5 min read

Amazing Autumn - Issue #58

Amazing Autumn - Issue #58
Pinwheel sandwich selection.

Hey there, Food Lovers!

Well, it seems like Autumn has swiftly made its entrance here in New Zealand, catching some of us off guard - myself included! We've been enjoying the warmth of summer and all its delights, but now that the crisp air of Autumn has settled in, it's time to embrace the new bounty of fruits and vegetables that this season brings. It's amazing how a change in weather can spark fresh enthusiasm in the kitchen, isn't it?

I'm curious - how are you making the most of the last of the summer produce? Personally, I'm making the most of the daily harvest of cherry tomatoes from our garden. They're bursting with flavour and that beautiful red colour is simply irresistible. They add a delightful touch to so many dishes! I'll be sharing more about them in this newsletter.

Speaking of seasonal delights, one vegetable that's appearing on our shelves again is kumara (New Zealand sweet potato). It's a personal favourite of mine, so naturally, I couldn't resist buying some up the moment I spotted it. Stay tuned for more on that in the following sections.

Now, let's talk about the fascinating world of food presentation and design. While simplicity has its charm, there's something captivating about taking that extra step to create a visually stunning dish. Join me as we explore ways to elevate your culinary creations for maximum visual impact.

In this issue:

  • Seasonal bounty - Cherry Tomatoes
  • In season - Kumara Is Back
  • Food presentation - Simple Or Sophisticated

Seasonal Bounty - Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are delicious, packed full of flavour and come in so many vibrant colours, so they can instantly elevate any meal, platter or finger food.

Look at the images above and picture them without the pop of red from the cherry tomatoes... they wouldn't look the same would they! Whether eaten fresh, or cooked like the blistered cherry tomatoes on the breakfast plate, they're a beautiful and delicious addition to any meal - definitely something I miss when they're not in season.

I love growing cherry tomatoes and usually I get way more than I can manage, but it hasn't been a particularly good season for us this year. I often used to freeze our excess tomatoes in free flow bags and turn them into a simple passata type sauce for winter pastas and stews.

Tomato passata is pureed strained tomatoes - basically a thinner version of tomato paste. Tomato paste is more concentrated and thicker whereas the passata is a thinner sauce, which makes a great base for cooking with. I'll share the recipe I use below. I've added a few more ingredients than a traditional passata, and find it works well in so many different dishes.

Tomato Passata Sauce


Makes approximately 3 x 500g jars

  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1500g (3 lbs) tomatoes, chopped into chunks (they can be fresh or frozen)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large pot for a minute, then add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.
  • Blitz with a stick blender until smooth.
  • You can strain it if you want to take out any seeds. (I don't usually do this, I quite like the more rustic looking sauce)
  • Bottle in sterilised jars for long term storage, or freeze in 2 cup portions.

In Season - Kumara Is Back

I'm so excited that the delicious New Zealand kumara is available again - let's talk about its magic! It's an incredibly versatile vegetable, which can be used in multiple culinary creations. Whether roasted to perfection, pureed into velvety soups or purees, tossed into a fresh salad, or served up as a delicious appetiser, kumara never fails to impress.

Take, for instance, these roasted rings of the orange kumara variety, with a generous dollop of creamy goat's cheese, dried cranberries, crunchy toasted almonds, finely chopped fresh rosemary, and a drizzle of honey. Simple yet beautiful (and delicious), wouldn't you agree?

What I love most about dishes like these is that they prove food presentation doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming to make a statement. With a few carefully chosen ingredients and a touch of creativity, you can transform everyday meals into culinary masterpieces that not only tantalise the taste buds but also look amazing.

So, let's unleash our inner artist and elevate our dining experiences one delicious dish at a time!

Food Presentation - Simple Or Sophisticated?

We've just discussed how you can do simple things with food and still achieve a beautiful presentation, but let's look at something with a more sophisticated presentation.

In many ways this is still a simple lunch. It can either be plated simply, or it can be plated with a little more effort to create something that looks amazing. Let's look at what it is that has elevated the presentation of this particular dish.

  • The avocado has been thinly sliced and rolled to create an interesting visual element.
  • There's good use of negative space on the plate to make the individual components of the dish stand out.
  • The colours of the different ingredients are vibrant and create a stunning contrast.
  • The black sesame seeds on the egg yolk are the same colour as the plate and the subtle use of them effortlessly ties the dish together.
  • The sauce is added in artistic dots on the plate which adds to the visual appeal. I would prefer the colour of the sauce to be a little more vibrant, but sometimes you have to work with what you've got.
  • From the side view you can see how there's a bit of height on the plate, the salmon (being the most expensive ingredient) is elevated making it the focal point of the dish.
Artistically plated smoked salmon and avocado lunch.

I challenge you to try it sometime. Plate a dish and then re-plate it, with these thought in mind, and see if you can take the presentation up a level. I'd love to see your creations 😄.

Happy cooking,