Saturday, October 4, 2008
VeganMoFo: To market, to market, to the internet!
Hurrah, another day of VeganMoFo. And what a beautiful day it was too - sunny and warm and everything good about spring. I was going to talk about my favourite things in the kitchen today, but given the weather and my activities today I have decided to postpone that and talk about other fun stuff instead.
Farmers' Markets are something I have always meant to go to, but never quite got around to doing. Until recently! Unfortunately my work arrangements mean I can only get to a market every second Sunday. In theory I could go every second Saturday, but I would get there quite late and by that stage they are sooooo crowded!
For the past few Sundays I have been going to the Mount Gravatt Markets and loving it! All that fresh produce just sitting around waiting for me to buy it and eat it. So much more satisfying than buying it from the green grocer, let alone those other places of mass selling. I really enjoy the Mt Gravatt ones - they are smaller local markets, but there is a lot of variety there. The area has a fairly heavy asian influence, which means there is some great stuff available. Plus my favourite mushroom man has a little stall there, with all sorts of amazing mushrooms including portobellos as big as your face!
This morning fate allowed me to go to a Saturday morning market, so I decided to go to the Brisbane Market Place at Rocklea, which I had heard were meant to be big. We got there at about 8am, lots of free parking available, and headed on in. Overall, I prefer Mount Gravatt. It is smaller, but with just as much if not more variety. Some of the lines waiting to pay were unbelievable! One thing the Rocklea markets did have was a huge flower section, which made my mum very happy and she got some very pretty poppies.
There are a few more markets I am keen to get to next time I have a Saturday's grace. Top of my list is the Green Flea Markets at West End. Not in the least because they have YKillAMooCow there, with vegan pies, sausage rolls and dagwood dogs. Now, I never was a dagwood dog fan. But heck, if there's a vegan one out there I need to try it! I'm also hoping they might have some more unusual stuff. One of the draws of markets is the eternal hope I will find something new. Quite often my US cookbooks have vegetables in there that I just can't find easily here in Brisbane. Top of my list are yuca, jicama and tomatillos. Any Brisbanites who have found these before - please let me know where!
There are some other markets in the area and a bit further afield I would like to try as well. I love the general atmosphere of them, and the absolute beauty of the produce. I bought some asparagus the other day I could write sonnets about, it was so perfect! Nothing like that washed out, limp, smelly stuff from Peru you get offered elsewhere.
Here is a photo of some adorable baby Jap pumpkins (kabocha to you USians) that I bought today. I plan on stuffing them with butternut vindaloo stew, as written in Vegan With A Vengeance.
Another invaluable source for us vegans is the wonderful internet! There are somethings I just cannot find, no matter what organic and health food groceries I scour (though I always will love you Mrs Flannery's. And Macro - hurry up and open a store near Brisbane!). In these cases, internet comes to the rescue! I recently placed my first order with The Cruelty Free Shop. They must think I am a total sugar head, because it was all sweet stuff! But that's because I am able to get most of the other stuff around here. It arrived a few days later, to my great excitement. Pictured below is Liebers' Chocolate Sprinkles, Vegetal Soy Cream, Sweet And Sara Marshmallows, Popples Vegan Popcorn and an assortment of yummy filled vegan chocolates and truffles. Not pictured are Tropical Source Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips, which are sadly on backorder but shall be arriving soon for all my baking needs!
And finally, some vegan food porn! I had a packet of raspberry vegan jelly in the cupboard that was about to expire. I also had Now Vegan, a newish Australian cookbook by Lynda Stoner, which had a recipe for Jelly Tart. What a great thing for a hot spring evening's dessert! I made it in about half an hour before I went to work in the morning, popped it in the fridge, and it was all set for dinner when I got home! For the base, Lynda's book said a packet of plain biscuits. One of my pet hates in cookbooks is when they just say 'packet' or 'block'... how much is in a packet? So instead I used the cookie crumb base from The Joy Of Vegan Baking. I like to use Nice biscuits and Nuttelex for all my cookie base needs. You'll need to make 2-3 times the quantity depending on how big your flan or pie plate is so you can get good coverage all the way up the sides. The fruit I used was sliced kiwi fruit and banana, and as my fresh strabwerries weren't very nice (so sad) I just scattered some whole frozen strawberries on top. Make up the jelly, pour it over and in a few hours - yummy tart!