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Autumn End
© Sue Courtney
25 May 2003

We're on the cusp of winter but the garden still provides with tasty fruits and herbs to brighten up the cooling days.

This month's recipes are
- Mountain Paw Paw Salsa
- Sage and Honey Chicken in a Self Saucing Sauce
- Mother's Day Fruit Salad

Mountain Pawpaw Salsa
The light yellow coloured Mountain Pawpaws are somewhat of an exotic fruit with the botanical name Carica pubescens. Elsewhere in the world they are known as Highland Papayas and Chamburo. They grow well in the north of New Zealand, fruiting from about March to June. The bright, five-sided yellow fruit can be eaten raw, the spicy seeds scooped out like passionfruit. Some people discard the seeds and eat only the thick chewy flesh. I use everything, even the skin is edible - sometimes it just looks grotty where the fruit has fallen onto the ground. Just cut those yucky bits out.

For the Mountain Pawpaw Salsa you will need:
- 1 mountain pawpaw, peeled
- 1/2 small red onion, very finely sliced then chopped
- few leaves of fresh basil, very finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients and place in fridge for an hour before serving.

Serve with pan-fried white fish fillets such as Gurnard or snapper. It also goes with grilled pork chops.
Sometimes when I drink chardonnay after eating Moutain Pawpaw, I am reminded of the flavour of the fruit. So Chardonnay is the wine I recommend for this dish, a Chardonnay such as this one.....
Mystery Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2001 warm leesy characters, rich and mouthfilling without being overpowering. Nice and toasty with flavours pears, melons and a touch of exotic fruit - what is it - perhaps mountain pawpaws with those thick, chewy skins.

Mountain Pawpaw is related to Babaco - this could be used as an alternative to the Mountain Pawpaw.

To learn more about the Mountain Pawpaw, go to

Sage and Honey Chicken in a self-saucing wine sauce
The pineapple sage plant has gone berserk. The stems of trumpeted red flowers stand proudly aloft the plush green bush - they're a delight to see and smell. And the pretty flowers are also a delight to eat. Filled with a honey-like nectar, they're sweet and delicate. Pineapple sage is one of my favourite cooking herbs for its sweet herb and tropical fruit flavour.

For this recipe you will need
- 2 skinless chicken breasts - tenderloins removed
- 2 cups of white wine such as pinot gris, riesling or gewurztraminer - or a combo of leftovers - I used 1/2 cup gewurztraminer, 1/2 cup of pinot gris and 1/2 cup each of 2 different rieslings. Unoaked wine is preferable.
- A handful of pineapple sage leaves
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon mild flavoured honey such as Pohutukawa (North Island) or Viper's Bugloss (South Island)
- 1/3 cup flour (approx.)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 2 sprigs of pineapple sage flowers

Combine wine, sage leaves, honey and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce by half. Put aside.
Grind the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle.
Put flour onto a flat plate, add salt pepper and ground fennel and combine.
Roll the washed and dried chicken breasts in the flour mixture to fully coat them..
Heat the oil and butter in a non stick frying pan, add the floured chicken breasts Cook 2-3 minutes each side to brown.

Pour the wine reduction over and cover pan.
Cook until the breasts are cooked right through - turning once or twice.
As they cook the sauce will thicken from the flour that the chicken was rolled in.

When cooked, place one breast on each place and pour remaining sauce equally over each breast.
Garnish each breast with a sprig of the bright red pineapple sage flowers.

Serve with white potatoes and green beans (or whatever green takes your fancy) for contrast.

Note: I use grapeseed oil in preference of olive because the flavour of the grapeseed oil is mild and complimentary to the dish.

Wines: This is delicious when accompanied with a pinot gris that has slightly sweet herbaceous flavours, or with a light slightly tropical fruited chardonnay.

Recommended wine accompaniments include:
- Framingham Marlborough Pinot Gris 2002
- Neudorf Moutere Pinot Gris 2002
- Pencarrow Martinborough Chardonnay 2002

For the cooking a couple of cheap options include:
- Corbans Pinot Gris
- Banrock Station Semillon Chardonnay or Unwooded Chardonnay

Mother's Day Fruit Salad
It's the end of Autumn and winter store fruits abound. This fruit salad is ideal for breakfast as well as at the end of dinner.

For this fruit salad you will need
- Fresh autumn fruits such as Tamarillo, Passionfruit, Persimmon, Apples, Pears, Bananas, Kiwifruit and Mandarins
- Greek-style Yoghurt - either Homemade or purchased
- Thick 'Berry Delight' fruit drink, purchased from the supermarket or dairy

Prepare the fruit, slicing the peeled persimmon, pears and apples about 2-4mm thick. Place in a bowl. Add the sliced bananas. Scoop out the tamarillo and passionfruit seeds and add, then squeeze the mandarins over the fruit. Sprinkle a little castor sugar over too.
To serve, place a large scoop of fruit salad into a plate, top with Greek Yoghurt and pour about 1/4 cup of Berry Delight Fruit Juice on top of the white yoghurt.

Kia pai te kai

© Sue Courtney
May 2003

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