edited by Sue Courtney
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Yummy Fresh Summer Food
This has been such a great summer so far and the fruit is just so fantastic. My personal taste highlight has been the black cherries, which first started appearing in the Auckland shops just before Christmas and have continued in supply throughout January. Each time I go to the markets the prices of Marlborough and Central Otago grown fruit have reduced. They started out at $19.95 a kilo before Christmas and now they are just $9.95. Although the price has reduced, the size of the fruit has not. They seem to be getting bigger and bigger – a change in variety, I guess. I have to restrain myself from eating them all before I get home.
Strawberries have also been fantastic this summer. With a mostly dry January there has been none of the mushy ones that go off before you get home, just lovely succulent fruit that tastes a treat on its own or lightly pan-fried in a little liqueur. And lastly the white nectarines – beautifully juicy fruit that dribbles down your chin as you eat it. I do not have a recipe for the nectarines – they were just so delicious on their own. Or try a juicy white with a glass of the brand new release Melness Canterbury Riesling 2003 served slightly chilled – I swear the taste of white nectarines are in this wine.
The other great thing about summer food is the fresh garden vegetables, the new potatoes, the vine-ripened tomatoes, the abundant cucumbers, the colourful capsicums and the fabulous summer herbs. It's almost diet inducing knowing how sweet these fresh vegetables are going to be.
This month's recipes include* Roasted Cherries
* Rich Tomato, Basil and Capsicum Soup
* Roast Summer Veges with Tomato Sauce
* Potato Caesar Salad
* Syrupy Strawberries
You will need –
1 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of orange liqueur
Sprigs of fresh thyme, lemon thyme if you have it.
Mix together the balsamic vinegar and the orange liqueur. Add the cherries and mix around in the liquid so each cherry is completely coated.
You will need
- 4 good sized tomatoes
- 1 red capsicum
- 1 red onion
- several cloves of whole unpeeled garlic
- Several sprigs of basil, with several leaves on each sprig
- Olive oil
- Salt Pepper
- 1 cup of water
Wash and halve the tomatoes.
Roast Summer Veges with Tomato Sauce
For two persons allow at least
- 2 red capsicums
- 2 yellow capsicums
- 1 small long egg plant (I used the light purple eggplant)
- a dozen beans
- 6 spears of asparagus
- 1 courgette or 4 slices of marrow
- 1 red onion
- 6 small flat mushrooms
- a handful of basil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- some ham or prosciutto
- olive oil
- a knob of butter and a splash more of olive oil
Halve the tomatoes and capsicums, diagonally slice the eggplant and the courgette into thickish (1cm) strips, top and tail the beans, break the hard bit off the bottom of the asparagus spears, peel and quarter or eighth the onion, finely chop the garlic, coarsely chop the basil.
Lightly oil the bottom of a large, flat-based ovenproof dish. Into this place the tomatoes and capsicum cut side up and add the rest of the vegetables except the beans, asparagus and mushrooms.
Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little sugar. Drizzle olive oil over all the vegetables and turn the eggplant and the courgette (marrow) slices so they are well covered. Add seasonings – ground black pepper and salt, and sprinkle over the finely sliced garlic and the basil. Place the dish in an oven and bake at about 200?C with the fan on for about 30 minutes.
Fill a frying pan to about half its capacity with water and bring to the boil, add the asparagus and beans and cook for 1 minute then drain and refresh the greens in cold water. Now chop the beans in half and wrap thin slices of ham or prosciutto around each piece of asparagus. Dry the pan.
About 5 minutes before the oven veges are ready, melt a little butter and oil in the pan. Add the flat mushrooms, the meat-wrapped asparagus and the beans and cook for a few minutes stirring or turning as necessary. Remove and add to the oven roasted veges, which you have now taken out of the oven.
Heat your tomato sauce in the frying pan. You can use either homemade or packaged. I like the Dolmio Stir-In Tomato and Sweet Pepper Sauce, which comes in a 150g package (I notice that products on the flashy Dolmio website, vary from country to country). Tip this into the pan and add an equal quantity of water. Stir together and heat just to boiling. Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the oven pan and serve immediately.
To serve this dish as a side dish to accompany a main course, I recommend that the vegetables be chopped into smaller pieces after cooking and before adding the tomato sauce. This recipe will serve 2 people foe a main course or 4 to 6 people as a main meal accompaniment.
Potato Caesar Salad
You will need
- Generous amounts of basil and parsley
- 2 or 2 spring onions
- 4 to 5 radishes
- 1/2 cup of Caesar Dressing
- 1 Cos lettuce
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Cherry Tomatoes
Scrub the potatoes, peel if you wish and cut into cubes about 1.5cm to 2cm squares. Boil until just 'al dente' to the bite.
This salad is just terrific with Pinot Gris while it also goes well with Sauvignon Blanc.
You will need
- A small knob of butter
- 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur
- A box of matches or other lighting mechanism
Remove the greenery from the strawberries. Quarter each berry lengthways.
Melt a tiny bit of butter in a non-stick pan, just enough to start the strawberries off when you throw them in the pan. Shake the pan as you cook, as you want the strawberries to keep some form, rather than starting to disintegrate.
Sue Courtney's recipes are all original creations unless otherwise stated. Recipes are inspired by the season and by the wine matches.
Kia pai te kai
© Sue Courtney
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