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 — the usual cook’s essentials.
On Friday I tell you what I have chosen and publish a seasonal recipe.
Some of the recipes will be frugal. They will all be vegetarian. They will be tasty.
This week’s £5 basket, pictured below
Bowl of 9 bananas 50p; 225g chestnut mushrooms 50p; bowl of 7 pink lady apples £1; bowl of 5 cucumbers £1; bowl of 2 corns (maize) on the cob £1; bowl of 8 lemons £1… Total £5
I still have vegetables from last week’s shop, so this week I concentrated on items that can be used in or as side dishes. The maize incidentally that cost me 50p each in the market cost 90p each at a nearby supermarket and came in a packet. The same store sells chestnut mushrooms for almost five times what I paid, and again the buyer is lumbered with the costly packaging, although, of course, I acknowledge that some people like their food in moulded-plastic wrapping.
This week’s recipe: Corn fritters. Serves 2.
Equipment: lidded saucepan large enough to hold the corn, kitchen knife, sieve, mixing bowl, tablespoon, whisk, frying pan
Ingredients: 4 heaped tablespoons plain flour, pinch of chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 2 eggs beaten, about 250m milk, 1 sweetcorn, 1 onion peeled and finely chopped, 1 tablespoon of oil for frying the onion and a little more to cook the fritters, seasoning.
Preparation: 15 minutes — boiling 10 minutes, frying 15 minutes
Method: Make the batter by sifting the flour into a bowl, adding the chilli flakes and curry powder. Shape a well in the middle. Beat the milk and eggs together and slowly add to the flour, stirring all the time. Mix or whisk well to make a smooth batter and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Remove the husk from the corn and wash. Place in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover the cob and bring it to the boil then cook on a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
While the corn is cooking and the batter resting, fry the chopped onion in the oil. When soft, set to one side to cool.
Drain the water from the cooked cob and when cool enough to handle remove the kernels with a sharp knife. Throw the core away. Put the kernels and onions in the batter and mix well.
Heat the frying pan with a little of the oil and when it’s hot, pop in a tablespoon of the batter mix. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on a paper towel. Continue cooking the batter.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream in which some chopped mint has been added.
The other chunk of corn was eaten on the cob. I’d been going to add seasoning but it tasted perfect, so I forwent the salt and pepper. Delicious, which made me think it had been sold at the perfect point of ripeness.
With the other items in my basket, I shall make fresh lemonade, curried cucumber and mushrooms on toast. The bananas and apples will be eaten at breakfast or as a quick snack in the mid-afternoon.
*Previous articles hyperlinked: Beetroot salad 2 August 2013; Vegetable kebabs and fresh peaches in old E8 26 July 2013; Potato salad with cumin seeds 19 July 2013; 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
* 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.