What's In Season
IN SEASON from mid-March through to July, fresh chestnuts have a unique nutty flavour. Their flesh becomes soft and tender when cooked.
SELECT chestnuts that feel heavy for their size with firm glossy brown shells. Some varieties are easier to peel than others.
STORE uncooked chestnuts in a paper bag in the fridge crisper for 2 to 3 days or in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Once cooked and peeled, chestnuts can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Alternatively, freeze cooked chestnuts in freezer bags for up to 6 months.
TO PREPARE AND COOK chestnuts, cut a shallow cross into the flat side of the shell. Roast at 200°C on a baking tray for 15 to 20 minutes until the shells split open. Wrap chestnuts in a clean tea towel, stand for 5 minutes then peel while still warm. Alternatively, place halved chestnuts in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove one chestnut at a time and scoop out the flesh while still warm.
A stunning fruit bowl sensation, this healthy tropical fruit has deliciously sweet flesh and a watermelon-like crunchy texture.
Good for you
Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants and contains vitamin C, calcium and iron. The flesh is juicy and delicately crisp. The tiny edible black seeds are a source of omega 3 and omega 6.
There are two varieties with deep pink skin. One has speckled white flesh while the other has bright pink flesh and is the sweeter of the two.
Choose dragon fruit that has even-coloured skin and feels heavy for its size. Leave at room temperature out of direct sunlight to ripen. Ripe fruit gently yields to pressure around the stem.
Easy to prepare
Simply halve dragon fruit lengthways and scoop out the flesh. Discard the bitter leathery skin. Team dragon fruit with other tropical gems such as pineapple, papaw and passionfruit for a colourful fruit salad.
Fresh and in season
What's best in ...
3 of the best sweetcorn toppers
Prep 10 mins | Cooking 15 mins | Each topper mixture covers 4 corn cobs
Parmesan, lemon & parsley
⅓ cup grated parmesan 1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs parsley leaves, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients and spread onto corn cobs.
Mexican avocado & lime
½ ripe avocado, flesh chopped
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs sour cream
2 tbs coriander leaves, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients and spread onto corn cobs.
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Combine butter and garlic in a bowl, whip until smooth.
TO PREPARE & COOK Simply retract the husks on the cobs, remove and discard silk. Spread sweetcorn with the topper of your choice. Pull husks back to enclose the cob then secure with kitchen string. Spray or brush husks with olive oil. Cook on a greased barbecue or char-grill, turning often, for about 10 minutes or until the kernels are tender.
Vibrant eggplant comes in many shapes and sizes. So versatile, this mild tasting veggie is the perfect addition to a variety of hot and cold autumn dishes because it readily absorbs flavour and becomes very tender once cooked. Eggplant is delicious any way you try it – barbecued, roasted, grilled or fried.
Miso & chilli-glazed roasted eggplant
Prep 15 mins | Cooking 30 mins | Serves 2-4
2 (about 350g each) plump eggplants
¼ cup white miso (Shiro) paste
2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
¼ cup mirin
1 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs vegetable, rice bran or grape seed oil
Micro-herbs (like red shiso)
Shredded green onion (shallot) & toasted sesame seeds, to serve
STEP 1 Preheat oven to 200°C fan-forced. Halve eggplants lengthways. Using a small sharp knife, score the eggplant flesh into a honeycomb pattern (do not cut through the skin). Place miso, chillies, mirin and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
STEP 2 Heat oil in a large non-stick heatproof frying pan over medium heat. Place eggplants flesh-side down into pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Transfer eggplants flesh-side up onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
STEP 3 Spoon miso mixture over eggplants. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until flesh is tender. Sprinkle with micro-herbs, green onions and sesame seeds and serve.
Super green goodness
This super-nutritious leafy green offers so much goodness. Crisp and crunchy kale is loaded with beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and iron. Toss the trimmed leaves into stir-fries, soups and smoothies. Finely shred kale to add to salad bowls.
A powerhouse of essential nutrients, cabbage is packed with vitamin C. Look out for the delicious variety of crispy cabbages at your local greengrocer including savoy, green, red and Chinese cabbage (Wombok). Add finely shredded raw cabbage to a range of autumn slaws, soups and stir-fries.
A salad essential, this peppery green is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and minerals as well as omega 3. Watercress teams perfectly with avocado, chicken, nuts, seeds, salmon and soft creamy cheeses. Wash well before using. For optimum crispness, plunge watercress into a bowl of iced water and stand for 10 minutes.
High in nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, manganese, calcium and folic acid, English spinach is sold by the bunch. Wash the leaves thoroughly, eat raw or rapidly cook in a small amount of water to retain the most nutrition from this versatile green.
Cavolo Nero (also known as Tuscan cabbage)
Brimming with goodness, deep green Cavolo Nero is very rich in antioxidants. Simply sauté this robust green with olive oil and garlic. Add to casseroles, soups and stir-fries.
With their signature sweetness and tender flesh, plump luscious figs offer great value in autumn.
Handle figs with care because they easily bruise. Simply rinse figs in cold water and pat dry with paper towel. There’s no need to remove the skin. Slice figs as desired.
Quick & easy ways to serve fresh figs
- Team quartered figs with fresh mozzarella cheese, rocket and prosciutto on a platter with baguette bread.
- Top bircher muesli or crunchy granola with Greek-style yoghurt, sliced figs, flaked almonds and a drizzle of honey.
- Lightly dip halved figs in caster sugar and quickly pan-fry, serve warm with chopped roasted hazelnuts, vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Garnish a crispy pizza with rocket, goat’s cheese and sliced figs. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.
Sweetcorn is picked at peak sweetness for optimal taste. The freshest corn kernels burst with a creamy juice when pressed.
The natural sugars in sweetcorn quickly convert to starch after harvesting, so eat within a day of purchase for maximum flavour. Refrigerate sweetcorn cobs with the husks on in a plastic container or bag.
To prepare sweetcorn
Simply peel back the papery husks and remove the glossy silk strands. Cook the cobs whole or slice off the kernels for use in fritters, croquettes or salads.
To char-grill sweetcorn
Brush trimmed sweetcorn cobs with olive oil and char-grill over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes, turning often, for crunchy charred corn. Enjoy with a knob of butter and dash of salt and pepper or slice off the kernels and add to salads and salsas.
To microwave sweetcorn
So quick and easy, simply wash the de-husked sweetcorn cobs in cold water, then place undried cobs directly into a microwave-safe shallow dish, cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stand for 1 minute before removing the cover.