The first breath of autumn and the farmers’ market resembles a church at harvest competition. Inexperienced-shouldered tomatoes in a dusty wood field. Yellow squashes for baking. Courgettes on the verge of marrow-hood and cucumbers that curl and twist like a French horn. Within the span of lower than three weeks, the stalls have gone from inexperienced to gold.
A soldierly row of marrows, striped like a greengrocer’s awning, is hoping it received’t finish its days suffocating in mince and white sauce. Translucent, refreshing, but considerably bland, the flesh of a marrow cries out for spice. Chillies and coriander seeds, turmeric and pepper, mustard and curry leaves. Seasoning that imbues heat to what’s probably the least used of the season’s greens. It’s my perception a marrow ought to have its second within the solar.
Nothing good will come from cooking a giant fats squash in boiling water. I are likely to steam them, reduce into fats, awkwardly formed chunks, then add them to a tomato sauce with garlic and mustard seeds, or slide them right into a pink lentil dal the color of rust, sizzling with garlic, mustard seeds and recent pink chillies.
And with the marrows, come the plums. Czar and Opal, Victoria and Marjorie’s Seedling. Plums the color of autumn leaves, to bake beneath a piecrust the sides of which have been crimped between thumb and index finger, or peep out from the buttery pebbles of a cobbler. This time, I celebrated their jewel colors by simmering them with sugar as a sauce for rice cooked with milk, cloves and cardamom. A pudding that deserves a spot at any altar.
Dal with marrow
As soon as the lentils are gentle, I beat the combination with a wood spoon, a course of that makes the completed dal particularly creamy.
onions three, massive
groundnut or vegetable oil four tbsp
garlic 5 cloves
pink gentle chillies four, massive
coriander seeds 2 tsp
black mustard seeds 2 tsp
yellow mustard seeds 2 tsp
floor cumin 2 tsp
floor turmeric 2 tsp
break up pink lentils 250g
curry leaves 15-20
Peel the onions and slice them into rings in regards to the width of a pencil. Heat the groundnut oil in a medium to massive saucepan over a reasonable warmth, add the onions and decrease the warmth. Go away them to melt, with the occasional stir, for a very good 30-40 minutes, till they’re pale gold, sticky to the contact and gentle sufficient to crush between your fingers.
Peel and finely slice the garlic and stir into the onions. Lower the chillies in half after which into skinny, matchstick-size strips, then add to the onions and proceed cooking for five minutes. Crush the coriander seeds to a fantastic powder then stir into the onions along with the mustard seeds, floor cumin and turmeric.
Rinse the lentils then stir into the onions. Pour in 1 litre of water and produce to the boil. Add salt and the curry leaves then partially cowl and simmer for about 20 minutes. The lentils are executed when they’re gentle and simply crushable.
Carry a saucepan of water to the boil and place a steamer basket or colander excessive. Peel the marrow, take away the seeds and fluffy core, then reduce the flesh into massive items about 3cm in diameter. Put the marrow within the steamer, cowl with a lid, and depart for about 10 minutes.
Beat the lentils for a minute or so with a wood spoon. Examine the seasoning. Switch the cooked marrow to the lentils, pushing it down into the sauce, and let it simmer for an extra 5 minutes or so then serve.
Candy spiced rice and plums
Opal fruits: candy spiced rice and plums. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer
I can not hold rice pudding for winter alone. The gentle grains and candy milk attraction simply as a lot on a late summer time’s afternoon as they do when frost is on the bottom. I add a contact of spice in the identical approach my mom would have added a bay leaf and a pinch of floor nutmeg. A few cloves, just a few grains of cardamom and, if I’ve any, a bit lengthy pepper, with its notes of vanilla and candy warmth.
pudding rice 150g
full cream milk 500ml
condensed milk 200ml
inexperienced cardamom 6 pods
lengthy pepper 2 pods (optionally available)
For the plums:
plums 12, ripe
mild muscovado 50g
Put the rice right into a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan with 500ml of water and produce to the boil. Watch rigorously till the water has evaporated, a matter of 5-7 minutes, then pour within the milk. Stir within the condensed milk. Crack the cardamom pods with a heavy weight, reminiscent of a pestle, simply sufficient in order that they open barely, however the brown seeds stay inside. Because the liquid returns to the boil, add them, along with the cloves and, in case you are utilizing it, the lengthy pepper. Decrease the warmth and let it simmer.
Examine the rice after 15 minutes, giving it a bit longer if needed. The grains ought to be fairly gentle and creamy.
In the meantime cook dinner the plums: halve and stone the fruits and put them in a saucepan with the sugar. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice into the plums. Carry to the boil, then decrease the warmth, cowl partially with a lid and cook dinner for 10-15 minutes till the plums are gentle, nearly to the purpose of collapse.
Ladle the nice and cozy rice into dishes, eradicating cardamom, cloves and pepper as you go, then spoon over the plums and their garnet-red juices.
Comply with Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater