I’ve come to realise that I am a very conventional and routine shopper. I go to the same stalls and purchase the same produce every week. My pantry is replicated with the same weekly dry produce too. In truth, my family’s weekly meals are bordering on monotonous. I kid myself with the mantra, I like my foods simple, but the gnarly reality is I’m unadventurous and clearly uninspired in the kitchen. This only really occurred to me last month after two rather superb local chefs visited the market and demonstrated how to make simple, quick, wholesome meals. Jean Martinez whipped up two variations of delicious fritters using seasonal produce she gathered from the stalls plus a pork belly and rice stirfry and Alison Drover conjured up 3 amazing courses doing the same. My taste buds went into a kind of Nut Bush City Limit dance routine, a routine they clearly had not performed for a long time.
As a mother of a son with muted taste buds, meaning mute all flavour and just feed me texture, I rarely use chilli. Last Wednesday, Alison prepared a salad with a base of chili, lime juice, spearmint and a dash of fish sauce andwait for it – passionfruit. To this she tossed in a bunch of tussled fresh coriander. It was sublime. Really! Likewise it is amazing what a bit of crushed macadamias or crumbled blue cheese (or both) can do to a cauliflower and leek soup. A customer marvelled (in total admiration) that Alison offered to drizzle the remaining pear compote over his cauliflower soup, calmly saying, “Try it, it could be good”. He was stunned and delighted. Salute to the adventurous! Proclaim victory to the culinary queens.
So with this boost of inspiration, I am going to fling my monotonous shopping trail out the window. I’m going to pore over a few recipes that are robust with winter produce and re-vamp my taste buds with new tantalising flavours. If you would like copies of the menus from Jean Martinez and Alison Drover cooking demonstrations, please email [email protected] with ‘Recipe Please’ in the subject line. And remember, all the fresh produce and products are available at your local farmers market!
Love to see you this Wednesday at the market – 7am until 11am (rain or shine), Murwillumbah Showgrounds via the Harry Williams Gate.
Lisa Flower – Acting Market Manager