Autumn is a bounteous season: apples, blackberries, kale, squash, plums, pumpkin and pears are all at their very best right now. Which means it’s the perfect time to try out some new seasonal recipes that make the most of this seasonal deliciousness. Eating seasonally wherever possible doesn’t just mean you get the tastiest ingredients with maximum neutron, it also means your meals will have a lower carbon footprint. Buying from local farmers’ markets or small grocers supports growers in your area, and doesn’t always involve pricier purchases. And there are few things more welcoming or homely than the smell of stewing apples or roasting squash.
So, strap on your apron and dig out your favourite table linens for some fall feasts to treat friends, family and yourself. Here are 7 quick, low-cost, no-fuss dishes that we will be trying out over the next few weeks.
Quick lunches – Seasonal Recipes
Roasted butternut squash soup
This recipe, from Mary Berry’s Foolproof Cooking, uses ingredients that you will have in your store cupboard and is very quick to prepare. The key is roasting the vegetables ahead of time, so if you have the oven on for dinner, prepare these and cook them at the same time. That way all you have to do the next day is heat the ginger, add the stock and warm the vegetables, letting it bubble away for a matter of minutes before blending to a silky smooth consistency. You could always roast double the quantities of vegetables and use them cold in salads for more lunches later that week. Just add rocket (arugula), some toasted pumpkins seeds, feta cheese and a slick of dressing.
Comforting, quick and super tasty, this is something you can whip up at lunchtime between working or doing the chores. You can exclude the cream if you think it might be too rich (but in our book cheese, leeks and cream are a match made in heaven). It’s just a matter of some quick chopping, light stirring, a moment of grilling and then some delighted guzzling.
Main meals – Seasonal Recipes
Kale and chickpea curry
A great way to get reluctant kids to eat kale, this recipe makes enough to freeze portions for another meal, when you don’t have time to cook properly. Simple, healthy ingredients with warming spices to boost your immune system and please your taste buds. Perfect for a weeknight supper with friends, or a family sit down meal (serve with naan bread for mopping up the juices if that helps your kids try new things).
Creamy pumpkin risotto with bacon and leeks
Pumpkin and squash work brilliantly in risottos, adding a softness and creaminess to the sticky rice. This fantastic recipe does require you to stir for around 25 minutes, but as it doesn’t need much brain power you can be getting on with other things at the same time: keeping up with your social media, listening to a podcast, talking on the phone, reading a book. Spoon in one hand, book in the other. That’s the way we roll.
Braised swiss chard with garlic and lemon
This is perfect as a side dish alongside some grilled salmon, or some tasty oven-roasted sausages. Chard can be an acquired taste, but combined here with garlic and zesty lemon juice it really comes into its own. Great on top of crusty bread for a light supper as well as in combination with more substantial dishes.
Sweet treats – Seasonal Recipes
If the smells from this recipe don’t bring people flocking into your kitchen we don’t know what will. Cinnamon, pecans and apples are the perfect bedfellows, and here they are gently baked with sugar and butter to produce a soft, sticky completely more-ish desert. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate crowd pleaser. This is also good for using up any blemished or windfall apples as the skin wrinkles as they are baked anyway.
You can’t go wrong with a pear/chocolate combo, but this tart also looks beautiful as well as tasting delicious. Sliced pears are placed on top of a flour-free chocolate sponge, creating a lovely pattern, which is important because, as they say, the first bite is with the eye.
Now if you’ll excuse us, this has made us totally ravenous so we are off to rustle up something simple, seasonal and quick for lunch. Bon appetit!