As the clocks go back and we start digging out our woolly jumpers and winter boots, kitchen talk turns to hearty pies, steaming casseroles and warming soups. November’s crop is great for those big autumnal flavours that really hit the spot on those chillier days. Each month we’ll be sharing our favourite produce along with recipe ideas and inspiration.

Here’s what’s hot right now…

Kale

This hardy leaf is at its best in the winter months and really coming into its own right now. We bought huge heads of purple and green kale at our local farm shop for just 60p a stalk. Best to pick the leaves and tender shoots (the stems can be used to help a vegetable stock) we love the par-boiled leaves, pan fried in a little sesame oil.  Finish with a sprinkling of seeds and you’ve got a delicious replacement for pack choi with your Saturday night stir-fry.

Kale’s great as a substitute for spinach or cabbage as a side dish but we’ve also been stirring it through curries, soups and stews – and still we have spare! Kale chips enjoyed a moment (although we still prefer Monster Munch) but slow roasting the leaves this way and crushing into powder creates a store cupboard staple which can spice up endless soups, salads and sarnies in the months ahead. And all for the price of a packet of crisps.

Do it:

Pick off the leaves and give them a good wash before drying well (this is important!) in a salad spinner or with a tea towel.

Gentle coat with olive oil (or similar) and season with salt and pepper (and any spices you might fancy)

Lay out on a baking tray and pop in the oven at around 120 degrees.

We’re a fan of the low and slow approach to baking them, they should take around 30 minutes but keep checking and gently turning until they’re all lovely and crispy.

Leave to cool and enjoy as ‘crisps’, or smash them to smithereens with your bare hands and finish off in a pestle and mortar.

The kale powder can be kept in a sealed jar and used as you would any other dried herbs.

Cauliflower

Once the preserve of yukky school dinners and over-boiled on Sunday dinners, Cauliflower has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years. Cauliflower steaks, cous-cous and whole roast centrepieces really make the most of this underrated veg and ther’s lots of great recipes to try. We enjoy  them cut into thick ‘steaks’ (about 2cm pieces cut around the equator) and painted with tahini and ras-al-hanout before pan frying.

Also a big fan of the cauliflower cous-cous: simply blitz the florets in a food processor until the ‘grains’ have broken down into little pieces. Pan fry with butter and garlic to replace your rice, cous cous or tabbouleh. Oh, and how could we forget? Cauliflower cheese. Pimp it with weird and wonderful cheese combinations or add chorizo, pancetta, white fish or wild mushrooms for a decadent wintery supper.

Pumpkin and squash

They’re just everywhere this year! And we can’t get enough of those cute little colourful ones! Check out our recipe for a spicy soup that makes itself. And following halloween, if you have any of those scooped seeds leftover, we’d highly recommend spreading them on a baking tray, drizzling with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika – bake slow and low in the oven for a gorgeous nutty snack.

Leeks

A rich and creamy leek and potato soup takes some beating (and is so simple to make from scratch) But again, the humble leek also makes a fine addition to a range of dishes including stews and curries, pasta sauces and wintery salads.  Baked with garlic, cheese and breadcrumbs it makes a decadent side dish or can be enjoyed all on it’s own for a warming dinner. Try this <a href="http://www Read Full Article.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spinach-and-leek-gratin-with-roquefort-crumb-topping-232888″>great recipe. 

Apples and pears

They don’t usually last that long in the fruit bowl but crumbles and pies are always winners! Add winter spices like ginger, cinnamon, star anise and clove to add extra seasonal cheer. Alternatively, they’re both gorgeous grated through your porridge or yogurt in the morning.

Rabbit – not everyone’s go to meat but a lovely rich flavour and a big favourite back in the day. There’s lots of lovely casserole and stew recipes around but we’re big fans of a winter terrine like this one.

Mackerel – We love this pretty little fish and usually have plenty of smoked mackerel in the fridge for salads, sarnies and breakfast. Fresh mackerel is delicious on the BBQ in summertime but as winter draws in, why not try spicing things up with a Moroccan style dish served with cous-cous or roasted vegetables for a proper winter warmer.

There’s loads more on offer – find out more on Eat the Seasons website which guides you through month by month or why not visit your local grocer, farm shop or market and see for yourself what’s bountiful and beautiful this month.

And of course, you can hop over to follow us on Facebook or Twitter for all our latest news and blog posts – happy eating! xx