Ready to hibernate? Some of our favourite Cambridge eateries share their ultimate autumn recipes
Parker’s Tavern’s Watercress Soup With Apple & Walnuts – serves 4
Tristan Welch, head chef at PT, offers up a colourful, seasonal soup to warm your cockles as we head into cooler weather
• 4 bunches watercress
• 1 tbsp butter
• 4-5 new potatoes, thinly sliced
• 1 apple, finely sliced
• 2 pints vegetable or chicken stock
• 1 tbsp walnuts
• Drizzle of walnut oil
• Salt and freshly milled black pepper
Start by roughly chopping the watercress stalks and reserving the tops for later.
Then, in a large pan, add the butter, sweat the stalks, potato slices and half of the apple over a medium heat and season with salt and a good few twists of a pepper mill.
When everything is soft add the stock, bring to a quick boil and pop in the watercress tops. Let them boil for a further two minutes, blend and serve straight afterwards.
We like to serve it with the remaining apple slices, a sprinkling of crushed walnuts and a drizzle of walnut oil.
About Parker’s Tavern
Stylish, sophisticated Parker’s Tavern is the in-house restaurant at the University Arms hotel. Much like the hotel itself, the food is elegant but playful, frequently nodding to the history of Cambridge – favourites include Tristan’s take on Burnt Cream, and the ludicrously truffly risotto.
Tom’s Cakes Pear & Ginger Upside-Down Cake – serves 8
This sticky-sweet cake is guaranteed to raise a smile on a drizzly October afternoon. Pair with tea and a good book
For the cake
• Three pears
• 150g brown sugar
• 150g self-raising flour
• 150g butter
• 3 large free-range eggs
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 50g ground almonds
• 40g preserved ginger (grated)
For the sticky toffee base
• 75g brown sugar
• 75g butter
• 1tsp ground ginger
Peel three pears and poach gently in a syrup of 275ml of water, 100g of caster sugar and 1 vanilla pod for around half an hour. Allow the pears to cool, preferably overnight, then halve, core and thinly slice.
Grease and line a 9in, deep cake tin.
To make the sticky base, cream together the 75g of butter, 75g of brown sugar and 1tsp of ground ginger until the mix is light and fluffy. Spread the mix evenly into the prepared cake tin and then arrange the pear slices on top of the mix, each slice slightly overlapping the other.
To make the ginger cake, cream together 150g of brown sugar and 150g of softened butter. Beat the eggs and add gradually to your mix, folding the ingredients together all the time.
Sift the remaining dry ingredients together and add gradually to the mix, folding to fully blend the ingredients together. Add your grated preserved ginger to the mixture and fold until fully combined.
Spoon the cake mixture on to the pear and sticky toffee base and level off.
Place in a preheated oven (190°c/fan 170°c) for 40 minutes. Check the cake is cooked by pressing gently on the top and seeing if the sponge springs back.
Allow to cool and then place a large plate on top of the tin before turning over to reveal the cake.
About Tom’s Cakes
Tom Dolby built up a name for himself selling his delicious wares at farmers’ markets for years before opening up the original Tom’s Cakes in St Ives. A resounding success, it led to the opening of a second branch on Mill Road in 2016, a smart little cafe where everything is made from scratch and the range of delightful cakes flows with the seasons, from summer lavender cake to autumn bramley apple and cinnamon cake.
The Garden Kitchen’s Squash Sensations – serves 4
Roast some butternut squash with seasoning and you’ve got the foundation for a hearty soup or a flavourful salad. Garden Kitchen shows you how…
• 2 x butternut squash
• 2 x small red onions
• 4 x garlic cloves
• Sprig of rosemary and thyme
• Pinch of chilli flakes
• Pinch of cumin
• Salt and pepper
• 100ml olive oil
• 1 tbsp vegetable stock in 800ml water
• Goats cheese
• Salad leaves or baby spinach
• Hand full of toasted walnuts
• 2 fresh figs (if you have them)
Peel and deseed the squash, cut into roughly 1in square chunks, add the roughly chopped red onion. Crush or thinly slice the garlic and chop the fresh herbs. Put all this into a roasting tin and add the chilli, cumin, salt and pepper and olive oil.
Roast at 180°c for about 30 minutes or until the squash is soft but still holding its shape.
Once you have this roasted you can decide if you’re in the mood for a warm salad or soup.
To make soup, tip the tray of squash into a saucepan, add the water and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Blend, and season to taste. Garnish with harissa and toasted pumpkin seeds. This soup freezes well.
