Autumn's here and with it comes the perfect opportunity for cosy nights indoors and comfort food. And though you may think your favourite dishes are beyond improvement you might just be wrong. Read on for some unusual tips to help make your favourite comfort foods even better.
As we relegate the citronella candles to the back cupboard and cleanse the barbie of summer's lovely drippings, we feel the breath of autumn advance. Goodbye to balmy nights, sausage sizzles and backyard entertaining hello to autumn with its tantalising array of heart-warming fare.
And although stews, pies, casseroles and crumbles may remain eternal favourites in a season where home entertaining can be at its cosiest, there are many tricks to improving conventional recipes, bestowing a new wave of appreciation upon guests at your table.
1. Enhance roast meats with fruit
What: Spice or sweeten roast meat with baked fruit.
How: Add fruit to any roast for a whole new taste dimension. Use lemons, oranges, rhubarb or berries (anything you fancy!). The simplest way to incorporate this tip is to stuff an orange or lemon inside a chook. For a more complicated technique, make a fruit sauce accompaniment.
Slow-roasted turkey with cranberry pecan seasoning.
2. Give a twist to lasagne or spaghetti with vegetables, sugar or vegemite
What: Lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise are all-time favourites. To make them even better simply add a seasonal ingredient and your choice of either sugar or vegemite to your meat sauce.
How: Pending your palate, use sugar or vegemite to add a sweet or savoury highlight to your meat sauce. Adding a seasonal vegetable can also inject something new and surprising.
Recipe example: Beef and silver beet lasagne (with sugar).
3. Enhance savoury pies with new ingredients
What: Add tantalising flavours to conventional family pies with some unusual ingredients.
How: Depending on your pie's filling, add a secret ingredient to bring out the flavour. Try chilli for beef pies, honey for chicken pies and lemon/lime and herbs for fish pies.
Recipe example: Aussie beef and oyster pie.
4. Infuse meats with unlikely flavours
Tip: For meat-based recipes including pan fried dishes, casseroles or stews, experiment with flavours.
How: Add whisky, balsamic vinegar, vanilla or maple syrup.
Recipe example: Barbecued poussin in orange and maple with caramelised witlof.
What: We all know fruit is a more nutritious dessert choice than creamy pies and sugary cakes. It's just that (to many of us) fruit doesn't feel very appetising when what we want is decadence until now.
How: Simply poach fruit (pears, peaches, strawberries even rhubarb) and serve with a tantalising accompaniment such as clotted crème or caramel sauce. It's fruit and it's fabulous! For increased decadence, add some champagne to your poaching broth!
Recipe example: Poached pear filled with cremeux chocolat du poire.
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