Delicious Autumn Recipes
As summer transitions into autumn, it’s the perfect time to indulge in the flavors of the season. Fragile mushrooms, with their soft shades of ivory, buff, and apricot, are a delightful addition to any dish. Their delicate caps, reminiscent of suede, must be brushed rather than washed to preserve their delicate nature. Try sautéing them in a shallow pan with sweet, pale butter and a hint of garlic, or bake them in parchment paper with a sprig of thyme and a couple of slices of butter. These mushrooms capture the essence of autumn, with their earthy flavors that reflect the slow wind-down of the year.
This year hasn’t been particularly memorable for tomatoes, so I’ve turned to roasting them with olive oil and ripe scarlet chillies to create a rich, flavorful sauce. Even with minimal sunlight, the scorching heat of the oven deepens the tomatoes’ flavor. This sauce pairs perfectly with thicker pasta varieties like pappardelle or chewy noodles like udon or Shanghai thick noodles. Gnocchi is also a great choice. Avoid using fine, thin pastas, as they may get lost in the robustness of the sauce. Opt for the most hearty options in your pantry.
As the weather cools, sweet and toothsome meat dishes become more appealing. The flavors of roast pork or duck legs complement the richness of sherry or marsala, especially when paired with roasted figs, late plums, or sweet, muscat-scented grapes. The grapes available at this time of year are particularly tasty and their juices add depth to the roasting juices of the meat.
Raspberries are at their prime right now. They thrive in damp weather, which makes them perfect for creating simple sauces. Sweeten the raspberries slightly with icing sugar and use the resulting sauce as a marinade for strawberries or to bring out the creamy butterscotch notes of creme caramel.
Noodles with Chilli Tomato Sauce
The warmth of this dish hits you in waves. First, the steam rises from the noodles and the bubbling brick-red sauce. Then, the crisp kick of the flaked dried chillies in Lao Gan Ma oil. Lastly, the deep warmth from the fresh, ripe chillies that have roasted with the tomatoes.
- 750g tomatoes
- 2 large red chillies
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 10g coriander
- 2-4 tsp Lao Gan Ma (and more to taste)
- 400g fresh thick noodles
Preheat the oven to 200C fan/gas mark 7. Place the tomatoes, cut the large ones in half, into a roasting tin with the whole chillies and the olive oil. Season with salt and roast for 40-45 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and juicy, with a little color. In a blender, process the tomatoes and chillies to a thick puree. Add some of the tomatoes and mash them with a fork to create a rough texture. Stir 2 teaspoons of Lao Gan Ma into the sauce, or more if desired. Cook the noodles according to package instructions, then drain. Toss the noodles with the tomato chilli sauce and coriander leaves. Serve with extra Lao Gan Ma on the side.
Roast Duck with Grapes and Marsala
Roast duck, grapes, and marsala create a delicious combination of flavors. The duck’s skin becomes crispy and flavorful after being dried in the fridge overnight. Marsala or sherry adds a deep, fruity note to the cooking juices.
- 8 juniper berries
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- 3 tbsp duck fat or olive oil
- 4 duck legs
- 2 medium onions
- 100ml dry marsala
- 200ml chicken or duck stock
- 250g muscat or black grapes
Grind the juniper berries, salt, and thyme together. Rub the mixture all over the duck legs and let them sit for a couple of hours. Warm the duck fat or oil in a roasting tin. Cook the duck legs for 8-10 minutes until they start to brown on the outside. Flip them over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Slice the onions and cook them in the same pan until soft and pale. Place the duck legs on top of the onions and roast for about 40 minutes until the onions are golden brown and the duck is cooked through. Remove the duck and let it rest. Add marsala to the pan and let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and add the grapes. Simmer until the grapes start to soften. Season with salt and black pepper, then return the duck to the pan. When the duck is hot and the sauce is bubbling, transfer it to serving plates and spoon over the sauce, onions, and grapes.
Parchment Baked Mushrooms
Mushroom lovers will appreciate this dish, which captures the fragrance of mushrooms, garlic, and herbs. Baking them in parchment paper infuses the flavors and releases an enticing aroma as the paper is unsealed.
- 100g sea salt butter
- 350g assorted mushrooms
- 4 garlic cloves
- 8 sprigs of thyme
Place two squares of foil on the work surface and top each with a similarly sized piece of kitchen parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6. Divide half of the butter between the parcels. Trim any tough stalks from the mushrooms and brush off any compost or grit with a soft brush. Divide the mushrooms between the parchment and season with salt and black pepper. Flatten the garlic cloves and place them among the mushrooms. Add the thyme sprigs, followed by the remaining butter. Scrunch the paper and foil together to loosely seal. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and fragrant.
Creme Caramel with Raspberry Sauce
Add a refreshing twist to classic creme caramel with a bright-tasting raspberry sauce. The combination of raspberry and caramel is absolutely delightful.
- 500ml full-fat milk
- A couple of drops of vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 75g caster sugar
For the caramel:
- 150g caster sugar
For the sauce:
- 250g raspberries
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
Pour the milk into a saucepan. Just before it starts to rise up the sides of the pan, remove from heat, add the vanilla extract, cover, and set aside. To make the caramel, put the sugar and enough water to cover it in a saucepan. Boil over high heat until the caramel turns a dark honey color. Pour the caramel into the molds, ensuring even coverage on the base. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 130C fan/gas mark 2. Place the ramekins or tins into a roasting tin. Lightly beat the egg yolks and whole eggs. Gradually add the caster sugar to the eggs while whisking. Pour in the warm milk, stirring continuously. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl. Pour the mixture into the prepared molds. Place the roasting tin in the oven and pour boiling water into it until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins or tins. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until the custards are set but still have a gentle wobble. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Once cooled, chill thoroughly. To make the sauce, blend the raspberries and icing sugar together. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. To serve, carefully run a small knife around the edge of each mold. Invert each custard onto a shallow dish and shake gently to release it. Spoon over some raspberry sauce and enjoy!
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