To make a salad, arrange the roasted squash and onions over the leaves and top with crumbled goat’s cheese, toasted walnuts and seeds. Add the figs and a dressing of your choice, balsamic glaze works really well.
About The Garden Kitchen
Serving homemade, rustic food from their friendly cafe on Mill Road, The Garden Kitchen also has branches at the Botanic Gardens and Kettle’s Yard. Typical eats include tartiflette, spinach and feta pie and world-beating sausage rolls.
The Ivy’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie – serves 6
This veggie shepherd’s pie is a match made in heaven for a glass of red and a box set
• 80g chestnut mushrooms
• 80g king oyster mushrooms
• 440g chickpeas
• 250g aubergine, chopped into 2cm chunks
• 250g piquillo red peppers in 1cm strips
• 30g chopped coriander
• 180g cooked red quinoa
• 4g of table salt
• Salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the topping
• 1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces
• 100g unsalted butter
• 25g cream
• Salt & white pepper
• 50g vegan gravy
• 1g chopped parsley
• 5g cooked red quinoa
Place the sliced chestnut mushrooms, one slice of a king oyster mushroom stem and all the sliced king oyster mushroom hats into a large pan with oil and salt and cook down. Once cooked, drain the mushrooms in a colander.
Cook the aubergines in the oven at 180° until golden brown.
Place the aubergines into a bowl with the chickpeas, cooked mushrooms, red pepper strips and cooked red quinoa. Add the chopped coriander and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for around 15 minutes until soft; then drain and return to the pan over a gentle heat to remove any excess moisture. Using a masher or ricer, thoroughly mash the potatoes and mix them with the butter and cream and season to taste.
To assemble, place the mushroom mixture into an ovenproof dish. Top with mashed potato (you can pipe this if you have time) and bake for around 30 minutes until a lovely golden colour. Once cooked, garnish with the chopped parsley.
Finally, add the 5g of cooked red quinoa to the hot vegan gravy and use as you wish.
About The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie
Tucked away down Trinity Street, the gorgeous Ivy is an ideal spot for brunch, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea or cocktails, offering a menu of elegant British classics. It’s hands down one of the best-looking restaurants in the city, too.
Brix & Mortar’s Wood Grilled Venison Haunch – serves 2
With smashed celeriac, grilled young leeks, girolles and pickled blackberries, this fire-cooked dish sings with seasonality and roars with flavour.
• 2x 200g venison cuts taken from the haunch
• 200g blackberries
• 100ml moscatel vinegar
• 100g caster sugar
• 100ml water
• 2 juniper berries (crushed)
• Olive oil
• 1 celeriac head, peeled and cubed
• 100ml milk
• 150g cold butter
• 1 sprig of thyme
• Pinch of cracked black pepper
• 100g girolle mushrooms
• Six young leeks
Marinate the meat in the olive oil, with the crushed juniper berries and black pepper. To make the pickled blackberries, bring the vinegar, caster sugar and water to the boil in a pan then remove and let the liquid cool. Place the berries into a jar, pour over the liquid. Store for up to six months in the fridge.
Place the cubed celeriac into a pan, cover with cold water and add the milk. Bring to the boil then immediately lower to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Strain and remove the thyme sprigs; reserve the cooking liquor. Blend the celeriac in a blender, add the butter, season with sea salt and white pepper and add some of the reserved cooking liquor until it’s a smooth, silky texture. Keep hot until needed.
Blanch the trimmed leeks in plenty of salted boiling water for two minutes then chill in ice water to refresh.
Brush clean the girolle mushrooms with a clean brush, do not wash in water.
Fire up your BBQ with the silver birch wood until the wood turns to white hot embers. Bash the embers down to create a nice bed of hot glowing embers.
Cook the venison over the hottest part for eight minutes, turning once coloured on each side, and lay the leeks over the cooler embers until nicely charred. Remove the venison and let it rest for four minutes.
Place a cast iron pan over the embers until hot. Add a knob of butter and girolles, toss for two minutes then drain on kitchen paper and season.
Arrange the celeriac on one side of the plate, add the leeks and top with the cooked girolles and pickled blackberries. Slice the venison, arrange next to the celeriac, and serve.
About Brix & Mortar
Brix and Mortar is the permanent home of mobile dining concept Provenance Kitchen. You can find it on a sleepy road in Whittlesford, south Cambs, serving up brunches, lunches and dinners featuring local ingredients, cooked over charcoal and wood.