Actually, I would rather be baking things right now. But since my kitchen currently contains about 50 mince pies, two Christmas Puddings of the traditional kind, about 10 of the raw vegan kind, plus chocolate cherry raw truffles and the raw Anzac truffles, shortbread and stuffed figs from my mother, german biscuits, gingerbread and stollen from various German and Swiss postdocs and professors at work, rather a lot of chocolate from other lovely postdocs, professors and students, as well as the lovely GrantsMinion, oh yes, and also a huge container of leftover pectin jellies and off-cuts, and a completely gratuitous flourless chocolate cake because I have a couple of fellow choristers coming around for dessert before midnight mass tonight and apparently all the rest of that stuff didn’t count as dessert… I probably shoudn’t be doing any baking right now. Especially as Christmas isn’t even at my house this year.
So instead I am going to be a sensible Catherine and step away from the kitchen, and instead post my lovely market photos from last week, which I inexplicably failed to find time to write about this week. I wonder how that happened…?
There won’t be another Farmers’ Market at Flemington now until mid-January. Obviously, nobody wants to run a market tomorrow or next Sunday, and apparently they didn’t really have enough takers for the following week either. So we had to make the most of our marketing experience last weekend. Another important factor was my expectation of being pretty thoroughly wrecked this week – not a time to experiment with new and exciting vegetables, but a time for sticking with favourites.
I started off intending to do my usual circuit of the market, but was completely distracted within seconds by the huge containers of mixed berries! And the raspberries at the next stall! And my potato man had strawberries again! As well as garlic and, finally, potatoes! Oh dear… I did manage to resist the cherries, at least. And we had the most spectacular summer pudding for dessert on Monday. I’ll have to make it again when it’s my turn to host Christmas dinner, I think.
I’d decided that it would be good to get a few ready-made meals, so we went and visited the corn chips and salsa chappie to get our lunch, and then visited the pasta man, who had not just the usual pasta but also Roman Gnocchi – the kind you make with polenta and bake with a lot of butter and cheese. Just right for dinner after Carols by Candlelight.
My favourite Italian lady was there again, with the usual fascinating greens, but I stood firm, and just thought I’d try some of her sweet onions. And some oregano, because we can always use that. Oh, alright, who can really resist quail eggs? Not me, that’s for sure. And she threw in some milk thistle which had been at the market yesterday and was a bit wilted “But still good! But I can’t sell it like this, so you should take it.”
The tomato lady this week had not just tomatoes and eggplants, but also capsicum. Since capsicums are one of the things I can always, always find a use for, I indulged. And then I had to get the first potatoes of the year from my potato farming friend – nightshade party!
And speaking of summer vegetables, the lady at the next stall tried quite hard to sell me zucchini, but I stood firm, with good reason. I think I have finally managed to get zucchini taking over the world this year. And if you forget to look at them for five days, they grow to the size of your forearm… I sense zucchini cake in my future (see, I *have* to bake something now!). Instead, I chose colourful carrots and baby leeks.
At the next stall, there were peas and broadbeans, but I decided that the path of sanity did not include things I would have to shell, and I stuck to green beans, lettuce and spinach – very spring-like.
The mushroom man had the most enormous mushrooms I’d ever seen. I eyed them warily and went for still-very-large-but-not-elephantine-mutant-mushrooms instead.
Besides, I knew exactly what I was doing with those – a sandwich of roasted mushrooms, eggplants, and peppers, fresh tomatoes, garlicky spinach and mozzarella is still one of my favourite farmers’ market things.
And that, my friends, is the end of the markets for this year. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for eggs in the next month (especially with all the baking which I am not going to do, oh no, of course not). And I’ll miss my Italian farmer couple. But a good haul nonetheless, and an excellent celebration of the season.
PS – and a Merry Christmas to you all, if this is something you celebrate. And if it isn’t – I hope you have a restful day tomorrow, and enjoy the public holidays on Monday and Tuesday.