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Harvest Fruit and Vegetables

By: Elizabeth Hinds - Updated: 20 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Harvest Fruit And Vegetables

Our native fruits and vegetables come into their own at harvest time.

Forget the exotic fruit or unusual vegetables; delight in locally-grown pears and plums, root vegetables and cabbage.

Best of all, go gathering the wild berries that fill our hedgerows at this harvest time of year.

We’ve recipes for a creamy vegetable soup and a slow-cooked cabbage dish that actually benefits from reheating.

There are also some simple and delicious fruity dessert recipes.

Harvest Vegetable Soup

Use a mix of vegetables to your own taste.

  • 1½ lb mixed vegetables e.g. potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, leek
  • 2 dessertspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 pints vegetable stock
  • Bouquet garni (a few parsley stalks, a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme)
  • ¼ pint milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Parsley

Prepare and dice the vegetables. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the vegetables and sugar. Cover and allow to ‘sweat’ gently for about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and add the bouquet garni. Bring to the boil and skim if necessary. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Remove the bouquet garni and whizz the soup in a liquidiser. Pour the milk into a dish and sieve the flour on top. Stir well to make a smooth paste and gradually beat into the soup. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve, accompanied with fresh crusty bread, with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

Appley Red Cabbage

This is a dish that benefits from long slow cooking and reheating.

  • 1 small red cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cooking apples
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Juice half a lemon

Quarter the cabbage and remove the core. Shred the remaining cabbage finely. Melt the butter in a large pan and gently fry the onions until soft. Add the cabbage to the pan along with enough boiling water to create a layer about 1” deep.

Peel, core and finely dice the apples. Add to the pan along with seasoning. Stir in up to 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the lemon juice. Cover tightly and simmer for between 3 – 4 hours, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little more water but once the apples have turned to pulp no more water should be needed.

Check the taste before serving and add more sugar or lemon juice to taste. Serve hot with roast or grilled meat, especially pork or duck as the sharpness of this dish contrasts well with the richness of the meat.

Where harvest fruits are concerned, the simplest recipes are often the best.

Baked Plums

An easy but delicious recipe.

  • 1 lb plums
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • Juice half a lemon
  • Water

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C, gas mark 3.

Wipe the plums, then halve and stone them. Place in a shallow dish and sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Add about 2 tablespoons water. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until tender. Serve with warm custard or cold ice cream.

  • Victoria plums have a very short season but, in our opinion, they can’t be beaten for flavour.

Baked Pears

How something so simple can taste so good amazes us!

  • 4 Conference pears
  • Demerara sugar
  • Butter

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, gas mark 6. Grease a wide shallow ovenproof dish.

Peel, halve and remove the cores from the pears. Place the pears cutside-down in a single layer in the dish. Sprinkle generously with the brown sugar and dab a bit of butter on each of the pear halves. Cover with greaseproof paper and bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Serve hot with the caramelised sugar scrapings from the dish and pouring cream.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Gather the blackberries from hedgerows. Pick over and wash gently before using.

  • 2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • A handful blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 4 oz flour
  • 3 oz margarine
  • 2 oz caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, gas mark 4.

Using your fingertips, rub the margarine into the flour until you have a fine mixture. Stir in the sugar.

Put half the apple slices in the base of a deep ovenproof dish. Sprinkle on the sugar and blackberries. Top with the remaining apples. Finish off with the crumble mixture. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve hot with custard or ice cream.

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