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Seasonal Recipes and What's in Season Guide

Seasonal Recipes

Simple, straight forward seasonal food recipes that are easy to prepare, using fine, fresh and local ingredients, tried, trusted and brought to you by the Essex Gourmet Food and Drink Guide...

Whether you are cooking for yourself, the family or a dinner party the following recipes, gleened from friends, family and some celebrity chefs are sure to please - all Tried, Trusted and Enjoyed.

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What's in Season in OCTOBER?

Brill Apples
Celeriac Crab
Lamb Oysters
Squash Wild Duck
October is the time to celebrate and enjoy full flavoured game, fabulous shellfish, wonderful orchard fruits, nuts and an abundance of root vegetables. Hearty and wholesome dishes are sure to please.

Simple Seasonal Recipes

Seasonal Recipes at a Glance

Recipe Archive
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Brill with Lettuce and Pea Broth Recipe

Brill with Lettuce and Pea Broth

Brill is a flat fish that is closely related to the turbot and megrim. This fish alters it’s skin colour to fit in with it’s envitonment, so often has a sand and pebble like look to it. Brills delicious subtle flavours and soft texture are best suited to simple cooking. It can be poached, steamed, fried, seared or grilled, then served with a simple sauce, as with this fresh and simple recipe below. Brill with Lettuce and Pea Broth
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  10 min
Cooking Time:  30 mins
3 shallots, finely sliced
1tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
100ml dry white wine
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
300g green peas, frozen
sea salt and pepper
½tsp sugar
half iceberg lettuce
4 white fish fillets (such as brill) ~
1tbsp butter
1tbsp chopped parsley
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan, and gently cook the shallots until soft, for about 10 minutes. Cook the peas in salted, simmering water for 5 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water.

2. Add the white wine to the shallots and bring to the boil, stirring. Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar, and bring to the boil. Separate the leaves of the lettuce and tear them in half. Add the leaves and peas to the broth. Simmer and cover for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan and fry the fish, skinside down, until it is almost cooked, turning briefly to do the other side. Season well. Ladle the wilted lettuce, peas and broth into four warmed shallow bowls, and top with the fish. Scatter with parsley and serve.
When buying brill, look for red, alive-looking gills and bright skin. The white fillets should glisten and smell fresh of the sea.
White Graves, Bordeaux ...
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Faisinjan (Wild Duck and Pomegranate Stew) Recipe

Faisinjan (Wild Duck and Pomegranate Stew)

Wild Duck – whether it is a meaty mallard or one of the other near 100 varieties of game ducks – are usually much leaner than the common farmed variety. The meat on a wild duck is also darker and richer tasting. Because they are so lean, they are best suited to quick cooking at a high heat or slow braising – otherwise the meat is prone to drying out. This Persian dish, courtesy of Mark Hix, is full of fabulous flavours and is an ideal way to cook wild duck. Faisinjan (Wild Duck and Pomegranate Stew)
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  15 – 20 mins
Cooking Time:  1 hr 25 mins
2 oven-ready wild ducks
1tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
A good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
A good pinch of saffron strands
1/2tsp freshly ground black pepper
1tsp tomato purée
100g ground walnuts
1.5litres chicken stock
2 pomegranates, halved and the seeds scooped out (don't worry about a bit of pith)
1tbsp brown sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/gas mark 8. Halve the ducks with a heavy chopping knife, cutting away any excess backbone without any meat on it, and lay skin-side-up in a roasting tray. Season lightly with salt and roast for about 20 minutes until nicely coloured.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pan or flameproof casserole, gently cook the onions in the vegetable oil with the cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron and black pepper for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft.

3. In a blender, turn half the pomegranate seeds to a purée with a spoonful or so of the stock. Then add this with the whole pomegranate seeds, sugar, tomato purée, walnuts and chicken stock to the onions.

4. Cut each halved duck in half again and trim any bones away. Add duck to the sauce, cover the pan, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 hour. Skim every so often. The sauce should have thickened. If not remove the pieces of duck and return the pan to a medium heat and cook until it has reduced and thickened, stirring to prevent it sticking.

