Autumn is one of the most varied and interesting seasons of the year. The leaves are turning colour, flowers offer their last burst of life before hibernating for winter, and plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables are ripening with pumpkins being one of the most well-known.
Autumn can be an interesting time, even with the reduced amount of daylight. It’s a time of contrast –cool nights are balanced out by blazing fires to keep warm around and tell stories.
Then there are the crisp, chilly days that are great for getting out for a walk and taking in the changes in nature.
For those cooler nights, nothing is better for snuggling than a giant sheepskin bean bag. Ideal for moving around the house depending on what it is needed for, these comfy, squishy seats are ideal to curl up on with a good book, magazine or even an e-book. Both kids and adults love them and the hardest part is not falling asleep when sitting on one!
On the theme of fires, autumn is also a good time to get the scented candles on the go, if you don’t already. Wood scents are popular at this time of year as well as spicy aromas, with a green tea and ginger candle being a prime example. The right scent adds to that sitting by the fire with a good book and is gentle enough that the kids will like the smell too.
Making use of seasonal fruits and vegetables is another great aspect of autumn and something that can often involve the children too. One simple soup recipe that is warming, tasty and easy to make is Butternut Squash Soup.
For a classic version, take 25g of butter and melt in a pot then add a small onion, stalk of celery, medium carrot, two medium potatoes and one medium butternut squash, all prepared beforehand. Cook for around five minutes then add in enough chicken stock to cover the veg. Boil then reduce heat, simmering for around forty minutes until the veg are tender. Add the mixture to a blender and whizz until smooth then return to the pot for seasoning.
Another seasonal favourite are apples and a classic Apple Crumble always goes down well after a meal. There are two ideas for the crumble – either make the mix yourself with flour sugar and butter or buy a pre-made crumble mix. Next take around 450g of peeled and cored apples then cut into 1cm pieces. Add them to a bowl and sprinkle with 50g unrefined brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of plain flour and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Be careful when mixing together so you don’t break up the apple pieces. Take a 24cm ovenproof dish and spoon in the mixture then sprinkle the crumble on top. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until brown and bubbling then lift out with oven gauntlets to cool. Perfect for serving with either thick cream or custard.