‘ve been putting this post off in hopes that I’d have a recipe to put up, but the broken oven in our flat has thwarted me. I managed to make a birthday cake in a kitchen fairly foreign to me – a towering chocolate affair, with whisky buttercream and caramel ganache – but the recipe needs tweaks before it can appear here. Instead, a yawning content chasm has opened.
The fan and element have both blown, and by the time the new parts are fitted, it will have been three weeks since the bad news was delivered via WhatsApp. Three weeks of mentally planning meals and then remembering they’re an impossibility. Three weeks of being desperate to bake something to use up the 40 eggs I bought last weekend. A slight surplus, but worth it – they taste different in a way that’s hard to pinpoint. Richer, perhaps? Either way, they’re part of the dearth of creative cooking, lately. It’s all eggs on this, eggs on that. (Really, it’s a pretty good problem to have.)
The oven man, Charlie, will come on Wednesday. He’s a big bloke, and bald, and he wears a ring on his right ring finger rather than his left. I was bemused when he first came and asked, Do you have any herbal teas?
He possibly wasn’t prepared for coming into the kitchen to find he had a choice of several (I hid the Kusmi, though, because that is for special occasions). My favourite latest addition is Pukka’s three cinnamon tea, which makes my boss crave apple pie and which is a perfect accompaniment to curling up with a book. Thick books are in season, too, just as much as figs, and Jerusalem artichokes, and apples, but you can devour but not eat them, and so we’ll move on to the edibles, right now.
It’s never really not apple season in the UK, just a flicker of appleless life in July and then on to the next batch. The UK’s apple heritage is ridiculous, with more than 2,000 varieties recorded on the island, and according to the National Fruit Collection, 1,107 of these are good for the picking in October, but the supermarkets we all rely on typically only stock about five types. Five! There are more than five searchable variables relating to apples.
And yet they’re an essential part of British autumn, making their way not just into steaming bowls but into the songs we sing as children. What would Autumn Days be without “and the taste of apple pie”? What would Michaelmas Daisies be without “low hung boughs of laden apple trees”? And, most importantly of all, what would my mum’s famously excellent sausage rolls be without a little apple in them?
- Apple and marzipan cake @ Beanie’s Wholefoods (which just won Best Independent Retailer in the Observer Food awards!)
- Date and apple slices @ The Dinner Bell
- How to make the perfect apple strudel @ The Guardian // Felicity Cloake
- Apple and crab cakes @ Breakfast by the Sea
- Caramelised apple cinnamon fudge @ Lay the Table
Find more apple recipes here!
I get weird about figs – like good eggs, I get over excited and buy too many because they are cheap and delicious, and of course their season is short. They’re the only fruit, really, that is essentially ready-made jam, wrapped up in a deep autumnal purple case.
- Fig and honey yoghurt tart @ Spoon Fork Bacon
- Fig and orange cheesecake @ Frugal Feeding (pictured)
- Roasted lamb with figs, radicchio and chicory @ Ottolenghi
- Fig and dark chocolate loaf @ The Guardian // Nigel Slater
- Cardamom fig baklava @ The Wandering Fig
These fiddly little things are just coming in season. Although they weren’t introduced to Europe until the 17th Century, their time now reliably runs from October to March, giving us plenty of time to practise getting around their knobbly bits.
- Jerusalem artichoke, pear, and goat’s cheese winter salad @ RetrEAT
- Jerusalem artichoke boulangères @ The Veg Space
- Jerusalem artichoke soup @ Manger
- Jerusalem artichoke cake @ Tin and Thyme
- Seared scallops and roast Jerusalem artichokes @ the Telegraph // Diana Henry
Want more? You greedy sausage. You’ll find last year’s October round up here!
Image courtesy of Cyril Z/Flickr under Creative Commons