Autumn is a season for vibrant colours, cosy evenings and enjoying the company of friends.
It's also the season for some truly exceptional ingredients and in Scotland we have no shortage of excellent places to source them.
We've picked out some of the best recipes from some of the country's best chefs to take advantage of this wonderful season and its wonderful produce.
Jaqueline O'Donnell recipe: Crab Cakes and spiced herb dip
Jaqueline says: "Hector from Grimsay Bay, North Uist, sends my crab meat down a few times a week. It’s such a gorgeous sweet meat. I use the claw only for this recipe, keeping the brown meat for soups, sauces and to bake in tartlets."
• 125g white crab meat (fresh is best but frozen or tinned also works)
• 15g Panko breadcrumbs
• ½ tsp mild Just Add Chilli, or finely chop half a red chilli, removing the seeds
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives, dill and coriander
• 2-4 tbsp mayonnaise
• zest of a lime
• For the dip:
• 1 small tub of crème fraîche
• zest of a lime
• 1 tsp chopped herbs, as above
• some extra chilli – optional – taste first before adding
1 Mix all the ingredients together until the mixture can be pressed to hold a shape.
2 Press into a round cutter and store in the fridge until ready to cook.
3 Remove from the fridge 5-10 minutes before cooking.
4 Heat a non-stick frying pan and, on a medium high heat, sear the cakes. You do not need oil in the pan. They only need 2-3 minutes each side. Then turn off the heat.
5 For the dip, mix some crème fraîche, chilli, lime juice and chopped herbs.
Tom Kitchin recipe: Pumpkin risotto
Tom says: "Risotto is one of my favourite foods. It's quick and easy to prepare and can be flavoured with so many different seasonal vegetables. I like making pumpkin risotto and my preferred way of serving it is in a big bowl placed right in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves - then come back for seconds. If you're eating round the bonfire it's also a great dish for everyone to eat outside, as you only need some serving bowls and forks."
• 1 vegetable stock
• 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 200g pumpkin, chopped into 1cm cubes
• 200g arborio risotto rice
• 100ml white wine
• 1 knob of butter
• 100g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
• 1 sage leaf
• salt and pepper
• 4 Jerusalem artichokes
• 1 tsp vegetable oil
• 3 or 4 pumpkin wedges
• parmesan cheese
• salsify crisps to garnish
1 To prepare the garnish, peel the Jerusalem artichokes. Cut them into wedges and cook in boiling salted water for eight to ten minutes or until soft. Warm the oil in a heavy pan, add the pumpkin and roast in a hot oven for eight to ten minutes. Add the artichokes and roast for another two or three minutes, then set aside.
2 To make the risotto - Heat the vegetable stock and leave it to simmer while you begin the risotto. In a separate heavy-bottomed pot, cook the shallots in the olive oil over a medium heat until soft. Season. Now add the pumpkin and season again to taste. Slowly cook the pumpkin until it starts to soften, but do not allow it to colour.
3 Add the rice and cook until it turns slightly translucent - three to four minutes. Stir in the wine. Once the wine has almost completely evaporated, start adding the simmering stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir after each addition, allowing each ladleful to be almost fully absorbed before adding the next. Continue to add stock until the rice is cooked but still has a slight bite (al dente). This should take about 16 minutes. Check the seasoning again.
4 Remove from the heat and add the butter and freshly grated parmesan. Leave the risotto to rest for two minutes and add the chopped sage before serving.
Serve in a bowl and add garnish and shavings of parmesan.
Neil Forbes recipe: Sausage, pumpkin and apple bake
Neil says: "We love to serve this one-pot-wonder in the Forbes’ household. Use proper, juicy sausages from a farm shop with heritage tatties and apples, some onion for background flavour, pumpkin for that sweet, earthy taste, and some sage to marry it all together. Oh, and remember to keep the skin on the apples and potatoes."
