Monday, 17 June 2013

Versatility

It's musical chairs round here at the moment - Fruit and Veg Traders in the Big Top and some of our specialist shops in Market Square marquees. Flower sellers next to fruiterers, everyone's settling in just fine.


And for some customers, it's a bit of an adjustment. We have tour guides and staff helping customers locate their favourite traders and to point them in the right direction. The Fruit and Veg Hall's been due for an update for a while now.



And it's all about learning to adapt. Finding the bright side. Enjoying a new neighbour, the aroma of sausages and lamb burgers sizzling on the new Health Bowl BBQ, the free one hour parking. Shaking things up a bit and getting out of the rut shopping at the same butcher, the same greengrocer, the same deli every time.

Standing in the Bracher Arcade, which now has two delicatessens and Jasper's Coffee running down the middle, I saw something new displayed on top of Delicatess' "Pop-Up Shop". Springhill Pantry's Chocolate Brownie with Crimson Raisins. I'd never noticed it in the deli and perhaps I never would have if it weren't here, now, in different surroundings.

I took this country Victoria brownie home and it was magnificent. A rich, deep-chocolately brownie with plump nuggets of raisin sweetness. It was gone within 2 hours.

The juggling round of stalls in the Big Top means that I now go past Ripe's fresh herb display every time time I walk through. And the organic coriander and parsley find their way into my basket and my cooking more and more often. 

But this set-up won't last forever. Building is on schedule and the first concrete slabs were poured yesterday. In a month or so we'll be opening the doors on the new Fruit and Veg Hall and welcoming everyone in. And for now, it's about discovery and adapting. And that ain't bad.


This recipe for Puy Lentil and Freekeh Salad was published in a January 2013 Market Moments post and has continued to appear at lunchtimes in the Market office in various guises. I've adapted it for winter by adding Moroccan spices, minced lamb, leeks and some of Ripe's great coriander and parsley. Served warm, it is a substantial and hearty winter meal.

Warm Lamb Freekeh Salad

1 cup freekeh (available at the Essential Ingredient)
1 cup puy lentils
500g lamb mince
2 tsp ras al hanout
2 leeks, sliced
200g Persian fetta
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch coriander
1/2 cup green sultanas (available at 53 Degrees East)
1/2 pomegranate, seeds only
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Cook freekeh and lentils separately, until just firm. Drain and mix together in serving dish. Season with salt and pepper and pour lemon oil over the freekeh mixture.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in saute pan. Fry lamb mince with the ras al hanout. When the mince begins to absorb its liquid, add leek slices and continue to fry until both are cooked. Add to freekeh mixture.

Soak sultanas in red wine vinegar. Roughly chop parsley, coriander and feta. 

Add other ingredients to freekeh mixture, mix gently, season and serve.

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