When Lou Archell of Little Green Shed asked me to cook for the inaugural Sisterhood Supper with TOAST, to be held later that month, I jumped at the chance. Cooking a seasonally inspired supper at The Forge (a new creative space in the centre of Bristol) was going to be fun.
Autumn in the UK will always be my favourite time of year to cook. After the lean cooking of summer I enjoy the softer, plumper cooking of autumn. In particular, I like to cook with pumpkins which, with their colossal weight, seem ready to topple every veg stand...
AGRODULCE PUMPKIN (SWEET AND SOUR)
Photo by Xanthe Berkeley
Pumpkin, caramelised in a pan, and flavoured with vinegar, garlic and mint, is one of the best dishes that harvest can bring. What is more, this pumpkin tastes all the better if left for a few hours or so to soak up the syrup.
Serve at an ambient temperature with a soft cheese such as mozzarella, ricotta or feta and scatter with some toasted nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pinenuts or even pumpkin seeds.
1 good sized pumpkin 750g approx.
3 tbsp of olive oil
175mls white wine vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Peel and cut the pumpkin in half and deseed it.
Cut each half of the pumpkin round into roughly 1cm slices.
Heat a good sized frying pan with the oil and fry the slices in small batches until bronzed on both sides and easily pierceable with a sharp knife. Season with salt and pepper as you cook the pumpkin.
With each batch of pumpkin cooked, transfer the pumpkin to a serving dish and continue with the remaining pumpkin.
With the pumpkin all cooked and housed in the serving dish, using the same frying pan because it will hold all the caramelized pumpkin flavour, add the vinegar to the pan along with the chopped garlic and sugar. Bring the vinegar to the boil over moderate heat and dissolve the sugar. Pour the hot syrup over the cooked pumpkin and scatter with the chopped fresh mint.
Claire Thomson wearing TOAST Linen Cross Over Apron & Denim Full Skirt Dress
Hazelnut, Cinnamon and Sour Cream Cake with Spiced Poached Pears and Mascarpone
This is a great cake. With half the mixture spread flat for the base and the other half whisked into the sour cream and topped with the hazelnuts, this is a cake of two halves and all the better for it. Pears and hazelnuts is a classic combination for good reason. Serve a slice of the cake with a pear and a dollop of mascarpone.
For the Hazelnut, Cinnamon and Sour Cream Cake
120gr hazelnuts, skinned and chopped
150gr light brown sugar
120gr plain flour
½ tsp of cinnamon powder
65 gr cold butter – diced
120ml sour cream
½ tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 180°
Line cake tin with greaseproof paper (8 inch round)
Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon together and rub in the butter until you have a sandy texture (can be done in food processor or, as you would make pastry with your finger tips – but the food processor is easiest and best)
Spread ½ this mix into the cake tin and press down slightly forming an even base.
Whisk together the sour cream, baking powder and egg.
Add the remaining ½ of the flour mix to the sour cream mix and pour this mix over the pressed down base of the tart.
Sprinkle the mix with the chopped hazelnuts
Bake for 40 minutes
For the Spiced Poached Pears
4 ripe pears, with the stalks kept on if possible
200g caster sugar
Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
1 vanilla pod, split down the middle
2 strips of lemon zest
2 whole star anise
1 whole cinnamon stick
Peel the pears
In a medium sized saucepan – big enough to house the pears with sufficient space but not so big to hold too much water in order for the pears to be immersed – add all the ingredients except the pears and fill the pan half full with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes for all the ingredients infuse.
Add the peeled pears and continue to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the pears are soft and cooked through.
Cool the pears in the liquid and store in fridge.
The pears will last for up to a week stored in the syrup.
For more recipes from Claire Thomson, follow her on Twitter here
For more information on future Sisterhood Seasonal Suppers please visit the website here