Oh I have been cooking like a *maniac* this weekend. Curry yesterday, winter fruit salad last night (of which more later), baked gingerbread porridge overnight for breakfast (ditto), and today, purple cauliflower soup, cheese muffins, lentil bolognese (of which *much* more later) and rainbow chard gratin which was totally un-necessary. And also hormone-mandated chocolate and boysenberry brownies, but those were absolutely not my fault.
And nor is the fact that as soon as I finished making them I lost all interest in eating them. Sigh. Stupid body.
And all this when I have a frighteningly full freezer (it’s the new pantry). So what did I do this morning? I went to the market and bought lots and lots and lots of vegetables. With life stories. What can I say? I have no impulse control around weirdly shaped vegetables.
(And any time I start to develop some, Andrew talks me out of it. He’s a terrible influence. Though the carrots really aren’t his fault, I found them all by myself and there was no way I was not going to buy them.)
Today’s market journey started as they so often do with me attempting to do a proper round of all the stalls before buying anything and then being captured by Rita’s magnificent Italian vegetable stall.
Rita had quite a bit of extended family there today to help her out, including her grand-daughter, who was busily frying up cardoon fritters, recipe book on the stand beside her, and drawing quite a crowd. So of course we had to grab our cardoons before they all went.
Sprouting broccoli are always necessary, because Rita is the only one who sells them, and of course the colourful little peppers cannot be resisted.
Rita also drew my attention to quail eggs, which I haven’t bought for a while, because I never know what to do with them. But I’m sort of curious about an egg curry recipe (who on earth puts eggs in curry?) that I found in my new book, and so I thought, why not?
Purple cauliflower was also a must, especially as this seems to be a variety that actually stays purple when cooked! It’s clearly an anthocyanin party, too, because when I made it into a soup with lemon juice today, it came out pinkish-mauve.
And then I figured I’d pick up a couple of bags of onions, because I really am trying to buy as many of my veggies from the markets as possible these days, and onions are something I run out of. Rita immediately started quizzing me on my onion-cooking habits. How many did I use? Why do I always buy these small bags? It’s not good value! I should buy a big bag! She has big bags of onions, just pulled up yesterday, and they will be good for three months.
So I bought onions. Lots of onions. I was sufficiently stunned by my new-found onioniness that I left quietly and went to see what other stalls had to offer.
A new stall “Only 25 km from Melbourne! Low food miles!” was a couple of places down from Rita, and had the most beautiful, delicate-looking baby kale I’ve ever seen. Lovely. And tiny, thin-skinned lemons, which I pounced on with joy, since I was ogling this lemon pie recipe just yesterday and my own lemons are too thick-skinned for the job.
And she had carrots. Little carrots. Sweet carrots. Friendly carrots.
Very friendly carrots. (Apparently, they are also singing carrots.)
I was charmed by the embracing carrots – as indeed, who would not be? – and we had a lovely chat about free-range carrots and how they grow. The stallholder admitted that one can’t usually sell too many weirdly-shaped carrots, but she likes to put one or two out there among her bunches, just to add interest. I heartily approve of this approach.
She also had some rather beautiful coriander and very fresh-looking salad greens, both of which made their way into my shopping bags.
No market visit is complete without dropping in on our friends at Wild Dog for some garlic or potatoes – and today, also some very happy, fresh-looking broccoli. Ally was amused to hear that the photo I took in front of their stall last month for Oxfam’s GROW challenge, with John lurking in the background looking a bit worried about the whole thing, had actually won me an Oxfam curry hamper (of which more later, because I haven’t *seen* the hamper yet, and gloating should probably wait until I know just exactly what I am gloating about. Though there certainly will be gloating!).
My freezer is, as previously mentioned, still absolutely stuffed with food, particularly frozen berries, so we drew the line at more berries, bought our traditional trio of limes from Sunny Creek next door, and moved on to look at baby fennel and red onions (because obviously, what I really needed was more onions) from the very green organic veggie stall a few lots down.
Mushrooms were also necessary, and we were treated to a brief lecture on the subject of Unethical Rival Mushroom Growers which I’m not quite sure what to make of at this point, so I moved on and bought eggs. Actually, while I rather like our mushroom grower, I’m rather hoping that down the track we might get someone who does wild mushrooms or other varieties, though I’m certainly not complaining about the quality of the mushrooms we do get.
I kept on meaning to investigate the cheese stall, but instead I got distracted by more vegetables at the colourful vegetable stall – purple and yellow carrots, a small turnip, celery root (I have this soup recipe involving mixed root vegetables and beer) and some wonderfully shiny and glowing rainbow chard.
Oh dear, I’ve completely lost track of this post. And I’m not sure that poem was entirely worth it. Well, clearly I must have moved on from there to the avocado and orange stall, where they were selling amazing bags of mixed citrus fruits and avocados all together, but I showed uncharacteristic restraint and just bought two avocados and two bunches of lovely pink rhubarb, which is definitely fated to go into a crumble with some of the aforementioned frozen berries.
Yep, really lost momentum after the guacamole bit. This could be something to do with the fact that it’s 11pm and I never did quite catch up on sleep this weekend. I believe that I then did a final victory lap of the market in which I once again failed to buy either cheese or chocolate cake (clearly I am *not* well), and then headed off to choir, where we did sing beautifully except for the special moment in the anthem where we started off with half the choir singing the anthem and the other singing the offertory (they had been swapped around), which was a very interesting combination, but perhaps a little avant-garde for the audience.
And then I came home to photograph vegetables and to COOK LIKE A MANIAC.
And so to bed.
(Except not, because if I don’t write down that lentil bolognese recipe now, I will forget it, and that would be a tragedy of the highest order.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One year ago: Chocoholic Walk in Melbourne Two years ago: Excited Catherine Post: Courses and Confectionery!