Bill Granger recipe: Sticky-onion spelt with seared beef, rocket and Parmesan

Serves 4

This makes a lovely supper. If, like me, you're still in denial about the changing season, cool down the spelt, as I've done here. But if it's grey, with a chill in the air, it might be wise to embrace the arrival of autumn by keeping it warm.

500g baby onions, peeled and large ones halved
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
4 sprigs rosemary, 2 whole, 2 leaves picked and chopped
250g spelt
500g beef fillet, sinews removed
100g rocket
125g Parmesan, shaved

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Stir the onions, garlic, 3 tbsp of oil, balsamic, sugar and the whole rosemary sprigs into a baking dish. Season with salt and black pepper and cook for 30 to 35 minutes until soft, sticky and dark, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, cook the spelt until just tender, following packet instructions, then drain and cool under cold water for a minute, and drain well again. Push the garlic out of its papery skins then stir through the spelt, adding the sticky onions and any pan juices. Season well and set aside.

Heat a large, non-stick frying pan to very hot. Season the beef and rub with a drop of oil. Sear it all over for 10 minutes to get a really good crust on the outside. Mix the last tbsp of olive oil with the chopped rosemary on a small baking tray, remove the beef from the pan and roll in the scented oil. Cook in the oven for 8 minutes for rare, or longer, according to how you like your meat to be cooked. Remove and rest for 15 minutes. Cut into very thin slices.

To serve, scatter the rocket over a large platter, spoon the spelt on top and pour over any resting juices from the meat. Pile thin slices of the beef on top and finish with lots of the Parmesan shavings.