Farmers’ Market – The Zombie Way!

Fixing all these links is going to be the death of me, I swear.  I was up until nearly three this morning working on them, and then I couldn’t sleep because my brain was worrying about all the other links and what if Google can’t find me any more and my lovely readers give up on me because my recipes are impossible to find and will this ever be over and why is there a Dairy Free page full of broken links lurking in totally the wrong place (don’t even ask.  And, obviously, if you do find yourself on said page, do not be surprised if all the links are broken, because I can assure you, they all are).

Anyway, by about 4:30, I had decided that just this once we could skip the Farmers’ market, even though it was a Rita week, because I just couldn’t face today on four hours of sleep.  I woke up at 8:30, explained this to Andrew, went back to bed, and was seized with a sudden, dreadful realisation – that lovely vegetable lady was getting asparagus from her neighbour just for me, and it would be terribly inconsiderate not to buy them from her!

So off we lurched to Flemington in search of asparagus, breakfast and BRAINS.  (Actually, nobody was selling brains, and I probably wouldn’t have bought them if they had been.  I draw the line at offal, though I probably should give it another try now that I am no longer twelve.).

Herbs – coriander, oregano, parsley, and baby garlic. That feels like spring to me.

Our first stop was, of course, Rita.  I stood in her stall feeling dazed and with no idea what I wanted.  I said so, explaining that I was half asleep.

“No, you’re not,” said Rita, firmly, and took me in hand.  “You want some of the new garlic, yes?  And the greens – these are the only ones we have this week.  You should have those.  You like beetroot.  And have you tried my crumbed artichokes yet?”

Greens of many kinds and colours – russian and tuscan kale, spinach, beetroot with its greens, and carrots.  I do love the colours in this picture.

That was worth waking up for – I really like the flavour of artichokes, and have been tireless in my quest to find a form of artichoke that doesn’t drive me to tears when I try to prepare it – the globe kind are tricksy and go brown no matter how much lemon juice I use, and the root kind, in addition to taking over my garden, are a nightmare to peel.  So far, cardoons are as close as I’ve come to success, and they are only good for about two months of the year.

(Incidentally, I *bitterly* envy people in European countries or in the USA, where apparently one can buy pre-prepared frozen artichoke bottoms.  If ever a food deserved to be sold pre-prepared, it would be the artichoke)

Rita’s artichokes are crumbed with dry breadcrumbs and parsley, and are to be cooked in olive oil.  I think she was dubious about my ability to take anything in, because she told me how to cook them at least twice.

Crumbed artichokes. I am very much looking forward to these…

I thanked her gleefully, added some quail eggs and fresh oregano to my bag, and took off in search of asparagus.

Oh, no, actually, there was the guy with goat chorizo.  I took off in his direction instead… Oh, mushrooms!

I was going to say it was a really cheerful chorizo, but on closer inspection, I think it’s been in a fight, because one of those mushrooms has a black eye. Oh, rats, and I just missed the perfect opportunity to give him cauliflower ears made of real cauliflower!

Ooh!  Bagels!  I’ve never actually had bagels, and I’m not convinced that choc chip bagels are going to be a discovery for the ages, but the warm bagel with blackberry jam was very good, so I bought a couple of sultana bagels and two little choc chip ones just out of curiosity. (Verdict: sultana bagels are great.  Choc chip?  Not so much…)

Right, asparagus then.  I managed to point myself at the correct stall, and was greeted by my smiling vegetable lady… but no asparagus!  Alas!  Apparently, the season has been really bad for asparagus – it keeps raining and rotting things – and there were none to be had from her neighbour.  Despite the artichokes, I began to yearn for my bed and a past in which asparagus had not occurred to me…

Still, there were very good leeks and broccoli and carrots and baby spinach with which to solace myself, and some good coriander, too.

The sensible vegetables. I was going to say that they have less fun than the colourful kind, but looking at that leek, I’m fairly certain he’s a bit of a party animal, and you don’t want to get the broccoli drunk, because she can’t stop giggling and then she plays practical jokes on the carrots, only they don’t work, because she can’t remember what she was doing in the first place. The onions all pretend to be aloof from this, but they are actually members of the same trade onion as the leeks, and when *they* get together, you really have to watch yourself. And most of that was just an excuse to write ‘trade onion’. I’m afraid I’m rather tired.

We moved on to the land of colourful vegetables, where they had multicoloured radishes, which I resisted, and multicoloured carrots, which I did not.  I also got some perfectly ordinary parsley and some more kale.  Kale chips may be in my future again this week…

Andrew then went to put the veggies in the car, while I drifted randomly around the market, unable to make a decision about anything except the general feeling that we did probably need eggs.

So pretty… I fear I do not do my best work, caption-wise, when this sleepy.   Not least because I keep forgetting how to type, so my captions start making even less sense than usual…

And we probably didn’t need cake.  Even chocolate and beetroot cake.  And whole orange cake.  No, we definitely didn’t need that…

But really, is cake ever actually about need?

And then it was time to come home, ice a birthday cake (badly, because zombie Catherine is very unco-ordinated), go to a birthday party, and then come back and fix more links.  I’m about half-way through the process, incidentally.  Maybe a bit further – it’s hard to tell.

But I have freshly baked cranberry, oat and choc chip cookies cooling on a rack in my kitchen, and balsamic strawberries marinating on the bench, ready for dessert, and I have music to listen to, so perhaps I will not go totally crazy tonight.  And it’s very good to be back to blogging in between all the linkish madness…

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This time last year…

Recipe: Apricot and Orange Sweetmeats

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4 responses to “Farmers’ Market – The Zombie Way!

  1. The trick with artichokes is not just putting lemon on them. You still have to protect them from air. Put them in a large bowl filled with water, and squeeze in one-half a lemon per artichoke. The water will protect them from the air, while the lemon will give you enough acid to keep them from browning due to the oxygen dissolved in the water.

    • I’ve been putting them in lemony water, but it sounds like I haven’t been putting enough lemon. I’ll give that a try next time I foolishly decide to buy artichokes – thank you!

  2. I’ve seen frozen artichoke bottoms a couple of times in Melbourne. Once at Thomas Dux (Glen Waverly), and once at Leos (Hartwell). I can’t remember the price however.

    • Interesting – I’ll have to see if the Leo’s in Heidelberg has such things. They do seem like an awfully useful thing to have on hand…

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