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All the flavour but none of the fuss with these one-pot wonders

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Emils Paberzis is a junior sous chef at the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel, Inverness.
Emils Paberzis is a junior sous chef at the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel, Inverness.

As we mark the last throes of autumn, our seasonal produce is definitely worth celebrating!

This time of year, when the nights are drawing in and the temperatures start to noticeably drop, there is nothing better than a hearty home-cooked meal that uses the best of the season’s produce, topped off with a tasty, hot pudding.

Of course, home-cooked and hearty is great but no-one wants to spend hours over a hot stove – unless you’re a chef!

So one-pot dishes and tray bakes – veggie or meaty – are good ways to keep the time spent in the kitchen to a minimum but still producing a filling family meal at the end of it.

November is a month I really enjoy because the produce available is so varied and flavourful.

There are wild mushrooms and vegetables including artichokes, beetroot, celeriac, celery, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, swede and turnips.

Fruit is not just for the summer! This month you can find apples, cranberries, elderberries, passion fruit, pears and quince, as well as nuts such as chestnuts and walnuts. There is also a wide choice of meat and game too from duck, goose and partridge to pheasant, wood pigeon, rabbit, lamb, chicken and venison which can be cooked in a variety of ways.

As a coastal country, Scotland has a great variety of seafood and at this time of year you can find brill, clams, haddock, halibut, hake, John Dory, lemon sole, lobster, monkfish, mussels, oysters, plaice, scallops, sea bass, squid and turbot.

On these cold days at home I would recommend one tray bake at this time of year.

A nice piece of meat, for example, lamb shank, a whole chicken, goose or rabbit. Add your favourite vegetables – parsnips, carrots, celeriac, potato and roast in the oven. The meat is going to give a nice flavour to the vegetables.

One of my favourites at home is cottage pie. Scottish beef mince, creamy mash potato, and on top add some good Connage Highland Dairy cheddar cheese.

For dessert I recommend warm pear tarte tatin (check out my recipe), chocolate fondant or apple pie with ice cream.

Read more seasonal top tips from Emils.

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