A grey, grey day at the market this Sunday, cold and drizzly, the sort where you start to think that Melbourne has given up on this whole idea of Spring, and has slunk back into Winter’s darkness. Of course, this is invariably followed by a brilliantly sunny afternoon, but only after everyone has looked out the window and cancelled their picnicking plans…
The market was likewise a bit on the grey side. We’re at what I think of as the lean end of the year, market-wise, with the winter vegetables beginning to look a bit ragged, and the spring ones not yet arrived. Usually, this is cheered a bit by the man with all the beautiful green things, but we seem to be on the wrong week for him this year. Hopefully we’ll find him when we switch weeks again next fortnight.
Still, there were a few highlights! After our usual round of the market, we started at the pistachio stand, where I sampled about five varieties of pistachio, to the point where I really couldn’t tell the difference, but the stall-holder was very persistent. I liked the ‘creamy’ ones and the ones that tasted like hazelnuts, and got some of each.
The blood oranges are still around, so I got a whole bagful, along with something I’ve never seen before – dried lemon. I enquired about its use, and was told it was something to put into stews and such. I’m honestly not at all sure about this, but I can’t turn down a new ingredient, so we will see how it goes.
We didn’t need apples and pears this week, so that was the end of our fruit buying. Instead, we turned to the woman who is my stallholder of choice for these fortnights – she doesn’t have strangely coloured or unfamiliar vegetables or anything you wouldn’t see in a supermarket, but she *does* have regular-looking vegetables that taste exceptionally fresh and good. Today was no exception – we bought tiny leeks and carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, wild fennel and two bunches of the most lovely fresh kale I have ever seen (with an eye to making kale chips in my new dehydrator). Lots of lovely leafy goodness…
Dutch Cream potatoes are currently my go-to spud, so I got some of those, and then went to inspect the mushroom stall, which was particularly vibrant. The mushroom man only sells Swiss brown mushrooms and the white kind but again, they are excellent specimens of their type. I bought some big ones for roast mushroom sandwiches and some little ones to marinate and use in some raw recipes I’m eyeing off.
Then I considered the week ahead (which has all the attendant joys of an entire new lab moving into one of my Divisions), and went to have a look at some of the pre-made foods being sold. First stop was, of course, the pasta man, for risotto balls and fettucine. I’ve used both of those already, incidentally – the pasta was so lovely and fresh it deserved to be dinner on Sunday (though whoever wrote ‘serves 2’ on that packet was clearly having us on. Serves 4-6 would be my guess), and the risotto balls are always good for lunch.
We went to Andrew’s preferred pie stall, and then to a bakery we hadn’t tried for Spanish-inspired sausage rolls – I think the inspiration is in the form of spices, as the filling is beef. And back to the French baker for onion rolls.
There’s been a new lady at the market this past month, who sells a somewhat random selection of Mexican foods and cakes and ice-cream. I hadn’t had breakfast, so I bought a potato and chorizo tortilla, and then we stood around talking about ice-cream. We sampled her red rose petal ice-cream, which had a very true rose petal flavour but was a bit milky for my taste, and then her triple chocolate ice-cream, which was absolutely swoon-worthy – her base is three kinds of chocolate ganache in layers, and she told us that the first time she made it she wound up eating half a tub in one sitting. Having tasted a spoonful, I agreed that this was the only rational response, and we bought a tub for ourselves.
And that really was about it. Usually I sit down on a market Sunday afternoon, and start sketching out meal plans for the week, but after all the excitement of Saturday’s gig, and choir on Sunday morning, I was exhausted and decided to have a nap instead… which somehow ate the entire afternoon. (I’m still very tired, hence the uncharacteristically non-insane nature of this market post.) I did make the kale chips, though, overnight last night! Chocolate flavour and pizza flavour. I can’t quite decide whether I like them, but my colleagues mostly did. Mushroom burgers are definitely on the cards, and perhaps a good soup to go with that onion bread? I have the pie and sausage rolls stashed in the freezer for whichever night turns out to be truly impossible. And of course, I still have some oyster blade in the bottom of the fridge, waiting to be turned into stew of some kind.
But I can hardly wait for the asparagus to start!
This time last year…Farmers’ Market – Is it really Spring? (Clearly nothing much has changed since last year…) Leftovers for Lunch: Risotto Cake