Also known as rutabaga, Australian swedes are at their best in early winter. This gnocchi is an inventive use for the root vegetable that “is so delicious, it is well worth the effort involved”, writes Yotam Ottolenghi. He adds: “I use a piping bag to get the gnocchi into the boiling water, because that saves on time and effort in shaping them.”
In April, Australian pomelos celebrated a big victory as the whole country was declared citrus canker free. These huge citruses are available year-round, and while they’re at their best in late summer, any victory over disease is worth celebrating in 2021.
This salad recipe sees them paired with a winter favourite: brussels sprouts. “[It’s] an unusual combination, but it works,” writes Ottolenghi. “The citrussy syrup, with hints of spice, takes the edge off the natural bitterness of the brussels. If you can’t get pomelo, use grapefruit segments instead, and not as much lemon juice.”
This dish will give a sophisticated twist to any Christmas in July celebration as “the cinnamon makes this a great side dish for all sorts of festive fare”, writes Ottolenghi. Made with that ubiquitous winter veg, the butternut pumpkin, it only requires 35 minutes of cooking in a ripping-hot oven.
Australian-grown choy sum really comes into its own in June, readily available at affordable prices. “I’d quite happily have just this and a bowl of rice for dinner any day,” writes Ottolenghi of this simple, quick-to-cook recipe. “It’s all about the crunch and colour of the greens – you want them fresh and vibrant – so take care not to overcook them.”
Australian-grown chestnuts come into season in autumn, and are available throughout the winter months. This recipe calls for chestnuts that are peeled, precooked and vacuum packed, which are widely available online from several Australian producers.
As for the poussin, in Australia, these little chooks are more commonly sold as spatchcock. Ottolenghi writes: “I like to serve each portion of stuffing with one little chicken, but it works just as well in a regular-sized chicken.”
Cooking this dish requires a bit of preplanning, with the chickens ideally sitting in their warming spice rub overnight.
Scallops are in season throughout the winter months in Australia, with the Good Fish Guide recommending dive-caught queen scallops from South Australia and dive-caught commercial scallops from Port Phillip Bay in Victoria as sustainable choices.
Here, their sweet-savoury taste is enhanced with winter peas and Chinese sausage, which is available in many Australian supermarkets, online and from Asian grocers. The sausage “is sweet, rich and enticingly smoky”, writes Ottolenghi. “I add it to steamed rice with strips of omelette and a few baby veg stir-fried with soy. Here, it adds zest to mellow, creamy scallops.”
May marks the return of Australia’s most smashable avocado variety – the Hass. This Venezuelan-inspired dish is a perfect showcase for the creamy avocado.
This recipe calls for white corn masarepa flour, which is most easily obtained online in Australia. “Don’t confuse it with masa harina,” warns Ottolenghi. Masa harina “is corn treated with lime to remove the germ and outer lining before being ground”, which gives it “an altogether different flavour and texture”.
“If you’re wary of the idea of cooked kohlrabi, this is the recipe to win you over,” says Ottolenghi. “When roasted, kohlrabi becomes a wonderfully sweet and caramelised version of itself, and goes brilliantly with the tomatoes, chilli and garlic in this dish.”
Wild-caught Spanish mackerel is considered a “better choice” by the Good Fish Guide. Here, the fish is served with seasonal Jerusalem artichokes, which Ottolenghi says “have a great affinity with nuts. I love them with chopped walnuts or almonds, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and plenty of olive oil.”
Thanks to Queensland’s warm climate, strawberries, considered a summer fruit in the rest of the world, are available and affordable well into winter in Australia.
Of this pretty tart, Ottolenghi writes: “You can make the cream a day ahead and keep in the fridge, but don’t get ahead with the strawberries: they’ll go too soft if left to sit around for more than three hours.”