(With a few suggested recipes for good measure)
You don’t have to wait until Christmas to savour some scrummy seasonal favourites. November is actually a great time to be tucking into plenty of tasty ingredients that are at their prime at this time of year.
And the great news is that Cheesman Bros have all the components you’ll need to prepare some wonderfully healthy meals, like parsnips, artichokes and roast chestnuts, all of which are now very much in season.
There are options aplenty throughout November and here we focus on three fruits and vegetables that work well on their own but are elevated once they are integrated into a variety of flavoursome dishes.
Although they are often singled out as a supporting act to the Christmas turkey, this doesn’t really do them justice. With their sweet, nutty flavour, Brussels sprouts can be a great accompaniment throughout the year. Certainly, if there is anyone in your household who isn’t too keen on them, creating a dish of sprouts and pancetta should get them thinking about sprouts in a much more favourable light. And it all takes less than 30 minutes to cook!
Brussels sprouts with pancetta
Prep Time – 10 mins
Cooking time – less than 30 mins
- 900g/2lb 4oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and outer leaves removed
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 225g/8oz pancetta, cut into cubes
- Knob of butter and ground black pepper (optional)
- Boil a saucepan of salted water and then add the sprouts, with a pinch of salt for added flavour. Cook for 8-10 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander.
- Heat a frying pan on a high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and pancetta cubes. Fry for approx. 5-7 minutes so that the pancetta is golden brown and crispy.
- Stir the drained sprouts into the pancetta and warm through.
- For extra richness and taste, toss them in a small knob of butter and sprinkle with ground black pepper
- Ready to serve.
At this time of year, wonderful British apples are ripe and ready to play a starring role in a steaming hot pie or crumble. It’s the type of pudding that you can never grow tired of and suits every occasion.
Apple and Blackberry Pie
Using home-made (or bought) pastry, apples and blackberries are just about the perfect combo for a tasty, traditional dessert. Use both cooking and eating apples for this recipe, to provide a lovely soft texture and a touch of sweetness.
Prep time – 30 mins to 1 hour
Cooking time – 30 mins (until golden)
For the pastry
- 375g/13oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling out
- 200g/7oz salted butter, chilled and diced
- 50g/1¾oz icing sugar
- 1 large free-range egg, separated, plus 1 large free-range egg yolk
For the filling
- 2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 4 eating apples peeled, cored and cut into large chunks or slices
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 75g/2¾oz granulated sugar, plus extra for sweetening and dusting
- 250–300g/9–10½oz blackberries
- 2 cloves (optional)
- vanilla ice cream, clotted or single cream, or warm custard to serve
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7 and preheat a baking tray (or pizza stone).
- To make the pastry, mix the flour and butter into a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs. Introduce the icing sugar.
- Whisk the two egg yolks (reserve the egg white for later) with 1 tablespoon of cold water into a small bowl, then drizzle this over the flour mixture. Pulse, until the dough starts forming into lumps. Add a teaspoon of water, if it is too dry.
- Tip the contents onto a work surface and knead briefly to bring together into a smooth dough. If making by hand, rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips to remove any big buttery lumps. Stir in the sugar, then whisk the egg and water as above and mix in with a palette knife, until the pastry starts clumping together.
- Separate the pastry into two pieces, one being slightly larger than the other. Wrap them both in cling film and fridge chill for 30 minutes.
- To prepare the filling, put the peeled Bramley apples, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, sugar and 2 tablespoons of water into a saucepan and cover with a lid. Over a low-medium heat, bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally, replacing the lid each time, until the apples are very soft. Beat over a high heat to remove any remaining liquid before crushing the apples to a purée.
- Take the apple purée off the heat and stir in the peeled eating apples and blackberries. Taste to check the sweetness. If the blackberries are too sharp, add up to a tablespoon of more sugar (or honey, even).
- Roll out the bigger piece of pastry onto a lightly floured surface until large enough to line a 20–22cm/8–8½in pie dish with some overhang. Add the apple mixture, doming towards the centre. Then roll out the second piece of pastry until big enough to cover the dish. Brush a little of the egg white around the pastry rim of the pie, then carefully lift the pastry cover using a rolling pin and drape over the top of the pie dish. Press down the edges to seal. Trim any overhang with a sharp knife. Poke a few holes in the top of the pie to let the air out, crimp the edge and decorate with any trimmings, for extra effect. Use egg white or water to add on any pastry decorations.
- Whisk the remaining egg white with a fork or mini whisk until frothy. Lightly brush e across the top of the pie and dust with a layer of granulated sugar. Place the pie dish on the preheated baking tray and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and bake the pie for a further 35–40 minutes, until golden.
- Cut into slices and serve with hot custard, ice cream or cream. Delicious!
Alternatively known as rutabaga, or ‘neeps’ in Scotland, swede is a root vegetable similar to the turnip, but not as watery in texture. Although it is purplish on the outside, it is sweet-tasting and yellow on the inside and is usually cooked like potatoes.
When it’s cold and grey, this is the ideal time to be indoors eating a steaming, flavoursome, buttery bowl of swede mash. It works well with a variety of dishes, including roasts, sausages (bangers and swede mash) or cold meats.
Prep time – less than 30 mins
Cooking time – 10 to 30 mins
- 1 swede(around 750g/1lb 10oz), peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1in chunks
- ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt, plus extra to season
- 50g/2oz butter
- 25ml milk
- freshly ground black pepper
- Put the swede in a large saucepan and cover with a lid. Fill with sufficient cold water to virtually submerge the swede chunks. Add the butter and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover and place over a high heat.
- Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12–15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the swede is tender.
- Remove the lid, increase the heat and boil constantly for 5 more minutes, or until the swede is soft.
- Take the pan off the heat, lightly drain and then mash with milk and butter until smooth. Season with more salt and black pepper.
- Ready to serve.
To help you prepare these dishes, Cheesman Bros have a superb choice of ingredients to set you on your way. For further info or assistance, call us on 01483 572469, or just drop in the next time you are passing the shop at Luxford Farm, Wood Street, Guildford.