Serve with basmati rice or Persian-style rice which is boiled until all the water has evaporated then finished in a pan with butter on a medium flame to give it a crisp base.
When buying wild duck, purchase from a source that you trust - a good local butcher, game dealer, farmers market or farm shop.
Californian Merlot ...
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Linguine with Crab Recipe

Linguine with Crab

Crabs offer the best of both worlds – succulent and sweet white meat, contrasting with the rich, smooth brown meat. The male crab (cock) actually has a superior flavour to the female, to check their gender, flip them over and look at the underneath flap or tail – the males has a thinner more pointed flap. To appreciate the fine flavours of crab meat, treat it simply and always make it the star of the show, as with this recipe by Giorgio Locatelli. Linguine with Crab
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  10 mins
Cooking Time:  10 - 15 mins
400g/14oz linguine
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large red chillies, finely sliced
250g/9oz fresh crabmeat
150ml/¼ pint white wine
small bunch flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the linguine and cook until al dente – as per packet instructions.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and chillies and fry gently for a few minutes. Add the crabmeat and toss with the garlic and chillies.

3. Pour in the white wine and leave to simmer until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

4. When the pasta is done, drain it and return to the pan. Add the crab mixture and toss together well. Serve immediately in warmed serving bowls.
When buying Crab, choose those that feel heavy and don't have liquid sloshing around inside them. It is better to buy a live crab to ensure freshness and the best of flavour. Cook a live crab by placing it in the freezer for an hour and then plunging into boiling water and cooking for 10-12 mins. You must remove the grey gills ('dead man's fingers') from inside the crabs body once cooked - these should never be eaten.
Albariño ...
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Oysters in Garlic Butter Recipe

Oysters in Garlic Butter

The Oyster season has begun! Although rock oysters are available all year round, the superior tasting native variety are at their best from October to February (when the sea is cold), although are available from September to April. The majority of oyster lovers choose to eat them raw with a little lemon or tobasco, although I must say that I enjoy them lightly grilled as with this recipe below, which makes a great starter or canapé. Oysters in Garlic Butter
Serves:  8 - 12
Preparation Time:  15 mins
Cooking Time:  6 mins
8-12 fresh oysters
55g/2oz unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat a grill.

2. In a small bowl mix the butter, parsley, garlic and pepper together.

3. Place a knob of garlic butter onto each oyster.

4. Grill for 3-4 minutes until cooked and serve.
For the best flavour, buy oysters live and shuck them just before use. Live oysters will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days if covered by a damp tea towel. If you don't want to shuck them yourself, you can ask your fishmonger to do it for you, but you'll need to eat them as soon as possible after that.
Chablis ...
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Parsnip and Celeriac Bake Recipe

Parsnip and Celeriac Bake

Celeriac is an odd looking, knobbly fellow, although looks can be decieving. Under the thick skin the flesh of this root vegetable has a subtle celery like flavour with a delicious nuttiness. It can be used raw in coleslaw or salads, or cooked in stews, low cook dishes or as a wonderful side dish as with this winning example below. Parsnip and Celeriac Bake
Serves:  4 - 6
Preparation Time:  20 mins
Cooking Time:  40 mins
600g parsnips , peeled and cubed
1kg celeriac , peeled and cubed
25g butter
4 tbsp double cream
freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp chopped sage leaves

For the Topping
50g fresh coarse breadcrumbs
5 tbsp parmesan , coarsely grated
handful of flaked almonds
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Cook the parsnips in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 mins, then tip in the celeriac and boil together for 8 mins.

2. Drain well, then mash with butter and cream. Season, then add a grating of nutmeg, stir in the sage and spoon into a buttered ovenproof dish. Make up to this stage 1 day ahead or freeze for one month. Defrost in fridge overnight.

3. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Mix breadcrumbs, parmesan, almonds and oil together. Season, scatter over the mash, then bake for 35-40 mins from cold, 25-30 mins if not, until topping is crisp and golden.
When buying Celeriac, go for medium-sized examples that are firm, free from soft spots or damage and feel heavy for their size.
South African Shiraz or Syrah ...
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Roasted Butternut Squash With Goat's Cheese Recipe

