Why do I love autumn? I speak to many people who lament the end of summer and dread the start of winter, but autumn is my favourite season. It’s frequently still warm and sunny, and I love nothing better than those crisp autumnal mornings walking the dog through the colourful leaves in the local woods.
From a culinary point of view, I’m also ready for the change in my diet that is signalled by the new produce of the season. I love a summer salad, but I’m now ready to embrace warming soups and stews, and I love getting my slow cooker out of the cupboard at this time of year.
Warming spicy root veg and squash soups will form the greater part of my lunch menu for the coming months. And I think there is nothing better than coming in from a long day to a warm house filled with enticing smells from the slow cooker, not to mention the fact that it is even quicker than any ready-made or take-away meal.
My meat choices also change from quick cook steaks, chops and chicken breast to the cheaper cuts such as shoulder, brisket and belly. Slow roasted in the oven they fill the house with a delicious aroma and I think they are often more flavoursome than the more expensive leaner cuts: for me fat equals flavour.
Then there’s the fruit; fabulous local pears and apples, foraging for blackberries in our local woods. And the summer has been so wet and warm there seems to be an abundance of figs and late raspberries. Everything tastes better when its been sun ripened and eaten almost as soon as it has been picked. I’ll be freezing some of the berries for breakfasts during the winter months, and making lots of pies and pastries with the massive bag of cooking apples my neighbour has given me.
So, my salad spinner is taking its winter home in the place where the slow cooker has lived for a few months, and I’ll be dusting off my hearty recipes. Check out my Instagram and recipe pages for more inspiration.