MANGO MAGIC

Q: What does Paisley pattern have to do with Mangoes?

It’s easy to tell when mangoes are in full swing at the Sydney Markets, not only are the luscious yellow fruits clearly in abundance but their sweet, tropical aroma literally takes over the Flemington site, distracting buyers and visitors with early morning visions of cocktails and beach holidays. While we’re a while off that stage yet, the first of the Kensington Pride mangoes from the Northern Territory have arrived at the markets. They are in good supply, good quality and eating at around an 8/10. To get your juices flowing for the peak mango season and its signature aroma, this week we are sharing inspirational recipes and flavour combinations that capture the essence of this nutritional, delicious and iconic fruit.

Mango varieties: For more information on the individual mango varieties and when to expect them, click here.

The Feel Good Factor: A 200 g mango provides up to 3x the RDI of Vit A and Vit C. They are also a rich source of fibre and potassium and provide more of the anti-oxidant beta-carotene than any other fruit

 

Something Light:

Crunchy Jicama and Mango salad with Chile and Lime

Source: Tyler Florence via Lifestyle Food

NB: With Jicama (yam bean) and mango both in season until December, this crunchy combination of flavours is ideal for a Spring salad. To find out more about Jicama, click here

Click here for full recipe

 

Mango salsa and coconut heart salad

Source: Peter Kuravita via SBS Food

NB: This salad offers a wonderful blend of flavours. While coconut hearts can be a little hard to come by, never fear as granny smith apples are offered as a good replacement

Click here for full recipe

 

Tahitian snapper tartare

Source: Robert Oliver via NZ Herald

Click here for full recipe

 

Something Substantial:

Tali Macchi

Source: Alfred Prasad via Great British Chefs

Click here for full recipe

 

Duck and Mango curry, plus lemon and curry leaf rice

Source: Yotam Ottolenghi via Guardian.co.uk

Click here for full recipe

 

Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa (Ca Tu Chien)

Source: Luke Nguyen via SBS Food

Click here for full recipe

 

Something Sweet:

Caramel mille feuille, mango and gold leaf press and crystalised chilli

Source: Frances Atkins via Great British Chefs

Click here for full recipe

 

Young coconut jelly and burnt mango cream with pandanus macaroons

Source: Martin Boetz via Gourmet Traveller

Click here for full recipe

 

Something Refreshing:

Ceylon Sailor

Source: Wayne Collins via BBC Food

Click here for full recipe

 

Mango, ginger and lemongrass cordial

Source: Gourmet Traveller

Click here for full recipe

 

A: The pattern we all know as Paisley (due to the market dominance of the weavers from Paisley, Scotland during the 1800s) was actually created in India where it was inspired by the shape of the mango- which in India is considered to be a divine food of the Gods symbolising love. In Tamil the paisley pattern is called ‘Mankolam’ (mango design), in Punjabi it is called ‘Ambi’ which derives from ‘Amb’ (mango) and in Pakistan it is called the  ‘Carrey ‘ design with the word ‘Carrey’ meaning mango seed in Urdu.


SPRING’S BOUNTY

Q: Why is Australian white asparagus priced significantly higher than green?

 The end of August is always a period of transition for food lovers, however this year seems especially tough- cold weather along the Eastern Seaboard is slowing supply and hiking up prices on a long list of produce items, ironically just in time for the start of the busy season and there is absolutely nothing on TV that comes close to filling the void left by the Olympics. To put the Spring back in your step and assist with menu planning for the next few months, here are our produce highlights for the coming season. We have included some nutritional information as there’s nothing like feeling good about what you’re eating to make it taste even better on the palate.

SPRING FLAVOURS:

ASPARAGUS:

Image: Freepik

The arrival of the Australian Asparagus season is getting closer with quality spears predicted to arrive at the markets for the first week of September. In particular the arrival of the sweet, tender, home-grown white asparagus is much anticipated due to its premium quality, texture and gourmet aesthetic.       

