We all know that we should be trying to eat more ‘seasonally’; food in season is often fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season (which has to shipped thousands of miles, too).
But how easy is eating seasonally? For home growers, kitchen gardeners and those with allotments, it can happen automatically; you naturally eat what’s ripe and ready at the time. But for the rest of us, seasonal eating can be a bit more of a mystery.
To simplify it a bit, in these new regular blog posts I’ll share a list of what’s in season each month – and find some local restaurants / cafes who are putting seasonal specials on the menu, right now.
So what’s in season this month?
On the fruit front, look out for UK apples, figs, pears, plums, and the last of the year’s tomatoes.
Veg-wise, Pumpkins steal the show in October, but there is lots to choose from at this time of year, including: artichokes, beetroot, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, celery, celeriac, the last of the courgettes and fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, parsnips, the last of the peas and peppers, potatoes, shallots, sweetcorn, swedes and turnips.
And when it comes to meat and fish, look out for duck, goose, end of season lamb, rabbit, and venison; haddock, mackerel, mussels, pollock and scallops.
Seven Seasonal Eats to Track down this October
If you’re the type of person who prefers to let someone else take care of the cooking (and the washing up), these pumpkin-based dishes from local restaurants are all worth tracking down before our ‘Fire Break’ lockdown kicks in on Friday.
1. Asador 44’s Charcoal Pumpkin with Almond & Herbs
Pumpkin cooked all the way in the coals, then brushed with a soft herb and almond glaze.
2. Nook’s Stuffed Jack Pumpkin with Manchego
This gorgeous, golden little jack pumpkin is stuffed with manchego cheese, squash mostarda & spinach. Most of Nook’s veg is organic, and sourced from Paul’s Organic in Monmouthshire. Bored of pumpkin? Try their roasted kohlrabi, with spinach, pecorino and toasted walnuts for the same cosy autumnal feeling.
3. Pettigrew Bakery’s Vegan Pumpkin Focaccia
This plant-based focaccia will beat anything else you planned to have for lunch this week; it’s filled with chunky olive tapenade, Bute Park Salad Garden leaves, roasted pumpkin and vine tomatoes. If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, rumour has it that there’s pumpkin-spiced filled donuts on the way, along with chocolate-filled brioche pumpkins. Just take my money!
4. The Coconut Tree’s ‘Fat Sister’ Pumpkin Curry
This one’s on the menu all year round but is particularly in season now; a mild and creamy vegan curry perfect for the cooler weather. You can even have a go at making this at home – the recipe is available here.
5. Wild Thing’s Pumpkin Satay Curry
Topped with soured yoghurt drizzle , toasted coconut, picked red onion & sauteed spinach, this is made with pumpkins locally grown in Grangetown. Alternatively, try the Fatteh; toasted flatbread pieces with roasted British chickpeas, panko pumpkin, rose harissa aioli, walnut “mince” & fresh herbs. Wild Thing always focuses on small seasonal menus which change every two weeks, working with small suppliers to plan menus around what’s growing now. Everything at Wild Thing is ‘pay what you can afford’ as part of the cafe’s mission to make good food accessible to all.
6. Brod’s Spooky ‘Fangdauer’
A spooky take on their classic spandauer (danish pastry), this one is pumpkin-filled and decorated with dramatic black icing. They also do their own version of a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, if that’s your bag (I think PSLs on the whole taste like melted yankee candles, but you do you).
7. Dusty Knuckle’s Pumpkin Pizza
These guys are always good at busting out a seasonal special or two; this week’s is a roasted pumpkin pizza with mascarpone, garlic, parmesan and festive spices topped with hazelnuts & rocket.
…And if you fancy getting an extra pumpkin fix at home, this recipe for baked pumpkin fondue looks like the dog’s bollocks. You’re welcome.