For the love of autumn
Root vegetables, apples, figs and brassicas — the season’s favourite ingredients — come together in a quick and easy entertaining menu
CHILLED BEETAND-APPLE SOUP WITH CRÈME FRAÎCHE AND DILL
This soup benefits from being pushed through a fine sieve after blending. It may seem like a lot of trouble, but the silky result is well worth the effort. It can be served warm but is equally good chilled on a warm autumn day.
1 onion, finely sliced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced 1T butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
500g young beetroots, trimmed and diced
1 Granny Smith apple, seeded, cubed
1l vegetable stock
(preferably home-made) crème fraîche, to serve snipped dill, to garnish
1. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the butter until the onion is translucent, but not yet brown. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, taking care not to burn the garlic as it will turn bitter. 2. Add the beetroot and apple and sweat for 2 minutes before pouring in the stock. Bring to the boil, and then simmer until the beetroot is tender, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then purée.
3. Season and chill. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and snipped dill.
WARM CAESAR SALAD WITH GRILLED PANCETTA AND POACHED DUCK EGG
Duck eggs are larger and richer than hen’s eggs and it’s the richness that makes this warm salad perfect for cooler weather. Don’t even think about buying a ready-made caesar dressing – this salad gets its swagger from the dressing (made at home).
For the dressing
6 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove pinch of sea salt
2 large free-range egg
yolks, whisked 2T lemon juice
3/4t dijon mustard 2T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sunflower oil 3T grated parmesan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper lemon juice, to taste
For the salad
12 strips pancetta 1 loaf ciabatta
2T white-wine vinegar 6 duck eggs
300g baby cos lettuce 80g parmesan
For the dressing
1. Place the anchovies, garlic and salt in a pestle and mortar and mash together to form a paste. 2. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard. 3. Add the olive oil drop by drop, whisking continuously to emulsify, then add the sunflower oil in a steady stream, whisking.
Add the parmesan and season to taste.
For the salad
1. Place the pancetta strips on a baking tray and grill in the oven 10cm below the grill until crispy. Set aside, keeping warm. Do not cover, as the pancetta will lose its crisp. (Turn on a warming drawer, as you can then keep the pancetta and the ciabatta warm while you assemble the salad.)
2. Slice the ciabatta thinly, brush with olive oil and place under the grill to toast, turning. Set aside and keep warm. 3. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the vinegar. Stir the water, making a whirlpool. Crack each egg into a ramekin first to make sure the yolk is intact, then lower gently into the whirlpool of water. The whites should swirl around the yolk, making a perfect poached egg. Poach for 3 to 4 minutes for soft yolks or until you see the whites set and turn colour from opaque to white. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
1. Cut each cos lettuce in half lengthwise, down the middle. Place the toasted ciabatta on a platter or onto individual plates. Top with the lettuce (or at least two halves if serving on individual plates). Scatter the pancetta over the leaves, top with a poached duck egg, drizzle generously with dressing and, using a vegetable peeler, shave some parmesan strips over the top. Serve with the dressing and extra parmesan on the side.
CRISP-SKINNED TROUT WITH CHORIZO AND SAVOY CABBAGE
Chorizo and trout are a brilliant match. The creamy cabbage with the most under-rated of spices, white pepper, bring it all together.
4 x 150g fresh trout
fillets olive oil, for frying 2 baby savoy
cabbages, shredded 1/2 medium white cabbage, shredded 1 onion, finely sliced 200g chorizo
250ml cream white pepper, to taste sea salt, to taste
1. Brush a little oil onto the skin of each trout fillet. Place the trout, skin-side down, in a heated, deep-bottomed pan over a medium-high heat and fry, about 3 to 4 minutes, until the skin is crispy. 2. Place the fillets on a tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180˚C for 4 minutes, for a pink-centred fillet or slightly longer if you like it a little more cooked. 3. While the trout is cooking, blanch the cabbages in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Strain and set aside. 4. Sauté the onion and chorizo in a little oil in a large pan until softened. Add the cabbage and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the cream and continue cooking until the cream has thickened and the cabbage is soft, about 2 minutes more. Season with salt and white pepper. 5. Spoon the cabbage onto individual serving plates and top with the trout, skin side up. Serve immediately.
BAKED RICOTTA WITH GLACÉ FRUIT AND FRESH FIGS
This is a dessert that doubles up as a cheese course. Baked until golden, the ricotta takes on a sweet persona with a drizzle of honey and the addition of both fresh and glacé fruits.
450g ricotta cheese 1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup grated Parmesan pinch of sea salt honey, to serve glacé fruit, to serve fresh figs, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Using a fork, mix together the ricotta, egg and Parmesan. Season. 2. Spoon the mixture into six individual ramekins or cups (make sure they are ceramic and have been fired to withstand the heat). Brush the tops with a little remaining beaten egg and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes or until they have risen slightly and are golden in colour. Set aside to cool slightly. 3. Drizzle a little honey over the top and serve with glacé fruit and fresh figs.
Crisp-skinned Trout with Chorizo and Savoy Cabbage
Warm Caesar Salad with Grilled Pancetta and Poached Duck Egg
Chilled Beet-andapple Soup with Crème Fraîche and Dill
Baked Ricotta with Glacé Fruit and Fresh Figs