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Home comfort recipes for autumn

Food blogger Lily Lykkes cooks up some deliciously cosy treats

With the change of season upon us – leaves browning, air cooling and nights fading – we find ourselves back in our kitchens (au revoir to the outdoor BBQ) with a hankering for some good old-fashioned comfort food. Yes, the days may feel gloomier and a little lacking in Vit D, but the change of weather isn’t all bad. The post-harvest months supply us with tonnes of seasonal veggies and ample ingredients for whipping up our most indulgent and snuggle-up-worthy dishes yet. So, we’ve asked food blogger and chef LilyLykkes to give us a taste of what autumn has in store. Sticky squash? Caramelised concoctions? Sweet orange treats? Now we’re talking…

Sticky Sausages with Squash and Caramelised Onions

While the transition into autumn may make our days feel a little gloomy, I like to think it’s best to embrace the change, show interest in new produce and get excited about what’s fresh this season. After all, there are so many seasonal star ingredients to excite our palates at this time of year – figs, carrots and apples, to name a few.

But for me, as the temperatures cool, there is one veggie I choose to cook before the rest – butternut squash. Its beautifully vibrant colour, texture and smell scream comfort, and it makes for some glorious looking (and tasting!) dishes.

This golden root vegetable is ready to harvest from mid-late autumn and is my go-to ingredient during the colder months. It’s reasonably low-cost at approximately £1 per kg at most supermarkets, making it the humble superstar of so many dishes.

When I first created this dish, I made it with maximum comfort in mind. It never fails to make me feel completely content and cosy. It’s incredibly unctuous, sticky and a true delight to tuck into… Best served with rain patters on the window and a roaring fire.

Introducing my Sticky Sausages with Squash and Caramelised Onions.

These three ingredients all marry beautifully together anyway, but when coated in a sweet, sticky homemade glaze, you won’t be able to stop yourself from enjoying second servings. It’s really easy to make, great for getting the kids involved, and can be enjoyed cold the following day… if you have any leftovers that is!

So, next time you’re at your local veg shop and see an oddly shaped cream-coloured root vegetable, pick it up and give this recipe a go – you won’t regret it…

Serves 2-4, takes 30-40 minutes 

I N G R E D I E N T S

1 squash
2 onions
6 Sausages 
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
Sprinkle of sesame seeds
1 stock cube – I went for beef, but vegetable would also work nicely
Fresh thyme
Seasoning – salt, pepper, paprika

M E T H O D

1.     Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2.     Slice the squash into thick wedges and the onions into slices. Place the ingredients onto a lined baking tray along with the sausages of your choice (I went for pork and apple) and season everything generously with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme

3.     In a separate bowl, make the sticky glaze by mixing the 2 tbsp honey, soy sauce and Dijon mustard along with a sprinkle of sesame seeds

4.     Pour the glaze over the squash, onions and sausages and bake for 15-20 minutes

5.     Whilst the ingredients cook, heat up a stock cube with 100ml hot water on the hob and mix in 1 tbsp honey. Keep it simmering for a couple of minutes

6.     Remove the ingredients from the oven and pour over the stock cube glaze, then continue to cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the glaze becomes a sticky delight

Sweet Orange and Almond Cake

As autumn sets in, comforting and cosy are two words that inspire a lot of my recipes, but that’s not exclusive to the savoury genre. A little sweet goes a long way, and let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than tucking into a delicious slice of cake with a perfectly brewed cup of tea – especially if it’s cold outside!

I don't, however, bake with the traditional autumnal flavours that spring to mind throughout the pumpkin-spiced season. Instead of reaching for traditional flavours like ginger, all-spice and nutmeg, I prefer to opt for a baked treat that has a little more zing – all thanks to a squeeze of orange and some deliciously crunchy almonds.

While these two ingredients are already a match made in heaven, they also create a splendidly light cake that still makes you feel warm and wonderfully ‘hygge’. In other words – it’s a cake that ticks every box.

Introducing my Sweet Orange and Almond Cake.

This recipe is easily made gluten- and dairy-free with the addition of ground almonds, while still maintaining its perfectly moist texture and soft sponge. So if you’ve got intolerances, definitely give this recipe a go and enjoy a slice (or two!). Or, you can just as easily replace the flour and yoghurt with regular varieties if you prefer.

I also decided to bake this cake in a bundt tin, which is a special baking tin used to make ring-shaped cakes. While this isn’t necessary, I would highly recommend it, as it gives the cake a real ‘showstopper’ feel that people won't be able to resist.

 

Serves 4-6, takes 60 minutes

I N G R E D I E N T S

150g butter, plus extra for the tin
200g golden caster sugar
150g gluten-free self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
3 eggs
100g dairy-free natural yoghurt
1 lemon
1 orange
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g icing sugar, sifted
Handful almonds, chopped
Sprinkle of edible marigold flowers

M E T H O D

1.     Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2.     In a mixing bowl, add the caster sugar, flour and ground almonds and stir until combined

3.     In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and natural yoghurt until smooth. Then add the butter and mix until a paste is formed. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir well

4.     Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon and orange, along with the vanilla essence and then stir until all combined

5.     Pour into a prepared bundt tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and a skewer comes out clean

6.     Cut a few slices of the remaining orange and squeeze the lemon juice into the saucepan (leaving 1 tbsp for the icing). Add 3 tbsp caster sugar and bring to the boil, or until the juice replicates a thin syrup. Leave to cool

7.     Remove the orange slices from the syrup and add to a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until dry and crisp – keep an eye on them and flip them every so often

8.     Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool. Once cooled, remove from the bundt tin, and leave to cool completely

9.     For the icing, mix 4 tbsp yoghurt with the icing sugar and left-over lemon juice to create a thick paste. Drizzle onto the cooled cake

10.  Top the cake with the dried orange slices, chopped almonds and a sprinkle of edible marigold flowers

To try out more delicious recipes head over to Lily's Instagram.