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Keep it simple and let autumn's natural flavours shine through

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

Autumn is an exciting time of year to be in the kitchen as there’s such a huge variety of fresh produce in season – from vegetables and fruit to meat and seafood.

We are very lucky in the Highlands as we have so many excellent, flavourful ingredients available from local suppliers.

In my four-and-a-half years at the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel, I have learned a lot about the produce that we have here and the ingredients I love to cook with, such as venison or fresh seafood.

I like working with red meat, especially venison, but we also have chicken and duck breast, and fish-wise I like using halibut and cod. I really enjoy the variety of produce we have here.

At this time of year there is so much to choose from. Just now in season you can get fantastic vegetables including artichokes, beetroot, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots and celeriac as well as fresh kale, mushrooms, apples, chestnuts – there’s a lot!

Where possible, you should always cook with in-season ingredients. When it’s in season, it’s at its best and you get the best results from it. The natural flavour is at its most powerful.

The raw produce we have here is of a really high quality so you don’t need lots of different ingredients and flavours in dishes.

I like to keep the food simple, it’s so much tastier. If you use too many ingredients, it gets complicated and some of the other flavours can be overpowering. A carrot should taste like a carrot!

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