bare Seasons : September in the Southern Hemisphere

September brings the first of the years spring produce and the last of the winter. With plenty of seafood, vegetables, fruit and early spring lamb. The weather also means that more of us prefer to have lighter food and a desire to eat outdoors.

September Vegetables

The beginning of spring brings us lots of fresh new produce including beans of all shapes and sizes, asparagus, globe artichokes and lots more. It also means the last of the winter vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips and fennel.

Spring Beans: Broad beans, peas, sugar snaps, green beans, wing beans and snake beans are all good in September. Peas and broad beans are at their best at the beginning of spring as they are both small and sweet, a great change from those horrible frozen ones. Fresh peas lose their sweetness soon after being picked as the sugar quickly turns to starch. Take advantage of young broad beans that can be simply podded and eaten whole, larger broad beans you will need to de pod the beans and peel off the greyish outer skin. Peas and broad beans are best cooked briefly in boiling water and served hot or cold, delicious with mint and parsley or toss them with a little finely chopped bacon. When buying peas and broad beans in their pods buy peas at double the weight you need and broad beans at four times the weight needed de podded and skinned. Green, wing and snake beans are also good, serve them with lamb and seafood, or try them in stir-fries or tempura.

Herbs

Anyone who loves gardening will know that herbs are in season as they start to grow at a seemingly amazing rate in the Spring months. Fresh herbs add fresh and fragrant flavours an essential part to many dishes.

Asparagus: Green, purple and white asparagus are all good in September. White asparagus is considered a delicacy all over the world and is worth trying when you find it. Young thin asparagus spears are excellent when cooked in a little olive oil and garlic for a few minute and then simply tossed with a little lemon, tarragon and seasoning. Originally asparagus was known as Sparrowgrass this name came about from the original name "asparagus" being mispronounced. Asparagus at its freshest is best cooked simply, steamed or boiled until just cooked and dressed with a little butter, lemon and seasoning. Asparagus is delicious with eggs, try serving it with a homemade hollandaise sauce or poached eggs. It also makes an excellent soup and is mouth watering in a risotto or pasta dishes.

Also good this month: Try globe artichokes, deep fried in a light batter and served with lemon and creme fraiche; water chestnuts make an excellent accompaniment to a stir fry; cook zucchini slices in olive oil with garlic and toss with pasta, walnuts and gorgonzola. September brings the last of the years fennel (yummy in a gratin or barbecue with seafood), leeks, avocado and radicchio.

Fruit

The coming of Spring brings lots of berries and stone fruit and the last of the orchard fruit including apples and pears. Try making an upside down cake using peaches or cook them halved on the barbecue and serve with a good quality vanilla ice-cream. Mulberries make an excellent pie or crumble accompanied with apples, as do blueberries and young berries. Serve figs in a savoury salad with parma ham and rocket or try them deep fried in a sweet batter with ice-cream. Poach pears in red wine and serve with cheese or team them up with watercress and finely sliced pan fried or smoked duck breast with a little dressing of seeded mustard, honey, olive oil and white wine vinaigrette.

Also Good: Honey dew melon, rough leaf pineapple, red paw paw, loquats, rambutan, mangoes, lychee, bananas and nectarines are all good. While September means the last of cape gooseberries, custard apples and blood oranges. Blood oranges season is short so use them while you can, they make a delicious orange juice or try making a curd tart with them.

Meat

September brings early spring lamb and kid. Make the most of the tender lambby enjoying rare roasted legs and racks of lamb and quick to cook lamb cutlets (why not try cooking them on the barbecue). Our site includes plenty of delicious recipes for you to try in and outdoors.

Seafood

This month brings plenty of seafood including crustaceans, scallops, reef fish, and john dory. For me this means excellent alfresco food.

Crustaceans: Moreton Bay bugs, spanner crabs and yabbies are all good. Most crustaceans are best bought live as they quickly detiorate. When purchasing live Moreton Bay bugs, crabs and yabbies check that they are lively, and that all claws, and legs are intact. Place crabs in the freezer for a couple of hours before cooking in boiling salted water. If purchasing pre cooked crabs, yabbies and bugs always check that they are fresh.

Fish: Southern Hemisphere waters bring an excellent selection of Dory fish, in September this means John Dory and Mirror Dory. John Dory is an expensive fish with only three fillets but the flavour is do mild but prominent that is loved around the world. This fish is best cooked simply in olive oil pan fried or grilled. Reef fish including coral trout and red emperor are delicious steamed or deep fried and served with a spicy three flavour sauce or simply with a little lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, chilli, coriander and holy basil.

Also in season are school and tiger prawns, try tiger prawns barbecued on lemon grass. Scallops are great grilled with a herb butter or serve on a pea and mint puree.