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October Cottage Cooking Club, Warm Salad of Mushroom and Roasted Squash


Welcome to the October edition Cooking Along with the Cottage Cooking Club where food bloggers from throughout the world share their kitchen cooking experiences in the preparation of foods from the cookbook, River Cottage veg everyday, written by British author and TV host, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. This months recipes chosen by our fearless leader, Andrea, at The Kitchen Lioness, notes from a very small German Kitchen, reflect the seasonal ingredients and dishes of fall. Andrea’s beautiful photography and well written stories, often surrounding adventures on various landscapes throughout Germany, have made Andrea’s blog an enjoyable place for me to wander and perhaps upon a visit you will find the same experience too.


October has been a month flourishing with activity, continuously moving along from event to event, and upon reflection, its all been sensational leaving much to be grateful for, including some great food. We had a lovely whirlwind few day visit with Nicola and Chris from Wales, who additionally provided the great honor of Bob and I joining them on the field hockey pitch the previous game day weekend with their daughter, Rebecca, celebrating her Senior Day, and we, symbolically representing as her “American Family” over these past four years. Surely its been a blessing having such wonderful people in our lives. What a terrific weekend to catch up with so many former players and families as well as to get acquainted with new girls on the team and their families. And too, a special occasion that another of my favorite loves, former international player, Gina, visited from Germany. Wrapping it all up into a major special package was having a little extra time with my all time favorite former American field hockey player, my own daughter Alex, who is now working in Baltimore, not in field hockey, but in, yes, you guessed it, another sport, baseball.


Just before the arrival of Nicola and Chris, my dear friend Bill who I acquainted in the Hong Kong airport fifteen years ago came for a brief overnight visit coinciding the same day with two trips to the 30th street train station between hours of each other, one for drop off and one for pick up. Now my friend Bill just moved to DC after having lived in China for twenty-five years. He’s quite an interesting person and a great conversationalist. So it follows that despite my repeated attempts to communicate a sense of urgency in needing preparation time for the arrival of Nicola and Chris, and despite my repeated attempts to confirm that I wanted to have plenty of energy upon their arrival and could under no circumstances stay up too late talking, now what do you suppose happened? I didn’t have everything perfectly prepared, and of course, we stayed up too late conversing over cocktails, so there you have it. Do you have a friend like this? They simply dismiss urgency, and by the time they are ready to depart you wish they were staying on longer. Yes.


I prepared a nice four course meal at home on the second evening of Nicola and Chris’s visit which we also shared with our next door neighbors, Alan, also from Wales, and Anne from the Bordeaux region of France. Now you might guess that just what your guests from Wales want to do on their visit to the states is to meet other people from Wales. Well maybe. Still, Alan, having followed Rebecca’s field hockey career over the past four years, not to mention he is a Welsh rugby fanatic and our friends have a world class rugby player also in their family, kept the evening quite lively and spirited, along with our crafted Maker’s Mark Manhattans, some nice wines, and a lovely dessert liqueur that Anne had brought from her summers visit in France.


October also brought forth many other social engagements, and how could I miss at least one fall day out at the orchards picking an assortment of apples for pies, a Galette, an old fashioned apple cake, some applesauce maybe? In the midst of things I’ve been taking a food photography class in Philadelphia which has been most worthwhile, but I suppose like most things there is a tendency to a bit of awkwardness when learning and actually doing new things. And to add even more fun to the busy mix, once I got going in the food photography class, that then naturally led to learning Light Room, a super photography program and file system.  Photographer, Allison Zaucha, who I wrote the Best Grilled Cheese I’ve Ever Had Post around, following her food photo shoot at my home a couple weeks ago has been my key ongoing instructor in this capacity, preventing the learning curve from being painful, in fact, even making the whole experience down right fun.


Well, this all brings me to the point that I was not able to prepare all of my desired River Cottage veg everyday choices this month. There were rather a couple of recipes I had been looking forward to, though I’ve still a basket of baby beets laying in wait in my refrigerator for the Baby Beet Tarte Tatin. My favorite dish of the month, shared and enjoyed by guests twice, was the Warm Salad of Mushrooms and Roasted Squash. Topped with some Stilton Cheese surrounding the slightly bitter arugula, this salad is a very nice flavor sensation and is elegant enough as a salad course for a dinner party, or a luncheon. 


Having procured two of the largest locally grown cauliflower I’ve ever seen at a farmers market near the apple orchard about an hour away, I also prepared the Roasted Cauliflower with lemon and paprika. I like the idea on a bit of the spice hit onto the cauliflower but might omit the lemon, or at least reduce it on another juncture. Still, for many folks like me, roasted cauliflower is just a no brainer, good stuff.

It seems November is quickly upon us and I look forward to next months selections on the Cottage Cooking Club, and, having gotten quite fond of many in the group look forward to resuming, even going back on some missed Posts in this interim, probably not before October 31st though when my other side of the house next door neighbors will be here for our annual traditional Halloween dinner. Like I said, its been a month full of activity, so how else to finish it out then?!


To view the October selections chosen by other members of The Cottage Cooking Club click here.




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