The weather is so mild and the woods glorious near where Harriet Hare lives.
The chestnuts are ready and such a good year for them.
Harriet Hare enjoys gathering food from the wild. Sweet Chestnuts are now and the season brief.
Apparently fresh chestnuts should be cooked and not eaten raw because they are high in tannic acid.
Harriet Hare has eaten them raw, peeled, but she has been ok. Maybe it is because she is a hare?
Before eating you need to remove the skins of the chestnuts and only eat the creamy yellow insides. You can either boil, roast or microwave them (try about 2 mins for microwave). Always put a small slit in the skin first to avoide them exploding. You need to peel them while they are still hot as otherwise the skin seems to stick back down once they are cool.
You need to get all the skin off including the inner brown furry layer that is bitter.
Harriet Hare's favourite way of eating them is cooked over a fire or roasted in an oven. After slitting the skin put a single layer in a roasting pan in an oven of 220 C and bake for about half an hour.
The French love chestnuts and use them in chocolate cakes, and make maron glace out of them. Have a look on the internet for recipes.
CHESTNUT & BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
So now you have collected and cooked your chestnuts why not turn it into a delicious soup for Halloween. Very warming and with added garlic perfect for keeping the vampires away!
250g cooked and peeled chestnuts
250g peeled and cubed butternut squash
Garlic to keep the vampires away on Halloween!
750ml vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
250ml full fat milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste
What to do.....
Place the chestnuts, butternut squash, garlic, stock and thyme in a saucepan add a pinch of nutmeg. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook till the squash is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
When cooked and the vegetables are soft through puree in or with a blender.
Add the milk and mix again. Adjust the seasonning to taste.
Warm the soup through again and add a couple of spoon fulls of the Creme Fraiche and stir in. It is quite nice to keep the swirls of Creme Fraiche visible so no need to over mix.
Add some chopped chives, parsley or corriander as desired.