My Favourite Autumn Recipes

My Favourite Autumn Recipes ©2014 La Domestique

After all that talk about how much I love fall in my most recent blog post I decided to round up my favourite autumn recipes and share them with you. Do you ever take a moment to flip through your recipe collection and reminisce? It’s like digging the box of your autumn wardrobe out of storage and discovering that favourite sweater you had forgotten about. 

I try to savour every moment in the kitchen this time of year, whether it’s thoughtfully stirring a pot of soup or the zen of kneading silken bread dough. Recipes that require more time and effort also offer a welcome moment of quiet solace and contemplation. I hope these recipes inspire you to slow down a bit and enjoy the season.

 

Pumpkin Soup

Pear, Cheddar and Caramelized Onion Tart

Irish Halloween Barmbrack

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

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Easy Everyday Vegetable Stir-Fry

Easy Stir Fry Ingredients ©2014 LaDomestique

We had a couple days of unbelievable sunshine and warmth here in Dublin this week (though today it has turned cloudy and cool). In true la belle vie style my husband made the last minute decision to take a vacation day and we skedaddled off to Portmarnock beach. It felt so good to put my feet in the warm sand, breathe the salty air and listen to the ocean waves. When the weather is warm and the days are spent outdoors having fun all I really want is to come home and throw together something quick and easy for supper.

Taking a break from meat and carbohydrates for one meal can leave you feeling a bit lighter and healthier. That being said, you’ll be surprised at how filling a bowl of stir-fried vegetables can be. My Easy Everyday Vegetable Stir-Fry is packed with ingredients that promote the health of your skin– which really needs that extra support during summer battling the sun’s rays. Carrots, broccoli and Bok Choi are all known for their skin-boosting vitamins and minerals. Both broccoli and carrots are high in the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, while carrots contain silicon for strengthening nails and skin. No need to peel organic carrots– just wash and scrub off the dirt. Also, don’t discard those broccoli leaves– they’ve got higher levels of beta-carotene than the florets and stalks. Toss the broccoli leaves into your stir-fry at the end with the Bok Choi leaves.

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Barley Risotto with Irish Red Ale, Butternut Squash and Sage

Pearl Barley Risotto with Irish Ale, Butternut Squash and Sage (c)2013 La Domestique

It’s been one of those perfect autumn days here in Cavan. We had blue skies and golden sunshine, the wind felt fresh and crisp, and there were even a couple passing sun showers. As I write this now I gaze out the window and watch the sun slowly disappearing behind the hill. Our house looks out onto grassy fields and this is the time of day the cows come round. As I cook supper I like to look out my kitchen window and watch Herefords and Charlaois navigating the bushes looking for tasty bits of grass and basking in the sun. A stream winds its way around the field, and I can see magnificent grey herons gliding towards the water and meadow pipets darting in and out of the grass. I remember that not every home I’ve lived in had a kitchen window, and the thought of cooking in a dark box with harsh florescent light makes me appreciate my view of nature even more. There are times when I wish I lived in Dublin, where it’s all happening, but this is not one of those times. Right now I’m happy to be just where I am, in the rolling hills and the land of the lakes that is Cavan.

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Autumn Mushroom Soup with Thyme and Brandy

Autumn Mushroom Soup (c)2013 La Domestique

Autumn is my favorite time of year. This is my first Irish autumn, and the change in country makes the season even more interesting. It’s not the fall that I grew up with in Arkansas, which was marked by warm golden-hued days with dramatic red, orange and yellow changes in foliage. Nor is it the Colorado harvest season with fields full of pumpkins, bugling elk and blazing yellow aspen trees. Each day I discover something new about an Irish autumn: it is moody and mysterious, soft and subtle, a slowing of pace that sends us back into our nests. A week of cool, dark, misty days is interrupted by a couple of breezy, sunny afternoons– perfect for opening all the windows to let in the cherished light and fresh air. The blackberry bushes have withered, but windfalls of apples arrive just in time. It’s not too difficult to find a friend with an apple tree who needs to offload a bumper harvest of the quickly deteriorating fruits. I’m eager to taste my first quince, slurp down briny oysters and (hopefully) forage for mushrooms.

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The Last Phase is the Most Glorious

The growing season is pretty much over here in Colorado. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden there will still be the occasional snow-covered leaves of kale to harvest, or maybe one last head of cabbage to pull from the cold, hard ground. This Saturday the lot where farmers stands piled high with produce all summer was empty. Living at Zone 5 on the plant hardiness map teaches you to really savor the seasons. Winter is long, and when spring finally arrives at the end of May she’s slow to reveal herself. It seems like all we get is radishes and salad greens forever, until August when summer arrives and gives us everything all at once: peaches, corn, tomatoes, strawberries, peas, zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumbers. The bounty of summer overwhelms us and we hardly have time to appreciate it all. September and October lull us into complacency with seemingly endless offerings of pumpkins and hot peppers, but apples and pears freshly plucked from the tree hint that a change is coming. Autumn turns abruptly to winter here in Colorado, and the first snow in October snaps us back into reality- the barren season of our Zone 5 winter is approaching. A visit to the final farmers market of the season reveals the beauty of nature even at the end of the growing season in November. I’m reminded of a favorite line from the movie, The Calendar Girls:

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