I said freeze!
Now’s the time to prepare for the winter and cook for the freezer, says Rachel Allen, who promises that you’ll be glad you did. Photography by Tony Gavin
As the evenings start to draw in at this time of the year, our suppers at home tend to be slightly less spontaneous than those of summer. Gone, but not forgotten, are the big salads and impromptu barbecues — unless an Indian summer kicks in suddenly — and in comes food that is warming and generally comforting.
Soups, stews and curries will all feature this month, but seeing as it’s still only September, I’m not yet craving the rib-sticking big dishes of winter, but slightly lighter versions that are still warming, nonetheless.
Now’s a great time of the year to clear out the freezer (I just found four half-eaten ice creams from the summer in ours!) and free up a bit of space for soups and stews that will be very welcome for those evenings when we are all trying to be in a few places at the one time.
The pizza squares, pictured above, are an ideal snack for hungry children just home from school. Using a white soda bread base that’s a cinch to throw together, they’re comforting and nicely filling too, and they’ ll sit happily in the freezer until needed.
Tomatoes are at their plentiful best right now (see In Season, above right) and they are great to turn into a soup, such as the roasted tomato, coconut and coriander recipe featured far right, which by the way, also happens to be dairy free — and vegetarian too, if you use vegetable stock. I love the silky richness that the coconut milk brings, and if you want it to deliver a kick, too, then just add a bit of chopped chilli to the tomatoes at the start.
Freeze it in lots of small pots or one large one — then, you can just remove it from its container and defrost the slab of frozen soup in a saucepan over a low heat.
The chicken vindaloo, far right, is a winner, and a very welcome meal to come home to after a long day, with a big steaming-hot bowl of rice.
Feel free to replace the chicken legs with pork leg or shoulder, but make sure to increase the cooking time.