Autumn Bounty

20/09/2012 21:26

Make the best of what Autumn has to offer and enjoy some delicious fruits and vegetables of the season.
Orchards are brimming with cripsy apples & pears, plums and figs.
The Blackberry season spans the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. These berries are great used in Autumn puddings made by combining blackberries with the first apples of the season. Go on, enjoy a blackberry crumble with lashings of custard!

Smashing Pumpkins! their not just for Jack o' lanterns you know. I just love pumpkins and Squashes, they come in many shapes and sizes and I just love their colours. They really make great winter comfort food and are very easy to prepare and cook and are delicious in sweet and savoury dishes. Bake a pumpkin pie.

As well as flavoursome and colourful fruit and vegetables, the Autumn bounty also offers Nuts - hazelnuts, walnuts and lovely sweet chestnuts. Check out the nuts at Vintage. : )

Autumn is just full of glorious aromas and flavours. Enjoy some Autumn spice too.

ALLSPICE ~  has a taste and aroma similar to that of several spices all rolled into one, cinnamom, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper. used as marinade mixtures to flavour pork and chicken. It is also used in baking - christmas puddings, cakes and biscuits.

CLOVES ~ have a sweet pungent and strong aromatic flavour. They are used in many spice mixs, such as curry and chinese powders.  Whole cloves are used to flavour liquids when cooking fish, poultry, meats & rice. Cloves go great with apples, so try adding to your apple pies, also taste nice used in gingerbreads.  The name clove is believed to be dervid from the French word 'clou' meaning 'nail', which is an apt description of the apperance of this spice.

CINNAMON ~ The aroma of cinnamon is quite exotic, warm, sweet and fragrant. The cinnamon sticks can be added to casseroles, rice dishes, mulled wines and when poaching fruits in syrup.They are also great added to mugs of hot chocolate. Ground cinnamon is used in cakes pastries and biscuits.

NUTMEG & MACE ~ are different parts of the same fruit of the nutmeg tree. The fruit splits when ripe to reveal brilliant red arils encasing the brown nut. These red arils are the Mace, which turn to an orange colour when removed from the nut and dried. Mace and Nutmeg smell gloriously aromatic, sweet and warm. Both the spices have a similar flavour, with the nutmeg being slightly sweeter than the mace. Mace is used in savoury dishes and nutmeg, though used in savoury  dishes as well, is especially complementry to milk puddings, cakes and drinks. A little grated nutmeg added to a filling for cherry or apple pie is just wonderful!  Mulled wine and egg nog is also delicious with a little sprinkle of nutmeg.

The Emperor Henry VI had the streets of Rome fumigated with nutmegs before his coronation.The Portuguese were able to keep the source of nutmeg and mace a closely guarded secret for a century, from the 16th century until they were driven out of the spice Islands by the Dutch, who also jealously guarded the source of their spice treasure! By 1760 warehouses in Amsterdam were full of these spices, but they were burned in order to keep the price of the spice high. The price of mace in London at that time was 85-90 shillings per pound.

GINGER ~  Fresh root ginger, has a hint of lemon and a refreshing sharpness when it is cut into, can be grated, chopped, crushed and used in many dishes, like Indian and oriental. Ground ginger is used in baking, and also in chutneys and jams. The name for Ginger is believed to come from the Sanskrit ( an ancient Indo-Aryan language) Singabera, meaning 'shaped like a horn'

STAR ANISE ~ pairs well with other fall spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It works really well with maple, cocoa and citrus fruits. Star anise is the fruit of evergreen tree, native to South-west China. A beautiful spice. The yellow narcissus-like flowers yield fruits that open out into a eight-pointed star shape.
Each point of the star-shaped husk contains a shiny amber-coloured seed. Both the seed and husk are used for the ground spice. Star anise is one of the most important spices in Chinese cuisine, and it is the dominant flavour in the Chinese five spice powder. The Chinese five spice powder is made up of equal quantities of - Szechuan pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel seeds and Star anise. Grind all the ingredients to a fine powder and store in an airtight container.

Star Anise goes really well with duck or pork. And can be used in long-cooked recipes.
Try putting a whole star anise into the cavity of duck or chicken along with an onion before roasting the bird to add a Oriental-style flavour to the meal. Also ground star anise imparts a penetrating, sweet fresh liquorice aroma which is wonderful in biscuits and as part of a warming spice mix in any cakes or puddings.

1 tsp whole or ground cloves
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

This spice blend is a perfect flavour combination for those fabulous apple pies!  Some cooks may prefer to leave the cloves whole. Mix all the spices together and store in a airtight container. Use in stewed fruits and fruit pies filled with - plums, pears or rhubarb.


1 tsp allspice berries
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 inch piece cinnamon stick

This is a typically British spice blend and used in a variety of cakes, and puds- fruit cakes, gingerbread and christmas puddings. Grind the allspice, cinnamon & cloves to a fine powder, mix well with the nutmeg and ginger. Use at once or store in a airtight container.

And here's a  few more ideas for those bountiful crops of Orchard fruits & garden delights!
 Jams and Chutneys