Friday, 6 July 2012

farmers markets: what's in season

On FBi Radio this Friday 7 July:

Rug up, get up early and hit your local farmers markets this weekend. Whether it's Pyrmont Grower's (which is getting all French themed this Saturday), Rozelle - there's reportedly a meat-tastic tasting event happening or Eveleigh - where it's ALWAYS all systems go...there's plenty of amazing winter produce to be found, cooked and enjoyed while the weather is cold. 

Be on the look out for:

New season Australian truffles. If you're lucky, you might be able to score a tiny piece or black gold. They're in season at the moment and there are some brilliantly fragrant specimens coming out of Manjimup in Western Australia and Canberra are making a big fuss over their truffle festival, happening until the end of the month. If all else fails, check out The Wine & Truffle Company's site to find out how to get your hands on some. Don't know what to do with it?

- Freshly microplane some onto scrambled eggs
- Store them in a container with eggs in the fridge and the'll impart their fragrance into them

When buying truffles:

- Give them a sniff. If they don't really smell, they're past their prime and don't waste your money
- Don't store them for too long. Truffles are best when fresh, so don't save it all for a rainy day.. otherwise you just have a clod of really expensive fungus that doesn't really do much

Cavolo Nero. Aka. Tuscak kale, Black kale, or curly Russian Kale. With its deep, dark green leaves, you know that stuff HAS to be good for you. Cut the leaves coarsely, spread them out on a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil and a little sea salt and bake around 180 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes and voila! Kale chips! Because they're in season and therefore not too exy, it's way cheaper than going to your local gourmet supermarket for a fix.

Jerusalem artichoke. No, they don't come from Israel. They're actually part of the sunflower family and these knobly tubers taste nutty and can be eaten raw or cooked. They're super high in iron and are good for diabetics as they contain inulin, which is a form of starch that isn't converted into sugar and therefore used for energy in the body, so it doesn't affect blood sugar levels as much as potato. Peel, finely slice and fry into chips, blanch, coarsely chop and add into salads or use them instead of potatoes in a gratin (Thanks, Martha Stewart).