Sweet or Savoury Sensations

Fancy a sweet sensation – crumpet, cake or cocoa or are the savoury flavours of paella or a hearty pie more your style?  Victoria Park Market has it all.

Last weekend saw the reopening of Vic Park Markets (facebook page).  Sunshine, live music and an amazing array of stallholders lined the laneways. People waited patiently for soft freshly made crumpets from Kraken Crumpets. The 10 minutes wait to sink my teeth into the sweet indulgence of nutella and banana was worth every minute. Judging by the swarm of happy faces, savoury toppings of bacon and egg, salmon and cream cheese, hummus sundried tomato and olive proved popular too.

Kraken Crumpets

Delicate fresh flowers topped gluten free carrot cakes at Baker & Co’s cakery. The dizzy array of slices had all but sold out when we wandered back later in the day.

Baker & co

Watching the toasted vanilla bean marshmallow melt in front of our eyes, then sandwiched between spiced crackers, the guy with the blowtorch looked like he had made the s’more just a few times before.  Perfect paired with a hot cocoa sundae from Goodnight Cocoa.

Goodnight Cocoa
Goodnight Cocoa
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If beef and blue cheese is more your thing, sink your teeth into a Heaven Scent Pie.  With mouth-watering flavours such as Moroccan lamb tangine and coconut chicken and cashew if that doesn't get your tastebuds tingling then the spicy aroma of paella next door just might.

Heaven Scent Pie

While Better Butter’s claim to be the toast improvement specialists, if you’re looking for a different ice cream topping, we hear that the cashew and coconut nut butter hits the mark.  It tasted pretty good on its own too.

Better Butter

Brought to you by the team behind Little Big Events, the legendary Vic Park Markets (facebook page) are back, every Saturday 9am – 2pm at 210 Victoria Street West. 

Victoria Park Market is definitely the place to meet friends next weekend. Love to hear what you think so feel free to comment.

Michelle

Welcome Back Vic Park Markets

Driving along Tamaki Drive to the city, bright spinnakers sprinkled the inner harbour like M&Ms, a gentle gusty breeze urging them towards Rangitoto Island and beyond. As the sun twinkled on the water a sudden realisation the sunblock had been forgotten yet again; let’s hope there is some shade at our destination.

Around the corner, under the motorway overpass the entrance to Victoria Park Market was jammed with pedestrians – some curious tourists (their accents gave them away), some locals out for a stroll and many, like us manifesting a carpark and with high hopes the new market would live up to our expectations.

Iconic Auckland symbols high above the entrance

Iconic Auckland symbols high above the entrance

Laidback music filtered through the crowd – we soon discovered Anika Moa playing a set in the courtyard. The labyrinth of walkways was studded with stalls from artisan crafts to flowers, vintage antiques, fashion jewellery and clothing, to sweet and savoury foodie delights.

Anika Moa entertaining the crowd

Anika Moa entertaining the crowd

Looking down into the crowd

Looking down into the crowd

Brought to you by the team behind Little Big Events, the legendary Vic Park Markets (facebook page) are back, every Saturday 9am – 2pm at 210 Victoria Street West. While on-street parking is available, catching the link bus might be a good option too.

So if you’re looking for somewhere to meet friends on a Saturday morning, indulge in some tasty treats or simply get your Christmas shopping underway, followed by lunch at one of the many permanent cafes and restaurants, make Victoria Park Market your meeting place next weekend.

Vic Park Markets laneways.jpg
Vic Park Markets laneways 2.jpg
Vic Park Market laneway 3

Fancy sipping on a cider, tucking into a pie, paella or freshly made crumpet?  Or are you in need of a sweet pick me up for now or later? A post on the foodie delights of Vic Park Markets will be up on the blog later in the week.

Michelle

Coatesville Monthly Market

Road works, orange cones and detours provided lots of amusement last Sunday morning.  The Google maps lady sent us in circles after we got lost; she couldn’t cope with the diversions. Eventually, we reached Coatesville Market where more orange cones signalled where not to park.  We dutifully joined a queue of cars that wove along the main drag and up a side road.  

