I love crisp autumnal days and the excuse to pull out my trusty winter coat and scarf. While it’s not too cold we still spend time on our little boat on the river.. the leaves fall and float like confetti on the river at this time of year so it’s very pretty - the river is much quieter and calmer too so it feels like a secret world.. so long as you wrap up warm. We also walk a lot through the Chilterns - Turville Heath and Hambleden Valley are my favourite hiking spots. Or my best friend’s farm deep in the valley is blissful on a bright and chilly day - her youngest daughter comes on horseback and we meander through the fields.
Fenella’s Easy Chicken Pie
One of my children's firm favourite Autumn meals is chicken pie. They request it after almost every crisp Autumnal walk and it never fails to delight!
Ingredients Serves 6 (well 4 hungry little people and 2 bigger people!)
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 leeks
- 4 spring onions
- 4 tbsp chopped tarragon
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 pint (600ml) chicken stock
- 4 tbsp half fat crème fraiche
- Pre-rolled puff pastry
- Egg & milk to glaze
- Preheat the oven to around 180°C. Chop the leeks and spring onions and add some olive oil to a pan and soften.
- In the meantime chop the chicken into chunks and season.
- When the leeks and spring onions are soft, transfer to a bowl for a moment and then cook the chicken for a few minutes.
- Return the leeks and spring onions to the pan and add the tarragon.
- Add the flour and coat the ingredients with it, then stir in the chicken stock. Simmer for a while and add the crème fraiche. Stir into a 1 pint pie dish.
- Cover the pie with pastry and cut the edges around the pie dish. Brush the pastry with a mixture of egg yolk and milk.
- Put in the oven for around 20 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden brown.
- We like to serve ours with buttery mashed potatoes and lightly steamed crunchy green vegetables - delicious!
What the Fenella Smith Team are reading this Autumn
Crisp chilly days and darker nights gives us the perfect opportunity to snuggle up in front of the fire, hot chocolate or glass of wine in hand ready to get lost in a good book. The Fenella Smith team are all avid readers and these are the page turners we’re getting our heads into this month.Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
An exquisite ode to the natural world, a heart-breaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder, the descriptions of the desolate marshlands of the North Carolina coast make you feel as though you walking right through them - we can’t put this book down.
Fleischman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
A gripping story of a couple undergoing a bitter divorce in Manhattan, it’s incisive, sharply observed and humorous and delves deep into an examination of the nature and anatomy of marriage, family, divorce and love.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Heart-warming and hilarious! Four friends living in a peaceful retirement village, meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves!
The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory
Set in Berlin in 1989, as the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda – and Miriam discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap – Henryk’s secret history begins to unravel. Miriam discovers more clues from her father’s past including the disturbing truth about the ‘Rabbit Girls’, young women experimented on at the camp. Amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, she pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost fifty years. Utterly moving, haunting and gripping - the perfect Autumn read.
I hope you're all staying safe and warm and enjoying the wonderful Autumnal season.
Love Fenella x