Rustling leaves carpet the ground; misty mornings and delightful evenings, air thick with the scent of wood smoke. Days and seasons passing at blistering pace with fast foods and pizza delivery service offering a life line to increasingly hectic schedules. Though my heart is attached to the deliciously warm rays of summer sun I quietly enjoy the colourful arrival of autumn. Relishing in its tactile nature, how I adore simple pleasure of crunchy walks in the forest, squelching mud to avoid; sift through drawers of fluffy socks, patterned tights and soft woolen sweaters of various muted shades.

Surrounded by autumn's rich tapestry of colour, curling leaves spiraling from trees my eyes and longing drifts to the new array of seasonal produce – late summer juicy peaches, crisp apples and pears, the musty hue clinging to black figs and piles of fresh, creamy textured nuts: walnuts, hazel and almond, to mention but a few. As outside temperatures begin to waver, cravings for warming soups and comforting casseroles creep into vision. Peppery, pastel green Watercress Soup is a favourite, enlivened by the merest hint of garlic along with: onion, potato, a tasty vegetable stock and cream. All gently simmered to tender then blitzed to the most velvety smooth consistency. Likewise with Butternut Squash Soup and a mouthwatering parsnip with walnut, all served with a freshly baked 'Tradition' baguette.



But, of course, with the new season comes a wonderful opportunity to experiment, taking new arrivals to create the delicious though perhaps a little unexpected, an autumnal pizza of pear, blue cheese and walnuts. Its thin granary crust providing a perfect, nutty contrast to the combination of slight-sweet pear and salty blue cheese. The choice of blue is entirely to taste, but do pick a creamy, crumbly variety.

Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Pizza

makes 2 x 25cm pizza

base
  • 200g strong granary flour (bread flour)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 pkt fast action yeast
  • scant 125ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp oil


topping

  • about 2 heaped tablespoon crème fraiche
  • ½ hard pear, core removed and finely sliced
  • handful rocket leaves
  • 150g bleu de Auvergne (creamy, crumbly cheese)
  • 6 fresh walnuts crumbled
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper



Preheat the oven to 225C

1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together.

2. Heat together the milk and oil. You are aiming for blood temperature, so if you dip your finger

into the liquid it should neither feel hot nor cold. Make a well in the centre of the flour and gradually pour in the milk, mixing. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Leave covered in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

3.Remove, lightly knead then thinly roll out to size.

4.Spread the crème fraiche over the bases, topping with neatly arranged pear slices, crumbled cheese, walnuts and seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, until topping is golden and base cooked. Serve immediately with a salad accompaniment.