Farmers Market Meal

I had an idea to attend various farmers markets around my local area and create a complete meal from the produce on offer. Earlier this month I finally made it to the Newport farmers market - I’ve been meaning to go for a while but our weekend plans never seemed to allow it. I contacted them in advance to see the variety that would be there that day and was very impressed with how many stalls would attend. The first stall I went to was The Essex Allotment - it was great chatting with Alex about the allotment and his passion for growing vegetables. The veg on offer looked fantastic and its great to know that it all came without any pesticides, preservatives etc. So I went for a huge lettuce, a bunch of carrots and some potatoes so fresh out of the ground they still had mud on them - you don’t see that in the supermarket! Next up was Priors Hall, a local pork farm. I managed to get a packet of gluten free sausages for my wife, which we will have another night.

Then came the stall I was most curious about - Radwinter Wild Game. Early this year my wife picked up an amazing venison rack from the butchers, it was the last one they had as it was going out of season and I’ve wanted to have some more ever since, so I bought some venison mince to do something different. One last stall was The Loaf Tin Bakery, I couldn’t resit the cookies and my two girls deserved a little treat for me dragging them around a farmers market on a Saturday morning.

So onto the cook. I thought I’d try smash burgers with the venison, I haven’t seen them done before and thought they would be good. Although the fat content is low compared to beef it still worked very well. I mixed the mince with some shallots and salt, then rolled them into balls. I gave the carrots a bit of a scrub and brushed them with garlic butter whilst they were on the grill. I then washed the potatoes, which made me question why we need washed potatoes as it’s really easy to do, but I guess it’s part of the fast pace world we live in. I cut them into wedges and tossed them in some oil and my new LumberjAxe brazilian tempero rub. All in all a great meal. Hopefully I can make it to the Newport farmers market next month, I’m interested to see how the produce changes each month.

We had some friends over the following day and the weather was due to be good so obviously I couldn’t resist another big cook. Eight adults and eight children meant only one thing - three kilos of chicken thigh shawarma. As a pre starter I cooked one of my favourite things on the BBQ - padron peppers. They are so simple but once charred and blistered over the coals then tossed in some oil and salt give such a great flavour. And I have to admit I do like the odd one that catches you out with how spicy they can be. For the starters I carried on with my new found love of prawns, which worked so well cooked over the coals and basted with black garlic butter. They really are one of the best things to cook on the barbecue. To go with the kebab for mains I did stuffed peppers with rice and feta cheese along with a bit of an experiment… I had some chorizo sausages from our local butchers, so rather than just grilling them I sliced them up and put them in a foil tray with some sliced onions and halloumi cheese on top. It tasted great but the recipe needs a little bit of tweaking - I had underestimated the amount of fat that was in the chorizo so I will try something similar again soon.

We’ve really been enjoying pizzas on the kamados. They are so quick to cook that I’m pretty confident I could light the grill, roll and make the pizza and cook it quicker than I can phone up and order one. I also think the tase is much better too. I use the Northern Dough Co pre made frozen dough balls to make things so much easier - I literally take them out if the freezer the night before and leave them in the fridge then roll them out the when I’m ready to cook. They work perfectly for me and the kids, but because my wife is gluten intolerant we have been experimenting with gluten free dough. We seem to have found a good one that you don’t have to pre fry before cooking, and if you’ve seen the picture on my instagram account you will see why we’re sticking to this one. The bubbles in the crust were huge!

In other news I’ve finally got the beginnings of a BBQ shack. The frame is up thanks to my mate Olly. I’ve got the lights which I hope to install this week. Then all I need to do is source something to use as a roof that I can remove when I don’t need it.

Hopefully you’ve seen the posts about my second live with Hunter Gatherer Cooking. We’re once again feeding the family, this time with a chicken dish. Fingers crossed I get the lights up before then as the dark nights seem to be coming in thick and fast.

It may be time to start planning some low and slow stews as winter is coming!

Stu - Bbqfestu