Autumn means cooler evenings and a return to warm and hearty dinners after a summer of barbecues and salads. It’s also when some of our favourite fruit and veg comes into season and is chock-a-block on supermarket shelves. A plentiful supply not only means the food tastes great and is packed full of nutrition but also makes it more affordable than at other times of year. So, whether you’re a fan of zesty, satisfying vegetable curries or love desserts made from classic orchard fruits such as apples and pears, why not take advantage of this autumn’s produce with one of these simple recipes?
Vegan pumpkin and coconut curry
This nourishing curry is meat- and dairy-free so it’s great for vegans. It’s wonderful as a main dish with rice but is also thick enough to be served as a side.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course)
½ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 4cm piece of ginger, grated
1 small red chilli (more or less to taste), finely sliced
A dozen curry leaves or 1 tablespoon curry powder
1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
800ml (two tins) coconut milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 pumpkin (approx. 1kg), diced into 3cm cubes
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
- Heat a pot to medium/high. Add the oil, onion, garlic, ginger and chill and cook until the onion is golden.
- Add the curry leaves or curry powder and stir in for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and turmeric and bring to the boil.
- Add the pumpkin and chickpeas, reduce to a low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the curry reaches the desired consistency (up to 15 minutes for a thick sauce).
- Serve with the coriander leaves sprinkled on top of each portion.
Fig, walnut and rocket salad
Paired with grilled lamb chops or simply enjoyed on its own with a slice of crusty bread, this tasty salad makes the most of fresh, seasonal figs.
100gm rocket leaves, washed and dried
1/4 red onion, sliced into thin rings
8 figs, halved lengthwise
1 tbsp butter
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Goat’s feta (or gorgonzola)
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
- Arrange the rocket and sliced onion on four plates.
- Dust figs with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and a small amount of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Place figs cut side down in the pan, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then gently turn over and cook for a further 30 seconds.
- Remove figs from the pan. Allow to cool slightly, then place onto the salads.
- To serve, drizzle each salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Top with crumbled feta cheese and toasted walnuts.
Baked maple-cinnamon pears
Baked pears are a special autumn treat that are quick and easy to prepare. Try them hot with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for dessert, or cold on a steaming bowl of porridge for breakfast.
4 Bosc pears, peeled, halved and de-seeded
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice-cream (or yoghurt), to serve
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Arrange pears cut-side up in a glass baking dish. Dot pears with butter, then drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake pears in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, basting occasionally with the buttery juice, until crisp-tender and turning brown.
- To serve, place two pears halves in a bowl and top with vanilla ice-cream (or yoghurt). Drizzle with juice from the baking dish.