In my 40 facts about me post a few weeks ago, fact 27 stated I was lucky at winning things. This rang true a couple of months ago when I was invited to a Nuffnang Bloggers afternoon function and won one of the door prizes. It was a perfect prize for me, a $50 voucher to spend at South Melbourne Market and a place on their Market to Market Tour. I was planning to use the voucher to buy produce for a dinner party but decided to take Nick and Emma for breakfast on a Sunday morning instead. It felt very nice at the end when I said “this one’s on me”.
Having used my voucher it was time to book for the tour. I wasn’t sure what I was going to learn on the tour as I’ve been going to South Melbourne Market for years, we used to live in the area and Mum and Dad would go there regularly. I still have vivid memories of the biscuit shop where you bought the biscuits by weight. They’d weigh them on scales with a big silver bowl, pour them into a paper bag, twist the bag around and around to place it on the counter. I set my alarm clock the night before and made sure I was at the LG Kitchen by 10am to meet Janet Lillie our tour leader and two other lovely girls from Germany.
We started off at the organic fruit stall and tasted dragonfruit and experienced what a real blueberry should taste like. Then onto Georgies Harvest a fabulous stall selling many varieties of potatoes and root vegetables as well as chillies, garlic, ginger and horseradish. Georgie spent a lot of time talking us through her stall and inspired me with this potato salad recipe suggestion. A colourful one made with Purple Sapphire, Purple Congo and pink skinned Viking potatoes.
Pictured below are some of the original stallholders at the market, they gather on this table on market days and catch up.
Fresh fish is a feature of the market and I try to get there on a Wednesday to buy fish for dinner. The salmon just melts in your mouth, it’s superb, I always ask them to take the bones out as I don’t have the proper tweezers at home for doing so.
A polish deli that sells lovely ham, bacon, sausage..
Markets like this always have its characters, like this butcher who loves Pavarotti and sometimes gets out the front and sings.
A big variety of cheeses in the custom made cheese room at one of the delicatessen’s.
A few of my goodies.
I highly recommend the South Melbourne Market tour, Janet is very knowlegable about the Market and had a friendly relationship with all the stall holders we visited. The food tastings and samples she organised along the way were a nice touch. Janet has an indepth understanding of the food industry having worked in so many facets of it. Culinary consultant, caterer and food stylist only touch the surface of what Janet has achieved. I particularly enjoyed learning where different produce was grown and where it came from. I came away with a real insight into the daily workings of the market and the people who trade there.
Purple and Pink Potato Salad
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, juice or to taste 1-2 lemons, 250g creme fraiche, 1kg mixed purple and pink potatoes, sea salt, pepper.
Make the dressing by mixing together the olive oil, lemon juice and crème fraîche. Peel the potatoes, cut them into medium chunks and cook them in boiling salted water for around 20 minutes until tender, drain well. Mix with the dressing and season to taste. This is a base purple potato salad, decorated with radish microherbs. Any of the following can also be added: finely sliced radish, herbs (mint leaves, chives), boiled egg, chives, bacon, celery, spring onions.
I’ve been craving chocolate lately so thought I’d take the opportunity with Easter coming up to make a chocolate cake recipe. I’m looking forward to Easter this year, we’re spending Good Friday together as a family and then Nick, Charlie and I will be jumping in the car and driving to a friends farm until Sunday night. What are your plans for Easter? Do you get together with your extended families on Easter Sunday?
This is an easy chocolate cake recipe, it’s a Nigella recipe and everything is put in the food processor and whizzed up before being poured into a lined cake tin. The icing has a few ingredients including chocolate, golden syrup and sour cream and is scrumptious. Easter for me is about Jesus dying on the cross on Good Friday and rising again on Easter Sunday, enjoying time with family and friends and indulging in all things chocolate. Have a safe, happy and peaceful Easter everyone.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake Recipe
Cake: 200g plain flour, 200g caster sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 40 g cocoa powder, 175g soft unsalted butter, 2 large eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 150m sour cream.
Icing: 75g unsalted butter, 175g dark chocolate (broken into small pieces), 300g icing sugar, 1 tablespoon golden syrup, 125ml sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Have all the ingredients at room temperature and preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
Place all the cake ingredients into a food processor and process until you have a smooth thick batter. Pour into your prepared baking tin and place in the oven for about 40 minutes, start checking at about 30 minutes and bake until a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes before turning out on a cake rack to cool. Ice with chocolate icing and decorate with Easter eggs and praline.
Icing: Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot about quarter filled with simmering water. Cool slightly, then add the golden syrup, sour cream and vanilla extract and stir with a rubber spatula. Finally sift in the icing sugar and mix together.
Praline: Heat 1/2 cup of caster sugar in a pan, stirring occasionally until golden brown, stir in whole hazelnuts and pour out onto a flat tin lined with baking paper. When hard cut it up with a knife and place in a mortar and pestle and pound to sprinkling consistency.
Disclosure: This is a paid post for RACV sponsored by Nuffnang.
I love travelling like most people and sometimes find the best trips are ones done spontaneously without to much planning. Last Christmas, we decided on the spur of the moment to drive to Sydney to visit our daughter Emma who lives there. We went to bed early with the anticipation of getting up at the crack of dawn to begin the 10-12 hour journey. My husband and daughter always like to leave super early but I’m of the belief that you shouldn’t be driving when you’re meant to be sleeping so managed to contain them to a leaving time of 5am or so…
When I was young and we did roadtrips as a family Dad would be super vigilant about making sure the car had been serviced and was in good shape. I guess with mobile phones, better highways and modern cars these days people are more casual about that. We’re all members of the RACV in my family, it makes me feel secure knowing the roadside assistance is available any time of the day or night if the car breaks down on a roadtrip or when I’m going about my day to day business. I couldn’t think of anything worse than being stuck on the side of the road with no-one to call. Make sure you put it on your to do list if you’re not already a member, they do care and have never let myself or my family down and we’ve used them alot! These videos show the frustration of breaking down in a nutshell, thank goodness the RACV is heaps more helpful than the people in these scenarios!
It’s always good to have a break when doing a long car trip. On our way to Sydney we stopped off at Glenrowan and then Gundagai for lunch. We bought pies and coffee from one of the bakeries and found a nice spot in the park. It also gave us a chance to have a look around the town and find tourist landmarks like The Dog on the Tuckerbox. Drinking plenty of water and sharing the driving were very helpful, our daughter is learning to drive so this was a good chance for her to get some driving practice in. We aim to enjoy the journey and if other cars are impatient behind us or want to speed we just let them pass on by. Arriving safely is the most important thing of all.
This Farmer’s Wife’s Pear tart is a great tart to take on a roadtrip, it’s quick and easy to bake. There’s no pastry and everything is mixed together in a bowl before being poured into your baking tin and baked in the oven. Very nice to have with coffee on one of your breaks. Do you like doing roadtrips? What’s been your favourite?
Farmer’s Wife’s Fresh Pear Tart
2 eggs, 4 tablespoons milk, 225g/80z caster sugar, salt, 170g/6oz plain flour, 900g/2lb fresh pears, 22 cm/9in springform cake tin lined with baking paper, butter for dotting the tart.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Add the sugar and a tiny pinch of salt and continue to beat. Add the flour, mixing it well to make a compact cake batter.
Peel and core the pears and cut into small chunks, add to the batter and mix gently. Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin, level the mixture with the back of a spoon and dot evenly with little bits of butter. Place in the upper third of the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until the top has become golden.
This recipe has been slightly adapted from “Essentials Of Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan.