Autumn colours, winter food

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I’ve always loved autumn. In fact I’ve often said that October is my favourite month of the year. The trees look so pretty and there’s  a special smell in the air that heralds warm winter coats, boots and thick black tights.  And as the weather starts to get colder my mind turns towards what I suppose would be described as ‘warming winter food’. I like salads but they somehow just don’t cut the mustard as the nights draw in.

My winter menus will no doubt include an increase in soups and more casseroles-type dishes.  I often prepare for a couple of days at a time and where possible I make extra portions so that I can freeze them for later use.  We have a large freezer but even so, when I’ve been engaged in a cooking marathon, I can run out of space.

Favourite soups include Spicy parsnip, Tomato & red pepper and Leek & Potato (I prefer this one left quite chunky). We also like ‘Susan Soup’, a Mediterranean tomato & bean soup which we named after the cousin who served it to my daughter and I back in 1993. The reason I can be certain of the date is because she told me she’d found the recipe in the current issue of Good Housekeeping magazine and I went and bought a copy. The recipe was duly cut out and has been in my recipe folder ever since. Two recent additions to my soup repertoire are my friend Margaret’s French Onion (a meal on its own when served traditionally with French bread and gruyere) and her Pea and Mint creation.

I borrowed a soup maker from my daughter to see whether I might like on but having tried it once I decided it wasn’t for me. However, Slimming World Magazine has on offer a different type (the kind I had thought I’d like before trying daughter’s)  and I’ve ordered one, hoping that this fulfils my requirements.  The soup maker cooks the vegetables and then blends them into soup with a choice of smooth or chunky. The advantage I see here is that once the timer is set, it needs no further attention which leaves me free to be doing something else. This appeals to my increasingly busy lifestyle. I often wonder how I ever managed to work full time? I’ll report back on the soup maker in due course.  I’m not a great one for gadgets so hope that I haven’t wasted my money.

A lot of people like to use slow cookers but not me. I have one and it’s very useful for keeping things warm. It’s ideal for large quantities of gravy or custard when I have a large family lunch but for casseroles and the like, I’m not at all keen. After everything has been marinating together for several hours, I’d defy anyone to identify whether they were eating a chunk of potato, celeriac, parsnip, swede or a Jerusalem artichoke- it all tastes the same, so totally does the gravy or sauce permeate each piece! As for the meat, who can tell what it is? Casseroles in my house are cooked in the oven.

6 thoughts on “Autumn colours, winter food

  1. Autumn usually doesn’t arrive here until late November or early December. It is October 24, here, and today’s high is 106F (41C). But I’ll eat soup at any time of the year.

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  2. I hate to say this, but husband had to show me how to use it. He mastered it in seconds. Mind you, until I had the professional oven cleaner start coming about every 9 months about four years ago, I had no idea that my oven had a self-clean facility! I use it occasionally – when I remember! I have to pour 3/4 pt of water in the bottom of the oven, a dollop of washing up liquid and switch to the icon on the dial, and bob’s your uncle, it cleans the oven. All I then have to do is wipe it out about 20 minutes later. Simples! And it took me about 14 years to find out!
    Margaret P

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    1. Haha. Perhaps like me you don’t read instruction books! I don’t k ow whether mine has a self clean function. Might be an idea to find out!

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  3. This is am-a-zing! I found exactly the same with my slow cooker – everything came out tasting exactly the same! Why, I thought, should I need one anyway, when I have a perfectly good oven and I can cook dishes for their right length of time at the right heat.
    Yes, I love leek & potato soup left in chunks, too! And while I’ve not tried a soup-maker, I’m also not one for gadgets. The best gadget I have found is the timer on my oven, I set it now for all kinds of things, boiled eggs and so forth. It had only taken me 16 years to work out how to use it! Your thoughts on gadgets and cooking and the kinds of foods you like mirror my own almost exactly. And I love October, too, before winter sets in, although spring is my favourite time of year.
    Margaret P

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    1. I thought at first that it was just me who didn’t like slow cooked food but I’ve discovered a few others that feel the same. It’s useful, as I say, for keeping large quantities of liquid warm but that’s all I use it for now. I am guilty of not using the cooker timer – MUST TRY HARDER!

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