The local Coatesville Scouts (and parents) made awesome carpark marshals directing us to spaces in a huge field (the local pony club) all for a gold coin donation.

Walking down from the carpark

Walking down from the carpark

We meandered down a path to the Coatesville Hall. Stalls were set up amongst the trees on the Village Green.  Despite it being a wintry Sunday morning, there was wall to wall people. Stalls crammed with: arts and crafts, jewellery and clothing; bric a brac, garden sculptures and plants; fresh bread, pretzels and artisan produce and so much more. 

Stalls on the Village Green

Stalls on the Village Green

More halls inside the Village Hall too

More halls inside the Village Hall too

After a longer than anticipated trip we were ready for a coffee.  Food trucks and street food vendors lined a side street with everything from mussel fritters to Thai street food, pizzas, empanadas and some amazing looking home baked scones.  Eventually we found the coffee van in the playcentre carpark.

Food trucks line a side road

Food trucks line a side road

Thai street food ready to cook

Thai street food ready to cook

MouthwateringThai street food

MouthwateringThai street food

Fruit tarts were very tempting

Fruit tarts were very tempting

Home baked date scones

Home baked date scones

Coatesville Market has a very relaxed community atmosphere so if you fancy getting some Christmas shopping done, then mark Sunday 1 November or Sunday 6 December in your calendar now.  The market is held year round, on the first Sunday of the month (except January) 10am – 2pm.

Just sitting around listening to music

Just sitting around listening to music

But be patient when it comes to parking; it is one lane in and the same way out.  We laughed when the young kid directing us to the exit, said to drive fast so we didn’t hold up the traffic – not an easy feat in a hatchback on a rutted country lane!

Have a great week.

Michelle

Looking for a Casual Affair?

It’s 5:15pm Wednesday. Typical peak hour in Auckland, the traffic’s starting to build.  Noisy kids clamour out of cars.  Mums looking a little relieved; squeals of delight escape from small faces as Dads arrive. It’s the second Wednesday of food trucks at La Cigale French Market in Parnell.

The crowd thickens, some meandering down the road from local businesses. Everyone’s looking very relaxed or maybe its relief after the Blackcaps' semi-final win last night.

La Cigale French Market truck stop

People wander checking what’s on tonight’s menu, others join a queue. Grabbing what they fancy: pulled pork and spare ribs, vegetarian burgers, chilli dogs, various sliders, prawns and much more.

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Try craft beers from Hallertau Brewery, a Zeffer Cider or even a glass of French wine. For those still hungry; a fruity dessert pot, a gelato cone or a cheese plate.  Take your time, sit at communal tables and talk to fellow diners. Enjoy the entertainment - sing-a-long like me if you forget where you are. 

La Cigale French Market communal tables

Don’t take my word for it. The Food Trucks at La Cigale French Market, fortnightly on Wednesdays from 5pm - 9pm.  Mark Wednesday 8 April in your calendar now - the perfect school holiday treat for everyone.

Michelle

 

No Chickens in Our Backyard

I lived in London longer than I lived in the Waikato.  More than twice as long with many places in between.  Rising in winter to dull grey skies, it was often wet underfoot.  Squashed together in small spaces, the odd nudge or shove, tenacity rewarded with slow steady progress towards blinding lights.  City or cowshed, at times they both stank.

Quintessential kiwi dream

Longing for open spaces and a section walking distance to the beach, a strong desire to be home was more than a dream. Enough space for outdoor living, a vegetable patch and a real clothesline out back too.  Although, jubilation of no clothes horses inside was short-lived, temperamental Auckland weather intent on retaliation.

Ripping out overgrown palms, an idea sprung to mind. With a family of green-fingered gardeners and farmers, let’s quadruple that vegetable patch.  My mother cautioned daily watering was required, as if sharing a little known fact.

