Embrace autumn with four easy and delicious recipes from Domini Kemp

The change of the season offers some great food options

This stone fruit crumble can be made with whatever seasonal fruit you can get your hands on, like peaches, apricots or plums. Picture: Dean Carroll

It seems as though my recipes and the Irish weather are pitted against each other so inevitably, these warming dishes for slightly chillier and darker evenings will be at odds with the late summer that we surely deserve.

This stone fruit crumble was a really gorgeous way to use up plums, peaches and apricots, warmed with a little sprinkle of chilli (and even some rosemary sprigs) plus a puddle of soothing custard. A proper hug in a bowl and very tempting to eat for breakfast with a blob of rich, thick yoghurt.

The vegan kale Caesar dressing is a nifty one to make in batches to keep in the fridge for spreading on all things green and bitter. Making a supper out of smoked mackerel is the ultimate in fast dinners and roasting a load of autumn veg, sprinkling with St Tola ash goat’s cheese and a delicious bright beetroot dressing is just the ticket, whether we’re huddling by the fire or dining al fresco. All recipes serve four to six.

Blitzed up beetroot and red wine make for a vibrant pink dressing in this salad recipe from Domini Kemp. Picture: Dean Carroll

Roast autumn vegetables with beetroot dressing and goat’s curd


1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into slices

30ml olive oil

Salt and pepper

Few sprigs thyme

3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

200g baby carrots, scrubbed or lightly peeled

4 leeks, thoroughly washed and chopped into chunks

200g baby beetroot, scrubbed and cut in half

30g hazelnuts, toasted and crushed

200g soft goat's cheese, I used St Tola Ash

For the beetroot and red wine dressing

400ml red wine (approx ½ a bottle)

180g cooked beetroot, roughly chopped

100ml olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 tbsp Dijon mustard


1. Preheat your oven to 180C, then place the squash on a baking tray with half the olive oil, the thyme and lots of salt and pepper. Roast until the sides start to caramelise and the squash starts to get soft.

2. Add the remaining veg and olive oil into another tray, season well, then roast in the oven until cooked through. Remove and allow the squash and other tray to cool a little.

3. In the meantime, make the dressing. Add the red wine to a pot over a medium heat, bring to the boil and reduce down until there is about 50-100ml left. Add to a food processor or blender with the other ingredients, season well and blitz until smooth. This makes a surprisingly beautiful and super tasty dressing.

4. To serve, spoon some of the dressing on a plate or serving dish, then arrange the veg on top. Dot with the goat’s cheese, then sprinkle with the hazelnuts. It’s best to serve this while it’s still warm or at room temperature.

Did you know aubergine makes for a great vegan bacon subsitute? Picture: Dean Carroll

Vegan kale Caesar salad with aubergine bacon


For the dressing

½ head celery, roughly chopped

80g white miso

2 lemons, juiced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper

For the salad

600g kale, stalks removed and torn

1 lemon, juiced

50ml olive oil

For the aubergine bacon

1 aubergine, sliced lengthways

30ml olive oil

2 tsp chicory root syrup or maple syrup

2 tsp smoked sweet paprika

Pinch chilli flakes

To serve

100g croutons

2 tbsp nutritional yeast or ground/crushed sesame seeds


1. Preheat your oven to 180C. To make the aubergine bacon, brush the slices generously with the olive oil and season well with the syrup, paprika and chilli flakes. Place onto roasting trays, preferably non-stick, then roast in the oven until deep golden brown. Flip over and cook for another 15 minutes or so – you’re just looking for a nice reddish-brown colour on both sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

2. Make the dressing by blitzing all of the ingredients together until smooth. Check the seasoning and set aside.

3. Toss the kale with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt. You need to really massage it in then leave it to “wilt” and cold-cook a little. This can take a good hour of wilting!

4. To serve the salad, toss the kale with the dressing, croutons and some of the yeast or sesame seeds. Top with the aubergine bacon, garnish with the remaining yeast or sesame seeds and serve.

A dollop of this herbed yoghurt dressing brings this mackerel and lentil salad together. Picture: Dean Carroll

Mackerel and lentil salad with apple, dill and horseradish


200g puy lentils

50ml olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 bunch spring onions, chopped

Salt and pepper

1 lemon, juiced

180g cooked beetroot, sliced

4 fillets smoked mackerel, skinned and broken into chunks

1 red-skinned apple, cut into thin slices

1 head radicchio, torn

Fresh dill, torn, to garnish

For the horseradish dressing

20g dill, chopped

2-3 tbsp creamed horseradish

250g thick Greek yoghurt

Splash good quality white wine vinegar


1. First, mix all the dressing ingredients together, season with salt and set aside.

2. To make the salad, soak the lentils in cold water for at least 30 minutes if you have time, then drain. Cook in boiling water until soft. This will take at least 15 minutes cooking but will depend on soaking time: the longer they soak, the quicker they will cook. Drain and keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic, cumin and fennel seeds, then add the spring onions and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for just a few minutes and then add to the cooked and well-drained lentils, along with the lemon juice.

4. To assemble the salad, scatter the lentils on a platter with the beetroot, mackerel, apple and radicchio. Add blobs of the horseradish dressing, garnish with some torn dill, then serve warm or at room temperature.

This crumble would be a great make-ahead dessert option this autumn. Picture: Dean Carroll

Stone fruit and coconut crumble with custard

I love this no-nonsense, foolproof custard recipe, it’s really versatile.


For the topping

200g flour

100g butter, diced

100g dried coconut

50g soft brown sugar

For the filling

1kg stone fruit, like plums or apricots, roughly chopped and stones removed

100g white sugar

50g light brown sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

Pinch salt

Pinch chilli flakes, optional

Few sprigs rosemary, optional

For the custard

100ml cream

350ml milk

2 egg yolks

1 heaped tbsp cornflour

50g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

To serve

Fresh fruit, like plums or berries, if desired

Sprinkle of fresh rosemary leaves, optional


1. Preheat oven to 160C. Make the crumble by either using a food processor or a light touch to work the butter and flour together util it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the coconut and sugar, then put in the fridge while you prep the filling.

2. For the filling, mix together the fruits, sugars, cornstarch, a pinch of salt and the rosemary and chilli flakes, if using. Leave to “macerate” for about ten minutes and then pour into preferred gratin or pie dish. Top with the crumble mix, cover loosely with foil and then bake for a good 45 minutes until the fruit is soft and starting to bubble up. Turn the oven up to 180C, remove the foil so the crumble browns a little more and cook for another 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving to let it “settle”.

3. To make the custard, heat the milk and cream until just starting to boil. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar, cornflour and vanilla paste. When the cream mix is just boiling, pour into the egg yolks and keep whisking. Wipe out the milk pan and then return the custard mix and keep whisking gently, heating until the cornflour kicks in and you feel it thickening. At this point it’s done and you can serve warm or cold. If you go too crazy with the heat, you can sieve the custard and push through using a wooden spoon – but heat gently as it will thicken up quite quickly.

4. To serve, divide the crumble between bowls, dollop on some custard and serve alongside some fresh fruit and a sprinkle of rosemary, if desired.