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The nights are drawing in and skeins of geese are on the wing.  I have started to think of warming foods which will cheer me up and am reminded that I could do with buying myself a decent casserole dish. Although I make a number of soups, stews and casseroles are something I don’t make, not least because I don’t have anything to cook them in. So this month, I will be on the hunt for a nice casserole dish.

I can think of nothing nicer than a large bowl of hearty soup and a chunk of home-made bread. None of this machine made stuff mind you, just honest to goodness hand kneaded bread, packed with seeds, which makes the whole house smell lovely as it bakes.

I love breadmaking. It is such a satisfying activity. You start with such an unprepossessing bowl of ingredients and finish with a beautiful loaf of good for you bread. I am not of the “carbs are bad for you” school. In fact, I think the opposite and I am a bit of a carb junkie. A doorstop of organic bread spread with lashings of organic butter (none of these nasty spreads) and organic honey cannot be beaten as a breakfast, especially when the bread is home made and you know what is in it.

For lunch today, I had cheese and leek toastie a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe. It is cooked leeks, mixed with a little cream, thyme and grated cheese and served on lightly toasted sourdough, and it is gorgous, easy to make and filling.

I do not claim to be the worlds best cook, but I do love to bake and I have been known to make jams and chutneys. This weekend, I went and got some cooking apples from my Mum’s tree so that I can make chutney for a friend’s husband for Christmas. He likes things hot, so I make it with bird’s eye chillies rather than the standard medium hot. I love the smell of the spices when it is on the stove, they smell so warming and comforting, rather like Christmas but better and less stressful.

So as Autumn approaches, I need to start looking for hearty, healthy recipes which I can make without too much hassle and which will satisfy my need for comfort eating. So, I am off to hit the books.