The autumn months are very fruitful ones in agriculture. It used to be the last gasp before winter where everything would come out of the fields and into storage before the frosts hit. Even though farming has changed a lot since then, there are still quite a few seasonal ingredients that are at their best in October. We try to use as many of those as possible here at The Stone Grill.
Here are just a few.
I must admit, until I entered catering, I had never heard of celeriac. It is an interesting looking root vegetable but has a unique character. Crispy and rough when uncooked yet smooth and tasty when cooked. It tastes similar to celery but with a slight nutty twist.
Beetroot is now regarded as a superfood because it is stuffed with nutrients. You can do so much more with it than cover it in vinegar and have it in a salad. The rich purple colour makes it stand out but the flavour is also worthy of note. October is the end of the beetroot season, so get it fresh while you can.
Leeks are part of the onion family that also includes garlic. It is a subtle flavour that lends itself well to autumn foods such as stews, soups and dishes with rich flavours. It’s very much a supporting actor but one you would miss if it wasn’t there. Again, October is towards the end of the traditional leek season, so get them quick.
Kale is an ingredient enjoying something of a renaissance right now. A worthy alternative to cabbage or spinach, this rich green vegetable has an earthy quality that lends itself well to soups, stews and rich dishes.
Blackberries are one of my favourite fruits. They are small but pack a real flavour punch and are available to forage everywhere. This is towards the end of their growing season so all the best ones may have gone, however, find a rich growth and enjoy their delicate, sweet flavour in any pudding or in many drinks.
Chestnuts should be falling from the tree right now and into your pocket. Peel them, roast them and eat them. Or put them in a cake, on a plate with an autumn roast or purely as decoration. They taste bitter until cooked and then they unleash their subtle sweetness.
Venison is lean, tender and very tasty and now is the time of year when it is at its best. Find a reliable supplier and work with them to decide which cut and recipe to use. The result will be awesome!