Changing Gears

by - Story: 22995

I have now unpacked my wool sweaters and long pants, and tucked away the flip flops and flimsy sundresses. The tender plants in the garden have been brought in or covered with mulch and the patio chairs are stacked up. And with most of the lettuce gone from the garden, I don’t seem to feel like salad anymore. Rather, the tomatoes are being used for spaghetti sauce and broth for lamb stew that we can linger over as the evening cools off.

As fall arrives there is always a melancholy at leaving summer behind, but then once it heads into full gear it seems that the crispness in the air and the changing colours bring a new outlook. I enjoy the golden light of autumn that seems to make us all a bit more romantic, and I love the comfort food that graces the table again as we gather round with friends to catch up on old news. The changing of gears when the seasons change is a natural part of life’s process, and letting it happen to you can be very cleansing.

So, here is your checklist to ensure you get the most out of this new season. A sort of tune-up if you will, to make certain the machine is working well and the gears do not grind as you move from one to the other…

  • Take a walk through a vineyard and enjoy the changing colours
  • Watch a sunset and a moonrise (preferably with someone so you can make the most of the romantic moment! NOTE: Dogs will do just fine, too.)
  • Bite into an apple right from a fruit stand or market stall - listen to the crisp crunch of the skin and taste the flavours of a fall day
  • If you have kids, take them to the back yard or a park with lots of leaves and jump in a pile! (If you don’t have kids and can’t “borrow” any, just blame it on the fresh air going to your head!!)
  • Savour a stew or a pot pie for dinner, and follow it with a comfy homemade dessert like bread pudding (I have included one of my recipes below for you to try)
  • Enjoy the company of good friends and toast their health – if you feel ambitious, you can even start up a gourmet club and have everyone host evenings in a round-robin format (it doesn’t have to be dinner and could even be pot luck to accommodate today’s busy schedules)

This weekend Martin and I will be doing all of those things, so we will toast your health. Here’s wishing you many happy moments in that golden light and a good start to the coming winter when we will shift gears again.


This is a pioneer recipe that I adapted when we worked on movie catering trucks. It take a few shortcuts so is a good quick recipe that produces a fantastic result!

2 eggs
2 tbsp Bird’s Custard powder
½ cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest (TIP: zest the lemon first, then cut for juicing)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger (no really, it is a tablespoon – if you don’t like ginger too much, substitute 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
4-6 pieces candied ginger, finely chopped
10 slices whole wheat bread, cubed (white bread may be substituted for a fluffier pudding)
2 cups apple, chopped
1 cup raisins or dried cherries

Grease a shallow casserole dish. Preheat oven to 325 F.
Beat eggs, custard powder, sugar and milk in a large bowl. Add lemon juice and zest and spices and mix again. Fold bread cubes into this mixture and set aside for 15-30 minutes.
Pour pudding into casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes covered with a lid or tinfoil, then bake a further 10-15 minutes uncovered. Top should be golden brown, and pudding should be set (not sloppy when the bowl is moved.)
Serve warm or cold with whipped cream, ice cream or just cream poured over top. If you want a really decadent dessert, serve with caramel sauce!

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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