Well, and a lot of other things, too, but the teeny tiny eggplants were particularly adorable. Or adorbs, as Lydia Bennett would say, and this is me digressing right at the start to say, please, if you haven’t watched it yet, and if you ever liked Pride and Prejudice at all, do go and check out the Lizzie Bennett Diaries. It’s OK, I can wait. Though it will be a longish wait, because while the episodes only go for about 5 minutes each, there are more than 80 of them so far, not counting all the Lydia Bennett diaries and other assorted spin-offs. This is, I think, the most brilliant adaptation I’ve seen of any novel – the writers and actors really know what they are doing and have made the story very real, in particular all the wonderful relationships between Lizzie and her sisters and Charlotte.
They are getting to the pointy end now, so quick, jump in and watch all the episodes before it’s too late! You don’t need to go to work tomorrow, do you?
Oh yeah, the market. That’s what we’re here for, yes?
It was a very good market today, though I was not really in a fit state to appreciate it. Being back at work seems to have been a shock to the system, and staying up until 3am re-reading Little House on the Prairie was basically a very stupid idea given that I had choir this morning. But sometimes, one has to be stupid.
Since Lent starts this week, and I am conscious that my week currently contains (in addition to work), a singing lesson, a funeral, a dinner party, delivering another dinner to a friend who is moving house, an Ash Wednesday service and a work function, my focus was on a) things I could combine with the meat I need to use up by Tuesday, b) things I know exactly how to cook with and c) bright yellow squash and tiny tiny eggplant, oh my God, they are so cute!
Nothing is cuter than teeny, tiny eggplants. Anyway, we started at my beloved Wild Dog Produce stall, where I was instantly seduced by the bright yellow squash (which really were a particularly delicious light yellow, much prettier than any I have seen previously), and the gorgeous garlic, which they do better than anyone. We then entered into discussions with John about his potatoes. I was inclined towards the pretty Red La Soda potatoes, which I was informed are both tasty and also great from a farming perspective, because apparently the potatoes stay deep and don’t try to escape to the top of the soil where they become green and poisonous. I agreed that one should certainly encourage such well-behaved potatoes, and bought a bag of them to go with Tuesday’s Carnevale roast lamb.
(Incidentally, did you know that the origin of the word Carnevale is in fact ‘farewell meat’ – carne like carnal or carnivore and vale like valediction or valet or valentine and now I’m just making things up, but the first part was true. Anyway, this makes my meat-feast on Tuesday a very appropriate precursor to going vegetarian for Lent.)
I didn’t need strawberries – really, truly didn’t, because I keep buying berries everywhere I turn – but John’s are always lovely, so I bought some anyway. And then I bought even more gratuitous blackberries *and* gratuitous rhubarb at my favourite colourful vegetable stall.
Not to mention gorgeous baby leeks, fat hen (a lovely spinachy wild green), golden beetroot, striped zucchini, green capsicums, and the aforementioned adorable baby eggplants.
They also had tomatoes of every possible colour, but actually, my garden is producing rather good tomatoes this year, so I bought a kilo of roma tomatoes so that I can do eggplant with tomatoes and yoghurt later in the week, but left the pretty salad tomatoes for another time.
Another stall had rather beautiful looking onions and broccoli, which, along with the fat hen and some chilli and garlic, was exactly what I needed to use up my sausages (I do an excellent pasta with balls of sausage meat tossed with broccoli and other greens and onions and chilli and garlic – no more of that until after Easter, of course, but it’s a nice way to go).
I’m still a bit scared of coming home late after grants and having to come up with sensible vegetarian food, so I eyed off the vegetable and chickpea pies as a possibility, but decided to leave them for this week in favour of spinach, basil and ricotta ravioloni. I actually have some really nice pasta sauce on hand for that, if I’m feeling truly out of it. And I picked up some fettucine, too, because fresh pasta is just glorious. I’m going to serve it with roasted zucchini and tomatoes later in the week (recipe forthcoming), and it will be *amazing*.
At this point, I felt that we were pretty much done, so we headed for the exit, passing the orange stall on the way and being seduced by the dried mango. Which is, let me tell you, very seductive stuff.
Then I spent the whole walk back to the car repining over the chocolate and beetroot cake which we hadn’t bought, and had to go back and get some after all. And some orange cake, so that the beetroot cake wouldn’t feel lonely (there is nothing worse then a lonely beetroot. And I’m sure there is a pun here about bleeding hearts, but I can’t quite find it…)
They really were worth going back for.
And then we went racing off for the first choir service of the year, punctuated by loud drums and gongs from the Chinese New Year festivities that were happening half a block away at very loud volume. Which is how the choral year is supposed to start, incidentally – we always feel a bit funny in the years when our first Sunday happens without percussion accompaniment…
This time last year…