What's In Season
How to make perfect crisp lettuce cups
- Trim and discard any tough outer lettuce leaves. Using a sharp knife, cut around the lettuce stem at the base and remove the white central core.
- Hold the whole lettuce, cut-core side up, in the palm of your hand under cold running water. The lettuce fills with water, making for easy removal of the crunchy outer leaves/cups. Drain in a colander then pat dry with paper towel or a clean tea towel.
- Carefully place lettuce leaf cups in a large plastic bag and refrigerate for a few hours until they’re ultra-crisp and ready to use.
Know Your Beans
Swap green beans for sweet and crisp yellow butter beans. To cook the beans, plunge into a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes until just crisp. Drain and refresh in cold water, pat dry then add the beans to your summer salads. Alternatively, for a quick side dish, return the beans to the hot dry pan and toss with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, sea salt and black pepper.
Slender snake beans are sold by the bunch and are in peak season from late summer until early autumn. They’re quite flexible although they feel firm. Chop beans into bite-sized pieces and add to Asian-style stir-fries, soups, curries and salads. To retain crispness and flavour, rapidly cook the beans.
A favourite fresh bean, this stringless variety simply requires the stems to be trimmed before cooking. Like butter beans, they’re best cooked rapidly to retain their delicious crunch and vibrant colour. For a colourful summer combo, cook a mix of green and butter beans.
Wide wavy flat beans are cooked in their pods. Drain and refresh in cold water then pat dry. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil then season and toss with crumbled feta to make a delicious side dish.
Fresh and in season
What's best in ...
Time for cherries
Celebrate the Aussie cherry season with this stunning dessert!
Summer cherry syrup
Preparation 20 mins | Cooking 5 mins
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
TO MAKE Halve and pit 300g cherries. Refrigerate remaining cherries until ready to serve. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Add halved cherries and return to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Place into an airtight container and chill until ready to serve.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS Top a large pavlova with whipped cream, cherry syrup and grated chocolate or serve over ice-cream.
For a delicious chocolate pavlova recipe, visit www.sydneymarkets.com.au/recipes
Mexican sweetcorn & bean rice
Preparation 20 mins | Cooking 30 mins | Serves 4-6
2 cobs sweetcorn, husks and silks removed
2 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small red capsicum, seeded and finely chopped
1½ cups long grain rice
400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs lime juice
½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
⅓ cup reduced fat grated cheese
2 tbs reduced fat sour cream
1 small ripe avocado, peeledand diced
STEP 1 Slice kernels off the corn cobs. Set aside. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and capsicum and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes until onion and capsicum softens.
STEP 2 Add corn kernels and rice and stir to combine. Pour over 2¼ cups water, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
STEP 3 Stir in kidney beans, tomatoes, lime juice and coriander over medium-low heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into serving bowls, sprinkle each with cheese, a dollop of s
Berry panettone tray trifle
Preparation 25 mins | Serves 6-8
’Tis the season for fresh plump sweet berries. This amazingly quick dessert is so easy to whip up during the festive season. It can be made up to 4 hours ahead of serving.
⅓ cup fresh orange juice
1 tbs icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g strawberries, halved lengthways
Grated or shaved dark chocolate
*Panettone is Italian style brioche bread sold in some greengrocers and supermarkets.
STEP 1 Remove crusts from panettone and cut into 1cm-thick slices. Line base of a 25cm x 28cm enamel or ceramic baking dish with the panettone. Sprinkle with orange juice.
STEP 2 Whip cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until soft peaks form. Spoon cream over panettone. Combine berries in a bowl and scatter over cream. Sprinkle with grated or shaved dark chocolate and serve.
The coolest fruit of the season, vivid pink watermelon is at its very best right now!
Watermelon is picked ripe and ready to eat. Choose whole watermelon that feels heavy for its size. If cut, select firm pieces that are an even, vibrant hot pink. Store cut watermelon covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. It’s best eaten within a few days.
Cool ways to use watermelon
- Team sliced watermelon (remove the rind) with crumbled feta, mint leaves and black olives for a quick and tasty side dish.
- Freeze watermelon cubes or balls in a snap-lock bag then use as an ice cube alternative.
- Toss watermelon cubes with blueberries and cherries in a luscious summer fruit salad.
Refreshing aniseed-flavoured baby fennel is a great addition to summer salads. Its crunchy flesh teams perfectly with seafood, chicken and lamb, leafy greens, rocket, tomatoes, oranges, and cheeses like feta and parmesan.
Cool ways to use watermelon
- For adding to salads, trim the bulbs then, using a V-slicer or vegetable peeler, very finely shave the fennel. Plunge fennel into a bowl of iced water so it’s ultra-crisp. Ensure that it’s well dried before adding to a range of slaws, crisp salads and pasta dishes.
- Roast baby fennel wedges with red onion, zucchini, cherry truss tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil and a few sprigs of thyme until just tender. Sprinkle with crumbled feta. Serve at room temperature.