My daily Mumsnet email that I received recently started with the quote
“Ah, autumn – sweet season of soggy leaves and overpriced pumpkins. This is also an excellent season for snuggling up with blankets, bars of chocolate and books, and pointedly ignoring the ever-increasing darkness outside.”
Whilst I wholeheartedly crave the feelings of warmth and coziness this invokes, I also love autumn and can’t wait to be outdoors jumping around in the crispy russet autumn leaves with my gorgeous kiddies. Autumn for our family signifies the cool down from summer and run up to the festive season, it’s still warm enough to go outside in a light raincoat, without hats and scarves yet the shops start stocking their Christmas treats.
After burning off our energy on long walks in the woods, there’s nothing better than coming home to a hearty wholesome autumnal meal. At this point in the year its harvest time and there is an abundance of wholesome and inexpensive foods to cook with, from apples and pears to pumpkins and parsnips. This is where I love my slow cooker, beef stews packed with root veggies, veggie chilli with aubergine, lentils and kale or even a simple succulent roast chicken, they all come out brilliantly in a slow cooker. Another family favourite for Saturday lunchtime is roasted butternut squash and ginger soup, see my recipe below. For hearty warming pudds we have pear and blackberry pie, made with the blackberries picked on our walk and topped with a wholemeal scone dough rather than pastry or rhubarb crumble made with wholemeal flour, olive margarine and a bit less sugar.
You can invoke that gorgeous snugly warm feeling that comes with the change in season without reaching for the oversized box of Quality Street!