Monday, 25 July 2011

Market Day

We popped into St Albans on Saturday and had a look at the market.  It has been ages since I have been in town on market day and forgot how beautiful and fresh the produce was.

We were seduced by big round purple beetroot for £1.20 and long orange carrots with the tops still attached. Large red peppers were 4 for £1.00 instead of 80p each in the supermarkets and were a mixture of male and female peppers.  Do you know the difference? Well, I usually wait to tell people the difference until they attend a Pampered Chef cooking show but I will let you in on the secret here.  If you turn the peppers upside down the male ones will have three points on the bottom and the females will have four!  The female ones are sweeter (naturally).  I don’t usually bother with green peppers as they are generally indigestible.

I always think I will try something chefy with the beetroot but as I am buying it all that I can think of is how fantastic they taste just boiled, peeled and drizzled with either My Secret Kitchen (MSK) Oak Smoked Rapeseed oil or good quality extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with MSK Lemon Chipotle Sea Salt with a good glug of MSK Balsamic Reduction.  Sheer beetroot bliss!!! Next time I might do them differently!

We bought fresh peppers, beetroot, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes bananas and tomatoes and spent around £8.00 for the lot, all fresh and tantalisingly colourful. The bowl of purchases was as good looking as any work of art.

Three of the peppers ended up sliced in half, de-seeded and roasted with three peppers chopped up (I usually cut a small ‘v’ and take out the hard middle bit) a couple of garlic cloves pressed with my Pampered Chef garlic press which is really the best you can buy and then extra virgin olive oil from Italy poured over and sprinkled with fresh torn basil, freshly ground pepper and MSK Lemon Chipotle Sea Salt. I baked them in my stoneware rectangular baker for about an hour and served four of the halves as part of our vegetarian feast.  The other two halves and the oil that they were cooked in will form the basis of tonight’s mushroom and roast pepper pasta sauce.

The potatoes were Cyprus new potatoes and were peeled, washed and boiled.  I left them to go cold then began to make the potato salad for my grandson’s second birthday family BBQ. To the cold potatoes I added finely chopped bacon fried till it was crispy and cooled, chopped chives from my garden and finely chopped red onion (I usually use my Pampered Chef Deluxe Food Chopped for the onions – it’s quick, easy and avoids onion tears).  I don’t like my potato salad with too much dressing so I kept it clean and simple.

I mixed approx 2Tbsp mayonnaise with a little milk, freshly ground black pepper, MSK Lemon Chipotle Sea Salt, a pinch of wasabi and 2 tsp whole grain mustard.  It just didn’t have the right pizzazz so I added two good glugs of MSK Thai Dressing with Kaffir Lime and it transformed the dressing into something special. The limes in the dressing lifted the flavour up a dimension.  The dressing was poured over the cold potatoes and bacon & onions in the bowl and folded in carefully so as not to break the potatoes.  It must have been good, everyone at the BBQ commented on it and there wasn’t any left-overs!!

All in all the trip to the market was a huge success both in terms of variety and price and the enjoyment of cooking and eating the products we bought.  It’s already in the diary for next week.

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