Markets: Cambridge 11th & Hamilton 12th May

Brrrr, it’s a bit stormy and miserable as I write this on Monday May 6th but the above photos were taken in Cambridge last Saturday 4th May when the autumn leaves from the great oaks and limes around Victoria Park were still crispy and irresistibly throwable - always a popular distraction for the younger generation. Isn’t it so hard to resist kicking, throwing and rolling around in an enormous pile of fallen leaves?
Now that the season for warming soups and stews is upon us Richard Cato has sent me some up to date info on what he has and will have all through winter. He has written it so nicely that I will just reproduce it as is:
‘We have very nice crown pumpkins (Tudor Prince ) for roasting, steaming or soup. Butternut for general purpose and we are told it makes very good Pumpkins muffins with one of Jamie Oliver's recipes. We have a French pumpkin Musquee de Provience ideal for soups or pumpkin pies especially now it is cooling down a bit or as a bulking agent for curries. Later on in the season we will have Queensland Blue.
Even though salad season is over don't forget Pink Fir Apple potatoes. Great for stir fries and making chips. This potato just does not fall to bits. Stays nice and firm no matter how you cook it.
There is plenty of garlic available. Ajo Rjo great when roasted whole - very sweet when cooked this way.’ – Cheers Richard

Right – so I’ve tracked down the above-mentioned Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Pumpkin muffins to save you the bother and here it is…NB – J.O. says don’t bother peeling the butternut pumpkin just whizz in food processor – what a time saver!

Jamie Oliver’s Pumpkin Muffins
400 g butternut squash, skin on, deseeded and roughly chopped (from Cato’s)
350 g light soft brown sugar
4 large free-range eggs (from The Egg Man)
sea salt
300 g plain flour, unsifted
2 heaped tablespoons baking powder
1 handful walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
175 ml extra virgin olive oil (from Wayne at Living Gold)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line your muffin tins with paper cases.

 Whiz the squash in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the sugar, and crack in the eggs. Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and whiz together until well beaten. Scrape down sides with spatula once. Try not to overdo it with the mixing – you want to just combine everything and no more.

 Fill the paper cases with the cake mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Top with your favourite lemon frosting.
CILANTRO At Cambridge fortnightly (4th May onwards) and Hamilton weekly.
I am happy to present CILANTRO Artisan Cheese to you today. Monica Salerno originally from Brazil is one of the brains behind this group effort goat cheese making operation. Cilantro Cheese is located in Hamilton and their cheeses are handmade following traditional methods. They specialize in Goat and Sheep milk cheeses and their Goat Cheese won the 2012 Cuisine Champion Cheese award – Not bad for first time entrants. Take a look at their website for more detailed information about their cheeses www.cilantrocheese.co.nz .I can tell you right here that they have Chevre Cream Cheese, Fresh Ricotta, Halloumi, Billy the Kid goat cheddar and Cardoon Cheese which uses globe artichoke flowers instead of traditional rennet. A little goat cheese goes a long way and is especially warming when toasted on quality sour dough bread (from Volare) and served with a tart chutney or red pepper jelly (from Mel’s preserves).
-Gillian from Fruition in Cambridge wants to let everyone know that she has home grown Galangal – a ginger like tuber used extensively in Thai cooking. Gillian only comes to the Cambridge Market as she lives far away. I wish I could entice her to come to the Hamilton Market too.
-Tomatoes and Capsicums are fading fast – only another 2 -3 weeks for Pirongia Harvest and the Tomato Man although Stephen at Plainsview will have tomatoes throughout winter – don’t know how they manage to do that with an unheated greenhouse but they do. Must be the proximity of Thames and the sea.

-Eggs plants have experienced a temporary resurgence at Clif’s Gardens – Have you tried making your own Baba Ganoush? No? Me neither but it is possible with roasted egg plant flesh, garlic and tahini and lemon juice. Check Chef Google for details.

-Stock up on Manuka Honey to fight off the winter chills and ills. Sweetree Honey has its new harvest on offer and its manuka honey has a particularly high SMF (Special Manuka Factor) this year. This paired with fresh juice of the lemons and limes from Fruition at Cambridge, boiled water and a dash of some decent Irish Whisky (as a optional extra) is guaranteed to make you feel better.

-Country Gold’s Lania Pohio also has a range of medicinal honeys and lozenges  containing CG’s manuka honey and don’t forget their Manuka Boosta bars, invented and marketed throughout New Zealand by her son Hayden Pohio. First trialled right here at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market way back in 2008.  They are gluten free and now a dairy free option is available.
And finally a big shout out to our new site manager Sarah Oliver who is doing a sterling job keeping us all in control at the markets. However I did catch her playing with the other kids in the leaves – back to work woman..!

Mark it in your diaries! Mark it on the back of your hand!– Market on a Saturday and Market on a Sunday.

Meg Daly
Celtic Cuisine