Markets: Cambridge 3rd & Hamilton 4th August

The unseasonally mild weather and warm rain of the past few days have elicited a mass ripening of cauliflowers so  buy a few from the market next weekend to catch them at their peak. I was reading about cauliflowers in the latest Healthy Food magazine which I have started buying and I am sure they won’t mind if I share some of the info I found. You won’t find old cauliflowers at the Farmers’ Market so you can say goodbye to the mottled leafed, brown spotted varieties. A firm snowy white curd surrounded by thick green leaves is what you are looking for. Store in a paper bag in the fridge stem side down keeping the outside leaves intact until you get to use it.

Cauliflower is a great source of vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6 and vitamin K. High in fibre and rich in phytonutrients all of which means it is good for you. But like all fresh vegetables, the sooner you use it the higher it will be in nutrients.
-Eating it as a Crudite (posh word for raw) and dipping it into a peanut satay or garlicky yoghurt is delicious and it maximises the food value.
-Cauliflower Cheese is a firm favourite and I like to make it even more crunchy by topping the cauliflower gratin with sliced tomatoes (you can still get NZ winter tomatoes from Stephen at the Plainsview Gardens stall) and then sprinkling over grated cheese mixed with  sunflower seeds and brown bread crumbs. Grill until browned and bubbling. Talk about a party going on in your mouth!
-Cauliflower and Potato Soup with a good grinding of pepper is heartwarming especially when served with Irish Soda Bread (Celtic Cuisine) or a Seeded Wholegrain Sourdough (Volare and Bella Pane). Sprinkling just a few crumbles of blue cheese just before the soup is served really ratchets up the grown up factor.
-Try Garlic mushrooms and Stir fried cauliflower. Saute some chopped garlic in a little olive oil and butter mix, add sliced mushrooms and cook briefly until coloured then add cauliflower broken into smaller florets. Cover and cook for a further 3 – 4 minutes. Cauliflower should retain a nice satisfying crunch. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
-And finally one of the most satisfying of cauliflower dishes from the Indian food guru Madhur Jaffrey. Spicy Dryfried Potatoes with Cauliflower. Dice up some cold cooked potatoes and break cauliflower into smaller florets. Throw a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a teaspoon of ground tumeric into 2 TBS of hot oil for about a minute until they spit and crackle. Add the potatoes and cauliflower and mix gently until the vegetables are coated with the oil and spices. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on low until the potatoes are browned and the cauliflower is cooked through. Add a tiny amount of water if the mix is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Season with pepper and salt and a final sprinkling of garam masala and serve.
Right that should get your taste buds going and your tummy rumbling. In the meantime lets see what’s new at the market. Well, Mike Roach (Roachie) from Roaches Roses is back at the market with a selection of potted winter colour (pansies etc) What a cheerful show they make. A few pots of them around your front door and you will attract a lot of positivity. He also has a range of top class citrus trees at prices will really have you smiling. Now’s the time to plant trees and shrubs. He also has a supply of winter vegetable seedlings – cabbages, spinach, silverbeet etc. Actually the weather has been pretty conducive to getting in some late winter veg to tide you over the lean between seasons period of September and October.
Raglan Fish is fast becoming a firm favourite at the market. Their fish is straight off their own 3 trawlers which fish down the west coast of the North Island. This is pretty special as most of the fishing fleets belong to the ‘Big Boys’ such as Sealords so being able to offer sustainably caught fish from the boat directly to the customer is a boon for our market.  Depending on the catch, Raglan Fish offer Snapper, Gurnard, John Dory, Monk Fish, Squid, Lemon fish, Mussels and even Kina on some occasions. It’s the freshest locally caught fish you can buy apart from getting it yourself but who would want to brave the winter seas? Nah – let the lads at Raglan Fish do the hard work and enjoy the fruits of their labours for yourself.
If you are interested in reading the old fashioned way via a book, keep an eye out for Travelling Books. One of our long term customers has been bringing books to share to the market almost every week. These secondhand books which you will start finding on the coffee tables, are ‘’on a journey’’. People who come upon them are encouraged to take them home, read them and tag them on line with a short critique and then set them free for another person to pick up and do the same thing. You can track the travelling history of the book you are reading on line if you like (not compulsory). It is a worldwide movement so you just might just pick up a book that was set free in another country. Anyhow, the books will be on the coffee tables at the market so don’t be shy. Just help yourself to what is on offer.
And finally thanks to everyone for their generous assistance with the LUCAuction appeal. Things are going well but we still have another few thousand to raise before we reach our goal of $5,000. Remember the LUCAuction appeal next time you put something up on Trademe. Thank you!
See you at the markets next weekend!

Meg Daly
Celtic Cuisine.