I had legitimate reasons to head to Subi Farmers Market again this Saturday morning other than wanting to eat pizza for breakfast, really I did. My sister and I are catering for our Mum's 60th birthday party this coming weekend, and one of the guests can't tolerate gluten or lactose, so I wanted to see what Sophistibakes Gluten-Free Bakery had to offer. I also needed some fruit and veges, and wanted to check out the stalls I didn't have time to visit last week. If I happened to eat some pizza for breakfast while I was there, it was entirely coincidental.
I also wanted to meet with Market Manager Sally Lewis, who got in touch with me after coming across my recent review of Subi Farmers Market. She was easily found at the information stall when I arrived nice and early at the opening hour of 8am, and we had a really nice chat. Sally is a nutritionist by trade, which explains her enthusiasm for natural, seasonal produce, and it really seems like the overall plan for the markets is positive and practical. She is keen for it to develop at a reasonable pace, not bringing in too many stalls from the get-go, and to ensure quality over quantity. For instance, a new stone fruit stall was due be added this week, but they've held off as they fruit wasn't quite at its peak yet.
There are also plans to bring in buskers, chef demonstrations and also gardening and health experts to round out the whole natural living theme. I must say though that I'm particularly looking forward to a promised stall selling egg & bacon rolls with homemade relish. I think it will be making its maiden appearance this coming weekend when I will be up in Gero busily preparing to feed 80 people at my Mum's party, but I guess this means they can iron out any teething issues before I next get down there to taste their wares. Their bacony wares. Mmmm.
It was also interesting to hear that many of the stallholders, and/or their children attended Subiaco Primary School where the market is held, which must add to the community feel of the place. It does have a pretty happy vibe to it, with the stallholders all happy to have a joke and a chat and tell their story.
The market in a way reminds me of one of my favourite restaurants in Montreal, a vegan restaurant and juice bar called aux vivres. Given my enthusiasm for the upcoming egg & bacon roll stall, it's pretty obvious I'm not vegan but I loved this restaurant. Really affordable, filling, delicious meals that in no way made you feel like you were missing out on anything. Quite a diverse menu too, which I'm sure would be surprising for most non-vegans, and I often found it difficult to choose between quite a few things that took my fancy. One of the most striking things about this restaurant though were the people that worked and ate there. These people were in the upper percentiles of attractiveness when compared to the general population, let alone when compared to those frequenting your average shopping centre food court. Not really the best place to go when you were having a particularly fat or ugly day as I'm sure being surrounded by such people would leave you wallowing in your tempeh and drowning your sorrows in agave-sweetened smoothies.
After chatting with Sally and enjoying a long black from Luke & Pat's Coffee Shack, my tummy was telling me breakfast was required and I somehow found myself standing in front of Diablo's Oven. There were three calzones on offer this week, all rocking out 80s themed names. Rocket Man consisted of free range ham, organic tomato, rocket, bocconcini and pesto ($10), Funghi Town had organic tomato, mushroom, pesto, rocket and feta ($10) and there was a kids option with an organic tomato base, real pineapple, free range ham and mozzerella called Agadoo ($6). Disappointing there was no dessert Bananarama or Papa Don't Peach, or a nice gamey Echo & the Bunnymen, but I decided to take a ride on Rocket Man.
After ordering the calzone, we wandered down to Simplee Yummy that I noticed last week had some interesting dishes on offer but I had not the tummy space to enjoy. I wanted to try some "pohpia" which the sign described as consisting of "stir fried turnip with beansprouts, egg and mock meat floss" ($3). After asking for it, the stallholder asked if I had been to Singapore before, as I had pronounced it correctly (poh-pee-a). In fact I've never been outside the airport in Singapore, and have never heard of pohpia before so I felt quite clever for my pronunciation skills. I do wonder though how other people have been pronouncing it, as I can't really see any other way that makes sense except for possibly "poh-pie-a"?
As she was still in the process of getting everything out and ready, we got a have a chat while she prepared the pohpia. She told us that she used to be quite a lot heavier some time ago, and credits pohpia with her significant weightloss. She ate it for lunch every day, losing weight until she was told she was starting to look haggard and then she knew she'd lost enough weight! She and her husband, who also runs the stall with her, have been living in Australia for many years now and it was only once they moved here from Singapore that they started to cook for themselves.
The pohpia was made by first spreading some chilli paste over the bottom corner of a spring roll wrapper, then adding some fried turnip, beansprouts, mock meat floss and chopped coriander. I think the sauce drizzled over next was a sweet soy sauce, which was followed by some cubed boiled egg (as opposed to a boiled cube egg) and then rolled up into a spring roll and cut into bite size slices. I was too busy chatting away and had to be gently reminded by the stallholders that I hadn't paid them yet. Oops.
Back to Diablo's to pick up the now-ready calzone and then it was time to find a sunny spot to sit, hurriedly photograph the food and get eating.
