We have been in our Cape house for most of November, enjoying the brisk fall breezes and extended autumn of the maritime climate.  We invited two couples round for dinner last week, and I debated for a while about an appropriate table setting.  Back in Canada, Christmas preparations are well underway and red/green/glitz seasonal decorations greet you at every turn.  Down here,  American Thanksgiving is still to come, and pumpkins, turkeys and cornstalks still hold sway. Fall theme it is then, I decided, but with a twist.

Drawing on the colours of our game bird plates in our display cabinet, I incorporated a navy & green ironstone pattern, and used Granny Smith apples, deep blue plums and red grapes for the centrepiece.  Artificial blackberry stems adorned the candleholders and napkin rings.  The effect was warm, but fresh, and a change from the oranges & rusts so prominent in most autumn decor.

We started with Mr. Power’s Broccoli Soup with Mustard Seeds, a recipe I found years ago in Sarah Leah Chase’s Cold-Weather Cooking.  The soup has a tremendous depth of flavour.  I substitute low-fat milk for the cream, and it’s still delicious.

For the main course, we enjoyed

Roasted Pork Loin With Maple-Mustard Crust

Classic Roast Potatoes

Braised Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

We finished with  Lemon-Buttermilk Pudding Cakes.  I made them the day before, so they would have time to set and chill.  A dollop of whipped cream, a bit of lemon zest and some blackberries for garnish added the final touches to this light dessert.  The only drawback was the recipe produced only six cakes, which I’d baked in these Juliska Pewter ramekins.  I had no “seconds” to serve, and they were called for!