Farmers Market Shopping

Shopping at a Farmers Market is not like shopping at a supermarket;  you don't know exactly what is going to be there, produce wise. Recipes always need to be adapted to take advantage of what is in season, is new and tastes the best at the market. Don't get disappointed that the product you built your dish on is not in, or the small producer has not shown up this week. Get excited about a new find or a different fresh product you can use instead to make your dish sing. Make a new dish out of an old favourite recipe. Grow your repertoire.

Small producers are hands on every day, fresh produce never sleeps. Farmers have to go to christenings, weddings and occasionally need a Sunday off. Next time you see your favourite Farmer, tell them how much you missed them; they will be quite chuffed; ask them where they  were last Sunday? I am suer he / she will have a good story to tell.
It is the beauty of buying food from real people.

When I turned up to do my cooking demo, my parsnip man Francesco was not there, a christening I believe. So I adapted my recipe below; substituting parsnips and apples  with  the last of the seasons purple carrots from Rodger of AAy fame & Ross's rare Comice pears from Ashbourne Valley. Then I got excited by a European lettuce so I threw that in too. Recipe ? What recipe ? A recipe is to chefs, like pirates, more like "guide lines"

I write what I call suggestive recipes for my articles, ideas of flavour combinations and methods that work. The idea is to get people thinking more intuitively about how food flavours actually work, instead of following a blue print recipe blindly.
I have worked one of my suggestive ideas into a recipe; still clinging to handfuls and splashes  as measurements. The most important part is to taste. It is the only way to become a natural cook.

Parsnips substituted with  purple carrots — endive was substituted  with escarole
because they were best in the market
mmmm and I added some lemon because I felt like it.

Warm roast parsnip & apple salad w endive heart & hazelnut oil:
Peel parsnips, cut in half, and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Quarter apples and do the same. Roast till edges are caramelised and just cooked in the centre. In a large salad bowl, add picked, washed curly endive hearts, roast Parsnips and apples, add a splash of tarragon vinegar and a splash of walnut oil. Taste check seasoning. Fantastic aside a lamb roast. Makes a fab entrée.



700 g         Vagaris parsnips
3                Ashbourne Valley Apples or Pears
1                Large-hearted Patlin or Food Forest Endive
1                tsp cinnamon
Macrobiotic seas salt
Fresh white pepper — grinder
Tarragon vinegar
Harding’s Hazelnut oil


Turn oven to 200* +
Scrub parsnips with a scourer.
Slice into rounds an inch thick if large or leave whole is small and thin.
Cut apples or pears into ¼
Toss Parsnips and Fruit in olive oil, sea salt, pepper and cinnamon.
Bake in a hot oven till tender.
Wash endive and drain.
Pick out tender heart leaves.
When vegetable and fruit are cooked showing hints of caramelisation, toss them in a large bowel. 
Add the endive hearts
Splash on the nut oil and vinegar to taste.
Toss all ingredients together.

Arrange on platter.


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