sauce, my salsa picante. It's a mix up brew of all my chillies, but it always has the addition of smokey chipotle or mulato chilli giving it that distinctive mexican vibe. This season I've likely made over four litres of this powerful conduction. It will warm my meals over winter with summer chilli heat. Its exciting to have it bottled at the ready for those fresh eggs and smokey bacon on my sourdough. My life is now made exciting by home made chilli sauce. No longer rock and roll. But pretty stoked.