• Allow three sausages per person (I like a good old pork and herb banger)
• a splash of cold-pressed rapeseed oil
• salt and pepper
• ¼ pumpkin (or butternut squash), roughly chopped
• a few par-boiled potatoes (like a heritage Pink Fir Apple or Sharpe’s Express), cut into large chunks
• a knob of butter
• 1 clove garlic, sliced
• 1 very large cooking apple (James Grieve or Bramley are excellent), cored and roughly chopped
• a small handful of fennel fronds, roughly chopped
• a sprig of rosemary
1 Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or oven-proof pan, and fry the onions and whole sausages. Season with salt and pepper.
2 Add the pumpkin to the pan. Keep stirring and moving the dish around to get colour on all the ingredients. Then add the potatoes, butter, garlic and apples.
3 Make sure everything is starting to colour nicely before placing in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at 200C/Gas Mark 6 to cook further and brown.
4 Remove from the oven, add the fennel fronds and stir. Serve at the table in the dish you cooked it in – no time for pretty presentation here.
Tom Hunt recipe: Candied beetroot chocolate pots
Tom says: "This is an intensely rich dessert, so the smallest pot is all you need. The candied beetroot pieces make nice chewy morsels.
"Good food doesn’t have to cost the earth. Love and cook with wild abandon."
• 1 medium beetroot (about 200g)
• 150g rapadura or raw cane sugar
• 100ml water
• 200g dark
• chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
• 220ml double cream, plus more to serve
Makes six to eight small pots
1 Wash the beetroot and peel it. If the skin is very rough, then cut it into slices as thinly as you can.
2 Boil the sugar with 100ml water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the beetroot slices and simmer for 10 minutes until sweet and soft, while preheating the oven to 170C/340F/Gas Mark 3½. Lay the slices on a sheet of baking parchment on a tray, keeping the syrup to use as a sauce. Bake for 10-15 minutes to caramelise the slices further, but be careful not to overcook them, or they will turn bubbly and burnt. Allow to cool.
3 Put six to eight beetroot slices aside to decorate the pots and chop the rest into small pieces.
4 Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot (but not boiling) water. Stir gently. When melted, remove from the heat.
5 Slowly stir in the beetroot syrup, then the cream, until the mixture is smooth. Add the chopped beetroot and pour into six to eight small pots. Serve each with a spoon of whipped cream, top with one of the reserved slices of candied beetroot and add a drizzle of beetroot syrup.
Mark Greenaway recipe: Pumpkin and gingerbread dessert
Mark says: "The dark gingerbread and stout cake which forms the bottom layer of the pudding is a sticky, tasty delight and can be served as a cake all on its own. The pumpkin jelly layer which I pour over the cake adds interesting texture, flavour and colour to the dish. The darkness sitting just below the vibrant orange layer means that this dessert is the perfect ending to any Hallowe’en celebration.
This pudding is becoming a firm favourite on the menu at Restaurant Mark Greenaway."
For the Ginger and Stout Cake
• 110g butter
• 110g brown sugar
• 110g treacle
• 170g selfraising flour
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 egg, 100ml milk
• 165ml stout, reduced down to 45ml.
You will need a square cake tin with deep sides, lined with greaseproof paper.
For the Pumpkin Jelly
• 1 large pumpkin with seeds removed
• 10 egg yolks
• 10 gelatine leaves, soaked in water until soft
• 100g sugar
Serves 6 to 8
1 For the Ginger and Stout Cake - Preheat oven to 180C, then melt down the butter, sugar and treacle in a heavy based pot and pour into a large bowl. Slowly beat in the egg.
2 Sift in the flour and spices. Stir in the stout and milk until just combined. Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in the tin.
3 For the Pumpkin Jelly - Preheat the oven to 180C. Portion the pumpkin into 20 similar pieces, place in a large roasting tray and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin has started to caramelise.
4 Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
5 Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin then place into a food processor and blend to a smooth purée.
6 Transfer to a muslin cloth or jelly bag and hang over a container for 24 hours.
7 Take the liquid that has fallen through and simmer it in a small pan till it has reduced to a thick syrup then place the pumpkin purée into the food processor with the eggs and sugar and blend.
8 Add the gelatine and the pumpkin reduction and blend.
9 Pour the jelly mixture over the gingerbread cake and set in the fridge for at least 5 hours then cut into rectangular slices and serve.