Our cookery writer, Zoë Garner, shares her favourite autumnal recipes
What’s in Season?
Apples are available all year round, like most produce nowadays, although British apples are at their best from September through to November. Look for a firm apple, with no blemishes or wrinkles. Don’t be swayed by the shiny skins as these have just been waxed to draw your attention. Also, if you find an apple with a dry brown patch, don’t worry, it’s just the result of overexposure to the sun and won’t taste any different.
My favourite nibbler, I look forward to the colder evenings as it’s just an excuse to make it!
1 whole camembert, in its box, cloth removed
1 garlic clove, sliced
a sprig of rosemary
1tbsp white wine
1 baguette, torn into bite size pieces
1 Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) mark 6. Unwrap the cheese and carefully slice the rind off the top, put it back in the box, cut side up. Make slits in the top of the cheese and insert the garlic slices and sprigs of the rosemary. Drizzle over the wine and put on a baking sheet.
2 Bake in the oven for 10min, or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately with chunks of bread for dipping.
Roast Belly of Pork with Apple and Cider Gravy
1kg (2lb 2oz) pork belly
1tbsp coarse sea salt
1 Braeburn apple, cored and cute into small cubes
2 sprigs of thyme
200ml each cider and vegetable or chicken stock
1tsp redcurrant jelly
1 Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan) mark 7. Pat dry the pork skin and then using a sharp knife, score lines into the skin, about 1cm apart. Cut into the fat but do not touch the meat. Brush over the oil and then rub over the salt (this will help the fat run out and the skin to crisp up).
2 Lay the pork, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting tin. Put into the preheated oven and roast for 20min, then turn the heat down to 180C (160C fan) mark 4 and cook for 1hr 45min.
3 Once the pork is cooked, transfer to a board (keeping the juices for your gravy), carefully slice the crackling off the top of the meat and leave to one side to crisp up. Cover the meat with foil and leave to rest for 20-30min.
4 To make your gravy, put the roasting tin on the hob, remove any burnt bits if necessary, add the apple and thyme and fry for 1min. Stir in the flour and fry for a further 1min. Then slowly add the cider and the stock, and finally the recurrent jelly. Stir constantly over a medium-high heat until the gravy thickens. Season to taste and remove the thyme. Slice the pork to serve, pour over lashings of gravy and top with the crackling. Serve alongside creamy mash and honey roasted carrots.
If you like your crackling extra crisp then you can always pop it back in the oven on its own for about 10min at 200C fan.
Chocolate and Berry Crumble
300g (11oz) pack frozen mixed berries, defrosted
50g (2oz) white or milk chocolate, finely chopped
1tbsp caster sugar
75g (21/2oz) plain flour
50g (2oz) butter, cold and roughly chopped
50g (1oz) jumbo oats
25g (1oz) demerara sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) mark 4. Put the mixed berries, chocolate and caster sugar into a bowl and mix well. Divide among four 250ml ramekins.
2 Put the flour and butter in a food processor and blitz until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the demerara sugar and oats. Divide the topping among the ramekins.
3 Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30min, or until hot and slightly browned on top. Serve immediately with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream.
If you don’t have a food processor then you can rub the flour and butter together using your fingertips.