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Autumnal Offerings
© Sue Courtney
25 April 2003

The days are getting cooler and some warming dishes will keep the chills away. Here's an idea for an Autumn Menu. The lamb was cooked for Easter this year and enjoyed with a selection of Cabernet dominant wines.

The recipes include
- Gurnard in Lemon Butter
- Roast Lamb in Pinotage Grape Jelly
- Pinotage (or other grape) Jelly and Jam
- Autumn Fruit Crumble

Gurnard in Lemon Butter
You will need: -
- Fillets of gurnard, skinned and boned - 1 to 2 per person, depending on size and appetite.
- 2 tbsp flour per fillet
- salt, pepper and seasonings of choice, eg ground coriander or dried 'Tuscan' herbs - 1.2 teaspoon of each to add a 'suggestion' rather than overpower.
- 1 whole lemon
- butter
- sprigs of parsley

Mix together the flour with the seasonings on a flat plate
Wash and dry the skinned and boned pieces of fish and coat with the seasoned flour.
Slice lemon into75mm thick slices
Melt butter in a non stick frying pan
When butter is sizzling add the lemons slices and sizzle until the yellow colour of the skin is enhanced. Turn and cook the other side. They should pick up some flecks of brown from the cooking juices. Remove.
Add more butter to the pan if necessary.
Add flour coated fillets and cook 2-3 minutes the first side. Turn, place lemon slices on top and cook a couple of minutes more the other side.
Just before cooking is finished add some sprigs of parsley to the pan and cook until the green colour is enhanced and the herb is crispy - about 20 to 45 seconds.

Serve the fish with the lemon on top and the sizzled parsley as a garnish.
Accompany with a citrussy dry to off dry riesling.

I tend to buy the fillets with skin on and bone in for they are about $3 a kilo cheaper and the amount of effort it takes to skin and bone them is minimal.

Roast Lamb in Pinotage Grape Jelly
This recipe was inspired by an old Australian Woman's Weekly recipe called 'Roast Lamb with Red Currant Sauce' published about 20 years ago. I have omitted the spices and added extra lamb-friendly herbs.

You will need: -
- 1 leg of lamb
- Sprigs of fresh garden herbs such as rosemary, thyme and mint
- several whole coves of garlic, skin removed
- salt, pepper
- 50 gms butter
- 3 tablespoon Pinotage Jelly (or other red grape jelly) - see below
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup masala wine
- extra chopped mint

Ask your butcher to remove the bone from a leg of lamb. This is call 'Carvery Leg' because it is easy to carve.
Wash and dry the leg.
Into the cavity where the bone has been removed, insert whole sprigs of rosemary, mint and thyme and several whole cloves of garlic.
Run the outside of the lamb with salt and pepper.

In a saucepan melt the butter and 1 clove of crushed garlic together.
Heat until the butter starts to sizzle the garlic and then add 1 tablespoon of Pinotage Jelly and 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar.
Stir over a low heat until the jelly has integrated into the melted butter.
Brush the butter mix over the seasoned lamb.
Bake uncovered in a moderate (180C) oven for 1.5 to 2 hours or until cooked, brushing frequently with the pan drippings.
Remove and keep warm while making the sauce.

Place the pan with pan drippings on to a stove element turned to medium heat.
Add flour to the pan drippings, stirring until flour is smooth.
Cook until flour is golden brown.
Add water and masala wine, stirring all the time.
Add the extra 2 tablespoons red grape jelly and stir until dissolved into the smooth sauce.
Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as neccesary.
Lastly add 2 tablespoons of chopped mint.

Slice meat and serve with the sauce.

Pinotage Grape Jelly and Jam
April is the ideal time of year to grab some fresh, ripe vine ripened grapes from your friendly neighbourhood vigneron. (Failing that you can also buy local grapes in season). My grapes came courtesy of Kerr Farm in Kumeu. I made a jelly in 2001 which was reasonably successful but perfected the recipe last year. To preserve the intense flavour of the ripe grapes, I use less sugar than usually recommended for fruit jellies, substituting with a jam setting mix. It really is a matter of tasting the fruit before you add the sugar to determine what sweetness level you prefer.

Sue Courtney's Pinotage Grape Jelly
You will need: -
- 1.5kg grapes (2-3 bunches) of ripe Pinotage (or red grapes of your choosing)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- a few whole cloves
- half a lemon cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup water
- sugar
- commercial jam set mix

Place the whole bunches of grapes, stems and all, into a saucepan with the cinnamon stick, whole cloves, lemon wedges and water.
Break a few of the berries with the back of a spoon to aid the juicing process.
Cook slowly for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the contents of the saucepan into a jelly bag and let it drip overnight into a receptacle. Totally resist the temptation to squeeze the bag.
Measure the liquid as you pour it back into the saucepan. Bring the juice to a rolling boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Then add 3/4 cup of sugar for each cup of liquid. If the grapes are very ripe with a high sugar content, you might like to halve the sugar and add some jam setting mix (a combination of glucose, pectin and citric acid) - 20 grams should be sufficient for about 4 cups of juice.
Now bring the juice and sugar back to the boil, stirring well to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer until the liquid has reached the setting stage - be careful not to overcook.
Pour into clean jars and leave for 24 hours to set.

Spiced Grape Jam If you are loath to throw out the grape pulp from the jelly bag, consider making some Spiced Grape Jam. I think it essential to remove the grape seeds - a laborious, hand staining but rewarding task. To the grape pulp add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, the juice from the remaining half lemon and 1 cup of sugar per cup of pulp (or a combination of sugar and jam set for a less sweet jam). Bring to the boil, simmer for about 10 minutes, then pour into sterilised jars. This tastes superb as a condiment for meats.

Autumn Fruit Crumble
Another old favourite recipe, the basis for this crumble came from a handout recipe from Chelsea Sugar many moons ago. I use fresh seasonal fruit from the garden rather than the canned fruit the recipe called for. I was lucky to have an overlap with the last of the summer peaches and pears with the first fruits of the feijoas for a tangy fruit combination. Later varieties of fresh pears are available in the supermarkets and feijoas have found their way to the supermarket shelves too.

Fruit Base - 3-4 Feijoas
- 2 Pears
- 2 Peaches
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar

Peel and slice the fruit. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the fruit, sugar and lemon juice and sweat over the low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. This helps to stop the fruit turning brown before it goes in the oven. The fruit should still be firm - it should not stew.

Crumble topping
- 60 grams butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 60 grams brown sugar
- 1/3 cup dessicated coconut
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together the flour and baking powder (or use self raising flour).
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
Add the remainder of the dry ingredients and mix with hands to combine.
Spread the crumble mixture of the fruit. You can flatten with a spatula if you wish but a lumpy bumpy crumble can also be quite effective.
Cook in a moderate (180C) oven for 25 to 30minutes.
Serve with whipped cream or marscapone.

If you wanted, you could prepare the crumble in individual serve oven-to-table ware.

Kia pai te kai

© Sue Courtney
April 2003

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