As the season changes from the hot Indian summer we have been experiencing and moves further into the autumnal months, we experience a change in the food that is most ripe, ready and available to us, which in turn is reflected in our dishes.
Our chefs have selected these ingredients to work with for our Autumn Dinner Menu, and we have selected a few of these ingredients to take a little closer look at their taste, characteristics and how to use and pair them.
Kohlrabi, a variation of cabbage, the ‘cabbage turnip’ is grown in the ground and able to tolerate the harsher weather and frosts that the beginning of autumn can present. This vegetable isn’t the prettiest but it can be versatile and allows you to waste very little in your recipes. The bulb will give you a crisp, mild but peppery taste, delicious raw in a slaw or cooked into a curry. The leaves and stems, which you will remove whilst preparing, are not to be wasted either, unlike the firm texture of the bulb, they are not without a crunch but decidedly softer. These would not be out of place in a salad and depending on your selection can bring a lively purple to the plate. As this vegetable brings a flavour of its own, a simple seasoning and dressing may be all you need to add, although perfect as a cooked addition to a hot dish too.
You think of lamb not in Autumn but in Spring; this is when lamb is tender and most popularly advertised, however, this is definitely an ingredient not to be missed as we enter this time of year. The Lamb brought to us later in the year is of a much deeper flavour, as the spring lambs have been feeding on grass which provides the meat with much more flavour. This is definitely a seasonal ingredient to get involved with, try our ‘shepherd’s pie’ to taste our lamb shoulder!
A fungus grown underground and highly coveted still; Truffles, not the cheapest of our seasonal selection of ingredients and possibly considered an acquired taste, as they do possess a strong and distinctive flavour and smell, are a highly rated culinary choice. At this time of year, only coming into autumn, there are both black and white truffles available and in season. This seasonal ingredient can be used to flavour or to dress a dish, and the marbled texture that can be found can add an aesthetically pleasing element to your dish too.
When it comes to seafood, crab has to be one of the best, this is a deliciously versatile meat. This ingredient can be moulded into a fishcake, served as a light crab salad or added to a stew or chowder; a warming meal as the days get colder. The dark and light meat can both be used and really is filled with flavour, while you won’t get a lot of meat from one crab, you may find it is worth the effort. The crustacean has a slightly more fishy taste than its desirable relation, the lobster, crab can also be a light, slightly sweet and gentle taste to work with. Our chefs have paired their crab with Mackerel on our Autumn menu; go ahead and give it a try!