I’ve said it before, autumn is without doubt my favourite time of the year, the crisp golden leaves that litter the ground and all the promise of the Christmas festivities to come. There are many things that make this season so special, the first appearance of your winter woollies, misty mornings, duvet days and the heating going on for the first time. But, perhaps one of the best things about this time of year is the comfort food, it’s all about pies, pastries, casseroles and stews and I’ve been busy scanning the archives to bring you my favourite autumnal recipes.
Some dishes just seem to warm you from the inside out and the three recipes above will do just that. Each is special for it’s own merit, the steak and ale is one of my old favourites, a perfect combination of buttery pastry and rich gravy. Those of you who read my blog regularly (I’m hoping that’s a few of you) will know that the Tuscan Fish Stew is probably my best recipe to date and my boyfriend loves it, we make it all the time! And last but certainly not least is one of my newest recipes, but it gets a big thumbs up for seasonality and it was so delicious I couldn’t help but include it in my top three.
Love it or hate it pumpkin is very much the ingredient of the season, so here I go jumping on the band wagon and giving you lovely folks a recipe (at the risk of churning out another recipe the same as everyone else – which in this case can only be a good thing). Perhaps the drink of the season, the pumpkin spiced latte is exactly what you need to be drinking at the moment, wonderful autumn spices with the merest hint of festivity, what’s not to love?
Try to image what autumn would taste like, and you still wouldn’t be close to knowing how good this drink tastes! The delicious spices and dark brown sugar with a huge dollop of whipped double cream and a scattering of nutmeg. I’m slightly concerned that I’ll be making this again and again – it’s pure joy!
Waking up on a cold October morning, which also happens to be the dawn Halloween, what better time to give this decadent beverage a try? A magnificent blend of strong espresso, warmed milk, puréed pumpkin, dark brown sugar and spices all topped off with delicately whipped double cream and lashings of dark orange chocolate and freshly ground nutmeg – I’m in spiced pumpkin latte heaven. Starbucks who?
Speaking of Starbucks, I’m lead to believe that there is actually no pumpkin in their spiced pumpkin latte – that’s right NO pumpkin! They use sugary syrups to get the flavour instead of actually using natural ingredients. Barmy!
Using natural ingredients doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the sweetness, this recipe wouldn’t be right without a little sweetness as (dare I say it) pumpkin can be a little bland, a bit of a nothing flavour, or so I feel – and the bitterness of the espresso needs rounding off slightly. I opted for dark brown sugar – seeing as it’s best for gingerbreads and such recipes I thought it would be perfect here – and it was. Used sparingly you’ll get the perfect match of bitter vs sweet.
With top marks being awarded for seasonality, I certainly feel this is one to impress your friends with, invite the girls over for a catch up and serve up these beauties – they’ll go down a storm any time of the day. Pop in a little cinnamon stick in for everyone to stir their whipped cream in with and serve with some gingerbread cookies… It’s like taking a big bite of autumn.
Start by brewing some espresso or very strong coffee.
Spoon the pumpkin, sugar and spices into a saucepan, heat gently over a medium heat until the flavours meld together (about 2 minutes), you'll start to smell the wonderful aroma of the spices.
Add the vanilla extract and coffee, then using a whisk vigorously whisk in the milk.
Allow to sit for a moment whilst you whip up your double cream. Using the back of a large kitchen knife, run the blade horizontally along the whole back of the slab of chocolate, this will create little curled flakes of chocolate.
Pour the coffee mixture into warmed mugs, top with a big dollop of double cream, grate over some nutmeg and top with the chocolate curls.