Sunday, 8 June 2008

Fruit, glorious fruit

On my latest Choku Bai Jo round, I seem to have bought almost nothing but fruit. If only that "5+2" thing was 5 fruit and 2 veg a day, I'd have no problems. Instead, when I got home, I set my lone cauliflower and bunch of leeks on the bench with the 2kg of apples, 3kg of oranges, 1 1/2 kg of persimmons, and a couple of grapefruit, and thought "uh oh". In my defense, I do have quite a lot of veg left over from last week. Because I bought too much, not because I didn't eat enough.

Choku Bai Jo has developed very nicely since they opened. Opening hours have shifted slightly - from 2pm-7pm weekdays now, and Saturday closing is at 1pm. The trestle tables are still there, but now there's some new racks and a new fridge. Apart from fresh produce, there's also local olives and olive oil, free range eggs, a selection of herbs, teas, and coffee beans, and some high quality processed foods like the Pilpel dips and the wonderful Darikay pesto I bought last week.

The prices are still good, although it won't always beat the supermarket for everything - they do have some economies of scale, after all. But I don't begrudge an extra 50c here and there to support our local producers. So far everything I've bought from there has been top quality, and so fresh that it keeps way longer than produce from other sources. I've had only one exception - I got a half dozen fuji apples a few weeks ago which turned out to be unripe.

Other people seem to be pleased with them, too. They were absolutely packed at midday on Saturday. So, good news, it looks like they are going to be successful. North Lyneham probably doesn't know what hit it. Somebody smart is going to open another kind of food shop there to pick up the sudden massive influx of passing trade. A bakery or a butcher would be good.

Mostly I just eat my fruit straight, and the persimmons are just too delicious to do anything else. With this new variety, you can eat them before they go soft, and they have very few seeds. I like to just slice them up on a plate. You can peel them if you like, as the skin is a little bit tough, but I don't bother. Apples, of course, I also just eat straight, unless they've got too old to be crunchy. I hate soft, mealy apples. Yecchh.

I like to eat grapefruit for breakfast but I rarely have the energy to prep it in the morning, so I made a grapefruit salad to keep in the fridge. (Recipe below.) I also had some old apples to use up, so I've cooked them up with cinnamon and sugar. That was quite interesting, as I had a mixture of apple varieties: a couple of golden delicious, a Cox' orange pippin, and the 5 unripe fujis I mentioned above. What happened was the fujis stayed almost whole, while the others cooked down to a total mush. Since I was feeling like LOTS of cinnamon, that mush is very brown. So I now have an odd mix of semi-firm chunks of pale cooked apple in brown apple sauce. It looks really horrible, but it's delicious. I had some with my porridge this morning.

Recipe: Grapefruit Salad
2 pink grapefruit
2 yellow grapefruit
3 oranges
3 tablespoons stringybark or other strong flavoured honey
few mint leaves

Peel the grapefruit and oranges with a sharp knife, removing all pith. Slice the oranges, removing seeds and any large chunks of internal pith or membrane. Segment the grapefruit clear from its membrane. Pour over the honey. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, then stir. The honey will have mostly dissolved into the juice by then.

This will keep in the fridge for several days. Add some shredded mint leaves at serving time.

Notes: To segment grapefruit, peel all the pith off, then slide a small sharp knife down in between the membrane and the flesh of each grapefruit segment, and come up the other side to separate the juicy segment from its cover. Drop it into the bowl, and continue around. This is surprisingly easy when you get going. When you get to the end, squeeze the book-like leaves over the bowl to get juice from the bits of segment that didn't come off cleanly. Do this whole process over the bowl, to catch the juice and falling bits as you go. You can do this with the oranges, too, but I find that's mostly more trouble than its worth.

Honestly, this is more a concept than a recipe. Do what you like with the balance of fruit and honey. I like sharp flavours, so you might like more honey than me. The picture looks more yellow than pink, because one of my grapefruits was a bright ruby and the other a softer pink. Also, the pretty segments will come apart a bit as you stir. Whatever. It's for eating, not for a beauty contest.


brazen's crafts said...

i have a 5 yo who would love that recipe i think! he seems to have discovered a love for citrus which i'm not quite sure what to do with (citrus hurts my teeth lol)

the only complaint about choku bai jo i have is that their signage (on the F&V) doesn't seem to be as thorough and it's definitely not easy to see at a glance what's organic, local etc

i wish they'd do some sort of laminated signs with colour meaning for different things ;)

Zoe said...

I'm sure if you told them, they'd be receptive to the idea.

And Cath, last week my partner and I walked home from CBJ having a little fantasy about opening a bakery/cafe next door with half a dozen tables! There's a giant and always empty cafe there, but a hole in the wall joint with wonderful coffee and using their produce would do very well, I think.

Cath said...

Brazen, you might want a bit more honey for a child. Grapefruit's a bit of a challenge, isn't it?

Zoe, Cafe Charisma isn't always empty - check out their amazing Greek sweets. They're the same people who sell their dips through IGAs and a few outlets. The cafe could use a bit of an upgrade, though, and some promotion.

Zoe said...

Ooh, I like their dips and rizogalo.

It seems to be a very big space when it's empty on a Saturday morning, though ...

Anonymous said...

To clarify...

The stores labeling is colour coded, everything with a green label is chemical free or certified organic. Regions are colour coded, ie Leeton is yellow labels. The Chemical Free produce is grown at Hall by the family that run the shop, most of which is picked daily. Thankyou everybody for your feed back on the shop.

The Staff and family will be able to answer any questions you may have about other signage instore.