Sunday, 16 November 2014

30 Days of Autumn

“All the leaves are brown… and the sky is grey”…. Words which were written about dark days in the USA dreaming of the warmer climes of California, but somehow to me, they seem most fitting this November in the UK as we coddle ourselves in scarves and take our warm coats out of their Summer hibernation. 

I find the food of Autumn comforting central heating for the soul, since I find the climate and conditions something of a challenge! 

What is in season right now? 

For starters and main courses, great building block ingredients would be mussels, autumn lamb, venison, mackerel, guinea fowl, duck, goose, grouse and crab. 

Butternut Squash and pumpkins (it’s just been Halloween, so you probably sensed there were about a million uses for pumpkin flesh for after you carved your Jack O’Lantern!). So versatile, they are perfect for roast veg, risotto, pasta, soups and salads.

A very happy gourd, Selcuk market, Turkey
 Broccoli, celery and mushrooms are always great ingredients to throw into new season starters and mains.
Lots of wonderful root vegetables; potato, sweet potato, celeriac, leek, onion, turnip, swede, beetroot, parsnip, carrot. 

Summer is never a good time for making your own chips. The potatoes of Summer are too waxy and don’t make fluffy and pleasant chips. So now we have out more floury chips back, it’s chip season again. This is both good and bad news for people like me!

Winter leaf; savoy cabbage, white cabbage, purple cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts. Healthy, mineral rich and full of dietary fibre. 

Hardy herbs and new season aromatics; thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaves, garlic
New season mushrooms, Selcuk, Turkey
Fruits which come into their own are; apples, blackberries, plums, cranberries, quince, pears, 
elderberries, chestnuts, dates. Perfect for something simple, hot and a childhood throwback; crumble! 

My home cooking goes into casserole and stew mode as the temperature drops. 

Many people swear by slow cookers as a simple way of getting dinner done while-you-work with the commitment of getting ingredients and browning done in the morning paying you back with a perfectly cooked dinner when you get home. If you are a slow cooker newbie, you might find my guide on slow cookers helpful:

One dish I love to make in my trusty (ancient and much loved slow cooker) is Cocido, the lunchtime favourite dish in Spain:

Another Spanish style slow cooker stew is this recipe of mine:

Turkish Cypriot food is a particular favourite of mine, and a great cuisine for finding flavoursome ways of cooking Autumn lamb. This stew is simple and hits the spot:

A stovetop stew which can be rustled up even on a weeknight is my French lentil stew, using either lentilles vert or puy lentils, depending on your access to the authentic ingredient or your budget:

Tabletop stew, as served up in Sirince, Turkey

The oozy, boozy apres-ski classic, Tartiflette has got to be another winner for chilly days:

And comfort food classics never go out of style in these short days and long nights. Who doesn’t love Macaroni cheese? Well this twist puts the veg back into the old school favourite:

I hope these ideas and thoughts will help put you in mind of Autumn cooking, because it seems to me that the light salads and suppers of Summer just don’t seem sustaining enough. I have written this post as part of a blogger project called “30 Days of Autumn” where bloggers specialising in many different things have come together to celebrate the season. The project has been started by Forest Holidays who provide forest camping and chalet options for people who love the outdoors and nature. 

A real campfire.... Sirince, Turkey

Outdoors freaks, photographers, family and children bloggers, arts and craft bloggers and of course, food bloggers have come together to contribute. You can find a great summary of all of their articles and posts here:

I found some other great Autumnal recipe ideas as a result of other bloggers getting involved in the 30 Days of Autumn challenge. 

Here are some which I would love to give a try…

Helen of the brilliant Fuss Free Flavours has featured her spicy butternut squash gnocchi with sticky harissa spiced onions:

Karen of Lavender and Lovage has created a full Autumnal menu which can be cooked in your cabin at any of the Forest Holidays sites, including Michaelmas Dumplings with Blackberries and Apples Mussel, Onion and Parsley Chowder and Rhubarb Crumble Tray-Bake Cake:

1 comment:

  1. Your blog has really inspired me, I’m so happy to read this. Chinese Food San Francisco