I can smell autumn even though the green is still vivid all around and the lawns almost as dry as they’ve been since June. We’ve had an absolutely gorgeous summer in the UK so don’t you dare complain – just look forward now to apples, game and chestnuts.
Before those, look out for the end season fruit and veg bargains: I got about 2 kilos of blueberries for a fiver from the local market on Friday. True, a lot quite squishy and I had to pick over them ALL, separating into eaters, compoters, cakers and jammers but I’ve got two handsome purple jars sitting on the counter now and half the cake gone.
So if you get some good, cheap blueberries, not necessarily in the quantities I went for, roast some. I call it compote because I don’t quite know what to call it: blueberries roasted in a shallow dish with only a pinch of sugar, at 220C for 10 minutes. They keep the shape and release the flavour – and you can do all kinds of wonderful things with a jar of those kept in the fridge. Make a blueberry fool or a blueberry Eton mess; toss them on buttermilk pancakes or make a blueberry parfait – blueberries will make your breakfast and a good breakfast will make your day.
If you look for a more traditional use of the berries, here’s an interesting blueberry poppy cake. Or bake the blueberry upside down polenta cake which looks really weird when turned out of the tin, but tastes wonderful. Swap the flour in the recipe for ground almonds for fully gluten free version.
Dinners now: for prepped-and-frozen meal ideas moussaka might be a good one. It is a lot of bother so makes sense to prepare a truckload of it and freeze in portions. It’s so gorgeous though you won’t regret the effort and yes, potatoes in moussaka are an authentic Greek thing - I checked at source.
Similar but meatless: spinach and ricotta lasagne. I actually prefer this version to the classic lasagne with beef ragu but if you want to go for it, here’s an excellent recipe for ragu bolognese.
For those who don’t care for meal plans or don’t have the forward food planning streak, you can really quickly cook a chicken chow mein on a weeknight. Or you might like stir-fried salmon with greens, a one wok dish.
Finally, you really should get a head of new season cabbage for homemade sauerkraut – it’s super healthy and much better than vinegary preserves. Though these quick crunchy cucumber pickles are worth mentioning here too.
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