High five, weather fans! Autumn is absolutely here brimming with evenings that smell of bonfires, tights that crumple at the knee and pubs that smell of damp leaves and cosy dogs.
Because autumn is the most sensual of seasons it makes me want to embrace flavours that pack a warmer punch and tastes that deliver comfort. It’s the time for slow cooking, for stewing and a slow bake. But it’s also the time of year when I want to go on long walks before it gets too cold or for sitting in the pub all afternoon drinking red. So, if you want to cheat your way to producing some lovely Autumnal treats without having to while away the whole day in the kitchen – here’s my top 3 cheats for seasonal deliciousness.
I produce a lot of bespoke marshmallow creations in my bakery but as soon as the caramelised apple flavour is on the kitchen make list then everything in my life glows with cosiness. And guess what’s hitting the limited edition boxes this week? Lovely Caramelised Apple. It was whipping up this flavour that inspired me to create another warming treat:
Blackberry & Ginger Quick Jam
- 750g blackberries
- 100ml oz water
- 400g jam sugar ( with added pectin)
- juice of 3 lemons
- a 3cm knob of fresh ginger ( or to taste)
Wash the blackberries and pop in a pan with water and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sugar and grate the ginger ( as much or as little as you like) , stir until it has dissolved and boil for a further 15-20 minutes - until it has reached 105C on a sugar thermometer. Transfer to sterilised airtight jars to cool. When it has cooled, chill in the fridge where it will thicken to a jam-like consistency.
Smear over crumpets or spread on toast for the rest of the month.
Now you know that I never use flavourings in my marshmallows, however, this product is the exception to my experimentations. Colgin's Pecan Liquid Smoke is a great way of adding smoky notes to your baking, cooking and drinking. You can pop a couple of drops into spiced rum cocktails for a bonfire night warmer or add a dash to a late summer fruit tart (such as plum) for a flavour of sweet burnt- toastines.
I read this week that there is an actual business acronym for the money spinning Pumpkin Spiced Lattes frenzy that happened to Starbucks. It’s called the ‘PSL effect’. Yup. Now that you know that you have to promise to never to use it. However, it is proof of how successful pumpkins are at making us feel like we need to get in on a bit of Autumn. So start adding pumpkin seeds to your bakes to stir up those seasonal senses. I like to caramelise mine by mixing the seeds with brown sugar and butter, a a shake of cinnamon and spreading over a sheet of baking paper and toasting in the oven. You can then add them to cakes- like carrot cakes with spiced cream cheese frosting, apple tarte tatins or even as a crunchy top to your marshmallows. Eat whilst wearing a camel polo neck jumper and watching You've Got Mail on Netflix.