I don’t know about you but I’m over the summer, well and truly done with it. It doesn’t help that this weather can’t quite make up its mind whether it’s March or October – it’s no joke when you leave the house in a winter coat then come home drenched in sweat. But until we get proper autumnal weather conditions, I can but dream… of soup, sausage and mash and roast chicken on a Sunday afternoon.
For me, autumn is my favourite food season but this doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen – there are plenty of quick and easy recipes to help you create delicious autumn fare during the week as well as on a long cold weekend. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking and (slightly more importantly), cooking…
The thought of homemade soup might be a daunting one but it doesn’t have to be. My current favourite is the straightforward version of the classic leek and potato – the recipe can be found right here on Fiver Feeds – and it takes about 40 minutes to prepare.
There are no expensive ingredients involved (and by expensive, I mean ‘meat’) and you can easily adapt it to suit vegetarians or non-vegetarians. The last two times I’ve made this, I boiled up a frozen chicken carcass at lunch time and by five o’clock, I had some lovely fresh chicken stock to provide the soupiness. Of course, this bit is more of a weekend activity, but if you’re preparing leek and potato soup during the week, just use vegetable or chicken stock cubes – they’re hardly going to break the bank.
I prefer to whizz up everything using a hand blender before I serve but the beauty of this soup is that it can be dished up chunky-style if you so desire.
It’s also ridiculously easy to make a bean and pasta based soup. Just make up the base of a tomato sauce by frying some chopped onion and garlic before adding a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes and then some stock. Bring all this to the boil before simmering and seasoning with something suitably Italian before cooking the pasta and the pulses in the broth. If you want something more minestrone-esque then you can pop in some sweetcorn and shredded cabbage too, just before everything has finished cooking.
And now for the bangers and mash. This is fairly self-explanatory, but I like to add a few twists to the essential elements. There are a handful of products I am happy to spend a bit more money than usual on and one of these is good sausages – it really does make such a difference. Cheap sausages taste, well, a bit cheap and their texture leaves a lot to be desired.
I usually just use some good mashing potatoes, butter, milk and seasoning. If I’ve got a bit more time I push the potatoes through a sieve to get a smoother mash but if you’re not fussed about lumps then don’t stress too much. A handful of chopped spring onions in the mix adds a bit more bite and when it comes to gravy, I fry some sliced onions in butter, add a tablespoon of flour then whisk in some beef stock (from a cube) until it’s a nice, thick consistency.
See, autumn food = easy as pie. Or rather easier than pie. Much, much easier.