Goblin Market

Edinburgh, luckily for me, has proved to be a foodie’s paradise. And no foodie’s paradise is complete without the standard Farmer’s market. Every saturday morning in the shadow of the castle the intrepid stall holders set up shop – come rain or shine. So i felt duty-bound to explore and to see if i couldn’t make it a regular thing for my new little blog-to buy some cheap and interesting local fare and turn it into something delicious. Hopefully…..

The Market on a Misty-Mellow Morning

So here’s what i got:

Pig’s cheeks-a snip at 1.50
A bacon knuckle-another snip at 1.00
Some borlotti beans-fresh and in season
Scottish tomatoes

You say tomato, i say, um, tomato?

If you can’t get hold of fresh borlotti, the dried ones soaked overnight will suffice, but I recommend the fresh, just for aesthetics if nothing else-just look at their mottled pink  jackets

The prettiest canoe ever made?

 And with these items and a few other nifty ingredients kicking about the cupboards, i made a delicious and warming supper- an italianised version of a British classic-Beans and Bacon.

Here’s how you do it:

Start by sweating a couple of sliced red onions and 3 finely sliced cloves of garlic in lots of extra virgin olive oil-lots of nice oil is key to this dish-use it as an italian would. Sweat these and a chopped carrot or stick of celery if you have it-i didn’t- with a whole small red chilli, some thyme, or a bay leaf for a good 40 minutes. Add some chopped fresh tomatoes and turn up the heat. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down.

Then brown your bacon knuckle in a little oil. Add to the pot with the onion, put in some whole tinned tomatoes-rinsed of their yuk juice-so just the whole peeled plum tomato. Add your fresh borlotti beans, a glug more of oil, a splash of red wine vinegar and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer then put in the oven on a low heat for an hour.

When you are sure that the beans are cooked-they should be milky and soft, remove from the oven, season (adding salt before stops the beans from cooking) . The meat should fall from the bone into wondrous shards. Serve on its own, with crusty bread, or with braised cavolo nero-as i did.  A feast of pig and beans for about 2 quid.

And if this hasn’t inspired you to head to’t market, then perhaps Christina Rossetti will, though i always wondered what a “free-born cranberry” looked like…..

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpecked cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries; –


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