It has been so long since we got to our local Farmer’s Market! We have made it to Flemington a few times, by dint of the fact that it is on a Sunday and on the way to choir, and thus doesn’t interfere with much-needed weekend sleep-ins, but Coburg, falling as it does on a Saturday morning, has been a victim of exhaustion and all-day cooking classes.
This morning was not a promising morning for markets, being a rainy morning after a night with not enough sleep in it, but we had promised to visit my brother and sister in law (and our fifteen-week-old niece) and to bring the sort of lunch one can eat with one hand and have leftovers from. And given that my wrist is still making cooking painful and difficult, farmers’ market goodies seemed like the best option.
(Given that my wrist is also making typing difficult, this post is also going to be long on photos and short on text.)
We started with a quick scan of the market to see who was here this week. Prominent among the stallholders was my favourite vegetable stall. Can I remember its name? Of course I cannot! But I do know that it had gigantic zucchini flowers…
They were from, I believe, tromboncini zucchini, which are a larger than average zucchini, with flowers to match. Naturally, I snaffled some. To my excitement, they had tomatillos, too! I haven’t seen these in ages, and so I gravitated to those immediately.
They are roasting in my oven as I speak, with long peppers, chillis, coriander and lime salt, to make a chunky salsa to go with left over barbacoa and corn chips from last night.
Of course, one needs something to put into the zucchini flowers, and the baby rainbow chard looked like it would mix beautifully with some ricotta and herbs for a filling. And I like taking my brother salad greens for lunch, and salad greens with flowers mixed in are even better…
The stall also had the most incredible array of tomatoes.
How glorious is this one? Apparently, the marks are sunspots, but to me, they looked like a work of art.
…oh, and speaking of the herbs, basil and mint are lovely in zucchini flowers, and even better in a quick, fresh tomato pasta sauce with a little chilli. Hello, tomorrow’s dinner…
We always take bread and a selection of things to put in it to my brother’s for lunch, and I love the bread from Flinders Sourdough, so we headed straight over there. I keep buying bread and forgetting to eat it (which I very undiplomatically said to the stallholder – a terrible thing to say, I just wasn’t thinking and I will have to apologise next time I see him), so I decided to eschew the apricot and fig bread in favour of beach buns with apricots and raisins. Bread I don’t have to slice is safest.
We bought a loaf of sourdough to take to my brothers, and then went to Shuki and Louisa, to buy some muhammara dip.
Over at Milawa cheese, they had this fascinating goats blue cheese, that was basically a chevre log with ash on the outside and the mould slowly working its way in – cut in half, you could see the beautiful strata, with the chevre core and the gooey middle, and the ash outside. Beautiful, though *quite* strong.
Andrew is very taken with Pure Pies. I am less enamoured – for me, their pastry, while excellent, is just too buttery for me to cope with if there is a standard savoury pie-ish filling. But I do love their sweet tarts, particularly their chocolate and salted caramel tarts, which are small but very intense.
We selected a few of these to take to my brother and sister in law’s, along with some little quiches, something they also do rather well.
Another vegetable stall! I can never resist yellow zucchini – they are a little sweeter than the green ones, I think, and such a beautiful, cheerful yellow.
Also, carrots – my sister in law doesn’t like tomatoes, and it’s nice to have a bit more colour in one’s salad. I have to say, that little carrot at the bottom of the picture is one of the racier carrots I have spotted recently…
I decided that an apple or two would make a nice addition to the salad, so I went and tasted a few apples at Three Bridges, who always set up their stall with beautiful barrels and tables covered with apple-printed tablecloths. We got just two pink lady apples, but they were good ones.
Kookaberry farm had their magnificent berry stall, and I really wanted to get some of everything, but I contained myself, and limited my purchases to two berry pies for our dinner.
… and a big punnet of blackberries that I hoped would cut the richness of the chocolate tarts (they did, beautifully). I pondered raspberries and strawberries, but that whole not cooking thing has led to a lot of wasted fruit recently, so I decided I’d better not.
We tore ourselves away from the bounty of this stall, and were promptly captured by the chocolate stall next door, where I picked up a little more dessert for my brother and sister in law.
I do love the way they use the indigenous herbs and spices and fruits (the black forest with rosella is particularly wonderful), but I must admit, I get a giggle from the fact that their indigenous collection is called ‘exotics’. Indigenous fruits and herbs are about as far from exotic as one can get – indeed, technically, they are the only non-exotic thing at the market…
(I feel as though there is a parallel to be drawn here with Australia Day – post-colonial chocolate, the wave of the future? But my brain isn’t quite up for that right now, so you are in luck.)
And that was about it! I was rather taken with the smoked salmon pâté, but I also knew that I was the only one who would eat it, so I had to leave it be.
Still, it is impossible to feel disappointed by a market that has such a bounty of tomatoes to bring joy to both the eye and the plate…