I’d heard about this invitation to market from a fellow blogger on a boat. It was an invite for Canberra bloggers to experience the Capital Region Farmers Markets on a personal level. To meet the stall holders, and find out a little more about them other than what was in front of you to purchase. What if they gave us $100 to spend at the market, what type of Christmas menu could we create with the local produce? How could we wow our dinner guests? By showcasing the Canberra and surrounds fantastic produce? By creating a mouthwatering menu that would have the Christmas cheer literally overflowing from your festive garlanded china plates?
By God, could I what. Get me in on some of that action. A month late, here is the result of the Christmas Challenge.
Be warned, this is a pretty photo laden post. I do love me a farmers market, and as much as I adore the EPIC markets, it was a bloody big call to get me from Southside to ‘tother side of Northside by 7.30am. Tweenie tagged along as she’s really getting into this blogging gig, she feels semi famous, and that’s important when you’re 12 and a half. In regards to what was I going to prepare, I knew immediately that I wanted to pork. There is nothing finer or more festive than a pork loin, moist and most crackled. With gravy and vegies and crackling and crispy potatoes and crackling. A pork roast and all the trimmings it would be.
Armed with my vouchers and a coffee (tip to the wise: don’t stand too close to the man yelling out ticket numbers whilst stirring sugar into your coffee, at 7.30am I was not prepared for that), I set off with the group of bloggers, and made our way down the aisles with Todd from Threesides Marketing, our personal tour guide. I’ve nicked the above image of the blogger group from Anna at Shenannagans blog, because I must’ve been off somewhere scoffing my face, buying more produce or ducked to the loo, as I’m not in it 😦 But a prettier bunch of ladies you’ll nary find. I’ve listed the blogs below if you want to check out them and their wares.
My first port of call was to source me a bit of pork. I chose Boxgum Grazing because, well, it was the first meat stall holder I came across. That and the fact that even at 7.30 every man and his dog was after their free range pork. And now I know why.
Geez Louise, it was a fine piece of meat. With a quick burst in the first instance of extreme heat, to get the crackling going, then cooked slowly on low heat, til tender and delicious. It was cooked with apples and onion and port. The lovely guys put my pork into their fridge for me whilst I meandered for the next 2 hours.
My next stop was garlic, Goulburn Garlic. And here below, is the lovely Jane, standing proudly in front of her fabulously mauve garlic set up. She matches the decor to suit her produce. Gorgeous!
I only bought one bag of Jane’s fat cloved garlic and I treated it with the love and tenderness that the product demanded. Garlicky, buttery, smoked salty, hot toasted bread rolls, straight from the oven. A thing of beauty, pure beauty.
Next cab off the rank was a stop in at the Greenery stall. Kurrawong Organics. Bunches, bags and boxes of stupendously (Buddie’s new fav word at the mo) fresh green stuff. Check em out on Instagram, they’ve got some great stuff.
It’s seriously good stuff, these guys were SO UP at 8am and more than happy to have their pic snapped. All that fresh green power organic goodness must be wonderful for you, as this team was a pretty team. I need to eat more green stuff.
I bought baby fennel and a big fat bag of rocket, and along with a stack of other goodies, I knew I was going to make a tasty fennel, rocket, cherry, avo and snow pea salad. See. Quite gorgeous.
Ok, next, breakfast. I’ll ask for twice as much coconut syrup next time, that was fabulous. Sticky Black Rice from Stikky Bikkie, perfect energy increasing food for shopping.
From the first pic, you may notice that there is a lovely chunk of blue cheese. Blue vein in fact. As soon as I walked past the ladies from Small Cow Farm putting out this lovely looking stinky cheese I knew what gravy we would have with out roast pork.
Nigella Lawsons Stilton and Port gravy. Oh. My. God. To die for. I have this book and have always wanted to make this to accompany a roast of some sort. If you can, then do. I insist. The girls stood at the bench and practically drank the gravy, scooping it out of the jug with left over roast potatoes. As you do.
By the way, I Tweeted the above pic, tagging Nigella, as you do and I got this back from her. Could I contain my excitement to get not one, but two personal messages from my greatest idol? No, I fear I could not. I screenshotted it and Facebooked it immediately.
Ignore the first message, I replied to one of her tweets and she felt the need to reply directly to me so she could explain her side of things, in case I took her tweet of context, how sweet of her. Swoon. Celebrity crush or what!!!!
Enough of that celebrity nonsensical stuff, lets get on with the show.
Nuts. Great big garlicky nuts. Yes, this is the man with the great nuts. My pick for the day was a bag of very garlicky macadamia nuts. Bateman’s Bay Nuts, try em hot if you can manage it, they’re sublime. I ate the whole bag whilst Instagramming all the photo’s from the shopping adventure.
Not only did the cherries I bought go on top of the below pavlova we enjoyed for dessert, but I made a savoury cherry jam to go with the roast duck we were eating for an early Christmas dinner with my parents and a few friends. Cherries, smoked paprika, thyme from the garden, a glug or two of orange juice and a roast in a medium oven, makes for a fine accoutrement for roast birds. And or ham.
Mmmmm pavlova with fresh berries n cherries and lots of cream. Extremely healthy for you too. Look at all those Auntyoxidents.
So there you have it. $100 spent at the local farmers markets. By the way, the EPIC markets (as the locals fondly call them), recently won the award for Excellence in Food Tourism at the Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards. Nicely done, guys, nicely done.
If you think that the above produce was all used for the above one meal, then you’d be sorely wrong. It bought a massive amount of fresh fruit, veg, dairy and meat and this is what I did for the remainder of our fortnight. You see, this amount of produce fed our family of four for a fortnight. That’s a bargain. Seriously, why would you want to continue shopping at the Big Two for any of the above, when you can’t guarantee the quality, the freshness and the value for your hard earned money?
Yellow Zucchini and asparagus slice with snow peas, anyone? BTW the asparagus was the very last of the seasons and a sneaky little purple spear made it’s way into the bunch. You won’t get that if you bought it from the supermarket. Anyway, it turns green when cooked, so doesn’t matter.
Just had to throw a little picture of my new Christmas dinner set, all nicely laid out for the 6 of us, for our impromptu Christmas feast.
Thanks so much Capital Region Farmers Markets and Threesides Marketing for giving me this opportunity, it was a much better experience than I normally would’ve had. I think I’ll be a little braver on my next visit out there and chat as much as I can to the stall holders, and if you’re reading this, you too, they love talking about their fantastic produce as much as they can. Why wouldn’t they?
Blogger Babes from L to R
Cassie from Threesides Marketing