Cooking for fun! November - Ailsa Craddock

We have a slight dispute in our house – whilst we both love Autumn and all its glorious light and colours, my husband hates the changing hour and I don’t mind it at all!  November is Bonfire night, grand-daughters’ birthdays and comfort food.
What we are in complete agreement on is eating with the seasons.  We don’t eat asparagus or strawberries or corn on the cob out of the British season – and I really would urge you to do the same.  We live in the most beautiful agricultural area of the country – the allotment of England I like to think – so we must make the most of it and support our local growers and suppliers and not look to supermarkets for fruit and vegetables that have been flown halfway across the world. You will be helping our British farmers – and also helping yourselves, looking forward to that first taste of new crops straight from the fields to your kitchen. What’s in season now?  November is awash with vegetables that love a nip of frost, while rich game meats complement hearty roots. Artichokes, leeks and sweet parsnips shine in abundance, and nuts, pears and British apples make perfect ends to November suppers.
All recipes should serve four persons
Curried Parsnip Soup
750g parsnips (about 6 – 7), 2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre of stock (vegetable stock cube)
2 teaspoons of good curry powder (or to taste)
Heat the oil in a deep pan and lightly fry the chopped onion.
Add chopped parsnips, garlic and curry powder.  Add the stock,
bring to boil and simmer until cooked. Whizz up in a blender and serve with fresh coriander and blob of yogurt or crème fraiche.
Partridge with cider and cabbage
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil, 4 streaky bacon rashers, roughly chopped
2 dressed partridges (you can try other game, too – even poussins)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, sliced, 2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme leaves
300 ml medium dry cider
2 tablespoon double cream or crème fraiche
¼ savoy cabbage, finely shredded
Heat the oven to 180oC/gas4.  Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan and fry the bacon and birds for 4 – 5 minutes, turning until brown on all sides. Take out and add the onion, leek and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for 3 -4 minutes until starting to soften.  Return the partridges and bacon to the pan. Add the thyme and cider and put into the oven, cooking, uncovered for 20 - 25 minutes. Take out of the oven and transfer the birds to warmed plates. Stir into the pan the cream and cabbage and put over a medium heat to warm through – don’t let it boil! Season and serve with the partridges.
Toffee Apple Pan Crumble - one-pan recipe
80g butter, 80g granulated sugar
4 cooking apples - peeled, cored, cut into chunks
225g plain flour, 250g cubed butter
75g light brown sugar
Handful of hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Heat the oven to 190oC/gas5.
To make the topping, rub together the flour and 150g butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the brown sugar and hazelnuts. In a frying pan, melt 80g butter and sugar, shaking the pan to swirl the mixture together as a caramel. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, add apples and coat in the caramel.  Cook for 8 – 10 minutes more until apple turns golden.  Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples and put pan in oven to bake for 25 minutes.

You can follow my cooking blog if you would like further inspiration – it is, as it’s called, cooking for one – but very easy with all your new cooking skills to double (even quadruple) up!