Friday, August 27, 2010

The sweetest thing

I start every day with fresh seasonal fruit and while I love winter vegies, find fruit choices much more limited during this season. However, surprisingly this is the best time of year for a tropical fruit – luscious sweet pineapples.

Pineapples are a super food, high in vitamin C and low in sugar. In fact just one cup of pineapple provides the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. To my mind, eating pineapple beats taking cold and flu medicine.

When selecting pineapples, look for fruit that is free from soft spots, bruises and darkened eyes, all indicating the fruit is past its prime. While pineapples will happily sit in the fruit basket for a couple of days, after skinning and slicing you should store in the fridge for up to 6 days.

I enjoy pineapple in savoury dishes – think Asian-style pork belly or filet with chilli pineapple salsa or red duck curry with pineapple –as well as sweet treats like this dessert style cake from my recently released cookbook Just Add Spice []. The flavour is intriguing because it contains quatre epices – a seductive blend of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and black pepper which provides an interesting, complement to the sweetness of the pineapple.

Here is a link to the recipe on my main site.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken & tarragon pie in 30 minutes

Winter is all about comfort food – not the we always have time on our side. This pie, however, doesn’t take that long, pleases adults and children alike and is smart enough for a midweek dinner party.

I love the classic French combination of chicken and tarragon and have further highlighted the aniseed flavour by including fennel (in season now!) in the filling and finishing the tart off with a sprinkle of fennel seeds for crunch, aroma and, of course, flavour.

A quick word on the chicken – I’m a fan of thighs for their meatiness and flavour, however breasts can easily be substituted, just be careful you don’t overcook them.

The pie is topped with filo, instead of traditional puff pastry. I like filo because it is easy to work with, quick, incredibly forgiving … and always in my freezer.

I’ve made one big family-style pie, but the recipes work equally well as individual pies cooked in ramekins – these can be topped with filo or circles of puff pastry.

Here is a link to the recipe on my main site.