I think most schools have started this week which, I suppose, marks the end of summer - for some that probably feels rather sad, but there is so much to celebrate. The English summer was amazing, but I am loving the fact that everywhere has turned green again and looks so beautifully fresh. The hedgerows are full of blackberries, and trees are laden with apples, pears and all sorts of other fruits. The conkers will be here any minute too! It really is one of my favourite times of year.
It's not only the fruit trees that are weighed down - the shelves in Fino HQ are also buckling with stock in preparation for the fair season which kicks off for me in about 10 days. I'm in Sussex at Knepp Castle for the St Catherine's Hospice Gift Fair on 19th/20th September and then at the Early Early Christmas Fair at Tedworth Park, Wiltshire on 25th/26th September. Please do check out the Fairs page on my website to see if I'm heading in your direction at any point - if so I very much hope to see you.
Here's an idea for a delicious vegetarian supper - I picked some apples whilst on my dog walk this morning, and used them for the recipe
Aubergine Bake with Apple and Pinenuts
2 aubergines, 4 tbsp Fino olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, 1 celery stick, 1 small onion, 8 mushrooms, 1 tsp chopped rosemary, 3 sage leaves chopped, 1 tsp paprika, pinch chilli flakes, 75g ground almonds, 2 apples peeled and grated, 2 tbsp pine nuts, juice of 1/2 lemon, 200 ml vegetable stock, 2 tsp Fino white balsamic, 4 tbsp bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180C. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and drop in the aubergines - reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the water, cut in half and scoop out the flesh (which should be soft now) leaving the skin in tact. Chop the pulp.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over a low heat and add the aubergine pulp, garlic, celery, mushrooms - cook for about 5 mins then add the rosemary, sage, paprika and chilli - cook for a further 2 mins - add almonds, grated apple, pine nuts, lemon juice, 50ml of stock, white balsamic and half the breadcrumbs - season with salt and pepper and heat for a further 2 mins.
Place the aubergine shells in a baking tray and fill with the stuffing mixture. Pour the remainder of the stock into the base of the baking tray, cover with foil and place in the oven for 20 mins - uncover, sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs and bake for a further 10 mins until breadcrumbs are browned.
Do have a look at the website if you want to order anything online - orders will be sent out on a next day delivery service - and for THIS WEEKEND ONLY THERE IS 10% OFF BOTTLES OF THE VILLAGE OLIVE OIL AND BOTTLES OF DARK AND WHITE BALSAMIC