November In Season

Eat produce when it's at its best.

This months seasonal produce

Savoy cabbage, pumpkins, celeriac, carrots, cavolo nero, potatoes, truffles and dates

Oysters

Oysters

The most storied shellfish of all is worthy of its place in our imaginations – and on our tables, says Clarissa Hyman.

Competitive oyster eating down the centuries makes for an eye-opening, stomach-gurgling list. Casanova ate 50 a day; Henry IV and Louis XIV as many as 300 in a sitting. The champion oyster-swallower, however, still has to be the Roman Emperor Vitellius, who is said to have regularly eaten 100 dozen oysters at a time, which may explain why his reign lasted less than year. That and the fact he spent more than the equivalent of £8 million on his imperial table in that brief period. When in Rome, as they say. As has frequently been noted, it must have been a brave soul who first ate a raw oyster. Desperate, I would say, as there’s no getting away from the fact we eat them both raw and alive. Thankfully they neither shriek when prised open nor squeal when jabbed, but as an American zoologist calmly noted: ‘Even thoughtful people callously look for the muscular twitch as they drop lemon...read more

Other seasonal produce

Scallops

The ocean's most delightful bounty has won over countless fans with its delicate, sweet flavour, says Clarissa Hyman

A scallop shell is arguably the most beautiful object that ever came out of the ocean deep. There is every reason why Botticelli chose it to carry Venus from the foam. So it was something of a comedown for the goddess when it became popular to use as an ashtray some years ago. Centuries earlier,...read more

Scallops

Quince

With their powerful scent and sweet flavour, it’s no wonder this fruit is a symbol of wedded bliss. Time to marry them in all types of cooking, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

It needs a special sense of humour to rhyme ‘mince’ with ‘quince’ but Edward Lear clearly delighted in the thought when he conjured the Owl and the Pussycat dining with a runcible spoon by the light of the moon, the moon. Lear, in fact, was not just writing nonsense verse, but following an...read more

Quince

Savoy cabbage

With its emerald-green and crinkly leaves savoy is one classy cabbage, perfect for stuffing, stir-frying and slow cooking, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

For years, I thought savoy cabbage was a speciality of the great London hotel of that name, a recipe along the lines of Omelette Arnold Bennett that transformed it into a cabbage fit for kings. Even today, frilly savoy cabbage remains, in my eyes at least, the classiest brassica on the block, a...read more

Savoy cabbage

Carrots

From stews and braises to cakes and puddings, this orange-red edible root has played a key part in both sweet and savoury dishes throughout history, says Helen Hokin with recipes by Linda Tubby

The Romans didn’t rate them. For a long time the French favoured them as medicine. In fact, until the last quarter of the 20th century most European cooks kept carrots well on the back burner, except for the Brits, who welcomed the versatile vegetable. Carrots arrived in Europe, in their modern,...read more

Carrots

Truffles

Aromatic and earthy, truffles bring brief, exquisite pleasure to the autumn menu. Helen Hokin explains the timeless appeal of the fine-flavoured fungi with recipes by Linda Tubby

How to make yourself a small fortune this autumn? Take a spade, a sniffer dog and yourself to Wiltshire, where it’s believed that there is a bumper crop of ‘black diamonds,’ otherwise known as the English or summer truffle (Tuber aestivum), lurking beneath the earth. A lucky find and you could...read more

Truffles

Celeriac

With its delicately aromatic taste, ability to soak up other flavours and new easy-to-peel varieties this is no longer the poor cousin to the widely used celery, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

Celeriac is never going to win any beauty prizes. With a shape like a battered football, prepossessing it is not. Little wonder many shoppers give it a wide berth. It singularly fails to bear any resemblance to its slender green cousin and has the sort of looks only a mother vegetable could love....read more

Celeriac

Dates

These plump, glossy-skinned fruits were a sweet staple in ancient times, and steal the show today in savoury dishes, desserts and alongside wines and cheeses, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

For many people of a certain age (or so I am told), a first encounter with dates might have involved oval boxes with rounded ends, lined with paper lace. They were decorated crudely on the outside with exotic pictures of camels, palm trees, mysterious foreign writing and references to faraway places...read more

Dates

Pumpkins

Rich, earthy flavours and smooth, melting flesh – these heavenly fruits are for more than just Halloween. Clarissa Hyman gives us the lowdown with recipes by Linda Tubby

Fluorescent orange pumpkins, carved into toothy, zig-zag grins are the symbol of Halloween, but you wouldn’t really want to eat one. By all means disembowel and gouge out the flesh and stick a candle inside so the light flickers through the demonic incisions, but these bland, super-sized globes...read more

Pumpkins

Cavolo nero

It’s easy to see why Italian cooks love this kale family member, says Rosemary Barron with recipes by Linda Tubby

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, where cavolo nero is concerned. First, there’s the appetite-inducing attractiveness of it, the glamorous-sounding Italian name suggesting a delicious product of the Mediterranean. Then there’s a faint hint of something exotic, a food for the more adventurous...read more

Cavolo nero

Potatoes

The wonder of the potato is that so much can be created from so little. Yet this humble tuber was once regarded with suspicion and fear, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

It’s hard to imagine a world without rich buttery mash and salty French fries, but when the potato (Solanum tuberosum), arrived in Europe in the 16th century courtesy of Spanish explorers, it certainly wasn’t an instant hit. Early potato varieties were small and bitter; they were also thought to...read more

Potatoes

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