Despite all the recent rain and bad weather, the range of vegetables available at the Mallow Farmers’ Market continues to expand. As well as his fantastic salad leaves, which I eat for lunch every day, Morris from Gairdín Eden has been selling huge bunches of rhubarb and carrots. I also picked up some parsnips this week, along with a jar of West Cork Eden Honey – perfect for Honey Flapjacks, if I can save some back from the Husband and his toast!
My favourite thing to do with the smallest, sweetest carrots after I get them home on Saturday evening is to take them all off the bunch, scrub them well and eat them for dinner with a big bowl of homemade hummus. With a good chunk of one of Gudrun Shinnick‘s cheeses – herbed St Bridget, aged St Gall, spicy Cais Dubh – or some of the other cheeses that she sells on her stall (the soft Knockalara sheep’s cheese has been very popular around here) it’s a perfectly easy supper to eat outside in the sunshine (if and when that happens).
We’ve been waiting for the organic vegetables from Patrick Frankel, a new producer in Donneraile, and they started arriving in the last few weeks. On Saturday, his stall was manned by a helpful French girl, selling herbs, spring onions, yellow and green courgettes, an assortment of tomatoes, new potatoes, peas and, much to my delight, mangetout. When I shop for vegetables and fruit, I try to buy as locally as possible – first Ireland, then Europe, then I don’t bother. Despite me inadvertently leaving the mangetout in work over the weekend, they’ve already made it into a large tub of Nigella‘s Sesame Peanut Noodles as well as a Potato Salad with Chorizo and Mangetout. The only thing I missed this week was one of my market staples, the smoked trout from Geraldine Bass of Old Millbank Smokehouse. I use it in warm and cold salads with pasta, potatoes or couscous, in risottos and oven bakes, panfried with spiced garlic butter and mashed into fish pâté. I just might have to take a trip to Friday evening’s Killavullen Farmers’ Market at the Nano Nagle Centre and see if she’s there.
The next Mallow Farmers’ Market will take place in the courtyard outside URRU from 10.30am to 1pm on Saturday 23 August.