Aside from the difficulty of heaving ourselves out of bed on these dark, cool mornings, here at Buy West Eat Best we LOVE the winter months. Why? Because winter signals the arrival of an incredible range of Western Australian produce that is freshest and often in high abundance exclusively during the winter months – everything from bountiful crops of citrus and crisp apples to beetroot, eggplant, celeriac and fresh truffles.
To get you excited about these cooler months, we’ve put together some of our favourite warming creations that showcase the true diversity of WA winter produce.
Creamy celeriac soup (with an added WOW factor)
While celeriac is often known as the ugly duckling of the produce section, pare away its gnarly exterior and you’ll uncover the beauty within this wintertime gem. Celeriac has a mild yet distinctive flavour best described as a cross between celery and parsley.
Nothing warms the soul more than a bowl of creamy celeriac soup on a wintery day.
Looking to take your celeriac soup to the next level? Drizzle truffle oil or shave some truffle on top to really take your soup up a notch. Truffles are one of the great joys of winter and we are extremely blessed in WA to have access to our very own supply of these delicacies in Manjimup and Pemberton, just over three hours south of Perth.
For an unforgettable foodie experience, be sure to book a winter escape to our Southern Forests region for the opportunity to go truffle hunting: walk through the mystique truffle trees, while highly trained truffle dogs guide you to discover and collect rare and delicious black winter truffles.
A quick and easy vegetarian option
If you’re looking to incorporate a vegetarian dish into your weekly meal plan, one of our favourite winter go-tos is an eggplant (also commonly known as aubergine) and chilli pasta. Local eggplants are in season in these cooler months, with a mild flavour, robust flesh, and a beautifully creamy texture.
Simply cook up your eggplant with some garlic, red onion, chilli, chopped tomatoes, stock, vinegar and a touch of sugar and add the mixture to your favourite pasta. The secret? Sprinkle with crumbled feta (we love Mundella European Feta).
If you’re time poor, just add eggplant to one of Saucy Sue's homemade sauces (our favourite is the spicy arrabiata!) If you haven’t got your hands on a bottle of this goodness, it’s a must! Saucy Sue’s homemade preserves are locally produced with no nasties, just the freshest quality ingredients. Follow Saucy Sue on Facebook here to keep an eye out for when she will be selling her products at a market near you.
The perfect seasonal addition to your cheese board
There is something so comforting and homely about having people over in the cooler months to indulge in a cheese board. Add a warm fire, and a good red – such as a glass of Houghton's Classic cab sauv (just voted one of Ray Jordan's favourite red wines) and you've got an excellent afternoon gathering (or party for one!) in motion.
WA Winter Grazing Table - Photograph thanks to Craig Kinder
Winter provides a bounty of apples and pears that are a welcomed addition to cheese boards during the cooler times of the year but if you are looking for a new showstopper to get the senses going, then look no further. The last of this year's seasons persimmons are still available in stores fresh from the orchards of our Southern Forests and Perth Hills regions. This divine fruit is guaranteed to impress guests with its electrifying orange colour and sensational sweet honey-like flavour. Pair with a WA blue cheese or sharp romano from Borrello cheese and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a perfect evening.
You may also love our blog post on how to create the ultimate cheese board, take a look here.
Southern Forests Persimmon - Photograph thanks to Cork and Cheese
Our new favourite risotto ingredient
A nourishing bowl of risotto is the perfect way to warm your body and enlighten the soul. For a new twist on this classic winter dish, try adding a splash of colour with some locally sourced, vibrant beetroot. Bursting with sweet and earthy flavours, the options are endless with these humble beauties – combine with bacon for a delicious salty and smoky risotto, or tantalise the taste buds by pairing beetroot and goats cheese. We also love combining beetroot with balsamic vinegar – the vinegar’s sweet-tart flavour and low acidity is the perfect match with the earthy flavour profile of beetroot.
Unique twists on the traditional apple pie
No winter meal is complete without an indulgent, delicious dessert and we can’t go past a sweet and crisp homemade apple pie.
In WA, we are fortunate to have incredible juicy apples rolling into stores in winter from our Southern Forests, Perth Hills and South West regions, ready to be combined with warming spices (we love WA owned Whittingtons' spices) to create a delicious apple pie filling.
Harvey Giblett, owner of Newton Orchards in Manjimup, recommends always cooking your apples with the peel on when making a pie filling. He also suggests Pink Lady apples as the best variety to use for pies (you heard it first straight from the producer)!
If you’re looking to impress your guests at your next dinner party, why not try adding a fun twist to your traditional pie recipe? Here are a few of our favourites:
- Cheesy apple pie - just prior to placing the pastry dough on top of the pie, add half a cup of good quality shredded cheddar cheese. The salty, savoury flavour of the cheddar creates pie perfection when paired with the sweetness of the apples (try the mild Original Cheddar from Margaret River Dairy Company).
- Bacon apple pie - add a lattice made of strips of crispy bacon to the top of your pie for the most incredibly sweet and salty flavour extravaganza (we recommend Mcloughlin Butcher’s bacon).
- Apple pie smoothie - for a delicious winter treat, blend your leftover apple pie filling with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pour into a glass and drizzle with caramel. Trust us, this is the BEST smoothie you will ever taste!
So there you have it – our top ways to incorporate sensational local produce into your favourite winter warmers. Be sure to use #buywesteatbest to show us your delicious winter creations!