Autumn may signal an end to longer days for another year – but it’s also the time to welcome back comfort food and all those feel-good flavours.
A busy time due to new school terms, Halloween and Bonfire Night, Autumn gives us lots of opportunities to experiment with delicious seasonal products. So, dish up some easy one-pot meals and hearty stews – just what the family ordered for dark chilly evenings.
Celebrate the diverse abundance of UK-grown produce with traditional classics such as toad-in-the-hole, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips – and roast dinners. Or why not spice up your weekly menu and celebrate National Curry Week in October with an adventurous spinach and squash lentil dahl or a well-loved chicken korma – and there’ll be no need to ring for a takeaway at the weekend!
You can make the most of UK strawberries, blackberries and rhubarb while they are still available. Bake some fresh fruit crumbles and freeze extras to serve later in the year.
Using seasonal ingredients at their best, these delicious tarlets are easy to make and are perfect for a starter or light main – they’d even work for brunch!
375g block all-butter puff pastry
300g mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 garlic clove
25g parmesan, finely grated
1 egg beaten
Handful parsley leaves, chopped
Flour, for dusting
- Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and cut out four circles, about 15cm wide. Leave to chill on a lined baking tray in the fridge.
- Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
- Heat a large frying pan and add the butter. Once melted, add the mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Season, then take off the heat and mix in the parmesan, parsley and garlic.
- Score a 1cm border around the edge of each tart, then spoon the mushrooms
into the centre circle.
- Brush edges with the egg and bake for 20 minutes until puffed up and golden. Serve immediately.
This traditional dish layered with lamb, rice and spices is the ultimate comfort food. A celebration of aroma, colour and flavour it’s the perfect Saturday supper or a crowd-pleasing curry when entertaining. Switch to veg for a no-meat alternative.
2cm ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1tsp chilli poweder
1 tsp salt
3 tsp garam masala
2tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
- Place all the marinade ingredients into a bowl and coat the lamb for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
- In a lidded, flameproof casserole, heat the oil and fry the lamb for 5-10 minutes until
it starts to brown. Add the onion and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions soften.
- Add the stock and tomatoes, then the rice, cinnamon stick and bay leaves and bring back to the boil.
- Stir in the spinach and some seasoning and cover the dish with a tight layer of foil before adding the lid.
- Cook for 20 minutes then leave to stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Serve with yoghurt, Indian pickles and naan bread.
800g ripe cooking plums, halved and stoned
50g light brown sugar
1 orange zest, finely grated
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp plain flour
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.
- Put plums into a baking dish. Mix together the sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and flour and sprinkle over to coat. Add a little water.
- Blitz or rub all the crumble ingredients into fine crumbs. Scatter over
the plums and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with custard or cream.
Sweet and comforting, this dish is guaranteed to become the soup of the season. Make in big batches and freeze for even speedier suppers.
1kg ripe pumpkin
1 onion, coarsely chopped
200g salted butter
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100ml white wine
750ml vegetable stock
- Remove seeds and skin from the pumpkin, then cut into 2cm cubes.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a moderate heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
- Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Then add the pumpkin and cook until it starts to turn golden.
- Add the wine and cook until reduced to a syrup consistency.
- Add the stock and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is very soft.
- For safety, allow the soup to cool a little then transfer in batches to a high- speed blender.
- Pass through a very fine sieve and season with extra salt to taste.