Seasonal Kitchen

Straight From the Hearth

Winter has surely arrived, and weekends are packed with staying local for the kids’ Saturday sports, a quick trip to the Farmers Market, and making the most of fresh in-season produce.

Winter has surely arrived, and weekends are packed with staying local for the kids’ Saturday sports, a quick trip to the Farmers Market, and making the most of fresh in-season produce.

My beetroot crostini brings colour to the table, the humble cauliflower gets an upgrade, and once you try these apple cinnamon scrolls you’ll find it hard to go back to the traditional style.

Beetroot Crostini

Try this Ukrainian inspired crostini next time you’re entertaining. It’s vibrant, and creamy, and pairs great with freshly sliced and toasted sourdough baguette.

Serves 10+ as an appetiser

Fresh baguette plus olive oil for brushing
2 large beetroot, quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves
1 small bundle of dill or fennel tips
¼ cup whole egg mayonnaise (or substitute for thick plain Greek yoghurt or see my vegan cashew aioli recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese and a scatter of fresh dill or fennel tips for garnishing

In an oven proof tray, place the beetroot, olive oil, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 160°C for approximately 20 minutes until the beetroot and garlic are soft.

Remove the beetroot skins and transfer into a blender along with the garlic. Add the herbs, mayonnaise (or substitute as noted above), and blend until smooth. Season to taste.

Slice half a fresh baguette into 1cm thick slices and brush with olive oil. Toast in the oven at 160°C until crisp and golden brown.

To serve, spoon over the beetroot, and scatter with crumbled feta and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Cashew Aioli and Gremolata

This golden spice crusted cauliflower is creamy, crunchy, and balanced by a zesty topping. While ticking all the boxes for flavour, it’s also packed with protein, and is dairy free, gluten free and vegan.

Serves 6-8 as a side

1 medium cauliflower head, leaves and excess stalk removed
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and smoked paprika

For the roasted chickpeas

1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, salt, and smoked paprika

For the cashew aioli (makes approximately 1 ½ cups)

1 cup raw cashews
¾ cup water
2 large fresh garlic cloves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of salt to season
For the gremolata
½ cup fresh parsley
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
Fine zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Place the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling water, and blanch for 10 minutes until tender. Remove and allow to drain. Pat dry then drizzle with the olive oil and rub well with spice mix.

Preheat oven to 180°C and place cauliflower on one side of a large, lined baking sheet.

In a bowl, mix the drained chickpeas, olive oil and spices together and scatter onto the other half of the baking sheet. These will roast at the same time, creating a golden and crispy finish to both. Place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, checking halfway through and giving the chickpeas a stir.

In a blender, place cashews, water, garlic, Dijon mustard and lemon juice and blend until creamy. This takes about a minute. Taste and season with salt as required.  

Finally, for the gremolata, finely chop the parsley, and add to a small bowl with the crushed garlic, lemon zest and give a good season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spread the base of a large serving plate with the aioli (reserve some for drizzling), top with the warm roasted cauliflower, drizzle over the reserved aioli, and scatter over the roasted chickpeas and gremolata just before serving.

Apple Cinnamon Scrolls

I have an abundance of apples from friends and family at the moment and these warm fluffy cinnamon scrolls with apple filling are my new favourite take on the usual butter laden version.

Makes 12 large scrolls

8 large apples, peeled, cores removed, and roughly chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tbsp ground cinnamon


250ml warm milk
1 tbsp instant bread yeast
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
50g salted butter
4 cups flour
Pinch of salt


1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp hot water

Start with the filling. In a saucepan, chop the apples and add the brown sugar and cinnamon. On a medium heat, stir constantly until the apples are reduced into a thick puree and starting to stick to the bottom of the saucepan. You want to reduce as much excess liquid from the filling as possible. Set aside to cool.

For the dough, add the warm milk, sugar, and yeast to a stand mixer and allow to foam. Add the remaining ingredients and mix slowly with the dough attachment, increasing speed as it combines. Mix for approximately 5 minutes until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Cover and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about half an hour.

On a clean benchtop, dust generously with flour and roll out the dough into a large rectangle approximately 1cm thick. Spread the apple filling over the dough evenly and cut the dough into 12 even strips from short edge to short edge. Roll each strip into a spiral and place into a large oven proof tray lined with baking paper.

Once all rolls are in the dish, cover and place back in a warm spot to rise again for approximately 1 hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C fan forced. Once cinnamon rolls are risen, bake in the oven until golden brown, for me they took 25mins. Remove from the oven and mix the glaze ingredients together and drizzle over the top. Best served warm.

Recipes and food styling by Holly McVicar @madebyhollys
Photography by Erin Cave @ilk_nz
In this issue, we’ve partnered with local company CM Props & Backdrops for the photoshoot @cmbackdrops