Supply: Early crops from QLD, main crop from VIC

Green Asparagus: all year, Australian produce best Sept- Dec

Baby Green Asparagus: all year, best Sept- Dec

Purple Asparagus: Oct- Dec

White Asparagus: Sept – Jan

Feel Good Factor: excellent source of Vitamin C & E, dietary fibre, folate and potassium

Inspiration: Confit of Suffolk lamb loin, fresh milk curd, asparagus, spring onions, broad beans, young leeks, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, quinoa, pea flowers, nasturtiums – Peter Gilmore via Lifestyle Food

Click for recipe

AUSTRALIAN GARLIC:

Image: Freepik

Australian Garlic is world’s apart from the imported product available throughout the year and its season is something I have come to get excited about and support every year by paying a premium price for a premium product. For a more comprehensive overview of the garlic varieties currently grown in Australia, their seasonality and characteristics, click here.

Supply: Main growing regions are SA, VIC ,NSW with some early crops from QLD

Australian Garlic Season: October - May

Spring Garlic: available October

Green Garlic: available November

Feel Good Factor: natural antibiotic, also assists in management of blood pressure & cholesterol

Inspiration: Tamworth pork terrine, roast garlic purée, deep fried egg and artichoke Kevin Mangeolles via Great British Chefs

Click for recipe

MANGOES:

Image: www.perfection.com.au

Early Northern Territory mangoes are already arriving at the markets and while they are not yet great eating, it is a sign of the luscious, warm weather and tropical flavours to come. Sydney Markets will be holding its annual mango auction on September 5th  heralding the official opening of the mango season, last year the auction raised $30,000 ($2,500/mango) for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Westmead Children's Hospital.  For more information on mango varieties and Australian seasons click here

Supply: NT opens the season (peaking around October), before main producer QLD enters the market around November

Feel Good Factor: very high in Vit C and A. Rich source of beta-carotene, fibre and potassium

Inspiration: Mango salsa and coconut heart salad recipe- Peter Kuravita via SBS Food

Click for recipe

SHISO LEAF: aka Perillo

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Shiso Leaf is available in red and green varieties, the red (with its anise and subtle mint flavour) is the most popular in Australia and is used widely in Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine (where traditionally the leaves were used to dye pickled ume or were mixed with ume paste in sushi). While available pretty much all year, Shiso is at its best Nov – Mar

Supply: SG&S predominantly sources our Shiso from local NSW producers  

Feel Good Factor: high in calcium, iron and potassium, rich in fiber, very high in Vit A and C. Believed to have anti-inflammatory properties

Inspiration: Duck yakitori with pumpkin, shiso and daikon salad and plum dipping sauce – via Gourmet Traveller

Click for recipe

PEPINO: aka Sweet Pepino, Melon Pear

Image: www.naturespride.eu

Spring is undeniably the start of the mango and stonefruit season but if you’re looking for something different why not try the pepino. With its distinctive purple stripes, yellow flesh and a juicy flavour reminiscent of melon, banana and pear (depending on who you ask)– it is perfect for spicing up the breakfast menu or adding a twist to sweet and savoury spring salads.

Supply: QLD produces fruit in Spring and Autumn

Feel Good Factor: good source offibre, Vitamin A, B and C

Inspiration: Wild Mexican Shrimp Escabeche with Pepino Melon, Popped Corn, Jicama Salsa - Bernard Guillas via Restaurant Hospitality

Click for recipe

Yam Oka: aka NZ Yam, Oka Yam, Oca

Image: www.vegetables.co.nz

Originally from South America, these sweet tubers offer a wonderful alternative to winter root vegetable lines with their smaller size, tangy, nut flavour and silky texture. Eat with the skin on to get maximum nutritional value, the skin is thin and edible and ensures the yam holds shape when cooked.

Supply: coming from QLD, best in July (season runs for 6-8 weeks)

Feel Good Factor: good source offibre, Vitamin A, B and C

Inspiration: Yam, kumara and pumpkin coconut curry 

Click for recipe

Other items of note for Spring: As the weather warms, the markets will start to come alive with tropical fruits and a wider range of vegetables. Other items to watch out for this Spring include stonefruit (Oct/Nov), berries, chillies, sweetcorn, radishes, edible flowers, watercress and okra.

A: There are two reasons. Firstly, the Australian white asparagus season is brief and given its popularity among food-service professionals (and increasingly with home cooks) demand tends to outstrip supply. The second reason is production costs. To achieve its colour, white asparagus is grown in the dark, preventing sunlight from turning the shoots green. Traditionally this was achieved by keeping the asparagus crown submerged beneath a mound of dirt and using specialised equipment to blind harvest– which led to reduced yields as it was difficult to perform without damaging the crop. Many Australian farmers now employ an innovative system that sees white asparagus grown beneath black polyhouses- essentially a large dark greenhouse, a huge step forward, this farming method achieves wonderful colour, flavour and allows for simpler harvesting practices.


