Autumnal Specialties: Apple Crumble, Stuffed Peppers and Courgette Bread!
In the UK were lucky that were able to produce some amazing foods. British farmers work so hard to produce a variety of great tasting ingredients and then its over to us to get creative with them. Fortunately, a lot of us are dab hands in the kitchen and we can turn even the most uninspiring of ingredients into amazing meals.
During the autumn months, we are able to reap the benefits of the harvest with farmers producing vegetables at the peak of their ripeness to get our mouths watering.
A good example of the fantastic produce available during autumn is the courgette. Its the kind of vegetable that is often overlooked in the supermarkets with people heading straight to the carrots, potatoes and onions and instead; but it can be used in so many different ways.
From salads to pastas and even cakes, courgettes are amazingly versatile and an easy vegetable to grow. One really tasty use for it is actually in bread. When combined with a few spices, such as nutmeg or cinnamon, it can make for a really nice and crusty loaf that you can eat on its own or with a delicious chunky vegetable soup perfect autumn fare.
A really simple recipe is to use three eggs, 250ml of olive oil, 450g of caster sugar, 2tsp of vanilla extract, four courgettes, 425g of plain flour, 2tsp of bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp of salt, ½ tsp of baking powder, 1 ½ tsp of cinnamon, ¾ tsp of nutmeg (and 170g of raisins, although this is optional).
– Start by pre-heating the oven to gas mark 4, (180c).
– Put the eggs into a food processor and blend them together before adding the olive oil, sugar and vanilla extract. Blend this all together until the mixture becomes thick and like a foam. Grate the courgettes and add this to the mix.
– In another bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, baking powder and the cinnamon and/or nutmeg; before adding them to the original mix a bit at a time, folding them in as you go, and blending the whole bowl together.
– Grease two loaf tins and dust them with flour to stop your mixture from sticking and divide the mixture between the two tins. Put them into the oven for around an hour, or until you can insert a skewer and remove it without leaving any of the loaf on the skewer itself. Allow the loaves to cool for around ten to fifteen minutes before serving.
At this time of year, late summer going into early autumn, peppers are at their most delicious. Theyve had all the essential nutrients from the sun and are now starting to take in the moisture of autumn, making them taste divine and look it too with shiny skins and a firm but fragrant consistency. Stuffed peppers can be a great light meal and are ridiculously easy to make.
All you need is: 4 red peppers, 4tbsp of olive oil, 150g of peas, 1 large and finely chopped red onion, 2 gloves of garlic, 150g of farmhouse bread, 1 egg, salt and black pepper.
– Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180c).
– Cut around the stalks and remove the tops of the peppers. Put these to one side as youll need them later. Remove the inside and the seeds from the peppers
– Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the peas with the onion and garlic.
– Soak the bread in water for approximately two minutes and then break it into breadcrumbs. Add the crumbs and the egg to your pea mixture and stir together.
– Add the mixture into the peppers and replace the tops. Place the stuffed peppers on to a baking tray and season with salt and black pepper to taste, and drizzle with extra olive oil. Cook them for between 20 and 30 minutes until they are soft and cooked through.
Of course, autumn wouldnt be autumn in the UK without a good apple crumble. Its so quick and easy to make and tastes heavenly, especially when topped with custard or fresh cream.
All you need to make the crumble is 300g of plain flour, 175g of unrefined brown sugar, 200g of unsalted butter, plus some extra butter for greasing; and for the filling you just need 450g of apples (peeled, cored and chopped), 50g unrefined brown sugar, 1tbsp plain flour and a pinch of ground cinnamon.
– Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180c).
– Put the flour and sugar into a bowl and mix well with a few cubes of butter to help to form the mixture. Keep rubbing it together until it takes the form of breadcrumbs.
– Place the fruit into a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir well but try not to break up the fruit.
– Butter an ovenproof dish and spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top.
– Bake in the oven for between 40 and 45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit in the centre starts to bubble.
– Serve with custard or thick, fresh cream.