“When people gather, they are there for you, but they are also there for themselves. For when we know that we matter to others, it gives us significance.” Priya Parker
The nurturing that comes from preparing a meal thoughtfully, with care and love, is shared by everyone at the table, the host and the hosted alike. In small gatherings, things don’t have to be perfect to be appreciated. There’s a humbling beauty in the shiraz drips on the tablecloth and the mismatched cutlery. Focus your attention more on the conversation and togetherness than whether you have a complete set of glassware. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to create a thoughtful meal. A few considered details will create an ambience that elevates your ordinary evening into something special. Handmade plates, lovely linen, fresh foliage and a simple, seasonal menu will provide all you need for a memorable evening. Autumn has so many gems to offer. Pears, pomegranates and of course, mushrooms. They’re so flavourful at the moment. I’m loving the portobellos right now, chopped up and fried with butter and salt and dished over pappardelle. Here’s my seasonal gathering menu for autumn, for you to enjoy too.
Heirloom carrots with orange, honey and miso glazeadapted from the Beauty Chef
ingredients2 bunches of heirloom carrots, washed 4 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey 2 tablespoons miso paste zest and juice of 1 orange 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, finely grated 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
methodPreheat oven to 180º Trim the tops off the carrots, leaving an inch of the green. Toss them with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt, and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the oil, honey, orange, ginger and miso. Remove carrots from the oven, turn the carrots and pour the mixture over them. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. When carrots are done roasting, place in a serving dish (I used the grazing platter) and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
Pappardelle with mushrooms
ingredients2 packets of pappardelle pasta ribbons 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced Kosher salt 8 portobello mushroom tops 1 garlic clove, finely sliced 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons unsalted butter A hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano
methodHeat the olive oil and a big tablespoon of butter in a frypan over medium heat, add the shallots and cook until they're soft but not browned. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the frypan. Cook them, stirring gently until they've browned. Add a little salt and cook until the mushrooms have softened. Cook the pasts per their instructions. Add the garlic, rosemary, chilli, tomato paste, vinegar and butter to the mushrooms. If you think the mushroom sauce needs thinning, add a few spoons of water. Add the pasta to the pan and toss gently with tongs to coat with the sauce, adding more water if it seems too dry. Grate cheese over the pasta and serve. (It's perfect in a family bowl)
Radicchio salad with pears, figs and burrata and pine nuts
ingredients6 large fresh figs, cut into halves 2 gold pears, cored and cut into slices 1 tablespoon coconut oil 1 bag of salad greens, washed. (I like to use a mix of peppery rocket, radicchio and gem lettuce) 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (the type that’s thick and syrupy is best). 2 tablespoons olive oil A handful of pine nuts, toasted Sea salt flakes 200g of burrata or goats cheese
methodArrange the greens on a large serving plate or bowl and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Place the figs and pears amongst the leaves. Pull apart the cheese and place on top of the salad. Sprinkle with pine nuts (this salad looks so impressive when served in our wabi-sabi bowl)
Dessert grazing boardThis is my kind of dessert. It’s super simple, look gorgeous and is adaptable to whatever ingredients you have in season and on hand.
ingredientsSeeds from one pomegranate 300g dark chocolate 2 pears 1 punnet raspberries 1 large punnet of strawberries Walnuts Pistachios Orange slices Hard cheese Salt flakes
methodChop the strawberries in half, break the chocolate into chunks and arrange all the ingredients on a gather together platter or a wooden board.