Friday, September 16, 2011

Pumpkin, Autumn and the Advancing Chill.

The change in the seasons is starting to crunch underfoot. There is a nose-tingling chill winding along the Liffey in the early evening and the faint aroma of peat briquettes mingles with the malt from the Guinness factory. It is my favourite time of year. The melancholy of the shortening days hangs in the air and the darkness starts creeping into the mornings. Everything seems more poignant in September, wistful somehow.

I saw my first pumpkin at the market the other day. Not without a small sigh of sadness for the summer that might have been, I carted him home, a head full of delight at the thoughts of blue cheese, walnuts and rosemary. I am determined to make up for 'Summer 2011: Sodden and Frantic' with a September full of copper coloured beer, hand knitted mittens and lovely times with friends.

San Choi Autumn
If pumpkin is the King of the vegetables, then radicchio is the Queen. She is all frills and fronds, an elegant edition to the plate, carrying her lurid colour with grace. This recipe is inspired by San Choi Bao, the Asian lettuce cup dish, but uses the earthy Autumnal flavours of pumpkin and goats' cheese (blue cheese was too overwhelming).

Serves 2 as a main, 4 for starter.

350 grams thin steak
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
clove of garlic finely minced or garlic infused oil (leave a bulb of peeled garlic in olive oil for a few days)
olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
pine nuts, lightly toasted over a medium frying pan
100 grams soft goats cheese (I used Ardsallagh. Honestly, there are no words. )
200 grams butternut squash or pumpkin
apple balsamic vinegar (David Lleweyen's is perfect for this dish)

Cut the woody core from the bottom of the radicchio and peel back leaves carefully, and set aside.
Chop pumpkin (or butternut squash), into 2cm chunks, and toss in garlic infused olive oil, or the minced garlic and olive oil until coated.
Season and place in a 190 degree C oven for 30 minutes.
When the pumpkin is about finished, chop steak into 2cm wide, 5cm long strips and bash out with a meat mallet.
Place flour in bowl and season well.
Coat beef strips in flour.
Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed pan and grill strips on either side for about three minutes in total.
While letting the beef rest, drizzle the radicchio leaves with balsamic vinegar.
Assemble the pumpkin and goats cheese inside the radicchio leaves, this does not need to be precise. Top with the beef strips and pine nuts.

Roll up to eat, preferably with a malty Irish red ale while wearing a jaunty wooly hat.

Not going to win any beauty pageants.


Anonymous said...

 My kind of finger food. Never been a fan of pine nuts myself though really. 

'neen said...

I think it would be equally as good with hazelnuts, or even I guess, toasted almonds. I like the crunchy contrast.

Shaheen said...

the advancing true.

@runfordinner said...

Where do you find your pumpkins? Butternut squash I can find but not decent pumpkins?



'NEEN at 9 BEAN ROW said...

Hi 'RunforDinner'.

Fallon and Byrne usually have a great selection. I am partial to using the 'carvers' for cakes and breads also. The red skinned ones at F&B are best.


elliebellynet said...

wow that may be so delicious. thank for sharing recipe
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Bite a Bargain said...

Wonderful recipe - now to see if it tastes as good as it reads :)

Laura Kane said...

Looks so good, the colours are amazing!

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