Juicy autumn fruits RECIPE

PUBLISHED: 15:30 05 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:29 20 February 2013

Griddled fig, halloumi and pecan salad

Griddled fig, halloumi and pecan salad

A ripe month for lush fruit and vegetables, September brings a harvest of juicy plums, apples, pears and wild blackberries. As the weather cools, the season comes into its own with richer autumnal flavours. This abundance of fruits from the autumn...

Fresh figs are available from September to November; they have been associated with seduction and temptation for thousands of years. They come in many varieties, with skins ranging from pale yellow-green to deep-hued green-tinged purple. At their very best, whether fresh or dried, they have a rich and sweet taste. A classic accompaniment to the sweet fig is cheese, especially the Mediterranean halloumi.

Although apples are available throughout the year, autumnal apples are prized for their appealing crisp texture and juicy flavour. Another autumnal delight, whether buttery-textured or crisp and firm, pears are as versatile as they are tasteful. British pear orchards have become much smaller in recent years, even though locally-grown pears are considered the world's best for delicacy of flavour. Conference pears have a long elongated body, a firm almost grainy texture and they hold their shape well when poached. Combine them with caramel for a quick, delicious pudding.

Griddled fig, halloumi and pecan salad
Serves 6
Prep 10 mins
Ready in 30 mins

200g block halloumi cheese, sliced in 6
9 fresh figs, halved
150g rocket
50g pecan halves, roughly chopped
For the dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp coriander, chopped

1. Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Cook the halloumi for a few minutes each side until golden. Remove and keep warm.
2. Brush the figs with a little olive oil. Put them cut-side down on the griddle pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove carefully to avoid sticking.
3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and season. Divide the rocket between six serving plates and top with the halloumi and figs. Scatter the pecans over and drizzle with the dressing.

Spice-roasted pear and apples
Serves 2

2 firm apples, Braeburn
2 firm pears, Conference
40g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
tsp cloves
1 star anise
12g slightly salted butter
splash of cider
50ml apple juice
crme fraiche and sprig of mint, to serve

1. Core the apples and pears using an apple corer, then peel off the skins. Cut the apples into quarters and halve the pears.
2. Scatter the sugar over the base of a wide, heavy, non-stick frying pan and place over a high heat until it melts and begins to caramelise around the edge of the pan. Add the spices, followed by the butter. Tip the pan from side to side to mix the caramel and butter together. Take care as the caramel may spit and splatter.
3. Add the apples and pears, cut side down. Fry for about 5-10 minutes until evenly caramelised, turning them several times.
4. Pour in the apple juice and a splash of cider, let bubble until the liquid has reduced and thickened to a syrupy sauce. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
5. Divide the fruit among warm plates and spoon over the caramel sauce. Serve with crme fraiche and mint.

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