After the warm and busy long Summer holiday, Autumn (or Fall) in France is calmer and cooler. With the children at school and the last of the summer tourists gone, the trees turn to their deep shades of brown and red. Our sideboard at home becomes a nature table for all the treasures found on regular walks, from conkers and acorns, to birds’ nests, leaves and sticks. The markets at this time of year are at their best as stalls are overflowing with seasonal produce. We go to many seasonal markets that celebrate food available only at this time of year, such as sweet chestnuts and truffles.
We’ve chosen 3 of our favourite recipes to share with you using produce available at this time of year…apples, pumpkins and figs. Get kids of all ages involved by encouraging them to weigh out the ingredients, with the chopping and mixing, and of course the eating and sharing with friends and family!
In our local markets you can find entire stalls dedicated to apples as they are so abundant at this time of year. Did you know there are thousands of different types of apples in the world? This simple recipe is a great way of using some of them up.
Ingredients: 1 egg, butter, sugar, flour, pinch of cinnamon, grated apple
Weigh your egg (intact with shell) and you will need the same amount in weight of butter, flour and sugar. Cream together in a bowl the sugar and butter, add the egg and mix well, before adding the flour and cinnamon. Grate some apple into the bowl and mix together. Bake in the oven until ready. Top with icing sugar and pieces of apple!
We love sweet pancakes for breakfast at the weekend, and often have savoury versions for lunch. The great thing about pumpkin pancakes is that they can be both! You can top them with honey or add a more savoury bacon and cheese filling. Here we take our classic pancake recipe and add a cup of pumpkin puree.
100g flour, 1 egg, 250ml milk, 1 cup of pumpkin puree, pinch of nutmeg
Mix together the flour, egg and milk and nutmeg. Add the pumpkin puree and mix again well. Fry in a pan with a little oil turning to ensure both sides are cooked. Add your topping or filling of choice!
We’ve been slowly perfecting our jam making since moving to France just over a year ago, with fruit from neighbours’ gardens, foraged from local walkways, and with tomatoes that we’ve grown ourselves. Making jam is not as complicated as it might seem, especially if you use special jam sugar which already contains the necessary agents needed for that all important setting point. We can find jam sugar easily in our local supermarkets.
Use 1kg figs for 1kg bag of jam sugar. Cut the top off the figs and then chop to desired size. I like to cut them in half and then each half into quarters, but you may like your chunks bigger. Mix the chopped figs in a bowl with the sugar, cover and leave until the juices start to ooze out from the figs. Transfer into a pan and boil for at least 15 mins until setting point has been reached. To test for setting point I put a dollop of the mixture onto a plate that has been chilled in the fridge. If it cools to the consistency of jam then it’s ready. If it’s still too runny, keep boiling. Transfer the jam carefully into sterilised jars. Enjoy for breakfast or add pretty labels and give away to family or friends as a gift! Jam should keep for up to 6 months.
Happy Autumn Cooking!by