I’m a bit late getting this post up, but since tomorrow’s scheduled marketing has been replaced by me going to the Trash and Treasure Market to sell as many of my culled cookbooks as I can (there are easily 300 of them, oh dear…), now seems like a good time to get last week’s market post online.
Especially as it contains chocolate. Which, now I think about it, would be just the ticket right now…
Last week wasn’t really a scheduled market week, but since it *was* the first week back after Christmas and New Years, we decided to mosey along anyway. It’s still berry season, after all, though so far I haven’t managed to spot a raspberry at any of the farmers’ markets I’ve been to. Being in possession of rather lovely milk and eggs (as well as lamb, beef and chicken) from Koallah, we were really only after vegetables, which must be why on my first circuit, I found myself stalled at the brand new Cocoa Rhapsody stall.
Well, who wouldn’t be, really? The chocolatier had a really lovely range of chocolates, and I was delighted to note that not only were his dark chocolates all vegan-friendly, they were all marked as such, too – this is something one doesn’t see very often. His flavours were also really interesting, and ranged from classics like crystallised ginger (really wonderful) or caramelised almonds to salted lime (a little too essential oil-ish for me) and green tea. He also had non-vegan bars, filled with combinations such as black forest cherry with rosella berries (one of my favourites so far), blueberry and champagne with wild lime, and raspberry and coconut with lemon aspen. All the chocolate is fair-trade and organic, and even the flavours I didn’t particularly care for had a really amazing texture – they have an extra long conching process, so the chocolate is really smooth.
For all my love of trying interesting chocolate flavours, I think my absolute favourite in the end was the plain dark 70% chocolate.
We spent a long time at this stall! The stallholder was really great, telling us heaps about how he makes the chocolate and then giving me all sorts of useful tips on chocolate tempering – I’m definitely going to try his trick of ‘injecting’ the hot melted chocolate with one big piece of chocolate, not tiny chopped pieces. This allows the chocolate to cool to the right temperature as the large piece melts, and you can just fish out whatever remains once the temperature is correct, not risking taking the whole thing too low.
We did eventually drag ourselves away from this stall (in fact, we did so twice – we went away for a bit while the stallholder dealt with customers, and then returned for our chocolate tempering masterclass), and went in search of the berries that were, after all the whole point of this expedition.
I’ve been craving strawberries (I can pretty much live on balsamic strawberries for dessert in summer), and supermarket strawberries just don’t do it for me… moreover, the ones at the greengrocers have been pretty ordinary too. I was glad to see Wild Dog Natural Produce still had plenty in stock, and I was seduced by the blueberries from the Misty Springs lady at the next stall along… I don’t always like blueberries (they can often be quite cloying and mealy), but hers are lovely, and probably deserved better than the muffiny fate they eventually achieved.
After all this lovely sweet stuff, it seemed prudent to look at a vegetable or two. The vegetables in question turned out to be zucchinis of many shapes and sizes.
I’m actually growing zucchinis again this year, but once again, not very well. This years plants are meant to produce those little pattypan-style squash, but I’m not getting many at all. So big, round zucchini were deeply tempting – I love stuffing them with whatever seems appealing. Right now, that would be ricotta and herbs. Yellow zucchini are always just gorgeous, and take a close look at these beauties:
Curvy, and with a green stripe at the bottom! Who could possibly resist them? Not me, at any rate…
Still, man cannot live on zucchini alone, so we moved on to the organic veggie stall whose name I really ought to know by now, since they know me well enough to procure my supply of asparagus in season! They had very happy-looking lettuces and spinach, as well as spring onions and basil. A salad, just waiting to happen (but where are the tomatoes this year?).
No farmers’ market trip is complete without a bouquet of rainbow carrots, of course.
All of which left me with nothing to do except find some breakfast (note: the ‘beef burger with everything’ really is with EVERYTHING and is virtually impossible to eat, though it’s also amazing if you like pickles and condiments), and see what the cheese lady had this week.
You know, there are some weeks when I go to the farmers’ market and come home with a whole collection of things that I can’t see an obvious set of meals out of. This market, though, was pretty much shouting at me: zucchini, stuffed with rice and herbs. Zucchini, sautéed and layered with basil and ricotta and feta. Zucchini, grated and sautéed on toast with carrot, chilli and basil. Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini!
Oh, and also chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!
Maybe it’s time I made my chocolate and zucchini cake again…
This time last year…
Farmers’ Market: New Year!