Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Spring Fling

It is the time of year for All Things New.

Shake out your winter doona and put it away (okay maybe not, this is Melbourne after all). Head out through damp fields and hunt for morels. If you are the lazy non-foraging type, you can simply head to Damian Pike and ask very sweetly if he's got some lying around. They will set you back a pretty penny but it's a very rare treat - savoured by mushroom hunters all over Australia. And seasonal too - they depend on weather conditions throughout winter and there will be years when you'll come away with a handful and years when you will be positively drowning in the things.
Morels at Damian Pike Wild Mushrooms
 The point is, the rare things, the sweetest morsels, are not easy come by.

Take broad beans. Another of spring's early treats, they appear and we clap our hands with delight. And the young, baby ones are divine - so soft, so small, they don't need double-podding. But a week or so in and the sturdier siblings arrive at the Market and the labour of love commences

First the beans are shelled - pods split and the green beans pulled from their cottony home.Then blanched in boiling water for 1-3 minutes, then drained and refreshed in cold water. Now the next shelling takes place, the labourious removal of each bean from its cover (people should smile when you do this for them. They should smile a lot.)

As Stephanie Alexander would say "The startlingly emerald-green kernels can be rewarmed in a little melted butter or boiling water in less than a minute."

F & J Fruiterers
And surprisingly perhaps, the best way, I feel, to eat these hard-won treasures is simply. Absolutely simply. With a little sourdough toast, a soft young Spring cheese underneath. Mixed through fresh pasta with a drizzle of the newly harvested olive oil. 

Grassy, green, light - all the flavours of spring.
Photo by Various Brennemans

If I get round to double-podding some broad beans on a Sunday afternoon, I know how I'll serve them. Warmed through with some lemon zest, baby peas and pea shoots picked straight from the punnet. It will be both difficult and simple and it will be good.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Market Week Fun

This week is MARKET WEEK and we are filled with AMAZING FREE activities all week long.

The most wildly popular activity is undoubtedly our Hidden Gems tours. Normally these cost $30 per person, but for Market Week we go crazy and welcome everyone in with open arms and take them round the Market for 90 minutes showing them all the best our Traders have in stock - new, exciting produce, special items they keep tucked away, the WORKS.

So from Saturday 7 to Sunday 15 September 2013 we are running tours free every Market day at 10am but you must book your spot.

Damian Pike The Mushroom Specialist

There's also a Historical Talk being given by the Prahran Historical Society about our 149 years of history. History people, Market people, this is one for you.
Our new Blanco Kitchen has dazzling demos all week with Cioccolato Lombardo Chocolatier Tad Lombardo giving two CHOCOLATE WORKSHOPS (sold out in a flash, chocolate is popular, who would have thought?).
Gary of Gary's Quality Meats

Our Traders will also be giving it a workout on Tuesday 10 September with Gary McBean of Gary's Quality Meats showing you how to break down a whole lamb and Terry from Theo and Son’s Seafood doing a fishy demonstration.

Now, since I do believe the children are our future and it is incumbent upon us to teach them well and let them lead the way I am delighted to see TWO BRILLIANT KIDS' ACTIVITIES.

Saturday 7 September sees Brandy the Cow come to visit Market Square. Children can learn to milk (gently!) a cow and churn their own butter. Fresh butter is so good spread on newly baked bread!

The Sage Garden

Saturday 14 September has The Sage Garden here in Harvest Hall. Children can plant edible seeds and learn how to care for them while decorating a seed carry bag. 
Mr Nice Guy Cupcakes
If none of this floats your boat, there will be The Great Cupcake giveaway on Sunday 15 September in Harvest Hall. And there ain't no one who don't like a free (vegan) cupcake. 

DISCLAIMER: All activities should be checked for time and place here. Bookings may be required for some. Cow, cupcakes (and Mr Pike) may not be as pictured.