Autumnal flavours to the fore

Chef Bevan Smith shares some tasty recipes you can make in minutes this autumn.

Easter has come and gone in a blur, with people heading in all directions over the long weekend.

Whether it was to be part of the Ed Sheeran mania in Dunedin, catching the action at Warbirds Over Wanaka or just to get away for a few days and catch up with friends, life is good.

Equally good, is pork and herb rillette, a favourite of mine over the years that still hits the spot.

I like to keep a stash on hand in the fridge for unexpected visitors, quickfire lunches and late-night snacks. All you need is toast and pickles and you are away laughing.

For another meal in minutes, I can't go past seared squid with tamarind and roast peanuts.

Squid is an under-utilised product that I think New Zealand does well. I prefer to use the smallest tubes available and clean the whole squid as I find the end product is better, despite getting a bit messy.

Lashed with tamarind dressing and Asian greens, it's a real treat to look forward to and it's perfect for year-round entertaining.

Finally, toffee apple crumble cake is a fitting homage to the changing seasons. Apples, frangipane, caramel and crumble topping, this is a cake that delivers the goods on all fronts.

Happy cooking.

Pork and herb rillette. Photos Emma Willetts
Pork and herb rillette. Photos Emma Willetts

Pork and herb rillette

Makes 1kg rillette

1.2kg fresh pork shoulder

2 tsp fennel seeds, roasted

2 pinch chilli flakes

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, peeled

50ml olive oil

1 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 cup gherkins, finely chopped

¾ cup capers, rinsed well and finely chopped

2 small red onions, finely chopped

salt and pepper


Heat oven to 200degC.

Score pork skin with a sharp knife and place on an oven tray. Using a pestle and mortar crush fennel seeds, chilli flakes and salt. Add garlic and grind to a fine paste. Add olive oil and gently combine. Rub the mixture into the skin and flesh of the pork and roast for 30 minutes.

Remove pork from oven and reduce heat to 150degC. Cover pork with tin foil and return to the oven for a further 2 hours or until the meat falls apart easily.

Allow to cool completely.

Remove skin and any excess solid fat, saving any cooking juices and liquid fat. Shred pork with your fingers and place in a bowl. Add cooking juices and half the rendered pork fat. Add parsley, gherkins, capers and red onion and mix together well.

Adjust seasoning and press into a terrine mould or an airtight container. Tip the remaining liquid fat on the top of the rillette to seal. Rillette will keep for several weeks if unexposed to the air and for a week after the fat seal has been broken.

Serve with baby gherkins, salad greens and toasted ciabatta.

Serves 4

Seared squid with tamarind and roast peanuts.
Seared squid with tamarind and roast peanuts.
Seared squid with tamarind and roast peanuts

500g squid tubes

50ml vegetable oil

¼ red onion, finely sliced

1 cup coriander, washed and picked

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1 cup mint, washed and picked

2 cups green cabbage, finely sliced

1 cup tamarind dressing (dee below)

½ cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped or crushed

½ cup deep fried shallots

Tamarind dressing

Makes 1 cup

½ tsp shrimp paste

2cm knob ginger, peeled and finely sliced

¼ tsp salt

2 Tbsp desiccated coconut, toasted

1 Tbsp peanuts, blanched and roasted

¼ scant tsp crushed chilli flakes

1 cup palm sugar, crushed

¾ cup water

3 Tbsp fish sauce

½ cup tamarind water


Slice squid tubes in half, remove any internal membranes and score diagonally along the inner sides. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl and lightly toss together. In batches, heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a very high heat and cook squid quickly, scored-side down, for 1 minute. Turn squid over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Remove from pan and reserve for use.

Once squid is cooked, add to salad with half the tamarind dressing and gently toss together.

Divide between 4 plates and finish with remaining dressing, peanuts and shallots.

Serve immediately.

Tamarind dressing

Heat oven to 200degC. Wrap shrimp paste in a small piece of aluminium foil and place on a small oven tray with the ginger and roast for 5-10 minutes or until shrimp paste becomes quite fragrant. (Wrapping shrimp paste in foil will prevent it from burning as it roasts.)

Remove from oven and place in a mortar or food processor with salt, coconut, peanuts and chillies and grind to a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, place palm sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved and the liquid starts to thicken. Add the paste and simmer on a medium heat until aromas of the paste are released.

Add fish sauce and tamarind and simmer for a further minute before removing from heat. Allow to cool and adjust seasoning with a little more fish sauce if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Toffee apple crumble cake.
Toffee apple crumble cake.
Toffee apple crumble cake

8 medium-sized tart apples

1 can condensed milk caramel

sweet short crust pastry (see below)

frangipane (see below)

crumble topping mix (see below)

Sweet short crust pastry

Makes 1 28cm pastry case

175g unsalted butter, room temperature

75g icing sugar

2 free-range egg yolks

250g plain flour

1 Tbsp cold water


125g unsalted butter

125g caster sugar

125g almonds, ground

2 free-range eggs

½ tsp vanilla essence

25g plain flour

Crumble topping

150g cold unsalted butter, cubed

3 cups rolled oats

½ cup soft brown sugar

½ cup desiccated coconut

¼ cup plain flour

dash vanilla essence

1 tsp ground cinnamon


Heat oven to 170degC. Remove dough from refrigerator, allow to soften until at room temperature.

Meanwhile cook the apples in a small pot with a quarter cup of sugar and a dash of lemon juice, until the apples begin to soften. Cool apples on a large flat oven tray before using.

Flatten dough with the palm of your hand before rolling out further with a rolling pin to 2-3mm thick, between two pieces of baking paper lightly dusted with flour.

Remove the top piece of baking paper and place the pastry sheet on a baking tray. Place a large baking or cake ring on top of the pastry. Grease the sides with canola spray and line with a thin piece of baking paper. Spoon frangipane out to cover the pastry.

Next, cover with cooked, cooled apples and spoon the condensed milk caramel over the top.

Cover with crumble mix and bake for 1 to 2 hours until golden brown and until the frangipane is set at the bottom of the cake. Check this by inserting a knife into the cake. If the frangipane appears liquid, it needs to be cooked further.

Once cooked, remove cake from oven and allow to cool for an hour before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Sweet short crust pastry

Place all ingredients in a mixing machine bowl and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the pastry comes together to form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use for up to one month.


Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat briefly until well combined.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks until ready to use.

Crumble topping

Place butter, oats, sugar, coconut and flour in a mixing machine bowl with a paddle attachment and on low speed, mix until the butter has rubbed into the other ingredients and has started to come together in small crumbly lumps.

Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix to combine. Set to one side until ready to use for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

 - Chef, restaurateur, author and father of two, Bevan Smith is the owner of the award-winning Riverstone Kitchen, north of Oamaru. His life revolves around food. Sharing that passion is central to his philosophy that all people should and can eat well.



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