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It’s Saturday evening and I’ve just been outside; it’s cold and it smells all crispy and autumnal! Am I making any sense or are these the ramblings of a woman who can’t wait to throw off the shackles of the factor 50?!
Either way, I am loving autumn and all of the big, gutsy food that comes with it. I call it hibernation food: it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside like you could sleep until spring!
The thing with this type of food- and I am talking your basic stews, soups, ribs and pies here- is that they aren’t usually conducive to a quick after work spell in the kitchen. When I get home in the week I don’t want to be cooking until bedtime, I want something comforting but which can be on the table reasonably quickly.
I have three weapons to making sure I can have my comfort food on any day of the week:
Back in October I spent two days cooking in the oven, on the hob and in the slow cooker. The result was a freezer full of meals which we are just about finishing now.
Not everything has to be made in advance. Some mornings (or nights) I throw meat, veg and stock in to the slow cooker (officially the best buy of 2013’s January sales) and come home to a delicious stew, a house that smells amazing, and enough leftovers to freeze for another night.
For example one night last week before going to bed, I browned some venison, packed it into the slow cooker with potatoes, celery, onions, garlic, stock and wine and woke up to a fantastic stew. Half was tucked away in the freezer and the other half was ready for serving up twenty minutes after stepping into the kitchen after work.
As well as batch cooking every so often, I regularly freeze leftovers and ‘bank’ them for another night. So long as we remember to take stuff out in the morning, it means we have some pretty tasty mid-week meals.
There was a report recently that the average UK family throws out six meals worth of food every week. With food poverty being such a big issue at the moment, this stat makes me sad. And there really is no need for such waste. I freeze all sorts, even cake, if it means something perfectly edible doesn’t end up in the bin. I always think a full freezer runs more efficiently than an empty one so that’s my reasoning!
With winter peeking round the corner now, I love that I can mix it up in the week and get my comfort food hit when I need it. I’m always looking for new ideas, so would love to hear how you welcome autumn into your kitchen!