When I spend time in some restaurant kitchens I see lots of interesting techniques and learn a lot about how the restaurant works, but in terms of practical, useful recipes that I would cook at home, I often do not pick up a great deal.

At Mya Lacarte, in Prospect Street, Caversham, it is totally the opposite - I find it almost impossible to eat here without wanting to know just how they make at least one of the things I am eating.

As they have a new autumn menu, I decided to spend another afternoon in the kitchen with chef Remy Joly and pick up some failsafe ways of using the best ingredients British autumn has to offer.

Squashes are in season throughout autumn and Remy is currently using butternut squash as a base for a souffl�©, roasting it with thyme and garlic until completely soft then pur�©eing the flesh.

Even in autumn, when dishes can often be heavier, Remy still uses very little butter in his cooking, and here the souffl�© base is made using corn flour. Reheat the pur�©ed squash, mix a tablespoon of corn flour with water, add to the pur�©e and cook, stirring until the whole thing thickens up.

Now the usual souffl�© operation - separate egg whites and yolks and whisk up the egg white till its very firm. Add the yolks to the cooled squash along with some cream cheese, then using equal quantities of squash mix to egg whites, gently fold the two together.

Butter small ramekins, add the mix, levelling off and scraping the rims to encourage rising, then bake for about 18 minutes at 180°c.

After cooking, with a little encouragement, you should be able to remove the souffl�© from the ramekin and reheat briefly on a baking sheet to serve.

Remy pairs them with pumpkin seeds and watercress.

There's a recipe below for celeriac pur�©e to go with mutton but Remy uses the same recipe for another seasonal ingredient - Jerusalem artichokes - which he serves with hand-dived Cornish scallops.

The artichokes are nutty and make a more interesting combination with the sweet, soft scallops than the usual cauliflower.

Remy is a bit of an unsung hero for vegetarians in Reading.

In summer, he had an amazing vegetarian platter on the menu here, but he has now replaced it with some light, innovative, corn meal cakes. When I tried these, I found them so light I thought he was using a technique similar to making a souffl�©, but the reality is much simpler.

First just get hold of some polenta and cook it on a low heat in double cream and milk (25/75) for about one hour. Now add some mature cheddar (Remy uses Spenwood from Oxfordshire) and allow the mix to cool slightly, before tipping half into a shallow dish, adding a layer of cooked spinach and then topping with the rest.

Once the mix has set, slice it into portions and briefly fry each in a pan to colour then transfer to the oven to warm through.

Remy serves the cakes with a field mushroom a cobnut dressing and more Spenwood cheese shaved over the top.

The final dish I'm covering here is slow-cooked mutton served with celeriac pur�©e and stuffed cabbage.

Both the style and ingredients are very autumnal, which is probably why the dish has proved so popular.

Mutton has a stronger flavour than lamb and while it is admittedly tougher, when you cook it for over seven hours you get all the flavour benefits without any of the toughness.

Also, it's a fair bit cheaper than lamb, which is always a bonus.


*The Mutton*


1kg of mutton shoulder

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 carrot, 1 onion and 1 white of leek, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns


1.Season the mutton with salt and pepper and using the vegetable oil, brown over a very high heat until the meat is mahogany brown all over.

2.Transfer to an oven proof pan or dish along with all the other ingredients and enough water to just cover, put on a lid and cook for over eight hours at 140°c.

3.Once cooked, allow the mutton to cool then strain through a sieve reserving the cooking liquid and discarding the vegetables.

4.Add the cooking juices to a pan and reduce by half.

5.Remove all fat and bone from the mutton and shred until no trace of the original muscle shapes remain - the meat should literally be falling apart to bits - then add two tablespoons of reduced cooking liquid and mix.

6.Take four chef rings or pastry cutters that are about 3cm high, place on a flat sheet and fill to the top with the mutton mix, packing down very, very tightly and removing any air pockets. The mutton MUST reach the top and be totally compressed. Cover with cling film and set aside.

*Celeriac Pur�©e*


One celeriac

100g butter


1.Peel and cut the celeriac into very small pieces. Add to a pan with the butter and an equal amount of water and cook, stirring, until the pieces are falling apart.

2.Blend to a smooth pur�©e, season generously and set aside until required.

*Cabbage parcels*


One Savoy cabbage

200g smoked streaky bacon

Heaped teaspoon of cornflour


1.Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and trim the stems so that they are the same thickness as the leaves (i.e. cut off the protruding part of the stem).

2.Fry the bacon until crisp, finely shred the centre of the cabbage and add to the bacon along with 2 tablespoons of the mutton stock. Cook gently for ten minutes.

3.Dissolve the corn flour in water, add to the cabbage and cook until the liquid thickens. Set aside to cool.

4.Blanch the outer leaves of the cabbage in boiling water for 2 minutes each and refresh in cold water.

5.Lay an individual cabbage leaf on a piece of cling film, put a heaped tablespoon of cooked cabbage in the centre.

6.Fold the stalk end of the leaf into the centre then fold in the edges to make a parcel. Pull the front of the leaf over, turning the parcel as you go so the seam is on the base. Holding the cabbage parcel in place, gather up all the edges of the film and push the parcel into the base, twisting the film tightly and tying a knot to secure. Repeat four times.


1.Preheat the oven to 200°c.

2.Slide the mutton rings into an oven-proof pan or dish and surround with the remaining stock, cooking for ten minutes until hot through and crisp on top.

3.Reheat the celeriac and cabbage (microwave is probably best).

4.Put a mound of celeriac on the plate, using a fish slice transfer a portion of mutton to sit on top of it, set a cabbage parcel on the side of the plate and spoon over the mutton cooking liquor as a sauce.

Did you try this recipe? Add a comment to let us know how it went.