The recent horsey scandal has definitely made us question the supermarkets a little more. Supermarkets are such an institution now, and each a strong brand in themselves. With us now vigilantly checking for any pony in our burgers and thinking a little more about exactly where and what our food has come from, it’s a great opportunity to spend a little more time and effort finding great independent and local food instead.
I’ll admit that I tend to just visit the supermarket out of habit more than anything else, but today decided to buy most of my shopping list at the Islington Farmers’ Market just up the road on Chapel Market (near Angel tube). At the end of the usual Chapel Market, it’s open on Sundays, and has a fabulous array of fruit and veg (much of it organic), great breads and cheeses, properly sourced free-range meat and a few stalls for food to take away, like the tasty Big Apple Hotdogs.
I should go every week as it’s a much better way to pick up my vegetables – it’s seasonal, often cheaper and very handy if, like me, you cook for one much of the time (to save half a big packet of something festering in the fridge). There are also interesting things you can’t usually get at the supermarket – today’s haul included purple carrots and cavolo nero.
I used some of the cavolo nero for a quick lunch with the lovely sourdough loaf I picked up. Translated as black cabbage with its dark leafiness, and also known as Tuscan kale, it works well in stews and soups, including the classic Italian beany soup ribollita. I roughly chopped, then sautéed in a glug of olive oil with sliced garlic and plenty of sea salt, black pepper and dried chilli, before topping the toasted sourdough and finishing with a wobbly poached egg.