Saturday, June 26

To market, to market

Do you visit Farmers Markets? There are several fairly close to me, and a few more further afield.My favourite at the moment is the Parnell Farmers Market, held every Saturday morning from 8-12pm in the car park of the Jubilee Building at 545 Parnell Road. I like the mixture of fresh produce, cheese, bread and fish, you can stock up for a whole meal in one hit, which is always satisfying. The other thing I really enjoy about visiting a market is the seasonality of the produce, if it isn't growing right now, you aren't going to eat it, simple as that.
But what is available will be very fresh (it may well have been picked that morning, early!), and could be something you have not cooked or eaten before. My current devotion to both celeriac and Jerusalem artichoke is a direct result of seeing them at the market, reasonably priced and so fresh they pretty much jumped in my capacious Kikki K shopper (pristine white on it's first jaunt out, now a slightly dingy cream I don't dare wash in case I end up with a handbag.....) Stalls may vary slightly week on week, but it is generally always possible to get lovely fresh eggs, a decent selection of different cheese, interesting bread (the kumara bread from Pukeko bakery is top with soup)........are you hungry yet?
You can wander if you wish, or do a determined whirl through, stopping long enough to grab a coffee to keep you going if needs be. There is also an Eftpos cash out facility which really is clever, I never remember to take enough cash.......

Unfortunately the market is not covered, so it can be a quick dash in bad weather, but I think it is important to support these kind of ventures (use it or lose it as they say....) which support local growers and producers, and give us as consumers quality and choice......and a good reason to haul myself out of bed on a Saturday morning.

Tuesday, June 15


Winter has most definitely arrived. The oil heater in the lounge is constantly on, and despite Pru’s best efforts to actually wedge herself in between the columns, some heat heroically still manages to penetrate the rest of the room. I hate being cold. How people live in snow and arctic conditions is truly beyond me. I imagine my ancestors, sitting in a damp cottage in Ireland somewhere, struck out for the New World not because they were starving, or sick to death of potatoes (yum!), but because they wanted to be warm. Given my inherited lack of any sense of direction whatsoever, they were probably aiming for Florida, or maybe Hawaii, but Auckland is still considerably warming than many other parts of the country, thank the Lord they never reached Dunedin….

To me cold means soup. Soup to warm, soup to nourish, soup for no other reason than I can put it in a cup and warm my hands. Saturday lunch was a bowl of Broccoli soup, with some Turkish bread, slathered in pesto and warmed in the oven (see, even my bread has to be warm…). Tasty, super easy to whip up, cheap, and filling, surely this is a definition of superfood? I sprinkled some blue I found lurking in the cheese bin onto my bowl, guilding the lily maybe……?

Broccoli soup

A good size knob of butter

1 medium onion peeled and diced

1 large potato peeled and diced

2 small-average size heads of broccoli

300 ml chicken stock mixed with 250 mls water

A dash of cream (optional)

Melt the butter over a gentle heat and add your onion and potato. Sweat gently for about 10 mins until the onion is translucent. Season with a good pinch of salt & pepper, and add your broccoli and stock/water mix. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10-15 mins until the broccoli is tender. Blitz with your trusty stick blender (or tip into a normal blender & puree, I avoid this as I can’t seem to transfer hot liquids without burning myself……) You could put it through a sieve if you like it extra smooth, but it is fine a little chunkier. I add a dash of cream, but again it isn’t essential. Check the seasoning, and serve steaming hot with or without a carb element.

We ate this on Saturday while watching Scarface…if it isn’t war films or the History channel its gangsta paradise in our hood……except of course at the moment its Football central, I believe there is a World Cup on? Mr D is already a happy bunny with Chelsea winning the Premiership, the All Whites make the second round and his soup cup may well runneth over.

Good luck tonight boys, we will be rugged up and watching!

Wednesday, June 2

Cooking Class 3

Fully booked for June 9th, we are doing 30 minute meals this time, the kind of thing you can come home and whip up after work, that is still interesting and tastes great:) I was trying out a new recipe last night for next week’s cooking class, Chickpea fritters with yoghurt dip, as if lentils were not enough now it’s chickpeas!

The recipe (Nigel Slater’s) called for soaked dried chickpeas, but I thought I would be a clever cookie & make them with tinned, all in the name of speed you understand. The mixture, with onion, cumin, chilli & loads of herbs smelt amazing, and I was feeling rather pleased with myself. I put a tad too much oil in my pan, but figured they would just fry a little quicker, no biggie. So you can imagine my surprise when I put my wee patties into the bubbling oil (a little bit hot, turn the heat down girlfriend…)………….and they disappeared! I mean totally disappeared, one minute patties, the next brown oil and no sign of life? I think the tinned peas were too wet, and in the hot oil they simply melted away………

The bit of sludge I could rescue did taste amazing so I will persevere with that one, and as Mr D did point out, it isn’t every girl who has super powers & can make her dinner disappear right before her eyes……..just not sure it’s a special power I actually want, I was quite looking forward to my fritters…….:(