Tag Archives: autumn

Blackberry and Apple Jam


Blackberry and Apple jam is a perfect autumn recipe – delicious, straightforward and very satisfying, especially when the fruit comes straight from the garden, making it organic too. I love that this is another of those family recipes handed down from generation to generation. As ever, I asked my mum where she first learnt about it and this is what she told me…

My grandma always said that blackberries should not be picked in October as they must be left for the rest of nature to enjoy and also the witches! I disobeyed her this year as the blackberries were so plentiful and juicy and hoped that there was enough for us all! Her jam recipe is a favourite of mine as I remember having it piled onto hot toast for tea as the evenings drew in. A good Autumn recipe. It is also good on real vanilla ice-cream.

(Printable Recipe)

4lbs (1.8g) Blackberries
1½lbs (680g) Cooking Apples
½pint Water
Juice of ½lemon
Sugar – either jam sugar or granulated

1 Put the blackberries and ¼ pint of water into a pan and simmer until the fruit is soft. They can be left whole or sieved to remove seeds.

2 Peel, core & slice apples, add remaining water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender and cook together until thick.

3 Weigh the pulp and add equal amounts of warmed sugar and simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.

4 * Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.

5 Leave to cool slightly in the pan, having removed any scum that collects around the edge, and stir.

6 Pour into warm sterilised jars, leave to cool and cover.


* NB To know if the setting point is reached, put a saucer to get cold in the fridge. Remove the pan from the heat, pour a teaspoonful of the jam onto the cold saucer and if the jam wrinkles when pushed with the finger setting point has been reached. If it doesn’t wrinkle put it back on the heat and cook and test until it does.









Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (Gluten Free)


Soup season is now well and truly upon us and it seems my whole family is making fantastic soups to share with everyone. This roasted butternut squash soup is a new creation by my mum and one that we will be trying shortly!

I had a butternut squash and thought I’d make some soup. I searched on-line for a recipe, looked at James Martin’s recipes on the BBC site, but they all seemed too complicated. So I made this up as I tend to make all my soup recipes up. Usually I just guess at the weights of ingredients, and also the amount of stock I use, but I have weighed everything this time just to make sure it works for this blog. It is a good soup for Hallow’een or Bonfire Night. I like it I hope you do too.

2¼lbs (1kg) Butternut Squash
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1oz (25g) Butter
1 Medium onion
1-2 Cloves of garlic – depending on your taste
1½ pints (1ltr) Vegetable stock
A few sprigs of thyme leaves – to taste
Cream or Crème Fraiche
Grated cheese or pesto – optional

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F Gas 6 or 180C Fan Oven

1 Cut the Butternut Squash into chunks, removing all the seeds, rub with the oil, season well and roast in the oven, skin-side down on the tin, for approx 30mins or until tender.

2 Leave to cool and then slice off the skin and cut the flesh into smaller chunks.

3 In the meantime, melt the butter in a saucepan, chop the onion and cook gently in the butter until soft but not browned, then add the chopped garlic clove and cook for a further 2mins.

4 Add the chopped squash and any juices from the tin, the stock and some of the thyme leaves – check for your liking. Sprigs can be added but make sure they are removed before blending.

5 Cover and simmer for 20/30mins

6 Leave the soup to cool slightly and then, either using a hand-blender or liquidiser, blend until smooth and taste for seasoning.

7 Ladle into warmed bowls and swirl the top with a little cream or crème fraiche, a scattering of thyme leaves, before serving with warm crusty bread.

If the soup is too thick for your liking add some milk to loosen it. Grated cheese is also good scattered on top as is a dollop of green pesto. This soup can also be frozen.





Butternut Squash on Foodista

Venison Steaks with Redcurrant Sauce

I really wanted to have something a bit special and different for supper one night this week, so ended up driving out to Sunnyfields Organic Farm to see what they had on offer and to have a look at all their local produce as well – all I can say is wow – the food looked so good that I could have spent a small fortune!

As soon as I saw the Organic Venison Steaks, I had to bring them home along with an assortment of organic vegetables.

Having never cooked Vension Steaks before, I then set about asking people for ideas and trawling recipe sites for ideas. Someone suggested to me a Redcurrent and Red Wine Sauce, so I set about to find a tasty one online. On the Good Food Channel website I found this recipe by Mary Cadogan and it sounded fairly easy to make and delicious too!

Luckily I had all the ingredients in the fridge or cupboards, so didn’t need to pop out again for anything else. Cooking the meat and the sauce was as easy as the recipe suggested and the proof was in the eating – it tasted fantastic. I served it all up with an assortment of the vegetables, roasting the sweet pototoes in the oven – I even ended up making my carrots looking fancy too!

My girlfriend had never eaten Vension before and was unsure whether she was going to like it or not, until she had her first mouthful and her reaction was “Wow”! She thought it was so soft and tasty and perfectly pink in the middle. We both thought it was richer and tastier than normal steak and it was the something ‘special and different’ that I had been looking for. While it is still in season, we will be going back next week for some more steaks to have again!

This is one recipe I highly recommend to anyone who loves, or wants to try, Venison.

300ml Beef consommé
150ml Red wine
350g Venison steaks, (2-4 depending on size)
Salt, and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs Thyme
1-2 tbsp Olive oil
2 Shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp Redcurrant jelly
Knob of Butter
Flat leaf Parsley, to garnish

1 Boil the consommé and red wine until reduced by half. This will take about 10 minutes.

2 Season the venison with salt and pepper and scatter over thyme leaves.

3 Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan; add the venison and fry quickly on both sides until browned. Remove to a plate.

4 Add the knob of butter to the pan and then add the shallots and fry gently until softened.

5 Add the reduced stock and red wine and redcurrant jelly and stir to dissolve the jelly.

6 Return the venison to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning until it is cooked to your liking. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Garnish each portion with a small sprig of flat-leafed parsley.

Serve with seasonal vegetables or vegetables of your choice.









Leek and Potato Soup (Gluten Free)


You always know when Autumn arrives, as evenings get darker quicker, the temperature starts dropping and the idea of making a warming soup doesn’t sound like such a silly idea!

Leek and Potato Soup is a home favourite and perfect for any autumnal lunch or supper, plus it is so easy to make.

3-4 Leeks
6-8 Large Potatoes
1 Large Whte Onion
50g (1.8 oz) butter
1 1/2 pints of vegetable stock (gluten free preferably)
1/4 pint semi-skimmed milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

1 Peel and roughly chop all the vegetables into thick cubes. Add them all to a large dish or pan and add the butter, stirring the vegetables until they are all coated. Leave on a very low heat with a lid on the pan for 15 minutes to allow the vegetables to gently sweat. Stir occasionally.

2 Then, add the stock and the milk and stir. Leave to simmer with the lid on the pan for another 20 minutes, Do not let the soup reach boiling point or the milk might burn. Stir occasionally.

3 After the 20 minutes, the vegetables should be lovely and soft.

4 Use a liquidiser or a hand-held blender straight in the pan and liquidise the mixture. You need to make sure all the lumps are gone.

5 Gently heat the soup through in the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with pretty much anything you like!