Ode to Candlelight  

By Sophia Young – Kitchen Manager at Embercombe

Roasted Squash, Cider & Sage Spelt Risotto  

In times of adversity, when trusted road maps are thrown into seeming jeopardy, we  are graced with choice. Sometimes such choice may be difficult to discern however,  when silence falls, if we allow ourselves to lean into the quieter hours and listen, here  it may be found. And most often, with a glug or two of courage, it is from this place,  new pathways whose origins are alive in the Now, will begin to form.  

Why might this find relevance to an autumnal recipe you might ask? Well, it is with  the gallant-ness of Wind and a firm belief in ALL is possible, that Embercombe’s  kitchen stepped forward to meet delivering menus brimming full of Life within the  remit of Covid-restrictions. In these past months, we have learned new ways to bring  lovingly crafted sustenance to the table, whilst honouring all aspects of governmental  policy to ensure the safe care and well-being of each programme participant that has  stepped through our gates since Lockdown.  

We have welcomed the broadness of the “how” during the last couple of months and  continued to grow and flex and respond within the belly of global uncertainty. This  wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment, passion and dedication of an  extraordinary group of souls, with whom I am blessed to work alongside both in our  kitchen and across the whole of the Embercombe team.  

So, as we move forward into the winter months and a time of reflection, whilst the  fruits of summer have fallen and are now lain to ground, it feels timely to acknowledge  the fruits of our love and labour and celebrate with a recipe that arose from a recent  harvest inspired and apple-themed Supper Club held in our beloved Dining Yurt. It is  Spelt Risotto with Roasted Squash, Cider & Sage whose purpose is to warm bones and tummies and is served well with the intimacy of candle-lit suppers and hearth side cosiness beside loved ones.  

The ingredients/inspiration:

x 500g spelt 

x 3 large shallots 

x 1 medium butternut squash 

x 4 cloves of garlic 

x 1 bottle of cider  

Plus ~  

a merry handful of rainbow chard, finely chopped ginger, zest of an orange, Boullion  & beetroot stalks, cumin seed & chilli-flakes

The magic:

 Peel and de-seed the squash and reserve these to the side. Then chop the squash  into 1” cubes, season and roast in oil for approx 45 mins until soft and velvety in  flavour. In a separate dish, place the skin peelings and seeds, adding a sprinkle of  cumin seeds and chilli-flakes and roast for 20-30 minutes until crisp.  

Whilst this is in the oven, finely chop the shallots and fry again until soft and velvety.  Cook in the minced garlic and a small amount of chopped sage then combine the  spelt. Slowly add glugs of cider, a teaspoon of Boullion and stir.  

Unlike risotto made with rice, the spelt doesn’t require constant attendance in such a  way. It is best cooked on a high heat and with each glug or two of cider, take a  moment or two to ensure all ingredients are heartedly combined. 

This also leaves hands free to chop beet stalks to add to your risotto and, in a separate pan, fry off ginger, chard and teaspoon of orange zest.  

Once the spelt is ready, weave in the chard mix and a couple of sprigs of finely  chopped sage. At this point you may wish to add your roasted squash or simply place  on top of the risotto when plated. Sprinkle with toasted peelings and seeds and this  dish is most delicious accompanied with roasted beets, walnuts and lamb’s lettuce  and a bevy of candles to romance your winter marrow.  

With love, as always, and a flame to illuminate Autumn’s evening song, from the  Embercombe kitchen!