Roasted Butternut Squash With Goat's Cheese

Butternut squash is one of the most popular and widely available varieties of winter squash. Its smooth and tough tan exterior protects the deliciously sweet, dense and buttery orange flesh. It can be simply baked and mashed with an added grating of nutmeg and a knob of butter of splash of cream, as a side dish, or added to stews, gratins, pasta dishes, risottos, soups and curries. This recipe is an extremely tasty, nutricious and filling way to serve squash as a main meal. Roasted Butternut Squash With Goat's Cheese
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  15 mins
Cooking Time:  1 hour
2 small butternut squashes
garlic clove , crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
a pinch dried chilli flakes
1 tsp thyme , chopped
courgette , cut into 2cm chunks
red pepper , cut into 2cm chunks
2 small red onions , cut into thin wedges
200g cherry tomatoes
50g pine nuts
100g goat's cheese , crumbled
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp parsley , chopped
1 tbsp parmesan
1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds then cut criss-cross patterns over the cut-side of each one. Mix together the garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, chilli and thyme and brush this mixture over the flesh. Bake for about 35-45 minutes until the flesh is tender.

2. To make the filling, put the courgette, pepper and onion in a roasting tin and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season and roast for about 20-25 minutes until tender and starting to brown at the edges.

3. Add the cherry tomatoes and pine nuts and cook for another 10 minutes.

4. Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan. Arrange the roasted vegetables and goat's cheese in the squash halves, scatter with the breadcrumb mix and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
When buying Butternut Squash, choose those that feel heavy for their size, as they tart to lose their water content after harvesting. The skin or rind should be tough; you should not be able to push your finger nail easily into it, if you can it is a sign that the squash is immature and will be lacking in flavour.
Australian Marsanne ...
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Spiced Roasted Apples and Blackberries Recipe

Spiced Roasted Apples and Blackberries

There are thousands of varieties of Apples grown in Britain, although only a 12 or so varieties reach our shops, the rest are exported. From September to November British apples, both eating and cooking varieties, are at their best. The recipe below is a guilt-free pudding that tastes wonderful served with low-fat fromage frais, mixed with a little honey. Spiced Roasted Apples and Blackberries
Serves:  4
Preparation Time:  10 mins
Cooking Time:  50 mins
4 medium Bramley apples , each weighing about 200g/8oz
4 tbsp clear honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
250g blackberries
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C. Core the apples so you have a hole the size of a pound coin in each one. Make a cut just into the skin around the middle (width ways) of each apple.

2. Stand the apples in a shallow baking dish large enough to take all four. Mix together the honey, cinnamon and orange zest, put an equal amount into the cavity of each apple, then pour the orange juice into the dish.

3. Roast the apples for about 40 minutes, spooning the juices over them occasionally. Then, when the apples are almost ready, spoon the blackberries around and over the top of each apple. Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the juices start to run. Spoon the blackberries and juices over the apples to serve.
When buying apples, look for firm fruit that is not wrinkled, blemished or bruised. Shiny skins are more a sign of waxing than freshness, o please don’t be fooled. The dry brown patches ‘scald’ that you may see on apples is just due to over exposure to sunlight and will not affect their flavour.
Clairette de Die ...
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White Wine and Slow-Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe

White Wine and Slow-Roast Leg of Lamb

We are now coming to the end of the season for British Lamb. The Autumn Lamb available now is full flavoured and delicious. For an alternative way of roasting, try this fabulous recipe from Silvan Franco for a truly tasty treat. White Wine and Slow-Roast Leg of Lamb
Serves:  8
Preparation Time:  10 mins
Cooking Time:  3 ½ to 4 hours
2 kg/4lb leg of lamb
2 tbsp plain flour
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
75cl dry white wine
600ml/1 pint chicken stock
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

2. Pour the oil into a large, sturdy roasting tin and set it over the hob.

3. Season the lamb then roll it in the flour. Brown the lamb all over in the hot oil for 5-10 minutes.

4. Add the onions and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, turning the lamb and stirring the onions until both are nicely browned.

5. Add the garlic, white wine, stock, oregano and redcurrant jelly, bring to a simmer and cook in the oven for 3-3½ hours, basting now and again with the liquor. There should be a good quantity of wine left in the bottom of the tin to serve with the lamb but if you feel it is getting too dry, just cover with foil.

6. Take the lamb out of the tin and place on a large board to rest in a warm place. While the lamb is resting, sit the tin back on the hob and simmer the pan juices for a few minutes, reducing the liquid, if there is a lot, to make a tasty gravy.

7. Cut the lamb into thick slices - you'll find the meat falls away from the bone so you may end up with more chunks than slices.

8. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and the wine gravy.
When buying Autumn Lamb, look for bright red meat and white fat as an indication of freshness.
Greek Red Agiorgitiko ...
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