Another Saturday, another tasty calzone. Great combination of fresh, flavoursome ingredients and soft, fresh base (is it still referred to as a base if it's a calzone? Base and lid? Receptacle?). I think a good dough is more important with a calzone than with a regular pizza, as the dough:topping ratio is higher. In fact, I'm not normally a fan of the calzone due to this, and I must admit I did not eat all the outer folded bits of my breakfast calzone due to the importance of effective stomach-space use when doing the farmers market eating circuit.
The pohpia was a really nice surprise. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but my friend and I both enjoyed it. The turnip was warm, soft and mild, while the beansprouts and coriander added a real freshness to the flavour base rounded out with the chili and soy. I wonder if pohpia's properties still work if eaten in conjunction with a calzone?
Empty tummy crisis averted, I then went to suss out if Sophistibakes had anything to offer that was both gluten-free and lactose-free, and I was happy to discover that all their breads and also their chocolate beetroot cake cover both these bases. I decided upon a small loaf of German rye, and a slice of the cake for my Mum's friend so that she would be able to have some bread and dessert should she want to. Both are now sitting in the freezer until the weekend, and I'm hoping the cake will defrost well. I guess we'll soon find out.
After getting some more of the amazing asparagus that I bought last week, along with some other fruit & veg I also bought a cherry tomato plant. Let's hope I'll be enjoying the fruits of this purchase before too long (boom boom!).
I didn't have a chance to check out the Cambray Sheep Cheese stall last week so that was next on the list. From memory, they had seven cheeses out to taste and I thought it was only fair to try them all. I was particularly taken with the Greek-style yoghurt and the hard, aged cheese (can't remember the proper name for it), but they were all excellent cheeses. My research reveals that Cambray Sheep Cheese were also involved in Terra Madre (which I mentioned in my Slow Food post) in both 2006 and 2008 and are one of only 12 sheep dairies in Australia. Makes me wonder how many sheep dairies are in New Zealand?
After eating all this cheese, luckily it was time to leave to hit my gym class.
I had a craving for some smoothie action after my workout and actually ended up heading back to the market to try one of the Raw Kitchen smoothies that I saw last week and also recently read about on Wellness WA. Four types of smoothie were on offer - Green (baby spinach, banana and water), Choc It To Me (cacao, banana, agave and fresh almond milk), King Hit: Choc Chilli (cacao, banana, agave, fresh almond milk and cayenne) and Strawberry Sip (strawberry, banana, fresh almond milk and vanilla) all for $6. You could also add a Super Booster for 50 cents, with the options of maca, coconut oil, wheatgrass, chia, acai berry, barley grass, bee pollen and spirulina. As intrigued as I was by the thought of drinking bee pollen, I passed on the boosters and chose the King Hit: Choc Chilli and my friend chose the Green smoothie with added mango ($1 extra).
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the Green Smoothie, but it could best be described as a big cup of cool freshness. The banana took centre stage in the flavour stakes, followed by a muted spinach flavour that just seemed to add an overall fresh quality, with the mango following up in the rear (think I could get a job commentating the Race the Stops a Nation tomorrow?). As nice as the Green Smoothie was though, it had nothing on my King Hit Smoothie as far as I'm concerned. A big mouthful of chocolate, with an undertone of banana, followed by decent hit of chilli that lingers. The perfect degree of sweetness too, only just enough. Delicious! And totally healthy and calorie-free, right? Cos it's just fruit? Good, I'm glad we agree on that.
Also totally calorie-free: samples. If it's free, it doesn't count. Just as well, as I took my smoothie a-walkin' over to the Out of Africa stall that I didn't have time to properly peruse last week. My South African friend J was right, they are otherworldly. I particularly loved the creamy Mint & Peanut Paste, and the Chilli Coriander Jam, but I ended up getting my wallet out for the Durban Curried Chillies. They won a Gold Medal for Tastiest Chilli Product at the 2009 Perth Chilli Festival (which by the way will be held in Fremantle next year as opposed at Araluen) so I don't seem to be alone in my like of this smack-you-in-the-mouth chilli product. It's pretty hot, filling up your entire mouth with its presence, but in a really tasty way. Not just heat for the sake of it.
I got home and decided to add it to some kangaroo and vegies for a tasty stir-fry lunch. I mixed some through, and plopped some extras on top, and had to keep the tissues handy during my meal. I love chilli but I wish it didn't make my nose run. Oh and if you happen to follow my lead and buy these curried chillies, watch out for stray cardamom pods. With the combination of a running nose from the chilli and watering eyes from chewing on a cardamom pod I am glad I was dining alone.
Oh and errr... I might have had some more fudge for dessert. This time, choc mint. Really nice and minty, with the aroma wafting out of the bag as I hurriedly unwrapped it. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Cherry, Chocolate and Coconut fudge, but I am such a sucker for coconut it would be difficult for any other flavour to top that one. I'm sure I'll make my way through them all by the end of the year, reaquainting myself with the Cherry, Chocolate and Coconut at regular intervals just to make sure it's still good. Like how I have to check any chocolate I'm cooking with isn't poisoned before I use it in a recipe.
Seeing as I'm going to be up in Geraldton this weekend for the big partay, I won't be doing a third Subi Farmers Market post in three weeks, don't worry. Although.... guest post anyone? I want the lowdown on those egg & bacon rolls!