Saturday, 15 September 2007

The Hive and the Market

I have two things to review today, and a recipe.

Last night we went to The Hive, a variety show at Gorman House Theatre C. This is a very tiny, err, intimate, venue mostly used by the Canberra Youth Theatre. They're planning to do it every two months; the next one is 30 November and we'll be there. It's a collation of short local acts - it could be anything next time, who knows? We saw some dance, a theatrical monologue, circus tricks, "real science magic" (do a Monkey Magic type song in your head for that), improvised rap, a demo of a weird 90s dance party board game, an art exhibition and more. Some acts made use of the accompaniment of the Dr Stovepipe trio, who also played in the bar before the show and during the interval. The performers are all volunteers: some amateur, some professional performers who are trying out new acts. It was a very good night, assisted nicely by the mojitos offered by the hip but friendly bartenders. (Is Canberra the only place where the young and hip don't have to sneer at everyone else? Nice. I like it.)

This morning I donned my foodie persona to visit the local Growers' Market. I've been a fan of this since it started - it's only a short stagger down the road for me. I'm told it starts at 8am, but I was queueing at the Jindebah coffee stall at 9.15, half amazed at myself for getting out of bed. It's been a while since I visited - heading out in freezing early mornings with the flu is not a good idea. I so love this place. The best fresh produce to be found anywhere. There's a rule that the suppliers must be from the region, but this includes people who truck seafood in from the coast, or who locally roast imported coffee, or who bake their bread or make their dips or pates in the region. I bought masses of beautiful crisp apples for $2.50 a kg - so unlike the supermarket woolly old rubbish. There's close to a dozen different bakers of different styles. There are garden stalls full of herbs, fruit trees and native shrubs. There's local lamb, pork, beef, goat, trout, and chicken. People sell Australian bush spices, paperbark, macadamia oil, lavender, live chickens, honey, preserves, olives, nuts, exotic mushrooms. It's heaven.

I came home with a leg of saltbush lamb and some duck pate, for a dinner party on Friday, as well as a good supply of veggies for roasting, gorgeous salad greens, Italian bread, apples, mandarins, macadamia oil and probably more that I'm forgetting. I'm going to do some caramelised roast beetroot on Friday, and the bunch I bought had fantastic fresh green tops. So I cooked that up tonight to eat with the last of the lentils and sausages.

Recipe: Beetroot Greens Agrodolce
400g beetroot greens, well washed, torn to pieces, thick stems discarded
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon chilli flakes

Fry the onion in the olive oil until golden, then add the garlic and fry gently for another minute. Add the sugar and chilli, and the beetroot greens, and stir until the greens are wilted. Lower the heat, add the vinegar, and let simmer for another 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: Agrodolce is Italian for sweet and sour. I used plain white sugar and cider vinegar, but you could vary this - and the amount of chilli - to taste. Verjuice would be great. Silverbeet is good cooked this way, too. Oh, and if the greens have had time to dry after their wash, add a little water.

Cooking today: Leftover sausage and lentil casserole, beetroot greens, chicken curry.

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