bare seasons: August in the Southern Hemisphere

August brings the last month of winter, with plenty of root vegetables and the last selection of seasonal pears. The last month of winter also brings with the first of the spring produce to come including young broad bean, globe artichokes and asparagus. So instead of just enjoying warm stews why not make some lighter warm salads with the best of what's available.


Spanner crabs are good now until October try them simply served with creme fraiche or mayonnaise and lemon or try our recipe for 'Thai Crab Salad' in our annual recipe index. August is the month forYellow fin tuna char grilled served niciose style with olives, tomato and new potatoes. Coffin Bay scallops are good served on broad bean puree or wrap them in parma ham and grill them on rosemary stems. John Dory the king of fish with only three fillets its an expensive worth paying for in August. John Dory taste is good filleted and pan fried, try it with freshly diced tomato, garlic and basil briefly cooked in the pan with the juices from the Jon Dory and poured over the top.

Also good this month Endeavor prawns, orange roughy, snapper, flat head and oysters.


August brings us the last of the great selection of root vegetables. Celeriacis full of flavour makes and a delicious soup when accompanied with apple and stilton or try making a rosti of celeriac and potato celeriac cut into thin batons makes a good addition to a salad. If you can get your hands on salsify try it deep fried or sautéed with plenty of garlic and chopped parsley. Root vegetables also make gratins try using a mixture of root vegetables rather than just one eg. potatoes, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and carrots. Pumpkin is also good in August try good old fashion pumpkin soup with a twist in this months recipe for 'Pumpkin and Coconut Soup'.

This month sees the first of the young broad beans pod them and remove the grey membrane, cook them briefly and serve them warm with garlic and cooked diced bacon and tomatoes or puree them with mint and yoghurt to accompany scallops or prawns. Early fresh asparagus from Queensland becomes available in mid August, it is good steamed or briefly boiled and served with lots of fresh butter and herbs or serve them topped with poached eggs and garnished with slithers of prosciouto.

Also good this month artichokes, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli and celery.

Fresh Fruit

Pineapples are available in August try coating slices of them in a little batter and deep fry the pineapple slices and serve them on their own or dusted with icing sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for a great winter dessert. Pineapple rice makes a good accompaniment to spicy Thai curries (see the annual recipe index).

Custard apples are in season from March to September. The Australian variety has few seeds and pink sweet creamy flesh. The African ones are smaller and have more seeds. Ripen at room temperature and then store them in the fridge for up to 2 days.

The last of this yearspears try poaching them in a spicy red wine with sugar, chilli, star anise and cinnamon and serve them with cheese or cream. Poached and freshly sliced pears also make a great focaccia sandwich with gorgonzola and walnuts.

Seville oranges come into season in August and make the best marmalade of any of the varieties of oranges available.

Also good this month arebonza, pink lady and braeburn apples, mangoes, strawberries, passion fruit and mandarins.