Hello Autumn

With the cooler weather creeping in and the sunlight beginning to fade earlier each day, it’s the time of year when we start to move away from bright, crisp salads and turn towards nourishing and hearty autumnal food, packed with soft oranges, rich reds and warm yellows.

In celebration of the season, our head chef, Swann, shares his top tips on how to prepare and cook the top five ingredients that should be on everyone’s shopping list this autumn.

Known as one of the most famous of the winter squashes for its ability to be carved into spooky lanterns for Halloween, there’s so much more to this famous vegetable than meets the eye. Why not turn your Halloween decoration into a delicious soup. Our head chef, Swann, shares the secret to making a perfect soup every time. “Cut the pumpkin into big quarters, then peel it with a sharp peeler. I like to then cook it in a pan with the lid on. Leave it to cook for a long time with a splash of olive oil, on a very gentle heat”, says Swann. “When it’s dry, just add a little bit of water to save it from burning. You can season it with curry spices, such as cumin, ginger and garam masala.” Don’t forget to save the seeds as they are a great garnish or meal topper for that extra crunch!

There’s nothing more comforting than tucking into a delicious and warming stew after a busy day out in the autumn air. “Autumn is the beginning of the game season! In October, our local meat supplier, Lavenham Butchers, brings us outstanding venison and other game meat for the restaurant. I recommend pan-frying the more tender pieces to keep them juicy and slow-cooking the more robust shoulders for a delicious, comforting stew.” Our menus are packed with high-quality, seasonal meat so there’s always new ingredients in our dishes, according to the season.

Often enjoyed raw in the summer as part of a salad, spinach should be a regular staple in the kitchen this autumn. “I love to cook spinach the way my mother used to. Pan-fried with a knob of salted butter and finished with a splash of white wine and a generous dollop of crème fraiche. The perfect side dish for a delicious meal on a cold autumn day!”

Another firm family favourite at dinner time is the humble carrot. This versatile root vegetable can be enjoyed roasted, steamed or stir-fried. “For a warming meal when the weather is bad and the sun is asleep, I would recommend a ‘boeuf carottes’. A classic beef flat-iron stew – like a beef bourguignon – cooked in red wine and garnished with carrots.”

When it comes to autumnal food, butternut squash can’t be beat! The sweet, yet savoury tasting vegetable makes a great side dish, but it can often leave people wondering how to tackle such a tough vegetable. “Butternut and other squashes are very tough to work with as they are extremely tough – a good peeler and a sharp knife will be your best friend in conquering this tricky squash. I personally like to eat them roasted in the oven with little chunks of chestnut, generous drops of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds with fresh herbs.”

We look forward to welcoming you to The Great House this autumn for a chance to taste the best seasonal ingredients crafted into delicious dishes in the heart of Suffolk! Book your table today to avoid disappointment. We hope to see you soon.