Hail, old October, bright and chill,
First freedman from the summer sun!
Spice high the bowl, and drink your fill!
Thank heaven, atlast the summer's done! – Thomas Constable.
September seems to have shot by so fast. Everyone has settled back into their work/school routines and the summer heat has started to (finally!) leave us.
Living in the UAE it’s certainly an exciting time, most of us who have endured the summer are now excitedly making plans to be outdoors! Dusting off the camping gear from last winter and pumping up the bicycle tyres; winter in the UAE is a wonderful time that many of us look forward to with eager anticipation, much like our European friends feel towards the end of March!
But winter also means that the holiday seasons are fast approaching and we are starting to see Christmas merchandise in some supermarkets. Although I think this is madness I suppose it’s a way for families on a budget to spread the cost. Bah Humbug!
Menus are changing
The change in seasons brings new flavours to our door, the summer salads are being replaced by more warm and comforting dishes. Autumn is a season of deep green, dark yellow and brilliant orange and these colours mean the fruits and vegetables are rich in disease-fighting properties. The more colourful the fruit, the better it is for your health.
Download the full list of October's seasonal produce here.
As the sun starts to set earlier and earlier what’s better than a few October favourites:
- Parsnips – They look like big yellow carrots but have a delightfully sweet flavour, ideally roasted (dare I say with a drizzle of honey and some woody herbs) and served with any meats.
- Turnips and swedes – Like their cousins the sprout, broccoli and cabbage they contain chemicals that protect against cancers. Why not incorporate them into any potato dish or simply bake as part of your Sunday roast?
- Sweet potatoes – Despite their name, they aren’t related to the humble spud! They contain 30 milligrams of beta-carotene per serving, you’d have to eat 23 portions of broccoli to match that. These are a wonderful root vegetable, why not swap your average baked potato with one of these. Their sweet flavour is a real winter warmer.
- Pumpkins – Well, we are coming into Halloween season! Pumpkin pies are a must, but try to roast and puree the flesh and mix with a little ricotta for a sumptuous pasta sauce?You can also roast pumpkin seeds too, they are expensive to buy in most supermarkets so scrape them out and bake for 30 mins. They will add a wonderful texture to any future salads.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in North America or Europe then, much like September, you are blessed with the remanence of the summer harvest. You’ll still be able to stock up on wild berries, apples and an abundance of squashes. The wonderful brussel sprout is coming into season, much hated by children around the world but full of goodness, why not try these simple recipes at home? Forget Grannies ‘boiled to death’ sprouts these will make you smile.
Shredded sprouts with bacon and garlic
- Slice some bacon slices and fry until crispy. Set aside.
- Slice up the sprouts and the garlic and toss in the same pan with the remaining fat from the bacon.
- Sprinkle over the bacon.
- Serve with any grilled meat and a glass of red wine :)
Sprouts with mushrooms and fried eggs
This is a great little treat for breakfast or brunch.
- In a large pan fry heat some oil and gently fry off the sprouts and mushrooms for 5 minutes.
- Add a splash of stock and season.
- Make a few little wells in the vegetable mix and crack in some eggs and cook to your liking
- Simple, but oh so delicious!
For us here in the UAE farmer’s markets are starting to appear. I do urge you all, as a family to take a trip and get inspired by a few of the following:
- Le Méridien Village Craft & Farmers Market, Friday October 16th, then the third Friday of every month until March.
This new market boasts a village feel, with food vendors, an artisan souq too. There’s an aviary, and an organic fruits and vegetable market will be set up, as well as an area to buy baked goods to take home.
- The Saturday Market at Yas Marina, 1pm to 6pm, Saturday October 17th, November 14th and December 12th.
Last year, this market was a weekly occurrence at Yas Marina. This year, it will become a monthly affair and “bigger than ever” with no less than 80 vendors.
- Try and visit the Ripe Food and Craft Market at Zabeel Park every Friday between 9am and 3pm.
We hope you enjoy this glorious month and be sure to buy whatever seasonal vegetables you can remember they are in season for a reason... it means they are at their best!
Keep following Oscar and Jemima’s over the coming winter months, where we look forward to sharing some fantastic seasonal recipes.