The trees are turning colour early this year it seems and the nights are getting colder – Autumn seems to have arrived. August appeared to be wetter than ever this year but apparently it's only the wettest we have had for 4 years and August, surprisingly, is normally the wettest month in the UK. The main reason for this wetness is that the seas around our coastline are at their warmest during late summer. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air does, so air-masses arriving over the British Isles from the Atlantic Ocean in August are warmer and more humid than at any other time of the year which means downfalls!
To me Autumn and Winter are a time for slow cooking of hearty casseroles and pies to warm you up and of baking with spices to replenish your energy but what if you want something quick when you come in from work cold and wet to eat before supper? There are lots of traditional recipes that you can make in advance and heat up which have been used for centuries by folk coming in from the harvesting.
La Soupe Des Vendages (Winemaker's Broth)
This is a soup which is traditionally served to the grape pickers during the Bordeaux grape harvest. It's rich and warming, can be made in advance and is great served with bread to mop up the juices.
For the Bouillon (broth)
3 lb beef (shoulder)
4 cloves garlic
1 lb carrots
1 large onion
1 lb turnips
1 small cabbage
salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, parsley
Spike the beef with the cloves of garlic and place in a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring slowly to the boil and skim. Add the vegetables to the pot with the seasoning and herbs. Cook slowly for 2 hours.
For the Fricassée (fried ingredients for broth)
1 stick celery
2 tbsp flour
Chop the vegetables and fry in the butter till golden. Stir in the flour and then gradually add several tbsp of bouillon from the broth to make a thin sauce. Simmer and tip into the soup.
Chop the tomatoes and simmer with a little olive oil until they form a purée. Add to the soup. Simmer the broth gently for a further 1 ½ hours and serve.
A glass of Clos Bernasse (£4.75) will go well with this broth – it comes from the Côtes de Bergerac in Bordeaux. Côtes de Bergerac Reds are well structured with aromas of preserved fruit such as prunes. Their strong, structured tannins give them great ageing potential and Clos Bernasse is no exception. This wine is made from 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It is a deep red in colour and produces a superb concentration of ripe black fruits in the mouth with a hint of vanilla, perfumed plum and a hint of figs.
To learn more about Clos Bernasse click here.
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