Autumn kitchen activities
Looking for indoor activities for cooler days? Celebrate the season with our favourite kitchen projects, like making your own sloe gin and cider, urban foraging and baking sourdough
Looking for autumn activities? As the days get shorter, keep yourself entertained with relaxing projects such as cider-making, urban foraging and one-pot cooking. Also, check out our best autumn recipes, cakes, cocktails and salads for more seasonal inspiration.
Top 10 autumn kitchen activities
1. Become an urban forager
From hedgerows and woodlands to fields and parks, there are plenty of outdoor spaces that are great for foraging in the autumn – whether that's discovering fat, juicy blackberries to bright-red rosehips, lustrous clusters of elderberries or inky-blue sloes. Put your foraged bounty to good use with one of our fruity cakes or autumnal bakes – you'll love our pretty blackberry cake, blackberry brownies and warming damson cobbler.
For more guidance on foraging, check out our guide to picking autumn berries.
2. Make your own sloe gin
Found yourself with a glut of sloes from your foraging adventures? Making a batch of homemade sloe gin is easier than you might think, plus it's a great way to get yourself in the mood for autumn. Read our guide on how to make sloe gin and enjoy this fruity alcoholic drink curled up indoors, or give it away as a gift.
You could even take your love of sloe one step further with our seasonal sloe gin cake, sloe gin cheese and sloe gin and plum crumble. Don't have time to make your own but fancy a tipple? We have a review of the best sloe gin available to buy.
3. Bake the perfect sourdough
Autumn is the perfect time to brush up on your sourdough baking skills – the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your home is unbeatable.
If you're a sourdough novice, learn how to create your own sourdough starter (no yeast needed), then how to craft a sourdough loaf with our step-by-step sourdough guide, using just flour and water. If you're left with any excess sourdough starter, use it to make our sourdough cookies or sourdough brownies. Both make a fitting autumnal pick-me-up alongside freshly brewed coffee.
4. Become a coffee expert
An important date in the diary for coffee lovers, autumn heralds the arrival of the iconic pumpkin spiced latte. Cut costs by getting your hands on a flavoured pumpkin spice syrup and brewing from the comfort of your own kitchen, then pour into a reusable coffee cup for long autumn walks.
If a 'PSL' isn't your thing, turn your hand to making a fragrant chai latte, or if you're looking to get out of the house, visit the best London coffee shops as recommended by olive's coffee expert Celeste Wong.
5. Showcase your jam-making skills
Making jam is deceptively easy, plus it's a brilliant way to use up any autumnal fruits you may have. Damsons are ready to harvest from August and make wonderful jam with a sweet-tart flavour, perfect for slathering on toast. You can also pick blackberries in September and October, of course. They grow in hedgerows all over the UK and many are free to pick, so find them while they're in season and preserve them in our blackberry jam or steep them in blackberry gin.
Happy with the finished product? Put it to good use in our recipes using jam, such as jam tarts and posh jammie dodgers. They make nifty gifts, too, simply decorate with rustic ribbons and tags.
6. Finesse your vegan baking skills
Autumn marks a great time to put your vegan baking skills to the test with a leisurely weekend kitchen project: this sweet, spiced vegan pumpkin pie encapsulates the season and uses pumpkin purée to make things easier. Our vegan apple crumble, flavoured with warming cinnamon, also sings autumn: all you need to do is swap butter for melted coconut oil. If you want to flaunt your baking skills, make our vegan cinnamon rolls from scratch, then serve with vegan hot chocolate.
For more plant-based twists, try our vegan sticky toffee pudding, vegan scones and vegan banana bread.
7. Make your own cider
Love cider but never tried making it yourself? Carve out some time to learn how to home-brew with our sister brand, BBC Good Food's guide on making your own cider, featuring all the steps from selecting your apples to fermentation and bottling. Becoming the expert? Why not invite friends over and host an evening pairing cider with a selection of British cheeses? Or fix a round of this warming mulled cider that combines dry cider with spices and golden rum.
8. Make pies (and plenty of custard)
Autumn marks a wonderful opportunity to learn a new skill, and what skill is more seasonally appropriate than pie-making? Spend a free Sunday turning a glut of seasonal fruit into a warm, comforting bake. Our impressive pear patchwork pie cuts corners with ready-made shortcrust pastry and is packed with vibrant rhubarb and seasonal pear, while our classic apple pie, served with a jug of homemade custard, is heavenly.
9. Create comfort with our one-pots
Our hearty one-pot recipes will keep you full throughout autumn, while reducing food waste and energy, too. We think this 'nduja pepperonata stew is one-pan perfection: sweet slow-cooked peppers are paired with spicy sausage and creamy mozzarella (served with crusty bread to mop up the sauce). If you're cooking for two, or want to keep leftovers, our sausage and bean casserole is ready in an hour and comes packed with pork sausages, smoked bacon and homemade baked beans.
For veggies and vegans, try our butternut squash and chickpea curry and West African peanut stew with sweet potato – both are easy to make, hearty and flavoursome.
10. Rustle up an autumnal cocktail
Sheltering from rainy weather? Change into your comfiest loungewear and treat yourself to a warming autumnal cocktail as the night draws in. Regarded as the negroni's autumnal cousin, this boulevardier swaps gin for bourbon, adding a rich, rounded edge, while a sweet and smoky bourbon campfire cocktail is ideal for Bonfire Night. Our fresh and fruity bramble cocktail showcases autumnal produce and is easy to serve at parties, while bourbon and apples make a winning pairing in our delicious autumn aperitif.
Fancy taking your mixology skills to the next level? Kit out your home bar with the best cocktail accessories, then check our favourite cocktail glasses and whisky glasses.
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