In now: Queensland strawberry growers specialise in varieties developed for short but sunny days. They are fragrant and sweet and prices will drop as the season builds.
Going soon: The quinces won’t last much longer and are at their beautiful, scented best. I’m loving them poached not too sweet and not too soft, with creamy blue cheese, candied walnuts and salad leaves, including something bitter like endive or radicchio. Add some of the poaching liquid to your usual oil and vinegar dressing.
Best buy: Pears are valuable additions to the salad platter, whether sliced fresh, pan-fried in butter, or roasted. Packham, beurre bosc and Josephine are all easy to find.
In the vegie patch: Cover the brassica patch with fine netting to prevent white cabbage moths from laying eggs in the developing cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
- fennel adds a fresh kick to everything from roast chook to bolognaise
- loose leeks are a bargain this week
- add peeled beetroot chunks to a pan of chunked parsnips, swedes, carrots and pumpkin and roast with a scattering of rosemary
- add more veg. Latest figures from the ABS show almost none of us eat the amount of vegetables recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, though we are good on fruit. Try this quick quiz – how many serves of vegetables did you eat yesterday? A serve is half a cup of cook veg, half a potato or a cup of salad greens. If you’re a woman under 50 the answer should be five, add one more if you’re a man. I’m a vegetable lover, but yesterday I reckon I didn’t quite make it, foiled by my dining companions eating all the beans at dinner.