This morning was one of the coldest I’ve ever known here in Orange. A heavy frost reached almost to the back door and made our early start that much harder. Alice and I were off to pick up a poddy calf, an early 11th birthday present. But on the way we met up with Mum and Dad and my brother and his family at the Tarana Markets.
A couple of years ago we finished up a 12-year stint doing farmers markets most weekends (for our meat business Mandagery Creek Venison), so I now get a big kick out of going along to a market as a ‘punter’ just to browse and shop and enjoy the experience from the other side of the market stall. Also, Mum has been raving about this market for a while now and so I was super keen to finally get there.
Tarana is a small village between Oberon and Lithgow and is just 15 minutes drive from my parents’ place at Rydal. The whole Tarana valley has long been one of my favourite parts of the world and its attraction grew significantly when, a few months ago, a regular market was organised for the fourth Sunday of every month.
It now attracts a range of quality stall holders and as a result – a good crowd from all over the district. Today we browsed locally grown saffron to raw honey, lamb, beef, bread, bagels, pastries, fresh produce, plants and great coffee – there’s lots on offer. But the thing I love most, is that this is one of the few, true farmers markets out there – all legit local with stalls manned (or womaned) by the actual farmer, held in a park by the pub with no bells or whistles, just a sunny meeting place for the community to grab a coffee, listen to some live music (it was great) and support their farmers.
The Lithgow Men’s Shed also has a stall there, selling beautiful wooden toys (exhibit A in my nephew Hugo’s little hand above) for just a couple of dollars each (for realz).
So back to this calf I mentioned. Her name is Milly, she is a two-week old Belted Galloway from Dad’s herd and here’s the sad bit, born a twin, she was rejected by her mother and left alone with no food source and in need of some TLC. This was amply provided by Mum and Dad. But because they spend a bit of time in Sydney, the constant care a poddy needs wasn’t all that easy to organise for then. So it worked out nicely that Alice fell in love with her instantly. And despite warnings that ‘she hasn’t got a very good belt’ (I think the same could be said of me) we put our hands up, or rather Alice did, proclaiming that Milly was all she could wish for for her 11th birthday next week.
So back to Rydal we went to pick up the calf, grab a quick lunch with the family and head home, me keeping all fingers and toes crossed that Milly could refrain from doing anything smelly in the boot. She did, bless her furry socks.
And now, we have a tiny wee calf to care for, tucked up in one of the small yards behind the house.
Other good things we brought home from today’s outing; a braid of Pitt and George Turkish bread and a basket of produce including a big cauliflower that we just enjoyed for dinner, roasted then blitzed and served with yogurt and sesame salt (recipe below). Plus, a red chair, basket and two embroidered tablecloths from a clearing sale we passed between Tarana and Rydal.
All in all, a productive outing. x
Roasted cauliflower soup with sesame salt
1 large head of cauliflower
3 good sized garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp olive oil
6 cups stock (I had a chicken stock in the fridge but use whatever you like/have handy)
Preheat oven to 200C. Combine the cauliflower, garlic, spices, salt and olive oil in a large baking tray and toss to combine. Roast for 30 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and beginning to caramelise. Blitz in batches with the stock and transfer to a saucepan. Reheat then serve with a dollop of natural yogurt, sesame salt and some nice crusty Turkish bread. Serves 6.
This recipe was given to me by a friend Sinden and is an absolute winner – I take jars of the stuff away on holidays and sprinkle it on everything from scrambled eggs to soups, salads and roasted vegetables.
1 tsp sea salt
20 tsp sesame seeds
Place sea salt in your mortar and pestle bowl. Gently and carefully toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan on medium-high heat until golden and aromatic. Tip into the mortar bowl and bash until most of the sesame seeds are broken up. Store in an airtight container or glass jar for a couple of weeks.