How autumn produce and Scotland's food and drink can help to embrace the quiet life trend

It is the time of the year when the chill starts to bite, days are slowly getting shorter, fires make a return to the hearth and meals become heavier and warming.

It is also the time of abundance in the hedgerows, gardens and allotments. I can’t stand the end of summer, but that only really lasts until mid-September when I get fully into the coming autumn and start to look forward to cooking and baking up a storm.

While we’ve had an unseasonably warm start to September and October, the temperature has now dipped, the leaves causing the streets to turn gold. It is really starting to feel like autumn, which means stews, baked fruit, crumbles and a cake or two.

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This is the type of food to warm the soul as much as it is to give something to look forward to on a dark night. There’s a TikTok trend for the quiet life (#quietlife), which seems to resonate with the want to get back to nature, eat with the seasons and experience something unique linked to an area.

Pumpkin patches are now boasting produce for HalloweenPumpkin patches are now boasting produce for Halloween
Pumpkin patches are now boasting produce for Halloween

This can apply to food and drink as much as it can to forest bathing, nature walks and quiet time. For me, this time is best spent in the kitchen chopping, stirring or plating up food. It is also a tonic to pour over new or much loved recipes, including Nigel Slater’s The Christmas Chronicles. Suggestions for enjoying this at home include preparing a hearty breakfast as part of a slow morning – which to me is basically every Sunday.

If you do want to get away from it this autumn, for a night or just a day trip, and enjoy the season, then there’s plenty of things to do and beautiful scenic locations in which to do them.

VisitScotland recommends walks and bird watching at the Brough of Birsay in Orkney, visiting Glen Affric – be sure to visit the The Bog Cotton Café – or star gazing in Tomintoul and Glenlivet, which so happen to be home to wonderful namesake distilleries you can visit for a dram or two as well as a tour.

It is also the season of pumpkin picking, with many patches open from now for friends and families who want to pick their own pumpkins ahead of Halloween. While not the quietest of activities, these patches are in beautiful, rural spots that, on a cold, sunny day, are a picture perfect version of autumn.

You can, of course, stick to tradition and carve a turnip, which are also available at some patches. This day out means a chance to cook or use up the leftovers of the squash or turnip in soups, stews or even in baking. Remember you can wash and roast pumpkin seeds for a snack.

Yes it’s getting colder and darker, but it’s the ideal time to take a cue from nature and start to slow down, get some quiet time and enjoy some warming food and drinks.



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