Sunday morning: the sun is shining, and off we go to Parnell's La Cigale Markets – hungry (one must always be hungry when heading to a good food market). There are so many tasty morsels from olives and homemade chutneys to stuffed crepes and beautiful cheeses. But it's coffee on arrival, with a moist almond croissant, then on to the fresh produce.
There is something rather lovely about filling your basket with fresh fruit and vegetables, still with a bit of dirt stuck to the roots, and buying from growers who are passionate about their products. For a moment we could have been in a small village in France.
I find I get a bit carried away, collecting far more than I need. The bread is coming out of the oven as we walk past, the smell too much to bear. We decide we have to have a chocolate crepe. Some things are just better made by someone else and eaten with a serviette and paper plate, standing among the action.
Finally It starts to rain and there's no room left in our shopping bags. Enough is enough and we take our produce and leave, not needing to eat again until dinner.
We arrive home with smoked garlic, beautiful mushrooms, organic chicken, a block of gruyere to make a croque-monsieur, and tamarillos.
I am going to team the chicken with quinoa – a grain-like crop grown primarily for its seeds.
Quinoa is quick to cook and swells to become light and quite fluffy. Gluten-free, and a great source of protein, it's very fashionable; it seems to be a wonder food, used to replace rice in sushi and many other dishes. I love its nutty flavour in salads and its versatility.You can toss an array of ingredients through this grain. Here with lemon, the chicken and a slight sweet hint of the cranberries, it makes a great lunch or dinner dish.
I can't resist wild mushrooms; I'm a firm believer that simple food is the best. This mushroom salad is simple and scrumptious.
You can't go to a market without picking up your favourite cheese. For me, it's goat's cheese. You don't need a lot for this dish. For the aioli I have used smoked garlic I also found at the market. I roasted it, but plain garlic is fine, and if you think it's a fiddle to roast, use one fresh clove instead.
Looking in my market basket, I realise just how many tamarillos I have bought. So there's no time to waste, it's time to skin and prepare them for for eating.
Tamarillo poached and served on breakfast cereal is one of those seasonal tastes I hang out for. It is one fruit that is seriously local. We don't get imports from anywhere. You can use some to make tamarillo chutney, another favourite that can be enjoyed later in the year, but for now, enjoy the fresh fruit while they are in the shops and markets.
My fig tree had a particularly bad year – the fruit shrivelled from lack of water; the feijoas have been a little small, and the guava tree is far from magnificent, but these tamarillos look like they've had a great summer.
Today's tart is a feast of tamarillos with light pastry and a hint of cinnamon, delicious served slightly warm with vanilla icecream. For those of you who don't love tamarillo as much as I do, try this pastry using pears, apples, guavas or a combination.
For more of Angela Casley's fabulous recipes, see foodhub.co.nz