Farmers’ Market with Apricots!

Oops – I never did finish my Farmers’ market post from Sunday a week and a half ago.  I blame the confectionery.  Here it is, in all it’s gorgeous vegetable glory…

After that 40°C day on Friday, we certainly deserve some of the good bits of summer around here.  Or at least, that’s my theory.

Summer bounty

Fortunately, that seems to have been the theory of Melbourne, too, because the weather has brought us the first apricots of the season in all their glory.  And, better still, the market has brought us excellent advice on choosing apricots which I herewith pass on to you: don’t look at the red bit.  That’s the bit that has seen the sun, and doesn’t tell you anything about ripeness.  It’s the bit on the other side that’s important – if it’s yellow, you’ll need to leave the apricot on your counter for a few days to ripen.  If it’s orange, it’s ready to eat.

And if you can get it to stay in a pyramid for any length of time, you have probably spent far too much time arranging food in interesting shapes…

But I didn’t even get as far as the apricots on my first round because John from Wild Dog Natural Produce had this at his stall:

Braided garlic! How glorious is that?

I cannot fully express my glee at braided garlic.  I’m going to have to think of something absolutely magnificent to do with this (currently, it’s just hung up on a hook in my kitchen, making me feel very mediterranean).  This is still the fresh, young, apple-crunchy garlic, too.  I think roasted garlic with everything is in my future.  And broad beans that someone else has podded – definitely something to encourage.  I do love broad beans, but since I am the kind of insane person who likes them both podded *and* skinned, they are generally a bit labour-intensive to bother with.  (I’m not even commenting on the strawberries.  You know how I feel about strawberries already…)

Mayhem believes in checking all vegetables for freshness.

Anyway, after that I thought I’d better look at a bit more of the market, which is to say I made a bee-line to Rita’s stall to see if she had any crumbed artichokes this week.  She did!  Also, crostelle, to go with my strawberries (unimaginative, I know, but I say that when you are onto a good thing, you should stick with it), and really lovely red onions.  Tony informed me that they really are from Italy – the seeds, at least.  They are a lovely colour, too.

Rita and Tony’s glorious produce – Italian onions, Russian Kale, and very local fennel, along with crumbed artichokes and crostelle.

I picked up some fennel and kale, in order to pretend that it wasn’t just about the artichokes and sweets, but we all know that it really is about the artichokes and sweets.  Well, maybe Rita doesn’t – she always approves strongly of my vegetable choices.  I chickened out of getting nettles again – my first attempt at cooking with them was not at all palatable.  I’ll try again next time.

Pies were next, with the last we’ll be seeing until March.  Most of the pies the man had left were vegetarian, so we left with creamy cauliflower and Penang pumpkin as well as our usual beef burgundy.  And pasta is also a must-have, especially when I have so much choir on in the evenings…

Fettucine for any time, and stuffed shells for after Evensong.

And this is the point where I abandoned this post to make confectionery.  And then I sprained my finger falling up the stairs at work, making typing difficult.  So from here on in, it’s mostly going to be pictures…

Another vegetable rainbow. But when the veggies are this beautiful, who can resist?

Eggs, with speckles *and* a feather. The egg lady just smiled tolerantly at me. She knows me well…

Carrots, broccoli, onions and parsley, looking strangely like a cat face with a punk hair-cut. Seriously, there are whiskers, eyes, cheeks… I didn’t intend this, by the way, it just happened…

Vegetables must be inspected *thoroughly* by a qualified cat.

Just a gorgeous bouquet of carrots and spring onions…

A table full of goodness.

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This time last year…

Help!  I’ve been eaten by confectionery! (Plus ça change…)

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