Market Report October 2018
Autumn is here, and with it comes a glorious bounty of British produce.
Before we head into this season’s report though, we’d like to share some news from the collaboration between The Fruit Market and Bristol Food Connections earlier this year.
The Fruit Machine was a joint event at this year’s festival, where several schools from across Bristol toured the market, picked out produce and competed against each other to sell at the Harbourside Market. See the full video here.
Autumn and Harvest are times of plenty at the Fruit Market with crops of fresh produce from the UK, Europe and the rest of the world all at their best. Autumn squash are everywhere at the Fruit Market with countless varieties and stunning shapes and colours. Squash can be stored well so you can buy them during autumn and they will last for months. To store squash successfully make sure they are perfect to start with; any dents, imperfections or soft parts mean that the squash could begin to rot, so look for perfect specimens. Squash should be stored in a cool, dry place, where they won’t get damp or damaged. For the Thai Squash and Apple Soup this month I used a Crown Prince squash which has a bright orange flesh and a creamy texture, you can use any type of squash and the flavour will vary slightly. The apple in this dish adds a sweet and sour flavour which goes well with the Thai flavours.
The Fruit Market is full of English apples this autumn, they have had a really good year where other crops have suffered because of the cold spring and hot summer. At the Fruit Market you can buy everything from well-known varieties such as Cox to more unusual and heritage varieties. Apples and pears are ripe and ready to eat between September and late October before high winds and the turning seasons mean that they naturally fall. The variety of colours, sizes and shapes sings Autumn and it is great to try different varieties of English apples at this time of year. They can be stored for moths if they are perfect to start with. The flavour and variety of English Apples is second to none and this time of year is perfect to use apples in sweet and savoury cookery. Try adding finely sliced pear to a salad or some grated apple to any cake mix. I created the Brownies this month with ripe fresh pears and apples and a generous handful of cobnuts, which are similar to hazelnuts. The sweetness of the Brownie is perfectly balanced by the slightly sharp taste of apple and pear and the bits add a lovely crunch.
I am a big fan of mushrooms and autumn is when they are at their best with varieties of wild mushroom available from the Fruit Market from this country and from Europe. You could use any mushrooms to make the Mushroom and Celeriac Tart but strong flavoured wild mushrooms, or shitake, along with chestnut mushrooms give a rich, earthy, flavour. You can buy shitake mushrooms easily and they give a strong flavour, but if you can’t find shitake or wild mushrooms you could always use a handful of dried wild or porcini mushrooms rehydrated in boiling water and then finely chopped and mixed with chestnut or button mushrooms.
There is a beautiful array of produce coming in from France at this time of year; knobbly Jerusalem Artichokes, Globe Artichokes and Celeriac as well as unusual varieties of Aubergine. The slightly aniseed flavour of celeriac works really well with mushrooms and dill giving the Mushroom Tarts a distinctly French flavour.
Beetroot have grown really well this year with the cold spring and hot summer. I like to keep beetroot simple and either eat it raw; grated or sliced in salads or baked whole in the oven. The easiest way to roast beetroot is to keep it whole and wrap with foil. I cook beetroot while the oven is on anyway for another dish and they take around 40 minutes to cook. The cooked beetroot will keep for three days in the fridge or can be frozen. You can add garlic or herbs to the foil packages and always wait until it is cooked and cooked to peel; your hands will be less stained, and the skin comes off easily. This dip is delicious and colourful and is brilliant served with warmed pitta or flatbreads or vegetable sticks as part of a tapas style meal.