Tis the season to gain weight: traditionally we’d be making the best of the harvest to put on a bit of fat to get us through the winter. That may not be necessary for most of us anymore, but there sure is a glut of good food to choose from. There should be no problem at all getting your 5-a-day servings of fruit and vegetable during this wonderful season.
My favourite food in the whole world is in season right now: mushrooms! I had chanterelles at almost every meal during a recent trip to Germany, if you can find these small wild mushrooms, I highly recommend them. iVillage has posted ‘Shroom 101: The shopper’s guide to mushrooms with three pages of helpful tips and tricks, followed by a set of mushroom recipes. Go get inspired.
And then there is another favourite of mine: artichokes. Steam them gently and then just serve, letting everyone dip the leaves in home-made mayonaisse or just plain melted butter for a good and fun starter.
Fennel is an oft overlooked autumn vegetable: slice it thin and serve it in salads, cut it into chunks and add it to your soups, braise it whole or even roast it alongsie the root vegetables: it’s very versatile and gives a lovely accent to any meal. Squashes are starting to appear which you can roast or mash or even grill. Leeks and onions are in season now too and late season sweet corn is, in my opinion, at its sweetest and juiciest right now. Don’t get the shrink-wrapped stuff, find it fresh, still in the husk. I love to eat this off the barbecue: pull of the husk and remove all the strings, then wrap the cobs back up in the husks and put them on the coals (or under the grill) for 10 minutes. Yum!
My least favourite food is in season this month too, just to balance things out: parsnips. These are commonly roasted and sometimes cut into squares to allow the unsuspecting guest to believe they are roast potato. Cruel practice, and I recommend none of you do such a thing. I’ll concede they aren’t bad in a stew, but that’s all.
This is also a great time to go out and pick your own: blackberries, damnsons, elderberries and greengages are all ready for picking and often you can find them there for the taking in the English countryside.
This is also the time to stock up on apples. Leave them lying around as a tasty and healthy snack. As the weather starts to get a bit chillier you might find yourself inspired to make hot apple pie – especially if you take a look at this American site about making the perfect apple pie.