March 6, 2015

Summer is slipping away and we’re warming up to the idea of oven-baked dishes. Resident star chef and pickling queen Julie Sullivan gives us some fresh food ideas for autumn – and some delicious seafood tips for Easter.

Nothing beats a veggie pie
As the weather cools I think of recipes that will cook quickly in the oven, such as vegetable flans and quiches. Adding four whisked eggs and a cup of cream or yoghurt to just about any combination of ingredients will create a wonderful dish.

Grow your greens, plant your pumpkins
Snow peas, which should be planted in March, are such a versatile vegetable and the kids will pick and eat them before you know it. My garden will also be full of herbs and fast-growing greens – I really love mixed lettuce and bok choy in particular. It’s also the time to plant pumpkins. They’re very satisfying to grow and they’ll last throughout the winter, when they are great for soup, scones and baking.

Crisp apples and juicy pears
During autumn, families can pick apples and pears in Bilpin and, for a short time, chestnuts and walnuts in Mt Irvine. Check the Hawkesbury Harvest website for dates and details: www.hawkesburyharvest.com.au.

Fish for an Easter feast
I know lots of people prefer to eat seafood at Easter. When selecting your fish, it goes without saying that it must smell fresh. If you’re buying a whole fish, look for one with clear bulging eyes and bright red gills. Remove your seafood from its plastic bags as soon as you get home and wrap it loosely on plates so that air can circulate around it.

Make it a sumptuous Sunday
On Easter Sunday, we love a creamy fish pie with crispy garlic bread. Both can be prepared the day before. Simply make a white parsley sauce, add steamed fish and mixed vegetables, and top with mashed potato and grated cheese. On the day just pop it in a moderate oven until heated through, and serve with a salad and the garlic bread.

Zesty autumn jams and pickles
Citrus fruit will be at its best around May, so look out for my Orange Marmalade, Lime and Ginger Jam, and Indian Lime Pickles at Windsor Mall Markets. Don’t tell anyone,
but I should have my Fresh Fig Jam on the stall as well – shhh!

Julie sells her jams and pickles at the Windsor Mall Markets on the second, fourth and fifth Sunday of each month. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/julieskitchenmadewithlove.

Expect more at Vermont

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