Monday, March 22, 2010

Shopping & Cooking - Sunday Organic Market

I have lived in Marrickville for quite a few years and can't count the number of times I have passed the badly written sign at the Addison Road/Victoria Road intersection advertising the Addison Road Organic Sunday Market. A few times I have thought "Hmmm...must check that out one Sunday" - but never actually got my act together to go (despite it being only a 15 minute walk away from my house - pathetic, isn't it?) I also think that the sign was so crappy and amateur that I had visions that the said organic market would comprise of a few hippies selling some dodgy produce from a sarong draped card table. Well, on Sunday I woke up to a beautiful autumn morning and I needed to buy some supplies anyway, so I thought I would get out in the sunshine and pay the market a visit. The market is situated at 142 Addison Road in Marrickville, New South Wales - which is part of the Addison Road Centre - apparently the largest community centre in Australia. It houses a number of not for profit organisations and community groups, as well as hosting the market from 9am to 2pm each Sunday.

Fresh from the farm

We arrived right on 9am, and already there were groups of people heading down the driveway entrance with kids, dogs and shopping bags. A band was setting up under the trees and the aroma of coffee was completely seductive. I imagine that as the morning wears on, it could get quite busy, so I recommend an early start to ensure ease of shopping, and that you get your pick of the best stuff. The market is lovely to walk around being surrounded by trees and away from the main road. It is also the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast outside in the fresh air, which is what we did.

Actually, I confess to indulging in not one breakfast but two. (Degustation brekky anyone?) I could not resist the lure of beautiful, flaky, stretchy Roti Canai, ( served with a mildly spicy dahl to dip it into. Memories of breakfasts in Singapore came flooding back. The stall that sold these also had a beautiful selection of mostly Malaysian curries and treats - all of which smelt and looked amazing. I'm definitely going to pay them a visit again.  Breakfast number two was from a stall selling a variety of traditional German Sausages - we chose bratwurst that we devoured with saurkraut, onions, mustard and sauce served in a lovely fresh roll. Delicious. There are lots of other breakfast options, including fresh fruit juices, steamed dumplings, bacon and egg rolls, vegetarian treats and a few choices of coffee stalls (including Fairtrade) I plan on working my way around to all of them!

The first stall that caught our eye was Brasserie Breads - a Botany based artisan breadmaker that offered a stunning selection of organic savoury and sweet sourdoughs, pastries and other baked treats. After sampling a number of the breads on offer (and a deliciously aromatic sliver of freshly baked hot cross bun) we settled on a large traditional sourdough loaf, and a garlic loaf studded with masses of beautiful, gooey caramelised garlic. It smelt so good, I wanted to rip into it with my teeth right there! I managed to control myself and explored the rest of the market.

I love mushrooms so a stall specialising in mushrooms got my attention - I have never seen such a range of varieties for sale in one place. I was particularly interested in the lovely orangey, saffron coloured wild pine mushrooms. The lovely bloke running the stall told me that due to the recent rain, the pine mushroom harvest was particularly good. I couldn't leave without buying some of course!

Pretty mushies

Wandering through the stalls, I also picked up some gorgeous Tuscan cabbage (kale), fresh herbs, organic black figs (which I hope to turn into something delicious in the coming days), organic fetta cheese and some duck fat for those times when I want to feel all French and indulgent.

Another great stall I discovered was one specialising in various varieties of potatoes and garlic. I was very excited to see some types I didn't recognise and chose the deliciously named Dutch Cream variety to take home. I decided that those potatoes had a date to keep with my newly purchased duck fat later that evening...

From the potato/garlic man - I chose the Dutch Cream variety

As well as a good selection of fruit and vegetable stalls, the market has much more on offer - fresh flowers, organic cheeses, homemade preserves, herbs, eggs, honey, cakes and pies. There are also some plant stalls, second hand clothing, jewellery and bric a brac for those who like to fossick. The fun and relaxed atmosphere of the market made for a really enjoyable morning. It would be very easy to just sit under those trees drinking coffee, listening to the music and watching the eclectic passing parade all day if you wanted to. All shopping should be this enjoyable. I was impressed by the pricing of the produce on offer at Addison Road - sometimes choosing organic can be insanely expensive, but I felt that it was all pretty reasonable. Some of the trendier organic markets I have visited make choosing organic cost prohibitive for many of us, but this market seems to be more aimed at the local community and was a lot more reasonable. Certainly worth checking out  - even just as a pleasant Sunday morning breakfast excursion if nothing else.

What I bought on Sunday

I had already decided to try the Dutch Cream potatoes cooked in duck fat for dinner on Sunday evening and I teamed these with a salad of organic baby rocket (another market purchase), the organic fetta cheese, grape tomatoes and olives which I just drizzled with some olive oil and balsamic. I also slow cooked a leg of lamb with garlic, olive oil, a touch of white wine, lemon and rosemary (5 hours in my favourite cast iron/enamel pot at 190C) and added some of the gorgeous sticky garlic bread from Brasserie Breads for good measure.

What I cooked on Sunday

Sunday dinner was delicious - and there was plenty of left over lamb which I am already dreaming up plans for. I always like finding ways to create new dishes from leftovers - I'm notorious for over catering so it is a skill I'm trying to work on! I imagine you will see the lamb in some other incarnation in the coming days. The potatoes were a knockout - crispy on the outside and creamy and fluffy in the middle. I scored them all over with knife before I cooked them to maximise the surface area and to allow all that gorgeous duck fat to permeate through the potato. I used a tablespoon of the duck fat, which was plenty and just seasoned them with some sea salt and pepper. The potatoes had great flavour but weren't in the least greasy. If you see Dutch Cream potatoes for sale, give them a try - they are beautiful.


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