Recipes: Pick and Mix
Nothing beats homegrown. Angela Casley shares three seasonal recipes
Some of the most satisfying days spent in the kitchen are using the fruits and vegetables that surround us. I like to think each season there is something to pick from the garden or trade with friends and family who have an abundance of seasonal produce.
It’s usually very organic looking, in need of a good wash, coming in various shapes and sizes and perhaps a few bruises where the fruit has hit the ground — but the flavours will surpass anything bought in store. There is a feijoa tree on our street and it is great to see the children stopping to pick and eat them.
Too often fruit is left to rot. You know winter is just around the corner when we are picking quince, feijoa and guava. The stonefruit and berries have disappeared and it is time to move on.
I am picking at least two bowls of feijoas a day and by night they have all been eaten. Desperate to get some in the freezer for later months I have to be quick to beat the family. Feijoas are fabulous with breakfast cereal, and great in muffins with a little fresh ginger added.
Bakewell tart, traditionally made with jam, is a common treat at an English afternoon tea. Here I have replaced the jam with feijoas. The tart is quick and simple to make, and delicious served with a dollop of cream. The almonds and feijoas are an incredible combination.
I am also finding it hard to keep up with my supply of guavas. Each year I think about chopping down this unattractive tree, then April arrives and so does a bountiful supply of splendid bright red fruit, great to trade with friends. I love making jelly because it lasts all year. It goes so well with blue cheese, which I am rather partial to, and is fabulous with lamb or duck. I also add a bit to gravy for a little sweetness.
At Easter one of my mother’s friends arrived with a box of knobbly, fragrant quince he was kindly delivering around the neighbourhood. I was quick to nab a few to bring home. They filled the house with a wonderful aroma. Don’t try to eat quinces raw.
It does take a little patience to cook them. But they are versatile — use them in jellies, pies, pickled and served with meat or roasted like other fruit. Here I have cooked them in a slightly sweet syrup then roasted tham and finished with a maple drizzle. Mascarpone or a good quality vanilla ice cream would be the perfect accompaniment to this dish.