I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here before (and everywhere else for that matter!), but Autumn really is my favourite season. The turning leaves, the crisp mornings, evenings that are coming in a little earlier, woolly socks and wearing layers, hot chocolate – what’s not to love? I know that whilst there are many people who just love summer, I’m not completely alone with this one. Especially in large cities, summer can become more of an uncomfortable and sticky pain than the sunny and breezy beach days we might have envisaged. So, Autumn is finally here and it’s time to switch everything including our foods.
As somebody who cooks in a very seasonal manner, salads are usually the first thing to go once the temperatures plummet. When it’s cold, grey and rainy outside, the last thing I feel like eating is some cold and crunch leaves. There are, however, alternatives like this pearl couscous and butternut squash salad are filling, healthy and seasonal without making you feel like you need to wear an extra layer to warm yourself up.
When I’m talking about Autumn and plummeting temperatures, we all know it’s not quite that straight forward. There are still days that feel oddly mild and a big, hearty stew somehow doesn’t seem quite right. This is where something like a “happy medium” comes in: a warming and seasonal dish that still fits with the milder weather. This spaghetti dish with pumpkin, spinach and walnuts couldn’t be more perfect and will also work for for vegetarians.
Potatoes belong into Autumn like…er…strawberries and cream to summer. Okay, you know what I mean! Somehow an autumnal meal doesn’t feel quite complete without a few spuds and if you feel the same, then this delicious looking and quick to prepare (15 minutes!) gratin with potatoes, stilton and bacon ticks all the boxes. Especially after a long workday, something I can prepare in less than half an hour, only uses one pot/baking tray and gives the family a warm meal ticks all the boxes.
When the temperatures really do go a little lower and at weekends when I have a little more time to spend in the kitchen, there’s nothing better and more autumnal than a hearty stew. Lamb, lentils, potatoes, herbs; all cooked slowly and eaten early evening (though most stews actually taste even better the next day) around a big table, this is the perfect food after a long walk in the brisk Autumn winds.
If a whole big stew is a bit too much work and all round “too big”, but you’re still after something warming and comforting, then this potato soup might be just the thing. It takes less time to make and can be served as a small dish to warm yourself up. Whilst it has some meat in it, you could just as well leave it out to make a vegetarian version.
Of course Autumn food doesn’t only work for savoury dishes. Nuts and apples are very seasonal and make a fab combination for sweet dishes or big celebratory cakes. Add some caramel on top like I did on this hazelnut and apple-cream cake and you’ll have one autumnal feast that is hard to resist.