As we say goodbye to the barbecues, salads and chilled desserts of summer and look to the soothing stews, steamed puddings and hearty pies that the falling temperatures demand, it can sometimes be a little difficult to make the transition into the new season’s eating. Luckily, along with a bumper crop of wonderful autumnal produce, a selection of brilliant cookbooks is here to inspire a new repertoire of recipes this autumn.
Simple Comforts is, as the title suggests, packed to bursting with fuss-free, soul-soothing food designed to lift the spirits, making it the perfect book to delve into as the leaves begin to turn. Whether you’re planning to feed a hungry crowd or are seeking quick and easy meals for those chilly midweek evenings, you’ll find plenty to inspire you in this collection. Our top picks from the book? Onion, artichoke, and sage tart, sausage and red pepper hotpot, and sticky toffee pear pudding.
If there’s one food that epitomises autumnal cooking, it’s got to be soup. Rustic bean stews, clear, nourishing broths, and chunky minestrones are what we crave as the weather grows colder. Rachel Allen’s Soup Broth Bread is a homage to soup in all its forms, and includes tips on batch cooking, freezing, and essential equipment to make your life easier. She also shares recipes for wholesome breads, garnishes, and stocks.
Creamy risottos, hearty ragù, warming platefuls of pasta: for so many, Italian cooking is the epitome of comfort food. In Jamie Oliver’s Jamie Cooks Italy, inspiration for food to bring comfort on autumnal days abounds, from melt-in-the mouth Salina chicken to creamy carbonara with crispy porcini breadcrumbs.
The title of this cookbook alone evokes the kind of laid-back and restorative cooking that we love at this time of year, and the recipes within do not disappoint. With sections dedicated to ‘quick and light’, ‘low, slow and hearty’ and ‘bowl food’, feel-good, intuitive cooking is the focus of this book. From slow-cooked pinhead porridge to start the day and chicken soup for those nights when you need a little warmth, to pecan and sausage stuffing mac ‘n’ cheese when only a comforting hit of melted cheese will do, Stirring Slowly is the perfect autumnal cooking companion.
Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food celebrates the kind food that puts a smile on your face; we’re talking over-the-top sweet treats, nostalgic dishes to bring back those childhood memories, and timeless classics that never disappoint. So, whether you want to cuddle up with the ultimate hot chocolate, create a spectacular autumnal roast, or warm up with a hearty chilli, there’s something for you in Comfort Food.
Natural born foodie Rachel Khoo has made Sweden her home and in her beautiful cookbook, The Little Swedish Kitchen, she shares her twists on classic Swedish recipes, organised according to season with each section including nibbles and starters, mains and desserts. In the chapter on autumn you’ll find plenty to inspire and lots of seasonal produce, from roasted butternut squash waffles to toasted pearl barley mushroom risotto and those all-important Swedish meatballs.
SIMPLE is a cookbook to fall in love with at any time of year, but there is something about the flexible, laid-back recipes designed to help when you are short on time, ingredients or inspiration that make this the perfect cookbook to have on hand as the nights draw in and spending hours in the kitchen feels less realistic. For a recipe with a nod to seasonal produce, we particularly love the roasted butternut squash with puy lentils and dolcelatte.
Another beautiful cookbook organised according to season, in the autumn section of Russell Norman’s love letter to Venetian home cooking you’ll find truly authentic recipes like hearty cannellini bean ribollita, roasted squash with toasted seeds and the comfort food heaven that is fried custard.
Marking twenty years since its original publication in 1998, Nigella Lawson’s seminal How to Eat was re-released as a VINTAGE Classics anniversary edition, reaffirming Nigella’s rightful place as one of the greatest food writers of all time. Brimming with classic recipes, you’ll find the likes of spaghetti carbonara and the most heavenly chocolate pudding cake. If autumn is all about comfort food, who does that better than Nigella?
75 one-tin recipes that leave the hard work to the oven? That sounds like exactly what you’ll need on a cold, grey Tuesday in mid-November when all you want to do is curl up on the sofa while a tray of sweet potato and mushroom polenta with tomatoes or crispy gnocchi with mushrooms, squash and sage cooks away effortlessly in the oven.
Curries are one of few dishes that can transcend the seasons but there is something particularly lovely about a warming and spiced curry on a colder day. In Nisha Katona’s The Spice Tree you will find enticing recipes as well as guidance on how to layer spice and pair it with different ingredients.