Sunday, 20 January 2008

To Market, To Market

The growers' markets re-opened last week after their brief Xmas hiatus. Since I was in Thredbo I didn't make it, so yesterday was my first sample of the rearrangement. The parking has changed slightly - there's no access across the market any more; you have to decide on which side to go. Stalls occupy the roadway area where the lucky parking used to be. And it's chaos as nobody can find their favourites any more. There's a table with a list, but if all you can remember is "those nice people with the good apples who used to be over there", you're out of luck. It should all settle down after a while as we get used to it. There are still coffee stands in both buildings, and all sorts of produce all over. There were a few surprises - some of the ones who I would have thought were the genuine growers actually turned out to be their neighbours, or local agents.

I've been missing them, so I may possibly have over-bought. I now have white figs, blackberries, yellow peaches, apricots, new season tart gold apples, sugar plums, new potatoes, capsicum, green chillies, beans, silverbeet, tomatoes, lettuce, japanese cress, sorrel, spring onions, daikon and cucumber. As well as coffee, duck rillettes and sourdough bread. Yum.

With the change in the weather, a soup seems in order. I have a silverbeet and lentil soup on the go. I'm also curing some salmon, with thoughts of posh nibblies at an Australia Day cocktail party next weekend. And contemplating daikon pickles and okonomiyaki, if only I can find the recipe Akiko gave me...

For the soup recipe, follow the link.
Recipe: Silverbeet and Lentil Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, finely chopped,
2 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
100g silverbeet stems, finely chopped
400g silverbeet leaves, coarsely chopped
150g Puy-style lentils
100g brown basmati rice
1.5 litres stock
Salt, pepper, parmesan to taste

Gently fry onion, garlic, carrot, silverbeet stems and tomato in oil, until softened and golden. Add bay leaves and stock, bring to boil. Add brown rice and simmer for 30 minutes. In a separate pan, simmer the lentils in water for 25 minutes. Drain lentils, rinse well, and add them to the stock. Add silverbeet leaves, simmer for another 5-10 minutes, Season with salt and pepper as desired before serving, with parmesan cheese to sprinkle.

Notes: this is quite closely taken from Il Cucchiaio d'Argento. They say to use meat stock, but veggie stock is fine, too. And then for an extra touch, add some chunks of ham.

Tuesday edit:
I will add, a few days later, that I don't like the rice in this very much. It was fine on day 1, but by now the rice has soaked up a lot of the liquid, and got really squishy. It's more like a western congee than a soup. It's still perfectly edible, and I did quite enjoy it for my lunch today, with some ham sshreds and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. But I'd have liked it better if it were more soupy. I'd have a bread roll on the side.

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