When the nights are drawing in, there’s nothing like a hearty, homemade supper on a cool day to warm your belly. Autumn inspires a return to the comforts of cooking and baking, bringing the warmth and aromas wafting through your kitchen.
This menu is a modern take on a classic, and a must try!
Roast pork leg
1 x 3kg higher-welfare leg of pork
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
6 fresh bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
½ a bunch of fresh sage
½ a bunch of fresh rosemary
30g plain flour
1 big bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-2 tablespoons mustard
- Preheat the oven to full whack.
- Score the pork leg with a sharp knife in a zig-zag pattern.
- Bash the coriander seeds, peppercorns and 2 teaspoons of sea salt until fine in a pestle and mortar. Add the bay leaves and bash again, then muddle in a lug of oil to form a loose paste.
- Rub the paste all over the pork, making sure you get it into all the nooks and crannies.
- Peel and halve the onions, scatter into a large roasting tray and place the scored pork on top.
- Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until you have a lovely crisp crackling, then turn the oven down to 170°/gas mark 3. Slow-cook the leg for 3.5 hours, or until the meat is easily pulled apart.
- When the time’s up, pick and dress the sage and rosemary leaves with oil and scatter them over the pork. Pop it back into the oven and cook until the herbs are crispy.
- Remove the leg to board, cover with tin foil and allow to rest while you make the gravy.
- Place the roasting tray on the hob over a medium heat, add the flour and stir it into the juices so you get a sticky paste. Slowly add a little water until you have a lovely rich sauce.
- Pour the contents of the tray into a jug and blitz to a sauce with a stick blender. Return to the pan, pick, finely chop and add the parsley, along with the mustard and stir well. Season to perfection.
- Serve the roast pork with the sauce.
For something warm and comforting, we also have a delicious vegan shepherd’s pie option perfect for the dark nights.
Vegan shepherd’s pie
600g Maris Piper potatoes
600g sweet potatoes
40g dairy-free margarine
3 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of celery
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
½ a bunch of fresh thyme
350g chestnut mushrooms
12 sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
vegan red wine
100ml organic vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
5 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
30g fresh breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 200°/gas mark 6.
- Peel and chop all the potatoes into rough 2cm chunks. Place the Maris Pipers into a large pan of cold salted water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender, adding the sweet potatoes after 5 minutes.
- Drain and leave to steam dry, then return to the pan with the margarine and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Mash until smooth, then set aside.
- Peel and finely slice the onion, carrots and 2 garlic cloves, then trim and finely slice the celery.
- Bash the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until fine, then add it all to a medium pan over a medium heat with a good splash of oil. Pick in the thyme leaves, then cook for around 10 minutes, or until softened.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, then add to the pan along with the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomatoes oil from the jar.
- Cook for a further 10 minutes, then add a splash of water, turn up the heat, and allow it to bubble away. Stir in the stock, lentils and chickpeas (juice and all), then leave it to tick away for 5 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced.
- Pick and roughly chop the parsley leaves, then stir into the pan. Season to taste, then transfer to a baking dish (roughly 25cm x 30cm).
- Spread the mash over the top, scuffing it up with the back of a spoon.
- Finely slice the remaining garlic clove, then place into a bowl with the rosemary leaves, lemon zest, breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix well, sprinkle over the mash, then place in the hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until piping hot through.
- Place under the grill for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, then serve.
The best cauliflower & broccoli cheese
2 cloves of garlic
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
600ml semi-skimmed milk
500g fresh or frozen broccoli
75g mature cheddar cheese
1kg fresh or frozen cauliflower
2 slices of ciabatta or stale bread
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
25g flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven 180°/gas mark 4.
- Peel and finely slice the garlic and put it into a medium pan on a medium heat with the butter.
- When the butter has melted, stir in the flour for a minute to make a paste, then gradually add the milk, whisking as you go, until lovely and smooth.
- Add the broccoli (cut up first, if using fresh) and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is cooked through and starts to break down, then mash or blitz with a stick blender (adding an extra splash of milk to loosen, if using fresh broccoli). Grate in half the cheddar and season to perfection.
- Arrange the cauliflower in an appropriately sized baking dish (cut into florets first, if using fresh), pour over the broccoli white sauce and grate over the remaining cheddar.
- Blitz the bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor, then pull in the thyme leaves and almonds. Toss with a lug of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, then scatter evenly over the cauliflower cheese.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until golden and cooked through, then enjoy!
What better way to end a delicious feast, then with some delicious salted caramel brownies. For extra ooziness serve warm with some vanilla ice cream or whipped double cream.
Salted caramel brownies
225g butter, plus extra for greasing
250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
225g golden caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
150g plain flour
For the salted caramel:
¼ of a vanilla pod
40ml double cream
15g salted butter
60g caster sugar
40g golden syrup
- Start by making your caramel. Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds, then place into a pan.
- Combine with the cream, half of the butter and a good pinch of sea salt. Cook, whisking, over a low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes until it’s just bubbling, then take the pan off the heat and set aside.
- Place the caster sugar and golden syrup in a medium heavy-base pan over a low heat. Don’t stir, just gently swirl the pan to help dissolve the sugar.
- Turn up the heat to medium and keep swirling until the sugar turns into a golden caramel.
- Take the pan off the heat. Discard the vanilla pod from the hot milk, then stir in the caramel with a wooden spoon.
- Return it to a low heat while you stir in the remaining butter, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Scrunch up a large piece of greaseproof paper, make it wet (shake of the excess), then use it to line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin.
- Pour in the caramel, sprinkle with another pinch of salt, and place it on a tea towel in the fridge for 30 minutes, until you have a thick, gooey caramel.
- One the caramel has been chilling for 15 minutes, start the brownies. Preheat the oven to 180°/gas mark 4. Grease and line another 20cm x 30cm baking tin.
- Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Chop and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.
- Once cooled slightly, whisk in the eggs, then sift and fold in the flour until incorporated. Pour the mixture into the tin.
- Take your caramel from the fridge, scoop out spoonful’s and dot them into the brownie mixture, pressing to submerge. Once you have a third of the caramel left, drizzle it on top, using your spoon to ripple it through.
- Bake the brownies in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until cooked but still a bit gooey.
- Leave to cool for 1 hour, cut into squares and serve.
You can find out more by visiting the Jamie Oliver website, www.jamieoliver.com.
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