After an exceptionally wet summer and September we jump straight into autumn. The leaves are already changing colour here in Yorkshire and the fruits of autumn provide plenty of food, as the birds ravage the hedgerow berries and wood mice collect fallen hazelnuts. Dormice are quite agile and are able to reach the thinnest branches of the trees. Next time you are walking through the woods look at the nutshell remains and see what wildlife you can discover.
Read on for Dawn’s medicinal recipie for Pea and Roasted Garlic Soup
Wood mice and voles remain active throughout the seasons, however the dormice eat up in autumn and hibernate the winter through and were once known as the hazel sleepers. They sleep tightly curled up in their nests in a state of suspended animation and conserve their vital fatty stores laid down beneath their skin and can survive up to half a year without feeding.
For us it is the time of year when we start changing our food requirements and hanker after warming foods, comforting casseroles and puddings.
There is plenty in season to provide for such dishes and I’ve already started making my favourite soups. Halloween is at the end of the month so that means there will be plenty of pumpkins about. They and other Halloween traditions arrived from the USA but don’t just make lanterns, try some of the recipes available for a luscious soup or spicy pumpkin pie.
Also from abroad this time of year will be strings of garlic tied up into ropes – look out for the purple tinged variety as the best flavoured. Garlic, of the onion family, is nature’s most versatile medicinal plant and numerous clinical trials conclude that garlic lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, thins the blood (reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke), and fights bacteria like an antibiotic.
With our colder weather comes the threat of colds and flu – any help from what we eat and drink is important. So try this recipe for pea and roasted garlic soup.
Pea and Roasted Garlic Soup
- 2 whole heads of garlic
- 500g bag frozen peas
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil and a knob of butter
- ½ litre of vegetable stock
- Salt and Ground black pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan to serve
Slice across the top of the garlic heads so that you can see the cloves. Wrap up the whole garlic in foil and roast in a 180 degree C oven for 40 minutes or until soft. Roasting the garlic will make it nice and sweet.
Fry the onion in the butter and oil until soft then add the frozen peas and mix to coat with the oil and butter. Add the stock and reduce the heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the garlic from the oven. Squeeze out the soft garlic into the peas. Then puree with a hand blender or food processor. Check the seasoning.
You could stir in some grated parmesan cheese to the soup or just serve it on the side to sprinkle on top. Or if you prefer, a dollop of crème fraiche and some chopped chives.
Did you know?
There is an all-garlic restaurant in San Francisco where they offer a garlic ice cream. The name of the place is a nickname for garlic…The Stinking Rose!
During both world wars garlic was nicknamed Russian penicillin and was used in poultices for dressing wounds and treating infections, especially gangrene.
Garlic bulbs were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen more than 3,000 years ago; they were part of the diet of the Hebrew slaves who built the pyramids and, for the ancient Chinese, garlic was a guard against plagues.