Dining during the fall in the UK is all about serving up hearty, nourishing food as the days start to get shorter and the leaves fall from the trees. This is the time of year that the shooting season starts up again, and parties up and down the country tuck into hot lunches in the field by day and long, replenishing suppers at their hosts’ homes by night. And since it’s never been more fashionable to cook with local, seasonal produce, it’s the ideal time to host a dinner party and cook up something fresh from the earth. Schools and villages all over the country hold a Harvest Festival around this time of year – a celebration of the annual farmers’ harvest of crops, and an opportunity for communities to bring baskets of produce to the elderly and the poor. Here are some top tips for throwing your own little harvest festival this fall.
Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto (serves 4)
- 1kg butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Bunch of sage
- 1½ litres of vegetable stock
- 50g butter
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 300g risotto rice
- 1 small glass white wine
- 50g parmesan, finely grated
Heat your oven to 220 degrees and toss the butternut into a roasting dish with oil and the chopped sage. Set your timer for around 30 minutes, and prepare the risotto while you wait. Bring your vegetable stock to the boil and the simmer, and melt half the butter in a separate pan over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook gently for 10 minutes, before adding the rice and stirring until the rice is shiny and starts to become transparent. Now pour in the wine and continue to simmer the rice, add the stock spoonful by spoonful, and keep stirring the rice over this low heat for another 20 minutes. Fry the remaining sage leaves in olive oil until they become crisp, then put them to one side on some kitchen paper. Mash half of the squash into a puree and keep the other half in cubes. Stir the puree through the risotto rice, and add the parmesan before leaving it to rest for a few minutes. Serve the risotto with butternut cubes and sage leaves as a garnish. We love this with a few toasted pine nuts thrown in at the last minute. Fancy this with meat? It’s gorgeous with a few wisps of grilled pancetta on top. Beaut!
Try a simple centrepiece for your table that incorporates pretty things collected on country walks – think hurricane lamps and jars full of acorns, dried berries or shiny horse chestnuts; tin cans and jugs stuffed full of beautiful pheasant feathers. Tall bird feathers also look super incorporated with floral arrangements for an abundant autumnal feel, and Pinterest is awash with ideas for spray-painting pumpkins and gourds and stacking them as attractive table decorations or even place settings.
What are you doing to celebrate fall at home with friends and family? Tag us in your snaps @SloaneRanger and we’ll regram or retweet our fave style tips and recipes.