Footy Season Finals

No matter whether your favourite team has made the football finals or not, September is a great month for inviting friends over and enjoying great company and great food.

Using seasonal fruit and vegetables from Yuen’s is always a crowd pleaser with fresh tastes and a wonderful alternative to an all-meat barbecue.

First of all, start with some pre-game nibbles. Freshly cut cucumber, celery and carrot can join broccoli florets along with toasted pita bread as a terrific alternative to unhealthy chips. By teaming crisp vegetables with homemade dips, your family and friends can enjoy guilt free snacking.

Depending on who is playing in the final, you may be able to co-ordinate the flavours of the dips to match some of the team colours.

Avocado dip for a touch of green, Red capsicum dip (the chilli flakes in this recipe give some added zing), Split yellow peas, Beetroot dip – your imagination is the limit!

We’ve talked about the health benefits of avocados and beetroot in other articles, but did you know that the red capsicum is a vitamin A and vitamin C powerhouse?

The difference between the different colour capsicums you see in store is time. Green capsicums have been picked soonest, while yellow and orange varieties have ripened on the vine for a little bit longer and the red capsicum has spent the most time in the sun of all.

kebabSo, by the time the players are ready to hit the field, your guests will be ready for a delicious array of salads and barbecued vegetables that will be sure to tackle the heartiest of appetites.

Capsicums along with slices of corn on the cob and roasted eggplant make the perfect match-up for barbecued kebabs. The Australian Institute of Sport has another great combination sure to satisfy your forward pack – beef and capsicum kebabs that also include tasty cherry tomatoes and button mushrooms.

If you’re going to thread your vegetables on sticks, be sure to soak the kebab sticks for several hours in water so they don’t burn, but even without the bamboo sticks, char roasted vegetables straight off the barbecue is a wonderful way of enhancing their delicious natural flavours.

Warm salads are also a perfect compromise between warm spring days and the cool of the late afternoons. Roasted pumpkin salad is ideal – especially if your team is behind at half time. Pumpkins can help reduce blood pressure – just the thing if you and your friends are disputing a referee’s call!

In that case, perhaps you and the ref need to stop for a sweet potato fries break. Not only are these oven roasted ‘chips’ delicious, sweet potato is also rich in vitamin A which helps support good eye health.

During the half-time break, bring out the classic Australian hamburger, complete with beetroot, slices of fresh pineapple, tomato and lettuce. By making up your own patties, you can also control the size of the burgers and pair them with smaller sized damper rolls instead of the large traditional hamburger roll.

Of course, we can’t go through the final half of our football grand final feast without thinking of dessert – and fresh seasonal fruits will have you kicking goals with all your guests.

One old fashioned dish that should make a comeback is the rhubarb and strawberry crisp. This is a super easy recipe to make and serve either in one large dish, or turn into individual serving portions by baking them in ramekin dishes.

Rhubarb is extremely rich in vitamin C, which might be just the ticket for helping everyone to deal with the lingering effects of this year’s long lasting cold and flu season.

Kebabs are a great twist on the traditional fruit salad. Threading a variety of seasonal fruit and serving with a yoghurt dip is a colourful way to fly the flag for fresh eating.

And if you’re keen to keep to an all-Australian grand final, serving tea and coffee with a slice of home-made Pavlova will have you as this year’s Grand Final party winner.

You can pick up your fresh eggs from Yuen’s and then make a selection of favourite fresh fruit dessert toppings. Kiwi fruit and strawberry, along with fresh blueberries and raspberries will make a colourful and tasty display that will have your guests cheering right to the end.