Now, I don’t know about you but seeing boxes and boxes of mince pies stacked up in the supermarket is getting me prepared for Christmas – and some filling winter foods, writes Cathy Spencer.
On Sunday I had my first Brussel sprouts of the season and teamed it with some roast parsnips – all I was missing was a turkey and some stuffing balls.
OK, I know it is only October but when I watched Great British Food Revival last night on BBC 2 it felt odd to see chef Michel Roux Jr championing the strawberry.
He starts off by saying the strawberry is the crown in the British summer fruit and that more than 20 varieties are grown in England.
Take a look out of the window Michel – it is cold and dark, summer is well and truly over.
And ask people if they want to get in from the cold and tuck into your iced strawberry nougat and you may be disappointed.
Michel, do yourself a favour and try an apple pie with custard instead, or a delicious jam roly-poly – proper cold weather nosh.
However, there was nothing stopping Michel last night as he cooked up three recipes – his iced strawberry nougat, but also a strawberry soufflé with crumble topping and a spiced red wine strawberry compote.
I have to admit that Michel is a genius in the kitchen and even though his iced strawberry nougat was a bit cold, it also looked mouth watering as the strawberries were teamed with cream, crushed caramelised hazelnuts and meringue.
It is obvious you can’t be a TV chef and be modest about your cooking as Michel picked up his bowl and said: “That is the most beautiful meringue you have ever seen, I’m sure.”
To test the different varieties of strawberry the programme went to Wimbledon – yes, that event which happened around three months ago.
Sue Barker, Tim Henman and Andrew Castle tucked into the different varieties of strawberry and among their favourites were the Jubilee strawberry and the Cambridge variety.
The series aims to find British ingredients that have fallen both out of favour, and also off our shopping lists – and each week two celebrity chefs champion produce that is on the verge of extinction.
The chefs scour the country and meet food producers and enthusiasts, and then show us three recipes to encourage us to go out and snap up some strawberries – or some watercress as James Martin decided to champion last night.
It seems that for hundreds of years watercress was the ultimate free food and it was grown everywhere – it was even found in the River Thames.
James’ first recipe is a spiced watercress butter with Dover sole which looks delicious and he follows it up with a watercress and pea soup – which James says is the ultimate in fast food and it does seem to take just minutes to make.
To try and champion watercress the chef goes to Covent Garden where he asks the public what they think of it – there are crowds around him as people dip their hands in to pull out some of the leafy green veg to chew on.
James says he hopes to appeal to the younger generation with his last recipe – pork with watercress and chilli crust. My winter food cravings are getting the hit they want until he teams his dish with a salad.
I know the programme was obviously made a few months ago but I don’t know anyone who wants salads and strawberries right now – maybe next week they could focus on bangers and mash, or possibly faggots and peas?