When October arrives, the days are shortening, a cold wind is creeping into the air and the trees are turning rich shades of gold and red. I can’t help but look forward to cosy evenings, and the promise of the festive season to come. (Probably not helped by the increasingly early sale of Christmas decorations in shops!)
I always imagine autumn as a perfect scene with beautiful colours and the start of preparation for Christmas celebrations, but in reality, rain becomes the daily forecast and a sodden layer of fallen leaves lines paths and roads with brown sludge. The temperature is definitely not warm, but not quite cold enough for thick jumpers and boots, and I’m never really sure when to pack away summer dresses and sandals to switch to long sleeves, polo necks and thick tights. I start the mornings in a dilemma whether to wear a waterproof coat to work ‘just in case’, and end each day craving hot food, comforting flavours and easy to make recipes.
I think that this is the perfect time to celebrate the last harvests of summer, and from our kitchen garden this year, we’ve been inundated with tomatoes and courgettes. Combining these with slow careful cooking, herbs and spices makes delicious combinations that are perfect for this in between season. My other favourite flavour this time of year is apple. I don’t think you can get a much more comforting and joyful dessert than an apple pie or crumble, and that’s why when I pulled this list of my top 5 autumnal recipes together, apple pie was right at the top.
1. Comforting autumnal apple pie recipe
This apple pie recipe was inspired by the delicious Bramley apples from the tree in my parents’ garden, though sadly this year we didn’t get very many. The filling of the pie is full of apple flavour, tangy, and lightly spiced with cinnamon and mixed spice.
2. Slow-cooked curry sauce recipe
This is an absolute hero. It has gone through many changes, been to university and back, and then smartened up into a properly indulgent, rich curry sauce recipe. I have tried lots of different curry recipes and I love the diverse options available, but always find myself going back to this one. It will happily go with meat, fish or veg, and made in a large batch is a perfect for keeping in the freezer as a quick and easy dinner option.
3. Roasted tomato and pepper soup recipe
What is autumn without a decent soup? This recipe celebrates late harvests of delicious ripe tomatoes, and turns them into a warming, joyful bowl of food. Serve with a pinch of chilli, crisp croutons and a slice of fresh bread.
4. Quick and easy spicy sausage pasta recipe
This is a super quick, tasty recipe to liven up a mid-week dinner time. Using sausages instead of making meatballs cuts down the time, and with so many flavoured sausages available, it’s also a great opportunity to add in lots of extra flavour in every mouthful.
5. Easy vegetable tagine recipe
A great way to use up lots of courgettes (if you grow your own!) this is a delicious recipe to spice up your vegetables and make getting your 5 a day an absolute pleasure. Chop everything up and throw in a pot together to cook slowly and infuse those all-important flavours. Definitely one to brighten up a dark autumnal Monday evening.