Seasonal eating in October
It's a time of transition; we're still getting those beautiful sunny days but the evenings have a definite nip to them - my jumpers have made an appearance after a long hiatus as have my large Le Creuset pans for stews, my roasting trays and my long-missed potato ricer. It's time for the salad bowl to get stashed at the back of the cupboard, making way for big bowls in which to serve up rice and proper homemade chilli with sour cream and spring onions and a sprinkling of grated cheese; or a long, slow-cooked lamb tagine with flatbreads, yogurt and pomegranate seeds; or perhaps a pile of braised beef with meltingly soft carrots, onions and loads of gravy sitting on top of a generous mound of buttery mashed potato. Sorry, got distracted there... now where was I?
The earthiest of the root vegetables and the one that has been most under-used, beetroot is firmly back in fashion and I use it at least once a week in various dishes. Roast them in foil then slip the skins off while they're still hot - they make a perfect partner to a crumbled feta or blue cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds or croutons and a good glug of balsamic vinegar mixed with a little orange juice. Jamie Oliver partners them with feta and another of October's seasonal ingredients, pears, in a crunchy raw salad. Their sweet and earthy flesh lends itself well to sharp dressings - Nigel Slater even pairs them with soy, lime juice and chilli in his Asian-inspired recipes.
The quiet cousin of bright green celery, celeriac must rank among the ugliest of vegetables. But what it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste. Celeriac is a relative of coleslaw and makes a great but simple salad that's traditionally served with cooked ham: grate or julienne raw celeriac and mix it with mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard and a squeeze of lemon. I make this this with smoked fish too, swapping the mustard for horseradish and adding chopped gherkins and capers to the mix. Celeriac can also be roasted, mashed or made into a spicy, warming, velvety soup - the ultimate winter warmer.
The plum season is almost over but there are still a few out and about. They make just about the best jam you can find; it's perfect for spreading generously on hot buttered toast (or for making a superior British take on the American peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They work a treat in a crumble too, their slight tartness cutting through the sweet crumble and obligatory custard/cream/ice-cream/all of the above.
Plums are also perfect for halving, stoning and shoving into a cake made with plenty of ground almonds - again their slightly sour edge gives you that lovely cakey sweet/sour thing going on that means you can probably manage an extra slice.
Ripe pears are rare and beautiful things to be enjoyed just as they are - there's no need to dress them up with anything. But if you want to use them for cooking, you'll need to find hard pears that soften but still stand up to the cooking process without disintegrating.
Pears are one of the best fruits to match with chocolate. I make an autumnal twist on Eton Mess, poaching pears in a gingery syrup before mixing them with smashed hazelnut meringues, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and crumbled ginger nut biscuits. They also make a great alternative to apples in a traditional tarte tatin - caramel and pears make great bedfellows.
If almonds aren't your thing, try hazelnuts instead. If you like peanut butter, try a hazelnut version by simply blitzing roasted hazelnuts in a blender with a pinch of salt until smooth - you can then make all your usual peanut butter recipes using this mixture instead. If I've sold you on plum crumble, try adding smashed-up hazelnuts to your crumble topping for a little twist. They also work well with savoury dishes - Tristan Welch, formerly of Launceston Place restaurant, uses them to make a mayonnaise to serve with trout. They also work well in simple salads of mixed leaves, croutons and shavings of a hard cheese.
Buttons and chestnuts are available all year round now, but they're at their best at this time of year and you may spot a wild lot at your famers' market. Leave the professionals to do the picking though - spotting edible wild mushrooms is a tricky game. I use them in stews but really, the simpler, the better. Mushrooms fried with a little garlic, butter and parsley and then mixed with a little double cream and spooned over hot toast make a brilliant warming weekday lunch; or fry some off with nuggets of sausage in a hot pan, toss with mustard and creme fraiche and serve over mashed potato or with pasta for a simple, tasty supper.
I just wonder who it is that comes up with the ideas for these articles.
Surely a better article would to ask why the government has allowed the major supermarkets to get such a stranglehold over British farm's.
My freind works for a major bakers, Hovis, he is allowed to take home a loaf or two as long as he gives Hovis the costs back for materials, and all of the rest of it, "This cost is just 30p".....
If you buy a loaf of what he takes home it will cost you anything from £1.30p, to £1.45p per loaf, but what is the amount that he is asked to pay as a covering charge!, .30p per loaf.
The cost of the £1.30p loaf of bread actually costs .30p, so theres a £1 mark up on the loaf.
Milk, its a commodity, just like Gold, just like Silver, just like Bread, farmers are press ganged into accepting low prices by supermarkets, farms close down, farms are then either split up and sold off, or they are auctioned.
Supermarkets then buy up the farming land, they sell on the farmers house/houses, they then grow the produce themselves, they flood the market with certain types of produce, they offer you a two for one offer, but if they don't the stuff gets binned anyway, but they do not sell smaller amounts do they, this never happens, they want to cover themselves fully.
Government has the likes of Lord Sainsbury on the firm as well as other major players, they distribute shares, these are sold to prospective shareholders, but there is no relaxing on prices, the public are being fleeced, supermarkets should be boycotted, as should driving your car for one day a week, if this took place the prices would tumble and the British public would start to live normal lives instead of us all getting fleeced so to line the pockets of the rich.
Bing “Αge Dαtег” ------ It’s the largest online community for 40+ older men to date younger women. Join FREE to give love a 2nd chance.
Mushrooms fried with a little garlic, butter and parsley and then mixed with a little double cream and spooned over hot toast make a brilliant warming weekday lunch; or fry some off with nuggets of sausage in a hot pan, toss with mustard and creme fraiche and serve over mashed potato or with pasta for a simple, tasty supper