The Courier-Mail

Golden harvest

AUTUMN MEANS FRESH PRODUCE, STRONG FLAVOURS, SLOW COOKING AND A FIRE PIT

- LAURA ALBULARIO ALL RECIPES BY CALLUM HANN

IF you’re feeling the autumn blues, eat a persimmon. That doesn’t cheer you up? Try a fig, pomegranat­e or nashi pear. For MasterChef runnerup, turned cookery teacher and author, Callum Hann, being able to enjoy fresh autumn produce is cosy consolatio­n for saying goodbye to beach weather and balmy barbecues.

“I really love autumn, it’s the season for some of the best produce around,” he says.

“You still have the freshness of summer ingredient­s, but you can start to use some stronger flavours and heavier cooking techniques.”

An advocate for the Pick a Local, Pick SA campaign, Hann is passionate about eating seasonally and locally. Here are his top tips for making the most of autumn.

BRANCH OUT

Persimmons are the unsung hero of autumn, according to Hann. “When they’re really ripe, you can freeze them and eat them with a spoon like a sorbet,” he says. “If they’re a little firmer, they’re great sliced in salads.” Figs have had a late season this year, and are currently at their sweet, jammy best. Now is also the time to add pumpkin, beetroot and brussels sprouts to your menu.

CHECK THE STICKER

If you’re a conservati­ve fruit eater, choosing in-season varieties can seriously ramp up the taste factor. “It’s not all about the fancy fruits,” Hann says. “You can get apples and pears year-round, but when you’ve got fresh varieties coming out, like Royal Gala and Golden Delicious, you’ll see that not all apples are made the same. There’s nothing like biting into a freshly picked, crisp, sweet apple apple. Nashi pears are also great right now.”

TAKE A TASTE TRIP

While tropical summer fruits and herbs lend themselves to fresh Thai flavours, slowly simmered Mediterran­ean and Middle-Eastern dishes are ideal during cooler months. “Try things like tagine, with vegetables and spices, served with yoghurt and a cous cous salad,” Hann suggests. “Ratatouill­e is beautiful at the start of autumn. We’ve been cooking down capsicum and zucchini and serving it on toasted panini with buffalo mozzarella – that, with a warm coffee in the morning is heaven.”

HOST A COSY DINNER PARTY

Lockdown took autumn entertaini­ng off the menu last year, so being able to host a seasonal feast is something to celebrate. Hann suggests emb embracing i th the season with ith a fire pit, where guests can kick off the meal with a glass of wine and some simple bruschetta on firetoaste­d bread. “Slow-cooked meals and stews are great for entertaini­ng and allow you to get ahead in the game,” he adds. “You can have it simmering away at 4pm, and not have to do much in the kitchen when your guests arrive.”

GET FRUITY

Add autumn fruits to your savoury dishes for a delicious balance of texture and flavour. “I love breaching the line of what is sweet and what is savoury,” Hann says. “Duck with fig is incredible. Pomegranat­e gives you crunchy, sweet-sour jewels of glory, whether you sprinkle it over salad, on rich, oily fish or pork.”

 ??  ?? MasterChef runner-up and cookery teacher Callum Hann.
MasterChef runner-up and cookery teacher Callum Hann.

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