Sadly, we are all very aware of the fact that the weather has turned and we are rapidly heading towards winter. Gardens are starting to look rather bare compared to their plush summer selves but there are still a few seasonal ingredients that you can rely upon to help you make some fantastic food.
This month we are helping you to make a light meal perfect for entertaining friends with something rather tasty to wash it all down with! These recipes focus on three September seasonal ingredients; beetroot, cucumber and mussels.
Grilled Mussels with Chorizo
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
150g/5oz chorizo, finely chopped
150ml/5fl oz red wine
Around 20 mussels, cleaned
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter
20g/1 oz breadcrumbs
20g/1oz grated parmesan
- Preheat the grill to its highest setting.
- Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy-based pan. Add the shallot, garlic and chorizo and fry until soft.
- Add the wine and mussels, put the lid on and cook for 2-3 minutes until the mussels open. (If any of the mussels do not open on cooking, do not try to eat them.)
- Remove the mussels from the pan reserving the juices.
- Remove the top shells from the mussels and discard. Lay the mussels out on a baking sheet.
- Add the sherry vinegar, thyme and salt to the pan and reduce to make a thick sauce. Spoon this over the mussels.
- In a bowl combine the butter, breadcrumbs and cheese and add spoonfuls of this to the mussels and sauce.
- Place the mussels under the grill until golden-brown and serve on watercress.
After enjoying a lighter main course we think you deserve a desert but of course you don’t want something too heavy. Why not experiment with this:
Chocolate Beetroot Cake
250g well-drained, cooked beetroots, pureed
225g plain flour
300g caster sugar
250ml vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ Gas 4. Grease and flour one 20 x 30cm (9 x 13in) or similar sized baking tin.
- In a large bowl, combine pureed beetroot, eggs, vanilla, oil and sugar. Mix with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa. Add to the creamed mixture, beating together well. Pour the batter into a prepared tin.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until done and leave to cool.
Once you have finished your meal you can either get everyone involved to make their after dinner drink we’re sure this will lead to a few laughs or you can all relax together on some slightly comfier seats and sip and enjoy.
2.5cm/1 in piece of cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, diced plus one slice to garnish
20ml/ 3/4fl oz freshly squeezed lime juice
2tsp elderflower cordial
50ml/ 2fl oz silver tequila
15ml / 1/2fl oz triple sec
1 scoop of ice
- Place the diced cucumber into a cocktail shaker and mash (muddle) with the end of a clean rolling pin.
- Add the lime juice, elderflower cordial, silver tequila, triple sec and a scoop of ice. Shake well.
- To serve, strain the mixture into a glass. Garnish with the slice of fresh cucumber.