When the leaves are falling and providing an incredible range of autumn browns, ochres and yellows, we can try to translate this into a delicious plate for the family. So get out in the forests or enjoy some cool air in the garden and let your imagination go wild with some of the wonderful seasonal foods on offer.
Naturally, in the autumn, we see mushrooms sprouting in the woodlands and surrounding countryside. Anyone who has ever journeyed to Italy at the end of the summer may have eaten an earthy tasting risotto. Of course, don’t forget to stock up on decent risotto rice, whether that is an arborio or carnaroli, the favourite rice of many chefs!
The truth is that quality risotto rice is the key to this autumn favourite. What makes this type of rice special is its ability to absorb all the seasonal flavours and release natural starches to make your dish creamy and easily thickened.
The classic risotto can really take all the colours of autumn with orange, brown, yellow and red.
With pumpkin or other squash types, we can enjoy shades of warm orange in the kitchen and flavours that naturally combine with garlic, ginger and turmeric. Of course, a seasonal squash can also be used to make a delicious sweet pumpkin pie, which offers the opportunity to really indulge our plates with spicy nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Or, what better than to have a bowl of steaming spicy pumpkin soup waiting for you when the nights are drawing in and the days are getting shorter.
If you want rich shades of brown then you’d better get mushroom picking! Understandably, most of us don’t always have enough time to take to the forest, so check out your local market for baby Bella brown mushrooms, shiitake, cremini or oyster mushrooms for adding to your creamy risottos. To finish off a plate of creamy risotto, why not add a pinch of smoked paprika to add to this harmony of autumn shades and colours.
If it is yellow your culinary heart desires, then grab some end of summer sweetcorns and indulge with some fresh salted butter.
On a cold autumn day, what better than to cook up a pot of sweetcorn soup with maybe a dash of red-hot chilli to add a nice kick to your plates?
To offset all these colours, let’s also celebrate with all the brassica vegetables we can use, which include broccoli, cabbages, and Brussel sprouts. They can inspire the chef in us and result in flavoursome dishes for all the family. Whether you add bacon to Brussel sprouts or stir fry broccoli to perfection, it’s a great time for using these types of vegetables.
Even the humble cabbage can turn into an autumn feast with the addition of a few hazelnuts or a few slices of fresh granny smith apples to make a heavenly coleslaw. Yes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, particularly when you can choose from such a wide range of apples in your local shops.
So, take advantage of the apples in the market and don’t forget about the joys of a homemade apple pie. This dish is hard to beat for a family treat, and don’t hold back on the cinnamon. Adding cinnamon to an apple pie really gives the pie that comfort food feeling.
Our best advice is simply to enjoy the best of the autumn kitchen and buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. It’s surprising how many dishes and recipes there are to be enjoyed at this time of year. Many people are sad when the summer is over but, just like Vivaldi’s music, we should celebrate when the leaves fall and indulge our taste buds in this magical time of year!