Warming Wizardry

Liz Nicholls

As we don our slippers and step snugly into October, Katie Kingsley brings us the hearty root vegetables and warming suppers we crave.

Pasta e fagioli

This is a very basic and inexpensive pasta dish, translating to ‘pasta and beans’. A good one to try, to perfect and to keep up your sleeve for whipping up as if by magic, straight from the pantry. This does not essentially need the pancetta but it is a nice touch and a worthwhile addition, if you do step out of the pantry.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan then cook 100g of pancetta (cubed or sliced) until golden and crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and leave to one side to garnish. Make a sofrito by finely chopping one onion, two carrots and two celery stalks then sauté in the pan with more oil if necessary. When soft and starting to brown, add three minced garlic cloves, cooking for a few minutes before adding 500g of fresh roughly chopped tomatoes (or one can) with 2 tsp of runny honey and season. Cook, covered, for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down then stir through 500ml of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then add 200g of pastini (little pasta shapes), cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and the sauce has thickened. Stir in a can of chickpeas for the last few minutes of cooking and serve with lots of grated parmesan and the crispy pancetta.

« Tip – Add dried herbs or sundried tomato paste for extra flavour.

Celeriac remoulade

I absolutely love making mayonnaise in this way, it is culinary wizardry. Despite this recipe never failing, it still feels like such a delicious accomplishment every time. This is great with smoked salmon or trout on a good rye bread or scallion pancakes as a refreshing starter or snack.

Measure and combine 75ml each of groundnut and olive oil. Place an egg yolk into a large bowl with 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Take an electric whisk or use a food processor to add the oils in a very slow, steady stream until it is all incorporated and you have a thick mayonnaise. Add 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar and adjust seasoning to taste. Peel one celeriac and cut into matchsticks, dropping them into a bowl of water as you go with a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Take 2 small tart red apples and slice thinly, adding to the acidulated water with the celeriac then drain well, pat dry and combine with the mayonnaise. Add 1 tbsp of finely chopped dill, freshly grated or about 1 tbsp of hot horseradish from a jar and about 1 tsp of caster sugar, tasting as you go. Serve with smoked fish and lemon wedges.

Apple and Blackberry frangipane crumble

Everyone loves crumble and everyone has eaten good crumble but this is taking it to another level, good enough for any dinner party in my opinion.

Heat your oven to 180°C. Beat together 100g of softened butter with 150g of caster sugar then add 150g of ground almonds, two egg yolks and two or three tbsp of plain flour with a pinch of salt. Add ½ tsp of almond essence and beat until you have a smooth, stiff mixture. Spread into the base of a buttered 1 litre ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes or until set and golden. Cover it with foil for the last part of the baking if the mixture begins to get too dark. Peel, core and slice three cooking apples and toss together with 300g of fresh or frozen blackberries and the juice of half a lemon then bake in a dish for 30 minutes. In the meantime, make the crumble topping by combining together 100g of plain flour, 50g of ground almonds, 125g of chilled cubed butter and either rub together using your fingertips or pulse briefly in a food processor until you get course breadcrumbs, with some larger pieces. Stir through 35g of demerara sugar and 35g of caster sugar, sprinkle with water and roughly rake with a fork then refrigerate until you need it. When the fruit is cooked, turn up the oven to 200°C then use a slotted spoon to transfer it on top of the frangipane, with some of the juice then add your crumble topping and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

« Tip – Add chopped hazelnuts, flaked almonds and porridge oats to your crumble topping for extra crunch.