Although this post is excessively late in that we only have a few days left of the month, I still wanted to post it as one of the key seasonal meals of October is served up on the 31st - Halloween. I've never been quite sure what to make of this annual celebration; trick-or-treating didn't really take place in our household as I was growing up and it would often drift by without me or my sister really noticing. However, I'm more than willing to embrace the joys of cooking a hearty meal and partake in a spot of apple-bobbing should the mood take me. But what to cook?
The obvious choice is pumpkin, and how much simpler could you get than pumpkin soup in a pumpkin? Head over here for a delicious, easy recipe.
Or if you've got a sweet tooth, why not try this pumpkin and ginger teabread - perfect fresh from the oven with a thick smearing of butter that soaks through the crumbs.
If pumpkins and squashes aren't your thing (and despite being an autumnal food-lover they're not my favourite thing in the world), go for something a little less orange and try a chicken and leek pie with celeriac mash. If you've never tried out the glorious vegetable that is the celeriac, make sure you do this year; it's a triumph and works especially well roasted alongside other root vegetables if you're not in the mood for mash.
If you're thinking ahead to Christmas and beyond, why not make the most of a seasonal glut of apples and try your hand at cider making? Darina Allen has the easiest apple cider recipe that dates back to the 19th-century in her recipe book Forgotten Skills of Cooking (featured previously in this post) and I have used this recipe with no problems for the last couple of years. Simply do the following:
- Grate 3kg of apples (the recipe says cooking apples but I used a mix of both) into an enamel/stainless steel/fermentation bucket. I use a food processor to do the grating for me as I make large quantities.
- Cover with 7.5 litres of cold water. Stir with a sterilised spoon every day for a week.
- Strain and stir in 900g sugar, 50g fresh ginger and 3 cinnamon sticks.
- Leave for another day then strain again through muslin.
- Pour into sterilised bottles and seal tightly.
The theory is that making the cider now will provide enough for over the festive period, but if you leave it a little longer I have found that the taste does improve.
Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.