September says hello to hearty vegetables and fruit that have flourished and been nourished under the summer sun. As the autumn draws in, we're welcoming wholesome, comfort food onto menus, with our favourites selected below.
Perfectly ripe pears
In season from September, becoming juicy and succulent by autumn, pears are an extremely versatile fruit with a naturally sweet flavour and crisp texture, that can be enjoyed in both savoury and sweet dishes, and even drinks!
Picking them when they are slightly under-ripe allows for their texture and flavour to develop when stored at room temperature. If you won't be using them for a few days, pop them in the fridge to slow down their ripening process.
Pears often need a few days to ripen, so buy them about a week in advance if you're planning a meal with them
Once sliced, give them a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown
Autumn pear salad
Cling onto the last of the summer season, with the added influence of autumn flavours including earthy walnuts. Peared perfectly (see what we did there), with tangy cheeses such as gorgonzola, stilton and manchego, this salad is perfect to enjoy for lunch or dinner.
This dish can be easily customised to suit your tastes.
Slice two pears into thin slices, or chunkier long quarters for more substance.
Heat a frying pan or grill, and brush the pears with some olive oil.
Heat the pears in the pan or grill until lightly charred on each side.
To a large bowl, add your preferred salad leaves - we have chosen rocket.
Add 1/2 a finely sliced red onion, some torn prosciutto ham, and 60g of toasted walnuts.
Top with your grilled pears, and some creamy gorgonzola. Alternatively, you can use a ball of torn burrata.
You could also use mixed leaves, add in some chopped cherries, figs, dried cranberries, and chopped hazelnuts.
Pear Tarte Tatin
This classic French dessert is a comforting sweet treat, as the nights draw darker. Enjoy with a splash of double cream, or a good quality vanilla ice cream.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Pop a medium-large sized ovenproof frying pan on the hob, over a medium heat.
Add 125g caster sugar to the pan, and heat until it turns to a golden, caramel colour, while stirring constantly.
Chop 40g of cold, unsalted butter into cubes, and add to the frying pan, along with 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and stir together until a caramel forms.
Peel three large pears, core them, and cut into wedges. Add them to the pan of caramel and ensure all of the pears are coated. Turn the heat down and simmer for five to 10 minutes, until the pears are tender.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Take one packet of pre-made all butter puff pastry. Unroll it, and cut a circular shape, slightly bigger than your pan.
Place the pastry over the top of the pears and caramel, and tuck it around the sides so it fits snugly down the sides of the pan.
Pop the pan into the oven for around 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and puffed.
Once cooked, remove the pan from the oven and leave aside for 10 minutes.
To remove from the pan, run a knife around the edge, and place your serving plate over the top of the pan. Carefully turn the tarte out onto the plate, and serve alongside some double cream or vanilla ice cream!
Pear and prosciutto canapes
A fantastic canape or starter option to showcase this seasonal fruit, it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare!
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Simply wash two, ripe pears, then slice in half and then again into three wedges.
Take six slices in prosciutto and lay them out on a flat surface.
Put one pear wedge onto each slice of ham, along with a slice of camembert or brie.
Roll up the prosciutto and place onto a lined baking tray.
Pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the ham is crisp, and the pear has softened.
Serve on a platter, alongside a zesty lemon vinaigrette.
Seeds planted in the mid-late spring are ready to harvest by mid-September, just in time for some autumn comforting dishes on your menu. A great vegetarian option on menus, cauliflower is more commonly being used as an alternative to meat in curries tacos and pasta dishes!
Sage, hazelnut and cauliflower risotto
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
Wash and chop the florets of one cauliflower and place them in a food processor, until it reaches the consistency of rice.
In a deep frying pan, melt 40g of butter over a low heat.
Fry two, finely chopped shallots, and one chopped garlic clove, until softened.
Add the cauliflower to the pan, along with 295g arborio rice, and stir to coat.
Pour in 850ml of liquid chicken stock, and turn the heat up to high.
Bring to the boil, then cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the oven for around 25 minutes, until the rice is al dente.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to sit aside for 10 minutes.
Stir 300ml of double cream through the risotto, and add salt and pepper to taste.
In a small saucepan, melt 40g of butter until golden brown. Add in 1/2 bunch of sage leaves, and cook in the butter until crisp, then remove from the heat.
Drizzle the butter and sage over the risotto, then scatter with some toasted, crushed hazelnuts, and lashings of grated parmesan - enjoy!
Cauliflower, pancetta and taleggio pasta bake
Switch up your macaroni cheese, with the addition of some fancy ingredients - a delicious, comforting meal as the evenings get chillier!
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
To a saucepan add two tablespoons of olive oil, and 20g of unsalted butter.
Once melted, add 100g of pancetta, and one finely chopped onion, then cook until beginning to crisp.
Add two, finely chopped cloves of garlic, one tablespoon of finely chopped thyme leaves or dried thyme, and one tablespoon of plain flour. Stir and cook for one minute.
Pour in 150ml white wine, and simmer for around 3-4 minutes.
Next, add 125ml of milk, 300ml of single cream, 150g of chopped taleggio cheese (with the rind removed), and 150g of grated gruyere.
Stir for 1-2 minutes, until the cheeses have melted, then season with salt and pepper, and two tablespoons of chopped parsley.
In the meantime, boil a saucepan of salted water, and cook the pasta for the time stated on the packet. When there are six minutes remaining, add in six cauliflower florets to soften.
Once cooked, drain off the water, then add the pasta and cauliflower to the cheese sauce.
Pour into a greased baking dish, then top with grated parmesan, and a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs for a crispy crunch.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbling, then serve!