You have to hand it to Mother Nature. It may be cold and miserable outside, but she fronts up with colourful fresh fruit that is packed with the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help ward off winter illnesses.
Kiwifruit, citrus and tamarillos are chockfull of vitamin C as well as other nutrients, and of course we have apples and pears for cheerful chomping.
These delights are great snacks and they contribute to the ‘five plus a day’ servings of fruit and veg mantra promoted by health professionals. They also add interest to meals.
Kiwifruit is a refreshing accompaniment to curries. With chopped mint it’s perfect with roast lamb and with chillies it packs a punch with seafood and grills.
Sliced orange gives seafood dishes a lift and the juice makes a tasty glaze for poultry, a great drizzle for steamed greens and adds fab flavour to hummus. The grated peel adds depth to savoury sauces.
And where would we be without lemons? Chop them, freeze them, then add to your gin or sauces. Add a dash of juice and peel to risottos or mix the juice with melted butter to enhance fish, or halve and grill with pork or poultry.
ZINGY THAI-STYLE KIWIFRUIT RELISH
For extra zing, leave the seeds in the chillies. Best enjoyed within 3 hours of preparation.
4 green kiwifruit, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4-5cm knob root ginger, peeled and diced
4 green chillies, seeded and diced
pinch brown sugar
1/2 cup each: mint leaves, coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Place the kiwifruit in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
Serve with grilled meats or seafood. Serves 4.
SUMAC CHICKEN, PEAR & POTATO TRAYBAKE
Sumac is a slightly astringent, lemon-flavoured reddish-purple berry which is finely crushed.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon each: sumac, oregano
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon cut into 4 wedges
4 large skinned and boned chicken thighs
4 medium potatoes, cut into 2cm rounds
3 firm but ripe pears, quartered, peeled and cored
8 x 3cm broccoli florets
Extra olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to fan-forced 200°C. Lightly oil a large roasting pan.
Combine the olive oil, sumac, oregano, garlic and the juice of 1 lemon wedge. Brush over the chicken and place in the oven pan.
Place the potato slices evenly on a microwave-proof plate. Cover with damp paper towels. Microwave for 3 minutes. Pat dry and add to the pan with the pear wedges. Brush with the remaining sumac mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the potato and pears over.
Meanwhile, toss the broccoli florets in a little olive oil. Add to the pan and continue roasting for 15 minutes or until cooked. Scatter with the parsley and serve. Serves 4.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 each: medium onion, carrot, garlic clove, diced
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
1/2 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, grated orange rind, grated lemon rind
1 cup long grain rice
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup each: currants, sultanas, quartered dried apricots, peeled and diced orange, roasted unsalted cashew nuts
2 cups sliced, cooked chicken
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, carrot and seasonings. Stir well. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
Add the rice to the pan, stirring to ensure all the grains are coated with oil. Cook for 1 minute.
Heat the stock in the microwave, until boiling. Add to the rice with the dried fruits and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
Add the diced orange, cashew nuts and chicken and heat through. Excellent garnished with mint leaves. Serves 4.