Maggie Beer on autumn flavours

Looking to incorporate some seasonal produce this autumn? Maggie Beer has some ideas to share

With new signature recipes from Maggie Beer’s Autumn Harvest hot off the press, we had a chat with Maggie about all the freshest fare we should be enjoying this time of year.

Autumn can sometimes be an overlooked time when it comes to food – what are your favourite autumn flavours?

Oh, some of my favourite flavours happen in autumn: pomegranates, quinces, apples, pears, figs, fennel, grapes, olives, pumpkin and walnuts just to name a few.

What are some lesser-known autumn ingredients that people should try?

If you can access them, hare, partridge and pheasant are all at their best in autumn.

Which recipe is the biggest family favourite from Autumn Harvest?

With rhubarb fresh from the garden, it would be hard to go past rhubarb crumble to finish a special family gathering in autumn.

Autumn fennel and goats curd recipe by Maggie Beer

“Some of my favourite flavours happen in autumn: pomegranates, quinces, apples, pears, figs, fennel, grapes, olives, pumpkin and walnuts just to name a few.”

What changes in cooking have you seen over the years? What trends have you enjoyed?

For me it’s always been about food in season, simplicity, everything produce driven, about gardens, and with my Foundation, about food to protect the brain. I have to admit I’ve never really worked on ‘trends’ as such when it comes to food, but I am so happy to hear that more and more people are interested in knowing the provenance of their food.

In my mind there is nothing that can surpass home-grown fruit and veggies for flavour, and the wonderful news is more and more people, including chefs, who have their own kitchen gardens, are subscribing to this. There is such a joy in being able to have a direct connection with the food we eat, not to mention the obvious nutritional benefits of eating just-picked produce. This movement shows no signs of slowing down and I couldn’t be happier that it is now ‘trendy’ to grow your own.

Who would you love to cook for? And who would you love to have cook for you?

I’m hoping I can extend some creative liberty here and say that I’d love to cook for Ella Fitzgerald and Dame Joan Sutherland – what a sing along that would be after dinner! And if we’re going with time being of no consequence, then I’d have to say I’d love Elizabeth David to cook for me – I’d have to make a concentrated effort to eat amongst all the questions I’d love to ask her though!

Maggie Beer’s Autumn Harvest is available now from Penguin. Try a few recipes here.

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