Seasonal Kitchen

Autumnal Harvest

With shorter days upon us, Holly is finding comfort in crunchy, warm, fragrant dishes made to share.

With shorter days upon us, Holly is finding comfort in crunchy, warm, fragrant dishes made to share.

Cooler days, seeds drying in bowls along the kitchen windowsill, and kids jumping into crunchy leaf piles signals the end to a wonderful summer. In the garden, we have an abundance of citrus, pumpkin, guavas, onions, cabbages, and lettuces coming along nicely.

Herbs and a rogue butternut pumpkin vine — which I thought was a zucchini — are quickly dominating the main vegetable patch with no complaint here. Two small feijoas have appeared on the tree planted last year, hopefully a sign of abundance in autumns to follow.

Pear, Caramelised Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza. The dough recipe makes enough for two large pizza bases so you can keep the remaining dough in the fridge until the next pizza night!

Pear, Caramelised Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza

The balance of sweet pear and honey, rich and salty gorgonzola cheese, and savoury caramelised onion toppings on this crisp pizza base makes for a quick and easy crowd-pleaser to share. The pizza dough is my go-to recipe and makes two large pizza bases. My children quickly claim the remaining pizza dough to custom-make their own creations.

Dough (makes 2 large bases)

1 cup warm water
Pinch of caster sugar
1 tsp dried active yeast
1½ cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil

Caramelised onion jam

2 large red onions
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

Toppings (per pizza)

1 tbsp olive oil
50g crumbled gorgonzola cheese
50g shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pear, washed and thinly sliced
½ cup caramelised onion jam
1 tsp honey, to drizzle
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, washed

To make the dough, place the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Mix and allow the yeast to activate (it will start to foam). Place in a bowl or stand mixer with the remaining ingredients and knead until smooth. Rest in a covered warm place for at least half an hour before using.

For the onion jam, cook the onions, oil and mustard seeds in a small pot over a medium heat until the onions become translucent. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook until reduced and sticky. Allow to cool and season to taste. Set aside while you assemble the pizza.

Take half the pizza dough and roll it out to fit on a lined baking tray or pizza stone. Top with olive oil before evenly spreading out the cheeses, pear slices, dollops of the onion jam, and drizzle with honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste and scatter with thyme leaves. Cook in the oven at 200°C or in a pizza oven until golden brown and crisp.

Spiced Warm Butternut Salad. You can substitute the spices in the recipe for two tablespoons of your favourite Indian curry spice powder and it will work just as well.

Spiced Warm Butternut Salad

A fragrant side or meal on its own, this recipe takes the humble pumpkin up a level at the table.

SERVES 2 or 4 as a side

500g butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
1 tbsp coconut oil (or substitute for ghee or a neutral cooking oil)
1 tbsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp salt
½ cup thick Greek yoghurt
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds


1 red chilli, chopped
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves or baby spinach leaves
1 tsp honey

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake and line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, place the pumpkin, oil, spices and salt and toss well to coat. Spread evenly on the prepared tray and cook for approximately 20 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise.

Place the warm pumpkin in a large serving bowl, drizzle with yoghurt and scatter across the pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper.

If desired, sprinkle with chilli, coriander leaves or spinach and drizzle with honey before serving.

Blueberry Crumble Bars. If you don’t have blueberries at hand, these are great with apple, peaches, pears, or other berries too.

Blueberry Crumble Bars

These crumble bars are delicious served warm or cold and freeze well too. The lemon zest in the crumb is a must, and for extra crunch you can pop in ¼ cup of chopped or slivered almonds.


Pastry base and crumble topping
200g brown sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
250g salted butter
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups plain flour


Juice of 1 lemon (use the lemon used for the zest)
4 cups blueberries
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup white sugar
4 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tsp cold water

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan forced and line a 20cm by 30cm slice tin.

In a bowl or food processor, add all the pastry ingredients and mix to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub or pulse into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture into two, cover and place in the fridge.

For the filling, in a saucepan, combine the lemon juice, sugar, berries and cinnamon and cook, stirring constantly until boiling. Add the cornflour mixture and stir well until thickened and liquid has reduced. Remove from the heat.

Press half of the pastry mixture into the lined tin, smooth, then cover with the berry filling. Crumble over the remaining pastry mixture — small gaps are OK here.

Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool in the tray.

This slice is easiest cut after being cooled and stored in the fridge.

Words, recipes & styling by Holly McVicar
Photography by ilk