MARKET 5: BRITISH

Q: How big is the catering operation at the Olympics?

The world’s eye is fixed squarely on the London Olympics this week and while the weather has been mixed and the Badminton players suspect,  the quality of the games overall has been exceptional. Beyond the individual sports, British culture is also in the limelight, so to capture the Olympic Spirit this week we are sharing our Market 5 for British cuisine. There is much more to British cuisine than Bangers ‘n Mash and to highlight the versatility of these everyday (and often overlooked)  kitchen staples, I have included some world class recipes from some of Britain’s best Chefs.  

1.      PARSNIP:

Image: www.naturespride.eu

While Don Burke may have controversially called parsnips an “affront to human dignity”, there are many Brits who couldn’t imagine a Sunday roast without them- in fact before the arrival of the potato from the Americas, the parsnip was a staple across Europe. So much so that during the Tudor dynasty, the parsnip was more commonly consumed than bread. Closer to home this cost-effective, nutritious and versatile vegetable is wonderful buying at the markets with quality, flavour and supply at its peak until October. For more information on parsnip selection and availability, please click here.

Host Nation inspiration: Chris Horridge’s Veal sweetbreads, parsnip air and curry oil

Click here to view recipe

 

2. ENGLISH SPINACH:

Image: Freepik

Spinach first appeared in England in the 14th century and was adopted quickly due to its availability in early spring when other vegetables were scarce. Spinach was brought to Australia by the first fleet but as it was difficult to grow here, Silverbeet soon became the crop of choice. Today many still refer to Silverbeet as Spinach in Australia for this reason. At its best until September-October, Spinach is a tasty, healthy addition to the menu, especially while other leaf lines are battling with frosty conditions.

Availability: all year, best Mar-Sept

Appearance: bright green, slightly crinkled, flat leaves on a firm green stem

Flavour: bittersweet- finer in texture and flavour than silverbeet

Best for: suitable for eating raw, blanched, braised

Host Nation inspiration: Adam Gray’s Spinach soup with wild garlic toasts

Click here to view recipe

 

3.      RHUBARB:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Rhubarb is yet another ingredient that isn’t native to Britain, yet it is strongly linked to the national cuisine due to its popular use in desserts and wine making prior to WW2. In the United Kingdom, the first rhubarb of the year is harvested by candlelight in forcing sheds, where all other light is excluded, in order to produce a sweeter, more tender stalk. In Australia. Our rhubarb season peaks during Autumn-Winter, so now is the time to enjoy this tart vegetable at its best. For more information on selection or availability of rhubarb click here.

Host Nation inspiration: Nathan Outlaw’s Rhubarb and crumble trifle

Click here to view recipe

 

 

4.      LEEK:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

The leek brings a Celtic flavour to the celebrations. As one of the National emblems of Wales, this humble vegetable root has a proud history in Britain and is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Brought to Australia on the first fleet, the leek is used widely in Australia with most production coming out of Victoria and an annual production value of over $16 million in 2007/2008. While it is grown commercially in other states across Australia, Victoria’s cooler temperatures allow for a top quality, consistent harvest over a longer period.

 Availability: all year, best May-Sept

Appearance: long thick white stalk with hard green leaves

Flavour: mild sweet, onion flavour

Best for: commonly used insoups (cock-a-leekie), stock, stews and other dishes, they can also be boiled, fried or eaten raw in salads

Host Nation inspiration: Martin Wishart’s Leeks vinaigrette with eggs mimosa

Click here to view recipe

 

5.    PEAS:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

 Growing up in Manchester there was nothing I liked more than mushy peas- popular across Northern Britain (Scotland/Yorkshire etc) this signature dish has become synonymous with stereotypical English fare- in particular meat pies and fish ‘n chips. Realistically peas shouldn’t be featuring in our Market Five as they are very expensive at the moment (due to cold snaps in QLD slowing supply) however we couldn’t help by include this British classic on our list. Prices should ease over the coming month as the weather warms up, in the meantime Sugarsnaps are performing well and are a good substitute.

