While summer dining is centred around light, fresh dishes served under the setting sun, the cooler temperatures in autumn call for dinners of a more nourishing nature. Hearty feasts shared around a dining table, with the flicker of candlelight providing atmosphere in abundance, are what we begin to crave as the nights draw in – and all the more so as we gear up to entertaining season. This is exactly what food writer, stylist and cookbook author Rosie Birkett had in mind when we asked her to share a few autumn recipes with us. When we visited her at home in Deal, Kent, she’d served up a veritable feast that looked as delicious as it tasted. Here’s how to recreate it at home.
2 tbsp olive oil
A handful of sage leaves
1-2 tbsp truffle honey (or honey with a couple of drops of good quality truffle oil)
Sea salt and black pepper, for seasoning
1. Drain the ricotta in a sieve to remove any excess whey, then empty it into a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk it until smooth, silky and light, for about 3 minutes. Scoop it into a bowl.
2. Heat the olive oil over a medium to high heat and add the sage, frying for a minute or two, until dark and crispy. Remove and place on a kitchen towel to drain off the excess oil.
3. Add the thyme to the pan – take a step back as it will sizzle – and fry for just under a minute, until dark and translucent. Place on kitchen towel.
4. Season the herbs with a really generous pinch of sea salt.
5. Drizzle a little of the herb-infused oil over the ricotta, followed by the honey, and top with the crispy herbs. Season with black pepper and serve with good bread or truffle crisps.
Ingredients for 4-6 people
300g of squash, scrubbed (only peel if skin is really tough), halved lengthways, seeds removed and cut into 1.5–2cm half-moon slices
2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
30g of butter, plus a knob for frying the sage
A small bunch of sage leaves, plus 2 leaves thinly sliced
500g halloumi, cut into 1-cm slices
2 sprigs of thyme
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 glass of white wine
250g of sour cream
1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
50g of cavolo nero, stalks removed and leaves roughly chopped
Pasta or noodles for 4-6 people
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
2. Toss the sliced squash with a drizzle of olive oil – just enough to coat it all over – and season with the paprika, salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread it out on a baking sheet or roasting tray, making sure the slices are well spaced. If you need to, use two trays. Roast in the oven for 30–35 minutes, until softened and colouring, but not falling apart. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan or skillet over a medium heat, then add the knob of butter and, once that’s melted, add the whole sage leaves and fry for no more than 30 seconds until crispy, being careful not to burn them. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel, then season with sea salt flakes.
4. Add the halloumi to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until crispy and golden, adding in more fat if needed. Transfer the halloumi to a plate and set to one side with the sage.
5. Add the butter and thyme to the pan, along with the onions, and fry for about 10–15 minutes, until sweet and softened.
6. Add the garlic and sliced sage leaves and cook for a couple more minutes, then pour in the white wine and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the alcohol has evaporated, and the wine is nicely reduced. Stir in the sour cream and Dijon mustard.
7. Once it’s bubbling add the cavolo nero leaves, and cook for 3–5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the cavolo nero is cooked, adding a good slosh of water and stirring it in to create a creamy sauce.
8. Stir through the roasted squash and halloumi. Keep warm while you cook the noodles.
9. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, then pour over the melted butter and fork through. Place the stroganoff on top and serve with the crispy sage leaves scattered on top.
Tuck into Rosie’s world by following her on Substack