An Autumn feast

9 mins read

Samhain is a traditional Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. This holiday is where many modern Halloween ideas come from, such as leaving food out for the dead, pumpkin carving, sweets and fancy dress, to name a few. 

 A significant aspect with any celebration is the feast, and the food (like every party) is always the best part. As it is meant to represent the harvest, we use seasonal produce such as tree fruits, root vegetables, pulses and grains and meat. (don’t worry veggie friends, I’ve got a solution for you too). Even if you don’t celebrate Samhain, this menu will, as my grans says, “Put fire in your belly” and will warm you up on those cold autumn nights.

Sweet potato and Lentil soup

Serves 6


Ham joint 

500g red split lentils 

500g potatoes, peeled and diced 

Knob of butter

1 Onion

1 Leek

1/2 Turnip

6 Carrots

3 Parsnips

4 Vegetable stock cubes

Utensils needed

Large saucepan

Lid for saucepan

Chopping board

Wooden spoon

Blender/liquidiser (optional)


•Melt the butter in a large saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes and the chopped onion and toss them in the butter until coated.

• Into the same pan, put the ham joint and all of the lentils and cover with water until boiling

• Once the water is boiling, slowly add the rest of the veg and put in 4 vegetable stock cubes to taste (more if you prefer)

• It will be tempting but DON’T SEASON TILL THE END after tasting 

• Simmer slowly stirring every now and then 

• Cover the pan and cook on low heat for about 3 hours 

• Remove ham after the 3 hours 

• If you prefer a smoother soup, Liquidise the remaining mixture 

• Add salt and pepper to your liking and serve immediately 

Unsmoked gammon/ nut roast with honeyed root veg

Unsmoked gammon/ nut roast with honeyed root veg

Serves 6-8


1 tbsp Olive oil

15g Butter

1 Onion

2 Garlic cloves

2 sticks of Celery

500g Parnips

500g Carrot

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Oregano

Mashed potatoes

200g Chesnutt mushrooms

1 red Pepper

100g Lentils

2 tbsp Tomato puree

300ml Vegetable stock

100g Breadcrumbs

150g Mixed nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts work best)

3 large Eggs

100g Cheddar

Handful of parsley

For the tomato sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

A sprig of rosemary

400ml passata

Utensils required


Mixing bowl

Large frying pan

Wooden spoon

Loaf tin


•Heat the oven to 180C/ fan 160C and line the base and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper.

•Heat the oil, butter, celery and onion into a frying pan for about 5 mins until beginning to soften. Then stir in the garlic cloves and chestnut mushrooms and cook for 10 mins.

•Stir the red pepper and carrot and cook for about 3 mins then add the oregano and smoked paprika and cook for a minute.

• Add the lentils and puree and cook for a minute, add vegetable stock and simmer over a very gentle heat until all the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is dry. This should take about 25 minutes and set aside to cool.

Par boil the potatoes, carrots and parnips for 5 minutes then peel and slice into long pieces and rub with honey, salt, pepper and a little bit a soy sauce. Place on a roasting tray and put them in for 40 minutes

• Finally, stir in the fresh breadcrumbs, mixed nuts, eggs, cheese, parsley and a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Mix well and spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and press down the surface. Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins, then remove foil and bake for another 20 mins until firm when pressed 

• Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the olive oil gently then add 2 finely sliced garlic cloves and the rosemary sprig and heat. Then pour in 400ml passata and add a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Simmer gently for just 15 mins.

• Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for about 10 mins then turn out onto a serving board or plate. Remove the baking paper and cut into slices and serve with a little of the tomato sauce. If you have leftovers, keep chilled, sliced and reheated to make it easier to serve.

Toffee apple cake

Serves 10 (less if you’re hungry)


150ml vegetable oil

175g dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

250g apples (2 apples), peeled, cored and grated

200g self-raising flour 

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

25g oats 

zest of 1 lemon

For the filling and decoration

juice of 1 lemon 

4 apples 

25g butter 

50g brown soft sugar 

1 tbsp golden syrup 

¼ tsp cinnamon 

100g caster sugar (optional, for the tiny caramel apples)

For the icing

50g butter 

100g white chocolate 

280g tub cream cheese

1 cap of vanilla essence

Utensils needed

2 20cm cake tin

small bowl

Mixing bowl

Wooden spoon/spatula

Medium saucepan


2 Cake cooling racksIcing bag/nozzle


• Start by making the cakes. Preheat the oven 180C/160C fan and Grease 2 x 20 cm cake tins 

• Put the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix until glossy then pour in the oil.

• Stir in the grated apple, then fold in all the other cake ingredients. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 15 mins or until a knife comes out clean.


• Now for the filling:) Tip the lemon juice from your already zested lemon into a large bowl and fill halfway with cold water. Peel the apples, then cut into chunks and put in the bowl of lemon water to stop the discolouring. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, dark brown sugar, golden syrup, cinnamon and 200ml water until boiling. 

• Take the apple chunks out of the water and put them in the pan 

• Bring the toffee mix in the pan back to the boil for 8 – 10 mins or until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then chill until needed.


• While the cakes cool, make the icing. In a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the butter and white chocolate together. Once melted, pour into a large bowl. Add the cream cheese, whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla. Finally, fold in the yoghurt. When the mixture is cool, chill until needed.

• To assemble the cake, take the cooled sponges out of their tins and put one of them on a plate or cake stand. Top with half the white chocolate icing – use a spoon or using a large round piping nozzle. Scatter the cooked apple pieces, along with a drizzle of the syrup, over the icing, then place in the fridge to firm up for 15 mins. Add the top layer of the cake, then decorate with the rest of the icing by piping it in lots of regular little mounds all over the top using a large round nozzle. Put the whole cake in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Happy feasting!

Original recipes from:

Elaine hood

Featured images credit:bbc good food

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