Recipes: A hand-picked autumn menu

Crab Cakes and spicy dip. Picture: Robert Perry
Crab Cakes and spicy dip. Picture: Robert Perry
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Jacqueline O’Donnell, chef patron of The Sisters restaurants in Glasgow, offers an autumn menu including a pudding harvested from a hedgerow

I’m hanging on to the last of the summer, but I am sure we will have a beautiful autumn. As ever, the recipes I have chosen this week have quite a modern edge and turn up the volume on tradition (obviously using the best ingredients that my suppliers have got to offer). We had such an early abundance of produce this year, and it’s delightful to see the goodies are still lasting.

Contrary to popular belief, spring Scotch lamb is not at its best until the autumn, when it has had time to eat all the lovely grass and heather. We also get the chance to see all those handsome Scottish rugby players advertising it! Remember my usual words of wisdom – look at the label, it has to be Scotch Lamb, the producers have done all the hard work so you only need to worry about cooking it.

The season will also soon move on from strawberries to autumn fruiting raspberries and blackberries. I have my eye on so many wild hedgerows, and I won’t be telling a soul where they are, as I am hoping for a bumper crop of brambles. I’ll give you a clue – there is one long over-grown path near my favourite seaside town that I am hoping has not been discovered by anyone else. Last year, my family and I were cycling in Bute when I came across loads of brambles. We were almost at the ferry, so we drank what was left in our water bottles and filled them with berries. They were so big that we had to squash them through the neck. Take a container out with you and, be ready to pick, as if you’re not quick, the birds will get in there before you.

Shopping list

STARTER

125g white crab meat (fresh is best but frozen or tinned also works)

15g Panko breadcrumbs

½ tsp mild Just Add Chilli, or finely chop half a red chilli, removing the seeds

1 tbsp chopped fresh chives, dill and coriander

2-4 tbsp mayonnaise

zest of a lime

For the dip:

1 small tub of crème fraîche

zest of a lime

1 tsp chopped herbs, as above

some extra chilli – optional – taste first before adding

MAIN COURSE

4 x 150g pieces of lamb rump

splash of red wine

1 sprig rosemary

300ml chicken stock

1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

300g mixed greens (I use broad beans and courgette)

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

200g mashed potatoes

DESSERT

300ml double cream

75g caster sugar

juice and fine zest of 1-2 lemons (depending on how sharp you like the flavour)

1 punnet of Scottish brambles

Method

CRAB CAKES WITH SPICED HERB DIP

Hector from Grimsay Bay, North Uist, sends my crab meat down a few times a week. It’s such a gorgeous sweet meat. I use the claw only for this recipe, keeping the brown meat for soups, sauces and to bake in tartlets.

Serves 4

1 Mix all the ingredients together until the mixture can be pressed to hold a shape.

2 Press into a round cutter and store in the fridge until ready to cook.

3 Remove from the fridge 5-10 minutes before cooking.

4 Heat a non-stick frying pan and, on a medium high heat, sear the cakes. You do not need oil in the pan. They only need 2-3 minutes each side. Then turn off the heat.

5 For the dip, mix some crème fraîche, chilli, lime juice and chopped herbs.

AUTUMN SCOTCH LAMB WITH MINTY GREENS

This is an absolute winner, whether a dinner party treat or a brilliant weekend tea. Not everyone likes mint, so best to leave adding that until the last second, so they can opt out.

Serves 4

1 Heat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4.

2 Season the lamb generously and place it fat side down in a heavy-based stove-oven pan on the hob, for 2-3 minutes.

3 Turn it over and seal all edges. If you don’t have a pan suitable, heat a tray in the oven before putting the lamb in.

4 Slam in the lamb for 6-9 minutes, depending on how you like it.

5 Remove from the oven and rest on a plate whilst you attend to your sauce, be careful – the pan will be hot!

6 Add a splash of red wine and remove all the sticky bits of lamb from the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce down slightly, then add all the chicken stock and reduce by two thirds, add rosemary, simmer, then remove from the heat before whisking in the redcurrant jelly. Check seasoning and set aside.

7 Chop a courgette and prepare the broad beans by blanching them in boiling water for 30 seconds.

8 Drain and pop into a hot pot with 1 tablespoon butter and 4 tablespoons of hot water. The steam will finish the cooking and the butter will glaze the vegetables.

9 Season with salt and pepper, then fold through the chopped mint.

10 Spoon your mash onto the plate, slice the lamb and lay it on top of the tatties. Scatter minty greens around and spoon over the sauce.

LEMON POSSET WITH BRAMBLES

Get your brambles from your nearest hedgerow and wear gloves if you don’t want fingertips stained purple.

Serves 4

1 Bring the cream and sugar to the boil.

2 Take your pan off the heat and whisk in the lemon zest and juice.

3 It should start to thicken instantly. Pour into either rings or martini/serving glasses or espresso cups.

4 Chill for 2-4 hours minimum, or overnight if you can.

5 If you want, you could add some chopped mint to the brambles, or serve them unadorned.

6 Spoon the fruit on top of the set posset.