First of all! I have finally taken the big plunge and gotten onto Twitter - I am still a little daunted but in a good way I think! So, if you are on Twitter, you can follow my comings and goings at http://twitter.com/milliemirepoix - thanks!
I've blogged before about that wonderful waterfront duo, the City Market and Harbourside Market, but thought I'd post an update seeing as summer is upon us and the markets have been awash with summer stonefruit, greens, berries galore. As with previous posts, by no means is this an exhaustive list of the vendors at the market... I urge you to go check it out for yourself!
Asparagus was still plentiful, averaging between $1.50 - $2 a bunch.
Gorgeous bunches of carrots and radishes, resplendent in leafy glory, were all over the place for $1-2/bunch.
Various new season's potatoes seem to have popped up in the last couple of weeks as well, with moist-looking earth still stuck to their skins... a picture of freshness.
I get so excited with the advent of stonefruit each summer. There was even more of it this week than last week - plums ranging between $3.99-$5.99/kg.
Apricots were everywhere, at $1.99/kg for little/blemished fruits (perfect for baking or jams!!) to about $3.99/kg.
Cherries were not as abundant as in previous weeks, though I did spot a couple of stalls selling them for around $12-14/kg, which is still about half the price at Moore Wilson's or New World. These were starting to look a little past their prime, but I got some, anyway... they'll be finding themselves in a clafoutis this afternoon.
As for the berries - strawberries are still going strong for about $2-2.50 a punnet, up a little from last week when I spotted some for $1.50.
Most boysenberries, blueberries and blackberries were around $3 for a punnet - not bad, but perhaps not much cheaper than in supermarkets.
Raspberries were a little dearer, between $3 and $4.50 a punnet, but they looked beautifully plump nonetheless.
Tomatoes were everywhere - cherry, cocktail, truss, and regular old tomatoes - all looking a vibrant shade of red and priced on average $1.49-$2.99/kg. Hooray for summer!
I stopped at Little Wolf Produce, a stall selling pork products - various salami, smoked pork belly, dried smoked bacon - made by a lovely Yugoslavian couple.
This time I got a little stick of salami. After having tasted their offerings for the past couple of weeks I decided to take a little stick of dried salami home with me. I forgot to note the price but for a stick about 18cm long it only cost me $3.50 which I thought was not bad at all.
But the real reason I've been going back there each week is that they always have 1 or 2 beautiful pastries on offer. If I'm lucky, I can get a slice of poppyseed strudel ($2) which used to be one of my favourite foods as a kid in Chicago (it's available at lots of places, probably because of the Eastern European population there). Today was one of those lucky days - mmm, breakfast.
I think I may have mentioned it before, but the Mac Snack stall is another one I'm a big fan of - I usually get a little bag of roasted macadamia nuts ($3, in the silver bags) to munch on throughout the week.
The macadamia nut butter ($8.50) is rich, creamy, nutty, and distinctively macadamia-y. I've got some of the chocolate macadamia nut butter at home... I literally eat it out of the jar! (I tell myself it's healthier than nutella, hmm...)
Mac Snack also always has a few small-medium avocados lying about... they're bio-gro organic (just like the macadamia nuts) and a pretty good deal, with the "bargain bin" avocadoes often 3 or 4 for $2 (depending on availability). They don't go brown when ripe so don't be misled by the green colour - they're really nice.
By the time I got to the City Market my camera and wallet were both running low... so apologies for the lack of photos.
The Christmas spirit was everywhere - Santa was there, as well as lots of stalls selling beautifully wrapped food products and a lot of bakery stalls selling Christmas cakes and the like - like Brezelmania who were selling gorgeous German Christmas pastries.
One of the immediate effects of getting onto Twitter was that I noticed the City Market had tweeted about Hippopotamus Restaurant being in the Market Kitchen this Sunday. I've heard good things about their chef, Laurent Loudeac, so decided to check it out.
OK, so it was only 9am, but I wasn't going to let that stop me. Who says early Sunday morning is too early for a snail kebab with garlic butter and baguette ($5)? It was delicious - the snails plump and tender, served on a little skewer with oodles of herbs and garlic butter. And oh my god, the garlic butter. Soaked through the bread, pooled on the plate, dripping down my chin - probably more butter than I've knowingly eaten at one time, ever. But it was so worth it.
And now, I'm off to the gym!
Cnr Cable St & Barnett St (Next to Te Papa)
Chaffers Dock Building
1 Herd St