Beat the Autumn Chill with Delicious Seasonal Recipes - Firefly Books Blog

Firefly Books Blog

Beat the Autumn Chill with Delicious Seasonal Recipes

  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print
Beat the Autumn Chill with Delicious Seasonal Recipes


It’s just one week until the first official day of fall is here, and that means it’s the season for hearty, hot food to fight off the autumn chill.

There are many enticing flavours associated with fall, from figs to pears to pumpkin spice (what else?), and we’ve pulled together a delicious menu inspired by the flavours of the season that’s sure to impress at next dinner party.

Bon appetit!


STARTER: Cheese & Sweet Chermoula Eggplant (from Casablanca: My Moroccan Food)

What you need:
2 large eggplant (1lb 2oz)
5 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
4 tbsp pine nuts

For the sweet chermoula:
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp clear honey
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1¼ tsp salt, or more to taste

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Stir all the ingredients for the sweet chermoula together in a bowl until smooth.
3. Cut the eggplant in half lengthways. Make a few diagonal cuts in the flesh of each half, making sure that you don’t pierce the skin of the eggplant. This will allow the eggplant to cook faster and absorb the sweet chermoula. Cover the cut side of each eggplant half with 2–3 tbsp of the sweet chermoula, then place, cut-side up, on a baking pan.
4. Roast the eggplant for about 35 minutes or until they are just cooked. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and top each eggplant half with one-quarter of the mozzarella slices and a tablespoon of pine nuts. Roast the eggplant for about a further 10 minutes until they are soft and their tops are golden. Serve immediately.

Makes 4.


MAIN: Steak & Oyster Pie with Oyster Stout Gravy (from The Oyster Companion)

What you need:
⅓ cup sunflower oil
2 lb stewing beef
3 tbsp  all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
½ tsp granulated sugar
1½ cups Guinness stout or Oyster Stout
1 cup beef broth
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
12 Pacific oysters or large, plump Atlantic oysters, shucked; oyster liquor reserved
1 lb 500 g) pie pastry (enough 
to line and top 4 to 6 ramekins)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

For the pastry:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup lard or shortening
½ cup cool water
2 eggs

Tip: For a simple pie when you don’t want to fuss with pastry, use store-bought puff pastry on top and don’t line the ramekins at all.

How to make the pastry:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and, if you are not using oyster liquor in the next step, salt. Add the butter and lard. Using electric beaters on medium-low speed, mix until the butter and lard 
is fully incorporated into the flour (it will have a sandy texture).
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water (or oyster liquor, if using) and eggs. Add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and place the dough in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.  After chilling, the dough is ready to be used.

How to make it:
1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the oil.
2. In a bowl, toss stewing beef in salt-and-pepper seasoned flour. Transfer to the pan and sear in the hot oil, stirring occasionally to ensure browning on all sides. Transfer the browned beef to a plate (reserve pan) and set beef aside.
3. To the reserved pan, melt 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned. Transfer to the plate.
4. Add the remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent. Add the sugar and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized. Stir in the beer and beef stock, and bring to a boil.
5. Add in the browned beef and mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaves. Reduce the heat, cover with the lid, and simmer for 1½ hours.
6. Meanwhile, roll the pastry out to ¼-inch thick. Using a knife, cut out 6 rounds. Line 6 ramekins with pastry, cutting off any excess. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside.
7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat, mushrooms, and onions to a bowl and set aside. Cook the remaining sauce until thickened (this will be your gravy).
8. Meanwhile, shuck the 12 oysters, and divide them evenly among the ramekins. Top with equal portions of the reserved beef, mushrooms, and onions. Drizzle with oyster liquor. Top up each with the gravy. Cover with pie pastry, pinching the edges to seal. Using a paring knife, cut a small vent hole in the centre of each pie. Brush the tops with the well-beaten egg wash.
9. Bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until 
the gravy is bubbling and the pastry is golden.

Serves 6.


DESSERT: Fruit Crumble (from Clueless in the Kitchen)

What you need:
Fruit mixture:
4 cups apples or pears, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks or slices
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch

Crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter
½ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease an 8 or 9-inch (20 or 23 cm) square baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar and cornstarch. You may want to adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste and the sweetness of the fruit (rhubarb will need more sugar than ripe peaches will). Dump into the prepared baking pan.
3. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crumble topping — the flour, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Smush everything together using a fork or pastry blender utensil until it forms a slightly sticky, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle this crumble topping evenly over the fruit in the baking pan.
4. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit bubbles around the edges of the pan and the topping is lightly browned. Let cool for a few minutes. You must serve this warm with vanilla ice cream. It’s the law.

Serves 6-8.


TO DRINK: Buttered Bourbon Apple Cider (from Best of the Simple Things)

What you need:
500ml apple cider
100ml apple juice
1 tbsp light brown sugar
Cinnamon sticks (one, plus some to use as stirrers)
Star anise
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ginger
Sliced fresh fruit (orange, apple)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
150ml bourbon

Tip: To make a children’s version, replace the bourbon and cider with apple juice (600ml in total).

How to make it:
1. In a large pot add the cider, apple juice and sugar; heat until it starts to simmer.
2. Add all other ingredients except for the butter and bourbon.
3. Let the spiced cider simmer for 10 mins, then add the butter and bourbon, stirring gently until the butter has melted.
4. Remove from the heat, pour into glasses, add a cinnamon stick to each glass and serve.  You can strain the mixture before pouring if you don’t want ‘bits’.

Serves 6-8.


Woman wearing grey wool fingerless glove serving glass of hot apple cider from yellow pot with ladle


Get the books:

 Casablanca: My Moroccan Kitchen

 The Oyster Companion

 Clueless in the Kitchen

 Best of the Simple Things

in Books Hits: 2822

Author Events   Firefly Books Fall 2021 Catalog PDF