Posts tagged October
Eat Seasonably in October

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.

The Year in Books: October

I'm more than a bit disappointed that I missed September's Year in Books, but I'm back just in time for October! Over the last month (and a bit) I've read Colin Elford's A Year in the Woods: A Diary of a Forest Ranger and it was one of the easiest books I've devoured recently. Not only did it appeal to me to read specifically at this time of year (large proportions of the book describe windswept, rainy days trudging through the forest, or crisp snowy mornings trying to spot the deer), it also was very different to other books I have read in that you can tell it is written by a man passionate about the woods, rather than writing. This did not make it any less enjoyable - the writing was in fact wonderful - but it was his passion for his environment and livelihood that were so endearing, and made me wonder how many of us feel this way about our daily lives.


The book I've just started to read and will continue to do so over the rest of this month is The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell. Those of you who read my last post will recall we have just got a new puppy, and even as I write this she is sat at my feet trying to engage my attention and distract my best efforts to get on with life. In fact I have just resisted and am now sat on the floor with her nose nestled into the crook of my arm. So far our attempts to train have gone fairly well, mainly I believe because we have followed Fennell's advice to ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good. Although not a concept all dog owners will be familiar will, the book I am sure will be an interesting read for anyone with a new puppy or indeed an unruly dog.


On a side note, we have finally sorted the garden out and prepared everything most things for winter. The grass has been strimmed, the patio weeded and most of the veg beds have been laid to rest. Many gardeners and allomenteers dislike this time of year as everything comes to a close and life seemingly seeps from the land as the days draw ever shorter, but I find pleasure in knowing that the earth only lies asleep, dormant in anticipation of the new year and new life.

What have you been reading this month? Have you put your garden and/or veg patch to sleep yet?

As always, for more recommendations or to take part in The Year in Books, head over to the link-up at Circle of Pine Trees and while you’re there, catch up on the other lovely posts written by Laura.

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