Autumn is officially here – what are we cooking with?
This root vegetable has an intensely earthy flavour. There are three main colour varieties available – deep red, golden and candied (stripy). Beetroot can be eaten raw and is delicious grated in a salad with carrots, apple and pecans.
Beetroot is also delicious roasted with spices, such as cumin, fennel or spices used in Indian cuisine, such as ginger, Garam masala and chilli. As for herbs, beetroot goes particularly well with oregano, marjoram or dill. For example, one traditional Eastern European salad is simply cooked beetroot, soured cream and dill (I would be tempted to add freshly grated pepper and lemon zest to really bring out the flavours!). Beetroot can also be sliced thinly (using a mandolin) and lightly pickled in vinegar, honey and salt for a zingy side salad. Red beetroot in particular has a very strong flavour and tends to dominate the dish. I would not serve beetroot with light white fish, as it risks overpowering the dish. For more beetroot facts check out the amazing health benefits and maybe try a beetroot and salmon tart.
Other things in season include: artichoke (steamed and served with melted butter), carrots (great with cumin and hazelnuts), celeriac (raw in a slaw), cucumber (try our smashed cucumber salad), fennel (raw with orange and black olives), wild mushrooms (cooked in ghee and served on toast with chives), sweetcorn (delicious cooked with chilli, lime and lots of butter, ghee or coconut oil), kohlrabi (raw in a salad).
What else is in season? Apples (read more here), blackberries (read more here), plums (add plums or plum jam to game sauces), nectarines (in caramel on a meringue or pavlova).
Autumn is also THE time of year for game is in season, such as grouse, guinea fowl, mallard or partridge. These meats can hold their own against rich flavours such as black pudding, plums or even chocolate. Fish and seafood is also available in abundance. Try fresh oysters, simply steamed mussels or dressed crab. Crab meat is also delicious with tagliatelle, lemon juice and a hint of chilli. Turbot is the king of the sea and quite meaty for a white fish. It goes very well with truffles, rich meaty sauces and butter.
Visit your local food market and talk to your local procurers to discover the treats available to you.