Farmers’ Market Post – Pomegranates and Menus!

OK, and now I have just become totally distracted.  Menus or Menues?  Both look wrong.  And now ‘both’ also looks wrong.  Gah, English.  Such a silly language.

Anyway.  I’m vilely ill this weekend (which makes me miserable – annoying enough to be sick on holiday, but at least you can convert that to sick leave.  Sick on weekends is just mean), but as long as I am capable of movement, I will get to the farmers’ market.  Because the farmers’ market is necessary.


Something tells me this is going to be a particularly discursive post.  I apologise in advance.  In any case, I’m so very glad I went to the market today, because not only did I get to use several of my Little Brown Book vouchers, I also came home with half of my meals for the week sorted out.  This always leaves one with a feeling of smug satisfaction.

Also, look at this.


This may be my favourite food photo ever. I love how vividly pink the pomegranates are, and how the grapes are somewhere between a nest and a wreath or maybe a crown…

Isn’t it beautiful?  Don’t you wish that was on your kitchen table?  Of course you do…

Today’s market journey started with pies.  Gum Tree pies are actually from up near Albury only get to our part of Melbourne once a month, and they don’t tend to come down at all during the summer months.  Add that to our irregular market schedule and their changing market weeks, and we’re lucky to see them more than three times a year.  On this occasion, I think we hadn’t crossed paths since about October, so we were keen to get in early for our pie fix.  I have to say, their lamb and mint pie is still the best meat pie I’ve ever tasted.  We got two lamb pies for today, and an assortment of other pies to keep in the freezer  for rainy weekend lunches.


I had a voucher for the Wagyu Beef people, who are a new stall to me (we are still pretty fixated on Koallah for our meat needs), and they were right next to Gum Tree Pies, so I mosied over for a look.  Now that the weather is cooling down, I wanted something for my slow cooker, so I picked up some topside beef, and I also picked up sage and onion sausages, because sausages are one of those easy things I’ve been missing!  This entitled us to a packet of smoked beef.  I haven’t the faintest idea what to do with smoked beef, but no doubt something will occur…

Pepper party!

Pepper party!

Rita’s daughter and her husband were at the market this week, so we had a nice catch up – apparently Rita and Tony are both doing well, and have been asking after us, because we keep missing them by being at the wrong markets!  That was sweet.  We bought two big bags of sweet peppers, for a peperonata pizza that I will be making later in the week, and some of Tony’s excellent broccoli – I have a recipe for broccoli with orange and lavender which, with a little ricotta, will make an excellent topping for the other pizza base.  Delicious.

Wait, what's got into the broccoli?  Incidentally, I blame this entire thing on Andrew, who caught me trying to balance a broccoli stem on the cabbage, baobab-style, and suggested that I use toothpicks.

Hmm, my cabbage seems to have become infested by French literary figures… (but who could resist the whole baobab / broccoli thing, under the circumstances?  Also, Andrew, has to bear at least some of the blame for this, because he’s the one who saw me attempting to balance a broccoli stem on a cabbage and suggested skewers, after which it was all downhill, really.  And then he had the nerve to get concerned about splinters!  I ask you…)

I rounded out my haul with a bag of onions, some lovely, tender zucchini (fated to become part of a zucchini parmagiana later this week) and two white eggplants, because as long as they are in the farmers’ markets, I can claim that they are still in season, and eggplants are not a vegetable to let go of lightly!

I have such great plans for these zucchini - I feel hungry just thinking about all the things I'm going to cook this week.

I have such great plans for these zucchini – I feel hungry just thinking about all the things I’m going to cook this week.

Next was the brand new pomegranate stall, which had early-season pomegranates both whole and in the process of being crushed into juice.  I did not get any juice, and I am still regretting this.  I did, however, get two pomegranates.

Pomegranates again.  Still pretty.

Pomegranates again. Still pretty.

We paused to pick up some chocolate croissants for breakfast, and then wandered across to Peninsula Fresh to check out more vegetables.  To my delight, they had some of the last of this season’s corn, along with new season cabbages.  One of the recipes I’ve been eyeing off for this week was the Green Kitchen‘s black bean, corn and mango tacos wrapped in cabbage leaves – I knew there were mangoes around, and now I had the rest of my ingredients.


Mangoes and corn say we haven’t seen the last of summer (though the current rainstorm does suggest that autumn is very much underway). Also, mango and corn salsa, mmm….

I also collected white zucchini, purple eggplants, parsley, wild fennel, and some of the most beautiful spinach I’ve seen in ages.

Mostly, potatoes don't grow with spinach leaves and a head of parsley.  But sometimes... they still don't...

