November has always been a month of transition, thirty long days in between the sunny days and red leaves of October and the purest magic of December, the month of Christmas, butcher’s broom and cookies. November deserves some consideration, though, as it is the month of Indian summer, the cotton soft mist, new wine with roasted chestnuts, when you finally surrender to wool scarf, hat and gloves.
I promised November I would have enjoyed its antique charm this year, I am sure it will give me more than a good reason to be remembered. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are already singing my name from market stalls: pumpkins, oranges, mushrooms and beets will slowly conquer my heart, making me enjoy every moment of this November which has just begun.
In my discovery of Florence markets I made a quick trip to Piazza delle Cure, where there’s a typical local market, noisy and colorful. Here you can buy anything you can think of, from the porcini found in the woods around Florence to local fennels, form a baking pan for a last minute cake to the unmissable tripe and lampredotto.
- chestnuts. It would not be November without stopping at a corner to buy a paper bag filled with roasted chestnuts. It’s the best warmer for your hands in a freezing winter night.
- apples. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. What about an apple cake?
- pears. Can’t wait to fill up a few jars with some pear compote.
- kiwis. When I can find good local kiwis I cannot resist. I just slice them in a half and eat them with a spoon, emptying the furry skin spoon after spoon. A custard and fruit crostata comes as a close second.
- prickly pears
- persimmons. Last week I tried a persimmon, banana and almond milk smoothie for breakfast: it looked like a special morning.
- oranges. As soon as the time will be ripe, I’ll make another batch of Seville orange marmalade as last year.
- clementines. I’m waiting for the first clementines to bake my favourite chocolate cake, made with olive oil and clementine juice
- cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. Stir-fried with anchovies and black olives or steamed and served with a drizzle of good olive oil, cabbage is not so bad. I have a secret crush on the most hated vegetables by kids and grown-ups.
- fennels. One of my favourite winter salads is made with thinly shaved fennels, orange segments, black olives and anchovies: it’s light and fresh. But I cannot resist my mum’s cheese and béchamel fennels.
- artichokes. I’m waiting for artichokes as you can wait for the time of a roaring fireplace and warm bruschette: have you tried my grandma’s omelette?
- baby potatoes
- lettuce/endive. I used to consider salads as a summer matter. As soon as you change the dressing, setting aside the lemon juice and substituting it with mustard, a good wine vinegar, a teaspoon of honey and some crushed walnuts, salads change aspects and become an all season crowd pleasing.
- Jerusalem artichokes. A few years ago, just when I was about to change my life definitely, I made a classy soup, with root vegetables and Jerusalem artichokes. I am a great fan of their delicate and elegant artichoke flavour.
- beans. Beans with tomato sauce, garlic and sausages are one of the most authentic winter dish you can taste in Tuscany.
- butternut squash/pumpkin. What to say? I am in love, I recently made a gluten-free bundt cake which is moist and crumbly.
- turnip greens
- cardoons. One of the most typical Christmas meal used to be stewed chicken with fried and stew cardoons, a whole tasty experience from another time.
November. Time of? What are you most looking forward in November? Which are the seasonal recipes you cannot wait to make again?