A Convent, a Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic

The Abbotsford Convent Farmers' Market

Last Saturday Ben and I visited the Abbotsford Convent Slow Food Farmers' Market with my parents. It was my first time visiting this lovely, earthy, unassuming market, with local produce that is undoubtedly fresh - as displayed by the dirt still very much covering the cauliflower at the first stall. I love that, I like my veg rustic. Straight from the ground.

Beyond the beautiful produce there were stalls selling hot porridge, soups and free-range grilled meat sandwiches. The aromas were incredibly enticing on this decidedly frosty morning, and left me almost (almost) lamenting my breakfast at Three Bags Full earlier. I jest, I could never lament Black Sticky Gingerbread - yes, I ordered it for the fourth time out of my five visits to Three bags Full these past 2 months...what of it?

Here I am at the market with my beautiful mum, buying some delightful Daffodils...a little bit of sunshine during this biting Winter - and I'm not talking about the flowers ;)

While we were at the market Ben and I picked up some heavenly Wholegrain Sourdough Rolls from The Convent Bakery. They were so delicious, the best I have had in a long time. We enjoyed them later that day for lunch, alongside homemade Broccoli Soup (Ben's favourite) and Goats Cheese. Perfection.

Back to the market...

We also bought a bunch of gorgeous Brussels Sprouts and my absolute favourite vegetable, Cavolo Nero. Cavolo Nero, also known as Tuscan Cabbage, is a type of Kale, and is a powerful antioxidant and full of many vitamins and minerals. I sautéed these fantastically nutritious leaves with garlic and chilli flakes that evening, yet the Brussels Sprouts…well, I saved them for Sunday.

Roast Chicken for Sunday Dinner

Sunday was a bit of a stay-at-home whirlwind. Ben had been working with me all day, getting everything ready for my upcoming USA trip. He even missed his beloved basketball to stay and help keep me sane, teaching me how to use my ipad *blush*. I wanted to reward him with a beautiful dinner using a favourite recipe of ours. Truth be told, come dinnertime I was so far into my planning, Ben actually made our dinner. My man has been supremely amazing lately, with me being very busy getting all organised and with all my different jobs I'm currently doing. Here he is, making the dinner I planned for him…my bad. The sentiment was there though, right?

Self-imposed guilt trip over.

Our beloved recipe, which I planned on making, is Valli Little’s Chicken with 40 Cloves Garlic (recipe link). Yes, you read that correctly. 40 cloves. Forty.

It’s amazing. It’s the first and only Roast Chicken recipe I have used, and every time I make it I am thrilled with the end product. I’d like to try another recipe soon, to develop my roasting skills, as this one is not exactly your traditional roast chook. Yet I still feel I can tick it off my list…well, maybe a half tick (see this post for details on my list of food fears I wish to conquer and dishes I desire to make for the first time in 2011). I implore you to try this roast chicken recipe. It creates a superbly moist bird that just melts. And the sauce…I have no words. It’s a completely easy recipe to make, to boot.

For those beautiful farmers' market Brussels Sprouts, I selected another of Valli Little’s recipes, her Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta (recipe link) - what can I say, she’s my never fail lady. We didn’t use almonds or breadcrumbs, and instead Ben added Fresh Peas along with the pancetta. He also used French Butter. On the weekends I tend to relax my views around saturated fats and butter – a generous slither or two here and there is fine with me and my lifestyle. And honestly, I think the butter really made this recipe. True story. This dish was utterly divine. Yes, I used the words Brussels Sprouts and divine in the same sentence.

We served the chicken and brussles sprouts with super crispy Roasted Kipfler Potatoes. I find the key to perfect roasted potatoes (other than using duck fat, but that's just not going to happen on a regular basis) is to firstly use kipfler potatoes. Their waxy, buttery goodness just cannot be surpassed in my books. I will halve them (or quarter them if they’re large) and pop them on a baking paper lined tray, along with a handful of garlic cloves (skin on). I then give everything a quick drizzle with olive oil, before scattering with fresh rosemary, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. I then pop them into a hot hot oven, preheated to 200-220 degrees Celsius. In 25-30 minute they’re pure potato perfection.


And that was the meal that I made for my amazing man...oh wait, that's right... Either way, it was delicious. So scrumptious, so comforting, so much love.

Heidi xo