Seasonal & local

I always cook within the seasons and support our local producers.

It not only strengthens your community, but it keeps you up-to-date on what is growing and is in the peak of flavour. It's also more economical on your pocket.

Now that autumn has arrived and the array of vegetables has gone from succulent and vibrant to leafy, robust and comforting, I have included some different ideas with favourite go-to autumn vegetables.

Photos: Simon Lambert
Photos: Simon Lambert
Roast cabbage

Cabbage is one of our cheaper veges and one that can be transformed into so many dishes, whether you want to simply make a 'slaw, saute it with butter or turn it into a quick pickle.

It can be eaten raw, cooked, pickled and fermented and it will take on many flavours and can accompany many dishes. I have included this very simple and quick recipe. For some, this may be a new way to serve your cabbage.

Serves 6-8

1 medium green cabbage, cut into
2cm thick rounds
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fennel or caraway seeds
1 lemon, juice
pinch chilli flakes (optional)
sea salt flakes
cracked pepper

Heat the oven 200degC.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Put the oil in a bowl. Crush the fennel seeds and add to the oil. Squeeze in half the lemon, a pinch or two of chilli flakes and a little seasoning. Mix to combine.

Rub the oil mixture over the cabbage rounds and place in a single layer on the baking paper. Pour over any excess oil and give the cabbage a final sprinkle of sea salt.

Roast in the oven until the cabbage is tender and golden (40-45 minutes).

Serve hot with a little more lemon and any oily juices on the bottom of the pan.


Onion soup

Onion soup is often overlooked as people have a misconception as to how it will taste. When you cook onions for this long, they become naturally sweet and tender, and the soup will take on a beautiful flavour.

Serves 4-8

4 Tbsp butter
6 large onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
8 slices sourdough or good-quality bread thickly cut (1cm)
100g cheese, cheddar, gruyere or blue, grated
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
cracked black pepper

Heat the butter in a large heavy-based pot over a moderate heat.

Add the onions and garlic, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for at least an hour. You will need to watch the onions and stir from time to time as you don't want them to catch on the bottom. When the onions have softened and gone a lovely dark brown colour you are ready to add the vermouth/wine and vinegar.

The liquid will help dislodge any sediment on the bottom and really get the flavour going through the soup. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the stock.

Tie the herbs together with food safe twine and add to the pot.

Reduce the temperature to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 30-35 minutes or until the soup has reduce to about 8 cups. Remove the herbs and discard.

To make the cheese toast, simple cut the toast to fit the bowls, cover with cheese and cracked pepper.

Heat the oven to 190degC.

Place the soup bowl on an oven tray, divide the soup among the bowls, place the cheese on toast on top and bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden.


Broccoli and quinoa salad

Broccoli is always a go-to in my fridge, it can be simply steamed, sauteed or roasted and will go alongside any meal. Here I have turned it into a vibrant, light and nutritious salad, which fits in perfectly with our warmish days and cooling nights.

Serves 4-6

½ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 large head broccoli
2 Tbsp oil
3 spring onions, finely cut
⅓ cup almonds, roasted and roughly chopped
pinch chilli flakes (optional)
handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
12 mint leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1-2 lemons, juice
salt and cracked pepper

Bring a medium-sized pot with enough water to generously cover the quinoa to the boil. Add the quinoa. Stir occasionally and cook until the quinoa starts to sprout (15 minutes).

Remove from the heat, drain and spread on a tray to cool and dry out.

Roughly chop the broccoli into smallish pieces along with the stalks and place in a food processor, you may need to do this in 2 batches.

Pulse the broccoli until you have small crumb-like pieces. Continue until all the broccoli is done.

In a fry pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and gently fry the broccoli until just golden. Remove and add to a large mixing bowl.

Add the cooled quinoa, almonds, spring onions, chilli and herbs. Mix to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together the oil, juice of 1 lemon and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the salad and taste. Adjust seasoning and add a little more lemon juice if needed.



Pickled greens

I always like to have a jar of pickles/ferment in the fridge and am always looking at different ways to use my greens. I came across this idea and have fallen for the vinegar/spiced flavour it gives the greens. This is also great added to a salad or as a snack.

Makes 1 large jar

450g kale, mustard leaves, collard greens or turnip tops
2 cups water (filtered, if possible)
½ cup sugar (raw cane)
½ cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
2 tsp pure salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 dried chilli

Wash and spin-dry the greens and chop into largish pieces.

Combine the water, sugar, vinegar, salt and spices in a suitably-sized pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the greens and cook for 2 minutes.

Pack the greens into a sterilised jar and pour over the hot liquid. When cool, cover with a lid and refrigerate for for at least 2 days before eating.

Will keep for months in the fridge.

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