4 Bites: Dinner from the autumn garden
Warren Elwin dishes up tasty ways with late-summer produce.
For what to plant and harvest now, see Sarah O'Neil's guide to the cook's autumn garden.
Tomato and watermelon salad
- Blitz together ¼ cup tarragon (or cider) vinegar with 1 small green chilli (optional), the zest and juice of 1 orange, 1 tsp sugar, a good grind of black pepper and a generous pour of olive oil. Pour over 1 finely sliced red onion and leave to pickle for at least 30 minutes.
- Cut a medley of tomatoes into large chunks. Add the same amount of watermelon chunks, the pickled onion and a handful of fresh basil and mint leaves. Give the onion pickling liquid a whisk and use to dress the salad.
Autumn vegetable shepherd’s pie
- Peel and evenly chop 1 large agria potato, 1 kumara and 2 parsnips. Boil in salty water until tender, drain, add a large dollop of sour cream or butter and mash until smooth. Season to taste.
- Gently fry 1 onion, 2 stalks celery and 2 coloured capsicums (all chopped), 5 cloves crushed garlic and a large knob of grated ginger until soft. Add ½ eggplant, 2 courgettes, 6 brussels sprouts and 100g shiitake mushrooms (all evenly chopped), 1-2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cayenne, a bunch of chopped thyme leaves and 3 bay leaves and cook until just tender. Stir in ¼ cup cornmeal flour. Add 1 can black eyed peas (or other canned legume) including the brine, 1 cup stock and the kernels from 1 corn cob. Simmer, stirring often, until liquid reduces and thickens. Season with lemon juice and chopped coriander. Remove bay leaves.
- Spoon the vegetable mix into a baking dish and cover with the mash. Top with cheese and breadcrumbs and bake until golden and bubbling.
Quick autumn pickle
- Finely slice 1 large cucumber, 1 peeled apple cucumber and 2 courgettes. Toss in a bowl with 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp salt and chill for at least an hour.
- Drain off all the liquid, toss with a good splash of cider or tarragon vinegar and serve as a crunchy side dish.
Roasted sausages and tomatoes
- In a roasting dish, toss 3 cups halved cherry tomatoes with 3 cloves crushed garlic, a small handful of chopped herbs, the zest and juice of ½ lemon, a good pour of your favourite vinegar and olive oil and salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Top with 6-8 sausages and bake or grill in a hot oven, turning sausages often so they brown evenly, and stirring the tomatoes until they are creamy. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread.