Hello everyone. Well… Autumn has well and truly arrived!
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
The nights are getting cooler (and darker) and it’s no longer shorts and T shirt type weather!
I don’t know about you, but this change in weather always makes me crave comfort food.
And.. Halloween is just around the corner! (I’ll try to hide my excitement!)
It’s easy to head for the unhealthier comfort food this time of year but autumn is the perfect opportunity to eat wonderful, seasonal fruit and vegetables in comforting recipes.
Here are just a few fruit and veg that are coming into season now.
Want some inspiration for tasty, healthier recipes?... why not try these?
Hearty Autumnal Soup Serves 4
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
(or spray-type oil)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 onions, finely chopped
1 stick of celery
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, chopped
1kg pumpkin or butternut squash
700ml vegetable stock (use
1-2 stock cubes)
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions and garlic for 5 mins on a low heat until soft – be careful not to burn! – add a bit of water if required. About half way through, add the cumin and continue to stir.
Peel and deseed the pumpkin or squash, and cut into chunks. Add to the pan along with the carrot and celery, and continue cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
Add the vegetable stock to the mixture and season with pepper. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin/squash is very soft.
Lastly, purée with a hand blender. If you wanted an extra smooth consistency, pour the soup through a fine sieve. If you plan to only eat a couple of portions straight away, divide into portions and freeze!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
200g of mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 red, green or yellow pepper
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 can baked beans (choose lower sugar version if possible)
1 can mixed beans (drained)
400g can chopped tomatoes
Dice the onion, crush the garlic, and slice the mushrooms and pepper.
Heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat. Add the veggies and cook until soft and the onions are translucent (5-10 minutes)
Add in the smoked paprika and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for around 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Add the baked beans (and sauce) and drained mixed beans and season with pepper. Simmer for another five minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley, add a dollop of natural yogurt or low fat crème fraiche and serve with brown or basmati rice and salsa. If you don’t fancy rice – it’ll be g
reat with wholemeal tortilla wraps or toasted bread.
2 large carrots
2 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
1kg (2lb) butternut squash
8 large sausages – opt for reduced fat sausages, Quorn sausages, or those with at least 70% meat
3 sprigs sage
1 tbsp olive oil
Set your oven to 200ºC or 180ºC fan oven.
While that’s heating up chop your carrots, apples, onion and squash into large chunks and arrange in a roasting tray with the sausages.
Drizzle everything with the olive oil, and add a sprinkle of black pepper and the sage leaves. Shake up the tray so that everything’s coated.
Pop in the oven for 40 minutes to an hour until everything’s golden. Adjust the time if your sausages are not thick ones. Serve with steamed cabbage and mash or jacket potato for the perfect bonfire night bangers!
Just to note: The Department of Health advise that we try not to consume over 500g of red or processed meat per week. As this recipe does contain sausages, just be sure to watch your processed meat intake for the rest of the week!
Halloween stuffed peppers
6 peppers, any colour
450g 5% fat minced beef, 5% minced pork or turkey mince
4 slices wholemeal bread, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
125ml mild chilli sauce – you can add chilli powder if you want more heat!
1-2 tablespoons English mustard (ready mixed) – start with 1 tablespoon and add more if you want more heat
2-3 tablespoons W
Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a 20x20cm or similar sized baking dish.
Lightly mix together the minced beef, egg, bread cubes, onion, tomato, garlic, chilli sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pepper in a bowl.
Wash the peppers, and cut Jack-O-lantern faces into the peppers with a sharp paring knife, making triangle eyes and noses and pointy-teeth smiles. Slice off the tops of the peppers and scoop out the seeds and cores. Stuff the peppers lightly with the beef stuffing and place them into the prepared baking dish so they lean against each other.
Bake in the preheated oven until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is cooked through and juicy, about 1 hour.
Apple & blackberry oat crumble
55g plain wholemeal flour
25g rolled oats or medium oatmeal
25g sunflower or olive spread
25g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 eating apples (or around 375g unprepared weight)
150g fresh blackberries
2bsp unsweetened apple juice
1 ½ tsp clear honey
Preheat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4. Place flour and oats in a bowl; lightly rub in sunflower or olive spread until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Place apples and blackberries in an ovenproof dish. Mix together apple juice and honey; pour over fruit and stir gently to mix.
Spoon crumble mixture evenly over fruit to cover fruit completely. Bake in oven for about 4
0 minutes or until fruit is soft and crumble is cooked and lightly browned. Serve hot or warm in its own or with 0% fat thick Greek-style natural yogurt or fat-free plain fromage frais.
Swap fresh raspberries or blueberries for the blackberries.
Try using pears instead of the apples.
The cooked crumble is suitable for freezing for up to 1 month. It also reheats well.
Baked or stewed fruit (without the crumble topping) is ideal with porridge or yoghurt for a healthy breakfast.
Vanilla pancakes with berries and cinnamon custard serves 6
55g (2oz) plain flour
1 large egg
150ml (5fl oz) skimmed milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
Few drops vanilla extract
120g pot light custard
55g (2oz) 0
% fat Greek yoghurt
240g mixed berries to serve, eg blueberries, strawberries and raspberries
Large pinch ground cinnamon
½ tsp icing sugar
1. Put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the egg into the middle and pour in about 50ml (2fl oz) of milk and half the oil. Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the egg, milk, 1 tsp of oil and the vanilla. Once all the flour is mixed in, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste.
2. And a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the batter. Still whisking, pour in the remaining milk until you have a batter the consistency of single cream.
3. Heat a small frying pan over a moderate heat and wipe with oiled paper. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture over the base in an even layer. Leave to cook for 30 seconds. Flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds.
4. Continue with the rest of the batter oiling between each one. Stack the crepes onto a plate. Keep warm in a low oven, or freeze for future use.
5. Beat together the custard and the yoghurt with the cinnamon. Serve the crepes with plenty of berries and a spoonful of cinnamon custard. Dust very lightly with icing sugar.
I hope you have a Spooktacular Haloween!