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Autumn Inspirations
© Sue Courtney - text and photos
31 May 2002

April and May were busy. I didn't have too much time to experiment in the kitchen. But then the invitation came to a dinner buffet party where the request was 'Bring a salad'. It was early May. Although there were still plenty of traditional salad ingredients still available, I thought I'd like to take something different. I remembered the pumpkin and bean salad that was served at St Leonards Winery in N.E. Victoria, Australia. 'Now that's idea', I thought. That salad had pumpkin and green beans and I can't remember what else. So pumpkin and green beans became the base for this colourful autumn salad.

Pumpkin, pinenut, bacon and green bean salad
Take half a pumpkin - the orange-fleshed grey-skinned 'crown' pumpkin variety.
1/2 cup frozen whole baby beans
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice - you can buy it freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon whole seed honey mustard
4 rashers of streaky bacon
1/2 cup pinenuts

Cut pumpkin into chunky pieces and peel.
Microwave in a little water until just tender 3-4 minutes (or you could boil if you have to).
Remove and now cut into bite-sized cubes.

Into the remaining liquid place the beans and microwave for a couple of minutes until tender. Remove to cool. Discard liquid.

Pour the orange into a frying pan and turn on the heat. Add the honey and the whole grain mustard, stir to combine. Add the pumpkin cubes and toss continually in the liquid as it reduces to a glaze. When the liquid is all but evaporated, remove from heat and pour the glazed pumpkin into the serving bowl to cool.

Wipe out the pan and return it to the heat. Add the pinenuts, turning regularly to avoid burning. When starting to turn golden, remove and add to the pumpkin.

Cook the bacon under the grill until crispy. Put aside to cool, then cut into small pieces.

Cut the beans into about 2.5cm pieces.

Add the pinenuts, bacon and beans to the pumpkin. Toss to mix.

* * * * * * * *

Autumn time is the time for one of my favourite vegetables - the choko. I posted lots of recipes last year (see here) but always like to find new interesting ways to use this versatile vege/fruit.

Chicken with autumn vegetables - choko, courgette and baby bok choy
2 chicken thighs per person, bone in.
salt & pepper
1/2 to 1 cup of NZ sauvignon blanc
1 large choko, peeled and cut length-wise into about 12 pieces (cut into quarters and cut each quarter into three).
2 courgettes
2 'baby' bok choy - or chinese cabbage as it is sometimes called.
1 red, orange or yellow capsicum

Coat chicken breasts in seasoned flour and saute until golden in a buttered pan,
Remove chicken to a large casserole dish.
Deglaze the pan with sauvignon blanc, add a little at a time, to make a sauce to pour over the chicken.
To the chicken add the cut choko.
Then pour the sauce over.
Cover dish and bake in oven (180C) for half and hour.

Peel and diagonally slice the courgettes.
Slice the capsicum.
Cut green leaves from bok choy. Slice the white part of this vegetable.

Add the courgettes, capsicum and white part of bok choy. Stir into the casserole.
Lay the green leaves over the top.
Cover and return to oven for a further half hour's cooking.

To serve, place a couple of the bok choy leaves on each plate, place a piece of chicken on leach leave and spoon over the vegetables.

This is a totally contained meal in one. Vegetables or rice could be served alongside, if desired.

Best wine match - NZ sauvignon blanc is superb.

* * * * * * * *

Thank goodness for long lazy weekends and husbands who like to experiment occasionally. Neil came up with this creation using one of my favourite autumn fruits - tamarillos.

Neil's mini lamb roasts (for two)
Two lamb 'mini' roasts (these are cut from the rump and sold in some butchers and supermarkets as 'mini roasts'). You could also use lamb fillets.

Mix together -
1 tamarillo - -flesh scooped out and mushed up
1 teaspoon honey
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Masala wine

Marinate the lamb in the tamarillo mix for a couple of hours turning every so often.

Place lamb and marinade into small baking dish. Cover with paper.
Bake 25-35 minutes until lamb is cooked to required doneness, turning once and basting during cooking.

If liquid has accumulated from the lamb's juices, reduce on stove top.

Slice lamb and serve with sauce poured over the top.

Serve with Merlot

Bon Appetit

© Sue Courtney
31 May 2002.

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