Well obviously, if it’s October, then we all know that there’s an abundance of pumpkin around – not sure how many people actually eat pumpkin or just hollow it out and carve scary faces in the shell … but don’t forget that you can roast the pumpkin seeds for a healthy nutritious snack, or make a soup or stew out of the flesh.
Wild game is also in season in October so you might want to check with your butcher whether they have any pheasant, wild duck, venison or partridge.
Wild mushrooms are also in abundance but if you intend to go foraging do make sure you are 100% sure you know what you are looking for. Eating the wrong type of mushroom can kill you, so if you are not sure then definitely don’t risk trying one.
Fenland celery, a heritage variety of celery grown in the Cambridgeshire Fens using traditional farming methods is also in season now. In 2013, it was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, joining Parma ham, Champagne and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies for protected status.
We’ve got a wonderfully easy, instant warming supper using this seasonal local fayre. Smooth and creamy with the tender slight crunch of the nutty Fenland celery and oozing blue cheese this will become a family favourite.
1 tbsp olive oil, 200g smoked bacon lardons, 1 large finely chopped onion, 1 clove garlic crushed, 6 sticks Fenland celery, cut into 1 cm pieces, reserve green leaves, 400g risotto rice, 150 ml dry white wine, 1.1 litres chicken or vegetable stock, heated, 150g blue cheese, cubed
In a large frying pan heat the olive oil, add the bacon and cook until crispy, remove from the pan and reserve. Add the onion, garlic and Fenland celery and cook very slowly for 10 minutes without colouring, add the rice and turn up the heat, continue to stir for a minute until the rice is slightly translucent.
Add the wine and allow to evaporate. Turn down the heat and gradually start adding the stock, stirring, allowing each addition of stock to be absorbed before adding the next, this will take approx. 15 -20 minutes.
Check the rice is cooked, adding a little boiling water if necessary.
Sprinkle over the cheese and bacon, cover and leave for 2 minutes.
Stir lightly, the cheese will have melted and be oozing through the risotto, add a scattering of torn Fenland celery leaves and serve immediately.
We’ll be sharing some more Fenland celery recipes in our Weekend Recipe series in the coming weeks, but if you can’t wait until then, find out more by visiting the Fenland Celery website. You can buy the celery at Waitrose, Ocado, Wholefoods and Marks & Spencer, RRP – £1.59.