Current Issue #488

Food for Thought: Fruit and Vegetables

Food for Thought: Fruit and Vegetables

Winter for me is full of anticipation and excitement for what will come out of my humble yet productive garden.

On New Year’s Day in 1569, Giuseppe Arcimboldo presented his portraits of the Four Seasons to Maximilian II, a Holy Roman Emperor at the time. Giuseppe was commissioned to paint for the Emperor and had been using the organic shapes, textures and colours of fruit and vegetables to create portraits. This collection of four paintings capturing the essence of the seasons is still on display today in the Louvre, Paris.

It has been said that he used the fruit and vegetables in his portraits as a method of breaking down social barriers of self-proclaimed public figures. Librarians, jurists and scholars were offended by his lack of respect for the social structure but he appealed to the masses with his use of riddle and quirky interpretations.

Defining the seasons was such an important part of life in those days and something that we no longer have to do; our eating patterns are now consistent all year round.

We no longer have to wait for the first signs of spring to enjoy asparagus or new season artichokes. Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are no longer exclusively used in winter. Fruit, vegetables and seafood are now flown around the world to accommodate our demand for food out of season.

Winter for me is full of anticipation and excitement for what will come out of my humble yet productive garden. I dream of Brussels sprouts roasted with bacon and chestnuts as well as cauliflower dusted with cumin and baked in olive oil.

I could of course eat these vegetables all year round but I would no longer have the anticipation for a change of season and no longer enjoy my favorite foods whilst they are at their best – in season. I wonder if Giuseppe could see us now… pushing farming to ethical boundaries, moving food around the world at any cost. Would he congratulate us for being such an innovative society or wonder how the seasons have lost their identity and importance in the modern world?


Ingredients 4 poussin (1 per person) 8 slices of smoked pancetta 250g Australian green lentils Heirloom carrots Good quality white wine vinegar Mint leaves

Dressing Whisk all ingredients until combined and season to taste 100ml fig vincotto 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon honey 200ml extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper

Method 1. Wrap two slices of pancetta around the breast of the poussin, this will keep it moist during cooking. Then tie the legs together with cooking twine. 2. Heat a splash of oil over a medium heat and brown the poussin on all sides. 3. Move to a 180 degree preheated oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. Leave to rest lightly covered with foil. 4. Place the lentils in double the amount of cold water and simmer over a medium heat until tender. 5. Using a vegetable peeler, slice ribbons of carrots then steep in enough white wine vinegar to moisten. Leave for 10 minutes to slightly pickle. 6. Combine the lentils; dressing and carrot ribbons in a large bowl, making sure you coat all the lentils with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the roasted poussin and garnish with mint leaves.



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