Sunday, 6 November 2011

So, its here then.

At last!

Charlie and Ben brought me this beauty last week, so I carved it into this hideous halloween horror for our guests dining on the chef's table on Monday evening.

And I mean autumn, by the way.

Summer took much longer to finish than usual, which was nice.

But as a cook, I was really looking forward to getting my hands on some lovely, fat, heavy pumpkins, to turn into all sorts of warming, golden dishes to enjoy, now that the nights are getting a little chillier!

So, anyway, I wanted to use them in a couple of dishes on the new dinner menu, and wondered what to do with them.

A few years ago, one of the most popular ways of using butternut squash and pumpkins was in a risotto with Gorgonzola, sage and chestnuts. And, when done well, it's a fantastic dish.

But, I wanted to use my plump pumpkins as a garnish for a main course. The squash will take centre stage, as a dessert, as you will see later.

So, we start with putting the halved pumpkins in a hot oven, with rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Roasted until just charred around the edges, these could be eaten as they are, with some Parmesan grated over, some good sour dough and smoked bacon.

I, of course, have to ponce around a bit more, and so we puree the pumpkins with some butter and grated Parmesan. This adds a salty tang, which I think will marry perfectly with the sweet pigs cheek, rich meaty turbot, slightly bitter, earthy black cabbage, and some fat juicy ceps. Rolled in garlic butter!

Look, its autumn on a plate!

You see, thats why I love autumn, all those colours, and rich flavors, on the same plate, just crying out for a piece of char grilled, garlic rubbed, bread to mop up all the juices. So thats all I'm doing you see, putting together things that are in season at the same time, and turning them into a proper Derbyshire main course!

Just like this one.


As our friends, across the pond,  celebrate Thanksgiving in November, each year, by eating pumpkin pie, I'm pretty sure I can use butternut squash, as a pudding.

So I did!

Poaching the squash in a thyme scented stock syrup, and then compressing, at maximum pressure, we can create a squash fondant.

Going back to the tried and trusted gourd and cheese combination, we add some fromage blanc cream. baked diced beetroot, glazed with an orange and thyme caramel are the other garnishes. Buttery shortbread is placed under the compressed squash, as, remember, it is based on a pumpkin pie!

All it needs then is a swoosh of sweetened beetroot puree and a spoonful of that other great autumn flavor - blackberry. Served as a sorbet, it all comes together as a really original pudding.

Tastes alright too!

And, so finally, the colors of autumn.

The new apple dessert.

See what I mean, its just what I see every day, on my drive to work along the A6.

All those golds, reds, and browns.

And I'm just putting them together on a plate again.

With a big fat slice of caramelised brioche pudding, as a garnish.

And some rum and vanilla syrup.

I'll tell you about the importance of brioche next time,  but I'm off to India now.

Those "Spicentice" curry kits again  - rogan josh and jalfrezi tonight.

Good job I didn't eat too many roast potatoes today at East Lodge!

Right that's it! Another trip around the culinary world, all going on in my little mind!

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