Sunday 4 December 2016

Go with the grain of Autumn

Oats, corn, maize... Jenny Bristow turns this season's harvest into delicious dishes

Jenny Bristow

Published 09/10/2010 | 05:00

This wonderful start to the autumn season is a dream for any cook. The fields are golden with grain -- it's a sight that we take for granted and yet it forms the backbone of so many of our favourite foods and dishes.

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Grains have endless uses when it comes to cooking, and they have many healthy properties -- they're packed full of fibre and B vitamins.

I am always looking for ways to cook and use them. This week, I have come up with a stunning granola recipe made with a variety of grains. It is ideal for breakfast, or even as a topping for many a pie or dessert.

Fish pie made with value-for-money, fresh, seasonal fish is a staple in many a home. The Boston scrod made with the best catch of the day is a dish created with intelligence, and it is also packed with goodness.

My frugal background sent me looking for a really tasty topping: you can turn leftover bread into crumbs and mix them with coarsely grated Parmesan cheese and a few chopped herbs. Use whatever type of bread you have -- granary, white, soda or ciabatta. The simplicity of this dish accepts the crumbs in any shape or form, coarse or fine, whatever takes your fancy.

I adore fritters, and when made with sweetcorn or maize it's a great dish. I served them with a cranberry and chilli ketchup, and this is one of those magic recipes where you can add a few greenhouse tomatoes coarsely diced and a few plums from the trees. I sometimes add a few blackberries in their prime, too.

My dessert is made with the best of the season's apples and crusted with a pastry made from flour and almonds. It's crumbly, light and tasty, even for those who firmly believe they can't make pastry. Don't be afraid of adding a few seasonal elderberries or blackberries to the pastry -- after all, they're free for the picking.

This year has yielded a great harvest of apples, plums, rosehips, damsons, tomatoes and grain in the fields. Enjoy.

Irish Independent

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