So October has arrived and I don’t know about you but you really notice the evenings are drawing in much quicker now. In fact, in a number of weeks we will be putting the clocks back an hour as daylight saving time takes effect (28th October). This period of the year can be of dread to some people, especially those that suffer from SAD (seasonal affected disorder). The longer nights meaning we hibernate into our homes (and burrows), the long summer evening memories fade quicker than the twilight that precedes the night.
I touched on the season in my last blog, but personally I welcome the autumn. Not only does nature put on a fantastic show of colour with the trees, beginning the process of shedding their leaves and falling dormant until the spring, but all the scrumptious food and drink that forms part of the harvest. The vegetable patch and orchards are offering cooks and animals plenty of food to see them through the winter months that lie ahead.
If we take a look back a few hundred years, the autumn bounty provided the cook with produce to create the menu that would comfort the soul through the colder months with treats such as the warmly spiced cakes and sticky apple recipes.
In fact, you can be overrun with food at this time of year, relatives turn up with carrier bags full of fruit or left over veg from the allotment. It can be quite daunting having so much bounty. However, there are a few recipes that will allow you to extend the life of these delicious foodstuffs. Chutneys, jams and pickles can be made by following a relatively simple recipe that will make the boxing day turkey conducts seem far more appealing.
But what about cake?
Well, this is where I really get excited as Halloween and bonfire night are fast approaching and my taste buds start to salivate with the thought of eating a slice of spiced apple cake or the sticky parkin that has been maturing for a few weeks. Parkin? Yes until 16 years ago when I met my Abi I had no idea of what parkin was, being from the South Midlands, I was brought up on Victoria sponges. I have shared our recipe for parkin cake as I think everyone should try it. You can find the recipe by signing up to our weekly recipe emails here along with other delicious recipes.
When I think of comfort food, the word pudding always springs to mind. Apple pie, rhubarb crumble, sticky toffee pudding fill me with that warm feeling that it's all going to be ok. Sitting down with a nice helping of a comforting pudding after a hearty meal or just for a treat at supper time does it for me. Sparking nostalgia of being a child waiting at my grandparents dining table. Always wondering if there will be second helpings or will grandad 'slip' whilst pouring the custard or cream! These memories gave me the inspiration for creating our comfort pudding push pops, each one representing a memory of my childhood. The rich toffee sauce of the sticky pudding or the vanilla ice cream melting over a warm slice of apple crumble, or the treat of a gateaux brought out on special occasions.
So grab a slice of parkin, maybe warm it up and serve with a good helping of custard. Or just eat in as it is. Trust me you’ll start feeling warm inside and the autumn nights won’t feel so bad after all. After all whats better than being all snugly and warm on a cold autumn night.