It has been such a mild autumn I was unprepared and quite surprised by the first really cold mornings. Now I am right into soups, one-pot dinners that cook slowly whilst I settle into my new home, and plenty of green leafy vegetables. I do love cabbage and cauliflower and continue to find new ways of cooking both. And there are some great ideas already in my books and the Cook’s Companion App. I find I bake more cakes, and weekend afternoons always seem the perfect time to settle in with a book, a cup of tea and a slice of one of my favourites. Often citrus-flavoured, lemon or orange or mandarin. Often with a drizzled syrup at the end of the cooking.
Here are my picks of what’s in season for winter.
I wanted to make my favourite Rhubarb and Almond Crumble Tart yesterday (Recipe here, and in The Cook’s Companion book and App). One of Australia’s largest supermarkets (no names!!) did not stock rhubarb! Had to substitute apples for the rhubarb. Tasted good.
Freshly-harvested glowing chestnuts are in good food stores right now. Peeled of both outer and inner skins (advice in The Cook’s Companion book and App), they are absolutely delicious roasted alongside a chicken, or simmered till tender then tossed into a salad with crisp bacon. Or perfect with a turkey for Christmas in July dinners.
Kale is the star of the family at the moment. Try my recipe for Caldo Verde in The Cook’s Companion book or App. Or my bruschetta of cavolo nero, or Tuscan kale. But don’t ignore heads of crisp dark-green savoy cabbage. I cut wedges and cook them briefly with a splash of water, a knob of butter or a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil in a tightly-covered shallow pan for no more than five minutes.
Choose Australian navel oranges, not those that have crossed the Pacific ocean. Is there anything better than freshly-squeezed juice in the morning? The Orange Cake recipe in The Cook’s Companion (book or App) is one of the simplest cakes to make and great with morning coffee.
It has been so dry that only now, after some welcome rain, are we seeing pine forest mushrooms in farmers’ markets and our best fruit and vegetable shops. The recipe in The Cook’s Companion (book or app) for Pine Forest mushrooms with garlic, cream and parsley, is wonderful and the mushrooms selected can be all pine forest or all flat cultivated mushrooms or a mixture.
CAULIFLOWER AND TRUFFLES
Make the lovely Cauliflower soup included in The Cook’s Companion App and give it the touch of magic with a few slices of new season’s Australian black truffle! Go online for your nearest supplier and remember you only need around 50g to turn this very good dish into a super-special starter. Or make Middle Eastern cauliflower fritters!