Abel & Cole's cookbook, How To Eat Brilliantly Every Day, is all about easy and accessible cooking that places ingredient seasonality at the heart of each recipe. With autumn now firmly underway, we caught up with Jassy Davis, one of the food writers behind the book, to hear about her five favourite ingredients to use at this time of year. We've also shared a little sneak peek of some of the recipes in the book that use the ingredients on Jassy's list, just in case you weren't yet convinced that this is the cookbook to help you cook with the seasons.
If there’s one thing Abel & Cole has given me, it’s the ability to spot a squash at 20 paces. Onion, harlequin, gem, crown prince, acorn, butternut, spaghetti – squash identification is my pub quiz area of expertise. The first squash of the season is pattipan, arriving in August and signalling the end of summer. After that, it’s riot of greens, golds and oranges, knobbly skins and smooth, velvety flesh. Squash soup is my favourite: I like to sweat chunks of unpeeled squash in a pan with onions and butter, then add in whatever flavours I fancy most that day. A curryish mix of cumin, garam masala, chilli and coconut milk. Or miso, ginger and sesame. Blitzed till smooth and with lots of buttered bread for dunking, it’s my perfect autumn lunch.
A great idea for using squash from How To Eat Brilliantly Every Day:
Squash & Tahini Soup with Pomegranate
British tomatoes, bloated with summer sunshine, are at their best in September. They’re so sweet and smell so sharply green that I try not to cook them, turning them into salads tossed with a sweet and sour nuoc cham dressing or making a raw tomato sauce for spaghetti. An Italian friend showed me how to make the sauce and it’s so easy: all you have to do is sit chopped tomatoes in a bowl with some bashed garlic cloves, torn oregano, olive oil and chilli flakes. Let them soak together for an hour or so, then fish out the garlic and toss the tomatoes with hot spaghetti.
A little tomato inspiration from inside How To Eat Brilliantly Every Day:
Amour Tatin Tomate
Figs would be my desert island luxury. Green-skinned Spanish figs at the start of autumn, black skinned Turkish figs as winter creeps nearer. Both greedily torn into by me – I almost never get round to cooking them because I end up eating them straight out of the box. But if I manage to hold off then I make an autumnal Eton mess with them, filling bowls with crumbled pistachio meringues, thick cream and figs that have been caramelised in butter.
Autumn, the time of year when we confusingly eat ‘spring lamb’. These are the lambs born at the start of the year and who have spent most of their lives out in the fields. They have a fantastic depth of flavour and I love to eat lamb fillet – much better than beef fillet – quick-roasted so it’s still pink and juicy. As the nights get longer and the weekends murkier, roasts start to appeal again and I love lamb shoulder slow roasted with garlic, anchovy and rosemary till the meat falls apart in strands.
At last, there’s an ‘R’ in the month. I remember my first oyster, eaten when I was in my 30s in a pub in London. The briny wash combined with the hot spike of shallot vinegar seemed like magic to me and now I don’t miss a chance to eat oysters. Shallot vinegar is still my favourite, although a nose-snorting splash of Tabasco also goes down well. If I can, I head to the seaside and eat oysters with the sound of the waves rushing in my ears and a pint of cider on the side.