It’s officially autumn. October has arrived, bringing with it darker mornings, clock changes, early Halloween decorations and the need for extra layering and a big, cosy scarf. We can complain about the weather and the darker mornings, but in the world of food there’s a lot to celebrate. Apples, figs, plums, pears, pomegranate, carrots, brussel sprouts, kale, leeks, parsnips and much more are in season and I’m hoping to pack in as many recipes as possible involving seasonal produce over the next few months. I’ve already planned some recipes involving apples, plums and carrots which I’ll post soon, but there will be plenty more to come.
Dreary weather and dark nights are also a perfect excuse for good old-fashioned comfort food. Again, I have a few recipes in mind to share with you, but we’ll kick things off with an absolute classic: meatloaf. I had never made meatloaf before, but after constant (unsubtle) hints from my other half (who never stops talking about his Grandmother’s meatloaf) I caved. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food, adding some extra ingredients for even more flavour like apple, mustard and thyme. Reviews after eating concluded that it was “very nearly as good as Grandma’s”, so I guess I’ll take that as a success…
Ingredients (cuts into 8-10 slices)
2 slices stale white bread
1 garlic clove
Small bunch of parsley
500g pork mince
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp grated parmesan
8-10 slices of serrano ham or prosciutto
1. Look out a 1.5 litre loaf tin and preheat the oven to 170C fan/190C/Gas Mark 5.
2. Cut the stale bread into small chunks and blitz in a blender or food processor until you have fine breadcrumbs.
3. Finely chop the onion, garlic, parsley and grate the apple. You can also do this with a food processor if you have one – use the chopping blade for the onion, garlic and parsley, and then the grater attachment for the apple.
4. Mix together the pork mince, chopped ingredients, bread crumbs, parmesan, mustard, dried herbs and egg.
5. Line the loaf tin with the ham, overlapping each slice a little so there are no gaps. Leave about a third of the slice to overhang the edges of the tin.
6. Spoon the meatloaf mixture into the tin and press down firmly.
7. Fold the excess ham over the top of the meatloaf so that it’s entirely encased.
8. Place the loaf tin in a roasting tray and fill with boiling water to about halfway. Cook in the oven for 1 hour until the loaf has shrunk from the sides. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 or 10 minutes, drain the excess liquid and lift the meatloaf out.
Serve either warm or cold. The first night we had it for Sunday dinner hot from the oven, with a homemade tomato sauce and steamed vegetables. After storing in the fridge we ate the remainder of the loaf cold, served with baked potatoes and a salad.
What are your favourite comfort foods for autumn nights? Are there any recipes you’d like to see next…?