A look into the autumn and winter food trends

9 Aug


Last night I sat on my roof terrace eating a yummy summer dinner and looking through the events coming up over the next few months. This got me thinking about the food that is going to be served during the colder season. Not that I am looking forward to the cold – shudder to think! But I do absolutely love autumn and winter foods. The cave-woman in me relishes the richer foods to help insulate against the cold, even if my jeans don’t.

The thoughts of delicious roasts, steaming hot pots and hearty soups provide the best remedy for keeping those blustery, windy days and frost gleaming nights at bay. In summer, it’s all about eating al fresco; catching the sun wherever possible with perhaps a team barbeque or family picnic. The autumn/winter season will find us enjoying warming foods that celebrate the end of the year, such as lovely sit down dinners or fun festive bowl food parties.

Even though at this present time GB is totally transfixed by the Games, there is also a perception of looking forward and finding out what will be the next BIG THING. In food terms, here at Purple Grape we really love keeping our ear to the ground to gleam nuggets of what is coming up, what will be popular and what you simply must try.

I always liken winter foods with deep coloured jewels. There are those deep dark colours found in venison or partridge and when cooked in a rich port jus the taste and smell, as well as the colour envelopes your senses. Gleaming baubles of fruit complement these earthy colours such as golden clementines and ruby cranberries.

Don’t forget about the fish and seafood at this time either. The Fruits de la mer, especially from the British shores, are ripe for the picking in the winter season giving plenty of opportunity to make a hearty fish pie, or as a winter shocker – how about an oyster and champagne party?

Beetroot soup provides a velvety amethyst to the table, especially when topped with crème fraiche. Take inspiration from Eastern Europe and try your own variation of Borscht – even better with filo pastry dumplings filled with thinly sliced shitake mushrooms.

Chef Andy has kindly given me his take on a Borscht recipe which is far simpler but just as tasty as the four day ordeal that authentic borscht takes. If you do try this one at home tweet a photo to me: @purplegrapekim #purplegraperecipe

Easy Borscht Soup

Ingredients to serve 4

6 Medium-sized beetroots – cleaned with stalks removed

5 Spring onions – you only need the white part, sliced

½ lemon – the juice only

2 tbsp olive oil

2 ½ pints of vegetable stock

Optional 2fl oz vodka

1-2 tbsp crème fraiche (plus a little for serving)

Salt and pepper

Freshly chopped dill

In a large saucepan fry the sliced spring onions in heated oil until translucent (approximately 5 mins). Pour in the stock and warm through using a low heat.

Put the beetroot in a separate saucepan, cover with water, put on the lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approx. 30 minutes or until tender.

Drain, allow to cool a little and then carefully peel and cut the beetroot into rough cubes. Blend these with the spring onion stock (either in a processor or with a hand blender) until smooth.

Add the vodka (optional), lemon juice, crème fraiche and seasoning. Blend again to combine.

This can served hot (reheat for 5 minutes) or cold. Stir in a spoon of crème fraiche and sprinkle with a little of chopped dill.