by alice | Oct 25, 2016 |

Autumnal Treats

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To some, autumn is the season of indecisive weather - when you can get rain, shine and (god forbid) a flurry of snow in the spaces of minutes, let alone hours. But October does not only bring brisk winds and early morning mists, but introduces gold once more to the countryside. Woodland becomes an array of yellows, oranges and browns and dawn and dusk are accompanied by a gilded light. “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” indeed, autumn has a number of festivities to enjoy such as Halloween and Bonfire Night, and how better to enjoy them than with some scrumptious food?


Halloween

Forget shop bought sweets, this Halloween have a go at making your own toffee apples? A quick and simple treat, all you need is golden caster sugar, vinegar, golden syrup and, of course, apples. Put your apples in a bowl and cover them with boiling water as this will help removing the waxy coating on the apple skin and help the caramel to stick. Dry your apples off and twist off the stalks before pushing in a wooden skewer. Set out your apples on baking parchment, and put water and sugar into a pan on a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then stir in the syrup and vinegar. Set a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil to 150C or the “hard crack” stage. If you don't have a thermometer you can test your toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. If you can still squish your toffee it needs longer on the boil, but if it hardens immediately and is easy to break when you remove it from the water, then it's perfect. For the final stage you have to be quick - dipping and twisting each apple into the toffee until the apple is covered, then set it aside on the baking parchment to harden and leave them to cool before eating. Toffee apples will keep for 2 days if kept in a dry place, so you can whip them up ahead of time.

Of course, thousands of us partake in the Halloween tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns - but what do you do with all the pumpkin innards you end up with? Well, pumpkin pie is the way to go and you can find some terrific recipes online. Start by deseeding your leftover pumpkin and chop it up into squares. Bring this to the boil and let it simmer until tender. Drain your pumpkin and let it cool while you roll out your pastry and line a tart dish. Chill the pastry for 15 minutes before lining the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, and bake for 15 minutes at 180C. Remove the beans and baking parchment and continue to bake the pastry for another 10 minutes until the base is golden brown and biscuity. Remove the pastry from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Then you’ll want to turn up the temperature to 220C. Push the pumpkin through a sieve and into a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Next add in eggs, milk and melted butter, add in the now pureéd pumpkin and stir. Pour the mixture into the pastry and cook for 10 minutes before reducing the heat down to 180C. Continue to cook for another 35 minutes or so until the filling sets. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool. For a finishing touch, mix cinnamon with icing sugar and sprinkle over your pumpkin pie. This delicious dessert goes down a treat with adults and children alike.




Bonfire Night

S’mores, or smores - depending on how you want to spell it, is a traditional American treat, perfect to tuck into around a campfire. Even better to enjoy when warming up in front of a roaring bonfire. The recipe is pretty simple - layering a fire-roasted marshmallow and piece of chocolate between two of graham crackers. The exact origin of s’mores is unclear, however references date back to the 1920s as a popular treat for scouts. Sweet and delicious, you can make s’mores at home by warming up marshmallows in the oven or microwave if you don’t have a campfire handy.

Did you know that National S’mores Day in America is held on August 10th?


Another treat which was made for Bonfire Night is roasted chestnuts. Preheat your oven to 200C and cut a cross into the skin of each nut. Put all of the nuts into a roasting tin and bake for roughly 30 minutes until the skins open and the insides are tender. Once they’ve baked, allow them to cool a little so that fingertips don't get burnt. Don't forget to peel off the skins fully before you tuck in. Pop the nuts into a paper bag if you’re then heading out for enjoy fireworks. You can roast chestnuts over a fire as well by substituting a roasting tin with a pan - you just need to keep a closer eye on the nuts as they roast.


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