There are so many weird and wonderful varieties of mushrooms of many different shapes and sizing, and ranging in flavour from delicate to rich. In Australia, the most common types you will find in the supermarket are button, cup, flat, portobello, brown, shitake and enoki.
Mushrooms are very low in fat and high in nutrients, including a good source of vitamins riboflavin, biotin, niacin and vitamin D, as well as selenium, potassium, phosphorus and antioxidants. Their meaty texture and high nutritional content make them a great substitute to meat for vegetarians.
Loose mushrooms should be stored in paper bags so they can breathe and can be kept in the crisper of the fridge for up to three days. Mushrooms are very porous, so never wash them or let them get wet. If you want to clean them off, simply wipe them with a damp cloth immediately before eating.
Versatile mushrooms can be enjoyed sliced raw in salads, tossed through stir-fries, topping pizzas, pickled as an accompaniment to Japanese dishes, stuffed and baked, stirred through a creamy pasta sauce or hearty stew, blended into a mushroom soup, or grilled on the bbq as an alternative to a burger patty.
For a luxurious breakfast, start your day with mushrooms sautéed with butter and parsley, and served with feta on toast.
Originally from South America, vibrant capsicums are technically a fruit and closely related to chillies. All capsicums start off green and then turn red, orange and yellow as they ripen. Red capsicums are generally sweeter and are rich in vitamin B and carotene, while green capsicums have a lower sugar content which gives them a more bitter flavour.
Capsicums are an essential ingredient in lots of different types of cuisine, particularly Asian and Mediterranean. To prepare a capsicum, simply remove the seeds and white bitter membrane. Capsicum slices can then be used raw in salads, barbecued on kebabs, layered on pizza, stuffed with mince & baked, and added to stir-fires, curries, rich casseroles or Mexican fajitas. Marinated red capsicum takes on a sweeter flavour that is perfect for focaccias, bruschetta and antipasto platters.
Pomegranate’s ruby red arils, or seeds, are simply bursting with vitamins, fibre and powerful antioxidants. It’s high nutritional value has elevated this rosy fruit to super-food status and it is believed to help protect against certain types of cancers, heart disease and premature aging.
When buying pomegranates, look for fruit that is heavy for its size, indicating that it is bursting with juice. Store the fruit for up to two weeks at room temperature or up to month in the fridge. To remove the arils easily, slice the pomegranate open and place in a sink full of water. As you remove the arils they will sink to the bottom of the sink, while the white membrane floats to the top. Once the arils are removed you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to a year.
Sprinkle the little ruby gems over your morning yoghurt, or desserts such as meringues, panna cotta, and tarts. Pomegranate also adds a delightful sweet burst of flavour to savoury dishes including salads, a Moroccan tagine, salads, and roast ham. The juice of pomegranates has quite strong tart flavour which you can enjoy on its own, or mixed into pimms and other cocktails.