27 January 2009
THE FARMERS MARKET:
I make a habit of buying my veggies at the Saturday farmers market in central Geneva (8am-1pm Rive). Even during the winter, I bundle up and brave the cold weather, as their garden produce really is worth the extra effort, plus I like to support the local farmers. While the variety is less impressive than in the summer months , there is still an excellent choice of winter veggies to be had:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Lettuce (certain types)
- Leeks (used in this recipe)
- Onions (used in this recipe)
- Spinach (used in this recipe)
(see The Westside Gardener for winter vegetable gardening)
Farmers Market shopping 101:
- Plan recipes for the week, it’s economical & a fun to find the ingredients in the market. This also avoids over stocking of the fridge – I hate throwing food away & the freezer has a limited capacity.
- Make a list, as if you are like me, the sight of all that wonderful fresh produce makes you want to buy everything in sight.
- Bring a basket, you’ll look like a local & won’t end up with 15 flimsy plastic bags
- Walk around before buying, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the stalls
- Check your prices, as often stalls closest to the ends of the market are more expensive
- Watch out for impostors – just because it’s a farmers market doesn’t mean everything is ‘in season’, local and biologically grown
20 January 2009
FESENJAN : Persian lamb recipe
Don’t you just love how life has little culinary surprises in store for you…
This year we spent New Years Eve in a quaint Swiss chalet, nestled in the mountains of Eastern Switzerland. It was here that I had the good fortune of meeting Roswit & her daughter Lilly, in the kitchen…. We got to talking about cooking (funny that!) and it turns out that Roswit’s husband is Iranian and she’s learned to make several Persian dishes over the years. This explained why the chalet was filled with the delicious smells & fragrant spices during the holidays.
To my delight we exchanged details and one week later I opened my emails to find her wonderful Fesenjan recipe. This is a traditional Persian dish of duck, in a walnuts & pomegranate sauce. Roswit’s version uses lamb meatballs in a thick walnut, tomato & pomegranate sauce. It is not just the delicious scent of this dish that will capture your heart, not to mention your appetite, but the sumptuous flavour combinations. The lamb with cinnamon, garlic & a hint of sweet/sour pomegranate, with the unctuous nutty sauce that almost tastes creamy without the use of actual cream.
In the future I will try this recipe with chicken or duck and perhaps decorate the top with pomegranate seeds. I also recommend using fresh whole grain / whole wheat bread instead of white bread or bread crumbs as it keeps the meat very moist & juicy. I also used a slightly larger quantity of lamb (280 grams total), as I prefer this meat to onion ratio. This dish is excellent served on a bed of basmati onion rice (** see recipe at end of post).