roasted pumpkin soup with chilli and ginger

roasted pumpkin soup with chilli and ginger
Yes, I know I have just posted a pumpkin soup receipe, but I have a lot of pumpkin to get through. (Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to get me to carve the kids' jack-o-lanterns? Me, the most cack-handed cook in north London?) Oh well, I suppose there have been benefits, she says ungraciously. Half-a-hundred weight of sumptious pumpkin flesh waiting for interesting things for me to do with it, to be fair.

Now this gloriously rich soup is lightly spiced with Eastern treasures and full of warming flavours, perfect for a dull Autumn day; it is a very nice soup to come home to.

guinness is good for you! beef in ale stew

my goodness, my guinness!
"Guinness is good for you" so said the old advertising posters, together with "My Goodness, My Guinness" and "Lovely day for a Guinness". Well of course I knew that. Guinness is probably part of my DNA, my father worked for Guinness for many years and recognising the dark, velvety beer together with the wonderful iconic advertising from the mid-20th century are some of my earliest memories; perhaps my heritage, so to speak.

This is one of my favourite cold weather dishes; I am firmly of the belief that it is the ancient British or Irish equivalent of Jewish penicillin (chicken soup) as I find it both comforts and cures me of all ills.

spicy mushroom soup

a deeply soothing mushroom soup
There are times when I find enjoying a mushroom soup a deeply soothing experience; an almost spiritual one, communing with nature. This soup seems to be both spicy and calming at the same time with it's mouth-watering savoury taste. It is both spicy and aromatic and is a most beautiful dark brown colour, flecked with green . . . a sort of forest floor of a soup, but without the mossy bits! 

jerusalem artichoke and leek soup with mussel gremolata

Autumn has arrived with a vengeance and a warming soup seems the perfect sop to the wet and blustery weather. This soup has an intriguing nutty flavour with a slight hint of sweetness. Jerusalem artichokes have a real affinity for fish and shellfish; (think Jerusalem artichoke gratin with kippers and you'll know what I am talking about). Here I used mussels, but I have also served this soup with a gremolata made with finely chopped tinned smoked oysters which seem to accentuate the sweet nut flavours.

what's in season: october

a shy pumpkin!
October is marigold, and yet 
A glass half full of wine left out 
Ted Hughes

This is the main season for apples and pears. The first Bramley apples are now in season, as are figs. The Jerusalem artichoke season is just beginning and cauliflowers are at their peak, together with main crop potatoes and carrots, sprouts, and broccoli. Lettuce is running out by the middle of the month, and courgettes finish towards the end. It’s a fabulous month to go foraging for mushrooms!