HERE we are in mid-October already and with this slightly damper weather, my foodie thoughts are turning to more autumnal dishes.

In many ways it’s my favourite time of year to eat with fresh game, harvest fruit and vegetables and other seasonal treats. Grouse and partridge from the nearby moors and shoots keep rolling into the butchers in town; apples, Victoria plums, damson and blackberries are all rife across local orchards and hedgerows, plus there are wild mushrooms and even puffballs out there for those adventurous foragers among you.

One of the best things I’ve tried recently is a thick slice of a puffball, pan-fried with garlic butter and parsley. The deep mushroom flavour of the puffball is made even better by its satisfyingly thick consistency. A bit like a giant slice of white bread made of mushroom. If you can find them (and safely identify them) I can’t recommend them more highly, although anything cooked with butter, garlic and parsley is pretty unbeatable, I admit.

There are other dishes I’m looking forward to tucking into as well; butternut squash, sage risotto, plum and almond tart to name but a few. Make the most of the cooler weather, the superb local produce and get cooking.

In Malton, as always, there are some exciting changes to tell you about. Liz Kemp, who opened the most excellent and unusual gift shop at 13 Market Place in 2017 has now expanded into a new and exciting shop at 11 Market Place, next door. As well as a much larger store full of wonderful presents and brilliant gift ideas, Kemp’s has also now become Malton’s go-to independent book shop.

For some time now visitors to Malton have mentioned to me how an independent book shop would be just the ticket for this pretty market town. Well this month, Kemp’s Books became a reality and I can’t wait to browse the cookbooks and more.

With Liz Kemp’s new expansion, she is now encouraging people to get a beverage from one of her neighbouring coffee shops then bring it in to Kemp’s whilst browsing through the bookstore.

A little bird has also told me there might be one or two special discounted drinks offers for visitors on a Sunday. I’m sure that will be well liked and an additional reason to visit Malton on a Sunday.

In other good news, Malton Cookery School will be reopening shortly under the stewardship of Gilly Robinson.

Gilly, who has always been head tutor at the “Green Man Alley” located gourmet school, is now fully in charge having taken over the lease from The Talbot.

When I spoke to Gilly last week she said her intention is to offer a greater range of courses, plus she will play host to book club suppers, food photography classes and she is also bringing back the hugely popular “Chef’s Tables” events, which have previously attracted top chefs from across Yorkshire.

“The Cook’s Place” is going to be the place to meet fellow foodies. Gilly, who is such a huge supporter of Malton, can’t wait to welcome you back and get you all cooking again.

Malton Monthly Food Market was, of course back, last weekend and I’m delighted to say that with a special layout, one-way system and several other safety features, this open air market continues to offer delicious food and drink in a safe and fun environment. The next one is on Saturday, November 14 - see you there.