Each year when summer draws to an end, we make a swift move from light summer salads to heavier, heartier cooking. When Autumn kicks in, I like to start thinking ahead to the festive season and the food that becomes available. Personally, I love all types of Winter squash and whether you bake, roast, puree them or have them raw, the possibilities are endless.
Here I share some of my Autumn and Winter recipes which are perfect for those cold evenings. Oh… and we must not forget about that tipple to finish with, what better than a boozy eggnog!
Pumpkin and chorizo soup
Every year we see more and more varieties of pumpkin and squash in the shops, and they make such delicious, hearty soups. This is a nice chunky fireside soup that’s almost a stew, with a little bit of its own heat. Cooking chorizo is best for this, not the slicing variety which is drier and hence tougher when cooked.
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
120g cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm chunks, or slices
2tbsp olive oil
1.5 litres hot vegetable or chicken stock
500-600g peeled weight of firm fleshed pumpkin, or squash, cut into 11/2-2cm chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp chopped parsley
Gently cook the onion, garlic, thyme and chorizo in the olive oil in a covered pan for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often, without colouring. Add the flour and mix well then slowly stir in the hot vegetable stock, a little at a time to avoid lumps forming. Season and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pumpkin and continue cooking for 15 minutes or so.
Blend a ladleful of the soup, including bits of pumpkin and chorizo, in a blender until smooth then return to the pan with the parsley. Simmer for a few more minutes and serve.
I had something like this in Barbados some years ago which was delicious. I don’t think its a native Bajan recipe, but its likely something that has made its way over from the States. Serve thix extremely rich pie with a few dressed green salad leaves. It really doesnt need anything else.
200-250g shortcrust pastry, rolled to one-third of a cm thick
150g macaroni, cooked
300g mascarpone cheese
150g grated cheddar plus another 20g to scatter on top
150ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5.
Grease and line an approximately 25cm x 3cm-deep flan tin with a removable base with the shortcrust pastry and trim the edges. Line with foil or greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, bake for about 15 minutes then remove the greaseproof paper and beans and return to the oven for another 6-7 minutes, then remove from the oven and turn the oven up to 220C/gas mark 7.
Meanwhile, melt the mascarpone in a thick-bottomed pan with the Cheddar and bring it to the boil. Add the double cream, season with salt and pepper and simmer for a couple of minutes until it thickens. Whisk the sauce well and mix with the cooked pasta.
Put the macaroni mixture into the flan case and scatter the extra Cheddar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.
Chocolate and pumpkin pie
(available at all HIX restaurants)
If you are struggling to find a ripe orange-fleshed pumpkin, use butternut squash as they tend to be consistent in flavour and ripeness.
for the pastry
125g unsalted butter
180g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
250g plain flour
Flour for dusting
for the filling
700g orange-fleshed, ripe pumpkin or squash, peeled, seeded and cut into rough chunks
1/2tsp mixed spice
60g of butter
1 small egg, beaten
200ml double cream
200g good quality dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
First make the pastry. In a food processor, mixer or by hand, cream the butter and sugar together until they are smooth and creamy. Slowly add the beaten egg, scraping the sides of the bowl every so often if you are using a mixer, until mixed well, then slowly fold in the flour, mixing to a smooth dough. Mould the dough into 2 balls, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll the pastry out on a floured table to about 3mm thick. f Cut 4 discs large enough to line 6 x 10cm x 3cm-deep individual tart tins or a large one measuring approximately 18-20cm wide and 4-5cm deep. This pastry is quite delicate, but forgiving. If it starts breaking up on you, just patch it up when lining the tins and mould the pastry back together with your fingers. Lightly brush the tins with some melted butter and line with the pastry discs to just above the top of the tin. Neaten up the edges of the pastry by pinching with your thumb and forefinger all the way around, then leave to rest for 1 hour in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
Put the pieces of pumpkin in a roasting tray with the mixed spice and the rest of the butter. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes until soft, giving the occasional stir. Take out, drain and cool in a colander. Blend the pumpkin in a liquidiser until smooth and push through a conical strainer if you have one or a colander if you don’t (a sieve is fine too) to remove any fibrous strands. You will need approximately 250g of the purée for the pie; don’t worry if you’re a little short.
Bring the cream to the boil, mix with the chocolate and sugar and stir until dissolved. Return the pumpkin to the blender with the chocolate mixture and egg and blend until smooth.
Turn the oven down to 150ºC/300°F/ gas mark 2.
Remove the tarts from the fridge and line the pastry cases, or the single case, with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden. Leave to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the beans and paper. Pour the pumpkin mix up to the top of the tart case and bake for 15 minutes for individual tarts or 30 minutes for a large one until the filling has set.
To serve, put the pumpkin seeds on some foil on a baking tray, dredge with icing sugar and bake for 10 minutes or so until golden. Carefully cut the pie into generous slices and scatter the seeds on top and serve with crème fraîche or mascarpone.
Pre-heat the oven to 175C/gas mark 4. Sift the flour, spices and salt into a bowl. Stir in the oatmeal and sugar and make a well in the centre.
Meanwhile, melt the butter, golden syrup and treacle over a low heat, whisking to emulsify, then remove from the heat and leave to cool a little. Mix into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, then beat the milk and egg together and stir into the mixture until well mixed. Pour the mixture into a greased, preferably non-stick loaf tin, or you can use individual pudding basins, and bake for 45-50 minutes (half that time for individuals), leaving the mixture slightly soft to the touch. Leave to cool for 30 minutes or so before turning out.
For the toffee sauce: put all of the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to ensure the butter and sugar has melted. Simmer on a medium heat for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat. Slice the parkin into 4 pieces horizontally, spoon some of the sauce on to each slice and reassemble back into the cake tin. Re-heat in the oven for about 5-6 minutes then turn out on to a warmed serving dish for the large one or individual plates for the small versions.
Spoon over the rest of the sauce and serve with clotted cream
3 Clarence Court Burford Browns eggs, separated
75g caster sugar
450ml full fat milk
150ml double cream
75ml Somerset cider brandy
75ml el Dorado 8 year old rum
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar with an electric or hand whisk for 2-3 minutes until light and frothy then add the milk, cream, alcohol and half of the spices until well combined.
In a clean bowl with an electric or hand whisk, beat the egg whites and the rest of the sugar until fairly stiff, then fold into the egg yolk and alcohol mixture. Serve in tumblers or mugs and scatter on the rest of the spices.