Autumn Recipes – Growing Veg to Cook on Your Chiminea

It’s about time we gave you some scrumpotious autumn recipes to cook on your chim. But first, a peep into the current trend for flexitarianism and vegetarianism.

If you’ve ever grown your own veg you’ll already know how satisfying it is to see the process through from seed or seedling to something delicious you can actually eat. And if you’re doing it already you’re not alone. Apparently bucketloads of so-called Millennials are forgoing meat altogether and getting intimate with veg, eating meat-free diets for better health and to help slow climate change.

Livestock uses up more resources than plant protein. These days eating grass-fed steak is a luxury, but it also comes with a high cost to the environment. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, need less land, less water, less fuel and other resources, making them a whole lot more eco-friendly. If you’re one of those early-adopter consumers who has decided veg is the way ahead, you’re a ‘flexitarian’.

The stats from research group Mintel say more than 23 million people in the USA alone are already flexitarians. 30% are eating more plants and 38% go without meat at least once a week. Brits are catching up, with one in three of us identifying ourselves as flexitarian. Wow, that’s a lot! Trawl through your local supermarket and you’ll see double the amount of veggie products that were available just five years ago. Meatless meat is a popular buy, and as a result of all this our annual meat consumption has fallen 15% since 2006.

Ten of the best protein-rich veg to grow at home

The last Global Wellness Summit identified sustainable food from our own gardens and patios as a trend. And you don’t need a large garden to grow your own. A surprisingly small raised bed or veg patch can feed you for months, a greenhouse means you can feed yourself all year long and you can even grow cool stuff like sprouts – a bit like mustard and cress, where you sprinkle seeds on soil and eat the resulting tiny green leaves – in a window box or an indoor container.

We know a family of three who grow all the veg they can eat in a six foot by eight foot raised bed in the back garden. If you have space for the green stuff, what are the best grow-your-own veg as far as plant protein is concerned? All these contain lots of the good stuff, all highly nutritious alternatives to meat:

  • Edamame – in other words young soyabeans, usually still in their pod
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn
  • Curly kale
  • Sunflower seeds

This year’s biggest trend is for purple veg, and it comes in the most remarkably vivid and bright colours. You can grow purple asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauli, beetroot, eggplant, cabbage, sweet potatoes and a wide range of berries, and they’re incredibly good for you. According to nutritionists, purple antioxidants – called anthocyanins – protect the heart, reduce obesity and have all manner of other health benefits.

Autumn recipes for cooking on a chiminea

What can you cook on your chim this autumn? It’s all about hearty stuff – here are some ideas.

Sweet chestnuts are perfect at this time of year, and they taste awesome when you cook them on your chim, full of that unmistakeable outdoorsy flavour. All you do is cut an X into the flat side of each chestnut so it doesn’t burst, put the nuts in a flat pan – a frying pan is ideal – then place it on top of the chimney of your chiminea. Roast them for 15-20 minutes, de-skin them and eat them piping hot. You can even crush up the nuts and use them in stuffing for chicken or fish, or make a savoury chestnut crumble to go on top of a vegetable casserole. We have the perfect chestnut pan for this in our shop.

Talking about casseroles… autumn is the season of the rich broth, the hearty stew, the thick soup. And making delights like this is ever so easy. A stock cube, dried herbs and some tomato puree make a great base, then all you do is add thick chunks of vegetables to create something wonderfully heart-warming. You can pre-cook or part-cook your veg indoors and finish them off by boiling them in water on your chiminea, or roast your vegetables in oil or on kebab sticks before making a stew with them. Adding grated cheese on top makes it even more tasty. Check out the cast iron cauldron for a great way to make stews and casseroles while outdoors.

This is also mushroom season, and those great big, flat field mushrooms make a gorgeous yet madly simple dish. Turn a mushroom upside down, scatter cheese all over the umbrella bit and wrap it in tinfoil, then bake it in your chim for a veggie treat. You can also stuff and bake large tomatoes – so easy to grow they more or less grow themselves – and peppers.

Potato, onion and cheese cakes are another superb autumn recipe to make on your chiminea. Mash some boiled potato and fried onion with black pepper, salt and chunks of cheese or grated cheese. Make them into burger-like patties then fry them on top of your chim. Yum!

Kebabs make a splendid winter warmer, either veg or fruit. And they’re ridiculously simple to do. Just skewer your veg or fruit, dangle it over the flames – great fun – and eat them piping hot. Make a tasty cheese dip for an even better flavour.

Happy eating!