Mostly, potatoes don’t grow with spinach leaves and a head of parsley. But sometimes… they still don’t…

The orange stall was selling the largest mangoes I have ever seen – good ones, too, because you could smell them from a metre away.  And they had the most gorgeous, vibrant red grapes – the kind that pretty much personify Autumn.  I love grapes, but don’t tend to remember to eat them, but with my Wagyu beef sausages already in my bag, and leftover lentils at home, waiting to be used, I knew exactly what to do with these – sausages baked with grapes and rosemary and onions, on a bed of lentils.  Hello, dinner…

I love the scruffy, autumnal look of brown onions and garlic cloves.  Maybe onion soup needs to go into my week's menu?

I love the scruffy, autumnal look of brown onions and garlic cloves. Maybe onion soup needs to go into my week’s menu?

What with all this excitement, I hadn’t yet visited John from Wild Dog Natural Produce, though in fact it was his wife, Alissia, running the show today.  I picked up strawberries – some of the last for the season, which I plan to use in a frozen strawberry cheesecake (another Green Kitchen recipe, I’m a little obsessed) – and some of their irresistible garlic.  They also had Mayflower potatoes, a variety I’ve never tried before, and Alissia waxed lyrical about how wonderfully crunchy they are when roasted.  Sold.

Isn't wild fennel a pretty thing?  So lacy and fern-like.  I must admit, if the first bite is with the eyes, my feast starts when I walk into the market...

Isn’t wild fennel a pretty thing? So lacy and fern-like. I must admit, if the first bite is with the eyes, my feast starts when I walk into the market…

At this point, we were very nearly done.  I decided that the one thing I really did still need was eggs – I’m in rather an eggish mood at present, and am also itching to bake, just as soon as I’m well enough.  So we got a dozen from the lady with the happy chooks, and then packed our bags for home…

Beware the giant egg-moth!  It flies by night, stealthily, and by the time you see its corpse-white body above your eyes, it's too late!  (this is no yolking matter)

Beware the dreaded egg-moth! It flies by night, stealthily for all its monstrous size, and by the time you see its corpse-white body hovering before you, it’s too late to run, and there is nowhere to hide…

Incidentally, I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of a fortnightly market in Coburg.  I won’t be giving up the Slow Food or Flemington Markets, but imagine being able to go to the market every weekend and get *all* my fruit and veg and meat and eggs from farmers?  Ideally dairy, too, but there aren’t so many butter and cheesemakers out there yet.  Imagine being able to ride there on my bicycle in pretty much any weather, because it’s only ten minutes away?  someHonestly, this would be my food ideal – I know some ingredients are pretty much going to have to come from supermarkets, but if I could get all my wonderful raw ingredients straight from the farm, that would make me happy on so many levels – nutritionally, in terms of flavour (and, yes, we can’t forget wild colours and silly shapes, either), and ethically, too.  One of the few advantages of Coburg’s gentrification is that there really is a market for ‘inner city greenies’ like myself, who want their grocery money to go as directly as possible to the people who grow the food we eat.  With a market on my doorstep, this may actually become a reality.
some2Oh, and because I am a gloaty, gloaty Catherine, herewith my dinner menu(e??  surely not!)s for the next few days:Sunday: Sausages baked with grapes and onions on a bed of lentilsMonday: Cabbage tacos with corn, mango and black beansTuesday: Two tagines – one with lamb and dried fruit, one with mixed vegetables.  Couscous.  Frozen strawberry cheesecake.Wednesday: Zucchini parmagianaThursday: Pizza peperonata and Pizza with broccoli, ricotta and lavenderFriday: Beef and eggplant casserole of some sort in the slow cooker, with fresh fettucine.Are you hungry yet?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This time last year…

Cooking around allergiesShow-off post: Near Disaster Chocolate and Berry Wedding CakeRecipe: Chocolate, Almond and Raspberry Cake


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7 comments for “Farmers’ Market Post – Pomegranates and Menus!

  1. Gillian B
    April 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    So the fact that I am drooling now means I should stop eating today in preparation for Tuesday? *droooool*

    • Catherine
      April 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Well, I’m certainly not planning to do that!!

  2. Heath Graham
    April 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    You’ve outdone yourself with your food arrangements this time!

    • Catherine
      April 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      I must admit, getting a small literary figure to willingly pose on a cabbage was a challenge.

  3. April 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    I need your recipes for the sausages and for the lamb tagine… pretty please?

    • Catherine
      April 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Well, first I have to invent the tagine recipe (I haven’t made it yet, but I’m probably going to start with Claudia Roden and go from there). And then I have to figure out the quantities I used for the sausages (I started with a Diana Henry recipe for this one, but I want to make it so that the lentils cook in the juices of everything else). But yes, with luck, both these recipes will show up here soon!

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