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Seasonal eating: Warm Autumnal salad of butternut squash, kale, chestnuts and stilton

As Autumn sets in the days are growing shorter and the leaves are turning and it’s a great time to eat seasonal meals as lots of fruit and vegetables grown over the summer are ripe and ready for eating. We speak to Neil Gill from Season Kitchen in North London to find out more about the benefits of eating seasonally.

bowl of vegetable salad
Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

“At Season Kitchen we allow the produce that’s in season to guide our cooking. We like to use produce when it’s at its freshest and most abundant, and seek the most local, quality ingredients. We believe this is when food tastes at its best, and as it has a relatively short journey from farm to plate it’s exceptionally nutritious. Seasonal food also requires fewer precious natural resources to produce.

“In many ways focusing on seasonality makes our life easier as we are restricted in what is available to us at any one time so we do not suffer the paralysis of choice. It also forces us to be creative as during the dark months of January and February there is very little produce available to us so we have to think creatively to turn the little we have into delicious, nutritious eating. Whatever the season, we collaborate with nature to produce delicious, inventive dishes.

“For me cooking seasonally is born from intuition. It feels right to allow the rhythms of nature to provide our menu.”

Neil also shared his recipe for a warm Autumnal salad of butternut squash, kale, chestnuts and stilton which you can try at home.

Warm Autumnal salad of Butternut squash, kale, chestnuts and stilton

Serves 2

Ingredients

Handful of fresh sweet chestnuts (good quality vacuum packed French one’s are an acceptable alternative)
1 Butternut Squash
1 Head of Kale
100g Blue Cheese (we use Colston Bassett Stilton)
Olive or Rape Seed Oil
25g Butter
Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 C

Using a sharp knife, cut a cross into the skin of each chestnut

Peel & chop the butternut squash into 3cm chunks

Wash the kale, separating the leaves

Place the chestnuts on a roasting tray on the top shelf of the oven, roast for 30 mins or until the insides are tender.

After 10 minutes, drizzle the squash with oil and season with salt and pepper and place on the middle shelf of the oven.

Place the kale in a pan (without shaking off the excess water from rinsing) with the butter, season with salt and pepper and cover.

Cook on a gentle heat until wilted (3 to 4 mins), giving the pan a gentle shake every now and then. Reserve in a warm area.

Take the squash and the chestnuts from the oven, and using a tea towel to protect your hands remove both the tough outer skin and the pithy, white inner skin from the chestnuts leaving just the sweet kernel.

In a salad bowl gently combine the squash, kale and chestnut kernels. Check the seasoning, then arrange carefully but rustically on the plates. Crumble over the blue cheese and drizzle with olive or rape seed oil.