In season

June 23

In now: Leeks are in peak supply and so are a briefly affordable alternative for those who cry buckets whenever a dish calls for diced onion. But they also star on their own. Try them braised until silky soft in olive oil, white wine, garlic and thyme.

At its best: Radicchio is one of the chicory family members that prefers growing in the cooler months. Try it now fresh in salads.  Or if the oven’s on, quarter the head, drizzle the pieces with olive oil and roast until browned on top, and soft all the way through. Drizzle caramelised balsamic or vincotto over  for a sweet-bitter-nutty effect. Pair with hot roasted beetroots, walnuts and dolce latte.

Best buy: And while we are celebrating bitter, the West Australian ruby grapefruit are a bargain. In her new book Bitter one of my favourite food writers, Jennifer McLagan, has a recipe for a grapefruit curd to serve as is, pile into tart cases or balance the sweetness atop a pavlova. It’s on my to-do list.

In the vegie patch: Sow another patch of beetroot. Use the leaves of thinned seedlings in salads.

What else:

  • hothouse grown eggplant is glossy and perfect; fieldgrown is often scratched but comes in at a bargain price and tastes just as good.
  • cumquats are available, but not widely. Jam makers should ask their greengrocer to get them in.
  • the early red-fleshed navel oranges are appearing. Don’t be fooled, these aren’t blood oranges.
  • how good is the rhubarb!

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