Ripening chillies, took their time

Ripening chillies, took their time

A growing experiment

Diligent nurturing over summer months grew as did her enthusiasm for home grown fruit and vegetables.  Constant reminders to water from guess who.  Cherry tomatoes grew like triffids. Fancy lettuces bolted for the sky.  Oddly misshapen beetroot, leafy celery, shiny green capsicums, red hot chillies and stacks of fresh herbs, with rhubarb and strawberries crammed in too. 

Bunches of flat leaf parsley injected herbaceous flavour in local café salads. Friends came for coffee and left with fresh produce; if lucky, some leftover cake. Smugness triumphed; tomatoes and lettuce missing from the shopping list since last November.

Flat leaf parsley, gifted to the local cafe

Flat leaf parsley, gifted to the local cafe

Winter descends

Daylight disappears. A noticeable nip is in the air. Tomato vines start to die. Herbs go to seed. That desire for fresh produce just won’t disappear. Winter’s the time to give that garden a short rest, with local farmers’ markets not far from our door. Week after week, rain or shine, growers and producers’ vans jam-packed, their bountiful goodness brought to share. First stop is for coffee to warm cold hands.  Buttery croissant or bacon butty, it’s hard to decide. An hour later, basket laden with fresh vegetables, crusty baguettes, smoked kawhai, stuffed peppers and a Mediterranean dip or two - perfect for a picnic on a sunny winter’s day.

Pukeko Bakery breads available at Clevedon Farmers Market and La Cigale

Pukeko Bakery breads available at Clevedon Farmers Market and La Cigale

Take your time to discover your nearby Farmers' Markets NZ Let yourself be tempted by tasty morsels.  Be inspired by passionate producers. Talk, savour and devour for next week the season might be over. Auckland’s top three:

City Girl Country Heart

At heart, I’m a country girl living in the city. Loving fresh produce like when we were growing up. No cows, sheep or pigs; no orchard in the garden. And there’s absolutely no likelihood of finding chickens in our backyard any time soon.  It’s off to a favourite farmers’ market again this weekend but it’s so hard to choose.

My friend Lisa's Isa Browns - Cora and Sybil

My friend Lisa's Isa Browns - Cora and Sybil

Enjoy your weekend.

Michelle

Fabulous French-Style Fresh Market

Love spending time at weekend food markets and New Zealand has so many fantastic ones up and down the country. Everyone’s relaxed and friendly – some are simply soaking up the atmosphere. For others it’s a weekend ritual, catching up with friends and stallholders while leisurely wandering amongst the stalls doing their weekly shop.

A couple of Saturdays ago we headed off early to Pine Harbour Marina, Beachlands for a nosey at the Pine Harbour Fresh Market - Auckland’s boutique gourmet food market.  The weather forecast was rather grim but fresh coffee and breakfast beckoned, and we were not disappointed. Even Auckland’s fickle weather improved as the morning went on.

With a fabulous grassy space, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic, with loads of room for little kids with bikes, and dogs on leads to enjoy a stroll.  The market stalls, with their black and white striped awnings, look out on to the marina and there are plenty of tables to sit down and enjoy your coffee and pastries.  From fabulous French cheeses, freshly baked breads and sweet treats to Hungarian style sausages to NZ made mayos, preserves, cakes and fresh fruits and vegetables and so much more - there’s even doggy treats too.

Pine Harbour Fresh Market

With boats gently rocking in the background and jazz music serenading you, the French style market is set in a superb waterside location right on the Marina.  It’s open every Saturday 8am-12pm - rain or shine, with plenty of parking too.

Saturday 6 December there’s a Traders Market , including a stylists props sale – perfect for Christmas gifts  and wonderful vintage finds.  And don’t forget the Twilight Market on Tuesday 23 December 4-8pm for those last minute foodie treats.

For more information and regular updates check out pine harbour FRESH MARKET

See you there on Saturday.

Michelle