Sunday, October 08, 2006

Good Living Growers Market

Fortune favours the brave. The early bird catches the worm … and other go get ‘em cliches.

I dragged myself out of bed early with the expectation that the October growers markets would be p-a-c-k-e-d packed, being Good Food Month and all.

Armed with cloth bags and determination, I met up with Miss L and walked purposefully down to Pyrmont to arrive a shade after 7am. Already there were many dedicated shoppers facing off the produce. The line at Toby’s Estate coffee was only six deep, so I knew we’d made the right decision to come early. I needed orange juice. A fresh squeezed blood sugar hit to enable me to skip through the crowds with the necessary energy, and the crowds certainly started building.

After a wander and a good chat to the Cootamundra goat meat man, who was in an excellent humour mostly because it was such an outstanding day to be outside, we casually picked up a front row seat to watch Justin North from Bécasse give a special cooking demo for Good Food Month.

Joanna Savill (pictured here at left, on the demonstration stage with Justin North) from the Food Lovers Guide to Australia did a great job crowd wrangling, and fielded questions while Justin whipped up two delicious morsels.

Tomato and Earl Grey Consommé, plus Seared Yellow Fin Tuna on Crushed Potatoes with Sautéed Prawn Tails and Lemon Grass Tea Vinaigrette (see pictures below).

Not that I think he’s suffering from over exposure, but in Sydney, Bécasse is the new black. North has a new luscious cookbook out (see the website to order), he’s just won the Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year Award, and you see his or the restaurant’s name pop up everywhere.

It was fantastic watching the ease with which he put together these dishes, and as a bonus getting the recipe sheet to re-create each one, but there was more of a treat in store.

There were about 20-30 portions available for the audience to taste!

Hooray for the front row seat! The consommé was sublime – a delicate, yet intensely tomato flavoured, clear ‘tea’ infused with the bergamot notes of earl grey, with chardonnay vinegar, eschallots, white wine and basil, served with tiny cubes of tomato concassé.

The wonderful favours of Spring were such a palate reviver! Added tips from the chef included also serving this as a jelly, a granita, or sorbet. My little picture here is a bit dodgy, but the sun was so bright and the consommé so pale that I had a hard time getting anything at all and had to wing it.

The tuna and prawns were seared and served with a salad of baby leaves, micro cress and a crush of luscious herb and spring onion-scattered Dutch Cream potatoes.

But the sit-up-and-take-notice vinaigrette was made from Mariage Freres Marco Polo tea (which has a distinctly berry chocolate aroma) chardonnay vinegar, pounded ginger and lemongrass, and extra virgin olive oil. A fabulous union of flavours on the nicest piece of tuna I’ve ever tasted (I tend to like my tuna raw not cooked).

The maestro also described the ballotine of confitted Glenloth chicken on offer for Let’s Do Lunch at Bécasse this month. I’m booked in for this about mid way through October and my mouth is already watering.

After such a fantastic breakfast treat we made off with some purchases: a deboned leg of kid (more on that later) and some pungent garlicky Ladysmith Lamb marinated patties which (as they're made the day before the markets) freeze very well and taste great BBQ’ed.

By just after 9am all the stalls were looking besieged by eager food types, clambering for produce, so we made a quick exit for a coffee elsewhere. What a great treat for this month’s markets.

Other fantastic produce included this black truffle cheese and sensational blue from Ocello (left) as well as spanking fresh veges like these baby beets (below).



Anonymous Ellie said...

Sounds like it would've been a blast! I read about the event at Helen's blog as well, and whilst I adore Melbourne, I definetely envy you Sydneysiders for having better foodie event such as this!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

This is a real standout this year Ellie. I've never seen so much organised on such a scale. I'm in heaven!

12:22 PM  
Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Nice work from the front row. A great breakfast indeed!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

Yeppo - did you get a sample too Helen? Sure did attract the crowds yesterday.

6:38 PM  
Blogger jenjen said...

I know what you mean, we got there at 8 and the place was insanely packed. You definitely made the right choice in getting there early.
Hey one question, what is Crutin?

9:43 PM  
Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Nope, no sample. There would have been photos otherwise! lol. He has a lot on in the next couple of weeks considering he's about to be a first-time Dad!

10:18 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

Hi Jenjen - it was a black truffle cheese made by Ocello. I looked on their website for more info on it but to no avail. They were to busy for me to ask detailed questions on the day. Maybe next month!

Wow - I consider myself lucky then Helen. He sure will have his hands full for a while.

7:00 AM  
Blogger PiCkLeS said...

very very smart! I went at my usual 9am time and it was PACKED!funny enough I took a photo of the same strip from the other side and you can exactly how busy it got =(

2:18 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

It sure did pickles! I was so lucky to get there early.

6:24 PM  

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