Delicious Autumn Feasts
Cooking seasonal food is beneficial in three ways: it costs you less because the ingredients are cheaper, it’s healthier because locally available food is likely to be fresher, and it tastes better because food in season is likely to be at the peak of natural flavour, unlike ‘forced’ foods which can be tasteless as well as expensive.
Leek RisottoThis takes around forty-five minutes to prepare and cook and has delicious subtle flavours that bring an autumn pleasure to your table.
- 2 medium leeks, washed and thinly sliced
- 15 grams butter and a teaspoon of olive oil
- 200 grams risotto rice
- 175 ml white wine or dry cider
- 1 litre hot chicken stock
- A teaspoon of fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
- 30 grams grated parmesan
Gently heat the butter and oil in a heavy frying pan and add the leeks and tarragon once it has melted. Continue to cook gently until the leeks soften. Don’t allow them to brown. This takes around ten minutes.
Now add the rice and stir to coat, before adding the wine and cider and allow the dish to bubble gently, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed.
Continue cooking, adding a little stock (around a ladle-full or half a cup) whenever necessary. Constant stirring ensures the rice becomes soft and plump without sticking together. This takes around twenty minutes.
Taste and season if necessary, before piling into two bowls and sprinkling with parmesan.
Salsify ChipsThis unusual autumn vegetable looks daunting but is delicious and easy to cook. Treat it like other root vegetables, although if boiling to mash, it’s easier to leave the brown or black skins on the vegetables and peel it off before mashing. Try these chips in place of potatoes.
- 400 grams salsify, peeled and cut into thick chips
- 3 teaspoons cornflour mixed with a little salt and ground white pepper
MethodSteam the salsify over boiling water until tender to a knife tip and then put in a bowl of cold water for five minutes to refresh. Remove from water, dry and dust with cornflour blend.
Heat a deep fat fryer and cook the salsify chips for three to four minutes – when ready they become golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.
Autumn Fruit SaladWe tend to think of fruit salad as a summer dish, but an autumn salad makes the most of rich flavours available at this time of year and can cope with a more robust dressing than a summer one can.
- 2 red apples
- 2 green apples
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 sliced banana
- 2 eating pears
- 200 grams seedless red grapes
- 75 grams flaked almonds
- 100 grams Greek yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
MethodToast the almonds over medium heat in an ungreased frying pan until they become biscuit-coloured and fragrant. Set aside.
Wash, core and dice apples and pears but don’t peel as you want the colour for contrast. Put them in a serving bowl and toss them in the lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Peel and slice the banana. Wash and halve grapes. Add the rest of the fruit to the apples and mix. Then stir the spices into the yoghurt, pour it over the fruit and stir to coat evenly.
Chill until serving, then sprinkle with the flaked almonds.