Autumn is one of my favourite seasons 🙂 (There’s reason to love each of them…) The changing of the colours is magical and makes me love living where we do as there is a veritable feast for the eyes to see every day. The colours of the leaves are also reflected in the food that we bring to the table and so we bring those colours indoors for continuity.
As the air cools, I look forward to soup and roasts of all kinds and even a few treats 🙂 I have been playing around with Autumn flavours and have come up with a few recipes my friends and family have enjoyed
Pumpkin and apple soup with toasted pumpkin seeds and bacon
Cut up 2 cooking apples and one culinary pumpkin (leave the skin on) and dust with a little salt, pepper, and cinnamon and drizzle with olive oil and honey. Roast at 170C for 30 minutes or until tender. Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and place in a blender with the cooked apple and 500 ml low salt chicken or vegetable stock and 250 ml water / milk (if you have kids). You can add add more or less of the liquid to suit your taste. Dry fry some cubed pancetta till crisp (100g). Add some toasted pumpkin seeds (half a cup) and maple syrup (about 1 tbsp) to the pancetta. Lastly, check the seasoning of the soup and adjust if necessary. Pour into a bowl and top with the Pancetta mix. Enjoy.
Roasted pumpkins stuffed with smoked Pancetta, spring onions, maple syrup and Gnocchi cooked in sage butter.
Cut a culinary pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, brush with olive oil and place on a baking tray. Add a nob of butter, 45 g cubed pancetta, 1 chopped spring onion and 1 tbsp of maple syrup to pumpkin half. Dust with cinnamon, salt and pepper and add a couple of leaves of fresh sage. Roast in an oven at 170C for 30 minutes or until tender. In the mean time, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook 300 g of fresh Gnocchi. In a separate pan, melt 25 g butter and fry 1 clove of finely sliced garlic, with a handful of fresh sage (shredded). Toss the cooked Gnocchi in the butter, sage and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Serve aside or on top of the roasted pumpkin.
Cranberry and Port Cheesecake
In a small saucepan, place 150 g Craisins (dried cranberries). Cover with 100 ml Port, 50 ml Frambois liqueur (or raspberry juice if you prefer), 2 tbsp runny Honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 5 ml vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp Vanilla Powder. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and plump and the liquid is reduced by half. Place in a blender and blend till smooth. Crush 200 g biscuits to a fine crumb – I used Romany creams, but feel free to use your favourite for a base. Melt 25 g butter and add to the biscuit crumbs and mix well. Line a pie dish (30 cm) with the crumb mix, pressing firmly till even and smooth. In a bowl, mix 250 g Ricotta cheese, 250 g Quark (if you can’f find Quark, use smooth cottage cheese), 1 large egg and the puree’d cranberry mixture. Mix well and pour into the pie dish lined with the biscuit crumb base. Bake for 30 minutes at 160 C or until just set (slight wobble in the middle) Cool and devour on its own or with cream or ice cream.
This year I am determined to make Autumn a feature at home and with 2 weeks of half term break coming up, we are going to be doing loads of fun crafts to make sure we prolong the colours, smells and best features of the countryside around us. So watch this space for some drying, threading, fixing, moulding and decorating.