October seasonal food & stocking up for winter

It has been one of the most gorgeous October Saturdays for as long as I can remember! The sunshine was really warm and it felt like a treat after a week of mixed rain and sunshine, warm and cold weather!

There are still lots of foods growing on the allotment, it is a transition time between summer and winter vegetables.

We picked the last of the butternut squash and marrow, the last of the runner beans and the turnips are lovely. Already ready of the winter vegetables are the brussel spouts, the leeks, kale and some winter cabbages.

I have a chicken and ham broth for dinner and some of the broth will become butternut squash soup, one of my favourites, I marinated and roasted the butternut squash with herbs and a little curry. When they are ready I add the broth and make a soup, it can be set aside and gently heated once it is time for dinner!

I got some apples from a friend, freshly picked of the tree they went straight in to my pots, I made apple sauce for the freezer and it will taste like a fresh sunny autumn day with my winter Sunday roast, best had with a nice bottle of red and shared with friends!

I also did an apple and lime jelly, it can go with savory and sweet but also with cheese – cant wait to taste it.

My hot sauce

My hot sauce didn’t turn out quite as hot as i had imagined it, the home-grown hot cayenne peppers didn’t taste anything more than a an ordinary pepper, such a disappointment. It wasn’t a total failure as it worked out more like a relish and my satans kiss chilli did give it a mild kick.

So I did a new try and it turned out really well, the result is a hot and fruity hot sauce with a great aftertaste, it could be a little bit hotter but all the flavours are there and it will add and enhance to almost any dish.

Last weekend I found a wonderful chestnut tree, I picked so many it was impossible to eat them all in one go. It did occur to me that I could store them but there are so many still to come I made a chestnut puree and now need to think of what to do with that, I think it should be interesting with chocolate, perhaps a chocolate and chestnut fondant?

I found a recipe for pickled peaches, apparently eaten in the south with the Thanksgiving turkey and I did a couple of jars, very curious but it looks fab! I have never pickled any fruits before so this should be interesting.

I picked rosehip, perhaps the last of the season, very ripe and full of flavour! One part will become rosehip liqueur, have never done that before but in theory it seems as if it should work and could be really nice. The rest is becoming rosehip jelly, cooking now so fingers crossed it will set, I should know in a couple of hours.

I have more tomatoes drying in the oven and the next set of “fire in your belly” liqueur was just done so have been bottled, looking very pretty – especially next to the liqueurs that was bottled last week, “apple & spice” and “smooth blackberry” – they need a few months to set and should be ready just in time for Christmas! I have actually run out of space for my liqueurs and might put some in the attic and bring them down next year!

The weekend was not long enough but also found a little time to make cobnut pesto  wonderful on a sandwich with ham, cheese and lettuce! Sometimes it doesn’t have to be complicated or take long to make! Yesterday went to some friends for dinner, had wonderful lamb and even I got totally excited about the desert, a kind of baklava with crunchy filo pastry and filled with nuts and chocolate – just melting and I could so easily have eaten several portions! But wanted to keep a little room for cheese! It was such a great evening. As a bonus I came away with wonderful apples and a crabapple and chili jelly, tasting a lot like Christmas!

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