In a series of articles The Deli Chefs, Geoff Odgers and Iain Thompson, go out and about to sample some of great produce to be found at Devon’s food markets and events.
Both Geoff and Iain are trained chefs and run their own fine meat and cheese business from the Pannier Market in Tiverton where they sell some of the finest produce the region has to offer as well as regaling their customers with fabulous old Westcountry stories and entertaining with simple, innovative cookery theatre.
If you’d like to know more about what The Deli Chefs get up to, including working in local schools, have a look at their website, The Deli Shack.
This week – Totnes Good Food Sunday Market
Being market traders and chefs we’ve been promising ourselves for a while that we’d go out and see what’s going on in the county’ food markets and festivals. So with the weather lifting a little – Geoff doesn’t like the cold much – we popped down to the Totnes Good Food Sunday Market to have a look around and have a chat with some of the traders and maybe even a customer or two.
A few key details first. The market is held every third Sunday and they’ve got a great website that tells you when the next event is going to be held and gives lots of information on the traders who regularly attend. It’s a great site and well worth having a look at, the address is www.totnesgoodfood.co.uk. The market is very efficiently managed by one of the traders, Ray Raynolds from Diablo Deli, so if you’d like to talk to him about a pitch, then his contact details are on the site. The next event will be on Sunday, March 20.
The market’s well signed, and there’s a pay and display car park just down the hill, so access is really easy for all ages, but there is a little bit of a climb.
From the minute we arrived the whole atmosphere of the market was wonderfully inviting and exciting in equal measures. It’s the kind of place that really makes you feel welcome, there’s lots of space to move around and even though it was bustling you feel that you can stop and chat to the stall holder without being nudged or getting in the way. That said it’s not a huge market, probably around 35-40 traders on the day, but with enough variety of produce that you wouldn’t feel that you were seeing the same thing over and over as is sometimes the case at smaller events
The majority of the traders were using gazebos so you get the feeling that you’re entering into a small festival as you come through a covered walk way and into the market proper. The basic lay out is a square centre area of traders all facing outwards and then across the walking area an equal number of adjacent traders looking back across. In that way as you move around the market you’re constantly looking left and right to see all of the produce for sale.
At a quick count there were four or five stalls where you could buy great smelling West Indian curries (very generous portions), spicy wraps, piping hot coffee and fresh delicious looking patisserie. Some of the stalls had nice fresh samples out to taste and one lady in particular was offering her own cordials, some of which would be perfect for cocktails…or so she said..
On trips out to food markets with our ‘chefs hats’ on we always look for that one defining product that really stands out and we found it almost straight away, a young chap selling called Adam Sayner from Wood Fruit Mushrooms who was selling grow your own mushroom kits ! Now that’s inventive, and we felt that that it really set the tone for the day, celebrating creative thinking and fabulous simple produce. Geoff bought a kit to try, so more of that in a few weeks.
The only thing that we noticed was that other than the traders selling food, there weren’t really any cooking demonstrations going on. Never fear. Ray, the chap who organises the market, explained that he’s lining up a number of supporting events for the next few months and he’s asked us if we’d like to come down and run a smoker next market. What a result and of course we’d be delighted, so if you fancy coming down to Totnes food market next month to watch and taste pop over and say hello..
We got talking to one of the traders that we know, Jason from Ark Chicken, about how practical it is to demonstrate cooking produce from a market stall and the issues that it poses for both the public and the trader. So how about this for an idea, Geoff decided that with little more than you would find in the back of your cupboard that he could rig up a perfectly safe and exciting cooking demonstration and this is what he came up with.
The idea of smoking prime chicken may seem to be a little excessive but because of the quality of these beautiful birds the hot smoking does not produce a high level of shrinkage and I feel the intensity of flavour is worth it when preparing unique entre dish.
I don’t have a smoker I hear you say, well have you got an old Wok or sauce pan, colander, camping stove and a roll of tinfoil, or visit you local recycling centre to pick them up, now you have a smoker!
For 4 portions you will need:
2 Ark Chicken Breasts
4 Baby Pak Choi
1 large Red Onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a thumb of fresh Ginger
1 handful of Oyster Mushrooms
Equal slugs of Olive oil and Vegetable oil
Several glugs of Soya sauce.
2 good handfuls of maple chippings
Smoking should always take place in a well-ventilated kitchen (extractor fan) or in the garden on a stable base
Place the wood chippings in the Wok/saucepan. Place a little tin foil on the bottom of the colander, lay the breasts on top and loosely cover with more foil. Place the whole colander assembly onto the wok/saucepan
Ignite the camping stove/heat source and then place the whole assembly on the heat.
Cook/Smoke for 20 to 25 mins until 75degrees is reached or the breasts are firm and the juices when a knife is inserted run clear.
Peel onion, garlic and ginger.
Cut onion in to fine rings and finely dice garlic and ginger.
Cut each Baby Pak Choi into 4 wash and drain.
Wipe the Oyster Mushrooms removing any soil with kitchen paper and then roughly slice -retain any small ones whole for added texture.
Check the chicken breasts if cooked/smoked remove from wok/saucepan and set aside to cool down.
When ready to serve
Finely Slice the chilled chicken breasts and arrange on a platter and put in the fridge
Take a short sided pan glug equal amounts of the oils in to it and heat until running free.
Add onions to pan and allow to lightly colour then add the garlic and ginger
Adjust heat so as not to burn garlic and ginger.
Now add the Pak Choi and Oyster Mushrooms
When the Pak Choi starts to wilt season with pepper and soya.
Dress on the same platter as the sliced smoked chicken and serve.
Some additions and variations
Peeled segmented oranges (2), peeled and chopped Mango, a drizzle of runny local Honey or a side ramekin of Chilli jam for dipping.
So all in all a fabulous day out, great produce to taste and buy in a nice setting, we’d thoroughly recommend it. See you down there in March.
- The Deli Chefs at the Westcountry Game & Equine Festival - March 26, 2011
- Tiverton Pannier Market – one of the premier markets in Mid Devon - March 12, 2011
- Discover the inviting and exciting Totnes Good Food Sunday Market with The Deli Chefs - February 26, 2011