Seasonal eating is valuable, I know but here’s a confession… I don’t mind eating soup and stew all year round, even though the dishes are usually associated with autumn and winter.
Can you blame me? Imagine meat and vegetables soaked in lusciously thick and flavoursome sauces, or onions, carrots and celery melded together and used as the basis for the best soup in the world. [Cauliflower cheese soup, since you ask.]
That said, it’s now the tail end of autumn in the UK and I’m digging into beef stews a-plenty. The miracle of carrots and beef is a flavour combination you can’t beat. Cut those carrots in big chunks, nestle them in your stew and leave to bubble away for hours. I could almost fish them out and eat them as a soup with the juices from the stew.
Recently, I adapted a Mary Berry recipe for pot roast. Mary’s method used suede or turnip as we know it in Scotland. I’m not that fond of it (sorry Rabbie*) and I decided to substitute celeriac. It worked a treat.
One of the rules of stews and casseroles is that they improve the day after cooking. This depends on your self-discipline. If you’ve had a pot of stew simmering on your stove for a few hours or cooking away in your slow cooker, your whole home will smell heavenly and resistance will require added steeliness.
Put the oil in a large frying pan or wok and add the beef. Cook over a high heat, turning occasionally until it is browned all over. Place in your slow cooker along with the vegetables tucked all around the meat, and pour the wine around. You might want to add up to 100ml water, but the vegetables will give off a lot of water anyway.
Cook on slow for eight hours. Add plenty of salt and pepper and dot with a little butter to serve. The dish goes well with steamed cauliflower or broccoli.
Allow about 10-15g carbs per serving.
*Scotland’s national dish is haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties, and it’s traditionally eaten on January 25 to celebrate Robert Burns’ birthday.
We’re still working our way through home-grown courgettes (!!), tomatoes and carrots, but what else is seasonal at this time of year?
At the Diabetes Diet, we try our best to eat seasonally (it’s not always easy in Scotland), as seasonal food locally grown and produced tastes the BEST. It also helps you do your bit for the environment, by cutting down on food miles (the distance food travels to reach your plate) and it benefits your local economy. Wouldn’t you prefer to put money directly in a farmer’s pocket, than add to the vastly-inflated profits of a supermarket?
Anyway, October brings many of the benefits September does. While many fruits and vegetables are now gone for the year, there are plenty of delicious other options.
Wild mushrooms (if you’re going to pick these, please make sure you know what you’re doing!)
Root vegetables, such as celeriac and carrots
Looking for some ideas for what to do with your seasonal ingredients? Puzzled about how you can make them low-carb so they fit with the way you eat? We have some suggestions for you…
Our carrot and almond soup recipe is an established family favourite. If you want to make it a main course, add some boiled eggs or poached chicken for added protein (and satiety). Or make yourself a delicious salad with the recipe for a Carrot and Dill version.
Jovina Cooks Italian has inspired us hugely, and this Brindisi Fish Soup uses mussels and is packed with flavour. It also uses aubergines, which are seasonal in October too.
Hate cabbage? Add bacon, cheese and sour cream, and you can make anything palatable to even avowed cabbage loathers. Try this Cabbage Casserole recipe and convince the brassica haters it’s true.
Celeriac has a very distinctive taste. Make the most of it in this braised celeriac recipe. You can use it as a replacement for potatoes to accompany your roast dinner. We also have a yummy recipe for soup.
Need some low-carb inspiration? We’ve got some seasonal eating ideas for low-carb diets.
There are lots of good reasons to eat seasonally: firstly, it’s better for you because it’s fresher and tends to be more nutritious; it’s more environmentally-friendly because out-of-season fruit and veg is usually imported from far-flung destinations and has therefore contributed to a great deal of CO2 emissions; and finally because it tastes nicer.
In season now are: broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, spring onions, spinach, watercress, bananas, kiwi fruit, rhubarb, sorrell, lamb, cockles, langoustine, lobster, mussels, oysters, plaice, prawns, salmon and shrimp.