EVERY WEEK I take £5 to Ridley Road Market in Dalston, Hackney, London E8 2LH, to spend on seasonal food, obviously not including items likely to be already in a kitchen, such as sauces, oil, herbs and spices.
On Friday I tell you what I have chosen and publish a healthy seasonal recipe.
As usual, expenditure on any extra ingredients, eg, flour, will be recouped by usage over subsequent weeks.
Some of the recipes will be frugal. They will all be vegetarian. They will be tasty.
This week’s £5 basket (picture below)
Bowl of broccoli (3 heads) £1; bag of Suffolk Linroyale potatoes (1.5 kg) £1; sweet potatoes (3) £1.10; box of eryngii mushrooms (1kg) £1.50… total £4.60
HOW EXCITING — a mushroom I’d not heard of, let alone cooked. The name on the box was eryngii, which a quick surf showed was Pleurotus eryngii, also known as the king oyster, emperor, trumpet and French horn.
Whatever name Londoners eventually settle on, foodies are likely to love its distinctive taste, and strong texture. To my non-fungus-expert eyes, it looks like a cep/boletus.
In any case, it’s a pleasing find, especially when the only English price I could find on the internet was £2.10 for 100g. In the market I paid £1.50 and got ten times that weight.
That’s enough about my find. Now for this week’s recipe.
Potato salad with cumin seeds. Serves 2
Equipment: kitchen knife, medium-size saucepan, small frying pan, teaspoon, tablespoon, salad bowl. Scrub potatoes and wash herbs.
Preparation: 10 minutes, cooking 10 minutes
Ingredients: 4 potatoes (Linroyale looked good value this week) about 400g unpeeled and cut into bite-size pieces, 1/2 an onion peeled and finely chopped, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, fresh herbs of choice, 1 tablespoon oil, seasoning.
I do not like potato salad with mayonnaise, which I find rather cloying in the mouth. This recipe for potato salad is fresh and light to taste.
Method: Pour cold water into the saucepan until it is 3/4 full. Add a good pinch of salt and place the potato chunks into the saucepan, cover and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Do not overcook because the potatoes need to keep their shape and have a firm texture.
Meanwhile, dry-roast the cumin seeds in the frying pan over a gentle heat to release their oils and aroma. In a bowl add the chopped herbs, I’m using mint and chives. If you have any celery left over from another meal, finely chop it and add.
Mix in the chopped onion and cumin seeds. Drain the potatoes and add to the bowl and stir gently to mix all ingredients. Add the oil and mix again.
I am serving my potato salad and lightly steamed broccoli with the mushrooms gently fried in butter.
Tip: If the hot weather continues, the market traders will want to get rid of all their fruit and veg on Saturday because a lot of the soft fruits and leafy greens will not keep in the heat of their nearby lock-ups overnight and on Sunday. And some stalls do not open on Mondays. So if stalls have a lot of perishable stock left after 3pm, prices usually will be reduced until by 4pm nearly all is gone. You may find cheaper buys than I found for my weekly Rambling Down Ridley Road basket.
* Other websites have written about this column, among them Hackney Post, which has published an interview with Shooey, as has the Food Bankers. Hackney council journalist Marcel Reinard has made a video about markets, including Ridley Road.
* Emboldened or tinted words may indicate a hyperlink, a special service for Loving Dalston readers who may want to look further into a topic. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.
*Previous articles hyperlinked: Fruit sticks 12 July 2013; Asparagus, onion and tomato tartlets 5 July 2013; Sparkling elderflower and fritters 28 June 2013; Beetroot quinoa salad 21 June 2013; Lemon couscous with spicy mushrooms 14 June 2013; Lurgied 7 June 2013; At last, the Alphonso 31 May 2013; Aubergine salad 24 May 2013; Asparagus with hollandaise 17 May 2013; Stuffed beef tomatoes with guacamole 10 May 2013; Hackney snackney 3 May 2013; Bell pepper salad 26 April 2013; Gnocchi and tomato sauce with zucchini salad 19 April 2013 Tomato soup with soda bread 12 April 2013; Broccoli mornay 5 April 2013; Easter redemption song 29 March 2013 Less is enough 22 March 2013; A tart in the mart 15 March 2013; Polenta verde and sauté mushrooms 8 March 2013; Caribeasy 29 February 2013; Feeling fruity 22February 2013; Kashmir delight 15 February 2013; Samphire surprise 8 February 2013; Two dishes from £5 1 February 2013; Ae fond neep 25 January 2013; Cauliflower cheese 18 January 2013; Hackney frittata 11 January 2013; Tasty and easy Christmas snack 21 December 2012; The shops behind the market stalls 9 November 2012; Chutney 2 November 2012; Piccalilli 26 October 2012; Golden soup 19 October 2012; Roasted, stuffed squash 12 October 2012; Vegetable curry 5 October 2012; Carrot and coriander soup 28 September 2012; Ratatouille Gypsy stew 21 September 2012; Bubble and squeak Shooey style, Bakewell pudding 14 September 2012; Coleslaw and radishes 7 September 2012; Turkish spinach pie 31 August 2012; Tomato tart, marinated aubergines, fresh mango chutney 24 August 2012; Roasted butternut squash soup and beetroot salad 17 August 17 2012; The column sets itself a challenge 15 August 2012