Produce aplenty

ONE of my favourite things about this time of year is the wealth of produce in season. Hearty vegetables like pumpkin and parsnips and fresh fruits such as ripe tomatoes and sweet figs are in abundance - and they're cheap.

Warm roasted pumpkin and cherry tomato salad


 400g diced pumpkin  

 half punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved  

 50g pine nuts, toasted  

 shaved parmesan  

 100g rocket  

 100g baby spinach  

 balsamic vinegar  

 olive oil.

METHOD: Roast pumpkin at 180c for 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Mix the rocket, spinach, pine nuts, splash of balsamic and olive oil, then add the pumpkin. Finish with shaved parmesan. Serves 2-4

Green beans, almonds and mustard vinaigrette


 400g green beans, trimmed  

 juice 1 lemon  

  1/4 cup olive oil  

 1 tsp garlic, crushed  

 1 tsp wholegrain mustard  

  1/4 tsp sugar  

 80g slivered almonds  

 salt and pepper.

METHOD: Blanch beans in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain. In a bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, mustard and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Dress beans with dressing and garnish with almonds. Serves 4.

Parsnip and fennel puree


 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced  

 1 desiree potato, peeled and diced  

  1/2 fennel bulb  

 1 shallot onion, diced finely  

 1 cup water  

 1 tbs unsalted butter  

 1 cup vegetable stock  

 1 tbs creme fraiche  

 salt and pepper.

METHOD: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter then add onion and fennel. Season and cook for 20 minutes. Add remaining vegetables, water and stock and bring to the boil for further 20 minutes. Drain and puree, adding creme fraiche or more butter as desired.

Caramelised balsamic beets


 8-10 baby beetroots  

 3 tbs balsamic vinegar  

 2 tbs olive oil  

 2 tbs brown sugar  

 80g fetta  

 2 tbs toasted walnuts.

METHOD: Peel beetroots, then combine with balsamic vinegar, oil and sugar in a bowl. Place on a lined pan and bake in the oven at 220 degrees for 40 minutes or until tender. Serve with crumbled feta and toasted walnuts.

Roast sweet potato, fig and goat's cheese pizzas


 2 pita pockets or small pizza bases  

 1 tbs olive oil  

 2 tsp garlic  

 280g sweet potato, thinly sliced  

 2 figs, cut into small wedges  

 1 small red onion  

 100g goat's cheese, crumbled  

 1 tbs pine nuts  

 1 cup mozzarella  

 1 tsp rosemary  

 1 tbs lemon juice  

 rocket to serve.

METHOD: Place bases on a lined tray. Combine oil, garlic and rosemary. Coat sweet potato, onion and figs in mixture and place evenly on bases. Sprinkle with cheeses and nuts. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees. Garnish with lemon juice and rocket.

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