Now that autumn is upon us, we not only see a shift in temperature, but an abundance of new seasonal produce in our supermarkets and green grocers. Whether it’s perfectly ripe fruits or bold and beautiful vegetables, there’s surely something to warm your soul and tickle your tastebuds as the cooler weather starts to settle in.
Here’s our pick of the best autumn produce to add to your grocery list.
Pears are one of the most prominent fruits on the autumn produce calendar and one of the most versatile, too. If you’re looking for a way to make a salad sing, then try pear, parmesan and rocket for something light and tangy, or baked pear salad with bacon and walnuts, or even pear and haloumi. If you’re wondering how you can use pear alongside protein, the most harmonious pairing is with pork – it really is a match made in heaven. Pears are also a great accompaniment in an autumn dessert. On the sweet side of things, try poached pears in a chocolate custard tart, a pear and berry crumble, caramelised pears, or a pear and macadamia tart.
- Pancetta-wrapped roast pork with pear and fennel – One Pan Perfect, Donna Hay
- Precious pear tart with almond frangipane and ginger nut crust – Together, Jamie Oliver
Alongside pears, figs are synonymous with autumn cooking and go with just about anything. A sweet fig paired with something savoury is a stunning flavour combination – on top of a pizza with gorgonzola cheese or grilled and put in a salad with blue cheese, walnuts and prosciutto, creating a beautifully creamy, sweet and salty fusion. Figs also shine in main dishes – think baked chicken with caramelised figs or a fig and hazelnut stuffing with roast pork. Come dessert time, anything fig and almond is an absolute hit. Some of the tastiest and most popular dishes are honey-fried fig and almond tart, burnt fig jam and almond cake, or dried fig and blanched almond biscotti.
- Fig and fennel bread – The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen
- Braised beef with dried figs and quickpickled cabbage – The Milk Street Cookbook, Christopher Kimball
“So no matter your palate, you’re likely to find something that appeals.”
Photography by Nathalie Jolie
Pumpkin is arguably the unsung hero vegetable in autumn cooking that certainly doesn’t have to end up in a soup. This seasonal classic can shine in so many ways, whether it’s a creamy pumpkin sage pasta dish or as a base for risotto, or roasted with other vegetables such as beetroots, carrots and fennel then put in a salad with beef and quinoa, or goats cheese, pine nuts and a zesty citrus dressing. For the seafood lovers, pairing pumpkin and roasted leeks with ling fillets (or other thick, firm white fish) is absolutely divine, and will be sure to brighten up any autumn night. Although mostly used in savoury dishes, pumpkin’s sweetness is also a great partner in a decadent dessert, including favourites such as burnt pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spiced doughnuts, pumpkin scones and the classic pumpkin pie.
- Pumpkin and cardamom breakfast loaf – Australian Food, Bill Granger
- Unstuffed pasta shells with butternut pumpkin – The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen
- Pumpkin and pine nut tart – Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple: A New Way to Bake Gluten-Free, Aran Goyoaga
- Pumpkin and wattleseed damper – Mabu: An Australian Kitchen Cookbook, Nornie Bero
When it comes to olives, there’s more to this fruit than just antipasto platters, pizza toppings and a lonely martini garnish. There are over2,000 varieties of olives in the world, from golden yellow, green, dark purple and rich black, and lucky for you, autumn is when they are in their prime. Olives can be strong or mild, salty or vegetal, spicy or slightly bitter, or buttery or nutty, so depending on your palate, you’re likely to find something that appeals. For some soul-warming cooking ideas this autumn, think spaghetti alla puttanesca with pitted black olives, baked whole flounder with herby olives and zesty lemon, or chicken with feta and green Sicilian olives. These delicious little fruit salso pack a flavourful punch in baking, so don’t be afraid to throw some into a bread or focaccia mix with a sprig of rosemary, or make a smooth olive tapenade and spread it over fresh bruschetta or crispy crostini.
- Cauliflower stew with olives, zingy lemon, fresh tomatoes, new potatoes and peas – Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone, Jamie Oliver
- Lemon, green olive and butter bean chicken – Everyday Fresh by Donna Hay
Thought to be one of the oldest fruits on the planet, pomegranates are much more versatile than you might think. If you want to add an incredible flavour pop to your meals then use the fresh fruit with lamb, couscous, pistachios, yoghurt, pumpkin, cauliflower, halloumi or grilled white fish. Pomegranate can be made into a sweet, sticky molasses that can be added to almost any recipe to intensify other flavours. Some popular uses for this rich syrup can be drizzled over hummus, mixed with your favourite salad dressing for a lovely tart sweetness, or brushed onto chicken, carrots or cauliflower to create a tasty glaze.
- Roast cauliflower with pomegranate with ajo blanco and curry leaf oil – Australian Food, Bill Granger
- Dukkah roast chicken with warm pomegranate gravy dressing – Together, Jamie Oliver