A taste of the season

A taste of the season

Posted 5th Sep 2013

Passionate about seasonal, locally sourced produce and high quality ingredients, Daylesford puts their delicious vision on a plate in their new A Love For Food Book. Here's a taster from the brilliant book...

Butternut Squash and Kale

Try this delicious autumnal tart - you can use cavolo nero as a change from kale if you prefer, or even spinach. As always, the secret is to cook and drain the greens well, to remove any moisture before adding to the filling.

Serves 6

80g butter
100g kale leaves, shredded
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeds removed, and flesh grated
sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
250g mascarpone
100ml double cream
70g Cheddar cheese, grated
100g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 blind-baked 20cm x 5-7cm shortcrust tart case

Preheat the oven to 140°C/ gas 1.

Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the kale and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase the heat, add the grated butternut squash and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are just slightly softened. Taste and season accordingly, then take the pan from the heat and turn the mixture into a bowl or on to a plate to cool.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, yolks, mascarpone and cream for a few seconds, then add the Cheddar and Parmesan. Drain any excess moisture from the kale and squash mixture, season again to taste, and mix lightly. Spoon into the prepared pastry case and smooth level with the back of the spoon.

Put into the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top of the tart is golden and the mixture is fully cooked - to check, insert a metal skewer into the centre, and if it doesn't smear when removed, the tart is done.

Wild Rice, Red Cabbage, Apple and Toasted Cobnuts

From mid to late August through to September, we can gather cobnuts, the cultivated version of wild hazelnuts, from the trees around the farm - you have to be quick, though, to beat the squirrels. In season you should be able to find the nuts in shops, greengrocers and markets. The earliest ones will be picked green, and have more of a pea flavour, but the longer they stay on the tree, the more they turn brown and take on a deeper nutty flavour. If you can't find cobnuts, you can use thinly sliced hazelnuts (though these have a slightly more intense flavour), or whole almonds, again thinly sliced.

Cobnuts and apples are ready for harvesting at the same time - and we make this salad with many different apple varieties throughout the season, including heritage ones, such as Blenheim Gold, a popular, old, local variety.

You need apples with some sweetness and preferably some good streaks of red in the skin, to give a nice colour to the salad, so of the more readily available apple varieties, Jonagold is a good one to choose.

Serves 6-8

200g wild rice, rinsed in cold
150g red cabbage
½ a medium red onion, finely sliced
2 red-tinged eating apples, such as Jonagold
25g watercress
5 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
40g thinly sliced cobnuts, or hazelnuts or almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
a few twists of freshly ground black pepper

Half fill a medium pan with water, bring to the boil, then add the wild rice and stir a couple of times. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Drain in a sieve under running water until the rice is cold. Allow to drain well again, then tip into a large mixing bowl.

Trim the cabbage of any damaged outer leaves. Cut it in half, remove the central core and discard. Slice the cabbage very finely and add to the bowl of rice, together with the red onion. Quarter and core the apples, grate coarsely then add to the bowl, with the rest of the ingredients, toss gently and serve.

Poached Apple and Pear Jelly with Crumble Topping and Prune Cream

An autumnal pudding that we have been making for many years, because it makes good use of the apples from the orchard at a time of year when there is not too much home-grown fruit to choose from. Setting the apple and prunes in a jelly just makes it a little lighter than a more traditional crumble.

We source our organic, unfiltered apple and prune juice from France, where it is a speciality in the apple growing region of Nantes - however, you can make your own in a ratio of 80 per cent apple juice to 20 per cent prune juice.

Serves 4

For the fruit jelly:
2 small apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 large pear, peeled, cored and finely chopped
375ml apple and prune juice (see introduction above)
30g caster sugar
5 gelatine leaves

For the crumble:
100g plain flour

100g butter, chilled and chopped
75g light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g oats

For the prune cream:
75g prunes, pitted
30g caster sugar
½ vanilla pod, split
150ml double cream

To make the jelly, put the apples and pear into a pan with the apple and prune juice, sugar and 100ml of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer until the pear is tender. Take off the heat.

Meanwhile put the gelatine leaves into a bowl of ice-cold water until soft (the water must be cold or the gelatin will dissolve). Take out, squeeze, and add to the hot liquid, stirring until dissolved. Divide between four large ramekins or glass jars, allow to cool, then put into the fridge for around 4 hours, to set.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. To make the prune cream, put the prunes into a pan with the sugar, vanilla pod and 125ml of water. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and either whiz in a blender, or use a hand-held one, until smooth (leave the vanilla pod in, so that it is dispersed through the cream). Leave to cool.

To make the crumble topping, put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar, cinnamon and oats. Spread the mixture over a baking tray and put into the preheated oven for 12 minutes, until golden brown and toasted.

To finish the prune cream, whip the double cream in a bowl, just until it forms soft peaks, then gently fold into the cooled prune mixture. Do this as lightly as possible so as not to split the cream.

Take the pots of jelly from the fridge and top each one with an equal quantity of the toasted crumble mixture. Serve with a good dollop of prune cream.

Butternut Squash Chutney

Choose a butternut squash with a really bright orange flesh, rather than a pale one, if possible, as otherwise the tomatoes, brown sugar and raisins will dull down the colour. Also look for a tight flesh, not loose and broken, as this way you will get a bit more texture to your chutney.

Makes about 2kg

2 large butternut squash
(about 1.5 kg), peeled, seeds removed, flesh finely chopped
500g tomatoes, roughly chopped
500g onions, finely chopped
500g cooking apples, finely chopped

Put the squash, tomatoes, onions, apples, vinegar, and all the rest of the ingredients into a heavy-based pan with 250ml of water. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan, then turn down the heat and simmer for 1½ hours - again stirring regularly - until the mixture has thickened and there is only a little liquid left in the pan. Take off the heat.

Have ready your hot, sterilised jars, fill them with the hot chutney, close the jars, then seal in a pan of boiling water.

Recipes taken from Daylesford A Love For Food: Recipes and Notes for Cooking and Eating Well, published by Fourth Estate. The book is available to buy from all good book stores, RRP £30. Read more about it here

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