Can you guess what was at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday?
Let me give you a hint…
Yes indeed, Saturday was the very first day that asparagus arrived at the farmers’ markets near us. I was pretty excited. I may possibly have skipped straight over to the asparagus stall before looking at anything else.
The stallholder remembered me from last year. Apparently, my obsession with asparagus is memorable. She told me I was her best customer. I bought one big bunch of fat asparagus (asparagi?), and three of slim asparagus. And then, before I left, I had to come back for three more bunches, because I realised that I couldn’t possibly get through the week without at least two kilos of asparagus.
(Lest you think that I’m exaggerating my requirements for vast amounts of asparagus, we had a lentil, asparagus and strawberry salad with our slow-cooked chicken on Saturday, roasted asparagus with our leftover chicken pie on Sunday, and today, we are having pasta with asparagus, tomato and lemons. After which we will have no asparagus left until the next market. I should probably have bought more asparagus. I mean, yes, we did have dinner guests on both weekend nights, but still. I use a lot of asparagus when it is in season.)
This was our first visit to the Coburg Farmers’ Market since early July, I think, though basically, my brain has been wiped out completely and replaced with a large colony of mice dancing a festive ballet while singing “Asparagus!” at the top of their lungs, so it’s really quite hard to remember much of anything else.
But it certainly was a long time since we’d seen Felicity from Take Me Home Pasta, so it was great to have a good gossip and a catch up before collecting the necessary gnocchi of many colours and some pizza bases. I’m planning a pizza fest on Wednesday – two of Felicity’s pizza bases, plus one pizza made with a cauliflower base, just for variety. I was going to do pizza primavera, though of course that would require more ASPARAGUS. I may have to find a mid-week supplier in order to feed my addiction.
It occurred to me at this point that a) I hadn’t yet done a circuit of the market and also that b) non-asparagus vegetables also exist and should possibly form part of one’s diet. Possibly. I was, at this point, still suffering from buyer’s remorse at not having snaffled sufficient asparagus, though. Regardless, one must occasionally be disciplined, so we started from Felicity’s stall, and went on a solemn round of the market, saying hello to stallholders we hadn’t seen for a while.
At one of my favourite vegetable stalls, the stallholder was experimenting with a purple sprouting broccoli – he didn’t have any for sale this week, but gave me a sprig to taste. It was lovely – very sweet, and definitely the kind of broccoli that would work well eaten raw in a salad, or possibly just as a snack. Since we couldn’t have any of that broccoli, I contented myself with Chinese broccoli, cauliflower and standard broccoli instead.
And a wedge of pumpkin and some tiny leeks, of course.
Another vegetable stall had even tinier leeks, so I bought those, too, and am going to have to think carefully about just what I’m going to do with all these leeks, now. I also bought colourful carrots, which I have to learn to resist a bit better, because in general, my carrot-buying habits outstrip my carrot consumption. Though this week, I’m doing OK.
We saw the lady with the berry pies and frozen berries, who seemed a bit bemused to see us here after seeing us at Bundoora last week. Clearly, she doesn’t know my habits! This time, I bought frozen blackberries, which have already found their way into a cake with pumpkin, cinnamon and white chocolate.
I did not buy anywhere near enough potatoes last week, and by this point I had remembered that we had a whole chicken about to be delivered at home and that I had Plans for slow cooking it, which must of course involve roasted potatoes and pumpkin (and – aha! – carrots!) as a side dish.
Of course, one must also make aioli, which means eggs. I’ve brought back quite a serious egg habit from Germany – eggs are what you feed vegetarians there, and my penfriend is trying to be a bit more vegetarian these days. I was also very pleased to see Blue Bay there with ricotta (to go in the pie that is my preferred chicken leftovers dish) and a special on their excellent parmesan.
I had had all these terribly healthy plans for breakfast and had no intention of buying cake, but I’d forgotten how good the mandarin cake was. And then it was too late for me to resist the chocolate and beetroot cake.
And now, of course, I had $8.95 left in my purse, and a terrible feeling that I really did not have enough asparagus. So I borrowed 5 cents from Andrew, and back I went to the asparagus stall for another big bunch of asparagus.
Because – did I mention? It’s asparagus season in Victoria.
And I do love me some asparagus.