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