July 12, 2013

Farmers Market to Table: Vanilla Spiced Baked Rhubarb & Mandarin + A Winter Sandwich

When eating fruit, remember who planted the tree; when drinking water, remember who dug the well. 
Vietnamese proverb

The weekly visit to my local farmers market is one of my most cherished weekly routines. Produce is fresh, seasonal, organic and limited. I like that there isn't an endless amount of choice. It's easier to stay connected with seasonal rhythms this way, to live a little more connected to mother earth. 

Wandering around each stall I don't have a list to get through, or planned meals I want to make. I'm lead by the colours, smells and the abundance of what's in season. As I wander flavours and dishes start to emerge in my mind. Roasted fennel with garlic; a fresh salad of rocket; kale with olive oil, garlic and lemon and it goes on as my excitement increases. Lately my basket has been filled with an abundance of leafy greens, grounding root veges and zingy citrus.

The mandarin season is mighty fine this year and I was curious to see how I could make the most of the mandarin season. Everyone loves stewed and baked fruit in winter so I decided to make a twist on baked rhubarb with orange and use mandarins instead. The result- yum! It adds a nice sweetness to the rhubarbs and goes well with the warming spices.

Another simple but oh so satisfying combination I've been eating a lot of has been this winter sandwich combination. Something about the taste and texture of warming toast topped with the strong and salty taste of anchovies and finished off with crisp greens, makes it melt and zing in your mouth all at once.

Both recipes are great anytime of the day to satisfy winter cravings for warm and comforting food. Enjoy x 

(p.s you may have noticed a few new buttons on the side. You can now follow me on bloglovin' and facebook).

Winter Sandwich

good quality sourdough bread (I love Sol Bread's pumpkin and rice gluten free)

avocado, smashed
anchovies (from a jar)
cucumber, sliced
tomatoes, sliced (small variety, tomatoes not quite seasonal but a local farmer had managed to harvest some!)
rocket, baby spinach, parsley
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

directions: toast bread and pile ingredients on toast, drizzle with olive oil. season with salt and pepper. yum. 

Vanilla Spiced Baked Rhubarb and Mandarin

3-4 stalks of rhubarb
1 mandarin
juice of 1 mandarin (you could substitute with oranges or lemons)
zest of 1/4 lemon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (or cinnamon, star anise and cardamom)
2 inch piece of split and scraped vanilla bean
1 tbsp rice malt syrup

Preheat the oven to 160C. Trim the rhubarb and cut it into short pieces. Place the rhubarb and mandarin into a baking dish in a single layer. Juice the mandarin, I used my hands and squeezed each segment over the mandarin and rhubarb. Add zest, mixed spice and vanilla. Drizzle over the rice malt syrup. Cover with enough water to almost cover the mandarin and rhubarb. Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes until the rhubarb is soft but still keeps its shape. 

Serve with goat's milk yoghurt, or your favourite yoghurt. 

Serves 2-3


  1. You shop how I like to shop. I'm easily overwhelmed so the fewer choices the better – provided it's good stuff of course. Looking forward to trying your winter sandwich... I have plenty of rocket and parsley in the garden. x

  2. Ah, spectacular photos Natalie, thank you for the divine recipes. xx

  3. Oh I'm hungry now! Such beautiful writing, and I love your words on staying connected to the seasonal rhythms x


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