I cooked this for dinner last night to celebrate the viewing of the Masterchef final here in Australia. Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking, "You and ten million others, I couldn't care less what you cooked last night". But. I want to tell you why it was so good (hmm even thought boyfriend didn't really like it, he is just fussy).
I use the best ingredients I can afford and get my hands on. And at every opportunity I can I buy local. I thought I would share with you how I do that, for Sydney readers. And for everyone else, it just gives you an idea on where you can start.
I start locally at a farm around the corner from me. I realise that this is not suitable for everyone, but I guess I am lucky that even though I live in a built up area, there are still big properties and farms close by. Buying direct saves me a whole lot of money, and I get the fruit and veges literally moments after they have been picked. These are not certified organic, but I have had many chats to the owner, and he tells me exactly what he does and doesn't spray, and how vigorously.
What I can't get from the farm I order online from Lettuce Deliver Organics (cute name hey!). They deliver to most suburbs of Sydney twice a week. If you check out their website, you will see that they have such a huge range of things. Amazing F&V but also meats, groceries, breads, drinks and household items. They are such a lovely family business, and you seriously won't be disappointed. My mince for my Kofta, came from there, as well as some of the other ingredients.
While online shopping is WONDERFULLY convenient, and Lettuce Deliver Organics always ensure that you get the best quality produce, nothing beats smelling, tasting and choosing ingredients yourself. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, I wake up as early as I can and head to the Hawkesbury Harvest Farmers Market to see what is on offer. I rarely write a list (unless there is something I really know I want), and I let the flavours and smells and cheeriness of the farmers and stall holders dictate what I buy. I always grab a coffee, and walk around to all the stalls sampling all the amazing food (hey it is breakfast!) and take my time, because this is something you don't want to rush. Seriously, this is an experience I just can’t describe. When I finally dragged my Mum out of bed to come with me one morning, she loved it and has never missed a trip since.
There are obviously always going to be things that you can’t buy from these three sources, and so there are times when I do make a quick dash into a supermarket. But, as long as you check the labels of what you are buying, to see where you product is coming from, and making sure there isn’t any weird added nasties (preservatives and strange chemically sounding ingredients), then you should be ok. You can also check out this amazing resource for the low-down on the environmental and social record of companies behind common brand names. It might not always work, but if I am buying something from a supermarket, eg tomato sauce, I try going for the one that is right up high with only one or two facings as opposed to the 500 bottles of the same brand that are staring you in the face.
So, as I am sure many of you are inspired to get cooking after huge success of Masterchef Australia, I hope that you can also be inspired to choose the best ingredients you can. You body will certainly thank you. And so will the environment.