It never hovers long does Autumn, it sweeps in; on a Poppins like wind. When kites shimmy and spin on translucent threads. Winds whip and tousle unsuspecting children’s heads. They huff and blow like the bad wolf once did, stripping summer from plants and trees. A squall of winds screech as they undress limbs and bend boughs till they break; bringing gardeners to their knees.
Autumnal lawns are dressed in luscious shades of gold and red. Acorns and nuts are shaken free in time for creatures to harvest. Rains pummel the earth as colours slip from green to burnished orange and browns. Birds wait to catch fat worms, as they pop up from the sodden earth, pink and plump ripe for the feast.
Gardens give up their bounty, Root veg for soups and hearty stews, sustenance to keep out the chill. Autumn stocks our larders with hedge picked fruit, from bramble berries to rosehip and sloes. A new darkness crawls across the face of the evening clock … as thick as a London smog.
Long walks kicking leaves and collecting cones, puddle jumps, pink the cheeks of carefree folk. Kids join the huddle before a snapping fire, where tales of spook get told. Eyes soon droop, as kicking leaves and conker fights take their toll.
But no sooner it has arrived it’s time to go, it’s job done for another year. Now, we make ready for morning frosts and white sparkling roofs, as we Kiss another Autumn goodbye.
Sweet potato & carrots lightly spiced Autumn soup.
6 large carrots cut in four length-ways.
4. Medium sweet potatoes again cut lengthways. (about the size of the carrots)
I large onion
4 oz of split soaked red lentils
A head of garlic
3 pints of stock vegetable or Chicken
One large potato cubed.
Spices and condiments. All 1/2 teaspoon. Turmeric, red chilli flakes, ground cardamom, flaked sea salt, black freshly ground pepper, ginger grated or ground, cayenne pepper, a tablespoon of olive oil, a half stick of butter.
To garnish, either kale or Cavallo Nero de-stalked and shredded. A splash of soy, olive oil and a half teaspoon of flaked salt, to barely coat. one tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Optional: garnish. Crumbled feta cheese and a sprinkle of ground red peppercorn.
Roast on a baking tray or large shallow pan with everything on the tray coated in olive oil.
Carrots, sweet potato, garlic slices.
onion Turmeric, ginger ground cardamom, cayenne pepper, until onion is translucent.
Pour fresh chicken or veg stock in a crockpot with ground salt and pepper and one cubed potato and 4oz red split lentils (soaked) and cook on med heat until the potato falls apart.
When the onions are translucent, add to the cooking liquid in the crockpot on top of the stove. and add the tray of veg soft from the oven breaking up the veg as you add it. Once stew-like add the butter and more water if required, it needs to be quite thick. Put the crockpot in the already hot oven. Cook low, 125°c in the oven for an hour.
Add red chilli flakes blitz with a stick blender add more liquid if needed.
Toss the shredded greens in flaked salt and a tiny coating of combined olive oil, soy and sesame oil, ( do not soak) Then add enough to barely coat the shredded stalkless Cavalo Nero. Put on a baking tray 150°f (not on fan cook, or it will blow away as it dries out) ten mins should have it dehydrated.
Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan and put to one side.
Watch the Nero carefully as soon as crisp put in a bowl sprinkle the sesame seeds over and use to garnish the soup. Serve with hunks of warm buttered bread.
It is so ludicrously warming and tasty you will want make batches to freeze.
Do any of you have a favourite comforting seasonal food? I would love to read about it in the comments.