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Squaring up to autumn with soda bread and a scary pumpkin

I guess autumn has properly arrived over here. The long days where the sun would slant lazily over the horizon are gone, replaced by sheets of drizzle and falling temperatures.

It won't be long til I'm moaning about the never ending kale and squash combo that seems to rock up with the fall, but for now I'm loving the changing seasons

I went down Borough market to stock up on some veggies and caught an eyeful of this early Hallowe'en visitor - how cool is he?

As a bit of marketing, it totally worked - I had to bring home a big chunk of pumpkin. It's still in the fridge though - any ideas what I should do with it?

The Borough visit also saw me come back home with a load of girolles -  I love how cheap they are at this time of year. They're so bouncy and toothsome, they don't need much doing to them to turn them into something tastyI put them in the oven with a load of peppers and that other amazing winter vegetable, the jerusalem artichoke. I love those so much - just baked in the oven for a while until the insides are fluffy and almost melting, they're delicious. Add a sprinkle of parsley on top, a little salt and pepper, and you're done.

Another thing that says autumn to me is apples! I went to see my brother and his family at the weekend, which was amazing. My niece is vegan too, and my bro made the whole family apple pancakes. Sweet, huh? And very autumnal.

As the only vegan in the family, my brother is keen for my niece to learn to cook some new, fun vegan recipes, so I've been trying to dig out some of my favourites to help her along the way.  I've sent over the tuna-less tuna and egg-less egg sandwich recipes from Crazy Sexy Kitchen for lunchbox filling, and a couple of Veggiestan favourites, including tofu scramble and Afghan carrot hotpot. If you've got any suggestions for recipes for a (relatively novice) vegan to start on, send them over. She's just learning to cook, so as simple as possible is definitely the order of the day!

Talking of as simple as possible, the change in the weather reminded me how long it had been since I last made soda bread.

Soda bread is bread for those days when you want something hot and floury out of the oven, but you just can't be harassed with all the kneading and proving. Making soda bread is just a matter of mixing a few things together in a bowl and then baking. I always use this recipe from the Telegraph and it always turns out great. There's not much to it - you can add a bit of treacle or some oats if you want, but you don't have to.

It's deliciously simple and it deserves to be served up in a very simple fashion - just toast it, add a bit of your vegan spread of choice, and enjoy with a big cup of tea in a cosy corner somewhere. Bring on the autumn, I'm ready for you.

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  1. That is indeed a very cool pumpkin! Lovely mushroom dish, although I had to look up what are girolles. :-) That's so cool your niece is vegan. That's so many recipes, maybe start your with veganized versions of her favorite dishes?

  2. I can only dream of such a magical land where girolles are plentiful and "cheap"... That would sure help me welcome autumn in with open arms! You see, if I had such a bounty to work with, this post would have been filled out with mushroom pancakes and mushroom soda bread too. ;)

  3. I am so besotted with autumn :) And I have been meaning to visit Borough market - hopefully I can get there before this pumpkin disappears! Soda bread sounds perfect for cooler days too.

  4. The soda bread looks delicious! Ideas for pumpkin.... I usually only buy the puree form, but I would think you could go sweet - bake it, mash it, add brown sugar (or maple syrup), nutmeg, cinnamon,ground cloves...

  5. I love soda bread, and yours looks delicious! I never think to make any except for in the spring. As for the pumpkin in your fridge I say puree or curry :)

  6. This whole post is so lovely and cozy, all you need is some soup!
    I've never gotten mushrooms from the farmer's market, but that must change! They have so many options.
    Just roasted up a red kuri squash last night for a soba/squash/bean bowl - maybe you could so something similar with yr pumpkin.
    Apple pancakes really take me back. Growing up, my best friend's mom would serve them to use for dinner, and that's also pretty much all I remember eating when my family visited Amsterdam!

  7. The change in light has definitely been getting to me - I really miss the sun. So I'm trying to figure out ways to cheer myself up - going to the market and having a look at the autumnal produce is a good idea! What did you do with the pumpkin? Someone was showing my pictures of their roasted pumpkin soup (I don't know the recipe though) the other day, it sounded delicious!

  8. Cook pumpkin chunks and smash them in a puree and use it in pancakes, pies, rice, cakes, pies, etc. So awesome that your niece is vegan and how sweet of your brother to make something nice for you guys!! Your soda bread looks delicious and I enjoy reading and trying recipes from Telegraph and The Guardian! Thanks for sharing this helfpul recipe, Joey!


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