OTAGO FARMERS MARKET

Good morning, another glorious day outside. If we manage to have a run of good weather then the asparagus will grow and grow, which would be great as it is a bit like torture not quite being able to taste it, but imaging it .....not long, next week (perhaps)!
However we must not forget what is available at the moment.  Watercress is green and peppery and in its prime - try it in sandwiches, salads, soups and sauces.  Rhubarb is back and it marries perfectly with the vast array of apples still widespread at the market.  It is also a good time to make chutneys and jams (recipe below) it will carry you over until we get the glut of summer fruits. 
Edmonds Fish will have fresh fish today as they haven't been able to get out fishing due to high winds.  I will be using some of the Joyful vegans amazing wholegrain bread today.  If you have not tried some of their outstanding products you will wowed as they truly do an impressive array of cakes, breads, slices and hot and cold savoury items.
I will see you all soon as i need to go and get the kitchen set up. Have a lovely day filled with lovely food....my sort of weekend!

EGG AND WATERCRESS SANDWICH
Once upon a time this sandwich would have been served at high tea, sadly traditions like these have subsided but the sandwich need not. Watercress is fantastic at the moment large peppery leaves add a wonderful crunch and burst of heat to this classic sandwich.


Serves 1
Two slices good quality bread (Joyful Vegan Wholegrain)
1 Tbsp mayonnaise mixed with ¼ tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1 egg, soft boiled
Handful fresh watercress
Pinch sea salt flakes, fresh ground black pepper

Method

To soft boil your egg – Start by having your egg at room temperature. Bring a small pot (deep enough to submerge the egg) of water to the boil. Place the egg carefully into the boiling water, when it comes to the boil again set your timer for 4 minutes and 30 seconds exactly. When the time is up remove immediately from the water and refresh under cold running water. Peel and mash coarsely with a fork and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble: generously spread your mayonnaise mixture onto one slice of the bread. On the other slice add the egg mixture and spread generously. Pick through the watercress, I generally use the leaves and the tender tips as the stalks can be a little too fibrous for this. Sprinkle over a little sea salt and grind of pepper. Place the mayonnaise slice of bread on top and press to adhere.

Cut in half and enjoy this classic combination.

ASPARAGUS AND WATERCRESS SALAD
This salad can only be made when the asparagus is freshly picked as you need it to be crisp and crunchy, combined with the deep, peppery watercress.

Serves 4
2 bunches fresh asparagus
4 handfuls fresh watercress, large stalks removed and discarded
2 slices “Joyful Vegans” wholegrain bread, either torn or cut into smallish pieces
30g pecorino, parmesan or aged cheddar, crumbled into chunks
1 lemon, juice
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 190C

Place the pieces of bread onto a baking tray and drizzle over a little oil and bake until crispy (8 minutes approximately). Remove and set aside.

Put a small pot of salted water on to boil.

Meanwhile remove the tough ends to the asparagus (keep to add to stock for risotto or soup). Remove the top tip of the asparagus spear (3cm length) and set aside.

When the water has come to a rapid boil, add the asparagus spears and cook for 1 minute. Drain immediately and refresh under cold water. Drain and add to salad.

Using a peeler, peel the asparagus into thin strips and put them into a large bowl along with the watercress, cheese and croutons.

Make the dressing by mixing together the lemon, oil and seasoning. Taste and adjust if necessary. Drizzle over the salad, toss gently with your hands to combine and serve immediately.

ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON MAYONNAISE

Time to celebrate! The very first locally grown asparagus has hit the market. It needs little introduction so I’m simply adding a mayonnaise to do the talking!

Serves 4
6 medium sized spears of fresh asparagus per person
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon Mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
1-2 lemons (juice)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
125 ml grapeseed or ricebran oil
100 ml extra virgin olive oil

Method
Bring a good size saucepan of salted water to the boil.

To prepare the asparagus; hold the tip of the asparagus between your thumb and finger firmly and with the other hand gently snap off the other end. It should snap where it becomes tender. Discard the woody end or use it in a stock to add to your soup or risotto. Set aside.

To make mayonnaise; you can do this by hand with a whisk or by using a food processor (this is up to you). Whisk two egg yolks with the mustard and lemon until emulsified and thick (this adds stability). Drizzle in the ricebran oil first, it is vital that you do only add drop by drop until it emulsifies or it can split. When you see the oil combing easily you can pour in the oil in a more consistent stream, do the same with the extra virgin olive oil until you get the desired consistency. Season to taste and put into a serving dish.


Carefully plunge the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2-4 minutes depending on size and how tender you like it. Drain well, sprinkle with a little sea salt flakes and a crack or two of pepper and serve alongside your lemon mayonnaise.

RHUBARB AND OAT TART
Rhubarb is back and it is in abundance at the market. This is a fanatically simple and satisfying tart which would partner well with a scoop of good quality vanilla icecream


Makes 8 small tarts

5 sticks rhubarb, peeled into strips
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
5 Tbsp soft brown sugar
3 Tbsp ground almonds, crushed walnuts or plain flour
1 orange, zest of
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
50 g rolled oats

Method
Preheat oven to 190C

In a bowl toss together rhubarb, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp ground almonds (walnuts or flour).

Cut the puff pastry into 4 squares and place on a baking tray.

Make a rough crumble topping by rubbing the butter with the remaining almonds (walnuts or flour), sugar and oats.

Divide the rhubarb between the pastry quarters, leaving a rim around the outside. Sprinkle over the oat mixture, then fold and pinch each corner to keep the filling in.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Rhubarb and ginger chutney

300ml cider vinegar
400g brown sugar
300g raisins
2-3 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 orange (juice)
Large pinch allspice
800g rhubarb, chopped in small pieces
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped

Method

Put all the ingredients except the apple and rhubarb in a large pan with 1 tsp of salt. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved then boil for 10 minutes. Add the apple and rhubarb then cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Decant into sterilised jars (washed in hot soapy water and dry in a warm oven) place on a clean lid and store in the fridge until required. The longer it is left the better it will taste.


Alison would like to thank the following vendors for their wonderful produce and perseverance through this wet weather …… we appreciate it, thank you.


ADROSS FARM – ASPARAGUS
JOYFUL VEGAN – WHOLEGRAIN BREAD
JANE FIELD PEONIES AND HYDROPONICS – WATERCRESS
BROUGHAM EGGS – EGGS
BUTLERS BERRIES – RHUBARB
JUDGE ROCK WINES - WINE (ALWAYS FANTASTIC)




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