How to make the most of Autumn

Hi peeps, I have a post for you today from Cameron Richardson.

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Recent discoveries by scientists have alleged that the season of autumn could be well on its way out if current climate trends continue.

Environmentalists have suggested that colours of leaves are changing days later than they were two decades ago thanks to rising temperatures across the globe. If the current trend continues, we could soon be saying goodbye to the golden hues of autumn that make this the prettiest season of all.

If you want to make the most of autumn while you still can, here are a few activities to try that will truly make you appreciate the broad spectrum of colours during this gorgeous season.

Watch the sunrise…from your bed!

On a typical October day in Britain, the sun will rise around 7am. As most of us are usually getting up this time for work, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the autumn sunrise from the comfort of your own bed. If you’re not brave enough to go walking the dog at this hour, why not invest in a nice sturdy bed frame and mountains of duvets to keep you warm? There’s nothing quite like the sight of a rising sun over dew-covered autumn leaves, so snuggle up and admire from afar.

Enjoy a Sunday walk

Early mornings might be restricted to weekdays, but after a lazy lie in on a Sunday, there’s no better family activity than taking a stroll through the great British countryside. Wherever you are on this tiny isle, you’re never too far from a walking route. The National Trails organisation can point you in the right direction of the best nature spots out there to get a glimpse of the changing colours, so don your wellies and jackets and head outdoors.

Warm your cockles with an autumn meal

The autumn is a great time for outdoor night time celebrations from Halloween to Bonfire Night, and these can also provide a great opportunity for you to cook up a storm for guests. Have a brew of pumpkin soup on the stove while you’re watching the autumn day turn into night – the sunsets are just as beautiful as the sunrises! This is a great time of year to experiment with warming recipes such as traditional British stews, so brush up on your knowledge of seasonal ingredients and get cooking. Your guests will be queuing out the door!

*Collaborative Post

What do you love most about Autumn? I love seeing the leaves change colour. On my drive home from work there is a long row of trees and it seems that every day they look more stunning, especially in the late evening sunlight. I also love having a walk outside in the cooler air, and coming home to warm up with some tea, or soup. Or making jam, or making Christmas cakes (my half term tradition)… I could keep on going!

Sourdough cinnamon rolls

So a while ago Sainsbury’s sent me some flour, and for a while I was thinking about what I fancied making with it.

2014-09-13 14.33.43It is ages since I have made bread. I did have a spate of making sourdough a while back, but then I ran out of time at the weekends, and we discovered M&S’s San-Fran style which is just amazing.

While perusing the internet I came across a few recipes for sourdough cinnamon rolls, and once the idea was in my head that was it, I wanted to make them. This was the recipe I went for in the end.

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First up I had to make the sourdough starter, which although can take as little as a week, I ended up feeding it for two weeks. There are all sorts of weird recipes for sourdough starter out there, some involving yoghurt, or even apple cores, but actually all you need is flour and water. That is it. You want it to capture the natural yeast (bacteria? Something) that is in the air. I used half wholewheat and half white bread flour, mixed in a jar with warm water. Then each day add a tablespoon of flour, a tablespoon of water, and stir. I think you are meant to throw some away each day too, but I only do this every now and then. I have read I could keep it in the fridge, as then it does not need feeding, so I might do that now I have used some of it.

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The recipe I found told you to put it all in the machine, so I kneaded it for probably 10 minutes. At first it was sticky, but it soon turned, as if by magic, into a lovely ball of smooth dough.

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Here is where it went a big wrong. The recipe was massive- I printed off two pages, but missed off the filling. Never mind, I can make one with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Which was fine, but not quite right I don’t think!

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I didn’t manage to roll them too tight either. I think next time I would roll it thinner to have a proper swirl in there. Half I have put in the freezer (as the recipe said you could) and half went in the fridge overnight.

In the morning I as heading off on a long run (I did 10.5 miles at a steady pace- felt strong even though my legs were sore after Body Pump)- then when I got home I put on the oven and baked them while I had a shower.

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They didn’t rise a huge amount, but I left out the yeast in the recipe, as my opinion is that the sourdough should make them rise enough. They smelled amazing while baking, but the filling leaked all over the pan!

I did have a starter of fruit and soya yoghurt as I was too hungry to wait for them to cook.

2014-10-04 10.52.18Then they were enjoyed with a cup of tea. Such a good treat. Since going back and checking the recipe I saw that I could have made icing for them too, with icing sugar and vanilla, and I suppose that would make them more like a dessert, but I quite liked them with just the filling for breakfast.

The verdict? Not as good as Starbucks cinnamon rolls (but what is really?) but I love using sourdough for the gentle overnight rise- this was great to be baking (and smelling amazing) when I got out of the shower. I think using the sourdough means they have a denser feel, a bit chewier and perhaps more filling than a normal one too.

Favourite cinnamon roll recipe? I have made these ones before (often on Christmas Eve) as that recipe is really simple. I have also seen some amazing ones like apple caramel ones, or pumpkin ones. Not enough time in the week for all these goodies!

*Sainsbury’s sent me a voucher to cover the cost of additional ingredients, but all opinions are my own.

Autumn baking

So, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have rather a lot of apples from my apple tree. They are quite nice to eat on their own, but I prefer them baked.

On Sunday evening I had some time to myself so I decided to do some baking, although up first was something else:

2014-09-28 16.57.14After seeing Laura post this recipe I knew I had to have a go. Salted Almond Butter Fudge- so many good words in one recipe!

It was quick to make- I used the microwave to melt the coconut oil, and then left it to harden in the fridge while I had a run. When I got home I had a nibble, but it was not quite hard enough to properly slice. It is so good though.

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A few pieces with some earl grey tea for a pre-evening-work boost.2014-09-29 18.51.54

Next up, Caramel Apple bars. I had made these before, but copied the recipe down wrong so had to have a google before I could get started. The original is here– these are a bit of a sugar bomb, but the smell when they bake is gorgeous with the apples and cinnamon. I did use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar to make a token effort!

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Instead of making the caramel sauce for the top, I used some from a jar as I bought some in the Lake District last Easter and have not used it yet!

2014-09-29 21.28.15These are so good. The oats make it a sort of gooey flapjack texture, and the cooked apple and spices are just delicious with the caramel.

Next up, I fancy something with blackberries. I saw a lovely cake in a tearoom which had blackberries smushed into the buttercream, and although I am not a huge fan of buttercream, it did look very pretty.

What’s next on your baking list?