What's In Season
The dense-fleshed thick stem and small cap are edible. These robust mushrooms have a rich flavour and retain their shape when cooked. Slice lengthways or cut into rounds to cook. Great for pan-frying, roasting and barbecuing.
Originally from China, shiitakes are now grown in Australia. These spongy meaty mushrooms have a distinct flavour and aroma. Their flavour intensifies the longer they are cooked. Toss sliced shiitakes through a stir-fry or chop and add to wonton fillings.
originated in Japan and are now grown in Australia. They can be eaten raw or cooked and have a mild, slightly nutty flavour. Trim the base and carefully separate into small clumps for cooking. Add to salads or scatter over soups and stir-fries at the end of cooking so that they retain their crunch.
Asian-style sticky mushrooms
Preparation 15 mins| Cooking 15 mins | Serves 4 as a side dish
*Use a mix of mushrooms including cup and button mushrooms, King Brown, shiitake and Portobello for this recipe.
STEP 1 Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Line the base of a large heavy-based roasting pan with baking paper.
STEP 2 Combine ½ cup brown sugar, 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 1 tbs hoisin sauce and 2 tbs oyster sauce, 2 tbs orange juice and 2 star anise in a large bowl.
STEP 3 Cut 600g of mixed mushrooms* into about 5-6cm pieces. Add to brown sugar mixture. Gently toss to combine. Spoon mushroom mixture into roasting pan. Roast, turning once, for 15-20 minutes until glossy and just tender. Top with coriander leaves and serve.
Fresh and in season
What's best in ...
Swiss or rainbow chard
Similar to silverbeet, Swiss or rainbow chard has glossy, large deep green leaves and thick stems. As the name suggests, vibrant Rainbow chard stems range in colour from shades of red , yellow, orange and pink. Both the leaves and the coloured stems can be eaten raw or cooked.
TO BUY Choose bunches with fresh-looking leaves and firm stems. Avoid any with wilted leaves. Trim stems and store unwashed leaves in a plastic bag in the crisper. Use within a few days.
TO PREPARE Simply tear the leaves from the stems then trim the larger ‘veins’ from the leaves. Wash the leaves and toss in a pan over heat until just wilted. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, toss in crumbled feta, season and serve. Swiss chard is ideal for spinach pies.
Add finely chopped chard to salads, stir-fries, vegetable soups or sauté in a little olive oil until tender to serve as a veggie side dish. Also add to a pie or quiche fillings.
How to prepare ... quinces
Make the most of sweet and delicious quinces while they’re in season. Quince must be cooked, it cannot be eaten raw. When slow-cooked, its firm creamy-white dense flesh turns a deep ruby-pink and becomes deliciously tender.
STEP 1 Fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of a lemon (and the squeezed lemon).
STEP 2 Using a small sharp knife, quarter quinces and remove the core then peel the fruit. (Note the flesh and skin is very dense and will require some gentle force). Once peeled, pop each piece into the lemon water to prevent the quince from browning.
Cover quinces and slow cook in a sugar-based syrup so that they stay moist. Quinces require at least 2 hours cooking for their colour and flavour to develop.
Nashi & grape Waldorf salad
Preparation 15 mins | Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a side dish
Crisp nashi and juicy seedless purple grapes team well in this crunchy and refreshing lunchbox salad.
STEP 1 Combine 1 baby Cos lettuce, leaves separated and roughly chopped, 150g seedless grapes, 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced, 1 nashi, quartered, cored and sliced into thin wedges and ⅓ cup pecan nuts, chopped in a large bowl. Gently toss to combine.
STEP 2 To make the dressing, combine ½ cup natural Greek-style yoghurt and ½ cup salad cream or mayonnaise in a bowl. Add 1tbs hot water and stir to combine (add a little extra hot water if too thick). Drizzle dressing over nashi salad. Toss to combine and serve.
Figs, rocket & prosciutto with balsamic ricotta
Preparation 15 mins | Serves 6
8 plump ripe figs, halved
8 thin slices prosciutto
Baby rocket leaves, to serve
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
200g low fat fresh ricotta cheese
2 tsp honey
1 tsp caramelised balsamic vinegar
STEP 1 To make balsamic ricotta, beat ricotta and honey in a small bowl until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then swirl through balsamic vinegar.
STEP 2 To serve, arrange figs, prosciutto and rocket on a board or serving platter. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with balsamic ricotta.
Finger limes – a taste sensation
Originating in Queensland rainforests, this tiny citrus fruit is about the size and shape of a finger. Inside the finger lime, you’ll discover juice-filled pulp that resembles small ‘pearls’ that burst in your mouth with a vibrant citrus tang. They’re often sold as ‘lime or citrus caviar’ for this reason.
Rich in vitamin C, finger limes are available in an array of colours.
The pulp can be pale to reddish pink, yellow to green. Select firm finger limes that feel heavy for their size. Some brown spots on the fruit are due to ripening and do not affect flavour. Avoid shrivelled finger limes.
The thin leathery skin is firm. Release the ‘pearls’ but simply slicing the fruit in half and squeezing the flesh up from the uncut end.
Top ways to use finger limes;
- Sprinkle fresh oysters or sashimi with finger lime pulp.
- Toss finger lime pulp through Thai-style salads and fruit salads.
In abundance during autumn, slender snake beans make a great addition to Asian-inspired stir-fries, salads, laksa and curries.
Sold by the bunch, these long green beans are firm but flexible and have a delicious crispness and flavour. Select beans that are pencil-sized in thickness with even colour.
Refrigerate snake beans in a plastic bag in the crisper. Use within 2 to 3 days. To prepare, simply rinse in cold water, trim and chop into 5 to 10cm pieces.
Rapidly cook snake beans to retain crunch and colour.
- For a quick side dish, wok-fry snake beans in a little peanut oil with chopped garlic, red chilli and a drizzle of oyster sauce.
- Team blanched snake beans in a Thai-style salad with shredded cooked chicken, sliced long red chilli, green onions and crispy noodles.