What's In Season
Warmer weather signals the much-awaited arrival of tropical luscious mangoes. Brimming with vitamins and calcium and a rich source of fibre and potassium, mangoes are an all-time favourite.
Kensington Pride is the most well-known and loved mango variety and it’s available from September until March. It has sweet succulent flesh.
Late spring welcomes the arrival of Calypso, Honey Gold and R2E2 mangoes.
A mango will yield to gentle pressure around the stem when it’s ripe and ready to eat.
HOW TO HONEYCOMB A MANGO
- Place the mango stem-end up on a board and cut down beside the central stone on each side to remove each mango cheek in one piece.
- Place the flesh side-up on a board and slice the flesh at intervals, in both directions down to, but not through, the skin.
- Press the underside and the flesh will open up like a honeycomb, ready for eating.
Delicate zucchini flowers with their bright-golden petals bloom at this time of year. The female flower has a tiny zucchini attached, whereas the male flower has a thin stem. The slightly nutty flavour is unique.
Choose fresh-looking zucchini flowers that are not wilted. If the baby zucchini is attached to the flower, it should be firm, slender and glossy green.
These spring treasures are highly perishable, especially the flowers. The flowers are best used within 1 day of purchasing while those with the baby zucchini attached will last for a little longer when stored covered with damp paper towel in an airtight container in the fridge.
TOP WAYS TO USE ZUCCHINI FLOWERS
- Stuff zucchini flowers with a mix of fresh ricotta, grated parmesan and basil then roast or fry until golden.
- Dip zucchini flowers in a light tempura batter and shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and sea salt.
- Drizzle a tray of zucchini flowers with the baby zucchini attached with olive oil, season and roast with cherry truss tomatoes. Sprinkle with crumbled feta to serve.
Fresh and in season
What's best in ...
Once confined to restaurant menus, this succulent-like delicate plant is now available in select greengrocers. Samphire is gaining popularity due to its appealing crisp juicy flesh and delicious slightly briny flavour.
The crunch and saltiness of vibrant green samphire teams really well with seafood, lamb and chicken. Sometimes referred to as ‘sea asparagus’, samphire grows around rocky coastal areas in Australia.
Sold in punnets, choose samphire with glossy green small spears attached to the stem. Store in the fridge for up to ? days.
HOW TO PREPARE AND SERVE SAMPHIRE
Wash well if eating raw. Alternatively for a less salty flavour, simply blanch for a few seconds in a saucepan of simmering water then refresh in cold water and pat dry. Toss samphire with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice before serving.
How to grate garlic
No knife, no messy board and no hard-to-clean garlic crusher required; you simply need a micro-plane.
A micro-plane is an extremely useful stainless steel utensil that’s available from kitchenware shops. Use it to finely grate garlic, ginger, turmeric, horseradish, lemon and lime rind as well as hard cheeses like parmesan and pecorino.
- Simply break garlic clove away from the bulb and peel.
- Hold garlic clove and grate lengthways along the micro-plane.
- Rinse the micro-plane under warm running water.
Juicy green-fleshed honeydew melon is honey sweet. It’s picked ripe and ready to eat but it’s best to leave it for a few days at room temperature for its flavour to fully develop. When perfectly ripe, its flesh is succulent and juicy. White-skinned honeydew is the sweetest and contains more naturally occurring sugars than watermelon.
BUYING AND STORING
If buying whole honeydew melon, select one with a musky aroma that feels heavy for its size. Select cut melon with unblemished flesh that looks juicy. Once cut, the melon should be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the fridge. Use within 1 to 2 days.
Asparagus, ham & cheese munchies
Preparation 20 mins | Cooking 15 | Serves 4 as a snack
These tender asparagus munchies are ideal for an after-school snack or parties.
8 thick asparagus spears (about 2 bunches), trimmed
8 thin slices ham
1 cup reduced fat grated mozzarella cheese
STEP 1 reheat oven to 200°C fan-forced. Bring a frying pan of water to the boil over high heat. Plunge asparagus into pan and cook for 2 minutes until vibrant. Drain, refresh in cold water and set aside to drain. Pat dry with paper towel.
STEP 2 Wrap a slice of ham around each asparagus spear. Place in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle each with cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Orange, carrot, mango & turmeric juice
Preparation 10 mins |Serves 1
This healthy fresh juice brimming with vitamin C and natural goodness is the perfect quick breaky or afternoon pick-me-up.
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
½ just-ripe mango, peeled and chopped
1 tsp peeled and grated turmeric
½ cup ice
STEP 1 Juice the oranges to make 1 cup juice.
STEP 2 Blend orange juice, carrots, mango and turmeric in a high-speed blender until smooth.
STEP 3 Add ice and blend until crushed. Pour into a glass and serve.
Vibrant tangerine-fleshed fresh turmeric is a root (rhizome) that has a unique mustardy ginger flavour with a peppery kick. It adds a vibrant golden yellow colour to dishes and is sometimes called ‘poor man’s saffron’. Fresh turmeric is becoming increasingly popular due to its health and medicinal benefits. The fresh root contains curcumin, which is thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
BUYING AND PREPARATION
Sold loose or in small punnets in your greengrocer, fresh turmeric is best stored in a sealed plastic bag in your vegetable crisper in the fridge. Use it within a few weeks of purchase.
To prevent your skin from staining, wear rubber gloves when preparing fresh turmeric. Scrub well or, if preferred, peel the thin skin. Grate using a micro-plane or chop as required.
WAYS TO USE FRESH TURMERIC
Add grated turmeric to curries, smoothies, marinades and soups or seep the chopped root in boiling water with lemon and honey for a healthy hot drink.
Use fresh turmeric instead of dried ground turmeric in recipes. Simply substitute 2 tsp fresh grated turmeric (about 3cm of the root) for 1 tsp ground turmeric.