3 Hearty Recipes to Make This Autumn

There’s a definite nip in the air now that autumn’s here. So why not snuggle up with these seasonal dishes that make the most of the produce that’s now available?

Cavolo Nero and Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta

[Jo Romero]
[Jo Romero]

This makes a quick, tasty starter or a healthier alternative to cheese on toast. Cavolo Nero cabbage is dark in colour and full of flavour and is absolutely gorgeous fried with a little garlic. We’ve served it on crusty, toasted bread with a soft, tangy goat’s cheese. Serves 4.

1 small baguette
olive oil, for frying
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced
pinch of salt
3 cavolo nero cabbage leaves, the thick stalk in the centre cut out and the leaves finely shredded
100g soft goat’s cheese
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

[Jo Romero]
[Jo Romero]

Cut the baguette into slices on the diagonal and toast them lightly.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and gently fry the garlic and the cavolo nero with a pinch of salt, until the cabbage is glossy, dark and tender. Push the toasted bread slices onto the pan to soak up some of that aromatic olive oil.

Heat the grill and slice the goat’s cheese, arranging it over the bread. Grill until just softened and beginning to turn slightly golden. Remove from the grill and arrange a small handful of the garlic and cabbage mixture over the top. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and eat while warm.

Sweet Potato with Turkey, Sage and Bacon Hash

[Jo Romero]
[Jo Romero]

How about this for a gorgeous baked sweet potato topping? The smoky, sweet and earthy flavours all come together to make a perfect autumnal treat. Finish with some rocket leaves dressed with olive oil and the last of the summer’s tomatoes, if you have any left. Serves 4.

4 sweet potatoes
olive oil, for frying
4 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
small handful fresh sage leaves, shredded
400g minced turkey thigh
black pepper
quarter tsp ground mace

[Jo Romero]
[Jo Romero]

Wash and dry the sweet potatoes and prick all over with a fork or sharp knife. Lay them on a shallow tray and bake at gas mark 6/200ºC/400ºF for 45 minutes, or until cooked through and tender.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, chop the streaky bacon into small pieces and fry with a little olive oil. Once the bacon begins to turn golden, add the garlic and onion. Fry until the onion is softened and then stir in the shredded sage leaves. Tip out onto a plate and put to one side.

Add the turkey mince to the now empty pan and stir-fry until fully cooked. Add the bacon mixture back to the pan and stir in a pinch of black pepper (you won’t need salt because of the bacon) and the mace. Stir well.

Once the turkey hash is fully cooked, split open the cooked sweet potatoes and top with the hash. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and eat while hot.

Pear and Hazelnut Cake with Cinnamon Icing

[Jo Romero]
[Jo Romero]

Basically, this is autumn, in a cake. There are many different varieties of pear available at this time of year, so have a look to see what’s available where you live. The toasted hazelnuts add flavour and crunch and then the whole thing is finished off with a sweet, cinnamon icing. Lush. Serves 6-8.

For the cake:
130g soft, salted butter
130g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
130g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
quarter tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium pear, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp toasted, chopped hazelnuts, plus more for sprinkling

For the icing:
100g icing sugar
quarter tsp cinnamon
2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

[Jo Romero]
[Jo Romero]

First, preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180ºC/ 350ºF. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and then crack in the eggs. Beat them in, and then sift in the flour, baking powder and the cinnamon. Stir in the vanilla extract, the chopped pear and the 1 tablespoon of toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

Once combined, scrape the batter into your loaf tin, smooth over the top and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then remove to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Once the cake is cool, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl (this is important to get rid of any lumps) and then trickle in the water, vanilla extract and add the cinnamon. Stir well - you should have a thick but still runny icing. Using a spoon or a fork, drizzle the icing all over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Immediately scatter a small handful of the chopped hazelnuts over the top, before the icing sets. Once the icing has set, cut into chunky slices and serve.

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