As the nights draw in those simple salads no longer hit the spot. It’s time for warming soups and hearty stews, so here are some family classics for autumn recipes to fill everyone up without breaking the bank.
1. Bangers and mash with onion gravy
Sausages have come a long way, but are still relatively cheap and kids love them, so this will be one of the most welcome autumn recipes! Soften onions in butter or oil and add a little sugar and balsamic vinegar. Thicken with flour, add liquid and simmer for 10 minutes, then pour liberally over the best bangers you can afford.
2. Sausage and bean casserole
Grill good quality sausages until brown and put in a flameproof casserole. Soften onion with a little garlic, then add chopped tomatoes, herbs, along with red wine, stock or water. Add a can of haricot or cannellini beans, season and simmer until thick and flavoursome. Serve with rice or crusty bread.
3. Irish stew
Ireland’s national dish is traditionally made with mutton or lamb and is a favourite for warming autumn recipes. Brown it in chunks then place in a casserole with potatoes, carrots, onions and pearl barley if you like. Flavour with bay and thyme, cover with beef stock and cook for about an hour until the meat is tender.
4. Spaghetti with meatballs
This easy midweek supper is an 'eat one, freeze one' classic. Mix together minced beef and pork, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan and herbs with a bit of chilli if you like things spicy. Roll into balls and grill before simmering in a rich tomato sauce made with onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes and red wine.
5. Roasted veg
A great way to turn kids onto veg which becomes sweet and tender with roasting. Chop red peppers, onion, squash, courgette, aubergine and garlic into a shallow roasting tin. Scatter with herbs, season and roast for 45-50 mins. Pile them onto a bed of couscous or pasta, or serve as a side to lamb chops or roast chicken.
6. Butternut squash risotto
Made with or without pancetta this is great for the whole family, including babies (minus the traditional wine of course). Toss pieces of squash in olive oil and roast for 30 mins. Puree half and stir into a cooked risotto then add the rest in chunks along with some fried sage leaves and grated parmesan.
7. Macaroni cheese
The perfect after-school dinner, macaroni cheese works just fine by itself or as a side with roast chicken and veg. Cook the macaroni in boiling, salted water until al dente. Make a white sauce and flavour with nutmeg, mustard and some mature cheddar. Mix in the pasta then scatter with breadcrumbs and more cheese and grill until golden.
8. Chilli con carne
Autumn just wouldn’t be the same without it. Soften onions with garlic, carrots and red pepper, add chilli powder, paprika and cumin to taste then simmer with minced beef, stock and tomatoes (tinned and puree). Add kidney beans or chick peas, simmer for an hour then serve with soured cream and rice.
9. Autumn pudding
This seasonal update to summer pudding gives the wow factor with cheap ingredients. Cook pears, apples, plums and blackberries with a little sugar and butter. Soak slices of white bread in the juice then line a pudding basin, put in the fruit and top with more bread. Cover with a plate, weigh down and refrigerate overnight.
10. Plum cobbler
Comfort eating at its finest. Halve some plums then soften with sugar and a little water with cinnamon to taste. Make a scone dough and place tablespoon-sized lumps or cut out shapes over the fruit. Scatter with more sugar then bake at 180 until the dough is cooked and the fruit bubbling.