But the chestnuts aren't all bad news - while I've altered my walking habits temporarily, it does mean that the nuts themselves are back in season and ready to eat.
My daughter, who recently came back from a weekend in South Korea, told me that one of the unexpected things she'd seen on her travels was street food vendors dealing solely in roasted chestnuts. In England and much of Europe, roasted chesnuts are linked to Christmas. But in South Korea - if Mokpo is anything to go by, that is - roasted chestnuts are sold and eaten as snacks during rock concerts and on the beach.
Roasted chestnuts also form the cornerstone of this recipe, a creamy - but cream-free - and delicate soup that can be put together in very little time. It first ran in the New York Times around ten years ago, and has been part of the family repertoire ever since.
10 large chestnuts, peeled or unpeeled
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 sticks chopped celery
1 small onion, finely diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
900ml - 1l good chicken stock
chopped celery leaves or parsley for garnish
1. If you have peeled chestnuts, proceed to Step 2. Otherwise, preheat oven to 180C. Using a sharp paring knife, make an X on the flat side of each chestnut. Roast in an open pan for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the skins begin to open away from the meat. Remove both outer and inner skins while chestnuts are warm.
2. Place olive oil or butter in deep skillet or casserole, and turn heat to medium. A couple of minutes later, add celery, onion and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add stock and chestnuts, bring to a boil and partly cover. Lower heat, and simmer until chestnuts are mushy, about 30 minutes.
3. Carefully puree soup in a blender, or cool and then puree. Measure and add water to total 6 cups of liquid. Reheat, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve, garnished with celery leaves or parsley.
Recipe via The Minimalist at The New York Times and converted from cups.