Stepping into stew weather

19 March, 2021

What to cook this autumn

The 2020/21 summer might have been cooler than usual (thanks La Nina) but February still had some tricks in her bag with some sticky, humid days.

So, it’s with no small amount of glee that we’re looking forward to the incoming cooler mornings and nights as autumn sneaks her head around the corner. It’s the perfect time to step into the kitchen and get creating with some of this season’s best produce.

Whether it’s warm salads, soups, or just-the-right-amount of comfortable stews, autumn cooking is like a cosy transeasonal cardi; perfect to get you through those in-between days. Here’s our pick of what’s best right now and how to use it!

Apples and pears

After a summer gorging on tropical fruit, stone fruit and berries, now is the time for apples and pears to shine. Those looking for a bit of a weekend adventure can even nip up the Blue Mountains to Bilpin for a bit of pick-your-own action. (If you don’t mind a long day, it’s quite do-able to drive up and back on the same day, or make a weekend of it and get some hiking in too!)

Apples and pears are versatile at all times of the day, whether you like them poached and spooned over porridge in the morning, added to warm salads and included in stews. We think this apple, pork and prune casserole just screams “rainy autumn night.”

Of course, we also can’t forget letting apples and pears take centre stage in dessert. Think apple and blackberry crumble, ginger chocolate pear tart, and so many other possibilities.

Persimmons

Less common than many other fruits, you might need to keep an eye out for persimmons but this is an autumn treat worth seeking out. These rounded orange coloured fruits come in astringent and non-astringent varieties, with the non-astringent considered a bit more versatile. (Going apple picking in Bilpin? If you time it right, you can pick persimmons too!)

Persimmons make a great addition to a peppery rocket salad and are good friends with goats cheese. Maggie Beer in her book Maggie’s Harvest pairs persimmon with seared tuna and fennel in a salad that screams Sunday autumn lunch. (Fennel being another perfect autumn seasonal pick.)

Mushrooms

A day foraging for mushrooms can be a great day out (pssstttt – just make sure you go with someone who knows what they are doing as not all mushrooms are safe), but we think buying some at Woolworths to cook with is just as valid a choice. 

Mushrooms are a delicious star in many autumnal comfort foods. Think a pearl barley mushroom risotto for a nutritious and warming dinner, a perfectly blended and smooth mushroom soup, or pairing with chicken, cream and white wine for a delicious pie. 

And for the ultimate in mid-week simplicity, it’s hard to go past hot buttered sourdough toast smothered in fried mushrooms. For a bit more substance, pop a fried or poached egg on top and we guarantee you’ll be feeling appropriately nourished.

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