Availability: generally all year

Appearance: round green seeds in a long green pod

Flavour: sweet, juicy

Best for: mushy peas- other than this they aretasty raw or cooked- often used in soups, risottos, pastas, salads, sides

Host Nation inspiration: Nathan Outlaw’s Ham hock with pea purée and wholemeal bread

Click here to view recipe

 

A: The Olympics (in this instance London 2012) is recognised as being the largest peacetime catering operation in the world and the Brits have stepped up to the plateas the first Olympic organisers to produce a food vision with a focus on sustainability.  Over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Olympic venues are forecast to serve up 14 million meals across 40 locations. The Olympic Village alone is being supplied with 25,000 loaves of bread, 232 tonnes of potatoes, over 82 tonnes of seafood, 31 tonnes of poultry items, over 100 tonnes of meat, 75,000 litres of milk, 19 tonnes of eggs, 21 tonnes of cheese and more than 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables. Now that’s a mouthful.

 


WINTER HARVEST

Q: Can you really buy Artichoke brandy?

Recently a fellow food lover lamented that Winter was a “boring time of year for fruit and veg, there just isn’t much to get excited about”. I can understand the sentiment, at this time of year the markets are brimming with root vegetables, cabbages, apples, pears- all wonderfully delicious and versatile but somehow less exotic and alluring than Summer’s bounty. So, in a bulletin designed to kickstart your love affair with winter produce- we are profiling ‘5 Winter lines’ that the team at SG&S are excited about this year and sharing delicious recipes that showcase the delightful potential of these fantastic Winter finds. In the words of Pietro Aretino, “Let us love the winter, for it is the Spring of genius”.

 

WINTER FLAVOURS:

CITRUS:

The winter citrus season is upon us. Mandarins are at the markets and fantastic eating, as are navel oranges. All signs point to a bumper crop this year.

Supply: Mainly QLD and NSW

Mandarins: while available from March – November, these are at their best May – October

Navel Oranges: the winter orange these are available Jun, July and Aug

Blood Oranges: available Jun – late August

Click for Inspiration

 

ARTICHOKES:

While we are still early in the season; globes, baby globes and Jerusalem artichokes are currently available at the markets. They wont be at their nutty best for a few more weeks, but are still a wonderful addition to the menu.

Supply: Mainly NSW and VIC

Baby globe artichokes: good local stock arriving at the markets- at their best Jun- Aug

Globe Artichokes: still early but available. Peak product will be at the markets from June - Sept

Jerusalem Artichokes: already available, at their best from June – Sept

Click for Inspiration

 

USA CHERRIES:

The USA cherry season is always welcome, as it helps us survive the long wait until the Australian season starts up again in November. Expect more lush Bing fruit and creamy Rainiers again this year

Supply: California, Washington and Oregon

Early fruit will be available from next week, with the season traditionally spanning Jun – Aug

Click for Inspiration

 

TURNIPS/SWEDES:

While many believe them to be old-fashioned and dull, in our minds the delicious Tassie Swedes and local Turnips currently at the markets are vintage gourmet. Their peppery flavour and creamy texture, in addition to their nutritional value and affordability makes turnips and swedes a winter favourite at SG&S.

Supply: Turnips – NSW/VIC, Swedes - TAS

Despite being available all year, the cold weather works wonders for these root veges, meaning turnips, baby turnips and swedes are at their best May – Oct

Click for Inspiration

 

TRUFFLES:

While the Australian Truffle industry is relatively young, producers are unearthing spectacular, premium grade truffles from sites across WA and TAS (with small numbers harvested in NSW/ACT and VIC). In fact, last year around 3 tonnes of this noble, perfumed fungus was grown and sold in Australian markets. We can only hope that 2012 sees another bountiful harvest.

Supply: WA and TAS

Following a wonderful season in 2011, 2012 is looking to be just as promising for Australian Truffles with fresh, aromatic truffles expected to be in good supply from early June to August

Click for inspiration!

 

Other items of note for Winter: Star Apple (Jun- Nov), brassicas (in particular cauliflower) are predicted to be top performers this season due to the cold weather. Beans (broad and borlotti) are also expected to have a great winter with main supply now starting.

A: Yes. Known as Rossler it is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented and distilled Jerusalem Artichokes. This nutty-sweet brew has been produced in Baden, Germany since the 1800s and to this day  90% of all Jerusalem Artichokes harvested in the area are dedicated to producing this brandy like spirit.