Thursday, March 20, 2014

Autumn, School, Pies, Pasties and Lard

Autumn moonrise

Autumn has set in early this year. Already the children are shivering as they set off for school, still in their summer uniform, their winter rain jackets and woolly tights not even bought yet. Summer has disappeared in a blur of homework. Projects have been laboured over on weekends and it seems like we’ve hardly swum since school began.

Middle Daughter's pre-industrial farm project

The two girls have both started at our son’s school, one in high school and one in primary, both making the transition from Waldorf system to conventional, from cosy home school group to busy, bustling classes, even though it’s a small school by any other standards. I’ve gone from believing homework was something that the kids should be able to manage themselves, to being on hand every day after school to go through Maths, consult on ideas for English, test spellings and rack my brains for any fragments of knowledge to do with Accounting and EMS. Luckily for Middle Daughter, her big brother is a whizz at Accounting and Maths, so she can rope him into helping her. And Afrikaans is my husband’s department – he can get by in it, but the grammatical demands are challenging and this is the area where the girls both need to catch up, so there is much angst over orals and essays.

Homework, for once without parental intervention needed!

All this to say that life has been fairly taken over by school and work, with little time left over for blogging or thinking up new food ideas.

Peach Pie

I’ve been running on autopilot in the kitchen, except for an inspired excursion to Pomegranate Days where I found this delicious recipe for peach pie, that I’ve since made twice, to get in quick before the end of the cling peach season. You really do need the firm flesh of the cling peaches for this one and it was a hit with the whole family, so it’s worth all the hassle of peeling the peaches and fighting the flesh from the stone.

My other new cooking venture was Cornish pasties, a bastardised version that uses mince instead of steak, but is delicious nonetheless. I’m still working on the best pastry recipe to use. I know real Cornish pasties use lard, but does anyone know where you get lard in South Africa? It used to be a bog standard ingredient that you found in any supermarket in the UK, but I have never seen it on the shelves over here. Seems like it’s a speciality ingredient rather than a cheap and cheerful staple. Anyway, I’m going to get hold of some and try again soon. We’re visiting my mum in the UK in July and will actually be going to Cornwall for a few days, so I’ve got some motivation to get my version as authentic as possible before we get there and my culinary cover is blown!

There have been pear muffins too.

Anyway term is with a sigh of relief drawing to a close at the end of next week and we have a brief respite of a week’s holiday, followed by a topsy turvy April with a long weekend break for Easter and then a whole week off at the end of the month when two public holidays fall in the same week. And hopefully our autumn will be long and serene to make up for our briefer than usual summer, so that we can picnic, go to the beach and maybe even fit in an open air movie before the end of the season.

Edited to add: I tracked down some lard.... at a trendy butcher's, in a jar, organic and oh so chichi! Designed for those doing the paleo thing. Lard, a gourmet ingredient and priced to match... can you believe it, my UK readers!!!

And an autumn sunset just to finish off with.

Have a happy weekend everyone!


  1. Hi Kit,
    I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm a South African living in the UK and just started on the blogging journey and love reading other people's blogs. We are moving back to SA at the end of the year so seeing your lovely pictures is great and makes me look forward to being back home even more. Looking forward to more of your posts!

    1. Lovely to meet you! I'm glad to have another UK/SA connection visiting! And good luck with your move home.

  2. I don't know about lard... since I live in NY, I make my pasties and meat pies with pre-made pastry from the grocery store. I know they're better in Scotland, but I just use what I can get hold of. Isn't lard just grease from bacon or something? Seems like you could cook your own meat and save the fat/lard... yes? Your pies look GORGEOUS and YUMMY.

    1. Hi Marcheline. Yes lard is pork fat, but I think it's rendered from a particular part of the pig, so I'm not sure if just saving my bacon grease would work, though it might add some flavour to the pastry. I'm going to keep trying - I have a local small pig farmer that I can still ask.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!