The leaves are turning shades of orange, the weather is crisp and the apples are now ready to be picked. Matthew Evans turns to hearty, comforting dishes as the nights get cooler and the days get shorter, from twice-cooked pork to a decadent chocolate cake.
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12 Aug 2013 - 9:38 AM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2021 - 3:48 PM

We’ve watched the place dry out over summer. Watched the hay paddocks turn from forests of grass to semi-nude and then sit, mostly stagnant, over the drier months. But now things are green again. Grass in this part of Tasmania has two distinct growing seasons, spring and autumn, with little happening in winter, and just a bit in summer, depending on the rain.

Under still, often impossibly blue skies, autumn is a time of fruit pickers and apple pies. Of tarte Tatin and poached pears. We jar the quince, when there’s too much for us to eat in one go. The summer’s roosters are usually prepared for the pot, a process that involves us boiling water for the plucking... and plucking up the courage needed for a task never far from grim. Some of the spring porkers are ready for the pot, so too are vealer, if we can bring ourselves to take them at six or seven months of age.

Near the pines I find mushrooms – slippery jacks and saffron milk caps – which taste incredible just spiked with garlic and grilled. Same with those from the middle of the paddocks; the true field mushrooms that taste of something primordial. For those not trained in autumn foraging, however, for safety’s sake, I recommend you buy yours from the shops.

 

Photography by Alan Benson. Food preparation by Ross O’meara. Styling by Charlotte Bell.