Summer may steal the spotlight, but Autumn is equally conducive to entertaining: we can’t think of anything cosier than an October feast, hands cradling bowls of stew and a fire crackling in the background. Eating seasonally should always remain a priority; lucky, then, that Autumn (more than any other season) offers a bounty of delicious produce. Here are three of our favourite ways to enjoy them.
To start: Marinated figs with prosciutto, mozzarella and basil (from BBC Good Food)
For a versatile crowd-pleaser that requires minimal preparation, consider the fig: a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, this fibrous fruit adds honeyed flavour and texture to cured meats, salty cheese and fragrant herbs.
A grown-up way to do finger food, these pleasingly sized canapes look as wonderful as they taste. They’re easily tailored for vegetarians, too – simply substitute the prosciutto for a little extra cheese or salt-roasted tomatoes.
(Makes 16 skewers):
2 large or 4 small ripe figs
3 tbsp basil-infused oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
8 slices prosciutto, halved lengthways
16 bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls)
16 medium-sized basil leaves
16 short wooden skewers
- Cut the figs into 16 wedges and sit them in a non-metallic bowl. Mix together the oil and vinegar, then pour it over the figs. Season well with salt and pepper, and leave to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- When the figs have marinated, thread each wedge on to a wooden skewer with some prosciutto, mozzarella and a basil leaf. The order in which you thread them is entirely up to you.
- Once you have made all 16, sit them on a plate and drizzle over the remaining marinade. Serve at room temperature, rather than straight from the fridge, so all the flavours are at their best. We like to display a bounty of them on our extra-long serving board.
The main event: Chicken, kale and bean stew (from Amelia Freer)
Make double the quantity of this cockle-warming stew and be rewarded with days of prepped lunches (and easy meals) that only get more delicious as the flavours develop.
Courtesy of our friend Amelia Freer, it’s brimming with root and garden vegetables and provides a satisfying kick, courtesy of both hot and sweet paprika. Cook in a generously sized hotpot, like the Le Creuset Round Casserole Dish.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large onions, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 sticks of celery, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 ½ tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tins of cherry tomatoes
2 tins of butter or cannellini beans
1.5l chicken stock
4 bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium bag of chopped kale
salt and pepper
- In a large heavy-bottomed casserole dish, or large saucepan, heat the oil and brown the chicken pieces in batches for a few minutes on each side. Set aside.
- Using the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and sauté the onions, garlic, celery and carrots for six to eight minutes, until softened, add both types of paprika and the cayenne pepper, then cook for a minute or two, adding a splash of water if it looks like it is catching on the bottom.
- Add the chicken and toss to coat, then add the tomatoes, beans, stock, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, add the peppers and kale and cook for a further 10 minutes, until tender.
- Season to taste, scatter with parsley and serve.
Something sweet: Pear and oat chocolate crumble (from Nigel Slater)
Pears are a distinctly Autumnal fruit, best enjoyed married with cured meats or chocolate. An even sweeter take on the traditional crumble, this utterly delicious bake has a thick, oaty crust and slightly tangy finish. Serve in thick slices for afternoon tea on our Symons Bone China Plates.
850g ripe pears
½ lemon, juiced
50g golden caster sugar
For the crumble:
45g plain flour
45g demerara sugar
3 tbsp jumbo oats
2 tbsp water or milk
50g dark chocolate, 80% cocoa
- Peel the pears, rubbing them with lemon juice to stop them discolouring, then cut them in half and discard the stalks. Scoop out the core and pips with a teaspoon.
- Melt the butter over moderate heat. As it starts to sizzle, add the sugar and pears and let them colour lightly. As they soften, let the sugar caramelise here and there. Tip the pears and their juices into a 1.5-litre baking dish. Set the oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
- Make the crumble: rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips or use a food processor. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stir in the sugar and oats. Add a tablespoon of water or milk and shake until it forms gravel-sized lumps. Chop the chocolate into small pieces then fold it through the crumble. Tip the mixture over the pears, leaving the surface quite rough. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until lightly coloured.
Have you explored our newest Christmas Home collection yet? We have everything you need for the ultimate dinner party.