What’s good at the mar­kets

The Weekend Australian - Life - - FOOD & WINE - JU­DITH ELEN

Dishes fea­tur­ing richly-toned fruits and veg­eta­bles, warm to the eye and tongue, are a par­tic­u­lar treat at this time of year.

Beet­root, emerg­ing from un­der­ground, the earth still cling­ing to its del­i­cate threads, is the tap­root of the beet plant. Its equally beet-flavoured leaves, fresh, green and red-veined on just-pulled roots, add sub­tle flavour to sal­ads. Mar­ket sellers un­der­stand the virtues of th­ese leaves, where su­per­mar­kets do not. But the root it­self is a dark gem, in colour and flavour; in sea­son April into Au­gust.

One of beet­root’s nat­u­ral affini­ties is for goat’s cheese ; light, fresh, slightly acidic, it’s at mar­kets around the country, of­ten from lo­cal goat farms. Ann-Marie Monda and Carla Meurs make Holy Goat Cheese at Sut­ton Grange Or­ganic Farm (Vic­to­ria), sell­ing at lo­cal Castlemaine and Bendigo, and Mel­bourne mar­kets. Mered­ith Dairy, an­other fam­ily farm in re­gional Vic­to­ria, sells around the country. In the Ade­laide Hills, Saul and Sheree Sul­li­van make goat’s milk cheeses at Ud­der De­lights; they have a cheese cel­lar in Hah­n­dorf, with dis­tributers in all states. Jan­nei goat dairy (NSW) sells its prod­ucts (in­clud­ing raw goat’s milk) in se­lected stores coun­try­wide. To­day’s chef chooses sharper feta for her beet­root dish, sav­ing goat’s cheese for a warm cus­tard.

Quinces have an an­cient his­tory, orig­i­nat­ing in the Fer­tile Crescent of the Ti­gris and Euphrates river basin. Pale, un­gainly, brushed with a downy fuzz, they emerge from long, slow cook­ing, a fra­grant ma­hogany-dark feast. In mar­kets from Hawkes­bury Har­vest, NSW, to Vic­tor Har­bor, SA, April to June. ju­dithat­takethree@gmail.com

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