Although we are approaching the end of the main growing season, even now some fruit and vegetables will be at their best – look out for figs, apples and quince growing locally. Mushroom & beetroot will also be fantastic, not to mention pumpkins of course.
Don’t forget that if you carve a pumpkin for Halloween there are loads of easy ways to use the flesh including soups, casseroles or as part of a roasted vegetable dish. The seeds can also be roasted with a little olive oil and salt to make a really tasty snack. If you find a recipe you love then look out for Pumpkins on special offer after 31st October – you can pick up some real bargains, and they will keep in a cool dry place for at least 6-8 weeks, or if easier you can cook and freeze the flesh for use later.
Roast Pumpkin and Mushrooms with Thyme
Serves 8 with the Sunday Roast
A fantastic seasonal recipe combining caramelised squash and chunky mushrooms
- 1kg (2lb 4oz) pumpkin or squash
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons balsamic syrup (Filippo Berio is my favourite)
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 700g (1lb 9oz) chestnut mushrooms
- Preheat the oven to 2000C/4000F/Gas 6.
- Cut the pumpkin (peeled if you wish) into wedges, about 3cm (1¼in) thick at the thickest part, and remove the seeds.
- Put the wedges in a roasting-tin in which they can lie in a single layer with space around them. Drizzle on 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the balsamic, season and add two-thirds of the thyme, tearing it with your hands.
- Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper and slice in half. Put these into another roasting-tin in a single layer and add the rest of the oil, balsamic and thyme. Season. Toss everything around. Make sure there is space around the mushrooms so they don’t sweat.
- Roast the pumpkin for about 45 minutes, or until tender and a little caramelised.
- Roast the mushrooms for about 35 minutes, until dark and roasted and any juices have evaporated. When ready, gently toss them together and serve immediately in a warm dish.
In season this month
Fruits, Nuts & Fungi
Apples, blackberries, chestnuts, elderberries, figs, grapes, pears, quince, tomatoes, walnuts. Lots of lovely mushrooms; chanterelles, chestnuts, horse mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, parasol mushrooms, puffballs, giant shaggy ink caps and summer truffles
Vegetables & Herbs
Beetroot, borlotti beans, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, courgettes, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins & squash, rocket, salsify, scorzonera, spinach, turnips
Meat & Game
Duck, wild goose, grouse, guinea fowl, hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, venison, wood pigeon
Fish & Shellfish
Cod, crab, eels, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, brown and rainbow trout
Suzanne is a professional chef, wife and mother who has lived in East Dulwich, London all her life. You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
This feature first appeared in the October 2015 issue of SE22 magazine.