Inspired by the produce currently available, we’ve developed three easy recipes designed around the varieties of fruit and vegetables available when the weather turns cold.
As we bid farewell to summer crops of marrows, melons, chillies and tomatoes, winter heralds the arrival of the allium, brassica and legume families. Expect sweet, juicy onions and leeks, flourishing broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, and tender peas and broad beans. Root vegetables such as carrots, beets and turnips also thrive in cooler climates. Fruits such as citrus, apples and pears grow in abundance, and fig season lasts throughout April and often into May.
french onion soup with roasted marrowbones
Prep time: 15 minutes / Cook time: 45 minutes / Serves: 6
3 to 4 large brown onions, peeled and sliced into rings
10ml salted butter, for frying
Coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper
1 litre homemade or good-quality shop-bought chicken or beef stock
250ml dry red wine
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 beef stock cube
8 to 10 organic beef marrowbones
1 loaf sourdough, sliced and toasted
1 wedge Stilton (optional)
In a large heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, slowly fry the onion rings in the butter until soft and translucent. Season the onions with salt and pepper and pour in the beef or chicken stock. Add the red wine, sliced garlic, bay leaves and thyme (leave the herbs whole as they will be removed at a later stage).
Crumble the stock cube into the soup, stir and leave to simmer and reduce slightly for 20 minutes, remembering to remove the bay leaves and thyme before serving. Preheat the oven to 200°C and arrange the marrowbones on a lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, and a few thyme leaves. Roast the bones for 15 to 20 minutes and serve with the soup, along with a slice of toasted sourdough topped with melted Stilton, if desired.
chicken, leek & pancetta pot pie with new peas
Prep time: 30 minutes / Cook time: 25 minutes / Serves: 6
50g pancetta, sliced into lardons
4 to 5 leeks, thoroughly washed and sliced thinly into rounds
500g button mushrooms, washed and roughly diced
50ml dry white wine
Coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper
500ml fresh cream
3 to 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and woody stalks discarded
800g cooked and shredded chicken
250ml frozen new peas (petit pois)
Plain flour, for dusting
400g frozen ready-made puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, beaten
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, render the pancetta lardons over low heat. When almost crispy, add in the sliced leeks and gently fry until tender. Add in the diced mushrooms, cook until soft then deglaze the pot with the white wine. Season with salt and pepper, and then add the cream and thyme leaves. Leave to simmer for a few minutes then add in the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Once the mixture has reduced to a creamy consistency, add in the frozen peas. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Flour your work surface and roll out the pastry. Spoon the pie mixture into an ovenproof dish, (you can also make individual pot pies by using smaller dishes and dividing the mixture between them) place a pie bird in the centre of the dish – or simply make small incisions in the pastry to allow steam to escape – and cover with pastry, making space for the pie bird to peek through.
Use any leftover pastry to decorate the pie as desired. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve the pie alongside mashed potato and seasonal steamed greens such as Brussels sprouts or broad beans.
fresh fig ice cream
Prep time: 30 minutes plus overnight cooling time / Freeze time: 3 hours / Serves: 6
500ml full-cream milk
500ml heavy cream
1 vanilla pod
6 large organic egg yolks
150g caster sugar
400g fresh purple or green figs, washed and quartered
Pour the milk and cream into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Drop in the vanilla pod to infuse for a few minutes. While the mixture is heating, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric whisk, beat the yolks with the sugar until lightly thickened. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, split it open and scrape the seeds back into the milk. Gradually add the milk mixture into the egg yolks, so as not to curdle the eggs.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over a medium to low heat and stir. When the mixture has reached a consistency where it evenly coats a spoon, the custard is ready. Pour into a large bowl, cover with cling film and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, blitz up the figs in a liquidiser and stir the mixture through the chilled custard.
Pour the fig custard into an ice-cream maker and churn according to the instructions. When the ice cream has churned to a thickened state, pour the finished mixture into a large freezer-friendly container. Cover and freeze for about 3 hours before serving.