It is wonderful to wake up to a sunny morning, even if it is getting colder by the day. The bright sunshine illuminates the yellow and gold of the autumn leaves. Carpets of gold wreath the large trees in our parks as the leaves begin to tumble. Even in the vegetable garden, the last of the summer stragglers are turning golden. A white and purple striped aubergine has turned purple and gold and the green striped zebra tomatoes now have a golden hue to them. Even the last overgrown stray yellow courgette has become a deep golden tube. It’s important to leave the pumpkins in the garden as long as you can so that their skins toughen up, the butternuts turning from green to gold to a soft ochre colour. Truly golden though are the quinces which have given me a brilliant crop this year.
So here are a couple of golden recipes to celebrate Autumn before the grey windy and wet days descend upon us. The quince tart is a thin crisp layer of pastry and fruit and the butternut laksa is a Southeast Asian soup, good for warming you from the inside, the amount of chilli heat is up to you!
For the Quince Tart you will need; ready rolled butter puff pastry, 200g marzipan, 3 large quinces, sugar.
Unroll the pastry onto a baking sheet, then roll out the marzipan thinly to cover most of the pastry, leaving a 2cm edge free. Wash the down from the quince skin but don’t bother peeling them. Cut in quarters, cut away the cores and then slice the fruit really thinly. Poach them in a little water with sugar to taste, for about 5 minutes until barely soft. Drain the fruit, saving the liquid for making a glaze. Lay the quince slices over the marzipan in concentric circles. Bake the tart at 180C, for 20-30 minutes until golden. Boil down the saved poaching liquid until you have a sticky glaze and paint the fruit with it. Cool slightly then serve.
Blitz 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 1cm peeled ginger root in a food processor and then saute in 1 tbs vegetable oil to start the cooking. Stir in 1/2 tsp mild curry powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp chilli powder and stir and cook a little longer. Add 2 cups diced, peeled butternut and 500ml water plus 2-3 tbs coconut powder. Season well with salt and simmer until the pumpkin in tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in 30g dried Asian noodles and simmer for a few more minutes until they soften. Adjust the seasoning adding , fish sauce, sugar, salt and chilli powder to taste. Garnish with sliced spring onions. Serves 2.
November classes are full of ideas using seasonal produce, including vegetable pasta sauces