Make the most of warming vegetable dishes and crunchy fresh pears. Halloween is here so don’t forget your pumpkins!
Aromatic and dense with a grainy texture, pears are a wonderful autumn treat. They come in a range of flavours and textures and can be enjoyed in many ways other than as a delicious snack. Exceptional when poached with red wine and vanilla, they are also delicious with rich dark chocolate sauce. Alternatively, try them in salads or add to an after-dinner cheese board; they go particularly well with Pecorino or Roquefort. William’s pears are golden yellow or red-tinged, they are juicy and sweet with a firm texture and are good for cooking. With a long, thin shape and russet skin, Conference pears have very sweet and juicy flesh.
Source of vitamin C
Most often associated with Halloween, pumpkins and squashes have a sweet, delicious flavour. Their vibrant orange colour really brightens up an autumn recipe. To bring out the pumpkins full sweetness roast them before using in soups, stews, risottos, as a mash or even in cakes. Smaller pumpkins and squashes contain more flesh and are good in pies and breads.
High in potassium and a good source of vitamin C
With a slightly nutty and buttery flavour, and a firm texture, butternut squash is delicious in soups and risottos. Roast them to bring out their full sweetness before using them in soups, stews, risottos, as mash or in a cake. Chop into chunks and roast with olive oil, cinnamon, paprika, cumin and chilli or boil until tender, then mash with sautéed garlic, cream and butter. Cooked butternut is great diced and mixed with couscous and toasted sunflower seeds, or cold roasted chunks are fabulous combined with Mediterranean roast veg in succulent winter salads. Puréed butternut squash can also make a great baby food.
Source of vitamins A and C. Source of beta-carotene
Its sweet earthy flavour and velvety smooth texture make beetroot a key ingredient in many fabulous salads. Toss with goats cheese, toasted walnuts, and sliced pears for a delicious lunch; combine wedges with dressed summer lettuce, chopped spring onions and slices of warm chicken breast or steak, or dice with capers, olive oil, and balsamic for a tasty relish to serve with grilled mackerel or juicy burgers. For fabulous gooey chocolate cakes and brownies, add pureed cooked beetroot to the batter before baking.
High in folic acid
Nutritious, delicious and endlessly versatile, Maris Piper potatoes have a creamy flesh and pleasant floury texture. As a good all-rounder this tasty variety can be used in numerous dishes: crisp, golden chips, irresistibly buttery mash, creamy gratins and crunchy roasties. Try stirring pesto into a buttery mash to serve with chicken; horseradish cream to go with a juicy steak, or grainy mustard with sausages or pork. Sauté cubed potatoes and chopped onions with mild curry paste, then add fresh chopped tomatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Wilt spinach leaves on top just before serving. Lightly toss parboiled chunks in olive oil spiced with curry powder, and roast until crisp and golden.
Source of vitamin C
With its beautiful deep purple flowering head, tender but crisp stems and superior sweet flavour, purple sprouting broccoli is a real treat. Steam or boil for about six minutes, or cut into small pieces and stir-fry for three minutes. It goes well with strong flavours such as bacon and anchovies; with chilli and pasta; and with soy, ginger and garlic. It’s utterly delicious when with served with a rich hollandaise sauce.
Good source of vitamin C, folic acid and fibre