Autumn Harvest Salad


Autumn is my favourite time of year – just as the trees are turning and shedding their leaves. November is the time for homely comfort food, to line your stomach ready for the winter ahead – of which I have been having a little too much recently!

November also brings a bountiful harvest from the garden. Using up the vegetables from summer which have survived the frost always has me wracking my brains for new recipe ideas.

I’ve never taken to salads. For me, lettuce is usually an afterthought used to trick my mind into believing the big T.Bone I’m chomping on is, in fact, good for me. For this reason I’ve shied away from ‘cooking’ with members of the Asteraceae (lettuce) family.

However, recently I have had something of an epiphany. The food at L’Enclume has had a profound effect on me. I no longer choose the richest, most decadent dish on the menu. Now I opt for lighter options, with subtler flavours which are often (heaven forbid) adorned with prissy leaves and edible flowers.

As such, I thought it appropriate to create a form of salad with the end of this year’s harvest. By all means, the dressing can be used with a multitude of other salads and I urge you to try different combinations. Although this version takes some time, the results are truly delicious and will impress as a starter at any dinner party. I outline the elements below for inspiration:


Pickled Beetroot (Boiled, sliced and pickled for 2 hours in walnut oil, cider vinegar and malt vinegar)

Roasted Beetroot (Quartered and roasted at 160C for 45 minutes)

Caramelised Walnuts (100g Caster Sugar and a little water boiled to a caramel and combined with 50g walnuts)

Potato Salad (Boiled new potatoes combined with soured cream, chopped chives, salt and pepper)

Charred Baby Onions (Sliced thin and charred over a high heat for 2 mins each side)

Caramelised Pear (Sliced thin, browned in butter over a medium heat for 3 mins each side)

Crumbled Stilton

Baby Salad Leaves

Crème Fraîche Dressing (Crème fraîche mixed with juice and zest of 1/2 Orange and a little salt)



Herb Garden

Herbs Grown Outside from Small Plants

Herbs are fundamental to cooking great tasting food and what better than cooking with herbs you have grown yourself. You know they have been raised by your own fair hands and they are far less expensive than shop bought herbs. Whether growing from seed or small plants, they are easy and rewarding to look after.

Start with the basics; grow basil and coriander, maybe some dill, inside in direct sunlight and water often. Plant thyme, rosemary and sage outside either on the windowsill or in planters (make sure to keep your sage under control or it will soon run amock!) Ensure you use your herbs, cutting regularly once up to full size to ensure they continue to flourish.

Once you have the hang of it try planting some different varieties. Borage grows very well in the summer and is great used in cocktails, as do curry plants.

If you have the time and space, many more obscure varieties are available from seed. Don’t be daunted, buy an inexpensive window propagator and your seeds will germinate in no time and with little effort. Watercress grows very well in the summer when sown directly outside into window planters, if sown now you will have a crop ready in a few weeks.

Watercress from Seed Outside

Purple and Thai Basil from Seed