Autumn has arrived. It’s a wonderful time of year when the natural world turns into a seasonal spectacle of burnt oranges, vibrant reds and glistening golds, and the landscape is carpeted with fallen leaves.
With the arrival of the harvest season, we’re celebrating the best of British food and drink with this year’s British Food Fortnight from 19 September – 4 October 2020. From sampling fresh, seasonal food in National Trust cafés, to harvesting your own fresh produce and cooking up an autumnal feast at home, there are so many ways to make the most of the harvest.
Matt Drew, Head of Food & Beverage for the National Trust comments, “we’re continually striving to produce and sell food that benefits everyone and the environment. That’s why we ensure that our menus make the most of British, seasonal ingredients, often showcasing produce grown in our very own kitchen gardens.
What’s more, the income generated by the sale of these dishes goes back into looking after the places in our care.”
National Trust chefs have shared some of their favourite autumnal recipes for you to try at home. Many are created in kitchens at National Trust locations using ingredients from our kitchen gardens and tenant farmers.
Sustainable flour from our farm
The wheat used to make the plain and self-raising flour that we use in our freshly baked scones is grown at Wimpole Home Farm especially for us. Wimpole’s farming methods benefit nature above the ground and the soil below, and help wildlife thrive.
By dedicating over 10% of their land to wildlife habitats, they don’t harvest all the wheat, leaving some for the wild birds to eat during the winter months. The lack of harmful pesticides and fertilisers also helps to nurture the worms and insects.
These melt-in-the-mouth cheese scones are a perfect addition to a homemade soup or autumnal stew. Alternatively, they’re great on their own, with a slather of butter for a quick savoury treat.
If you indulge in these on a visit to a National Trust café, you’ll also be enjoying cheese and butter from our tenant farmers in Somerset.
- • Preparation time 15 minutes
- • Cooking time 15 minutes
- • Serves 8
Ingredients 450g self-raising flour 110g margarine 100g grated mature Cheddar cheese 1tsp salt 1tsp cracked black pepper 1 egg 150ml milk 1tsp English mustard
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Place the flour and margarine into a mixing bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in most of the cheese (leave enough to place grated cheese on top of the scones later), salt and pepper.
4. Mix the egg with three quarters of the milk and the mustard. Pour into the mix and use a spoon to combine the wet and dry ingredients keep adding the remaining milk a little at a time until the mixture comes together and forms a dough.
5. Divide into two even sized pieces and gently roll into large balls on a lightly floured surface. Flatten them lightly and cut into four by slicing both ways across the middle.
6. Place on a lined baking tray.
7. Divide the remaining cheese and place on the top of the scone and place into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until risen and golden.
Cauliflower cheese gratin
Tempt your taste buds with this cheesy autumnal classic, perfect for warming you up as the days get cooler.
- • Preparation time 40 minutes
- • Cooking time 25 – 25 minutes
- • Serves 6
- • 1 large cauliflower
- • 200g potatoes, peeled and cubed
- • 200g leek, roughly sliced
- • 350g broccoli, roughly chopped
For the sauce
- • 50g butter
- • 450ml milk
- • 50g cornflour
- • 200g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
- • 100g Stilton cheese, crumbled
- • 15g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- • Pinch of salt and pepper
For the gratin topping
- • 100g gluten free bread
- • 75g cornflakes
- • 50g strong Cheddar cheese
- • 15g fresh parsley
- • 250g green cabbage, finely shredded
- • 100g leeks, thinly sliced
- • 3 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
1. Remove the outer leaves and the base of the cauliflower before breaking it into small pieces.
2. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add a teaspoon of salt before adding the cauliflower and potatoes. Cook until soft. Drain the cauliflower and potatoes and place into a bowl, add the chopped leeks and broccoli and stir well.
3. For the sauce: dissolve the cornflour in a little of the milk. Gradually add the remaining milk and the butter to a pan and bring to the boil, stirring in the cornflour mixture. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens.
4. Add the cheeses and parsley, stir until melted before seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
5. For the gratin: place the bread, cornflakes and parsley in a food processor and blitz until broken down.
6. Add the cheese and pulse a couple of times to ensure it’s mixed through.
7. Tip the vegetable mix into the cheese sauce and stir well. Pour into a serving dish, then sprinkle the gratin mix over the top in an even layer.
8. Place in the oven at 180c / 160c (fan) for around 25–35 minutes or until the top is bubbling and golden.
9. To serve: drop the remaining cabbage and leeks into a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and then stir through the oil. Serve with the cauliflower cheese gratin.
Almost 50 years of egg-cellent eggs
Charles Spencer’s family have been tenants of the National Trust since 1972. Within our cafés we use over one sixth of their annual free-range egg supply – approximately 2.6 million eggs. The hens share grazing with Charles’s dairy herd and are fed on home-grown wheat and beans, processed through the farm’s own feed mill.
Roasted beetroot, kale and brie quiche (vegetarian)
A seasonal delight packed full of the first of the autumn vegetables in a non-pastry case; great if you are gluten-free or want a change.
- • Preparation time 30 minutes
- • Cooking time 30-40 minutes
- • Serves 6
• 360g sweet potato, grated
• 1 medium egg
• 50g cheddar cheese
• Pinch chilli flakes
• Pinch salt
• Pinch cracked black pepper
• 1tsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
For the filling
- • 600g beetroot, scrubbed
- • 10ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- • 200g red onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- • 100g kale, thinly sliced
- • sprig fresh rosemary
- • 150g brie, cubed
For the custard
- • 5 eggs
- • 200ml milk
- • 50ml double cream
- • pinch salt
- • pinch cracked black pepper
- • 100g brie, cubed
Method For the crust:
1. Place the grated sweet potato in a sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
2. Place in a mixing bowl and add the egg, cheese and chilli with a little salt and pepper, mix well.
3. Brush the base and sides of a loose-bottomed sandwich tin (23cm) with the oil. Press the potato mix into the tin, making sure it’s of even thickness and well pressed. Save a little mix for filling any holes.
4. Place in the oven at 170c fan and cook for around 15 minutes until the potato is set and slightly crisp around the edges. Check for any holes or cracks and patch them accordingly.
For the filling:
1. Place the beetroot on a tray, add a little water and then wrap it in foil. Place in the oven at 170c fan and bake for around 1 hour until soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
2. Rub the skins off the beetroot and cut into small, bite sized pieces and place in a bowl.
3. Place a pan over a high heat, add the oil and onions and fry until colouring.
4. Place the kale into boiling water for 5 minutes, drain in a colander and leave to dry.
5. Place the beetroot, onions, kale, rosemary and brie in a bowl and mix together gently but well. Pour into the case and shake gently to level.
For the custard:
1. Whisk the eggs, milk and cream together, season well and pour over the mix in the case.
2. Scatter over the remaining brie and place the quiche in the oven for around 35-40 minutes or until set and golden.
Food & Beverage at the National Trust
In 2019 National Trust food outlets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland served:
• More than 2 million scones. These are made with flour from our own farm; Wimpole, in the East of England.
• More than 14 million hot drinks – keeping our walkers, explorers, runners, cyclists, strollers and gazers warm for their adventures. The tea we serve is our very own blend of National Trust tea.
• Almost 2 million sandwiches – made fresh at most properties, each day.
• More than 1.3 million serves of soup or hot pot were devoured by visitors searching for a hearty lunch.
• Almost 700,000 children’s meals were consumed by our youngest supporters.
• Over 1 million slices of cake were cut and served, hitting that sweet spot.
Joint the National Trust
Simply visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk or your local National Trust property details of which will be found on the website.