Three cheers for autumn from Radmore Farm Shop
Vicky Rogers, of Radmore Farm Shop, has a confession: she is looking forward to the start of autumn and wide array of seasonal foods that will be available.
Reverse seared pork chop with apple & spice
Ingredients (per person)
1 pork chop
2 seasonal apples of your choice, cut into quarters
250ml chicken stock
1 shallot, diced
1 crushed cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Fresh sage leaves
■ Preheat the oven to 100C
■ In a deep baking dish add the shallot, garlic and the apples. Coat these with the cumin, cinnamon, garam masala and sugar and combine well.
■ Add the chicken stock and place the pork chop on the top (seasoned).
■ Cover with a lid or foil and put into the oven for four hours.
■ After the four hours, preheat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Carefully remove the chop from the baking dish and fry for 2-3 minutes each side until it is golden brown all over. Add the sage leaves, chopped, towards the end of the frying time to infuse the aroma.
■ Serve the chop with a few spoons of the sauce that it baked in. Serve with roasted squash, mashed sweet potato and greens.
I used to pretend, along with most of the sane population, that I hated seeing the evenings start to draw in, the weather becoming more grey and cooler, and the berries starting to go from the hedgerows.
But now I hold my head up high and admit it that I love it. I’m an autumn person, it’s my season, and the first signs of it arriving are nothing short of exciting.
On the farm we largely work with the daylight and can’t even do the final job of shutting the hens in until they have returned to roost when it’s dark. Therefore, getting dark earlier isn’t all doom and gloom as it means we actually get a little more of an evening. But this is just one of the many pleasantries I find in autumn.
There’s also the saying goodbye to sun cream, the getting warm and cosy around the first fire of the year, the crisp and clean frosty mornings, knowing the harvest is all gathered in, the sense of new beginnings that the new school year brings, our retail business gets a lot busier as Cambridge fills back up again... but most of all, there is the food.
It’s an old saying among butchers that you only sell pork for roasting when there’s an ‘r’ in the month. And when we hit September and I have that first slow roasted belly of pork for the year, I instantly know that this is what has been missing in my life!
I love the slow cooker coming back into regular use and walking into the house to the welcoming smell of dinner bubbling away.
I also love the colours of autumn vegetables – all the oranges and dark greens. And getting the new season English apples in is a true delight. Starting with the Discovery apples which came in just this week, we will move through varieties such as Worcester, Katy and Russet in the coming month or two, and of course the favourite Cox apples.
My recommendations would be to try as many different varieties as you can find this autumn because they vary so much and aren’t around for long – you might find a new favourite that will help you to look forward to autumn next year.
Another real gem at this time of year, and coming back into fashion more in recent years, is squash. Like apples, they come in such an array of different varieties, shapes and colours, so there are so many to try to find your favourite.
And they are so versatile too. We love roasted squash, cut into chunks, seasoned and drizzled with a little rapeseed oil, and roasted until just blackening at the edges.
They also make wonderful autumnal soups, and combine well with spices for a warning kick.
Stuffing a squash with minced meat and cheese is another old favourite that has come back into fashion recently. The dish was traditionally with a marrow, but it can actually be done with any squash. This meal works exceptionally well with a spaghetti squash for a low carb version of a spaghetti bolognese.
But this definitely isn’t the limit of be potential of a squash, they can also be added to veggie chillis, made into a sweet pie (pumpkin pie style) or made into an epic risotto. Not to mention the pumpkin spiced lattes and cookies and muffins that I see everywhere these days.
So for these reasons, I won’t be gloomy when autumn officially gets here, but filled with excitement for a warm and cosy season filled with food and variety, and lots of cooking!