Recipes: Donal Skehan with the taste of Autumn
Savour the season's harvest with these fruity recipes from Donal Skehan
Each season has its own exciting moments and, for me, autumn is all about baking with seasonal fruit. There is nothing better than coming home to a house filled with the smells of cakes and bakes using cinnamon, apples and blackberries.
My memories of baking at this time of the year always include apples and blackberries.
My brother and I would head out with mom and, just after the new school term had started, we would spend Saturdays picking blackberries from the hedgerows close to my grandparents' house.
Conveniently, my grandparents also had a beautiful old apple tree from which we could pick armfuls of fruit.
Crumble was always the quickest dish to make with our two star ingredients. And we were never disappointed when the golden crumble with pink, syrupy bubbles around the edges of a big earthenware baking dish emerged from the hot oven.
With all these autumnal flavours and thoughts rolling around my mind, I've come up with just a few baking recipes which really make the best of what's in season. My sticky maple, apple and ginger cake is a wonderfully moist spiced cake, ideal with tea or served with cream or ice cream for dessert.
It also keeps extremely well, so don't be afraid to make it in advance and pop it in a cake tin.
The idea of baking with beetroot might sound a little crazy, but the addition of this beautiful, brightly coloured ingredient adds a wonderfully rich texture to my dark-chocolate beetroot cupcakes.
Now really is the time to get out and pick blackberries -- bring a basket and pick as many as you can carry.
They are incredibly versatile and can be made into jam, coulis, sorbet, ice cream and so much more.
If you do have a glut, make sure you freeze them in resealable bags and they can be blitzed with a banana and some apple juice for a tasty breakfast smoothie.
The blackberry crumble slices are quite fitting for a fruit that is a bit rough and ready.
They are beautiful in their own right and make the perfect little sweet treat for any weekend callers who might stop by.