Persuading kids – and even ‘big kids’ — to eat their veg is often a challenge. I tempt my family with broccoli trees and a dip of mayo and tomato sauce; or fresh Vietnamese-style spring roll wraps with finely shredded cabbage, julienned carrot and capsicum; or julienned assorted greens in fritters.
It easier to persuade your family to enjoy fresh produce in the winter because seasonal fruits can add pizazz to greens. Tamarillos stir-fried with mushrooms and broccoli; tender spinach leaves wrapped around diced kiwifruit and long thread coconut salsa; roasted Brussels sprouts, bacon and apple; or cabbage slaw with grapefruit segments and avocado.
Winter fruits are good natural sources of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Mostly fruits are eaten raw providing the body with important nutrients for growth and immunity. However, when cooked properly they’re also beneficial and tasty. They can often be served in place of vegetables in main courses. Baked apples are excellent with pork, tamarillos with beef and grapefruit segments with chicken.
Grapefruit are often underutilized: squeeze the juice over fish; combine segments with smoked salmon and crisp lettuce; marinate chicken in a grapefruit juice and soy sauce combo before grilling; combine grapefruit segments with diced shallots, grated root ginger, a little chilli, ground cumin, honey, oil and tomato paste and serve over avocado, fish or chicken.
FISH WITH SAVOURY KIWI SALSA
A fabulous dinner party dish. The parcels can be prepared ahead. Banana leaves could replace the lettuce.
Salsa: 2 large green kiwifruit
1 cup diced ripe pawpaw or gold kiwifruit
1/4 cup coriander leaves
juice 1 lime
Fish: 600g skinned and boned white fish eg tarakihi, snapper
4 large crisp lettuce leaves
1/2-3/4 cup coconut milk
4cm piece root ginger, peeled and julienned
4 small red chillies, seeded if preferred
8 sprigs coriander
Peel the green kiwifruit and slice into quarters lengthwise. Slice the quarters and place in a bowl. Add the pawpaw, coriander and lime juice.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Cut the fish into serving-size portions. Place in the centre of each lettuce leaf.
Prepare one parcel at a time. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the coconut milk over the fish. Top with a 1/4 of the ginger, a chilli and 2 coriander sprigs. Fold the lettuce over to encase the fish. Secure with a small skewer if necessary. Repeat to make 3 more parcels.
Place in a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold the parcel snugly. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
Serve with the salsa on the side. Serves 4.
GOLD KIWIFRUIT BREAD
4-5 gold kiwifruit
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon each: salt, baking soda
125g butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
Topping: 1 gold kiwifruit, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a 23cm x 12cm x 7cm loaf pan then dust with flour.
Peel and mash the kiwifruit with a fork to make 1 cup.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in to a bowl.
Place the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until creamy, preferably with an electric beater. Add 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and the eggs. Beat until smooth. Stir in the kiwifruit.
Spoon evenly into the loaf pan. Top with the kiwifruit slices down the centre and sprinkle them with sugar. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
TAMARILLO & FEIJOA CRUMBLE
Makes four hearty or six medium servings. If feijoas are not available use apples, pears or rhubarb.
Crumble mix: 1 cup each: rolled oats, long-thread coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar
50g butter, diced
70g packet sliced almonds
Fruit mix: 4 tamarillos, peeled
300g feijoas, peeled
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons custard powder
Combine the rolled oats, coconut and the brown sugar in a bowl. Roughly rub the butter into the mixture. Add the almonds.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Cut 4-6 thick slices of tamarillo and reserve for the top. Dice the remaining tamarillos.
Cut the feijoas into 2.5cm pieces and combine with the tamarillo. Combine the caster sugar and custard powder and stir into the fruit. Divide evenly between four or six ramekins. Top with the crumble mixture. Place the reserved tamarillo slices on top.
Place on an oven tray. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden and the fruit is cooked.
Excellent served with crème fraîche or whipped cream. Serves 4-6.